Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones, Season 7, “Beyond the Wall”

Hello all you zombified polar bears and welcome back to Recap the Realm!

Today, we’re serving up elation and disappointment in equal measure as we try to catch our breaths and stop our pounding hearts. “Beyond the Wall” was a frustrating and amazing episode, and boy have we not been able to shut up about it.


Lord MWB: Hope you’re all ready, cus I’m gonna rant!

The further away from the books that Game of Thrones strays, the more it becomes like a sprawling D&D campaign. The complexity of character that so defined the early seasons—and is essential to the books—is dropped in favor of spectacle and sprawling action. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; TV is a visual medium after all, and there’s no way the show could have ever hoped to match the scope of the story told in the books. It’s necessary to look at the books and the show as two completely different types of stories. The books are complex, nuanced, deep fantasy with serious themes; the show is now incredibly light fantasy with great action and fun characters that maybe takes itself just a little too seriously. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are pretty talented guys, but this season has proved just how far behind GRRM they are. They may know the general story beats that George is going to hit, but they do not have the skill to connect those beats in a very satisfying way.

Not to say that they’re terrible. In a way, they can’t really be blamed. They are beholden to George’s story, but his story isn’t finished yet. It was clear from the beginning that they would deviate from the books, but I think as the end of the written material rapidly approached and they started to realize that they were going to have to go it alone for the last stretch, they wound up straying further than they ever intended and wrote themselves into a bit of a hole. It’s unfortunate, but it does serve to keep us from knowing exactly where the books are going. The show is, to me, now just an extended trailer for the books and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Beyond the Wall” showcased both the strengths and the weaknesses in the new, bookless telling of this story.

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I want to start with the good. Pretty much everything beyond the Wall was fantastic. The dialogue was funny, the characters had great chemistry, the action was phenomenal, and ONE OF THE DRAGONS DIED YA’LL!

This part of the episode was a whole hell of a lot of fun, even if the premise was undeniably weak. This is what I mean when I say the show is like a D&D campaign. You have all the standard character classes (Paladin – Jon, Barbarian – Tormund, Cleric – Thoros, etc…), you have magic swords, you have hordes of low-level fodder for the heroes to kill and gain EXP, and the Hound even made a quip about this being Beric’s last life as if they were in a video game. It’s not very deep, but man is it a lot of fun. And Tormund basically forcing himself to be the Hound’s new BFF is as hilarious as it is adorable. And all the broing out definitely upped the stakes as the party was surrounded and seemingly all hope was lost. Nikkie will go into all of this more than I will, so I just want to highlight the scene where Tormund almost died. I felt it, guys. His cries for help were very realistic, and I was ready to cry manly tears! I admit it kind of sucks that Game of Thrones has been so reticent to kill any heroes this year, but at the same time I’m glad my favorites are still alive.

One thing to note: When the Hound kicked that wight, all of the other wights reacted, right? GRRM loves to write stories about hive minds clashing against creatures of independent thought like humans. Pretty much all of his sci-fi stories touch on this theme, and while I don’t think it means very much in the show other than giving the heroes a solution to the problem of the vast numbers of the dead, I think this has massive implications for the books.

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And now the bad. Winterfell. What in the absolute eff is going on at Winterfell? Why is Arya so stupid now? Why is Sansa so stupid? Why is Littlefinger still alive? I’m so angry about all of this, and if there isn’t some sort of satisfying conclusion to this, then Winterfell is the Dorne of this season.

Sansa’s explanation of the note that Arya found is fine. It makes sense. Why is Arya pretending like Sansa had any other choice in the matter? Arya KNOWS how terrible Joffrey was. She KNOWS how terrible Cersei is. She KNOWS that Sansa had the choice to either play along or be tortured. I like that Sansa threw her bullshit back in her face about doing something to stop Ned’s execution ‘cus yeah, Arya, you didn’t do shit either.
Remember last season when Arya was watching the play, and she watched the girl playing Sansa with a mixture of longing and sadness? Remember how it seemed like she missed her family and even missed her sister whom she didn’t get along with? What happened to that? Remember just like two episodes ago when she had a tense but genuinely emotional reunion with Sansa? What happened to THAT? What happened to Sansa seeing through Littlefinger’s shit!? Everyone got dumber in the space of two episodes just so Littlefinger could do his schemy Littlefinger bullshit with impunity again.

My only solace in all of this is that right after Littlefinger hinted that Sansa use Brienne against Arya, Sansa sent her away. That long look she gave the door after Brienne left can be read in a few ways: either Sansa was wary of Brienne, thinking that she might side with Arya or something, or Sansa saw through Littlefinger’s bullshit and sent Brienne away to spite him…somehow. And then there’s the fact that in their last scene together, Arya gave Sansa the dagger after talking about cutting off faces and wearing them. I hope…HOPE that Arya has been testing Sansa or something. Like she’s trying to see where her loyalties lie and make sure Sansa’s not a willing participant in Littlefinger’s schemes before springing a trap. I’m hoping Littlefinger dies in the finale and Arya takes his face. If so, it will bring some redemption to this Winterfell story. I’m not confident that they can pull it off in a way that isn’t dull and unsatisfying, but it’s better than Arya and Sansa being enemies because the writers just made them dumb. We’ll see. Hopefully I’m singing a different tune next week.

Oh and Jon and Dany held hands and stuff, and I had absolutely zero interest.

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So yeah. This episode is weird. The mission beyond the Wall was fun; great dialogue, good action, and a Blue Eyes Wight Dragon. I give it a B. But the Winterfell stuff is a big fat F. Next week will hopefully make it a little bit better. Also it’s looking more and more like we’re getting CLEGANEBOWL!

