Monday, May 20, 2019

GoT: Winter is over and our watch has ended…


I really wanted to see Jon or Arya take out Grey Worm...

***SPOILERS***

With the final episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ having finally aired the internet trolls and haters are out in full force spreading their hate and venom to any who will listen about how much they hated the series finale. I am neither a troll nor hater, despite what certain people say when I speak out against the abysmal ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ (fitting that their acronym is ‘STD’…something you definitely do not want…). I thought the series finale of GoT was good and a fitting end to the series. Was it everything I had hoped for? No. I held out hope Jon would claim his birthright and be the King he was supposed to be. But this is ‘Game of Thrones’ after all, if you were expecting a perfect and happy ending you really were not paying attention all these years.

As I stated in a previous blog post I feel the last few seasons of GoT were rushed. But I also understand there is more to consider when making a TV series such as the business end of making a TV series. When writing books such as this that George RR Martin has done, there really is no limit to what he can and has put down on the printed page. But when making a TV series there are so many variables that come into play when telling your story such as money, actors, crew, locations, studios, viewers, time…so many things to juggle and unfortunately sometimes compromises have to be made to tell the story. So the timing and logistical issues that have played a part in GoT these last few years I do not blame the show runners for. I think they did the best they could with all the variables they had to deal with.
 

There are spin-offs already in the works (prequels) and given the way the series ended there are definitely plot threads a sequel series could pick up on. Some unanswered questions:

-         What’s Arya going to find as she sails west? Will she find the other end of Esso’s or perhaps another unexplored continent?

-         What’s up with the Doltraki? Did they stay in Westeros or go back to Essos? Did they sail away with the Unsullied?

-         Are there more threats beyond the wall for Jon Snow to face? Maybe the Night King didn’t bring his entire army with him…and maybe those forces were unchanged after his downfall because of the spells still helping to hold up the wall that’s still standing…

-         Where did Drogon go?

-         Is Tyrion the Mad Kings kid? I know at the end of the day it does not matter now but I’d kinda like to know one way or the other…

 

I love this show and as a fan I found the finale satisfying. To all the haters I say this:  

 


 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Rush Hours: Where ‘Game of Thrones’ went awry


 
I can honestly say I have been a fan of GoT since its debut on HBO in 2011. It was earlier between 2010 and 2011 I put it out on Facebook that I was taking suggestions for a good book series to read. My friend Sheila recommended ‘A Song of Ice & Fire’. I’m not much of a fantasy reader and I hadn’t heard of it so I Googled it. It sounded fascinating to me and I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was being developed into a TV series for HBO. Admittedly I had a hard time getting through the first book so I decided to wait for the series in the hopes watching it would help with the reading of the book. I was addicted to the series right from the first scene of the pilot episode where the Nights Watchmen encounter Wytes. I even showed it to my wife who was skeptical about a “good” fantasy TV series but she too was a GoT addict, and we have been watching ever since. All seasons were viewed multiple times.

My only real issue with the series as a whole is timing/pacing of the series. This series is set in a medieval fantasy world where the quickest forms of transportation are horseback and sail boat and the quickest communication between great distances is by raven. Yet it seems word spreads more quickly within the show than logic would allow and people travel great distances very quickly. For example in season one Robb Stark calls the northern banner men to assemble at Winterfell, then they will take the Kings road to Kingslanding. The North is established as the largest of the Seven Kingdoms and the messages to all the north lords were sent by raven. On the show they were assembled and ready to march within a few days, maybe a week at the most. In reality it would take days even a week for all those ravens to reach their destinations, then it would take days or a week for those lords to assemble all their men, then it would take days or weeks to march to Winterfell. But again on the show all this was accomplished within a few days. Author George RR Martin even cited this as an example of how timing is not realistic on the show.

Now fast forward to season six, this was the season when they moved past the books. The timing and pacing really started to move faster and faster to the point where it was now becoming laughable. Example: In the season 7 episode ‘Beyond the Wall’ completely defied all logic with its internal timing. It’s even been proven that a raven covering the distance from Eastwatch to Dragonstone (several thousand miles away) would have taken a minimum of 5 days travel, and that’s assuming the raven doesn’t stop at some point to rest. But in the show it seemed to only take a few hours…

Dan Benioff and D.B. Weiss are the showrunners of GoT and it was they who decided to end the series at season 8 and with season 7 being only 7 episodes and season 8 being 6 episodes. The first six seasons had 10 episodes each, the final season does have extended episodes but the runtime is still less over all compared to other seasons. In my opinion the main plot threads for season 7 and 8 could have and should have filled 4- 10 episode seasons. GoT should have gone 10 seasons with seasons 7-10 being 10 episodes each. Season 7 and 8 as they are now feel rushed both plot wise and character wise. More time should have been used to further develop these characters and certain other plot threads could have been explored (looking at you Dorne) and expanded (the Night King’s march on the seven kingdoms should have been an entire season in itself). But I fear Dan Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted to end the series sooner rather than pass it off to someone else to run. So we are left with 2 final seasons that were good but EXTREMELY rushed. Honestly some of the plot threads in season 6 were rushed too fast and should have carried on into season 7.
 
