Saturday Yayfulness Links

I did not do Terribly Well with keeping up with lovely weekly links of YAYFUL THINGS that happened that week last year, but FORWARDS. Here is a round-up of STUFF that I found QUITE LOVELY this week:

1 – Actual local news! There’s been a rather nifty archeological discovery where I live, where archeologists seem to have found the royal seat of a sixth century kingdom known as Rheged, previously thought to be a bit further south in Cumbria.

2 – James Frain has been cast as Sarek in the new Star Trek telly. I love Sarek. By which I mean Mark Lenard’s Sarek. And in principle the idea of recasting the part ANNOYS, especially because I was thoroughly unimpressed with the reboot Sarek. HOWEVER James Frain is actually one of my very favourite actors (I adored his performance as Cromwell in The Tudors and have more or less followed all the stuff he’s done since then) and is in the category of “yes, I will watch this terrible non-genre telly because you are in it” SO I am actually quite sold on the idea now. Shallowly.

3 –Bryan Cranston joins the new Power Rangers movie, and after reading him talking about why and trusting VAGUELY that Cranston knows a good script when he sees one I am..sort of excited about the new Power Rangers movie? SHHHHH. I’M SORRY. But also I was a wee kid when the very first Power Rangers was on the telly and IT WAS RLY COOL, OKAY? Ahem.

4 – This MAGNFICIENT Star Trek fanvid by shinyjenni which brings ALL THE HAPPY FEELS. (Which reminds I haven’t actually seen the new Star Trek movie yet, I should do that.)

5 – The Woman’s March has expanded to all seven continents of the world. Love and support to everyone marching today.

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Doctor Who Buckety List

I failed to make a Friday Flail list so instead (and I totally started writing this on Friday, so it somehow counts against not failing at regular blogging) I give you my DOCTOR WHO BUCKETY LIST. It was supposed to be Bucket List but I typoed and then thought I liked the typo better. ANYWAYS. This is a list of everything I would like to see in (proper, meaning telly) Doctor Who before I DIE. Several things to bear in mind as you, no doubt a reader of fine taste and grand intellect, peruse this list (1) I consider the Time Monster to be top notch Who (2) I’m writing this inbetween gaming where  I’m in the midst of a miserable losing streak and this does not make me cheery (3) I’m quite tired, it’s almost midnight (4) I’m making this up as I go along.

The list!

  1. Doctor-Master bodyswap with Michelle Gomez and Peter Capaldi. Cause who DOESN’T want to see them play the other part?? No-one. The correct answer is no-one.
  2. Patrick Stewart as the Meddling Monk. Ah, the one rumour that I really had my HEART SET ON. And yet it’s not that ridic. Ian McKellen was in it, why wouldn’t PT want to? Apart from time. And money. And maybe hating Doctor Who, I don’t know. But it would be GREAT.
  3. A WOMAN DOCTOR. I’ll tell you who I want to be the Doctor more than anyone else on the planet: Alice Krige. If you don’t know who that is (AND WHY NOT??) she’s actually my very favourite (living) actor and South African so TECHNICALLY ineligible to play the Doctor but sod that, she’d be amazing (she was the Borg Queen, okay? DON’T JUDGE HER BASED ON THAT. Watch Children of Dune and judge her on that.) Actually, Anna Maxwell Martin would also be perfect and wonderful and I’d love her like pie AND she’s even been in the show already (The Long Game) so that means she’s practically got the job.
  4. Gel Guards. A big fuck off army of Gel Guards. So many classic Who monsters have returned, mostly not all that well, but how could ANYONE get Gel Guards wrong? Exactly. It literally COULDN’T happen.
  5. Ooh, Raston Warrior Robot. Yeah. God, they’d probably make it CGI, DON’T DO THAT. Non-CGI Raston Warrior Robot.
  6. The Rani. If only cause then you have to pretend in promos and shit that Time and the Rani is amazing (IT IS). But actually yeah, New Who’s pretty decent with female villains, bring back THE BEST ONE.
  7. You’re probably reading this thinking “dear God, doesn’t she want anything cool and new and original instead of just a lot of recycled old tat from the classic series?” And you know what, reader, YOU’RE RIGHT. That is basically all I want.
  8. NIMON. Another classic monster that it’s literally impossible to get wrong. FACT.
  9. Okay, actually I want some cool FUTURE EARTH stuff where this are GALACTIC POLITICS and interplanetary diplomacy with Ice Warriors on Mars, and Draconians, and it’s all just a THIN ALLEGORY of EU politics. (Yes, I know we had that before and one of the results was Monster of Peladon, but there is NO WAY a show could make something as tedious as Monster of Peladon TWICE…oh, wait, Voyage of the Damned, never mind. No, wait, there’s no way they could do it a third time. NO TELLY COULD BE THAT UNLUCKY.)
  10. Actually, sod it, it’s my list, I’d like a remix of Season 17. For the lols. My lols. No-one else’s probably.

