Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tara's ASOIAF Re-Read: Bran IV - Jon IV


The falling, Bran thought, and the golden man, the queen's brother, he scares me too, but mostly the falling.

I know the feeling, kid. About the falling, anyway.

So speaking of Bran, somehow I completely missed that at one point he actually decided that he knew that it was Jaime who pushed him from the window. Or at least it seems, from the quote above, that that's the case - but then later in this chapter he muses, "If he didn't talk about it, maybe he would forget. He had never wanted to remember. It might not even be a true remembering." Will we ever get a true "AH-HA" moment about Bran's "fall"? Will he ever actually tell anyone what happened, or perhaps confront Jaime about it? (Dear D&D, please note that these questions do not in any way constitute a reason for Jaime to travel beyond the Wall to visit with Bran at any point in the show. Unless that happens in the books. Which I can't imagine it will. But I digress.)

Perhaps Bran would find it amusing that Tyrion is running around poisoning Cersei? Personally I'm torn about that. I get why he did it and I get that Cersei causes a lot of trouble, but I don't really like Tyrion (yeah yeah I know, could I say that one more time? heh) and I don't really like the way he just brushes off the idea of poisoning his sister:

I should have given her a larger dose. Tyrion had hoped for a few more days without Cersei's interference, but he was not too terribly surprised by her return to health. She was Jaime's twin, after all.

But I'll leave that be for now and for my own amusement focus on how quickly Cersei returned to health and how Tyrion specifically notes, "She was Jaime's twin, after all." Isn't there another family that doesn't get sick? Oh yeah, the Targaryens! More proof that Cersei and Jaime may be secret Targs! ;)

Also, sorry Tyrion, but waking someone up by having sex with them is creepy. Even if Shae is "your" whore and you "love" her. End of story.

Okay okay, I'll stop hating on Tyrion for now...especially as the next four chapters were all Stark women. Even as Arya has come to accept some aspects of her current life, at this point she still hopes for some sort of rescue - she wants to see her siblings and her mother; she even wants to see Sansa, and the fact that Arya promises herself to "kiss [Sansa] and beg her pardons like a proper lady" is just so sad to me. I have to believe that these sisters will eventually be reunited, and while I don't expect it to be all perfect and joyful, I believe that it will have positive undertones. I kind of have to believe that, because if not what is the point of the two-sided coin reference?

Anyway, I do love Arya's observations about Tywin - how he looks nothing like Ned, yet his face reminds Arya of her father; and how Arya can't imagine Tywin ever laughing at anything. Such astute observations from a kid who only knows Tywin Lannister by name and from afar ;) Now if only she'd thought to ask Jaqen to kill him instead of Weese or any of the others...

I won't get into that, though. So many characters, so many mistakes, so little time, right? And also, it's not really fair of me to harp on Arya when I can't stand listening to people complain about Sansa and her mistakes. And speaking of Sansa, my poor little BB is growing up far too fast :(

Knights are sworn to defend the weak, protect women, and fight for the right, but none of them did a thing. Only Ser Dontos had tried to help, and he was no longer a knight, no more than the Imp was, nor the Hound...the Hound hated knights...I hate them too, Sansa thought. They are no true knights, not one of them.

I mean, I love Sandor, but you know something's gone wrong when a sweet, naive young lady is agreeing with him. Yeah, it may be good that Sansa is learning her lessons...but she's learning them the hard way, and she's only, what, twelve? Thirteen? (Forgive me, but I'm too lazy to go look that up right now.) I don't know, her situation sucks and the more I read these books the harder her chapters - which I once loved - are to read. Mostly because of the things they dredge up about my own life and the lives of people I know.

But I suppose that's neither here nor there. The Stranger, on the other hand, is everywhere!

And the seventh face...the Stranger was neither male nor female, yet both, ever the outcast, the wanderer from far places, less and more than human, unknown and unknowable. Here the face was a black oval, a shadow with stars for eyes. It made Catelyn uneasy. She would get scant comfort there.
Yeah I know, I'm a quoting fool in this entry. It's partially laziness and partially because there are some pretty great passages in these novels and I've resolved to highlight them more often. I love the idea of the Stranger as a god, and there are some pretty great quotes about it, too - including the one above, from Catelyn, who visits the sept to pray as Renly and Stannis prepare for battle, and then returns to Renly's camp to unwittingly witness his death. Oops. Thankfully she has the wherewithal to escape - with Brienne, of course - and last but not least, we move on to Jon's chapter, in which pretty much nothing happens until he finds the cache of dragonglass wrapped up in a Night's Watch cloak and buried.