Sorry again for being so wordy, Nikkie!


Lady MWB: Am I literally the only person in the world who really doesn’t care about Cleganebowl?? Probably. Oh well. Moving on.

So. I’m hearing you, dear readers and also my dear husband. I’m hearing all of your concerns and your annoyances. You are being heard. But. I’ve never been one to really say “What a shitty episode of Game of Thrones” because even the worst episode of this show is miles better than a lot of the other crap they’re trying to pass off as television these days—and this is coming from someone who actively chides people for comparing pieces of entertainment that come from different genres.
I love this show, so I just let it happen to me. Did I get caught up in what happened during the episode? Then it was a success for me. I’m extremely easy to please when it comes to watching consuming shows and movies (but also really easy to piss off—HOW HARD IS IT TO KEEP HAIR CONTINUITY IN FLASHBACKS, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER?!), so unfortunately I cannot join the majority of you in hatred of this episode.

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Apparently I’m talking about stuff beyond the Wall? I don’t really know what to say! Thanks for putting me on the spot, SH . . .

Obviously, my favorite part was Tormund and Sandor. I want them to be our next Kingsroad-trip pair. They deserve a spin-off that’s just them trading hilarious banter. “Dick? I like it!” “I bet.” Perfection.

I was pretty sure Thoros was going to die as we came into this episode. Mainly because a lot of people were talking about how they figured Beric was going to die, and I’m like “Well, for that to happen, Thoros has to go first or else he’ll just bring Beric back.” So when he got nommed on by that bear, I was like “Yeah, that seems about right.” But also, for a split second, I was like IS THAT ABOUT TO BE GHOST?! because it would’ve been awesome if Ghost burst onto the scene, having followed Jon to help out but also giving him major side-eye for leaving him behind in the first place. (Although . . . And obviously ignoring the whole “The dog portraying Ghost died/cost of the CGI” thing, perhaps Jon wanted to leave Ghost behind so he could protect Sansa just in case, considering she’s been without a direwolf for a long time.) Anyway. My point is that I was pretty shocked when Thoros didn’t immediately die after the bear attack, and it seemed like there was no point in dragging his barely living body around just to have it die in the middle of the night while they were marooned.

The battle scene was intense. Not quite Battle of the Bastards intense, which I do think I’ll say stressed me out more than Field of Fire 2.0 because the odds were really stacked against the people I wanted to win in the former as opposed to the latter, but still intense because how do you merk a bunch of zombos?! I feel like we’ve seen that it’s pretty damn difficult, and the fact that they were so greatly outnumbered was just like HOW WILL THEY EVEN MAKE IT OUT?!

Enter Dany, straight up with dem dragons. You were all there, so I don’t need to talk about how easily she lit up those zombo-fools. But even though you were there, I absolutely have to pour one out for Viserion. Because that actively hurt me to watch. Not because I really cared about Dany’s non-Drogon dragons (I wasn’t even aware that was Viserion until multiple people on the internet said so) but because HE BASICALLY EXPLODED. That was so rough to watch. It was one of the first things I thought about when I woke up post-episode, and I’m still messed up. What a heart-wrenching scene. Especially the way Drogon and Rhaegal just keened with sorrow; much like the zombos’ hive-mind reaction to that one getting kicked, they felt that spear drive home and extinguish their brother’s flame.

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And I know a lot of people are like: Where the fuck did those chains come from? SH posed that this likely isn’t the first time the White Walkers and their zombo army have come across dragons, so they likely had tactics lined up for a long time. And I’ll buy that. But HOW DID THEY KNOW TO GET THAT READY FOR THIS PARTICULAR ENCOUNTER?! Answer me that, show people. Answer. Me. That.

Do they have the ability to see into the future? I could see some credibility to that. After all, they were created by the Children of the Forest (according to the show), and the CoF can see through time with the help of the weirwood trees. So there’s a possibility that somehow the White Walkers have a talent for seeing through time. In fact, it would answer how they knew when to come for Craster’s sons because it’s not like he could send them a text to be all “Yo. Cm pk up mai boiiiii.”
I’ve just convinced myself that they can see the future.

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Enough of the Snow-icide Squad and their nearly bungled attempt to steal a wight.

Oh wait. Shout out to Gendry. He gets the Running Man award. That Christian Bale lookin’ mofo.

Anyway. Where the hell is Bran? I know the obvious answer is “Underneath the tree, getting high off his own wizard fumes,” but I mean in a larger “Why isn’t he stepping in here?” sense. Because Bran. Boo-boo. I know you’re not technically Bran anymore, but it really seems like you should have interrupted this Sansa/Arya nonsense to be like “Hey. Littlefinger is doin’ you a heckin bamboozle.” Or just say “Hey! We do not have time for your bullshit squabbles because there’s literally so many other things going on right now.” Heck!

But I will say that I’m probably the least bothered by their bickering out of everyone I know. Sansa and Arya were never on good terms before The Shit went down, and even though The Shit has gone down, that doesn’t mean those wounds are just healed over. This is literally how every family reunion in history has ever gone. Everyone is all happy to see each other, then someone gets a little too drunk, someone else spills a little too much tea, and the drama begins. So it was really only a matter of time before things got tense between these sisters because they’re just different.
What’s upsetting for me is that Littlefinger is playing a part in it. If he weren’t, I don’t think we’d still be in this part of their story. If it were just normal sister shit, they’d already be on their way to mending fences because they’d realize that while they lead wildly different lives, that doesn’t mean they can’t work together. But because Littlefinger is here, twisting things, he’s making everyone’s actions seem a lot more nefarious than they actually are. Sansa has every right to be concerned about the way the Northern lords perceive her because they’re fickle as fuck! Arya has been fighting to get back to her family (or avenge them when she thought everyone was lost) for years, so of course she thinks that brand of loyalty is more important above everything else. Also, she’s an assassin. So much in the way Bran isn’t normal anymore, neither is she. It would require adjustments on both sides, and Littlefinger is messing it all up.

