Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 7 “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”

15 January, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

The North, heading South: So apparently the plan was to climb down the southern side of The Wall. At least I think so, because the group of Wildlings (with Jon Snow and Ygritte) are now walking across a landscape with less snow and more grass on it. There’s no explanation whatsoever of how they got down from The Wall to here. Jon has words with the wildling guy who tried to cut him loose while climbing up The Wall; the wildling retorts that it was pragmatism (though in words of one syllable or less), and Ygritte would have known it and she doesn’t care that he cut the rope. He then proceeds to taunt Jon by saying Ygritte would prefer a real man, i.e. him, over Jon. Ygritte and Jon then have a brief lover’s tiff over their different cultures – he wants to look after her but she doesn’t want looking after – then they fall into each others arms again, while the wildlings in their party roll their eyes and say “get a room”.

Jon warns the group that they have no hope of taking Castle Black, or any other force south of The Wall, because they are so untrained and ill-disciplined. They don’t believe him, smug in the superiority of their barbarian fighting style. I dunno… it’s hard to see where all this is going. Jon’s probably right, they don’t stand a chance against any decent force – but that may just mean that they destroy the first one they come across, in a daring display of disorganised brawling. And Ygritte… I get the sense that she really likes Jon, but is still struggling with their differences, while Jon seems more aloof yet more willing to work at it. Maybe she’ll fall out of love with him at the same time as he starts falling more deeply for her.

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Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 6 “The Climb”

20 December, 2017

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

King’s Landing: Tywin can simply order Tyrion to marry Sansa, and Cersei to marry Loras Tyrell, but for the latter he apparently needs to have a “friendly chat” with Loras and Margaery’s grandmother (who is played by Diana Rigg, btw!). This involves him accusing Loras of being gay, which Lady Tyrell parries by casually mentioning the “rumours” about Cersei and Jaime being Joffrey’s parents. Tywin ups the stakes by threatening to make Loras a member of the Kingsguard, which would strip him of the right to marry and carry on the Tyrell name, thus ensuring the end of House Tyrell. Apparently this is enough of a threat, and so Tywin extracts her permission for the marriage. Nobody messes with Tywin.

While this is happening, Sansa and Loras engage in a painfully farcical conversation in which she is trying to flatter and seduce him in her clumsy, naïve way, while he is clearly not at all interested in anything but escaping her company and seeking out some pretty man to be with instead. Sansa remains utterly clueless, the poor girl. If there’s one saving grace to the terrible things happening to Sansa, it’s that often she’s completely oblivious to them.

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Bull ant encounter

10 December, 2017

This evening my wife pointed out that there was a bug crawling up one of the vertical blinds in the living room. I walked over, saw it was an ant, and grabbed it to take it outside. Next thing I knew, my thumb was like on fire, I threw the ant across the room, and screamed loud enough that my wife thought I was dying.

Turns out it was a bull ant (Myrmecia sp.), which are more or less common where I live in Sydney. I thought I’d been stung by these guys before, having experienced several very painful ant stings in the past, but no, this was a whole new level of pain. All my previous ant sting experiences must have been different species with less potent venom. (And yes, they sting with their tails, they don’t bite with the jaws.) After recovering the ant and immobilising it in a ziplock bag, I took this photo:

Bull ant

Fortunately, I’m not allergic to these guys. For people allergic to the sting, Wikipedia says median time from sting to cardiac arrest is 15 minutes, and most people are dead within 20 minutes. In non-allergic people, all that happens is intense pain. I iced it, and an hour later it’s still quite intense.

I found an article which says that these ant stings are number 4 on the top 10 list of most painful animal bites/stings in Australia. Yeah, no – I’ll pass on all the others, thanks.

Toon RPG adventure

7 December, 2017

Here’s a complete roleplaying game adventure I just wrote. It’s for the game Toon.

“You’re a cartoon rabbit, you’re a cartoon duck, you’re a cartoon cat [add more as necessary to match number of players]. You’re in a pie shop. Go!”

After about 3 minutes of the inevitable: “The owner of the pie shop – a big, mean-looking bulldog – comes out and demands you pay for the damages. Oh no! How are you going to raise the money? You step outside the pie shop into [roll 1d6]: 1 The Big City; 2 a small rural town; 3 the Wild West; 4 Medieval Europe; 5 Ancient Rome; 6 a space station! Go!”

Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 5 “Kissed by Fire”

5 December, 2017

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

At the Brotherhood Without Banners: Lord Beric Dondarrion fights Sandor “The Hound” Clegane in trial by combat. This is prefixed by another guy saying prayers to the Lord of Light to ensure the trial goes fairly to determine justice. Then Dondarrion’s sword is lit on fire – it’s not clear if this is a trick of chemicals or some sort of holy magic. But it doesn’t help, as they fight and after trading some advantage Sandor drops a huge blow with his sword and cleaves both Beric’s shield and shoulder! Beric drops to the ground, apparently dead, and Sandor claims victory. Arya goes nuts and rushes at Sandor with a knife, yelling that he’s guilty, but Beric’s men stop her. Go Arya! Then the prayer guy comes over and lays healing hands on Beric, and up he pops, good as new! He releases Sandor, saying he abides by the judgement of the Lord of Light.

A bit later, the Brotherhood say they will take Arya to Riverrun, where her brother Robb is. But Gendry decides to stay with the Brotherhood, which displeases Arya. She wants Gendry to be part of her family, but Gendry is sick of serving Lords and Ladies, and Arya will always be a Lady to him, not family. Arya is upset, but leaves him, and then talks to the praying guy and Beric. He says he’s raised Beric from death six times now, and Beric shows off all the scars from the times he’s died. Interesting. The Lord of Light seems a bit like a proxy for the Christian God, and now we have resurrection stuff to go with it. Hmmm.

