Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 29: Roger Zelazny Haiku

The werebot is the
most frightful legend whispered
among the steel towers

Monday, April 28, 2014

Roger Zelazny Haiku: Day 28

Missed two days in a 
row! Fortunately, no one 
is reading this year.

Roger Zelazny Haiku: Day 27

Death: Death is a black
horse shadow, without a horse 
to cast it. (Typhon)

Roger Zelazny Haiku: Day 26

Father's Day, always
quite an awkward holiday
for King Oberon.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Roger Zelazny Haiku: Day 25

In Roadmarks, Hitler
drives a black Volkswagen bug.
Well, of course he does.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 24: Roger Zelazny Haiku

meets Princess. Bow-chikka-wow!

Edit: (Was misremembering Braxa as a princess)

Per request: Poet
meets dancer. Bow-chikka-wow!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 3: "Joffrey was dead, to begin with"

We open where last week's show ended. Joffrey has just been poisoned at his wedding, and Ser Dontos, the jester is leading Sansa through the back alleys of King's Landing. I thought this was extremely well-lensed sequence. He delivers her to Littlefinger, who is hanging out in his Pirates of the Caribbean ship, and acting even skeevier than before, if possible.

He promises to give Ser Dontos what's coming to him, stifles some maniacal laughter, and has him shot dead in his raft, while offering some transparently self-serving justifications to Sansa.

Cut to Olenna and Margaery talking about current events.

Margaery's distractions were so fortuitously timed that I assumed that she was in on the plot, but her conversation here suggests she wasn't. She says she didn't enjoy seeing it and Olenna observes: "You may not have enjoyed watching him die, but you enjoyed it more than you would have enjoyed being married to him, I can promise you that." Olenna continues being awesome for a little while and then we cut to Joffrey lying in state.

Tywin talks to Tommen and asks him what a good king should be. They go back and forth forever, and it's really boring. The only good part is right at the end, when they're discussing the traits a good king should have, Tywin answers, "Your brother was not a wise king. Your brother was not a good king. If he had been, he'd probably still be alive." and the view shifts to Cersei's face.
The pair takes off and then we have the worst scene of the episode, and possibly, the series.

Jamie enters the sept, and, after some brief conversation, rapes his sister.

It's your bog standard ", Yes, OH YES!" rape scene, where the attacker fucks the objections  right out of the victim and makes her love it. From the way the scene was filmed and presented, I had already come to the conclusion that the showrunners didn't think of it as a "rape scene" before I read the quotes from Alex Graves coming right out and saying that.

However, that's exactly what it is, and the fact that there is this disconnect, that they seem to be saying that if you fuck your victim hard enough (which is a whole other issue by itself), that it magically transforms the assault into something other than rape, is the biggest reminder that rape culture is really a thing. I don't want to be all "Won't someone think of the children?!" but that kind of comment is reflective of the problem in larger society, where too many people think that the only legitimate rape is that which is coerced through violence between people who have not previously had sex. It's an ugly, disturbing scene, but not for the reasons they intended.

Further, while Jaime is certainly no hero (pushing a little kid out a window pretty much removes you from consideration for all time), he seemed to be at least slouching towards redemption, and that undercuts it.

Arya is very pleased with herself
Congratulations, Game of Thrones. You've made incest even creepier.

Let's switch to something nicer. Arya and the Hound. They meet a very well groomed farmer (seriously, his beard is nicer than mine)and his daughter and bluff their way into some hospitality.

The Hound acts all crazy and eventually mugs the Farmer. Arya gets all pissed because this murderer she's palling around with is acting like the worst shit in the Seven Kingdoms. He tells her that's just the way things are, and asks how many Starks they have to behead before she figures it out. Best line, ever.

On the wall, we get some interaction between Sam and Gilly. Samwell Tarley, Jon Snow's fat and jolly sidekick, reminded me way too much of Samwise Gamgee in the books. He's grown on me in the show. He and Gilly are really cute together, but this scene goes on forever. It makes the scene with Tommen seem like the essence of brevity.

In my notes, I wrote down "Stannis". I guess there was a scene with Stannis, but for all that happens, there might as well not be. My girlfriend's not in the scene, so I lost interest.

And then we cut BACK to Sam and Gilly. Good god. It. is. really. boring.

