Archive for April, 2018

Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 4 “Oathkeeper”

Sunday, 29 April, 2018

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

Meereen: Apparently the slaves of Meereen don’t immediately rebel and overwhelm their masters, because the episode opens in the night, so several hours must have passed since Daenerys catapulted the broken slave collars of Astapor and Yunkai into Meereen. The opening scene is Grey Worm and Daenerys’s translator Missandei inside a tent. She is teaching him to read and speak the Westeros language. During this, their hands almost touch, but she draws away shyly. Clearly this is setting up either romance or rejection between these two.

Daenerys interrupts and says “It’s time”. Grey Worm exits to lead an infiltration of Meereen via a sewer, with several troops dressed as slaves, complete with collars, lifting the sewer gates and spreading throughout the city. They come across a meeting of slaves, where one of the Meereen slaves is urging the others to rise up in revolt, but most of the other slaves are unconvinced, saying they can’t fight, or that they’ve already seen too many failed uprisings, and they’d rather live a slave than die. Grey Worm says he has come to help them revolt. The naysayers complain they have no weapons or fighting skill. Grey Worm’s followers dump sacks of swords and knives and other weapons on the ground.

This does the trick. Next thing we see hordes of armed slaves attacking masters in the streets of the city. The scene then cuts to the next day, when the slaves are freed and chanting “Mhysa” (“mother”) as Daenerys walks through them to a position on the walls where she can speak. She asks how many children the masters nailed to mile posts along the way to Meereen. The answer is 163. Knowing what she is thinking, Ser Barristan advises Daenerys that sometimes injustice is best answered with mercy. Daenerys says that she will answer injustice with justice, and orders 163 of the former masters nailed to posts to die in agony.

Well. She’s conquered Astapor, Yunkai, and now Meereen without encountering any real obstacle, and now has a vast army of loyal followers. What’s the next step? Following the Rule of Three, it seems she should now be ready to launch her assault on Westeros. We haven’t seen the dragons for a while – I’m guessing this is so that next time we see them they will have grown impressively large. Can anything stop her?


Old Italy 2001 travel diary updated

Saturday, 21 April, 2018

I’ve just completed one of the long-term projects on my to-do list: Upgrading the travel diary I wrote for my trip to Italy back in 2001. This diary used to have just one or two photos per page, and embedded only as tiny thumbnails.

I’ve gone through all of my photos from this trip, cleaned up a lot of them, and posted many more than before to my Flickr album for the trip. I took 662 photos on the trip (all on film – digital was barely even a thing back then!), and now 447 of those photos are uploaded and viewable. And I’ve embedded large, clickable versions of many of the best photos into the travel diary, with captions. I’ve also caught and fixed a bunch of typos, and added a few new paragraphs of material describing things that happened on the trip which I hadn’t previously recorded.

I’m very happy with this upgrade to this diary. It was the first really big overseas trip I took with my wife, and there are a lot of great memories in there as we discovered Italy for the first time.

Now I just have another 11 travel diaries to perform similar upgrades on…

Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 3 “Breaker of Chains”

Wednesday, 11 April, 2018

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: Joffrey is dead! I almost half expected to see this episode open with Joffrey recovering in bed, and Maester Pycelle explaining how the poison wasn’t entirely fatal, but I suppose that’s a thing best left to The Princess Bride.

So, in my previous conclusion I conjectured on what would happen to the kingship, now that there’s no obvious successor better than Princess Myrcella, Joffrey’s sister. Well, it turns out Joffrey has a brother! Who knew?! I certainly didn’t. His name is Tommen and I definitely don’t recall him ever being introduced or mentioned before, although it’s definitely possible that I overlooked it at the time (there are a lot of details in this show that seem utterly unimportant at the time).

Anyway, we’ll get to Tommen in a bit. Immediately after Joffrey lies dead at his own wedding feast, we see Sansa being led away to safety by the Fool. Lucky for her, because Cersei is on the warpath and not only wants Tyrion arrested for Joffrey’s murder, but Sansa taken as well. Tywin orders the city gates sealed and Sansa captured and brought to them. But she’s already away, and the Fool leads her to a boat and rows out to sea. In the fog, they meet a ship, and the Fool tells Sansa to climb up the ladder first. A hand grabs her arm to help her aboard… it’s Petyr Baelish! Fairly predictable in hindsight, but I hadn’t really pondered who might be behind her rescue until he was revealed.

The Fool asks for his reward of 10,000 coins, and Baelish responds by having him shot with arrows and killed. Sansa protests, but Petyr explains that the Fool was only as loyal as the next person to offer him money or booze, and the best way to keep her safe was to silence him. She ponders this for a second and sees the logic, but is still appalled. Okay, well, Sansa is no doubt safer here than in King’s Landing, but I don’t entirely trust Baelish. He was in love with Cat, who rejected him. I wonder if his motivations with Sansa are entirely well-intentioned, or if lurking in the back of his mind is the possibility that she’ll be a young surrogate for her mother. And where is he going to take her?


Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 2 “The Lion and the Rose”

Monday, 2 April, 2018

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

North of The Wall: We have some point-of-view camerawork of something wild and savage stalking through the snow. It spots a deer, grazing peacefully on some morsel of vegetation found under the snow. The camera lurks and slowly approaches, behind the cover of trees. It leaps, startling the deer, which tries to flee… but too late. It lies dead on the snow, its throat ripped out.

“Hodor!” Hodor wakes Bran from his dream-borrowing of his wolf’s mind. His wolf, Summer, has been hunting for food. Jojen looks scoldingly at Bran, and warns him not to ride in his wolf’s mind too much, lest he become obsessed with the freedom and ability to move on his own legs, and forget that he is a human. It’s all very reminiscent of Granny Weatherwax from Discworld. Bran doesn’t look convinced, and I feel that maybe the temptation is too much and he is in danger of losing his grip on humanity.

They travel on a bit, and come across a weirwood tree, with its distinctive white trunk and red leaves. Bran wants a close look and asks Hodor to sit him next to it. Bran reaches out to touch the tree near its oddly human face in the bark, and is struck by a series of visions. We see the three-eyed raven, what looks like Ned, his father, moving through the tunnels that I think were under Winterfell, some other stuff that happened too quickly to remember, a huge flock of ravens flying through a forest, and then a voice saying something is hidden under a tree in the North. Bran returns to reality with new purpose and says he knows where they need to go.

So again we have this weird vision associating Ned Stark with those underground tunnels. We’ve seen this before a couple of times. I have a feeling that we have not heard the last of Ned Stark somehow. It really feels like this is foreshadowing some ghostly vision. Perhaps Ned’s spirit will return to give Bran advice on how to become the Lord of Winterfell and restore their lands. That would be cool.