Am I nuts if I think Sansa Stark’s outfit on the last episode of “Game of Thrones” looks vaguely reminiscent of the Night King’s armor?

Somebody please tell me this is not foreshadowing her death and reanimation as a wight, or some variation of a White Walker …

What do we call that resurrection process, anyway?  Wighted?  Wightened?  Wightwashed?


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A few quick words on the “Game of Thrones” Season 7 premiere.

The premiere of Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” was damned good … enough for me to give it a 9 out of 10.  (You know you’re enjoying a TV show when you are riveted to the screen.)

The dialogue and character development for this show is always first-rate, and the acting often is.  Last night was no exception — the exchange between Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), for example, was priceless.

The glimpse of The Night King’s wight army, however brief, should please any horror fan.  I watch a lot of horror movies, and I’m a tough fan to please.  Yet I am still surprised at how this fantasy show continues to succeed in scaring me.  It’s impressive.  If the leaked script for Season 7 is accurate, then the bad guys in the final episode ought to be damned frightening.

I will reiterate a very minor longstanding quibble that I have had with “Game of Thrones” as someone who has not read the books.  This story seems to attach tremendous dramatic emphasis to the movement and arrival of groups of people.  I do understand the need for this, and its appeal — the logistics are part of George R.R. Martin’s world-building, and they bring detail and a sense of realism.  There are times, however, when I feel like Daenerys’ defining character trait is that she … goes places.  (Look!  Now her army is here!)

I won’t say much more for fear of spoilers — this is a show where even mentioning a character’s name can suggest a chapter in his or her character arc.  (I will say that I loved the opening segment, even if I was understandably puzzled at first.)

This is great TV.


“And then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the iron throne.”

The “Game of Thrones” Season 7 trailer dropped … yesterday, I think. It looks to be a great season. Has there ever really been a bad season of this show? I’d name the first one as the least of them, and that was still pretty good.

If Arya dies, we riot.

If Sur Davos dies, we riot. (I’m never clear if it is “Sur” Davos or “Sir” Davos. Because I never read the books.)


A short review of “Underworld: Blood Wars” (2016)

I’m not sure what to say about “Underworld: Blood Wars” (2016).  It really differs little from the previous “Underworld” movies.  If you’ve seen those, you’ve kinda seen this one.

The vampires look like underwear models, or maybe a goths-only high school drama club.  The werewolves look … not homeless, exactly, but like burly, long-haired, unemployed grunge rockers.  Both groups speak portentously and repeatedly about things like “LINEAGE” and “BLOOD LINES” and “THE WAR” and “AMELIA.”  (Who was Amelia again?)  There are the requisite betrayals and forbidden inter-species romances.  The entire thing felt like a feature-length music video.

Maybe I’m being too harsh.  I would actually give this film a 5 out of 10 for at least bringing some good things to the table.  Kate Beckinsale is a good actress, and she brings the same magnetism that she always does to Selene, the franchise’s protagonist.  Charles Dance is always superb, and is always fun to watch.  (There are at least two “Game of Thrones” alumni here — one is Dance as a vampire elder, and the other is Tobias Menzies as the leader of the “Lycans.”)  The nicest surprise, though, was seeing Lara Pulver as an ambitious vampire alpha female — fans of “Sherlock” (2010 – 2017) will recognize her as that series’ incarnation of Irene Adler.  She’s a great actress, and she seems to relish this kind of role.

All in all, though, I can’t say I actually recommend this.




Dennis Villelmi interviews Rob Goodman

Be sure to stop by The Bees Are Dead for Dennis Villelmi’s interview with actor and author Rob Goodman.  Depending on your tastes in film and television, you might recognize him from “Gangs of New York” (2002), “Game of Thrones”  (2014) or “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (2003).

Mr. Goodman was a truly wonderful interviewee, and spoke on subjects ranging from his own tumultuous school days to the field of paranormal inquiry known as psychogeography.

And hey — while you’re there at The Bees Are Dead, also be sure to peruse Ryan Quinn Flanagan’s poem, “The Birds of Afghanistan.”  It’s a terrific piece.



First snowfall on Peace Mountain, 2017

Credit for the name of the mountain where we live goes to my girlfriend; I named the house — “Winterfell.”  I’m naming a lot of things after “Game of Thrones” this winter.  (Because it is “Coming.”)  Remember I shared a picture of the vestigial remains of shack, in which only a strewn roof was still intact?  That I dubbed “Craster’s Keep.”  And I am starting to think of Lynchburg as “King’s Landing.”

This was only the  initial powdering last Friday — of course the snow became much heavier that night.








A few quick words on “Game of Thrones” Season 3

To avoid spoilers, my review of “Game of Thrones” Season 3 will be necessarily brief, dependent as this show so often is on the key betrayals that affect its plot.  In short, I loved it, and I’d give it a 10 out of 10.  I don’t know why I’ve felt so reluctant to do that … maybe because I used to view it as too mainstream, given its zealous and seemingly universal fandom?  This would be a dishonest review if I didn’t admit that I was hooked on the show I used to make fun of.

It has some of the best acting and dialogue in recent memory.  The show might be worth watching for Peter Dinklage and Charles Dance’s verbal sparring, alone, for example.  Now, in this third season, Jon Snow and Daenerys finally evolved into heroes that I could actually root for.  (They seemed a bit thinly rendered up until now.)  I actually cheered when she wiggled that deal to purchase “The Unsullied” slave army.  And there was just more … fun stuff — dragons, White Walkers, melees, surprise attacks, etc.

At times the show feels slow to me — its is still pretty chatty, and neither the White Walkers nor Daenerys’ forces will ever win a war by moving swiftly.  After three years of the show, they’re … still moving south and north, respectively.  Rommel would have routed them easily.

And, at times, “Game of Thrones” is too dark even for me.  The scenes of torture and the bloody betrayals among allies’ sometimes make me think that the writers (or George R. R. Martin himself) simply wish to depress their audience.

Those things can’t prevent me from being just as hooked on this as everyone else, though.  Great stuff.