Game of Thrones: Season 8 Tin-Foil-athon

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There is one season to go.

Six episodes.

If you thought season 7 took liberties with time jumps, get ready for season 8. There are too many loose ends to wrap up. There is the famed “bittersweet ending” on the line. HBO has sequels and prequels and spinoffs at stake. Any any fan blowback would likely impact their Star Wars spinoff of the show runners, D & D.

They have to avoid a LOST.

They can’t pull a Dexter.

There can’t flash forward too far like in Battlestar Gallactica.

They. Must. Stick. The. Landing.

Fans across the world are crossing their fingers. Youtubers like Alt Shift X are searching reddit forums for one last season of fan theory speculation.

So how can they do this? They have Queen Cersei and the Golden Company to deal with. There is the Night King with his ice dragon. Dany and Jon are about to have a West Virginia reveal. The Night’s Watch are a tattered shell of what they were. Jaimie has defected. Melisandre has to return.

Already, there are a ton of clickbait youtube videos with shocked looks on thumbnails with a ton of rehashing, very little answers given, a ton of “tell me what you think” pleas to help their search algorithms. As a book reader, I’d say over 90% of these youtubers have not even read a chapter of the books, yet, they are fully on the clickbait bandwagon.

I guess people don’t want to be wrong.

It’s easy to give instant reactions.

You look crazy donning the tin foil cap.

It takes some creativity to put yourself in D & D’s shoes.

I’m not afraid.

*just breath*

Episode 1 begins on the boat. The quick romance between Jon and Dany will produce a miracle baby I assume. News of this will happen shortly after Dany is told the truth about Jon. With the boat rocking between seasons 7 and 8, we can assume Jon stuck the landing.

Meanwhile, near King’s Landing, the Golden Company moves north with remnants of the Lannister army to cut off the North. Jaime quick-jumps to Winterfell where he meets Tyrion again, as well as Breanne. Somehow, someway, Tormund also quick-jumps to Winterfell because episode 1 can’t leave us without a nice love triangle. Jaime tells them Cersei isn’t supporting the cause anymore.

The King of the North is no more as the truth is spread. Lyanna Mormont stands behind her man. Factions split, despite Jon saying it doesn’t matter as the world is coming to an end. They prepare for battle, as remnants of the Nights Watch join Winterfell forces, since their watch has ended. The dead are coming.

Episode 3, oh what a sight. The show can’t be wrapped up in time if the great battle happens in episode 5. So Episode 3 it is. The army of Winterfell, Knights of the Vale, remnants of the Nights Watch, the army of unsullied, army of Dothraki, 2 dragons, and all our heroes stand united against the army of the dead. They fight in the greatest battle ever seen on screen. Ice and fire clashing. Jaimie dies on the battlefield in Breanne’s arms, per his season 3 bathhouse wish. The hound kills kill and kills. Sir Bronn of the blackwater fires a spear at the ice dragon, and hits it, but it doesn’t die. Oh shit. The episode ends with Dany going air-to-air with the ice dragon and night king, to fulfill the prophecy of Azor Ahai. Flame and ice-fire clash, and ultimately, she is wounded and barely retreats due to the sacrifice of Rhaegal and Jon Snow to the rescue. She hits the ground, and Jorah rides to her rescue, before getting speared by the Night King as he closes in on her. They share one final moment together. Jon ultimately is the one to pick up Dany. The heroes lose and retreat back to Winterfell, thinking it is the end. Varys fleas.

Episode 4 begins with the Golden Company arriving as a foe. Euron Greyjoy returns to Kings landing, and marries Cersei. Winterfell is surrounded. Dany is with child but her skin is wounded from ice fire. Grief is in the air. Aya dons the face, and sneaks into the Golden Company. She doesn’t need 20 good men. She sets the camp aflame, but not to the desired results. The Golden Company attacks Winterfell. Tormund dies. Ed dies. Edmure Tully comes with the remnants of the Tully Army, and nails a shot against the leader of the Golden Company. The tide is turned. The episode ends with the Night King rising them from the dead.

Episode 5 is the Hail Mary episode. Something is preventing the army of the dead from breaching Winterfell’s walls. Is there some magic powers from the children of the forest? Is it Bran? The plan is a one in a million shot. Bran is going to attempt to warg the ice dragon and put the night king on the ground long enough for Jon Snow to fly Rhaegal down and kill him once and for all. The plan is executed. Jon Snow fights the night king and wins. The army of the dead break apart into ashes just like in the prologue of The Lord of the Rings.