Fortunately, after that, we have a scene with Oberyln Martell in his favorite brothel. I would assume that once you shank someone in a brothel, you're no longer welcome there, but princes of Dorne go where they please. Oberyn is giving off his Inigo Montoya vibe, and the only reason the scene could be improved would be through the addition of Tywin.


The two of them have a scenery-chewing contest ( "I would like to speak with the Mountain." "I'm sure he would enjoy speaking with you.") and it's glorious. I like TV Tywin a lot more than book Tywin. It's been a while since I've read them, but my recollection was that we heard about his shrewdness from other people much more often than we saw it on display. He's awfully canny in the show, and that's in full display when he tries to woo Oberyn to his side. He's a ton of fun to watch. I can almost believe what he'd like us to believe, that he does what he must for the Lannister legacy and not merely what will profit Tywin Lannister.

Speaking of Lannisters, we transition to Tyrion Lannister in the dungeon. The one change I don't like about him is that he's a lot less morally grey than he was in the books. He approaches saintly in the show (or as near to saintly as anyone gets in Westeros) and we see that again when he dismisses his squire, so that the boy's life won't be in danger. It's not a terrible change, and a show with nothing but vile characters can be a slog pretty quickly, but he has a little less bite than his literary counterpart.

And at the end of the episode, we have Dany Sue, looking bland and vaguely constipated, as always. Emilia Clarke gets to show off her range with this scene.


We recently had the "Somebody meets Dany and thinks she's so great that he's going to stop what he's doing and spend the rest of his life serving her" storyline, so we're going to get the other Dany story, the one where she becomes the whitest possible savior to a bunch of brown people. Um, yay?

She rides up to a city. A champion rides out from the city and pees on the ground. Daenerys rejects the first three offers from men ready to die on her behalf, but allows sexy Daaaario to kill the dude. He does, and the scene is actually kind of cool, but it's a Dany scene, so I'm obliged to hate it. We end with Dany giving a speech about how great she is. Boo.

Day 22:Roger Zelazny Haiku

Mona Lisa in 
acrylic. Children of Earth.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 18: Roger Zelazny Haiku

Snuff and Greymalk. Dog 
and cat. Forever friends. Since 
those October nights.

Day 17: Roger Zelazny Haiku

Dworkin said something
that didn't make any sense.
Typical of him!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 2: "It's Hard To Breathe With Your Head Up Your Ass"


This was a pretty wonderful episode. No Dany Sue, few Starks, plus a dead Joffrey. What's not to love?

We open with Ramsey hunting a young woman through a forest, with Theon as Reek attending.

In King's Landing Tyrion and Jaime share a nice meal together. I'm pleased to see that Jaime is growing into his haircut. It's really nice to see the pair of them together. Jaime confesses he can't fight left-handed, and Tyrion sets him up with Bronn as a sparring partner.

Back in the Dreadfort, Roose Bolton is understated and terrifying. I love the uncomfortable chair in which he rests.

The actor gives a great performance. He reminds me of Wells' Martians, with their intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic. He's not even angry when he tells Ramsey that he needed Theon whole.

It's only when Ramsey flops down and tells Reek to give him a shave that Roose shows even the slightest emotion. In that moment, I could see how this dynamic had shaped their entire relationship, with Ramsey having learned that the only way he can get any kind of reaction out of his bloodless father was to act out in every-escalating displays of depravity.

Reek shaves him with a straight razor, pauses when told that Robb Stark is dead, and continues after a moment.

Back in King's Landing, while accepting gifts from well-wishers, Joffrey gets a book of boring king stories from Tyrion, and while he's not thrilled with the present, he makes the kind of noises that people make when they get a crappy present and don't want to hurt the feelings of the other person. Then, he gets a Valerian steel sword from Tywin, and he swings it around, making lightsaber noises in his head, before asking the crowd for suggestions for a name for it. (You know what the Hound says about people who name their swords). Voices shout out "Terminus! Stormbringer!" which was just so clever and unexpected. Then he chops the shit out of Tyrion's present. "Every time I use it, it will be like cutting off Ned Stark's head all over again."

