Saturday, July 4, 2015

Is Catelyn all bad?

Catelyn Stark is one of the most controversial characters of the whole franchise, and in a side-discussion over at the Tower of the Hand I got into an argument with user mirdad, which merits a bigger response, so I used this to let you all take part if you so desire. His argument, edited for clarity:
My main beef with Catelyn is that she doesn't have political savvy in the "real" world. She is like Sansa with the "well, no one would violate guest rights" style of thinking. I have a great question, who was winterfells master of whispers? Who was keeping an eye on the queen during Roberts hunt? not even to spy, but just as a courtesy? Why were the Lannisters not under close watch the entire time? Why didn't Ned have his agents infiltrate all corners of Kings Landing before he arrived? They thought themselves above the game and they got played. Being the man means you have to get your hands a little dirty, I get that Ned and Cat were noble and trust me I loved them at first. But as the series has unfolded we see how hopelessly outgunned they were as far as intelligence gathering and spycraft was concerned. That's my whole point about Jeyne, yeah that wasn't necessarily Catelyn FAULT but damn northerners get your king a few camp followers. A 16 year old after a battle is going to put his dick in something, they should have controlled the something. It's that fantasy of nobility, the "my son is noble and good, and pure, and he is already promised to another' yeah, cuz Ned would never have done that right? oh wait, you raised his bastard after he did the same damn thing. Alleged bastard anyway. This is all viewed through my lenses of having a mother that guided me through the complicated ugliness that is life and death and politics with a deft hand, so Catelyn has always represented that naïve woman over her head surrounded by sharks and thinking she is going to survive with breathing through a straw and reading the good book. [...] I'm conflicted about my feelings on the matter, but it really has bugged me since my first reading. [...]
So, let's go at it.

Analyzing the arcs of "Game of Thrones" Season 5

When you read the books of “A Song of Ice and Fire”, you will notice that several stories are being told at the same time. The War of the Five Kings is surely the most prominent of them, but the Blood of the Dragon (Daenerys’s story) is another one that everyone knows. The cohesiveness splinters a bit in the two novels constituting the second act of the saga, “A Feast for Crows” and “A Dance with Dragons”, to the point where multiple narrative arcs are pursued at the same time. The same is true for the TV series. And as with the books, the inherent beauty, depth and themes (or the lack thereof) need some examining to be appreciated. In the following, I will have a look at the different arcs in the season and try to submit them to a coherent analysis.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 84

Thursday is court day!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 84! Our guest judge this week is Daniel Sattelberger, a student of actuarial science and a non-native Texan. A recent addition to the fandom, he is known as Qoburn on Reddit and Tower of the Hand.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A reader’s guide to the Feastdance

If there is one common thread you can find in many reviews of HBO’s adaption of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, then it is the need to somehow strengthen the weak source material of its fourth and fifth installments, “A Feast for Crows” and “A Dance with Dragons”. The pervasive feeling seems to be that these books are overlong, at periods boring and set their characters on road trips that really lead nowhere. In the most extreme case, Brienne’s whole arc in “A Feast for Crows”, this is apparent from the get-go because her quest to find Sansa in the Riverlands or on Cracklaw’s Point can’t succeed in finding a girl having chapters in the Vale. Tyrion’s “Where do whores go?” drinking tour is also already infamous.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Appearance on Westeros History

I was invited to a roundtable about Game of Thrones Season 5 over at Westeros History. We did kind of an award show for the season, including stuff like best arc, worst arc, etc. but also some more hilarious awards like "Best Burning " or "Best Singer", and it was a blast! Check out the video after the break or wait for the audio to be released soon!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 83

Thursday is court day!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 83! Our guest judge this week is Neill Smith, a member of the community.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 82

Thursday is court day!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 82! Our guest judge this week is Nina Friel, writer for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire and moderator of /r/asoiaf. When not obsessing over Westerosi history, she's a law student and sometime writer of her own novel(s). You can find her on Twitter.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 10 "Mother's Mercy" Review

And thus, it ends. As season five draws to a close, one of its most prominent victims is the ability of book readers to predict what is going to happen. Whereas in places the show doubled back on itself not to race too far beyond the books, in other places it surpassed them or changed them up entirely. This worked more often than not, and if anything, season five gets a strong closure. The many finales of the episode can’t really fail to have an impact, whether you agree with the artistic choices or not, and one thing is for certain – Game of Thrones engages you.
Look at my works, ye mighty, and despair

A Flight of Links

- GOT S05E09 reviews: Sean T. Collins, A.V. Club, Hitflix,
- Sean T. Collins about the Deep Ones and The World of Ice and Fire
- Meta about the endgame for the Stark kids, Mace Tyrell, Euron Greyjoy, Jaime, Azor Ahai
- Some comments about Ramsay
- Making of Hardhome
- Kung Fury and Nostalgia
- My words in the hands of a better writer 
- The Atlantic reviews Jurassic World
-  And talks about Batman vs. Superman
- AND delivers great meta about Shireen's death
- Todd van der Werff is fed up with GOT violence
-  And Dave Roberts complains about Arya
- While Andrej Prokop throws out the idea that Stannis will die in episode 10
- Matt Yglesias thinks the Shireen scene is really good
- Very deep review of Jurassic World
-  The Martian trailer
- Quick analysis of the Night's Watch's role. 
- Good analysis of Apocalypse Now
- Theon III