Littlefinger needs to be dead, is my point. Just go away, bro. Go die in a carriage fire.

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I’m super not here for Dany+Jon, but damn did they try and force it on us this episode. I resigned myself to a scene of them boning as I watched Dany anxiously wait for Jon to make it back to the Wall. I’m glad they didn’t, but I did feel a little bad for Jon when Dany pulled her hand out of his and he just looked so hurt. You can hold my hand any day!!! *eyebrow waggle*


So that was the episode. What could POSSIBLY happen in the season finale next week? Off the top of our heads? Cleganebowl (although the basis for this is up in the air—literally what is the motivation for the characters?). The Night King will use VICErion (do you see what we did there?) to bring down the Wall. Cersei will do some kinda heckin bamboozle. Euron (and Yara??) haaaaaaaas to show up again, right? No matter what, we can say for certain that our hearts will explode multiple times until we are dead piles of deadness.

We may have to start drinking now.

May your undead uncles save your skins at the last possible second,
Lord and Lady MWB

Photo Credit: Mashable

Couch Potato: The Defenders

Hello all you dragon punchers! Super Hubs here again and guess what: It’s quick review time!

The Defenders have a long and confusing history in the comics and have counted among their members most of The Avengers, a good portion of the X-Men, and several B-list heroes. Ironically, until the Netflix shows started airing, Daredevil had never been a part of the Defenders. They have fought inter-dimensional monsters, vampires, and all sorts of weirdos. Netflix obviously couldn’t afford to make the show quite that large scale, but what the show does have in common with the comics is a deep connection to New York City.

Unlike the Avengers, the Netflix shows have spent a lot of time presenting our heroes as people who have an almost pathological inability to work with others. Yeah, the Avengers are all A-type personalities and argue a lot, but they’re a team made up of a soldier, a CEO of a major multi-national corporation, two spies who have worked together for years, and a god who spends a lot of time fighting alongside his fiercely fashionable companions. The only one who’s a loner is Hulk, and even he has a legendary bromance with Tony Stark.
The Defenders, however, are all just assholes who happen to be good at punching. Seeing how the show would bring them together and convincingly make them mesh as a team was one of the things I was most looking forward, and it actually pulled things off. It even made me like Danny! What a twist!

As always, there will be spoilers. Like, right after the drop, so read no further if you want none!

Continue reading “Couch Potato: The Defenders”

My Amazing ARC Adventure: Part 1

¡Buenos dias, amigos! Nikkie here!

I feel like it’s been quite some time since it’s been just the two of us, wouldn’t you say? With the return of Game of Thrones, as well as our HIMYM project, it’s been almost two months since I’ve put up a solo post. And it’s been even longer since I’ve done a solo post that’s book-related, as my last post was about Riverdale. Clearly we’re overdue!

So, I came into the month of August with a purpose: write a dang post! But I also had another purpose, and it’s one that lends itself to several book posts. You see, back when we were still living in Texas, I came into possession of a stack of advanced reader copies (ARCs) of young adult books (and one middle-grade book). I was pretty excited about it, but because I have a short attention span when it comes to deciding what to read, I kept buying new books and just reading those instead. Or rereading Harry Potter. Or Rainbow Rowell’s books. And that’s how about four years came to pass since I brought these books home, not one of them read.

At the end of July, I was finishing up V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy (first time reading it; loved it!) and trying to decide what I’d read next. Looking over our stacks of books, my eyes trained on a few of those unloved ARCs and snagged. I knew in my heart . . . It was time. So, I gathered all the books into their own stack and declared: I won’t read another book until I get through this stack.* And to keep me honest, I intended to blog about it.
*I am reading other books, but only essay collections and only at night. These ARCs are my exclusive commute/daytime reads.*

Because of our GoT posts and some semi-regular external writing I’ve been doing, however, I am three books behind on the actual blogging portion! But I’m here now, and that’s what counts!
I’m gonna keep try to keep this short and sweet because I’m writing this post while sick. DEDICATION!

Continue reading “My Amazing ARC Adventure: Part 1”

Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones, Season 7, “Eastwatch”

Hello you unkindness of warged ravens, and welcome back to Recap the Realm!
Let us not mince words but simply gather ’round the scrolls for some good ol’ fashioned recappin’.


Lord MWB: Boy was this week frustrating. Jon got cozy with a dragon, Sam forgot his history, Arya got a -8 to her INT stat, Jorah showed up to set up his inevitable death, and Littlefinger just…Littlefingers all over the place. For such a slow episode, it sure did make Lady MWB and I scream in frustration a lot. And now you lucky readers get to hear our screaming via the power of the internet!

Bronn apparently has a magic Cloak of Breath Holding because he dragged Jaime through an entire lake while that dude was wearing full armor, and they both emerged barely out of breath. I guess he also has Boots of Super Strength for that matter. Basically, if Bronn was a DnD character, his player would get kicked out of the game for cheating. Meanwhile, Dickon was a useless character that died a pointless death. Also, Dany’s not doing great at this queen thing. She made Tyrion Hand for a reason—maybe she should listen to him about not burning people to death.