I was wondering what direction they'd go with Shae for the show. I love the actress who plays her. Tyrion has been trying to convince her that King's Landing is just too dangerous. She doesn't want to leave, so he unleashes a torrent of verbal abuse, right where it hurts her most. It reminded me of nothing so much as Arya's account of how they couldn't get her direwolf to leave, so they threw rocks at her until she did. Shae breaks down crying in the middle of the suite, which, for my money, is the most heart-breaking scene in the series so far.

"Is it my crazy eyes?"

Stannis burns some more people alive, but he's nice to his daughter, so the people at the Mary Sue think he's A-OK! (Seriously, WTF?) I do like the dinner scene with Melisandre. We've rarely seen her performing mundane tasks like that, but she even manages to make the most normal activities vaguely uncanny.

 Stannis sends her to talk to his daughter, and this is likewise a great scene. Also, she's really very attractive. I think I'm promoting Melisandre to my make-believe girlfriend.

(Actually, on reflection, I think I'll go with Carice van Houten, the actress who plays her. Melisandre is almost as crazy as my last girlfriend before Jen, what with the burnings and the sacrifices and all.)

Melisandre asks the girl if she saw the burnings, and she replies that she heard them. Melisandre tries to rope-a-dope her with some sophistry, such as comparing the screams of those being burned to death to women in childbirth, but even the little kid seems unconvinced.

I think there's a piece with Bran, Hodor, that kid from Love Actually and his sister, and maybe Rickon, too. Is he still in the show? I seem to remember Bellatrix Lestrange escorting him somewhere? I don't know. It was boring.

I really like the King's Landings scenes more than any other part of the show, and we get a long sequence at the end of this episode.

Later on, at the wedding festivities, Bronn tells Tyrion how he took Shae to the ship and advises him do "Go drink until it feels like you did the right thing."


Martin wrote this episode himself, as he did for one episode each of the previous seasons (The Pointy End, Blackwater and The Bear and the Maiden Fair, all of them standouts)

We have the Joffrey and Margaery wedding and reception. I loved this. They could have done some kind of How I Met your Mother Season 9 deal, and stretched it out over the entire season, and I would have not complained.

Some standout moments:

Jamie talking to Ser Loras about Cersei, saying that Loras will never marry her, prompting Loras to respond "Neither will you."

Olenna stroking Sansa's hair, taking something from her necklace very stealthily, and offering condolences to Sansa by remarking how horrible it is to kill someone at the wedding. She does not wink at the camera at this point, but you can't have everything.

Margaery announcing that Joffrey has decreed the leftovers from the feast will go to the poor, and Cersei going to Pycelle and telling him to see that they are taken to the kennels instead. It's just such a petty, short-sighted, self-destructive and such a specifically Cersei thing to do.

Brienne being awesome in general. When Joffrey speaks of her as Renley's killer and she denies it, he says something like "Pity. I would have knighted the man who ended that deviant's life", she just pauses for a beat and goes on as if he hadn't said anything.

Contrast that with Oberyln Martell, who seems perpetually three seconds from flipping out. His exchange with Tywin and Cersei was outstanding.

Tywin Lannister: Please give [your brother] our regards. With any luck, the gout will abate with time and he will be able to walk again.
Oberyn Martell: They call it the rich man's disease. A wonder you don't have it.
Tywin Lannister: Noblemen in my part of the country don't enjoy the same lifestyle as our counterparts in Dorne.
Oberyn Martell: People everywhere have their differences. In some places the highborn frown upon those of low birth. In other places the rape and murder of women and children is considered distasteful. What a fortunate thing for you, former Queen Regent, that your daughter Myrcella has been sent to live in the latter sort of place.

Margaery is running interference all over the place, to blunt the impact of Joffrey's depravities, and to draw attention away from Granny Tyrell, so she can poison the little git. And she does. (Unless this is some elaborate fake out by the TV folks, but that seems unlikely)

It's disturbing to see him die on screen like that, in front of his mother and father. Martin had this to say about the scene.
It shows that yes, nobody is safe—sometimes the good guys win, sometimes the bad guys win. Nobody is safe and that we are playing for keeps. I also tried to provide a certain moment of pathos with the death. I mean, Joffrey, as monstrous as he is — and certainly he’s just as monstrous in the books as he is in the TV show, and Jack has brought some incredible acting chops to the role that somehow makes him even more loathsome than he is on the page — but Joffrey in the books is still a 13-year-old kid. And there’s kind of a moment there where he knows that he’s dying and he can’t get a breath and he’s kind of looking at Tyrion and at his mother and at the other people in the hall with just terror and appeal in his eyes—you know, “Help me mommy, I’m dying.” And in that moment, I think even Tyrion sees a 13-year-old boy dying before him. So I didn’t want it to be entirely, “Hey-ho, the witch is dead.” I wanted the impact of the death to still strike home on to perhaps more complex feelings on the part of the audience, not necessarily just cheering.

