Archive for April, 2012

Love in South Park (With Game of Thrones Reference)

Posted: April 27, 2012 by cliffburtonphil1 in Uncategorized

The mid-season finale played it pretty safe, following the love lives of the fourth-grade students in a CW fashion.  It didn’t have as many surprises but it seemed to scale back the scale of the story a great deal. It was titled “Cartman Finds Love,” and was a Cartman-centered episode to a large extent. The overall message tended to be a Pro-Interracial dating theme, only here they applied the message to “It’s okay to date someone of your own race, despite what others may think of you.” The episode saw the introduction of a new character to the story, Nicole, who happens to be the first black girl in South Park.  Cartman, who can’t think about anyone else’s thoughts, immediately thinks that Nicole should start dating the only black male in the elementary school, Token.  Eric Cartman is pulled along by an imaginary cupid version of himself, or “Cupid Me” as he lovingly called it. The notoriously racist and anti-Semitic Cartman seems driven here to get  Token and Nicole together just because they are the same race, and can’t respect their own thoughts and choices. Despite the arbitrary reasons behind their arranged courtship, they do seem to be happy together by the end.

It is probably by sheer coincidence that this happened, but apparently Forbes magazine caught a Game of Thrones reference in “Cartman Finds Love.” Apparently Mr. Garrison was giving a lesson on the Houses of Westeros, a reference that is lost on me due to my lack of the Home Box Office channel. The reference was only mentioned in passing in the middle of the episode, but it still seems strange to have happened in April 2012 given the subject of this blog.

Looking ahead, it will be exciting to see the next seven episodes of season 16.  So far, Matt Stone and Trey Parker have put out 2 films (South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut and Team America: World Police) as well as a Broadway musical (Book of Mormon).

Forbes article:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/04/26/south-park-tackles-game-of-thrones-in-cartman-finds-love/

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Where Do You Belong?

Posted: April 27, 2012 by mac5518 in Uncategorized

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House Greyjoy in Season 1

Posted: April 26, 2012 by mac5518 in Game of Thrones Season 1

House Greyjoy

 

Motto

“We Do Not Sow”

 

The Greyjoys are an ancient noble house that have a strong history as skilled sailors and maundering soldiers.  Unlike several of the other great houses in Westeros who worship the “seven” with a few exceptions like the starks, the Greyjoys who call themselves the “ironborn” worship the “Drowned God.”  They are very similar to the Medieval Vikings preferring to raid, pillage, and rape rather than negotiate and use diplomacy.  This is evident by their “words” “we do not sow” rather they believe you can sow and they will take what you sow.  Their sigil is a golden Kraken on a black field. The Greyjoys have almost a disdain for the people of continental Westeros ,which they call the “greenlands”, all of the leaders of the Greyjoys prefer their traditional way of life, taking their possession and prizes the “iron” way rather than with Gold.

 

Their holdings include the entire of the Iron Islands with their keep at Pyke. Currently the head of the house is Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, King of Salt and Rock, Son of the Sea Wind, Lord Reaper of Pyke, Captain of the Great Kraken.

 

 

During Robert Baratheon’s rebellion, Balon Greyjoy, saw an opportunity to capitalize on a weak kingdom, and decided to name himself King of the Iron Islands, however; with the help of the Lord Stark the rebellion was crushed and 2 of Balon’s heirs were slaughtered leaving only one son, Theon, and a daughter, Asha who Balon views as his heir.

 

In order to secure Balon’s loyalty his youngest son, Theon, became Lord Starks ward.  As seen below Theon walks a tricky line between staying true to his roots as a Greyjob who bitterely hate the Starks, and respecting the man and family that raised him as one of their own.  This becomes a serious internal struggle for Theon in the second book.

 

 

It seems to me that episode four of “A Game of Thrones” has been met with either harsh criticism or praise across various forms of social media. In my opinion, I think HBO did an excellent job in choosing the direction in which to proceed with this episode. Most of the criticism comes from the last scene, which ill agree is a total WTF moment for most non-readers, however, I will go more into detail on this later on.

I’m sure that everyone can agree that King Joffrey may have crossed the line this episode. Not only did he have Sansa beaten in the throne room as punishment for her brother Robb’s victories in the field, he also brutally tortured two prostitutes sent to ‘calm him down’ by Tyrion. Many viewers thought this scene was unnecessary, and while I do agree this was very graphic, it was perhaps one of the most direct ways to show Joffrey’s sadistic tendencies and insane mindset. In the books, Joffrey is slowly transformed into an evil monster; however, the show does not have the time to accurately display this. This is why nobody can deny that in that one scene, everyone lost whatever empathy they may have had for the boy king, putting the show right on track with where it needs to be.

