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Ellen B. Wright

Game of Thrones episode review: “Fire and Blood”

The final episode of the first season of Game of Thrones, “Fire and Blood,” aired last night, and delivered both of the things it promised in its title. Bloggers Ellen B. Wright and Theresa DeLucci are here to react to the final episode—and the season as a whole. Spoilers ahead.

Season two starts filming in about a month and will air in spring 2012. Who’s biting their nails waiting to see what will happen next? (And who’s immediately going out and buying the box set of the book series?)

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Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones episode review: “Baelor”

This week on Game of Thrones, Tyrion invents a drinking game, Robb Stark goes up against Jaime Lannister in a Battle of the Prettiest Soldiers, and holy shit what the fuck just happened are you fucking kidding me. Major episode spoilers ahead.

It’s somewhat disingenuous to sum up events like that, since of course, having read A Game of Thrones, I knew exactly what was coming. I remember, though, how shocked I was, and I remember thinking, once I’d calmed down a bit: this is a game-changer, right here. But more on that later.

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Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones episode review: “You Win or You Die”

This week on Game of Thrones, Dany learns about the evils of alcohol, Ned is the most naive person in the Seven Kingdoms, and Robert loses the game of thrones. Episode spoilers ahead.

Sometimes, as I’m watching Game of Thrones, I like to imagine a conversation going on at GoT HQ that sounds something like this:

“We have some information that needs getting across. We’ve got to have two characters talk to each other about stuff.”

“But this is HBO. The characters can’t just talk. We’ve got to put either a sex scene or something gross in the background.”

“How about a chest-shaving scene? A corpse’s neck being sewn up?”

“No, no, we already used those two. How about a dead deer being skinned?”

“Perfect! And then we’ll have two whores perform oral sex on each other while another character monologues.”


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Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones episode review: “The Wolf and the Lion”

This week on Game of Thrones, Arya discovers dragon skulls—and a plot against her father; Loras and Renly share some quality time with a razor; and Lysa Arryn is a complete nutcase.

We didn’t wander very far afield in this week’s episode, which skipped the khasalar and the Wall completely. There’s enough going on in King’s Landing, though, that I barely noticed the lack until the episode was over. I may be biased since I know what’s coming, but I think this episode does an excellent job of conveying the building tension. We’ve met the characters, we’ve visited the castles, we’ve figured out who hates whom, and now it’s about time for it all to come apart at the seams.

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Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones episode review: “Lord Snow”

This week on Game of Thrones, we get good news and bad news about Bran, Catelyn hides out in a brothel, Arya gets her first “dancing” lesson, and Tyrion finally gets to piss off the Wall. Episode spoilers ahead.

It’s getting to be a party down in King’s Landing, where Ned, Arya, and Sansa arrive at the beginning of the episode and Catelyn rides up later on. One of the first scenes is probably my favorite in this whole episode: Ned running into Jaime in the throne room. Sean Bean and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are making a strong argument for being my two favorite casting choices (although “favorite casting choices” is a long list on this show), and watching them be hostile at each other is delightful. Jaime reminds Ned of how Ned’s brother and father died, and wonders if Ned would respect Jaime more if he’d stabbed Mad King Aerys in the belly instead of the back. Ned is unimpressed.

[“The king shits and the Hand wipes.”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones episode review: “Winter Is Coming”

The firepits have guttered out, a few Dothraki are dead, everyone’s in the throes of a Pentoshi wine-induced hangover from their viewing parties. It’s the morning after the premiere episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Bloggers Theresa DeLucci and Ellen B. Wright are here to share their first impressions on the many introductions. Seriously. There were a lot of introductions.

Spoilers ahead.

[The things we do for love…]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Anticipation Station

A little over a month away from the premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones and excitement for all things George R.R. Martin is reaching critical mass. Even better than the great early reviews for the show is the announcement that A Dance with Dragons has an actual, foreseeable release date of July 12th. This could really, finally be it.