Well, Ghost actually finds it, not Jon, but you catch my drift. Anyway, there are plenty of theories as to who left the dragonglass - Benjen, Coldhands, Bloodraven via Coldhands, the Children of the bet is on the Children, with Coldhands being second runner up, but honestly I'm just making slightly educated guesses here and I really don't have much reasoning for either one of them ;)

Now I've put off writing and posting this recap for so long that I'm ridiculously behind on my re-read...oops. That's what I get for taking on so many things all at once, right? (Or at least that's what certain people I know would say. Heh.) On to the next chapters! Pin It

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Confessions

I confess...I received an email Saturday night that I've been approved for a press pass for Galacticon this year, and I'm super excited because BSG! BSG! :)

I weekend was insanely busy and as usual I still don't feel like I got enough done.

I confess...last night's episode of The Walking Dead was actually really good. Really really good. For the first time in a while. Good enough to remind me why I keep watching the show.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Six Fictional Characters Meme

My lovely friends (::cough:: slight amount of sarcasm there ::cough::) kept tagging me in this meme on Facebook. At first I railed against it, but after I put a bit of thought into it - and after a wonderful friend offered to help me make the picture collage below - I figured, what the hell?

So here are six fictional characters I identify with. Funny, yes, four of them are blonde and one of them I guess I kind of look like (Lauren Graham as Lorelei Gilmore, at least as I get older and especially as I have lost so much weight lately - ugh to that, but whatever).

Kara Thrace/Starbuck (the reimagined Battlestar Galactica) - She's authentic. She is who she is, and she's not afraid of it. She's in control of her own sexual agency. But she's also self-destructive. She's complex and messy, but she doesn't run away from that.

Luna Lovegood - She knows she's an oddball and an outsider (though she's at least somewhat more accepting of that than I am myself). She's quirky, but also a trustworthy and loyal friend.

Andrea (from The Walking Dead COMICS) - She starts out as "an insecure and inexperienced young woman", but after what she's faced she becomes "a mature and hardened warrior". She's not afraid of who she is and she goes after what she wants, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Lorelei Gilmore (Gilmore Girls) - She's talkative, loves coffee (way too much), and is a hard worker - but she also loves to have fun. And though she isn't the best at relationships, she's absolutely a romantic.

Pam Poovey (Archer) - She can be crude and obnoxious but she's smart and tough, and she follows her heart no matter what anyone thinks.

Rhett Butler (Gone with the Wind) - He stands by those who do him right, pretty much no matter what. He is smart, even cunning. He has the capacity for amazing love, but he doesn't give it lightly; and when he does, and gets hurt, he walks away. And he's selfish. But aren't we all?

Admittedly, I also had a couple of characters in my "reserves" - Lagertha from Vikings (intelligent and strong, both physically and in spirit; she has no qualms about walking away from Ragnar when he refuses to be loyal to her as his wife) and Jaime Lannister (doesn't think before he acts, has a wry sort of humor, learns to respect those who deserve it and to walk away or deal with those who don't).
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday Confessions

I confess...I'm a bit torn about the current weather forecast for my area. Because yay snow and possible snow days from work, but also who wants to be stuck in the house for half the week? Not me, not really.

I confess...I had a blast at Rave of Thrones Saturday and it was awesome meeting Kristian Nairn, but I'm *still* exhausted from this weekend...the older I get, the harder it is to recover ;)

I confess...I'm so behind on my reading and writing that it's not even funny and I've about reached the point of giving up.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Tara's ASOIAF Re-Read: ACOK, Bran III - Daenerys II


This time there wasn't one repeat chapter, yay!

Problem is, for some reason that makes it even harder to write this little recap.

Bran is still boring, though at least now the Reeds have arrived, and I did get a good chuckle out of Bran sending Little Walder boiled beets and Big Walder buttered turnips at the feast. That and it was nice hearing how he sent food to people who weren't lords or guests - Joseth, who trained his horse, and Hodor and Old Nan, because he loved them. Sometimes I forget that once Bran was actually just a sweet, normal kid. You know, before he started warging into people and stuff.

Seriously, neither one of these looks very appetizing. Go Bran.

Other than that, the only thing that really jumped out at me in Bran's chapter was his comment that Arya would never marry one of the Walders' uncles. How right he was...heh, heh.