Keeping up with the dark theme of this episode, Arya finds herself at Harrenhal, a relatively abandoned mega-fortress that was severely damaged by dragons many years before the events currently taking place. Her and Gendry are both captives of the Lannisters, whom we soon find out are brutally interrogating and torturing prisoners. Gendry is almost killed until Tywin Lannister arrives, putting an end to the torture and personally taking Arya (unbeknownst to her identity) as a personal cupbearer. This should make for some interesting interactions in the future episodes.

Harrenhal in all of its beauty.

On a brighter note, Daenerys finally escapes the harsh elements of the desert when she arrives at Qarth, ‘the greatest city that is or ever will be,’ according to the people that govern it, named “The Thirteen.” While it took some arguing to make “The Thirteen” open the gates to the city, she finally succeeds and it seems that Dany is safe, for now.

The greatest city that is or ever will be.

Now we get to perhaps the most prominent and important interactions of this episode: Renly and Stannis. The two brothers meet, parlay, and bicker at each other until it is decided that nobody will kneel before the other one. Stannis gives Renly until the next morning to surrender and join him, or else Stannis vows to destroy him. We then find ourselves aboard one of Stannis’s ships at night, asking Davos to smuggle Melisandre ashore. Here is where things take a bizarre and disgusting turn. As Davos leads Melisandre through some underground tunnel, they find themselves blocked off by iron bars. Melisandre calmly says not to worry and proceeds to just flat out give birth to some demonic shadow figure, complete with freakish screams and a disfigured body. The episode then cuts to black. I guess most viewers thought that the episode could not get any more dark than it had been, and seeing this probably left a lot of viewers disgusted and violated. However, it is not like HBO made this up out of thin air. It is fully described in the books, and not only once. Speculatively, although the events play out differently in the book, I believe that Davos and Melisandre are under Renly’s camp; meaning things may not go so well for him in the next episode. We will just have to wait and see.

What a handsome child!

Ziplining

Posted: April 24, 2012 by cliffburtonphil1 in South Park Season 16

I am pretty conflicted on this one, I felt it was good the first time I saw it, but apparently the widespread reaction to last week’s installment was pretty negative.  In this one, the episode parodies Animal Planet’s I Shouldn’t Be Alive series.  A narrator retells the encounter the boys had one afternoon as they went zip lining, with interviews with the characters that tell the audience they somehow managed to survive being extremely bored for 4 hours.  That is, all except for Kenny, who died of boredom.  Stan has the idea to go zip lining, and brings Cartman, Kenny, and Kyle along.  As they meet the other people in their zip lining group, they slowly realize the gravity of the situation. Once they actually get to the first zip line, they realize they must wait for the older people to trod along and drag out the experience unnecessarily.

The characters are never in any actual danger, but instead dramatize a boring or uncomfortable situation going zip lining to the point that it is similar to a heroic struggle of several individuals against the brute force of mother nature.  Meanwhile, Cartman has ingested Mountain Dew, which provides the “ticking time-bomb” metaphor of Cartman’s stomach.  They abandon the zip lining group  and decide to go horseback riding, which will take them back to town.  They then realize that horseback riding is just as boring as zip lining, so they decide to take a powerboat back to town to escape the horrors of horseback riding. Here is where it takes an unexpected turn, as the 4th graders are portrayed by real actors on a boat (who appear to be in their mid-20s) as part of the documentary format parody.  This falls in line with a similar joke from “Free Willzyx,” where the construction paper animation of the four boys are portrayed in an overly definitive form.

Eventually, the three boys are rescued by Mr. Hankey, a piece of excrement who is a recurring character from earlier in the series.  Mr. Hankey was introduced in the first season and was given his own Christmas Special at the end of the 20th Century.

While they did not give a strong anti-wilderness message in this one as I previously expected, they did manage to portray what is typically “outdoorsman” activities into agonizing torture.  Like I said, my first impression was positive, but that may change with time. It was interesting to see also how they took such mundane discomforts to the extreme to give a “Don’t-go-ziplining” message.  Tomorrow’s episode “Cartman Finds Love” will be the mid-season finale, the show will continue later this October.

House Lannister

Posted: April 24, 2012 by mac5518 in Game of Thrones Season 1

House Lannister

 

Motto: “Hear Me Roar”

House Lannister is one of the major houses of Westeros. They are the principle house of the Westerlands, and their stronghold or “seat” is at Casterely Rock which is located just outside Lannisport, and is rumored to be one of the best defended fortresses in the country having never been taken according to tradition.

The Lannisters are one of the most recognizable families in the seven kingdoms.  All of whom possess indistinguishable golden blonde hair and green eyes, a characteristic that leads several hand’s of the King, including John Arryn and Lord Eddard Stark to discover the incestuous relationship of Ser Jamie Lannister and Cersi Lannister whose children who are falsely presented as heirs of King Robert Baratheon and heirs to the Iron Throne.

