IT Month #2: IT (2017)

The last time I went to see a movie in the theater more than once was The Avengers back in 2012. If I may take an immediate digression – The Avengers only came out 5 years ago!? It feels like it’s been decades. I know this is because Marvel puts out approximately 700 movies per year. Point is, I don’t usually go the theater for the same movie more than once. So far I’ve seen IT three times. Partly that speaks to how obsessed I am with the story – have I mentioned how much I love the book – but I swear it also speaks to the quality of the movie.

This is a good movie ya’ll! Let’s talk a little about why. Continue reading “IT Month #2: IT (2017)”

IT Month #1: The Mini-Series

Hello friends and neighbors and welcome to my most self-indulgent feature yet! I’ve mentioned before that IT is my favorite book and you guys know that October is my favorite month. So I decided to make a big ol’ Reese’s Cup out of that shiet and mash em together! All month I’ll be reviewing IT in its various forms starting at the worst and ending with the best. And you might be surprised by the order!

But you won’t. The book is the best form. Come on guys.

And the worst is the 1990 miniseries. No review of the miniseries can be complete without the caveat that Tim Curry is a great Pennywise. He is for the most part but mostly because he’s being Tim Curry in clown makeup. But how does the rest of it hold up? Let’s find out! Continue reading “IT Month #1: The Mini-Series”

The After Word: Isobel

Friends and readers it has been a while! Super Hubs here with my first book review in months! Game of Thrones and a very busy movie/Netflix season kept me from reading as much as I’d like but now it’s time to get back into the swing of things. It’s Halloween season ya’ll, the only season where I’m truly alive. And to kick the season off I have a very…interesting book to review. So sit back all you oiled up witches dancing a fierce bacchanal, today I’m reviewing Isobel! I have to warn you, this is going to be a long one. I mean, pretty much everything I write is long so you should be used to that by now.

To begin, no mention of this book can be made without first talking about Rowena Morrill. You may not recognize her name, but if you have even a passing interest in…well any kind of genre fiction then you definitely know who she is. Rowena Morrill more or less defined the look of sci-fi and fantasy covers in the 70s and 80s. She’s an incredibly prolific artist and she has done paperback covers for some of the biggest names in fiction. These include H.P. Lovecraft, Isaac Asimov, Madeleine L’Engle, and Arthur C. Clarke. It’s only because of her that I ever even heard of Isobel.  Continue reading “The After Word: Isobel”

Words Gone Silver: Stephen King’s IT

Hello you vampiric beasts from between dimensions, Super Hubs here with a very quick review that I’m positively giddy to write! It’s been a crazy year for me, vis-a-vis Stephen King adaptations as two of my favorite books have gotten movies! And while The Dark Tower needed a few caveats and asterisks for my enjoyment, this movie is just simply phenomenal!

I’ve written before about how difficult it is for me to review things that I love. It’s for this reason that I’ve never reviewed IT. IT is my favorite book of all time by a wide margin. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before and I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I read the book at least once a year. I’m crazy about it ya’ll! And so when it was announced all the way back in 2009 that IT would be getting a new film treatment, one that would stick much closer to the tone of the book, I flipped my shit. I’ve been wanting this for so long guys. I love the old miniseries, but no one has ever accused it of actually being scary. Or good. Really the only reason anyone remembers it is because of Tim Curry who – despite some solid performances from both the child and adult actors – easily steals the show. But this movie guys…this movie might be the best book adaptation I’ve ever seen. As always, Spoiler Warning.  Continue reading “Words Gone Silver: Stephen King’s IT”

Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones, Season 7, “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Hello, all you giant monster babies, and welcome to this season’s final installment of Recap the Realm! This was a doozy of an episode and the longest of the show by far, so expect several thousand words. You knew what you were getting in to! So let’s get right to it.

Lord MWB: Season 7 has been a bumpy road. There have been glorious action pieces, baffling character decisions, weird timelines, and a general sense that we’re just really racing to the end as fast as we can. It’s been rough, y’all. But with this last episode, the entire season has mostly been redeemed. Mostly.

The meeting at the Dragonpit was exciting just by sheer volume of characters, we got some fun dialogue from…everyone really, and Bronn and Tyrion finally quipped with each other again, which is honestly half of what I wanted from this season. And Sandor teased us oh so sweetly with the promise of Cleganebowl. I’m honestly not too mad we didn’t get it because the show hasn’t set up the dramatic weight of it the way the books have, but I’m still excited to see it eventually. There’s so much to go over from this scene, I can’t even wrap my head around where to begin. Continue reading “Recap the Realm: Game of Thrones, Season 7, “The Dragon and the Wolf””

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”