Catelyn does have a really great chapter right after Bran's, though. It's funny how even now, it's hard not to be frustrated about Renly's choices. Yeah, we get it, Stannis sucks...but man these people are so obnoxious! It's one of the things that drives me crazy about these books...they're not really an escape, are they, because everything is almost TOO real. And yet that's what I love about them, at the same time.

In fact, Brienne is introduced in this chapter, and she's kind of a perfect example of what I'm talking about. As ugly as she is, and as shitty as she's had it because of that, she still believes things like, "Winter will never come for the likes of us. Should we die in battle, they will surely sing of us, and it's always summer in the songs. In the songs all knights are gallant, all maids are beautiful, and the sun is always shining."

Obviously "winter" does come for her, and very very soon...but for now we leave Catelyn and Brienne and Renly to deal with Stannis, who just arrived at Storm's End.

North of the Wall, the Night's Watch dudes are all up in Craster's Keep (heh, heh), where Sam caused some trouble with Gilly. Again this talk of kings around Jon, ugh! Am I reading too much into this? I know that Sam meant Robb, but if I'm not mistaken Gilly seems to kind of forget herself when she's talking to Jon and says, "Sorry to be of trouble, m'lord. I only...they said the king keeps people safe, and I thought..."

Okay, yeah, probably reading into that way too much. And like the Night's Watch, I have other proverbial "wars" to fight, so moving on...

This is the first time I've noticed that Asha calls out to her own crew - including her lover - while she's hanging on Theon's arm pretending to be Esgred. Did she tip them off that this would be happening, or was it just by chance that they didn't say her name when they talked to her? That's about the only thing I took from this chapter other than that Theon is getting kind of whiny (listen, I get it, he has his reasons - but that doesn't mean I have to LIKE it). But I know how much worse things get for him - and yeah, okay, they're already kinda bad - so I'm just going to back away from this slowly and move on to another not-so-favorite of mine...Tyrion!

I feel like maybe I should have seen Robb's fall coming a lot sooner than I did. First Renly refuses to acknowledge him, and then Tyrion picks apart his "peace treaty" and tosses out 95% of it. Originally I think I was probably just annoyed with Renly and Tyrion, but knowing what comes later changes things a bit. Their reactions are still annoying, but I'm also frustrated with how Robb is acting as well (even as I understand at least some of his decisions).

It's not very different when Tyrion deals with Ser Alliser. It's both frustrating and amusing; the latter because Ser Alliser is a huge jerk, and the former because he's actually telling the truth, a very scary truth, and that truth is being ignored. Interesting, though, how Tyrion says to give Jon Snow his regards...especially so soon after tearing Robb's peace treaty to bits. Yeah yeah, men of the Night's Watch give up their previous alliances...but still. Still.

Other than that, Arya arrives at Harrenhal and is set to work for Tywin Lannister of all people, while Dany arrives in Qarth and finally hears that Robert Baratheon is dead. Jorah bosses her around and that's about it for her, for now...and this is definitely about "it" for me, because I'm more than ready to move on to my next set of chapters :) Pin It

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tara's ASOIAF Re-Read: ACOK, Arya IV - Tyrion V


I have to admit that I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what to say about these seven chapters. Perhaps it's because at this point in Arya's storyline, my interest has already started to drift...and I'm sure I don't need to say, yet again, that I'm just kind of "meh" about Tyrion in general. As Arya and Tyrion chapters sandwiched the only other two characters featured in this set (those being Bran and Sansa), it's been hard for me to focus on writing my recap for them when really I just want to move forward in my re-read.

Or maybe it's because I read half of these chapters after I'd been drinking ;)

But I suppose I'll try, anyway.

Although previously Arya was just trekking through the Riverlands with Yoren and crew, her two chapters in this section include some pretty rough breaks for her. Probably the saddest thing about her current story is that she was still thinking things like, " wouldn't be ghosts at Harrenhal, it would be knights. Arya could reveal herself to Lady Whent, and the knights would escort her home and keep her safe. That was what knights did; they kept you safe, especially women."

Seriously, how very Sansa of her! Unfortunately the first knight she encounters is none other than Amory Lorch, who burns Yoren and the Night's Watch recruits out of the abandoned holdfast they took as shelter, killing Yoren and several others in the process. A hard lesson for her to learn, though I honestly didn't remember her still being so sure of knights and their good deeds at this point in the novels! An interesting reminder for me, for sure. But even though Arya hadn't gotten the hint about knights yet, when Yoren tells her, "'Night's Watch takes no part, so no man's our enemy,'" Arya observes "And no man's our friend". Of course, the Night's Watch does later have a "friend" of sorts in Stannis, but unless Ramsay Bolton's note from ADWD is a fake that *may* no longer be the case.