Right, I have to go pretend I know about Star Trek on a podcast.

Who’s the cutest cygnet? (and a new vid!)

So the loch I try and have a daily run by is still frozen over, and some of the swans have taken to investigating the land. And this cygnet came up to me making ridiculously cute noises – I’d no idea swans had cute noises! And I snapped a few pics. (Mummy swan was not far behind and she was far less cute and much more “hissss – away from my child, human!” to which I quickly obliged.)

Also, new vid up today of another classic DOS game, Castles 2: Siege and Conquest playthrough. I LOVE THIS GAME. Also, it’s probably responsible for my love of siege weaponry and much other medieval nonsense. It’s ridiculously good for the time (1992), with politics, plots, castles, and a well-judgey Pope to contend with as you fight it out with a bunch of other noble houses for the throne of France.

If you have any DOS games you’d rec, let me know! I’ve a fair old list, but am always happy to try something new. And I love talking about awesome older games. Computer games are such weirdly ephemeral media. The great plays, and novels, and paintings, and such will get restaged and reprinted and replicated, but the great computer games, even of just 20 years ago get forgotten. Which is such a shame.

Anyway, Castles 2: Siege and Conquest! A classic, dammit.

Top Ten Star Trek: the Next Generation

I am in the midst of flu. Not serious flu, the sort of flu that makes you feel utterly miserable and your limbs ache and your head floofy, but not actually bad enough that you can’t wander about and complain heartily about your pitiable condition. Anyway, flu, yes. YAY. So it’s making writing a smidgen difficult, and I really hate not to write at all, so I’m making this Very Easy What Could Possibly Go Wrong post about Star Trek: The Next Generation. (I would say as part of an ongoing series of blog posts about Trek to celebrate its fiftieth year, but that would be a lie.) Because I felt I was a bit mean about it in this post. I mean, it IS Beige, dammit, but it’s also telly I’ve watched more times than I care to admit. And really, no-one forced me to watch it. And if you can have a podcast’s worth of conversation about any episode of a 176 episode telly series, it’s got to be doing something right. So here we are, a list of my Top Ten TNG stories.

Now since this is a favourites list, it has the virtue of NEVER BEING WRONG (in the actual proper sense of wrongness, not the way I tell people they’re wrong if they diss the Time Monster (that’s Doctor Who, not Star Trek, but I do assume anyone reading my blog knows too much about Doctor Who – it’s totally cool if you don’t though! It just means you spent your time much more wisely than I)). On the down side, it means having to justify my favourite TNG episodes. Luckily, it’s not like TOS where I have to explain a vast and epic love for Turnabout Intruder. So, without further waffling, my Top Ten TNG Stories (stories, not episodes, so I SLIGHTLY cheat and don’t have to worry about whether part one is better than part two):

“Mr. Worf, dispatch a subspace message to Admiral Hanson. We have engaged the Borg.” – Patrick Stewart imbues what looks like a pretty non-epic line with SRS EPIC EPICNESS. Are there any five words better said in TNG than “we have engaged the Borg”? No. No, there are not.