Jen is disappointed that Jon Snow and/or Arya didn't get him. Assuming that it was Olenna, I think this was really well-done. She comes into town, learns that Joffrey is a monster, and gets rid of him before he can hurt her granddaughter. (I love how she's the loudest voice calling for help for the king.) There is certainly the element of calculation there, as she did it after Margaery was married and not before, for instance, but I like to believe it was as much for the good of her family as it was for their advancement.

I loved this episode. When we watched it, we went back and watched the end of it again, to see how Olenna pulled it off.

Day 16: Roger Zelazny Haiku

Sam deserves his spot
in the trickster pantheon
right next to Coyote.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 15: Roger Zelazny Haiku

The royal house of
Amber is seldom wise, but
they are never small.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 14: Roger Zelazny Haiku

Hammer that smashes
suns. A perfect name for a
doomsday artifact.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 13: Roger Zelazny Haiku

Shadowjack found the 
Key but lost his soul. And then 
he found it again.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 12: Roger Zelazny Haiku (with special bonus Haiku!)

Every Merlin
Zelazny writes is a jerk,
except the baby.


More irrational
Merlin hate from Josh. Let it
go, man. Let it go.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 11: Roger Zelazny Haiku

Death by T-Rex! The
Marquis will kill you, Chadwick.
Dodge those tiny hands.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Big Finish Audio Play: Doctor Who and the Pirates, (or The Lass That Lost A Sailor)

I've mentioned in passing that I really like the Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays .

They tell the kind of stories I really enjoyed from classic Who, and they've gone a really long way towards rehabilitating Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor in my mind (A poll conducted by DWM saw him voted the best Doctor in this format). I'm not going to defend his tv run. What's to defend? It was asinine, juvenile, nonsensical and basically everything that people who hate sci-fi say about sci-fi. It was bad.

Ahhh... a noble brow. Clear gaze. At least it will be given a few hours sleep. 
A firm mouth. A face beaming with a vast intelligence.
Now, that's not entirely Baker's fault. (It feels strange to say "Baker" about someone who played the Doctor and not to be talking about Tom Baker) There were a number of factors in play, and the character arc they had planned, showing the Doctor as a jerk initially, only to reveal him as a hero later on, isn't a bad one. Except he got sacked before they could get to the second part.

Okay, anyone reading this far probably already knows this, so I won't dwell on it. He had two Companions during his run, Peri, whose American accent is about as Authentic as Dick Van Dyke's Cockney, and Mel, who was mostly forgettable, though she too is a lot better in the audio plays. Neither of them were a particularly good match for his somewhat...prickly demeanor.

I understand why so many of the Companions in the television version are interchangeably attractive ingenues from modern London. You need the viewer association character who can say "Oh, Doctor, what are we going to do?!" to trigger the exposition, and you want a conventionally attractive person because they pull in more viewers. That's kind of sad, but that's the way it is, and I don't see it changing.

In the audio plays, the Sixth Doctor found the perfect foil in Evelyn Smythe. Maggie Stables plays Evelyn, and she's almost as interesting as her character. She decided to take up acting after retiring from teaching high school French. The images for the character are modeled on Stables.

 Dr. Smythe is a 55-year old divorced history professor. She challenges the Doctor, and gives as good as she gets. As great as the Eccleston episode, "Dalek", was, the audio play that inspired it, "Jubilee", was even better.

SPOILERS for Doctor Who and the Pirates

I had listened to quite a few stories featuring Evelyn before starting Doctor Who and the Pirates. The title made it sound like one of the Target Novelizations. The subtitle, the Lass that Lost a Sailor, made it sound like a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Little did I know...