Ellen B. Wright and myself will be covering Game of Thrones episode reviews, but in the meantime, we’re pouring over news items and re-watching trailers, getting excited for the televised adaptation of one of fantasy’s biggest series. What are you most excited to see? A particular character? A place? A scene? Are you re-reading the books in anticipation of the show and Book Five? Forging a maester’s chain?

This is also a great place to let us know how you’d like us to navigate book spoiler country. While the show will be fleshing out certain aspects, it looks like a relatively strict adaptation, at least on the big events. Sound off in the comments.

[Winter is coming… this spring.]

Word to the Wired #2: Undeadiquette

I’ve never liked my brother-in-law much, and now he’s caught the zombie infection. Do I have to invite him to our family Thanksgiving celebration? I’m worried he might eat someone’s brains instead of the turkey.

He may be undead, but he’s still your brother-in-law. Blood is thicker than water, and in this case thicker than brains, too. You should be respectful of his dietary preferences, just as you would provide an alternative for vegetarians or those with food allergies. If he skips over the cranberry sauce, stuffing, and deviled eggs and goes straight for the blood pudding, it’s not your place to criticize, especially if you want to stay on your sibling’s Christmas list this year.

Don’t expect much in the way of intelligent conversation, either. Consider seating him across from your aunt who nods off in the middle of every meal, or maybe at the kids’ table; somewhere where his mumbling and moaning won’t be noticed or remarked upon.

However, it is not only appropriate but responsible to set down some guidelines beforehand and recruit your sister or brother to help enforce them. “No snacking on other guests” would seem like an obvious choice.

[Does your living will cover the zombie contingency?]

Series: Zombie Week

Word to the Wired: Personal Advice, Science Fiction Style

We live in the future, which means that many of the problems that baffled our ancestors have been solved. Need to get somewhere in a hurry? Try teleportation! Running out of bookshelf space? Try an e-reader! Dying of the plague? Try antibiotics!

But love is a mystery no machine can make sense of and artificial intelligence can’t replace a good heart-to-heart chat; some problems will never be solved by science or advanced technology. Where can the modern citizen of the universe turn when facing a personal problem? “Word to the Wired” will resolve all your futuristic dilemmas, from time travel troubles to alien relations.

[I traveled back in time and accidentally killed my own grandfather! What should I do?]

In the market for a TARDIS?

Can you picture this in your living room? British auction house Bonhams is selling off a prop TARDIS from Christopher Eccleston-era Doctor Who. The listing describes it as:

A complete Tardis prop, circa 2005, of painted rasped wood panel and glass construction, the base having painted parquet effect floor, panels fastening using bracket and bolt, having a pair of hinged doors […]

Apparently they expect it to go for £8,000-12,000, which is about $11,808-$17,713, according to Google.

What movie or TV set geek memorabilia would you want to add to your collection? Personally, I think the TARDIS would be a bit hard to store or display—but, sticking to the Who theme, I’d love to get my hands on one of the actual sonic screwdrivers used in the show.

Ellen B. Wright lives in New York, where she works in publishing and takes an excessive number of pictures.

First Preview of Game of Thrones

The first preview of the upcoming Game of Thrones TV show premiered on HBO last night, leading up to the season premiere of True Blood. It’s more atmospheric than informative: sunlight breaking through a forest, a raven taking off, swords clanging and horses running through snow. Still, it looks impressive, and you get to hear Sean Bean’s voice saying, “Winter is coming.”

You can watch the 30-second video at HBO’s series site (plus, a picture of Sean Bean in costume as Eddard Stark!).

Ellen B. Wright lives in New York, where she works in publishing and takes an excessive number of pictures.

Creating Dothraki: An Interview with David J. Peterson and Sai Emrys

Jason Momoa will protray Dothraki leader Khal Drogo

Last Monday, HBO issued a press release announcing that they’d hired David J. Peterson through the Language Creation Society to develop the Dothraki language for the upcoming Game of Thrones TV show. Both David and Sai Emrys, the president of the Language Creation Society, were kind enough to answer some of my questions about the genesis of Dothraki.