1) The Best of Both Worlds – the first of no less than five stories on the list from season three, which is weird. I never realised that’s where all my favs lived before. Anyway, tBoBW, the King, the Big Mac, the One Everyone Knows Is Best (and It Is). This is gold standard Trek, the sort of Trek you frame, polish, and stick on the mantlepiece to show off to every poor sod passing through who happens to mention to you that they don’t entirely dislike sci-fi. I could happily sit down with this episode and yourself, gentle reader, and explain in painful detail why just about every scene is amazing. Everything is great: Starfleet’s reaction to the Borg, Shelby, Guinan, the starship graveyard, the sense of doom, the Locutus reveal, the Borg ship fight scenes, “Mr Worf…fire!”, the fact this is an honest-to-God ensemble piece and EVERYONE gets something decent to do, Riker has ACTUAL GOOD SCENES (with Guinan, and Shelby, and Picard, by gum), and we get the beige ending (lol, he sends them to sleep) BUT we get the explosion too. So it’s TNG cake and everyone gets a slice and it is AWESOME. Sometimes I forget how good this story is, but every time it’s on the telly I stop to watch and it’s fucking magic all over again.

2) The Defector – Maybe my actual favourite episode, if only tBoBW wasn’t so gobsmackingly good that it’d be physically painful not to give it the number one spot. “The Defector?!” you might be saying. “Wtf is that?” Well, quite. I can only say you’ve NO TASTE. If on the other hand, you’re nodding sagely at this most excellent decision, well done, I assume you like it when Trek doesn’t fuck over the Romulans. See, the Romulans are my fav Trek species. I love them. And I hate almost every story they’re in because after their superlative two TOS episodes, Trek mostly treats them EXCEEDINGLY BADLY (you want to hear my rant about their TNG film appearances? No, no you don’t; no-one does). But for a little while TNG tried. It really bloody well tried to be good to them. This started in two season three stories, The Enemy (worthy but dull) and The Defector, which is, for me, deliciously stupendously good. Don’t get me wrong, if this was a DS9 episode, it would have teeth, but it’s TNG so there is a fuck of a lot of beige AND YET it’s still magnificent. On the character side we have Picard shit scared he’s going to fuck up and accidentally start a war, and Admiral Jarok, a Romulan war hero who’s disgusted at the thought his leaders are trying to press them towards another fruitless conflict with the Federation. You get Picard teaching Data about humanity and I DON’T WANT THEM THROWN IN A PLAGUE PIT, maybe cause they’re messing about with Henry V, maybe cause it’s actually honest-to-God relevant to the episode and no-one is trying to be COMEDIC. It’s another gloomy (for TNG), tense, episode, and it makes me happy, so happy. Patrick Stewart really is amazing, and the Romulans get to be what they’re supposed to me: a nuanced, credible adversary to the Federation.

3) Q Who – Often my feelings about a part of Trek can be summed up by Enthusiastic Quotation of the Appropriate Era, and Q Who is a perfect example of that. It’s REALLY HARD to think of Picard as beige when he’s speeching at the end. Cause it’s top quality speeching, and it’s top quality Patrick Stewart, and that bit where he’s “I need you, Q!” is punch the air GORGEOUS because it’s TNG being fucking self-aware, and it DOESN’T WORK if the show isn’t pompous and moralising. This episode would be bad DS9 is what I’m saying. The whole thing is Proper Good though, taking the Star Trek opening monologue, finding the strange new civilisation and using it to give Our Heroes a good kick in their smug. There’s also every moment with Picard and Q; those are spiffy. And, yes, the Borg are very cool, and no, I don’t care they changed their raison d’etre between this and tBoBW.

