Game of Thrones: The Watchers on the Wall. You know nothing.

We are quickly approaching the season finale so we know we’re going to see a good bit of action between this episode and the next. This episode starts out with Jon and Sam talking on the top of the Wall about love and loss and death.  Sam gets Jon to talk about Ygritte and Sam admits to his desire to have sex with Gilly and pretty much says the only thing stopping him is the fact she didn’t offer.

What the Watchlings don’t know

Sam probably wanted to have sex with Gilly the whole time he was helping her, but he never would have admitted that.  In fact in the books she comes on to him pretty strong (after this time) and he turns her down repeatedly because of his vows.  Sam says that he’s a coward, but he is one of the strongest willed people on the Wall.  He sees things in right and wrong even if his idea of what is right isn’t exactly what others would agree with.  Also Jon probably wouldn’t have talked so freely about Ygritte.  He does love her and dreams of being able to truly be with her, but is ashamed of his actions with her even though The Halfhand ordered him to do whatever it took to blend in.

Moving on to Ygritte we get to hear Tormund Giantsbane tell part of his story about sleeping with a bear. Tormund is one of my favorite characters in the books and I’m sad we didn’t get to hear the whole story.  Ygritte however interrupts him and fights with the cannibal Wildlings. More specifically the leader of the Thenns.

What the Watchlings don’t know

The Thenns in the books weren’t cannibals and although they were scary dudes they weren’t creepy like these guys.  I’m guessing that the Thenns are being used to combine all the bad things about the Wildlings and to take the place of a character named Rattleshirt.  I’m not horribly upset with this change though.  I can see the sense in consolidating.

Here is that story from Tormund since it was cut short on the show:

I was in me Ruddy Hall, with only a cask o’ mead to keep me company and nothing to do but drink it. The more I drank, the more I got thinking about this woman lived close by, a fine strong woman with the biggest pair of teats you ever saw. She had a temper on her that one, but oh, she could we warm too, and in the deep of winter a man needs his warmth.

“The more I drank, the more I thought about her, and the more I thought the harder me member got, till I couldn’t suffer it no more. Fool that I was I bundled meself up in furs from head to heels, wrapped a winding wool around me face, and set off to find her. The snow was coming down so hard I got turned around once or twice, and the wind blew right through me and froze me bones, but finally I come on her, all bundled up like I was.

“The woman had a terrible temper, and she put up quite the fight when I laid hands on her. It was all I could do to carry her home and get her out o’ them furs, but when I did, oh, she was hotter than even I remembered, and we had a fine old time, and then I went to sleep. Next morning when I woke the snow had stopped and the sun was shining, but I was in no fit state to enjoy it. All ripped and torn I was, and had me member bit right off, and there on me floor was a she-bear’s pelt. And soon enough the free folk were telling tales of this bald bear seen in the woods, with the queerest pair o’ cubs behind her. Har!” He slapped his meaty thigh. “Would that I could find her again. She was fine to lay with, that bear. Never was a woman give me such a fight, nor such strong sons neither.”

There is the theory that the “bear” he slept with was a Mormont woman, perhaps Lord Mormont’s sister. I don’t know that I buy that, but that would make for an interesting twist!

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Swap back to Sam still talking about sex. Seriously Sam I don’ t think you’re supposed to tell everyone about how you want to break your vows? OK we get it you think Gilly in all her incestuous glory is hot. But wait! I bet all of you Watchlings had forgotten about Maester Aemon told Jon Snow that before he became a Maester he was Aemon Targaryen. Don’t worry they are reinforcing that again for you.

And then all of a sudden Gilly shows up with the baby and Sam suddenly gets his courage. . .right before the Wildlings show up.

What the Watchlings don’t know

Once again Sam felt strongly about Gilly, but he didn’t flagrantly flaunt any desires to break his vows or “go with her wherever she goes.” I’m guessing they are setting up this storyline to help you out a little later with some stuff that happens. . .and stuff.  But unless they speed that part of the plot along it’ll be a while before anything develops on that front.

So Maester Aemon once again brings up his heritage, probably just to remind everyone that had forgotten it since it was first told a few seasons ago.  This is important though because The Red Woman is on the hunt for King’s blood to do spells with and Aemon comes from kings.  Also it’s important because eventually even Maester Aemon will hear about Dany and her dragons.