Fans of the books will remember Dothraki as the language of Daenerys Targaryen’s husband Khal Drogo and the rest of his nation (and by the end of the first book, Dany speaks it fluently, too). Dany is one of the main viewpoint characters of the series, but spends much of the series (so far) in exile, far away from her native country and the center of the action. Though a few words do appear in Dothraki in the books, for the most part its speakers’ words are translated into English. Author George R. R. Martin noted in his own blog post on the subject that despite writing in the tradition of Tolkien in other ways, he’s terrible at foreign languages and never made up more than a few words for any of the languages spoken in the series.

Constructed languages—or “conlangs”—are hardly an unfamiliar subject to fans of speculative fiction, Tolkien’s Elvish languages being a frequently-cited example. This is also not the first time an outside expert has been hired to flesh out the linguistic world of a fictional show: linguist Marc Okrand created the notoriously difficult-to-learn Klingon for the original Star Trek (and later the Atlantean language for the Disney film Atlantis).

The Language Creation Society’s website now hosts a page devoted to Dothraki that will be updated with more details as work on the series progresses. Fans are being encouraged to become active in discussions about the language, but according to this post, we’re not likely to see much information until closer to the premiere. However, at the end of this interview you will find an exclusive new bit of Dothraki to help tide you over.

[Hash yer ray nesi?]

Chicks Dig Time Lords

Chicks Dig Time Lords, from Mad Norwegian Press, is a collection of essays by notable female fans of Doctor Who about how they got into the show and why they love it so much. Contributors include SFF novelists like Seanan McGuire, Catherynne M. Valente, and Mary Robinette Kowal, as well as other writers, academics, and Carole Barrowman, Doctor Who and Torchwood actor John Barrowman’s sister. Last Friday, Bluestockings, a bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center in New York, hosted a reading and discussion with five of the contributors from the book: moderator K. Tempest Bradford, Catherynne M. Valente, Francesca Coppa, and Deborah Standish, plus cover artist Katy Shuttleworth, of Torchwood Babiez fame.

[This post is bigger on the inside.]

Chick Fight!

Last week I explained the concept of a fandom March Madness to a friend, whose response was “It’s taking a frat boy idea and making it as geeky as possible!” Well, yeah.

If you’re like me, you’ve been faithfully following the Suvudu fantasy character cage matches, and voting early and often to help Lyra Silvertongue defeat Cthulhu (hey, a girl can dream). Meanwhile, LiveJournal user strangerface (among others) was noticing that of the 32 original characters, only four were women, and two of those teenagers. So she’s put together an all-female fantasy/SF throwdown called Chick Fight: 64 characters from written speculative fiction in brackets Alice (young adult), Ripley (science fiction), Buffy (urban fantasy), and Xena (epic fantasy).

All four of the Suvudu femmes (Hermione Granger, Lyra Silvertongue, Anita Blake, and Polgara the Sorceress) are back, plus sixty others, from classic Mina Harker to modern Katniss Everdeen, from gawky Meg Murry to horsewoman Eowyn, from Lady Jessica on the spice planet to Eddi McCandry in modern-day Minneapolis. Will it be Elizabeth Bennet (the one who fights zombies, natch) or Elphaba? Alice Cullen or Alanna of Trebond? Verity Kindle or Valentine Wiggin? Vote and make your voice heard!

The first round of voting will be up through Wednesday, March 24:

A shout-out, too, to the Characters of Color March Madness, which ended over the weekend in a no doubt epic match in which Mulan triumphed over Zoe Washburne.

Ellen B. Wright lives in New York, where she works in publishing and takes an excessive number of pictures. She could probably take Meg Murry in a fight.

Studio 360: The Science and Fiction of Time Travel

Time travel as a scientific concept has been with us at least since the 19th century publication of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine. But is it a real possibility? And how plausible are fictional portrayals of it? Kurt Andersen, host of the radio show Studio 360, interviewed science writer Dave Goldberg and science fiction writer Connie Willis about time travel in fiction, in film, and in real life, in a live-to-tape show at WNYC’s Greene Performance Space on Tuesday night.

[Travel to the future in which you read the rest of this post.]

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