Friday, June 12, 2015

Boiled Leather Audio Hour 39

BLAH 39 | (What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace Love and Bummer Stannis: Discussing “The Dance of Dragons” and Other Elements of Late Season Five Game of Thrones” 

We’re back, and we’ve got a burning desire to discuss Stannis, Shireen, and the controversial scene that dominated the conversation around “The Dance of Dragons,” Game of Thrones Season Five’s penultimate episode! This time out, Sean and I tackle what the Mannis’s heel turn really means for the character, the adaptation, the fandom and more. We also take a quick tour of the disappointments of Dorne, gaze into the fires and give you our predictions for the season finale (including a theory from Sean that’s either bold or batshit), and address the very nature of criticism itself. All in a tight 32 minutes and 32 seconds!


Additional links:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 81

Thursday is court day! This week, we're really late. Apologies.
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 8! Our guest judge this week is Anton Jumelet, a philosophy student from the Netherlands, who previously judged on ruling 65 of this court. He's usually not an active member of the fandom, but does ferociously follow everything ASOIAF-related. He's ashamed to admit that he once believed in something quite like the Bolt-On Theory, with Roose being an outpost for the Others. If it turns out to be true, he'll say he thought so all along.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 80

Thursday is court day! This week, we're really late. Apologies.
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 80 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Jay, who swore his sword to House Manwoody many winters past, though his words are The pen is mightier. He recently graduated from a modern Citadel, forging links in literature and writing. He hopes to someday write something half as good as A Song of Ice and Fire. Jay just moved from the Pacific Northwest to the Kings Landing of the U.S.

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 9 "The Dance of the Dragons" review

I have to admit, I never had such a hard time to keep my inner book reader at bay as I had in this episode. So many things are changing so fast, it’s hard not to cry foul at any given minute and to separate the simply new stuff from the foul one. On a theoretical level this was always to be expected, and I have myself confidently predicted that this would happen, coddled into a false sense of security by the idea that it would just mean that characters end up in the same locations by different routes. This naïve idea died screaming on a pyre this episode.

A Flight of Links

- Reviews of GOT S5E8: Alan Sepinwall, Sean T. Collins, A.V. Club
- George R. R. Martin on why he things GOT needs Lady Stoneheart 
- The secret history of Ultimate Marvel 
- Tyrion VIII
- Witcher 3 controversy
- 50 years first spacewalk
- That sounds boring
- Two good metas about Big Walder

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Spoilers for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" ahead.

When I watched "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" back in 2010, I was positively surprised. It was a well thought out, gripping movie that managed to tell an interesting story with interesting characters, avoiding some major storytelling chliches among the way. The movie ended with the apes finally free in the woods around San Francisco and humanity on the verge of the outbreak of a giant virus. The "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is set ten years later. I have to admit, when I watched the trailer back in 2014, I wasn't entirely convinced. It seemed like a pretty generic story, in which the good human Malcolm (Jason Clarke) would be drowned out by the bad human Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), leading to conflict with the peaceful apes under their benign leader Caesar (Andy Serkis). But the movie doesn't go down this route at all; one could even say that the trailer was a deliberate disception. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 8 "Hardhome" Review

There has been much talk about how “Game of Thrones” is going into unchartered territory now, with the books not really giving that much of an advantage to readers anymore in terms of guessing what will come next. But really, if episode eight instead of episode nine sees such a big event, what can you take for granted anymore? And there are at least three major beats left in quiver for the final two episodes. That being said, I’m more excited about what happens on “Game of Thrones” than ever, not necessarily because of the overall quality, but simply because there’s no way to tell anymore, and I haven’t felt the natural excitement of, you know, not knowing, since “A Dance with Dragons” came out way back in 2011. And oh boy, did this episode end with a bang. This, my friends, is the episode that ends Game of Thrones.

A Flight of Links

- What 50 Shades of Grey and Batman have in common
- The Highs and Lows of VR gaming
- Hey, girl, Mad Max Edition
- These casting calls sure are interesting
- Recycling ships is ugly. 
- This sounds fun
- Very interesting thoughts that correspond well with the main theme of this blog. 
- Great R+L=J meta
- Regarding the question of why Daemon is an asshole, I can't agree more with these two.
- Great Sansa meta
- Not that it mattered because they are two different mediums, but someone compared rapes in book and TV show of GOT. 
- Yahtzee reviews two Cyberpunk Indies
- Alysanne meta
- GOT spelling game. I scored perfectly. Accept the challenge!
- Laci Green on Mad Max 
- Feastdance History Lessons
- Yep it was pretty hilarious
- The secret of Mad Max: editing
- What about Garlan and Willas and their absence from the show?
- The Atlantic predicts how GOT season 5 will end
-Wertzone reviews Mad Max
- The Witcher review by RPS
- Wertzone reviews GTA5