4) Chain of Command – This story is forever etched on my memory as That One Time My Parents Exercised A Little Parental Responsibility Regarding the Science Fiction Watched By Their Children. Mum actually prewatched part two of this one, and made a face of “hmmm” at the idea of me watching it. It didn’t last long; I was a very persistent child. Please bear in mind that this was rated PG and I was eight or so, but there were NO PROBLEMS with preschool me sitting down for a good bit of psychological trauma and nightmarish fun in Wrath of Khan (rated 15) and THOSE BLOODY EAR BUGS. Anyway, Chain of Command. So, yeah, another Picard heavy episode and one which gets a lot of kudos for the dark, intense scenes between Stewart and David Warner. And they are exceedingly good. The Cardassians will end up being arguably the most complex, compelling alien civilisation in Trek, thanks to DS9, but even in these early days when TNG was still on, they’re not slouching. The WWII overtones are heavy, but legit; Warner is old skool villainy: polite, urbane, and monstrous. Again, it’s TNG being a bit grown-up as it ends on a sombre, rather gorgeous scene between Troi and Picard as he confesses that he did break. While the Warner and Stewart stuff is the standout, what’s happening back on the Enterprise is pretty nifty too. We get one of my favourite guest characters, Captain Edward Jellico, who is smart, capable, and does not get along at all with his new senior staff. IT’S SO GOOD. And there’s no softening of the relationship, no mutual admiration in the end or agree to disagree, they just don’t gel. And it’s awesome. Because Jellico is smart enough and capable enough to do the damn job anyway and stop a war.

5) Hollow Pursuits – Another TNG favourite that only really properly works as a TNG – if this were DS9 it would be SEEDY but it’s TNG so it’s all PG-RATED FANTASY YAY. Which means it’s only a little bit creepy instead of a lot. HURRAH! But, yes, I love this because Barclay is VERY VERY ME. I mean, sure, I wanted to be Uhura, then Dax, then…sort of T’Pol? A bit. But REALISTICALLY I didn’t have a shot in this shiny utopian future full of military space scientists. AND THEN THERE WAS BARCLAY. And he was awkward and a dork and painfully shy (that bit where Geordi’s “you’re just shy” and Barclay is “you can’t know”? MY HEART) and shit at stuff and used the Holodeck to pretend he was a musketeer and swordfight and HEARTS IN MY EYES, cause suddenly I GOT TO BE ON THE ENTERPRISE TOO. Sure, my boss would patronise me and the captain would call me a vegetable BUT STILL. And aside from the massive overidentification with Our Hero, it really is a smashing story, the best holodeck story Trek ever did. Probably. I mean Our Man Bashir I love more BUT this is, I admit grudgingly, the better story.

6) Yesterday’s Enterprise – This scared me in the good way when I was a wee nipper. I mean this story got to me, right in the heart, and made me have all these big epic feelings about SPACE and THE FUTURE and DEEEEAAATH. I was, what, about five when this was first on? So I didn’t have the most awesome grip on death, I mean I got it, but,y’know, I didn’t really *get* it. And this story is all about death. Which is a little bit morbid but also marvellously uplifting. Because it’s about how you die and what you’re willing to die for, and what your death can mean. We’ve two ships here, alt!Enterprise-D and the Enterprise-C and by the end of the story they have all chosen to die. The Ent-C backstory we got: at a time when Federation-Klingon relations were edging towards war, Captain Garrett and crew responded to a Klingon distress signal. And it was a Klingon colony under attack by Romulans and her Enterprise went in guns blazing, and died trying to defend them. That gets to me. And God knows I don’t like The Klingons – and here they use what we know about their culture to good effect rather thna making me want to stab needles in the back of my hand – the Klingons considered Garrett’s sacrifice a big honourable act, and so relations between the Federation and Klingons improved blah blah Khitomer Accords, all friends now. And shit, that’s just one tiny part of the story. You’ve also got Tasha Yar back, facing the fact that the ‘real’ her had a meaningless death, and you’ve Picard (who, lolariously, meets with Guinan in the great big conference room, and his entire senior staff in the poky ready room – this is the real reason the Federation is losing the war, NO SPATIAL AWARENESS) deciding he and his dudes are going down to try and get the timeline back to what the crazy lady who tends bar says it is. And Riker dies. SEE THIS STORY IS GREAT.

