“What ought to be”


It’s easy to confuse ‘what is’ with ‘what ought to be,’ especially when ‘what is’ has worked out in your favor.

– Tyrion Lannister, “The Dance of Dragons,” Games of Thrones season 5, episode 9

© HBO / via examiner.co.uk

© HBO / via examiner.co.uk (click image for source)


Real Estate Law and “Game of Thrones”

Perhaps it’s just the law nerd in me, but I love that there’s a whole land-rights subtext to the current Game of Thrones plot involving the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings. From Grantland‘s “Ask the Maester” series:

“Does Jon Snow actually have authority to give the Wildlings land south of the wall? Won’t that ruffle the Bolton’s feathers? Don’t they technically own/control those lands?” Continue reading


Revisiting Sansa and Ramsay on “Game of Thrones,” One Week Later

I wrote a post a few days ago about the instantly-infamous rape scene in the Game of Thrones episode “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” in which I basically said that I found the scene excruciating and unnecessary, but also that the incident itself served the larger narrative of the show. Having now seen the next episode, “The Gift,” I feel rather vindicated in two areas: (1) that the scene served a larger narrative, and (2) that the scene was needlessly brutal.

What “The Gift” managed to accomplish, and where “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” fell short, is in what one might call the fine art of “less is more” in filmmaking.

Via winteriscoming.net

Via winteriscoming.net

The titular alien in the original Alien, to give one example, was scary not only because it was an eight-foot-tall creature with a retractable jaw that bled acid, but also because we barely ever saw it. Continue reading


About that Sansa/Ramsay “Game of Thrones” Scene

If you somehow haven’t heard about it yet (spoiler alerts and all that), last week’s Game of Thrones episode continued the general divergence from the books’ storyline by having Sansa Stark marry Ramsay Bolton (née Snow)—possibly in order to exact vengeance on Ramsay’s father, Roose Bolton, who murdered Sansa’s brother Robb and was directly involved in the murder of her mother, Catelyn. Sansa was apparently unaware of just what a bastard (pun intended) Ramsay is, as was Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, who brokered the arrangement with Roose Bolton.

The overall storyline of having Sansa marry Ramsay is definitely a huge difference from the books, but it makes sense in the context of a TV show. In the books, Sansa is currently still at the Eyrie with her cousin, Robert Arryn (Robin Arryn on the show), and Ramsay is married to Jeyne Poole, a friend of Sansa’s from Winterfell who is being passed off as Arya Stark. Littlefinger has plans to one day send Sansa back to Winterfell and reveal “Arya Stark” as an impostor, giving Sansa the opportunity to reclaim Winterfell for the Starks. What’s happening on the show fits that same overall scheme, and it does it with fewer characters and less plotting-while-sitting-around.

But that’s not what I really want to talk about, and I think you know that. Continue reading


A Lannister Always Spays His Pets (UPDATED)

All hail King Fluffykins, First of His Name, who sits on the Potassium Throne:

To send you off into the weekend with a smile! (especially fun for Game of Thrones fans!) From the creative mind of "Wallace the Mad King"! https://www.youtube.com/c/WallaceTheMadKing

Posted by The Healthy Voyager on Friday, May 8, 2015

(h/t Jason / Andy, via The Healthy Voyager)

UPDATE (05/12/2015): The video does not seem to be embedding, and I don’t know why.



Here’s an interesting bit of trivia about the Valyrian language in Game of Thrones (via Wikipedia):

To create the Dothraki and Valyrian languages to be spoken in Game of Thrones, HBO selected the linguist David J. Peterson through a competition among conlangers. The producers gave Peterson a largely free hand in developing the languages, as, according to Peterson, George R. R. Martin himself was not very interested in the linguistic aspect of his works. The already published novels include only a few words of High Valyrian, including valar morghulis (“all men must die”), valar dohaeris (“all men must serve”) and dracarys (“dragonfire”). For the forthcoming novel The Winds of Winter, Peterson has supplied Martin with additional Valyrian translations.