Continue reading “Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones, Season 7, “Eastwatch””

Words Gone Silver: The Dark Tower

Howdy, ya’ll. Long days and pleasant nights.

We did it. We saw The Dark Tower, and good news: We didn’t hate it! In fact, we actually rather liked it. Of course, as you’ve probably all figured out by now, we’re pretty easy to please, so do keep that in mind as you’re reading this review. But whatever! We liked it, and we both think it’s a good enough set-up for the world to make us eager to see more. The show got a showrunner, so Sony still seems to want to move forward with the series. We can only hope! Because we need Eddie and Susannah!

But that’s not enough to sate you, is it? And there *are* some missteps that have to be addressed. So dust the Mid-World off your boots and hop through the portal with us; it’s time to talk the Tower.
Super Hubs, the dinh of the MWB tet, starts us off. And as always (or at least most of the time): Spoiler alert. Continue reading “Words Gone Silver: The Dark Tower”

Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones, Season 7, “The Spoils of War”

Greetings, fair travelers of the interwebs. Thanks for stopping by our humble square of digital real estate to get some not-so-sage words about one of our favorite shows.

Let us not mince these words, whether they be sage or otherwise! Dive on in, and watch out for dragon fire!


Lord MWB: Alright, I get it guys; the final battle scene was phenomenal. It was. I’m not gonna deny that. But SHUT UP! That wasn’t the most important part to me. Cool though it was, it had nothin on the #StarkSquadReunion! The Stark kids all together for the first time since season effing one! Pour one out for Rickon, you guys, cus the other kids sure didn’t. But whatever! Arya and Sansa in the same room—hugs; awkwardness. I loved it so much!

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The whole scene where Arya gets stopped at the gates by bungling guards before slipping away was a little too…hammy. I get that it was a direct callback to her attempting to enter King’s Landing in season one, but in an episode so short we probably could have done without it. But when Sansa meets her down in the crypts and they’re kind of chilly toward one another before finally hugging for real… My heart guys. MY HEART.

And then we had Three-Eyed Braven throwing Littlefinger’s mantra in his face. I wonder what exactly Bran meant when he said “Do you know who this dagger belonged to?” Bran sees through all of time, so I doubt he’s asking about who tried to have him killed. Also, what was with Bran looking directly at Sansa while he returned Arya’s hug? Real weird considering he didn’t return Sansa’s hug in the last episode. And I wish he’d have thrown Meera a bone. I get that Bran is pretty much dead, but damn dude. Try to understand human feelings just a little. I still love you though, you phase-shifted weirdo.

Arya vs. Brienne was perfection. I will say no more because I’m still processing exactly how much I love it. I still don’t understand the look Sansa was giving her while watching from the rafters. But I do know that Arya’s not here for Littlefinger’s shit. Watch yer back; Arya looks like she’s itchin’ to kill a creepy uncle.

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Meanwhile, on Dragonstone, Jon shows Dany his crappy paintings and tries to convince her that they’re, like, really profound and stuff. Dany’s mad at Tyrion. And Davos is keeping the strict grammar usage rules alive when it comes to the difference between “less” and “fewer.” Also, internet, here’s a lesson for you because I keep seeing you say that Stannis liked to correct people’s grammar: He didn’t. He corrected their usage. If you’re going to pretend to care about grammar, learn the difference.
Theon shows up and Jon chokes him. It’s notable that he doesn’t choke him nearly as hard as he choked Littlefinger despite Theon being directly responsible for Jon’s death. Just goes to show ya, creepy uncles are more despised than traitors.

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The battle was great. I thought Bronn was gonna die. Then I thought Jaime was gonna die. Then I got really excited ‘cus I thought the show was gonna be really bold and actually kill off Dany. It would have made literally everyone angry, but I think it would have been really cool. Surely Jaime’s not dead. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s absent for the next episode, but there’s no way he goes out like that.

All in all, this was a great episode. Top 10 of the series surely. It had some fun humor, some great action, and it was the first time in a while that I’ve been really breathless. And thank gourd Bronn isn’t dead!


Lady MWB: Wowee wow wow. You can probably still see my fingernail marks in Lord MWB’s arm from how much I couldn’t handle the battle scene. I. Mean. Really. I was sweating, I was shouting, I was very close to forgetting that breathing is a thing people do if they want to live. Because if something had happened to Drogon, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to live!

But I will follow my lord husband’s lead and start with our favorite Northerners. Because YAASSSSS. I literally squealed when Arya and Sansa hugged in the crypts. It was too beautiful for words. I honestly don’t think an Arya-Jon reunion would hit me harder because I was waiting to see how these estranged sisters would be with each other. And it didn’t disappoint. I thought it was such the perfect scene between the two of them.

And to the idiots saying that Sansa was looking at Arya with jealousy as the latter sparred with Brienne . . . just no. No to all of that. No to your idiot brains. No. When I watch that scene, I see someone realizing that they can’t go back to the way things were before. Sansa feared she would never see her siblings again, feared they were all dead. When Theon told her that he hadn’t actually killed Bran and Rickon, she had a glimmer of hope. When Brienne told her that she’d seen Arya with the Hound, she let herself hope just a little bit more. But that hope started to fade when Bran returned to Winterfell and wasn’t Bran anymore—confirmed by the weirwood-seeing manboy himself. It came back when she and Arya hugged not once but twice in the crypts. But watching Arya fight the woman who swore to protect her, and almost winning, Sansa realized: That’s not the sister I knew. She’s just as changed as Bran is, even though she can still articulate a thought without bringing up someone’s tortured past. To me, that is the face of someone mourning that their childhoods are truly dead because the girl twirling blades in the courtyard below could clearly do some damage—has told her that she’s done damage—and that is far beyond the argumentative tomboy who threw fits because she was no good at embroidery.