We open with Evelyn going up to visit Sally, a student at University. She tells Sally the story of her exciting adventure with the pirates, despite Sally's clear disinterest. ("It can’t possibly get any worse! The dialogue is totally over the top as well as anachronistic. Is there a story at all?") The story becomes farcical very quickly, and then turns into a full-fledged musical in part three. Then, the mood shifts abruptly, with Sally bursting into song about the car accident where she killed another student.

They continue on, and Evelyn breaks into tears herself when she gets to the part where the cabin boy was murdered because he couldn't tell the pirate captain where the buried treasure was.

The play wraps up as the Evelyn's story concludes. The Doctor talks to Sally and tells her that they came because they found her suicide note. They knew that she could could go if she made it through the night, and now dawn is here. He brought Evelyn there, not only to save a life, but to help Evelyn work through her grief at her failure to save another. It's such a tender and compassionate scene. It's the most poignant Doctor Who story I've ever heard. If this is the Doctor he would have become had his arc been realized, his run would have been remembered as one of the greats.

Day 10: Roger Zelazny Haiku

Great-Souled Sam, both
divine and not, at the same
time. Schrödinger's God?

"His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god. But then, he never claimed not to be a god. Circumstances being what they were, neither admission could be of any benefit. Silence, though, could."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Day 9: Roger Zelazny Haiku

Mere metaphor or
did Dworkin really get on
with the unicorn?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Another Page I liked from All-Star Superman

I think that All-Star Superman may well be the best Superman story ever told. I've written about the comic series and the lackluster animated adaptation here, but I was thinking about another page I liked.

The setup: Clark Kent was interviewing Lex Luthor in prison. Authorities are transporting the Parasite through the general population because he's as harmless as a supervillian gets without exposure to a power source. Like, for instance, a supercharged Superman mere yards away. The Parasite starts absorbing energy and breaks free and the prison goes into full on riot mode.

Clark has to escort Lex to safety without revealing his identity. He does it, but during the fight, Lex's fake eyebrow comes off. His niece reminds him and he hurriedly fixes it with an eyebrow pencil.

He doesn't take a cheap shot, simply allows Luthor his small lie to protect his dignity. I just really like that. I like that belief, that everyone, even the worst person in the world, deserves the courtesy and respect that comes with being a human being.

Day 8: Roger Zelazny Haiku

Two marsupials
walk into a bar! Surprise!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 1: "Ary Wins a Pony"

Like normal people, Jen and I were a part of a Game of Thrones party for the season four premiere. Everyone cooked food from our neighbor's Feast of Ice and Fire cookbook (she's something of a fan), and went over when we were done. It was a nice spread, with Summer Salad (I assume it's made with vegetables one finds in summer, and not with Bran's dire wolf named Summer. If it is the latter, I'm certainly glad that we didn't go with the Sansa Salad.), Lemon Sweet, "Chick Pea Paste", Flat breads, mulled wine (I didn't have any because I was planning on hunting boar later), honey chicken, the works. I'll include a picture later on. The food was great, as was the company. Our neighbors really are awesome people.

As we watched, I jotted down a list of notes because I knew that I'd want to write up my thoughts on the episode.

Josh's Notes

  • Ary Wins a Pony
  • Ice
  • Jamie Older, bad haircut
  • Honor is beyond repair
  • Starburst Spiders
  • rhaegar
  • Sansa
  • Jester
  • Dinklage hair
  • Army of Darkness Hand
  • margaery tyrell Taller
  • Still Time
  • Lip Gloss
  • Hound

Ary Wins a Pony

We're renaming all the episodes to be more descriptive. This one was called "Two Swords". Boring! Jen called it "Ary Wins a Pony", which is much better.

Ice, Jaime's Haircut, "My honor is beyond repair"

This was a great way to open the season. The Stark greatsword "Ice" is melted down and reforged into the Lannister blade, Oathkeeper, and some other sword, too. Tywin is kind of a dick about it. Tywin and Jaime talk a little about it. Jaime looks a lot older, and I hate his new haircut. Boo! He's no longer the second prettiest Lannister (after Lancel).

 He says to Tywin on the topic of honor, "My honor is beyond repair". I like that line and what it implies. Later on the episode, he's talking with Brienne, who keeps getting steadily more awesome, and she reminds him that he swore a vow to keep the Stark girls safe.