Episode 6 is a flash forward of 7 months. The North has regrouped. Jon has been declared the one true king. The Iron Bank of Braavos has backed him. All of the great houses are behind him and Dany. He marries Dany under a weirwood tree. They declare Winterfell the new capital and send message for Cersei to surrender. Tyrion says Cersei won’t give in, ever. They ask where the Hound and Arya went. We get to see Arya and the Hound on the road again, bantering and bickering. They spot Varys and kill him. The scene flashes to Euron Greyjoy as he sails back to Essos for new mercenaries to hire. They are intercepted by a emboldened Theon and his new Iron Island crew. Euron is killed at the hands of Theon who dies in sacrifice. Yara is freed. She sails back to King’s Landing to free Ellaria Sand. Cersei is assassinated at the hands of Arya before the discovery that her child has been born. The Hound fights the Mountain, and wins. Dany gives birth, and dies. She names their son Rheagar Stark. Bran rolls his eyes back one final time as he goes back in time trying to prevent it all, and winds up as the Night King. This is why the Night King didn’t attack Winterfell. There was no spell. It was a time travel paradox. The Night King can’t kill himself. This is why Bran is always protected. The story flashes forward 10 years. Jon is now wed to Sansa. Arya sails west to the unknown. Sam writes about the new age of heroes as the Grand Maester at the beginning of a new dynasty. Breanne serves as the head of the Kingsguard, along with the Hound. There is a city around Winterfell. Tyrion leads Casterly Rock. Bronn runs the Twins, for double payment for his services. The Iron Throne is destroyed, and the Red Keep is converted as a replacement for the Sept of Balor. King’s Landing is renamed Old Landing. The last scene is Jon taking Rheagar out, along with his two half siblings through his marriage with Sansa, along with Cersei’s son, to witness an execution. They have caught a red priestess, looking old and haggard, trying to sneak her way in to the North. “He who passes the sentence shall wield the sword.”

Bittersweet but hopeful. Share with your friends and tell me what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foodie Reviews (Kentucky Fried Chicken, San Antonio, TX)

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You all are weird as hell. You really loved the Chuck E Cheese post? Well here you go, share this with your friends. I’m all about keeping things honest and real just like my movie reviews.

Why review a fine dining experience at a 5 star restaurant when you can eat an American classic. Colonel Sanders would buy a new white suit if he could see how far and vast his little chicken empire has expanded. I mean, there are over 19 thousand KFC’s keeping that top secret recipe under close guard every day.

I don’t know what this means. I noticed some people in Lithuania are loving the Chuck E Cheese experience, so maybe there is some new fad where people in other countries enjoy reading about our dining establishments the way our travel bloggers go to food markets and take a shit load of pictures and video footage of street vendors. Next time you watch the travel channel, notice the looks the locals give. They are wondering why the hell we even care about their food.

Think about it. This blog is less weird than stuff on the travel channel (disclaimer: My blog only recently began, there is no telling what the future might bring)

In any case, I picked up the “Big Box” meal (#10 for you fast food junkies out there). I didn’t just go to just any KFC, but visited one that doubled as a Taco Bell too. It doesn’t get more American than that if you ask me. Plus the synergy  of combining a bonafide taco factory with a fried chicken emporium would’ve made Oppenheimer proud.

For $7.99 plus tax, I was able to pick up a box full of 3 pieces of fried chicken, cole slaw, mashed potatoes w/gravy and a drink. I picked up two of them, because I eat like Jabba (or I got one for the woman I was with, you decide the truth).

So what is in the box?

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It was a “heart attack in a box” but tasty as hell, especially after a long day outside. We watched Game of Thrones and pigged out and I ate every damn thing inside.

The Colonel would be proud.

Foodie Rating: ?? (It doesn’t matter after a long day at the waterpark)

Game of Thrones: How will the Wall Fall?

game-of-thrones-the-wall-hbo.jpgThe mystical 300 mile long wall that Bran the Builder built has protected Westeros since the age of Heroes. The 700 foot high wall is blessed with magic to protect the North from the others. Now, the questions readers have been asking for 20 years and show watchers have been asking for 5 seasons is “How will it come down?” (I figured after my Hodor Theory #2 on “Hold the Door” although a slightly different scenario, I might as well speculate some more)

Over the years, I have read numerous fan theories and listened to many show discussions. For now, I will focus on show theories because this is where the momentum of the story is so far, so here are some facts:

A)The Wall is laced with magic that White Walkers can’t pass.

B)The White Walkers seem to avoid open water.

C)The Wall is manned by only a skeleton crew of the Night’s Watch.