I can’t wait to see how the whole “Chaos is a ladder” thing comes back around. Considering Bran seems to spend most of his time hanging out by the weirwood tree, looking more and more like he’s going to start caressing it, I doubt that he’s going to seek out Littlefinger to finish his thought. I think it’s far more likely that LF will let this statement eat at him until he goes to find out what exactly Bran knows and whether he needs to do anything about it. So we still have a very good chance that Lord MWB’s theory of LF meeting his end because he tries to kill Bran will come true.

And she may not be dead, but poor one out for Meera Reed. I guess this means we won’t get to meet an adult Howland.

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I’m not surprised that we didn’t reach a satisfactory agreement between Dany and Jon in this episode. Even with the promise of many things being resolved in the space of an episode during this season, I feel like it’s greedy to assume that this is something that could be so easily dealt with. I had a very long conversation about this at work already, so I’ll just say my two points very quickly: If Jon didn’t have to please the Northern lords’ desire to stay independent, he would’ve already bent the knee. If Dany hadn’t been losing the war up to that point, she would have been more willing to find a compromise beyond “Sure, you can take some of my dragonglass that I’m not using.” These two people have very strong goals with very specific “Can’t budge on this” items and no real understanding of how to make it work. Give them time.

Outside of that, I loved the little moment where Dany and Missandei were just girlfriends having a chat about the latter’s boo-thang. It offered up the right kind of levity to the episode.

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Like a lot of people, I’m wondering what’s in store for Tyrion. I don’t know if I agree with people who think he was questioning his allegiances as he watched the battle wage on, likely seeing men he might have known get turned to straight-up ash. I do believe that Dany brought him as a form of punishment to get him to think about his allegiances, though. What other purpose is there for having him around in this moment? He’s not the best military man, even if he did help hold things together at the Battle on Blackwater Bay back in season two. And while the argument could be made that she brought him so that he could do some negotiating on her behalf with people she captures post-battle, I think it was mostly a “See what happens to people who cross me.” situation.
I don’t think he’ll leave her side, though. Right now, he needs her to get rid of Cersei. And as much as he loves Jaime, I don’t think that love will be enough to make him #TeamLannister again considering half that team wants him to die for a crime he didn’t even commit (and then one he did). So to abandon his post as Dany’s Hand would not be the best move on his part . . . and she’s probably kill him now that her blood’s all up. I also think that Tyrion is constantly trying to prove himself, and that’s going to motivate him to redeem himself in Dany’s eyes. Sure, most of what she said to him was said in a moment of passion and anger, but things *have* been a bit of a mess since she’s followed his advice. And he’s not going to want to leave it like that—not when he’s had some actual wins in that column in the past. So I’d like to think the tension between these two won’t last for very long. Plus, there was an interview that Peter Dinklage gave saying that part of Tyrion’s problem this season is that he’s got feelings for Dany, and the only way he could articulate that is if it comes up in the material. And that’s yet to be seen. So I can’t believe that they’ll stay on the outs.

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As for the battle, I really thought the show was going to do us a bamboozle and completely wreck the Jaime-as-valonqar theory by burning him up via dragon fire! That would’ve been insane! Before that, I was certain Bronn was going to die because the close-to-ground tracking shots very much felt like a “final moments with a dead man” scene. It was so intense.

I believe it was Bronn who tackled Jaime into the water to save him, not Dickon as many people say. We already saw Bronn abandon his spilled money to try and take down Drogon (and, I mean, he landed, so arguably Bronn succeeded), so I feel like he would’ve gone to the trouble of risking his own life to try and get Jaime out of the way of danger.

Speaking of Drogon: I haven’t see a damn soul say “He used tail whip” on the Scorpion. Because he friggin used tail whip. And the more I laugh about this Pokemon reference, the more I’m like “Yes. Drogon is Charizard.” I know I’m definitely not the first one to come up with this comparison, but it needs to be surfaced again.


That’s it for today, kiddos. It looks like next week is bringing us back beyond the Wall, which means we get more of Tormund—though likely without the Mantzoukas face unless Brienne manages to make her way up there as well. It’ll be interesting to see who (or what) else joins Jon on this journey.

Until then!

May your sibling reunions involve more practical one-upping,
Lord and Lady MWB

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Time

Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones, Season 7, “The Queen’s Justice”

Hello, hello, all ye gentlefolk.

Welcome back to Recap the Realm, the weekly post where we scream about Game of Thrones and try (and fail) to not bring up the books a dozen times.

So grab a glass (check it for poison first!) and pull up a seat. It’s time to dive in.


Lord MWB: This week was a monumental one with lots of goings on and what-have-yous. Cersei is surprisingly competent, Tyrion is surprisingly incompetent, Bran has a stinky old wizard brain, and Jon Snow is…Jon Snow. Hope you’re prepared to read 8,000 words cus guys, we just can’t help ourselves! (Ed. Note: This is about 3,000 words. Hyperbole!)