7) Qpid – SHUSHT. Any Trek story that has a pun in the title is gold. FACT. But, yeah, Qpid. This is awesome. And by awesome, I mean lolarious. Q is IRRITATED cause Picard and his dudes kept him alive when he was mortal and he feel he owes a debt so he wants to do something nice for Picard. And every scene this sparks off between Stewart and de Lancie is as awesome as it should be. And just as you are settling in to enjoy the lols, Picard and crew are transported to SHERWOOD FOREST where they are ROBIN HOOD AND HIS MERRY MEN, leading to Micheal Dorn’s greatest delivery of all time, bar none, fact: “Sir, I protest, I am not a Merry Man!” Everything about this ridiculousess is AMAZINGSAUCE cause our Starfleet dudes play it straight and are not down with this shit, and Vash gets the eightiest Maid Marian dress of all time, and Picard accidently ends up having a ball cause he gets to swordfight and exchange witty repartee, well, repartee, with a villain, and you sort of wish Q’d stuck around to annoy them every week because omg it’s so much better when he does. (The one irritating note for me is that the men of the Enterprise all get to swordfight for they are manly men, while Crusher and Troi smash pots on people’s heads. They do look pretty thrilled about it BUT STILL.)

8) Face of the Enemy – MORE ROMULANS. And such great Romulans! Carolyn Seymour plays the second greatest Romulan of TNG. And Troi is GREAT. Don’t diss Troi because here she’s everything she could be if the writers bothered, and she is angry and clever and moral and compassionate and it’s just so nice seeing a Troi-ish reaction to a crisis that isn’t “what’s a warp core breach?” or not bothering to write one at all. And lo, more excellent Romulan characterisation, as we get to see some more of their culture and ways of thinking and UNCARDBOARDNESS. Seymour is the soldier pissed off because her society’s intelligence service is shady as shit, and Troi having to play the shady as shit part when she should be more sympathetic to Seymour’s POV is delicious.

9) Unification – I think, though I don’t really know, this was sort of regarded as not bad but a little disappointing? Because it’s such A Big Deal if you are a Trek fan (we had the novelisation when I was a wee yun and it said something like ”AT LAST!! THE GENERATIONS MEET!!!” on the cover). Well, whatev, I love it. Again, ROMULANS. And everything about Romulan-Vulcan politics. But also Nimoy is pretty great and you get the Undiscovered Country Spock, who I wouldn’t want to watch a series about cause he is a but much BUT in small doses and as a character at the apex of his powers FINE, it’s WELL EARNED. But yeah, not only does this not make a complete fuck up of the Romulans, but there’s some very nice character stuff (Spock and Picard, Picard and Sarek, Data and Spock even, all get top moments).

10) Parallels – In some ways, season seven of TNG is hilariously dire. But it’s slick, so you tend to get swept along anyway and can mostly ignore how daft it’s all got. Except maybe Masks, and Eye of the Beholder. And Bloodlines, and…actually forget it, season seven is NOT GOOD. But it’s the sort of not good you can ENJOY. It doesn’t make me want to remove my eyeballs with a spoon is what I’m saying. Anyway, amidst this mire of so-so hocum is a single glittering gem. Maybe. I’ve no idea if Parallels is any good. BUT I LOVE IT. I remember watching this for the first time utterly riveted. WHAT SORT OF UNIVERSE WILL WORF FIND HIMSELF IN NEXT?? Parallel universes are great, obv, and Parallels has a BIJILLION  of them. And it’s the sort of story that I bet comes across as Irritatingly Smug if you’re not a fan, but if you are, or if you watch a lot of TNG, then it’s a little bit joyous, and such fun. It’s a bloody Worf story, for goodness sake but since it’s more about him being confused than KLINGON HONOUR that fact doesn’t actually do it any harm.