Peterson commented that he considered unfortunate Martin’s choice of dracarys because of its (presumably intended) similarity to the Latin word for dragon, draco. Because the Latin language does not exist in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, Peterson chose to treat the similarity as coincidental and made dracarys an independent lexeme; his High Valyrian term for dragon is zaldrīzes. The phrases valar morghulis and valar dohaeris, on the other hand, became the basis of the language’s conjugation system

I’m intrigued by the discussion of the word dracarys and its relation to the English word “dragon,” or the Latin word draco. I’d like to posit an alternate theory, just for the heck of it. Continue reading


Why You Suffer Your Relatives at the Holidays

David Wong, writing at Cracked, offers an explanation for the real reason for the season:

It’s hard to understand why Christmas came to be a big deal even for people who have never stepped foot inside a church without understanding the context. And the context — which does predate Christianity by thousands of years — is that December kicks off winter in the Northern hemisphere. And for most of human history, winter meant a bunch of us were going to freaking die.

We’re so detached from that idea today, when the cold means nothing more than mild annoyance and sometimes slippery roads, that it’s hard to grasp how recent this was, and that this was the way of things for virtually all of human history. Every year, you headed into winter with just enough stored food and fuel to get by. The old and the sick knew they might not make it through, and an especially harsh winter could mean no one would feel the sun’s warmth ever again. Every year, you watched all of the plants turn brown and shrivel into husks, followed by an unrelenting darkness and cold that threatened to swallow you and everything you love.

And looking back at that, we see an awesome little portrait of exactly how much humans kick ass. Every year, you see, winter arrived with a short day followed by the longest night of the year (aka the winter solstice), and since before recorded history, humans have been celebrating that day with a feast, or festival, or outright debauchery. On that longest night before the frozen mini-apocalypse, in all times and places you would find light and song and dancing and food. Cattle would be slaughtered (to avoid having to feed all of them through the winter), families would travel to be together, and wine would flow. Precious supplies were dedicated to making decorations and gifts — frivolous things, good for nothing other than making each other happy.

These celebrations went by many names over the millennia, and everyone did it their own way. But deep down, I think the message was always the same: “We made it through another year, some of us won’t see spring, let’s spend a few days reminding each other of what’s good about humanity.”

One way of looking at it is that no one seems to celebrate winter in Westeros, although they offer oft-grudging appreciation for family.

He goes on to explain how this is still relevant today: Continue reading


This Week in WTF, October 10, 2014

– On the plus side, she’s sure to sell the movie rights: A woman in Spain may be having marital problems, but I’m sure her story will make a profitable—if not actually good—movie.

Some nine months ago, a bride-to-be had sex with a dwarf stripper after a bachelorette party, and this week she introduced a new member of the family to her husband who is likely not the father. Or so the newborn infant’s attributes would suggest.

Inside a hospital in Valencia, Spain, the mother confessed to her tryst with the stripper when doctors recognized the newborn possessed traits related to dwarfism.

Actually, George R.R. Martin may have already thought of a somewhat similar storyline…

This isn’t the storyline I had in mind. It’s just awesome.

– Not quite to Phase 3 yet: The FDA is saying that caffeine-infused underpants probably won’t help you lose weight (h/t Ragen). Continue reading


Monday Morning Cute: A Labrador Always Pays His Debts

A little Game of Thrones cuteness for you:


I Guess This Is What CGI Is For (UPDATED)

(Spoiler alert for Game of Thrones season 5 and books 4-5.) The Game of Thrones producers are having trouble with a few permits they need to shoot the upcoming season. It turns out you can’t just film a woman parading naked through the streets of Dubrovnik—you need a permit to do that.

Fans of George R.R.Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books know that after Joffrey’s death and Tyrion’s escape, the increasingly unhinged Cersei runs afoul of the High Septon, the head of the Faith of the Seven in King’s Landing. It gets to a point where Cersei is imprisoned and, as punishment, is forced to make the ultimate walk of shame from “the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep” while completely naked, in front of the entire city. It’s humiliating to the extreme, but also a vastly important scene in Cersei’s story.

But there’s a problem. GoT films its exterior King’s Landing shots in Croatia, where they needed to apply for a permit to allow actress Lena Headey to be filmed naked outside. But according to TMZ, the local Church of St. Nicholas very much disapproves of this, and has pressured the local film commission into denying the show the necessary permit.

Continue reading