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We start at Dragonstone where everyone on the internet assures me a meeting I’ve been looking forward to for yeeeeeeears is going to take place. Don’t get me wrong, Jon and Dany meeting is super monumental and I recognize the narrative importance of it, but…fuck them. I was way more interested in Jon and Tyrion getting back together. And they did not disappoint!
Tyrion is his typical chatty self, crackin’ wise and making Jon uncomfortable by talking about boning Sansa (or not doing that, as it were) and Jon just stands there looking at him with his mouth open like he’s Bella Swan doing some really intense LARPing. Jon is the perfect straight man to Tyrion’s jester, and I wish it was just the two of them hanging out for the rest of the series. I ship them, and FUCK YOU ALL FOR JUDGING ME. And do you know what their ship name is? Tyrion. It works perfectly and you can’t tell me otherwise!

And then Jon and Dany meet. Ima let Nikkie handle the bulk of the talking about this because, I’m sorry, but I kind of low-key dislike both of the show’s ostensible leads. They’re just so…dull. Part of this, I’m sure, is my general contrarian nature, but at the same time, the show spends a lot of time building them up as the destined heroes in a world where we’ve been shown that things like “destined heroes” are crap.
The other problem is that the show is now very constrained by budget and time, so they don’t have a lot of breathing room. Most of what makes Jon and Dany into rulers is the writers frequently yelling at us that they’re super great and then making all the other characters talk about how great they are. But really, Dany is super entitled and never shuts up about how the Iron Throne is hers by rights (which kind of goes against her whole “break the wheel” philosophy) and Jon is just…really really bad at diplomacy. I’m glad he realized how stupid he sounded after Tyrion broods with him later at least, but if it weren’t for Davos, Dany probably would have killed him.

As for Dany, I get why she expects Jon to bend the knee, but she didn’t really present her case very well. She tells Jon to honor the vows of his ancestors, and then when Jon brings up the fact that her grandpa burned his and his uncle to death, she’s like, “Yeah well, that wasn’t me, that was my ancestors.” Expecting loyalty while distancing yourself from the sins committed by your ancestors—isn’t that the very definition of white privilege? I see you, Dany!

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Back in Winterfell, we see Sansa ruling and it’s…disappointing to me. I want Sansa to be smart, and I love that she is smart, but why did NO ONE ELSE seem to think about the fact that they were going to need food for more than a year? How did no one else come up with Sansa’s very basic plan of collecting food from the other houses’ larders when that is the literal definition of a fiefdom? How did no one else think “Oh, better insulate our armor with leather ‘cus winter’s cold af.” Not like they’ve been dealing with THAT EXACT THING for the past, I dunno, all of recorded history. Sansa should be smart, but not because the writers force everyone else around her to be stupid. Because then it just seems like they don’t know how to write her as actually competent. Get it together, people! Sansa is fierce, and you’re blunting her fierceness.

Littlefinger continues to be the worst, and he gives Sansa a brief lesson in metaphysical thinking. I could feel Sansa rolling her eyes during the whole thing. If this were the real world, Littlefinger would be a creepy philosophy professor who invites all his female students to his apartment for a “party.” At least Sansa’s not having any of his shit ‘cus none of us are either! I have a theory about Littlefinger and his inevitable demise, but I’ll get to in a little bit.

First: Stark reunion 2.0!! This (and any other Stark reunions we may be getting) are basically the entire reason I watch the show. That’s a lie, but barely. I love the Starks, and I want them to be together again, and oh my god I almost cried! Nikkie and I had a brief freakout when we thought it might be Arya at the gates, but we also knew that was unlikely; Bran was in the “previously on” section after all. Still, it was great to see Sansa’s reaction. Sophie Turner knocked it out of the park and I really felt her happiness, even if Bran had none.

Now I know I’m in the minority on this, but Bran’s is my favorite story. It’s not portrayed overly well in the show, but I still love it. Yes, Dany has dragons, but Bran has the biggest connection to magic out of any character in the story. He’s such an anomaly in the world, and he’s so much more powerful than everyone else that he’s basically no longer human, as we saw in his emotional deadness this episode. It’s very interesting because if someone were to become an omniscient wizard, you’d have to expect there would be consequences. It wouldn’t be like Harry Potter where everyone’s pretty normal despite being able to rearrange the universe; that shit would mess you up. So it’s cool to see Bran going all Dr. Manhattan.
And you know what, I just like wizards, okay? I like Bran because he’s literally the only wizard in the story (the Undying don’t count). So get off my back, SAM. Magic is cool, and Bran becoming Professor X is cool, and you won’t convince me otherwise! (Note: Sam is someone Nikkie works with who has not yet accepted Bran as her tree lord and savior. She will see the light.)

I will concede that it was super weird that Sansa’s rape was like the first thing he brought up. I get that you’re dead inside Bran, but geez.

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We all expected Ellaria’s daughter to die this episode but daaaaaaaaaaamn was it particularly cruel. Forcing Ellaria to stay alive to watch her daughter die and decompose is just…exquisitely cruel. And as much of a drag as Ellaria and the Sand Snakes have been, man did they act the hell out of this scene. Indira Varma has been criminally underused, but the way she sold the pain with her eyes was just masterful. And that last shot of the two of them struggling against their chains, trying to reach each other… Jayzus.

I do wonder who’s ruling in Dorne now. It kinda seems like the country was made up entirely of Ellaria and the Sand Snakes. Have we even seen any Dornish soldiers with Dany yet?

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The two sieges were very brief, which I actually really liked. In other seasons, either of those battles could have taken entire episodes, but it seems right that they were mostly off screen. We’ve never seen Highgarden or Casterly Rock, and it really shows how easily played Dany was in this whole thing and how in control Cersei is. Tyrion made a huge mistake underestimating Cersei. He’s been surprisingly incompetent this season. Here’s hoping Grey Worm doesn’t die!