D)Bran is still stuck in the tree learning his abilities

E)In the synopsis of the original story submitted to Martin’s agent, in A Dance With Dragons (the proposed second book), Dany was supposed to fly to Westeros with her Dothraki horde following her as she invaded Westeros. The Third book, Winds of Winter, was supposed to address the battle against the White Walkers.

Okay, so there you go. We know very little because we are not sure how much of the history is just legend and myth. My theories on how the wall falls are:

1)The White Walkers will have the zombie spawn (wights) dig holes beneath the wall. They will envelop the remnants of the Nights Watch and respawn them as wights.

2)The White Walkers will use the foretold ice spiders to weave a web to create a bridge over  the wall.

3)Winter will make the world so cold that the oceans freeze. In this scenario, two things can happen: First, Dany can lead her water-fearing Dothraki across the narrow sea so they don’t have to board ships. Second, the White Walkers could simply walk around the wall on the icebed. The new War of the Dawn would ensue, but without the First Men or Children of the Forest. The downside to this theory is that it would lead to the White Walkers attacking Winterfell first while Dany attacks King’s Landing. What would bring Dany north?

4)”Bran Theories:” There is a theory out there that the original wall was really built by giants who were being warged. There are variations that Bran was able to control weirwood trees, and the wall is just an elaboratly tangled weirwood forest covered in snow and blocks of ice. This is the god the Starks have worshipped. Plus the Children of the forest might have some extra special power of the forest. This means with Bran in the tree, he now has the power to bring it down. I argue that it makes perfect sense that if Bran the Builder helped lead the construction of the wall, Bran the Destroyer can help lead the destruction of the wall. It would be perfect symmetry. How does Bran have this power? I argue this is westerosi genetics. I think The Stark line is really a mix of White Walker, which is why they can warg living things, while White Walkers can warg dead things. This is why there will always be a Stark in Winterfell. This is like saying there will always be White Walkers in the Land of Always Winter. Imagine this, the polar opposite warging abilities is a little like yin and yang. They can’t warg each other, but can throw bodies and armies against each other. The only question I would have is can a powerful Stark warg a wight? This would explain why many passages in the crypts beneath Winterfell are blocked with rubble. It is keeping family secrets hidden.

4)Fact A is only a myth, and the White Walkers simply overpower the wall. Castle Black becomes Castle White. The new War of the Dawn would ensue. The three heads of the dragons would assault the fortification and corner them. The dragons could then melt the wall.

5)There are a couple horns that could be the Horn of Winter. One was with Mance Rayder before Stannis and his men overtook his army. The second was found as the Fist of the First Men, and given to Sam. Maybe this is why the horn is on the cover of the proposed The Winds of Winter.

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Game of Thrones: What does Hodor Mean?

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Who is the friendly half-giant that carries Bran on his back? Why does he say Hodor with every response he gives? With last week’s episode highlighting the fact that when he was young, Willis aka Walder (from the book) use to speak fine and was the trusted stableboy of Winterfell. That got me to think, what the hell does Hodor mean? My first instinct was the correlate it with “Hold the Door” or some variation, and then my mind wandered. I searched online a few days later, and discovered a ton of theories:

1)He is actually saying “R’llohor” but nobody understands him because of his brain damage.

2)”Hold the door.” He was ordered to protect Lyanna by holding the door, but failed, and was kicked or slammed in the head afteward. The door was maybe in the crypts, perhaps the same place where the Bard entered through.

3)There were theories for a few years that Hodor was really Aegon, who had his head smashed against the wall and was left for dead. Then he was brought home by Ned stark, because I guess that is what he does … bring kids back to Winterell. (Negated by Season 6, episode 2 when we see “Willis” as a young man watching Ned Stark fight Benjen.

4)(Via Reddit) “I remember seeing a tinfoil theory a while back saying Hodor is actually Gerold Hightower from the battle at the Tower of Joy, and “Hodor” is him trying to say his own name but he can’t because his brain was fried from Howland Reed warging into him to save Ned’s life.”

5)Kristian Nairn would like to see Hodor be a dragon controlling command.

6)(Via Reddit) Some speculate that Hodor was injured while warging in a horse, then when he warged back, he had brain damage. Another variation is that he died as a horse and Hodor is the subconscious mind that is left, or only part of him came back.

7)Some say that Robert Baratheon smashed his head when he thought Lyanna and him were getting too close, or another variation, he was blamed for not holding the door and hit in the head as retribution for failure.

8)Perhaps he was at the Tower of Joy, helping protect Lyanna as her closest friend and ally, and suffered his injuries there.

9)He is the “great other” that will battle as a God like figure.