There is so much that's great about that scene, and that pair absolutely needs some kind of buddy cop movie. I find Jaime such an interesting character. He was raised by a monster of a father, joined the Kingsguard at an early age, and the depredations of the Mad King quickly disabuse him of any belief in chivalry. He hits rock bottom, and then when he is at his worst, he meets Brienne, who lives up to the ideals he once held, despite being faced with much greater obstacles than he ever did.

But she kindles in him the spark of goodness that even he may have believed snuffed out forever. He argues that his vow no longer applies, because Arya is most likely dead, and there is nowhere he can take Sansa where she'll be safer than where she is now. Brienne tells him to look her in the eye and tell her that he believes Sansa is safe in King's Landing.

I've been hard on Ned Stark, here and elsewhere, because I believe that many of his actions are driven by his perception of himself as an honorable person. I don't know if I believe in moral absolutes, but Ned spent too much time deciding to do the honorable thing instead of the right thing. He ignored the reality of the situation in which he found himself. It's a good thing, in the abstract, to follow the laws of succession, but if if doing so is going to put a psychopath and practitioner of human sacrifices on the throne, maybe you want to take a step back and consider the consequences of your actions.

With this request, Brienne asks Jaime to do he hard work of really thinking about what the right thing is in this situation. A code of honor is a good guideline, but it should never substitute for reason and judgement. (Ugh, Stannis as king. Really, Ned? What's the difference between the Stannis and those Wildling cannibals? The cannibals eat the men they cook.)

Starburst Spiders, Rheygar

Oberyn Martell seems all kind of awesome. He was the high point of Book 4 for me, and I'm looking forward to the climax of his arc. I thought the sunbursts on his outfit looked like spiders. They were neat.

He also mentions Rhaegar, whose existence had previously barely been hinted at at all. I don't know if Jon Snow's parentage is going to become important, but if it does, it's long past the point when Rhaegar should have been more prominently featured.

Sansa, the Jester

Lily has said that I only like characters who make mistakes. Sansa has been suffering for years, now. She brought much of it on herself, certainly, but that doesn't make her pain any less real. That's why I like the scene with the Jester, Dontos Hollard. She's still a young girl, and there's no joy left in her, but seeing him and hearing him thank her for his life, when she intervened on his behalf when Joffrey would have killed him. I love her smile. It's like she's remembering that there's still good in the world.

I hope that she's biding her time. Thinking of Sansa in this situation reminds me of two quotes I like, which I've related elsewhere:

At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice. - Maya Angelou

Be patient. You are not winning a game called justice, you are living a life called justice. Bertolt Brecht tells the story of a man living alone who answers a knock at the door. There stands Tyranny, armed and powerful, who asks, "Will you submit?" The man does not reply. He steps aside. Tyranny enters and takes over. The man serves him for years. Then Tyranny mysteriously becomes sick from food poisoning. He dies. The man opens the door, gets rid of the body, comes back to the house, closes the door behind him, and says, firmly, "No."

Dinklage Hair

We were watching Season 1 Games of Thrones recently, and Tyron's hair looks a lot blonder there.

Anyways, Dinklage is awesome, and that will never change.

Army of Darkness Hand

Jaime is fitted with a golden hand. It looked like Ash's hand in Army of Darkness. I expected him to crush a goblet and say "Groovy".

Margaery Tyrell Taller

Did Natalie Dormer grow six inches over the summer? She looks almost as tall as Brienne!

Okay, some research shows

  1. Dormer is 32 years old, and consequently, is unlikely to have had a growth spurt between seasons.
  2. Dormer looks quite a bit younger than 32.
  3. Dormer is 5''6" to Christie's 6'3".
  4. I've had a chance to review the scene again, and it's only in some of the shots that she looks tall. I think it must have been the angle and not intentional. 
Margaery is great, but not as great as her grandmother, Lady Olenna. I saw Diana Rigg in the credits, and I always thought, "Isn't that funny? She has the same name as Emma Peel." I didn't realize that she was the same actress. Stay awesome, Granny Tyrell.