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Sam’s story was brief. Fun because Grand Maester Slughorn is a hoot and I like how he anti-Dumbledore’d Sam there at the end: “You broke the rules, dude. Why would you get rewarded for that?” Yeah, I’m sure there’s probably some sort of major information in those scrolls Sam’s about to copy, but I don’t think it’s on purpose if there is. More importantly though, the camera really gave us a nice, long look at Jorah rubbing his greasy, previously infected hand all over Sam’s hand. So… Is Sam about to cause a Greyscale outbreak at the Citadel? Don’t take Sam from us, you cruel bastards!

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So I’ve rambled on long enough, and I’ll let Nikkie pick up whatever I missed, but first I gotta lay down some theory on you. I was trying to do some sleuthing from the preview for the next episode because we get a very clear shot of someone holding Littlefinger’s Valyrian steel dagger, and I didn’t recognize the clothes. It was a quick shot of a grey sleeve with some sort of yellow undershirt. Later, we see a close up of Littlefinger’s face, and he seems to be wearing a grey tunic with some sort of yellow undershirt. He was taking about fighting all battles at once right before Bran shows up…the only character who literally CAN see all possibilities at once. And Littlefinger seemed a bit nervous when the maester mentioned having copies of all the letters Winterfell has ever received. And then we get a shot of Sansa lookin all put upon.
So here’s what I’m thinkin: Bran reveals to Littlefinger that he’s the Three-Eyed Raven and that he knows it’s Littlefinger who set everything into motion and caused the death of Ned. Littlefinger plans to kill Bran with his dagger (the same dagger that was originally going to be used to kill him all the way back in Season 1), but he’s stopped and killed. Now I don’t know how he’ll be killed, but if you’ll let me write some fan-fiction real quick, we do see a quick glimpse of Arya looking at Winterfell in the preview, and we know she gets her hands on that dagger this season. So what if Arya shows up and murders the ever-loving SHIT out of Littlefinger?! I want it so bad. I WANT IT SO BAD.
(Ed. Note: SH would like it to be known that he came up with this theory before other places on the internet wrote about it, and that it would’ve been clearer had Nikkie not taken her sweet time writing her section.)

Anyway…take it away Nikkie!


Lady MWB: Wowzers. That was a lot. And now here’s more.

I HAVE to start at the end. Y’all. Even while she’s dying, Lady Olenna Tyrell drops a mic like no other. I swear to God, this woman was the OG Thrower of Shade, and I want to go out giving half as big a middle finger to my enemies as she did. I mean, WOW. Not only did she chug that poisoned wine like a boss, but she used her last moments on Earth to let Jaime know 1) she knows Joffrey was an incest baby and 2) she orchestrated his murder. ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME. Has anyone ever died with that amount of pettiness and shade? The only thing that could’ve made it better would have been if she had died literally the second after she said “I want her to know it was me.” Because I would have 100 percent believed that she was so in control that she could’ve felt when she was about to die and timed her reveal perfectly.

All hail Lady Olenna Tyrell of Highgarden, the Queen of Thrones, the Grandmother of Shade, and the Number One Woman to See Through Your Bullshit. May she rest in peace.

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Beyond that, the scene with Cersei, Ellaria, and Tyene really got to me as well. I’d assumed that Cersei was going to kill Tyene before doing anything to Ellaria, but to keep her alive so that she’s forced to watch (and smell) her daughter die and decompose is SO MUCH WORSE than I had imagined. That is some master-class revenge right there. As much as I hate Cersei and think she’s not as impressive as she wants people to think she is, I really have to hand it to her. She wanted to fuck up Ellaria, and she accomplished that goal ten times over.

A lot of people seem to be glossing over the idea that Ellaria will be watching Tyene decompose for the rest of her own life. Y’all. That’s brutal af. Even if Ellaria could have soothed herself with dreams of Tyene as she had been, she’d wake to see her rotting corpse mere feet away. That’s going to mess her up. I imagine that Ellaria’s going to try and bash her own skull in against the wall at some point so she doesn’t have to see that. What an ending to the Sand Snakes/Dorne story. It was definitely one of (if not the) weakest story of the show, but they for sure went out with a bang.

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I don’t know why SH has given me the responsibility of talking about Jon and Dany meeting, as it’s not like I was super looking forward to it either. Although I’ll gladly take any excuse to see Kit Harington on my screen more! But here we are.

I can understand why some people feel that Dany was a little bit of a brat when it comes to her reaction to Jon not bending the knee. But I think something else might have been at play here. While it’s obvious that neither Dany nor Jon really knows how this kind of diplomatic meeting is supposed to go, when looking back, I got the feeling that maybe they were feeling each other out. Their family names may carry weight, sure, but who are these people, really? What kind of leaders are they? The only way to find out is to go in hard.
Think of it this way. Dany has been told for so long that people have been waiting for the return of a Targaryen so that they can go back to the old way of things. But how true is that? The Dornish and Tyrells came to her out of revenge, not out of any loyalty to her. So here is Jon, representing a region that had long been loyal to the realm and only recently rebelled against the throne, and she wants to see if it would really be as simple as saying “I’m back. Swear fealty.” She found it wasn’t, no matter how hard she pressed. Jon, on the other hand, really doesn’t care about the Iron Throne at all. His entire focus is dealing with the threat of the White Walkers. But as the chosen King of the North, he knows he can’t just bend the knee without at least talking to his subjects first. Not without giving them a really good reason for doing so. Thus, he has to stand his ground about keeping his “throne” until Dany can give him a good reason for giving it up.
I feel like Tyrion’s pointed “How can I help you?” ask while they were brooding corroborates this. I don’t think he’d go talk to Jon without talking to Dany first, so it seems likely that they would have said “Okay, now that we know he’s not amenable to the ‘It’s my birthright and you guys promised’ argument, how can we start working toward a compromise?” But Dany can’t look like she’s ready to just roll over either. This has to be a bit of a struggle so that each party can maintain their dignity and the loyalty they have to their separate causes.
So all that to say . . . I’m not that bothered by how poorly things turned out. I think there’s a chance for them to come to more of an understanding. That being said . . .