Questions No-One’s Asked But I’m Answering Anyway

1) Where’s The Inner Light?

Er, The Inner Light makes me throw up slightly due to the saccharine nonsense, also when I watch Trek, I want some goddamn Trekking through Stars, not old dude gets older on some planet I don’t care about. I admit I liked it once. I was seven. I also liked Power Rangers.

2) Where’s The Measure of a Man?

I totally rate this story and think it’s top stuff. BUT it’s not a story that fills me with delicious love and glee.

3) What stories narrowly missed out on an Exciting Top Ten place?

Sarek, Ensign Ro, Power Play (SHUSHT), Frame of Mind, All Good Things…, Pre-emptive Strike, Conspiracy, Elementary Dear Data, Deja Q, The Wounded, Night Terrors, Ship in a Bottle, Tapestry, Timescape.

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Game of Thrones 609 Battle of the Bastards and 610 The Winds of Winter

Game of Thrones, remember that? I was doing a super timely review thing after each ep and then thought it would be extra awesome to wait weeks after the final episodes before finishing it off. Yes. I didn’t forget. That would be silly.

BUT GOSH. If you can remember what happened in the last two eps of this season you’ll be remembering several hours of awesome. Season Six seemed super keen on paying off years of telly-watching, and nowhere was it more satisfyingly done than in these final two episodes. SUCH PANDERING. MUCH LOVE.

I went into Battle of the Bastards pretty hyped after seeing the trailer. Swords! Fighting! Sansa! And, lo, it was almost as much as my dizzying expectations expected. Which sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it’s not, I promise. It’s just every year the show has wowed with an even more awesome battle in the final weeks and so I thought it would do so again, but no. While there is no doubt this is a superb piece of on telly fight-y goodness, it didn’t quite eclipse the joy of watching last year’s Hardhome. Yes, even with the fact there were two battles happening, and one of them had dragons.

But twas smashing nonetheless. After the dragons doing SOD ALL for five years, seeing them soaring about the place, tearing up the battlefield was sublime. MORE OF THAT. And then Yara turning up in Dany’s throne room? BE STILL MY HEART. That scene between the two of them was everything I could have asked for. Two of my favourite characters, two women who fight wars in a patriarchal society, but two very different sorts of leader, bloody marvellous. Also PLEASE let Yara meet Sansa, and Cersei. And OH I rly don’t want her to die, even though I think she’s going to at some point, she should get to be Queen of the Seas.

Then what happened? SANSANESS. Also, other people. Like poor Rickon. Oh. That was a bit brilliant. Sadistically brilliant. And lolsome. I know, I’m a terrible person, but I did laugh; shusht, it’s okay, this is fiction. But rly, what a great way to use Rickon. He’s a cypher at this point, the kid brother they lost for years. The audience doesn’t give a dickens about him, and since his fate had to be dealt with at some point, let’s use it to advance the characters of two people we do care about, horribly. Sansa is ridiculous in her awesome here: I love how she’s completely right about Ramsay, but she struggles to articulate exactly what she’s trying to warn Jon against (basically, he will try and make you angry, don’t let him do it, don’t let him anger you into doing something stupid, which is just what happens.)

Also loled at Ramsay’s Edward I schtick in Braveheart of firing arrows into his own soldiers cause they’ll also hit the enemy.

And, damn this battle was *vicious*. Like, claustrophobic and dirty, violent in a chokingly visceral way. More than any other battle I’ve seen on the telly, it feels like it’s replicating the disorentiating terror and confusion of ye olde medieval large scale engagements.

