Books are awesome. But making a book an interactive experience, making it leave the page and enter the land of games, is much more difficult. The most common example of the attempt are visual novels. Visual novels are really hit or miss; to make a game that is also a book, you need to make your largely text-based experience immersive. Analogue: A Hate Story, is the most spot-on, out-of-the-park visual novel I’ve ever ‘played.’ Immersive doesn’t even begin to touch this story – try enthralling.
On the surface, “Second Sons” wasn’t that much different from the last couple weeks of Game of Thrones: lots of set-up, checking around the world, and a loose thematic connection with one big Oh SHIT! moment holding it all up. But while it lacked the snappy dialogue of “The Bear & the Maiden Fair” or “The Climb’s stunning visuals, “Sons” was a much better paced, plotted episode than either of those, and a quiet contender for one of the season’s strongest yet.
The title of the episode is about as much “theme” as it needs – second sons, from Stannis to Sandor to Tyrion, unfavorites everywhere you look. But there’s another undercurrent running through the episodes, in moments of brutal and sometimes unasked-for honesty; characters getting or seizing the opportunity to finally say what’s on their mind, with mixed results. It’s part of the power of the episode, where even when there aren’t any more events actually happening than in the last few weeks, characters are making powerful and inescapable choices that very clearly set things in motion.
We need to talk about Theon Greyjoy.
Well. That’s not entirely accurate. We don’t need to talk about Theon Greyjoy. I just feel compelled to bring him up, because there has been a lot of screen time spent on the misadventures of Balon Greyjoy’s baby boy and at this point, it’s not really taking us anywhere. One of the downsides of book-to-screen conversion is that unlike ink-and-paper creations, characters with actors attached to them can’t really be shuffled offscreen for years at a time. Sometimes that’s yielded dividends for Game of Thrones, as with Jaime Lannister’s invented Season 2 material and the unexpected prominence of the Tyrell family. And sometimes, well…
Welcome to a Dorkadia review of Game of Thrones! Reuben is writing these from the perspective of a book reader & show watcher, but focusing on the show and using the books to inform his perspective; there will be discussion of previous book moments but no spoilers for future events.
One of the best moments in A Song of Ice & Fire is right at the beginning of A Storm of Swords. The prologue, set among the enlisted men of the Night’s Watch, is all low-rent intrigue, pissing and moaning, and cold – miserable, nuts-freezing-off, borderline uninhabitable cold. It ends with the arrival of the undead army that ended season 2 of Game of Thrones, heralded by a third, terrifying horn blast; and then suddenly we’re hundreds of miles south, with a warm autumn breeze blowing through the hair of Jaime Lannister, the reviled Kingslayer, and we’re is in his head as he rejoices in his newfound freedom. That transition is one of George R.R. Martin’s most masterful bits of writing, and a great preview for the nonstop rejiggering of expectations that is Storm and therefore Season 3 of GoT.
About four years ago at my last job, a coworker introduced me to A Very Potter Musical. AVPM, which is a series of performances based on the Harry Potter universe, set to music and filled with lampshades, loving riffs and meta themes about fandom. I immediately fell in love. Our office was quickly filled with quotes (what the hell IS a Hufflepuff?), Red Vines (what can’t they do?), and singing about how Hermione Can’t Draw (even if she reads a book about how to draw!). I’m sure it was annoying as hell to everybody else, but it was a magical time for us.
If you haven’t watched these on YouTube and you have even a little passing familiarity with the Harry Potter franchise, you should really check them out. If you’re like me and you grew up reading and loving the Harry Potter franchise? You owe it to yourself and your reserve of hilariously quotable lines to watch.
Welcome to a Dorkadia review of Game of Thrones! Reuben is writing these from the perspective of a book reader & show watcher, but focusing on the show and using the books to inform his perspective; there will be discussion of previous book moments but no spoilers for future events. Expect this to be a weekly feature, albeit one starting just a teensy bit late.
There’s a subtle, priceless moment in this week’s Game of Thrones, fleeting enough to pass over without much notice. Margaery Tyrell manages to distract her husband-to-be Joffrey from his tour of Targaryen corpses (everyone needs a hobby, and Joffrey’s is cataloging historical dead people) long enough to wave to the teeming crowds of King’s Landing, which terrifies his mother. After all, the last time Joffrey went out in public, there were riots and peasants flinging actual shit and the Hound killed about seventeen people. This time, though, due to the proximity of Westeros’s own Princess Diana, the crowd cheers Joffrey, and he basks in their adulation. Cersei Lannister’s reaction is a conflicted welter of emotions – a little pride and satisfaction, a little fear, a lot of jealousy, and the dawning realization that despite her paranoia, she’s still underestimated the Tyrells and their influence.
It’s a fabulously acted moment, but it’s also sort of a keystone for the loose theme of “And Now His Watch Is Ended” – sudden and shocking shifts in power. Power, of course, is sort of the main point of Thrones, spelled out explicitly in Varys’s* season 2 monologue lifted straight from A Song of Ice & Fire; what makes this episode interesting is in how many different ways the rug is pulled out from under previously secure characters. Whether through trickery, overconfidence, unfamiliarity, or good old-fashioned direction application of violence, “Ended” is mostly an hour-long reminder that nobody in Westeros or Essos is really secure in a position of power. Ever.
Contains spoilers for Kick-Ass and minor spoilers for the newly released Kick-Ass 2 (trade paperback). Also some foul language and discussion of sensitive topics like rape. Thanks, Mister Millar.
I don’t completely dislike Mark Millar. For awhile I thought that he was just really hit-or-miss; I adored his work on The Ultimates but absolutely hated Wanted. After reading Kick-Ass 2, I’ve discovered it’s just that I prefer my Millar confined by the limits of writing for an established franchise within the rules of writing for a mainstream big name character or team.
The problem with Millar unleashed and running free is wildly imprinted on Kick-Ass 2 and a huge part of the reason that I just didn’t really like it very much.
At the time you’re reading this, Game of Thrones’s third-season premiere has come and gone. Blood has been spilled, pithy witticisms have been uttered, and important backstory has been conveyed through the medium of people fucking. And millions – literally, millions – of people have watched it, as they did the last couple seasons.
That hasn’t stopped being weird yet. I picked up the books back in the dark ages of high school, when everyone was waiting for A Feast For Crows to come out so we could read it and then all start waiting for A Dance With Dragons to come out. So I’m not going to pretend I’m some kind of max-level, 90s-convention-fan-club ASOIAF hipster; by the time I got on the bandwagon, the first three books were fantasy standards.
When I moved up to Seattle in 2007, my new housemates gave me one of the weirder ultimatums I’ve ever experienced. “You can stay here until you find a place,” they told me, “But you have to read this webcomic. If you’re going to live here, you have to read this webcomic. Trust us.” So I opened up Achewood dot com, went back to the very first strip, and read, uh, this.
Well, this year’s ECCC is over, staggering to the finish line in a haze of energy drink cocktails and cosplay-related hairspray fumes, tripping over the inert form of a passed-out Deadpool. Sunday afternoon conventioneering is really a whole undertaking of its own; a mix of low-key visitors who just came for one day to hit the dealers’ hall at its quietest, and the 3-day pass folks who are by this time a wretched, hungover mess. If you enjoy people-watching but don’t want to pay sixty bucks to do so, just grab lunch near the Seattle Convention Center on the Sunday of a big con. You’ll enjoy yourself, potentially at my expense.