WHY THE HELL ISN’T JON TELLING PEOPLE HE DIED?! Fucking hell, dude. You’re talking to a woman who actively survived raging infernos of fire TWICE. She effectively birthed the only known dragons in this world. She went on a spirit quest where she saw her dead husband and son. I THINK SHE MIGHT BE AMENABLE TO THE NEWS THAT YOU WERE RESURRECTED!! Especially considering his body is literal proof; just lift up your tunic and show off all those gnarly, unhealed wounds all over your body. No one can deny that.

A tangent off this: WHY THE HELL DIDN’T HE BRING GHOST?!?! Much like no one in the world has dragons, pretty much no one has freakin’ direwolves as pets. Status symbol, much? Bring the other half of your soul with you, you damned idiot.
I know there are myriad issues with this (the wolf-dog they used to portray Ghost died and the CGI is costly) but stillllll. I’ll never get over how underused the direwolves are in the show. They’re so important in the books, and it’s a real disappointment that that’s not being translated to the small screen.

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Honestly, I think we’ve covered all the important parts of the episode! I’m still disappointed that Jaime hasn’t gotten off that Cersei shit yet. I’m wondering if there’s going to be any fall-out from Cersei’s handmaiden seeing the two of them post-coitally. According to online nerds, taking their kids out of the equations, the Lannister twins are actually the ones with the right to the throne based on the fact that way back when, a Baratheon married a Lannister. So with Robert gone and most of the Lannisters gone, Cersei and Jaime are the rightful heirs. More so Jaime being the man, but that’s neither here nor there. My point is that if someone took the time to look at lineage and rights in an attempt to disqualify Cersei because her children were products of incest, they would be SOL because she’s actually eligible on her own.

I really hope Littlefinger is close to dying soon, and I feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t want one of Dany’s dragons to get a crossbow bolt in the eye. I’m super excited that Arya is closing in on Winterfell, and I hope that Bran gets out of his time haze soon enough to at least enjoy that. Also, when is he getting his wheelchair? Also, we’ve only got four episodes left. Jon’s gotta head back north soon . . . unless all the footage we’ve seen of him beyond the Wall is the season finale?! Oh my God. I just broke my own mind. I hope that’s not the case haha.


That’s it for this post! We’ll see you next week after what will be the shortest episode of the season (50 minutes).

May your clapbacks ring half as loud as Lady Olenna’s,
Lord and Lady MWB

 

 

Photo Credit: Uproxx

The Great (?) HIMYM Rewatch of 2017: Season 2

And we’re baaaaack. Did we want to be? Meh. But we’ve made a commitment to this, so here we are!

As you may have surmised, this is our post about the second season of How I Met Your Mother, recently consumed as part of our rewatching the entire series to determine whether it’s actually any good.

In our last post, we talked a lot about our overall thoughts of the show, how we wondered whether those perceptions will stay the same, and what we came away with after rewatching the first season. There will be . . . less of that in this one haha. Mostly complaining about Lily.

Let’s dive in! Continue reading “The Great (?) HIMYM Rewatch of 2017: Season 2”

Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones Season 7, “Stormborn”

Hello, hello, hello. We won’t bore you with a lengthy introduction. We know what you came for: that sweet, sweet Thrones talk.
So no teasing; straight to the goods!

But as always: SPOILER ALERT!


Lord MWB: Greetings, fellow Thronesians, and welcome back to Recap the Realm! The 431st most popular Game of Thrones recap on the internet! With your help, lovely readers, I truly believe we can become the 428th most popular. So let’s begin!

Episode 2 was a very slow episode; one of those patented Game of Thrones positioning episodes we’re all used to, where characters talk a lot about doing things without really getting around to doing them. BUT unlike a lot of those episodes, it was still a very consequential episode. Pieces were positioned and moved, ever so slightly, in a way that means the momentum is going to pick up next week and I think it’ll continue to build right on through the end of the entire series. This episode is it; this is the episode we will look back on after the show has ended and say “that’s when the end game started.” Continue reading “Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones Season 7, “Stormborn””

Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones Season 7, “Dragonstone” 

Greetings, lords and ladies; may this post find you in good spirits. A raven has come with tidings, and we hope you have some heavy coats and boots on hand because WINTER IS HERE!!!

That’s right, everybody. The long wait is over—Game of Thrones has returned! And because you know what we’re all about over here at Married with Bookshelves (namely, foaming at the mouth over this show and its founding book series), we decided that we’d take the opportunity to have some steady content flowing up in here!

So every week, we’ll be bringing your lucky set of eyeballs (or just the single sight-seeing apparatus, if that’s your deal) a little recap of the episode and our thoughts on the events therein. Excited? We are! (OBVIOUSLY: Spoiler alert)

Shall we begin?

Continue reading “Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones Season 7, “Dragonstone” “