"Still Time"

Jack Gleeson continues to make Joffrey an outstanding villain. I remember the exchange with Sansa, where he tells her to look at her father's head on a pike. She asks how long she has to look at it, and he cocks his head in that way he has and answers, "For as long as it pleases me." It's among the most singularly vile acts in the series, and he doesn't surpass it here, but there's a scene where he's looking into a book that chronicles the achievements of various Kingsguard members, and he mocks Jaime that his page is almost blank, but then adds that there's still time for a forty-year old, one-handed knight to do great deeds. It's the very pettiness of the cruelty that does it. Update: From my friend Tim. Joffrey doesn't add that there's still time. He mockingly says someone forgot to write down Jaime's deeds, and it's Jaime who says there's still time. Joffrey asks, "Is there? For a 40-year old knight with one hand?" It's a subtle difference, but I'm always glad of the rare chance to correct Josh. :)

Watching this always makes me feel better

Lip Gloss

Daenerys looks like she's wearing lip gloss. That's all you need to know about her. Oh, there's a subplot between Grey Worm and the most recent actor to play Daaaario about a contest they're having to see which one of them gets to sit at her lunch table. I swear Martin farmed out her chapters to a twelve-year-old girl. Begone with you, Daenerys. Back to Claire's Boutique and your copy of Teen Vogue.

The Hound and Arya

Man, really, the Hound and Arya on their protracted road trip may be the best part of this show. Masie Williams is a great actor with a great name and a bright future ahead of her, if she can avoid being typecast.

And, as promised, here is the picture of the food, and another of us enjoying it.

I would have combed my hair, had I known I'd be posting this picture online.

Day 7: Roger Zelazny Haiku

Immortal Siblings
feud Bitterly for Amber,
the eternal city.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Day 6: Roger Zelazny Haiku

For such a big fan
of Zelazny, Josh complains
a hell of a lot.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Day 5: Roger Zelazny Haiku

Game of Thrones has a
Lord Borell. Coincidence?
Or is it homage?

While Martin and Zelazny were friends (Martin is probably the most high-profile booster of Zelazny's work out there), I doubt there is anything to this other than a coincidence. Dara's fencing master was Lord Borel, and A Dance with Dragons, the fifth Song of Ice and Fire book book features a Lord Borrell in a minor role. (Though, because Martin's books are so massive, he very probably has more words devoted to him than Zelazny's Borel.) They play very different roles and here is nothing to connect the two other than the name. If you bump the entire canon of a lifetime writer against the entire canon of another, you're bound to have this kind of coincidence every so often.

However, Martin's god, R'hllor,the "Lord of Light", may well be an homage to Zelazny's work. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 4: Roger Zelazny haiku

Prince Corwin took Proust 
too literally in the
dungeons of Amber.

("The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.")

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day 3: Roger Zelazny haiku

Josh called Nine Princes
Weakest of the Amber books?
Least Amberish, though.

This ties in to something I said during my original piece on Nine Princes in Amber. I suggested that I thought it was the worst of the original Amber books. I've since reconsidered that (I'd rank them Avalon, Oberon, Nine Princes, Unicorn, Chaos), but it still has a very different feel to it. It's not irreconcilable with the rest of the series, but the tone and the language are different in the later installments.

TVtropes has a page on this phenomenon. They call it Early Installment Weirdness. And the simplest explanation is almost certainly the correct one. Zelazny made up Amber as he went along, discarding elements that he didn't like or didn't work, codifying what was Amber and what wasn't as the series progressed.

I had started a post on the thematic differences between 9P and the rest of the books, but never completed it, as it seemed like too much of a niche project, even for a site like this. There is more of an emphasis on probability (Flora, in reference to Carmella: "I have decided that it is improbable that she will answer the door") that never reappears, Rebma never plays a large role again, we never see another creature created out of the Shadows like Morgenstern. (Merlin finds a comparable horse and his comments imply Corwin's Star and Benedict's horse, whose name escapes me (Glendenning?) are creatures of a similar nature.) It's unclear if Julian literally created Morgenstern out of shadow and we never see such an act of creation throughout the rest of the series, or if Corwin was describing the act of finding him in shadow with very unusual language.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day 2: Roger Zelazny haiku

Jarry Dark, Coldworld
Catform, can never quite catch
the little red dot.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Another Brick in the Wall: Prettying Up Amanda Waller

Until recently, Amanda Waller was one of those niche characters only known to hardcore nerds. I wouldn't go so far as to describe myself as a "fan" of Amanda Waller, but I tended to enjoy her when she showed up, because she was unique.

First, a little context. I've long been of the opinion that Bane, the Batman villain, tells the Batman story better than Batman does.