Of course, Arya doesn't say no woman is their friend...buuut I'm getting ahead of myself. Way ahead of myself. Oops ;)

To conclude my thoughts about what's going on with Arya at this point in ACOK, well, her second chapter in this section was all about positioning. Gendry is captured by Gregor Clegane's men, Arya and Hot Pie are captured trying to save him, Weasel runs off and Lommy is killed and now they're about to [finally] be on their way to Harrenhal, where stuff and things will happen. Side note, though: I do wonder whatever happened to the Night's Watch recruits who ran off on Arya and crew soon after Yoren's death and their escape from the holdfast...but I'm sure I'll stop thinking about that soon enough, because it's not as if it matters, right? Heh.

Meanwhile in King's Landing, Tyrion is busy making chains and meeting whores and disguising himself to visit Shae. And, by the way, getting a LOT of help from Varys. Varys, who was visiting with Illyrio not that long ago. Varys, who we now know is a sort of "sponsor" for FAegon (a.k.a. THE MUMMER'S DRAGON). I've always been interested in Varys' relationship with Tyrion, but the more I read these books the more I wonder what else Varys still knows that we don't, yet. I'm not a fan of the "Tyrion is a secret Targ" theory, but Varys seems to have reasons for everything he does. That said, what are his reasons for "befriending" Tyrion? The *real* ones, I mean - the ones he doesn't advertise. Because there have got to be some of those, right? This is Varys we're talking about, after all.

And while I'm on that subject, was it a typo/mistake in the writing/editing, a slip-up on Varys' part, or on purpose, when he is talking to Tyrion about sending Myrcella to Dorne and notes that Doran Martell still mourns "his sister Elia and her sweet babe". BABE, singular. And how did I not notice this before? This isn't my first re-read so I'm surprised I didn't pick up on that the first or especially second times I re-read this series. Way to go, me.

Anyway, Tyrion also learns that Pycelle is the informer, has some very interesting conversations with Cersei, and begins overseeing the production of the giant chain and the wildfire that will be used in the Battle of the Blackwater later in the book.

See? I told you, SO much Arya and Tyrion.

Bran's chapter is more of the same old, same old. He meets with some of the Stark bannermen and whines about his wolf dreams. All the while, Sansa is busy being smart enough to not trust her maids (she's certain that they all spy on her - clever girl), though she does go to the godswood in response to the note she receives from someone offering to take her home. And hey, although she does decide to "trust" Ser Dontos, it's never a blind trust. Sansa remains wary and on her toes, and I love her and pity her for that.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Confessions

I much as I was ready to be home and sleeping in my own bed, actually doing so after an amazing weekend with friends was kind of difficult.

I confess...that wasn't as difficult as driving home from West Virginia on about two hours of sleep ;)

I confess...I'm still a bit in shock over how bad last night's Walking Dead episode was.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Recent Smoothie Obsession

A while back I was "gifted" a Nutri Ninja blender, but with the holidays and whatnot I hadn't been able to use it in a while. Then I found a peanut butter banana smoothie recipe online, and the rest is history.

(No seriously, I've drank one of these almost every day for the past two weeks.)

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

1 medium banana (size isn't super important unless you're really picky about how much it tastes like banana)
2 rounded/heaping teaspoons peanut butter
1/3 cup plain OR vanilla yogurt (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/2 cup milk (I use 2% but skim is okay as well)
2 large ice cubes (my fridge makes tiny ice cubes so I have to use more like 6 of them, haha)

- Combine all ingredients and blend!

...and if any of my friends have smoothie recipe suggestions, my ears (or inbox, whatever) are open!
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tara's ASOIAF Re-Read: ACOK, Catelyn I - Jon II


My second set of ACOK chapters featured some character positioning and a decent amount of, well, plotting...or at least attempted plotting. It's hard to not re-read some of these chapters - most notably Catelyn's and Theon's - without thinking about all the things that change and/or go wrong between here and the end of the book.

There was definitely a lot going on with Catelyn, though. First things first, what did happen to "the ancient crown of the Kings of Winter"? Maybe it doesn't matter at all, but in this series it's hard not to wonder what statements are throwaways or red herrings. So will we ever find out what Aegon did with that crown? Does it even matter? Only time will tell...just sucks that that time will be many many years. Heh.