10)My crackpot theory: There is tunnel beneath winterfell that goes all the way past the wall. He went down to the crypts fifteen or twenty years ago, and found the crypts of the old dead Starks. He then opened the crypts, which holds the immortal Stark, the creator of everything (the original and most powerful warger, the one who can warg and command the dead) and it escapes. This is why “Winter is Coming” is their house saying, because they know winter is coming because they release the immortal stark everytime a long winter is coming, in order to unite the peoples of westeros. This is why the white walkers and Night’s King don’t kill Starks … they only try to convert them.

11)My crackpot theory: When Lyanna died, she warged into Hodor.

12)My double crackpot theory: As a half giant, Starks have found giants could be warged into by more than one person. So Hodor actually is a host for Lyanna, Ned, Brandon, and Benjen.

What do you think? Could there be more to it?

NOW SEE MY THEORIES ON HOW THE WALL WILL FALL

OR SEE MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK, A GAME OF THRONES, AND MY COMMENTARY IF IT COULD BE TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED AS AN UNKNOWN WRITER TODAY 

OR CHECK OUT MY EPIC MOVIE REVIEWS 

OR CHECK OUT SOME STAR WARS EPISODE 8 FAN THEORIES

1000 Word Book Review: Raven Song by I.A.Ashcroft

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Review of the first 1000 words of “Raven Song” by I.A. Ashcroft

I asked the author to send his first 1000 words, and he literally sent me 995 words exactly. Usually I review the first 1000 words via Amazon and the preview system, so this was different.  (Note: Sometimes I will read a few thousand words to get a better sense of the story for a better review, and sometimes I don’t pay attention and go much farther an in depth)

The story opens with a prologue. It was about a half-naked boy shivering on a sidewalk. Overall, it was hard to really associate what was going on outside this basic image along with a man in a suit and a raven. It was mysterious, but I wasn’t quite sure if it sold me to buy the book.

But then I read about the Barrier, which was a shield that covered a ruined New York. Awesome. This is pretty much all you have to say to get me to turn the page, so good on the author.

The story then jumps 18 years in the future. Wow. What a jump. Part of me didn’t really know what was going on. Then he gave a time reference: July 21, 2147. Awesome. For what remains of the 1000 word book submission, there is much talk on dreams and ravens and insomnia of the main character, Jackson. Then it ended at the 995th word.

Pros and Cons.

Pros: I like the city shield and the time reference. It is more than enough to get me interested in the story. Shows some imagination, though it reminds me of the Simpsons, Stephen King (referenced by author below), and Highlander 2.

Cons: I am not exactly sure what the genre is from the first 1000 words. Is it a paranormal dystopia? Science Fiction? Mystical parable? Hard to tell from the intro. Also, I only really know one character at one point. With no dialogue, this makes it a little harder to get into the action. Lastly, the main character opens chapter one by waking up from a dream sequence. People are split on the “waking up in bed” opening, but the author doesn’t use it as a trope to undo a prior scene, so people might not mind. I didn’t, but then again, I wanted to hear more about the city shield.

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?

Yes. Grammar was good. There were some odd things, like in the 2nd paragraph he used the word “eyes” in three sequential sentences (Raven Song Fact: eyes are mentioned 9 times in first 995 words). He also starts 3 out of 4 paragraphs in a row with “Jackson” in Chapter 1. Some authors try to mix it up a little.

Also the story has a third point limited narrator that trails off after “once upon a time.” A bit of an odd place to do that. When I write, I usually only trail off with dialogue or first person narration. 

Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

No. For me, I cared more about couple of the scene details more. Jackson’s mysterious prologue and dream reaction didn’t really get me to care about him yet. It would probably take me to see him interact with someone first.

Do I like the world building?

Yes, for what was mentioned. I liked the shield over New York. (Any dystopia of New York, I am a fan of, probably going back to my days watching Escape from New York)

Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?

Yes. I want to know more about this version of New York.

One thing I would have liked seeing:

Get rid of the prologue, and open up with Jackson doing some action or at least interact with someone. Then tell me about the backstory slowly. George R.R. Martin used a prologue, but he tells 800+ page books. He also used a dream sequence with Ned Stark in A Game of Thrones, but that is in the middle of the book to a crucial moment at the Tower of Joy.

Overall Story Beginning Rating: 4/5 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas

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Q&A with the Author: I. A. Ashcroft

 

How long did the first draft take to write?

Almost a year and a half! The idea was germinating for about three months in my head, and then I spent six months dickering around with scenes and short story snippets. Finally I realized it was a novel, and for around seven months, I put what I had through the shredder, began structuring things so the pacing didn’t drag, refining subplots, re-writing, etc. It was my full time job after my full time job ended business hours! Of course after that was done, it needed a few months of editorial revisions, but at the point I was having so much fun finishing my first novel, it didn’t seem like such a long time.