Where it lost me a bit was when Ramsay’s ROMAN LEGIONAIRRES marched onto the field with their SHINY HELMETS and PERFECT FORMATION. Rly? RLY? Where did they come from? Where have they been training their little hearts out? That caused a serious knock in my suspension of disbelief because the professionalism and style of those guys was yelling ROMANS at me, when we’re in the pseudo-15th century otherwise, including all the battles up to this point.

One thing I was totally cheering the heck out of, but can completely understand if *this* is the bit you’re not so keen on as they did the eaxt some thing last year with Stannis, is when the Arryn knights sweep in to win the battle for Jon and Sansa. I might have cried, shusht. And I loved that it looks like they were trying to get the Arryn people all of the whitest horses they could find for SYMBOLISM.

Ramsay’s end. That worked for me. Like immensely. I wanted Sansa to have some serious revenge, and she got it. And, oh, I LOVE HER. I love every moment she’s had this season. Every moment of happiness, every ally she’s found, every triumph she’s had. I know those GITS are all cheering for bloody Jon Snow at the end, but WHATEV. Sansa is Queen.

And the Stark banner falling over the walls of Winterfell. Yes. I cried again. Shusht.

So after all that magnificence, I assumed the next episode would be a little more low key, a little bit of catch your breath as the season ends. BUT NO. It decided it would continue with the DELICIOUS AWESOME, but now in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FLAVOUR. I don’t think telly ever pandered to me so well before, it was ridiculous. Every episode with Cersei, I’ve ended up yelling “Burn it down!” at her. I might have mentioned that once or twice in previous blogs, and then SHE DOES. SHE ACTUALLY BURNS IT ALL DOWN. Or up, whatev. Close enough. The moment when I realised what she was going to do was a truly great moment of telly-watching for me. SUCH JOY. HOW CAN TELLY BE SO GOOD? And oh everything about it, EVERYTHING. From Cersei’s dress, and Lena Headey’s exquisite movements and sipping of wine, to the cracks in Marjaery’s composure, to the Sparrow’s superciliousness that ANY SECOND NOW WILL BE GONE FOREVER. And I love Marjaery, I do, and I’m a big fan of Dormer, but the character was going down at some point. And this was perfect. She’s worked her own plan to get out of a horrific situation, and she’s rescued her brother, and is about to bring down her greatest rival, when Cersei hits the nuke button. And Marjaery KNOWS, she knows something is incredibly wrong and she would have survived if it wasn’t for the inflexible gits of allies that she made who won’t let her out. IT’S PERFECT. No-one is stupid, everyone is in character, AND IT ENDS WITH A BIG BOOM. It’s amazing.

And so the Tyrells are wiped about, save for Diana Rigg, who’s now bent on revenge and heads for Dorne to meet up with Indira Varma. MORE GIDDINESS. I know they can’t win, they’re not the stars, but still. THEY ARE AMAZE.

What else? Arya murders Walder Frey. I don’t know how I feel about that. I mean,it’s fine. And everyone else is getting some revenge on, and it’s abt time that sod died, but still. It felt like a bit whoosh? Though I suppose that is assassination for you. And Arya can face-change! That was very neat. Presumably she gets to do interesting things next season, cause this season was not win for her. SURELY she and Sansa and Jon get to reunite, yes?

AND CERSEI IS QUEEN. REGNANT. That was quite great. Succession laws are fascinating things – we think of male primogeniture being “the norm” in ye olde times, but no. Much more useful was a big fuck-off army and lots of money.

It might have taken SIX YEARS, and DECADES if you are reading the books, but also show watching because stuff actually keeps happening in the show, but Dany finally SETS SAIL TO INVADE WESTEROS. I cheered.