One thing that shouldn't be "throwaway", though, is the Blackfish's insistence that the comet, a.k.a. "the Red Messenger", isn't "crimson...Nor Tully red, the mud red of the river. That's blood up there, child, smeared across the sky." And what house uses blood red for one of their colors, hmm? ;)

Anyway, so Robb sends some piss-poor peace terms to King's Landing by way of Tywin's nephew Cleos Frey. Reading through those terms, I was half exasperated because of how strict they were, and yet still half excited that Robb was putting his foot down (yes, even knowing what happens later). Of course that doesn't stop me from being frustrated over his whole "the girls aren't worth Jaime Lannister" thing, even as I *kind of* understand where he's coming from (more so because I know how pissed off Lord Karstark is and what soon becomes of that).

Speaking of the Stark girls, while Arya's one chapter in this section doesn't seem overly important, and Sansa isn't featured at all, I can't help but think of her when reading Davos' chapter. As he watches the statues of the Seven burn at Melisandre's behest, Davos notes that

"The Maiden lay athwart the Warrior, her arms widespread as if to embrace him. The Mother seemed almost to shudder as the flames came licking up her face. A longsword had been thrust through her heart, and its leather grip was alive with flame. The Father was on the bottom, the first to fall. Davos watched the hand of the Stranger writhe and curl as the fingers blackened and fell away one by one, reduced to so much glowing charcoal...The gods in the pyre were scarcely recognizable anymore. The head fell off the Smith with a puff of ash and embers."
I've long seen this passage as a reference to the Starks - or at least mostly so. The Father (Ned) is the first to fall - and he was of course the first Stark to die. The Mother (Catelyn) has a longsword through her heart, "its leather grip alive with flame" - what is this if not a reference to Lady Stoneheart? And the Maiden (Sansa) lies "athwart the Warrior, her arms widespread as if to embrace him". Now most people associate Jaime with the Warrior, but Sandor can hold that place too (possibly even more so, because while he's not technically a knight, he pretty much keeps the knightly vows more than anyone else). The question is, does this refer to Sansa's interactions with Sandor in ACOK...or some future interactions that we have yet to witness?

I got lazy after drawing four of the Seven, sorry.

In terms of the Stranger, while again that could refer to Jaime (and the fact that the hand of the Stranger writhes and curls "as the fingers blackened and fell away one by one" certainly denotes the loss of a hand), if we're sticking with Starks here I suppose it could also refer to Jon and that burned hand that he's always freaking flexing.

I'm not really sure what to make about the bit regarding the Smith. Most people, myself included, associate Gendry with the Smith, but I really really hope we don't see his head get lopped off...perhaps there's someone else close to the Starks who fits as the Smith, or maybe the statues head falling off isn't blatant symbolism for what's to come.

Or perhaps, again, I'm reading too much into all of this

Thankfully I'm not the only one reading into things...even characters do it. In this case I'm talking about Theon and how he notes that Asha's longship is called Black Wind while Robb has a wolf called Grey Wind.

Seriously though, Theon's chapters are so painful for me...though I suppose not as painful as Tyrion's. Of course at this point Tyrion actually isn't all that bad (most of the time, anyway), so I suppose Theon can take the cake for most obnoxious character at the moment. Sad, because I do love Asha, and I really did enjoy the Iron Islands chapter in The World of Ice & Fire.

So Catelyn is still at Riverrun, Tyrion is wreaking havoc in King's Landing, Arya is still trekking up the Kingsroad, Davos is freaking out about Stannis and Melisandre, Theon has made it back to Pyke and his obnoxious father, Daenerys is resting up in Vaes Tolorro, and Jon is wandering around beyond the Wall (but still with the Night's Watch, of course). Not much happened in these seven chapters, but a lot of stuff was set up. And of course I still had to go and focus on things that are possibly completely unimportant because that's how re-reading ASOIAF works ;) Pin It

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday Confessions

I confess...I've said it before and I'll say it again: I totally don't regret wearing one of my Patriots shirts for three days straight. Go Pats! (No seriously THAT GAME THO.)

I confess...I'm suddenly on a health food kick. I eat well anyway (in terms of what I eat), but lately it's all about the smoothies and homemade breads etc. etc. Next up I want to try to make my own energy bars, though doing so means going out of my way to find oat flour...

I confess...February HAS to be better than January. I don't even know that this is a confession because it really, REALLY *has* to be better than January. heh.

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