Did you change the ending in the middle of writing?

Yes. I had an ending planned at first that felt a little sitcom-esque… all of the characters made it out relatively unscarred, and then they were chipper and ready for their next adventure in book two. It was awful. Sounded quite… false. The new ending, I felt, came organically out of all of the difficulties the characters face in this story, and though there is joy and hope, it’s the regrets, unfulfilled desires, and unanswered mysteries that I think will set the stage for a truly intriguing second book.

Did you submit traditionally?

I did not. I considered it carefully, and I’d love to submit traditionally some day, but I discovered that I really enjoy the world of indie authors and publishing. So, I never did send my manuscript to anyone but readers and editors. It gives me a lot of happiness to put my efforts into getting this out there right now, connecting with my audience today, rather than waiting for an agent, a publishing house, a release date, etc. So, for the Inoki’s Game series, it will all be independent! But after that, I am considering going down the traditional avenue for a couple of other book ideas – I’d love to reach even more readers.

Where do you want to go with the series?

Book Two: Eclipse of the Sun will be done with its first draft by end of May, and it’s going to set the stage for a complete upheaval of the world where Jackson and Anna live. There’s a lot of secrets and string-pullers that will be revealed. I have plans right now for four books, though a fifth is possible (I find I go crazy if I outline too far ahead. But, the ideas are seeded). I also found a fantastic audiobook narrator, Mikael Naramore, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear his reading of this series.

Favorite author who has influenced your writing?

Stephen King’s ideas shaped my style a great deal (I was reading The Dark Tower and On Writing while crafting this story, though I don’t 100% agree with every notion he sets forth). His efficiency of narrative though, when it’s at its best, is something powerful. Neil Gaiman’s weird, dark, and humorous descents into myth and folklore deeply shaped the way I try to approach a story, too. And finally, I don’t think I can leave J. K. Rowling off my list – she left with me a fascination with magic and those that use it, and a readability I find I just slip right into, even years later.

You can follow I.A.Ashcroft on twitter @ia_ashcroft

Book Review: A Game of Thrones

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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

The story is an uncompromising tale of history, lies, revenge, love, and betrayal. My paperback copy runs around 800 pages plus extra content on the great houses of Westeros. To me, this is storytelling at its finest and Martin knows how to write. The story is bold and rich in detail and is an example for all aspiring writers to emulate.  Having written the story in the early 90’s after a frustrating stint in Hollywood, Martin went back to New Mexico to write a story unhinged from budgets, actors, or producer’s opinion. He shelved a Sci-Fi story called Avalon, when the first Bran chapter emerged vividly in his mind.  For me, the chapter involving the dream is where Martin’s true genius shows. The central mystery of the story is hinged on the dream chapter, and twenty-years later it remains unanswered (though most subscribe to the R+L=J theory).

I believe if the same story was submitted by an unknown author today to agents and publishers, it would have a fair shot in the business of betting on “sure things” like celebrity autobiographies and TV personality cookbooks. I would estimate out of 100 agents, maybe 10 would respond back interested to see the full manuscript. (They don’t like prologues or they don’t doesn’t see where a YA love triangle is). Out of the 10 agents, probably 9 don’t offer representation for the straight-up incest at the beginning of the book, the dwarf banging prostitutes, throwing a kid out a window, a peasant kid getting murdered by the Hound, lots of exposition and backstory taking up half of every chapter, the POVs being more than 4, implied incest with Dany and her brother, and a 14 year old Dany getting raped by Drogo. Not to mention the honest Ned, the protagonist of the story, getting his head chopped off and Dany walking into fire to hatch dragons as the climax of the story leaving us with a cliffhanger end to the first book. The one agent would have a tough time selling it to a publisher, but I think they could get a deal done.

The unknown author might have to agree to cut it to 80,000 words, make it one POV character, preferably Dany, and have her sail to King’s Landing in the first third of the book, and discover she was really the long lost Targaryen as foreseen in the prophecy. Then maybe she is torn in a love triangle between the advances of Prince Drogo (maybe call him Prince Dirk to relate to the market better and make him 15 years old) and Prince Jon (but instead of a bastard who didn’t even know his damn mom, make him a simple peasant with a mysterious, yet noble lineage). Nice. I smell a sequel …

Fortunately for us, Martin was able to publish whatever he pleased at whatever pace he wanted. I look forward to reading the Winds of Winter when it comes out this year.

MY REVIEW OF THE GREATEST SCI-FI FANTASY NOVEL EVER WRITTEN