Oh, this season. It is the best. GoT gets a lot of crit for sexist claptrap, which it’s often guilty of, and there are many criticisms I do agree with. But it also has a great array of different sorts of women, with different sorts of power, playing the game of thrones in very different ways. And when you give me numerous interesting women with power in your fiction, it takes a lot to really put me off it. I mean, yes, I would rather I could have that and less sexist claptrap, but here we are, at the end of season six, and all the great characters are women, and all the leaders, bar Jon Snow, are women. There’s a vast conflict coming with Cersei in King’s Landing just crowned Queen regnant, Dany and Yara leading an invasion of Westeros, Olenna Tyrell and Ellaria Sand in Dorne plotting revenge, and Sansa in the north. With Jon Snow. (If you consider this unrealistic, I suggest taking a good look at the leaders of western Europe in the 16th century.) This is my fantasy catnip, people, women wielding political power, and dragons.

So, gosh, yes. Apparently there are only ten episodes left. HOW? I assume they will be perfection. Surely. Yes. OPTIMISM.

Game of Thrones 608 No-one

The antipenultimate episode of the season! And, gosh, it was quite good. It really has been a season of Stuff Happening. And that Stuff all ends of feeling rather meaningful as it’s been earned with oh-so-many hours of sod all happening week after week. Well, we have suffered, but season six is our prize, yay! So, what did happen?

Varys is off on some secret mission. One assumes either to murder Kevan Lannister or find that Targeryen prince who secretly wasn’t murdered BUT MAYBE the show has decided to go somewhere that didn’t have me banging my head against the pages of a book that could kill a thousand cockroaches and still prop up a caravan. Maybe.

“I choose violence.” Violence is bad. Irl violence, as a rule, is a ghastly awful terrible thing, which I’m sure you all know, but I just want you to know that *I* know that. Irl, I am a woolly pacifist, okay? So, bearing that in mind, when Cersei said that line, I jumped out of me seat and made flaily gestures of support at her. Because DAMN IT, she deserves some vengeful vengeance on the High Sparrow and his fanatics. And, politically, OF COURSE I’m on their side, but fictionally? I hope Cersei torches the Sept.

The Brienne and Jaime meet up was definitely one of those moments that was loaded with feelings and meaning that it couldn’t possibly have if we and they hadn’t endured a bloody year of them travelling together. SO WORTH IT FOR TWO MINUTES OF BANTER. Jaimie was actually chilling here, threatening Edmure. The fact that he admits what he does abt Cersei makes me think he’s being honest, and though he might yearn to be regarded as honourable, this is the kind of man he is at heart. (Though it’s not hard to argue it other ways – his vicious threats did mean that no-one on either side had to die, and as far as we know, the only one who *did* die was the Blackfish.)

And Tobias Menzies had lines at last! That was nice. Though what was the point of this Riverrun escapade? Was it just to get Jaime out of King’s Landing so Cersei was alone? I shouldn’t complain, it got Bronn lines. I like Bronn.

May have cheered as the Masters ships approached Meereen, thus proving Tyrion to have been horribly horribly wrong and Missandei and Grey Worm right. Less cheery, obviously, is that there’s a massive fleet of ships owned by enraged slavers attacking Meereen. But I’m sure it’ll be find as Dany has arrived and probably brings dragons with her so she’ll sort them right out, surely. Yes. Good.

Thoros of Myr! I didn’t even have to look it up, I watch this show too much. And…that dude! That he keeps bringing back to life! I can’t remember his name alas. Also, much guilt, but rly the Hound negotiating for how many of his friends’ murderers he gets to execute was lols, and also his annoyance that torture was right out.

And the big moment of the ep belongs to Arya. After a few scenes straight out of Terminator 2, she emerges triumphant and leaves behind her assassin training with the most cheering words of the season so far: “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I’m going home.” There may have been a tear, shusht.

I don’t know whether this season has felt so exceedingly proper because I’m writing about each ep, so more aware of what’s going on, or it really is just smashing. Anyway, next it’s to the battles! Exciting.