Enter the beginning of the Wildling battle. Now I’m not one for epic battle scenes, but the show does this really well.  It was very much reminiscent of The Battle of Helms Deep.  All we needed was an elf and a dwarf competing over the number of kills and it could have been straight from The Lord of the Rings. I’m not going to break down every bit of this battle so I’ll just hit the highlights as they come about.

What the Watchlings don’t know

Janos Slynt is being used to manipulate the Wall from King’s Landing– not very well, but that’s one of the reasons he is such an ass to Jon Snow. Janos is really a horrible human being even more so than the show makes him seem. This episode showed Ser Alliser pretty much tell Jon that the was right, but he didn’t care that he was right. Yeah him and Janos get along well.  That’s all.

Also Sam is getting braver, but not quite so brave as it looks here.  I do love that they have Sam encouraging all the brothers.  He’s the last person you’d think would lend courage to others. Finally the giants should be important later on. Know that most people thought giants extinct too so just the sight of giants attacking was disconcerting for the Black Brothers.

 

Continued death and destruction from the Wildlings– all the blood and guts you could desire. Scary giants, scary mammoths, scary Wildlings. Many people die and it’s hard to keep track of all the deaths, but 0f course there is just one death that they want to you be sure to have emotional damage about. Ygritte.

“Jon Snow, is this a proper castle now? Not just a tower?”“It is.” Jon took her hand.“Good,” she whispered. “I wanted t’ see one proper castle, before … before I …”“You’ll see hundred castles. The battle’s done. Maester Aemon will see to you. You’re kissed by fire, remember? Lucky. It will take more than an arrow to kill you. Aemon will draw it out and patch you up, and we’ll get milk of the poppy for the pain.”She just smiled at that. “D’you remember that cave? We should have stayed in that cave. I told you so.”“We’ll go back to the cave,” he said.” You’re not going to die, Ygritte. You’re not.”“Oh.” Ygritte cupped his cheek with her hand. “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” she sighed, dying.”

“Jon Snow, is this a proper castle now? Not just a tower?”“It is.” Jon took her hand.“Good,” she whispered. “I wanted t’ see one proper castle, before … before I …”“You’ll see hundred castles. The battle’s done. Maester Aemon will see to you. You’re kissed by fire, remember? Lucky. It will take more than an arrow to kill you. Aemon will draw it out and patch you up, and we’ll get milk of the poppy for the pain.”She just smiled at that. “D’you remember that cave? We should have stayed in that cave. I told you so.”“We’ll go back to the cave,” he said.” You’re not going to die, Ygritte. You’re not.”“Oh.” Ygritte cupped his cheek with her hand. “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” she sighed, dying.”

What the Watchlings don’t know

Jon didn’t see Ygritte die exactly like this.  He found her after the battle with an arrow through her and then worried/dreamed that he had been the one that had killed her during the battle and didn’t realize it. She did die in his arms, but it wasn’t quite so poignant as this scene.  This is one time I will say that I prefer how it was changed to how it was written.  There was closure here.  Jon saw her, felt relief at her presence even if she did look like she was about to kill him, and then got to say goodbye after she was shot. It was nice to have a good end to this love story. And by good I mean heartbreaking end, but I think everyone knew how that would end.

Sam and Jon are walking around and leading the clean up from the battle.  Then Jon announces his intentions to go and treat with Mance Rayder and try to put an end to this without more loss of life. I want to know where Ghost is? He was let out so why is he not at Jon’s side.  I would think Jon would want him by his side during this interaction with Mance.

Last comment from the episode is that the variations on the theme song were amazing.  It was dark and pulled at one’s emotions just by hearing that familiar, yet different, line of music.  Beautiful.

What the Watchlings don’t know

Ser Alliser and Janos Slynt were not present during this battle, but showed up after it was done to talk about what should have happened.  They then forced Jon Snow to go out and meet with Mance Rayder fulling assuming that Mance would kill Jon for his betrayal.  That’s the way it appears to be going until. . . something happens that I’m assuming we’ll see next week.

I love that Jon is a strong character and seems to be in control, but also miss that level of desperation that Jon felt being sent to his most certain death.