My posts usually degenerate into a word salad of nerd rage where Batman is concerned, but I'm going to forego that this time, save to observe that it's only in the world of comic books that a brilliant, handsome and athletic man with a doting guardian and a trust fund big enough to travel the world in order to learn esoteric disciplines from far flung masters is considered in any way "disadvantaged".

Sure, Batman crafted himself into someone who could fight shoulder to shoulder with people who bench press cars and shoot death rays out of their eyes. Bane did the same thing, even beating Batman at his own game. And he rose from humbler origins to do it.

Consider, then, Amanda Waller. A single mother, a widow, with several children, some of whom died on the streets. A black woman who lived in public housing all her life. Short, fat, ugly, poor. And yet, within a period of a few years, she managed to claw her way to the top of the political arena, to the shadowy corridors where the true power brokers dwell. She lives every day as a battle and faces it with the kind of iron determination Green Lanterns can only envy.

(Also, it's a crime against humanity that Amanda Waller was in the Green Lantern movie, but not as the Green Lantern.)

She is the greyest of the grey. She lives in a world with no place for doubt or scruple. She is best known for running a team of supervillain field operatives, each with a bomb in his head to ensure compliance. She reminds me of a quote by Roger Zelazny, of which Corwin said of himself: "In the mirrors of the many judgments, my hands are the color of blood. I am a part of the evil that exists in the world and in Shadow. I sometime fancy myself an evil which exists to oppose other evils...and on that Great Day of which prophets speak but in which they do not truly believe, on that day when the world is completely cleansed of evil, then I, too, will go down into darkness, swallowing curses. Perhaps even sooner than that, I now judge. But whatever . . . Until that time, I shall not wash my hands nor let them hang useless."

She's a fascinating counterpart to vigilante heroes who break the law in the service of the greater good. She does the same thing. She just draws the line in a different place.

Let's talk about the way she looks, because I think that's as important a component to her identity as anything. Some pictures.

This is Amanda Waller.

This is not.

No less an authority than John Ostrander agrees*, “I think the changes made in her appearance are misguided. There were and are reasons why she looked the way she did. I wanted her to seem formidable and visually unlike anyone else out there. Making her young and svelte and sexy loses that. She becomes more like everyone else. She lost part of what made her unique."

Heck, I certainly understand the appeal. All things being equal, most people would prefer to look at a person they find attractive, rather than a person that they don't. That's nearly a tautology. Part of the reason I initially steered away from Arrow was that the promotional material made it look like a typical CW Teen show, where everyone is blandly and homogeneously attractive.

I don't believe that adaptations should require rigid adherence to the source material. If Harry Potter had been given blond hair for the films, I think I would have found such a change pointless, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it ruined the character.

Amanda Waller is different. Her disadvantages are multiplicative, meaning that, as hard as it is for a minority woman to get ahead, it's exponentially harder for a portly, lower class, unattractive minority woman.

It's not just that Amanda Waller has consistently been portrayed as a far older woman with a very different body type, it's that if Amanda Waller looked like Addai-Robinson, she would never have had the experiences that were so central to her character.

Like I said, I don't require slavish adherence to canon. The medium is the message, after all. What works for comic books might not translate to television. However, at this point, she has so little in common with her namesake that the story would probably be better served by substituting an original character who plays a similar role, swapping a Talisa Maegyr for a Jeyne Westerling, so to speak.

* Though I suppose, given the circumstances, that I'm agreeing with him, rather than he's agreeing with me.

Day 1: Roger Zelazny haiku

Assholes pretending
to be gods in outer space?
Lord of Light, clearly.

The Third Annual Roger Zelazny Haiku-athon begins

I began the original Zelazny Haiku month on something of a lark. I had noticed that Timyin Tin and Archie exchanged haiku during their fight, and I thought it would be fun to get write one Roger Zelazny-themed haiku a day for the next month. (April is National Poetry Month, but I didn't know that at the time I began this exercise)

I did, and I enjoyed it and I came back a year later for the second act. This time, other people got in on it, offering haiku as corrections, rebuttals or amendments to mine. I really enjoyed that and hope we continue the tradition.

I'll try to have the day's haiku up by 6:00 PM Eastern time each day (or earlier, should I have one ready before I leave for work). I hope you enjoy reading them.