House Lannister is one of the richest families in Westeros, having the largest gold mine in the realm under Casterly Rock.  In both the series and the book the Lannister’s use their excessive wealth to accomplish their devious and personal ambitions.  The family is so wealthy that common sayings such as “Rich as a Lannister” and a “Lannister always pays his debts” are sometimes confused as their families motto.  Several of the main characters in the series, A song and Ice and Fire, are Lannisters, they include: Lord Tywin, Ser Jamie the “Kingslayer”, Queen Cersi, and Tyrion.  Lord Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock & Shield of Lannisport Warden of the West, is head of the house. As seen below,

 

Lord Tywin is constantly described as a proven military leader, who conducts his matters in a shrewd, merciless manner. During the rebellion of Robert Baratheon Lord Tywin maintained a neutral stance in the War up until it was all but over.  His major desire is to see him House live on through the ages. Lord Tywin has three children, Queen Cersi, Ser Jamie, and Lord Tyrion as seen below

Lord Tywin’s wife died giving birth to Tyrion often called “the imp” a name he despises.  Tyrion, one my favorite and most intriguing characters in the series and is featured on the far right. Tyrion is a deformed dwarf who lives a lavish wanton lifestyle; he is often degraded by several characters throughout the series including his own family members aside from his brother,Ser Jamie. He is often seen drinking wine, whoring, and reading.  He is the most underestimated characters in the novel. Tyrion and Lord Tywin have a completely dysfunctional relationship, both despise the other and make very little attempt to hide this. Thus far in the series Tyrion has demonstrated his uncanny ability to stay alive and talk his way out of dangerous situations.

After Robert Baratheon’s rebellion comes to an end; in order to maintain power and peace Robert weds Cersi Lannister. Cersi who claims she originally loved Robert, but who never reciprocated any affection or feelings of love eventually engages in an incestuous relationship with her twin brother Ser Jamie that leads to the birth of 3 children Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella.  Cersi is an ambitious women concerned only with her own children.

House Lannister is one of the largest and most complex Houses in the entire series.  All the major characters mentioned above have qualities that the audience may respect and relate to, but overall the House is the major antagonist in the series.  In the first book and season, the audience constantly cheers against this house say with the possible exception of Tyrion.

By far my favorite episode of the season so far, episode three contains enough action to satisfy the most bloodthirsty viewers while still developing the plot and characters tremendously. Every character is covered in this episode except for Daenerys and Robb, but the exemption of these characters led to stronger scenes with all of the other characters.

Jon Snow survives his run in with Craster and we finally learn what he has been doing with his wives (sisters) male children; giving them to the Others! For the first time since the prologue of the first season, we receive a glimpse of these scary looking dead humanoids hat the Nights Watch is so concerned about.

Renly receives a ton of attention this episode, as Catelyn Stark finally makes her way South to him to try and form an alliance between him and Robb. We are introduced to two more characters during his scenes: Margaery Tyrell and Brienne of Tarth. Both of these characters will play huge roles over the next few seasons, so get to know them now. We also receive that ‘sexpostion’ that I described in my last review, this time between Margaery and Renly. Margaery informs Renly that she is aware of his homosexuality, but also takes a mature role in saying that she does not care, as long as he can put a child in her. Renly is a king, and a king needs an heir.

Bran is plagued by another direwolf vision, but nobody is paying his experiences the attention that it deserves. Maester Luwin, Winterfells resident doctor, basically tells Bran that these are only stupid dreams, and they will pass in time. However, viewers can only imagine that these dreams will become stronger and more pronounced, giving Bran a very unique power that has the potential to cause some very severe disturbances.

Tyrion is up to his old tricks again, and this time he dismantles the small council even more with the removal of Grand Maester Pycelle. The way this was filmed was nothing less than brilliant, as the directors manage to fit three lengthy scenes into one short one while explaining his removal perfectly.

My two favorite scenes in this episode involve Arya and Theon. Beginning with Theon, this episode really confirms his transformation. He burns his letter destined for Robb that explains of an incoming attack, essentially cutting all ties with him. He is also ‘reborn’ in the eyes of the Drowned God as a true Greyjoy, and plans to sail off and attack the coastline in the name of his father.

Along with the letter, Theon burns his ties with Robb.

The show ends with an Arya scene, when the Night’s Watch is confronted and attacked by Queen Cersei’s men. Yoren is killed in an extremely heroic manner, being shot with a crossbow and still managing to kill four or five guards. While I knew about his death from the books, it still sad to see him killed, although I am pleased in the way they did it. Arya is then captured by the Queen’s guards, and through some quick thinking tells them that they have already killed Gendry, pointing to a body aside his iconic helm.

The editing, cinematography, and content all contribute to making this an excellent episode. We are now starting to get close to the halfway mark of the season, and new twists and surprises lie around every corner. Episode four should be even better than this one, as I have heard that it contains a major scene that is very famous form the book, although I am curious to see how it is adapted to the television screen.