Next week will be so very very eventful.  We have a wedding to plan, a wife to kill and Guilder to frame for it.  Or maybe a peace to negotiate, a dwarf to kill and a whore to blame for it.

Boob count: 0 (! Really HBO? I’m surprised you didn’t throw in a female giant’s boob)

Major Character Death: 1 (Ygritte)

The Mortal Instruments, Good Young Adult Fiction?

I’m a sucker for a movie based on a book. So when my close friend (who runs this awesome blog) recommended that I read The Mortal Instruments series and I saw that there was a movie about to come out I couldn’t resist.  I hurried and read it finishing it just before the movie came out.

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My thoughts?  The books had promise.  I had hopes that the author could develop the story line into something pretty good.  I wasn’t hooked like with series like Harry Potter, Mistborn, The Wheel of Time, A Song of Ice and Fire or even, ahem. . .Twilight. (Confession time:  I included some of those series in my list to let you know I don’t always sit at home reading sappy young adult love fiction).

The movie however, as happens most of the time, was not on par with the book and I wasn’t super impressed with the book.  There were quite a few painful moments and times when the ferocious shadowhunters didn’t seem too bright (I mean really?  You froze the demons and then tried to squeeze past them instead of stabbing them with your demon killing angel blade?)  It still was better than the first Twilight movie.  Having a lead actress with more than one facial expression probably helped.  So I trudged on.

The rest of the series was a quick read.  I averaged about 3/4 a book a day and I was genuinely interested to find out what happened.  Time and again though I was disappointed in where the author took us.  It started out as a dark mix of Harry Potter (a young person finds out that they are part of a magical world– not only part of that world, but an important, slightly famous, part) and Twilight (girl falls in love with bad boy with a soul and their love is dangerous).   Although it was somewhat an obvious plot line I thought it had promise.  The author tried to tackle more adult subjects than I expected in YA fiction: homosexuality, premarital sex, incest, murder.  However, she approached them in such unrealistic and immature ways it ruined the attempt.

Homosexuality: OK, Alec is gay.  That’s cool.  OK he hasn’t come out yet.  I’m sure he’ll work up to it.  OK he does that and gets in a relationship.  I’m even cool with the fact that he became obsessive and basically the worst boyfriend ever.  I’m not cool with the fact that the author felt the need to shout “DON’T FORGET THEY ARE GAY!” every chance she got.  I totally hadn’t forgotten.

Premarital sex:  THIS is the subject that bothered me the most.  None of the characters had a problem with having sex.  In fact almost all of them WANT to have sex, but conveniently something happens to stop it.  Somehow it’s never morals or parents that stop it, but “I just want to make out a cuddle” ’cause teenage boys TOTALLY go for that.  Do I think it’s a good idea for a bunch of 15 year olds to be having sex every chance they get?  No.  Do I think unsupervised 15 year olds will have sex every chance they get?  Most definitely.  So don’t pretend they won’t.

Incest:  Is it just me or did Clary and Jace have more sexual tension when they thought they were brother and sister than after they found out they weren’t related?  It was almost as if once they found out they could have a relationship they weren’t that into each other anymore.  That only works in A Song of Ice and Fire. The Lannisters were messed up enough to pull it off; Clary and Jace, not so much.

Murder was really just brushed upon.  Jace murdered while he was under a spell so it’s all cool.  Clary only kills demons and Simon just almost killed someone so once again we’re all good.

Do I think these books are worth the read?  Yes, but check them out of the library and read so many other series first.  OK here’s where I’m going to say something that will piss many of you off.  I think Twilight is a better series. The characters are developed better, the villains are scarier, and the love story makes more sense.  So if you’re looking for a YA cheesy love story pick up Twilight again or if you’re looking for a YA series that has a little more meat to it read the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson.

How do I think this series could have been saved?  If it had been written about Simon.  Simon was the only realistic character.  He dealt with issues like a real person would,  I wish he (and all the other characters) had been at least 5 years older than they were to make all of their independence believable, but he was the most real character in the book.

So I’m sorry if I blasted your favorite book.  If you disagree let me know why.  Back up your argument.  I didn’t hate the series I just got distracted by what I saw as unrealistic events or circumstances (no I’m not talking about portals or magic, I’m talking about unsupervised teens running around New York  or teens in charge of their hormones).

Once again if you have an argument that could change my mind– throw it at me.