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Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 4 “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

3 December, 2017

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Oh, Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa…..

Oh my god, Sansa, what are you doing???

Okay, well, we’ll get to that in a bit. This is a really good episode, with a lot of cool action happening.

The North: The Night Watch men hold a funeral for one of their fallen brothers. Samwell talks to Gilly, the girl who just had a baby. She refuses to give it a name, because she knows Craster will have him killed before long. Tensions rise as some other Watch men complain about having to muck out Craster’s pigsties, and not being given anything to eat, while Craster feasts. Insults start flying and Craster picks up an axe, then all hell breaks loose as a Watch man stabs him, then Commander Mormont returns and gets stabbed as well! An all-in brawl starts, and Samwell rushes to grab Gilly and her baby and flee into the night.

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Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 3 “Walk of Punishment”

2 December, 2017

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

This may sound odd to people familiar with some other things that happen this episode, but this was the funniest episode I’ve seen so far. At least, it began that way…

Riverrun: Cat and Robb’s retinue have returned to Rivverrun, where her father recently died. His body is placed on a boat and pushed into the river, then an archer takes aim at it with a flaming arrow… and misses. He has another go… and misses again. I thought he’d get it on the third shot, but no… he misses again. At this point, an older guy steps up, pushes the younger archer out of the way, and takes the shot, hitting the boat first go, with a “that’s how you do it” glare at the other guy. Ha ha! My wife and I were rolling in laughter by this point.

The young archer’s misfortunes continue, as Robb lambastes him for withdrawing from an attack against Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. The other guy counters that he captured two young Lannister cousins, and they could be valuable hostages. Robb chews him out even more, pointing out that if Tywin hasn’t offered Sansa and Arya in exchange for Jaime, then why would he offer them to free two lesser relatives? Robb’s wife Talisa goes to see the young Lannisters and look after their battle/abduction wounds.

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Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 2 “Dark Wings, Dark Words”

14 November, 2017

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

And of course after rewatching season 1 of Stranger Things, I had to take more time to watch season 2. Which was awesome. But back to Game of Thrones!

North of The Wall: Mance Rayder leads a force of wildlings towards The Wall, with Jon in their company. We meet a guy with the ability to see through the eyes of animals, like Granny Weatherwax from Discworld, and he uses an eagle to do some scouting for the wildlings. He says he saw the aftermath of a battle at the First of the First Men (where the Watch met the White Walkers). Meanwhile, Samwell is finding the march back to The Wall too tiring, and tells the rest of the Watch to leave him to die, but Commander Mormont has no part of it and orders a guy who was bullying Sam to make sure he makes it to The Wall, otherwise he’ll have hell to pay.

So it seems these groups will eventually meet up at The Wall. There could be a huge battle, or, possibly, they could open some sort of negotiation. I’m laying my money on a battle of some sort, and Jon getting caught up in the middle as people from both sides think he’s betrayed them.

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Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 1 “Valar Dohaeris”

31 October, 2017

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

I’ve taken a couple of weeks’ break from Game of Thrones after season 2, to give me a chance to rewatch Stranger Things season 1, in preparation for the new season 2. But we’re back into it now!

The North: We left our heroes watching an army of White Walkers tromping through the snow towards The Wall. This episode opens with Samwell racing purposefully across the snow, in a scene reminiscent of both the opening of The X-Files: Fight the Future and also something out The Thing (1982). Suddenly a White Walker looms out of the snow and tries to attack him, but it is grabbed on the leg by Jon Snow’s wolf, which keeps it off Sam long enough for the Watch men to burn it. The White Walkers basically seem to be undead creatures that can only be killed by fire.

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Game of Thrones, Season 2, Ep 10 “Valar Morghulis”

15 October, 2017

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

King’s Landing: Tyrion wakes up after the battle, heavily bandaged (I knew he wouldn’t die). But rather than being given a hero’s reception for saving King’s Landing, he is in a cell. Tywin has taken over as Hand of the King, and nobody seems to want to give Tyrion any credit at all for his plan to decimate Stannis’s fleet. In fact, Varys tells Tyrion that Cersei plotted to have him killed on the battlefield. I’m not sure what Cersei has against her brother – he’s the only one who was keeping Joffrey in line. Maybe she reckons Tywin can do a better job. Good luck. Shae arrives and Tyrion figures she’ll be repulsed by his facial scars, but she is loyal and urges him to run away with her to back to Pentos, which I think is her homeland. But Tyrion is stubborn and wants to hang out where nobody likes him.

Meanwhile, Joffrey rewards Tywin and some other men who helped save the city from Stannis. One guy asks that Joffrey marry his sister, Margaery (Renly Baratheon’s widow), to cement an alliance between Houses Lannister and Tyrell. Joffrey actually seems to show some interest in a female and it looks like he wants her, but he makes a show of holding his path to marry Sansa. Cersei argues that Sansa is from a traitorous house and so the oath is null, which Joffrey immediately seizes on to express his wish to marry Margaery. Sansa turns away, seemingly upset, but does a little “Yes!” dance as she walks away. But Petyr Baelish warns her that she is now in danger in King’s Landing, and he will work to get her home to Cat and her family. I was a bit confused here, because I thought “The Hound” Clegane offered the same thing to Sansa last episode, and it wasn’t clear if they actually left the city or not. I guess not. Well, Sansa better get out of here quickly now… I can’t see Joffrey keeping her around much longer. I can’t honestly see him treating Margaery much better, either.

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