 

Here’s a quick breakdown on how I think the seasons main plot points should have gone after GoT moved past the George RR Martin novels (There would be plenty more plot points & character development that I’m not mentioning):

Season 6: Jon and Sansa rally the north and defeat Ramsay (which they did do) with Jon being named ‘King of the North’. Dany returns to Mereen after being rescued by Sir Jorah and her boy toy (and that’s it for her story that season). Cersi takes the throne after destroying the Faith Militant and Tyrells (as it was on the show). The Sand Snakes find a new ‘Prince of Dorne’, Prince Oberyn’s strongest male bastard.

Season 7: Jon must rally the North and prepare for war against the Night King and Cersi. Euron and his Iron Fleet attack the North and Jon must battle against this new wildcard. Dany and her peeps take back Mereen from the slavers, she forms her alliance with Theon and his sister (more time spent on this development) and by seasons end she establishes a ruling democratic government to rule over Slavers Bay when she leaves for Westeros. Cersi meanwhile must battle against an alliance between the Dornish armies and Tyrell army (that plot line could have ran a season). When the Lannister/crown forces beat back the Dornish/Tyrell alliance they fall back and then are approached by Varys to ally themselves with the Targaryan restoration. During this season we learn of a cult of people living in Westeros and Essos whom worship the fabled Night King (I’ll call them the ‘Night Followers’). They WANT him to destroy the world and they plot to bring down one of the abandoned Nights Watch castles in order for the army of the dead to pass through.

Season 8: Dany begins her war against Cersi with Dorne and the Tyrell forces joining her. The Tyrells are defeated and the Dornishman retreat back to Dorne to regroup.  Jon meets with Dany and urges her to go North to fight the dead. Dany needs proof so Jon ranges north to bring a wyte back with him (this story should take SEVERAL episodes. Dany does NOT come to his rescue and no dragon is killed). Dany is convinced and they meet with Cersi and declare a cease fire. Cersi betrays them by not sending her forces north. The Night Followers go to the abandoned ‘Sable Hall’ castle and burn it down, opening the gate for the Night King to pass through. Several of the Nights Watch are killed including Ed during this battle. The Night King and his forces march south.

Season 9: The war against the dead takes most of this season with the North and Allied forces suffering great losses and frequently have to retreat. Dany is starting to lose her cool as her forces and advisors are getting picked off one at a time. Cersi and her forces take Dragonstone from the skeleton defense force Dany left behind (which included Messandi). Cersi’s forces also crush the armies of Dorne, whom didn’t go north. By seasons end Jon learns of his true lineage and he shares that with Dany, the Night King is defeated and the long night is cut short. But Dany’s and the Norths forces are depleted, and signs of her mental state are showing her beginning to snap. The only saving grace is she still has her dragons…

Season 10: What’s left of the Northern armies and Dany’s forces march south. Their first battle is at the Trident where they face off against the might of ‘The Golden Company’. Dany’s dragons turn the battle in their favour but one of them is killed and their forces are even more depleted. Dany goes to Dragonstone to take it back but again one of her dragons is killed by Euron. She escapes but her ships are destroyed, Messandi isn’t rescued and now Tyrion is captured as well. Dany goes outside Kingslanding to negotiate only to watch as both Messandi and Tyrion are executed. The remaining Dany forces sack Kingslanding and she burns down the city with her dragon after going completely mad. Worrying that Jon will betray her she orders his arrest and execution. Loyal north forces free Jon and Arya kills Dany, and is killed as well. The northern lords (thanks to Varys) back Jon’s claim to the throne. Bran wargs into Dany’s remaining dragon and uses it to destroy the remaining Unsullied and Doltraki.

Jon assembles all seven high lords of Westeros, and in his first (and only) act as King he declares them all Kings of their own independent kingdoms. No more one king to rule 7 kingdoms. The new Kings/Queens break down as follows:

-          The North: Queen Sansa Stark

-          The Westerlands: King Lannister (a Lannister cousin, not sure whom. Someone young and wise)

-          The Reach: King Bronn of the Black Water (Jon honors the vow Tyrion made with Bronn)

-          Dorne: A new Princess Martell

-          The Riverlands and Iron Islands: King Edmere Tully

-          The Stormlands: King Gendry Baratheon (legitimized by Queen Dany)

-          The Vale: King Robin Arryn

 
 
 


Sunday, May 5, 2019

Vul-Con 2019???



Vulcan is a town in the prairies of southern Alberta, Canada, within Vulcan County. It is located on Highway 23, midway between the cities of Calgary and Lethbridge. The town has been recognized by CBS (whom owns 'Star Trek') as the 'Star Trek Capital of Canada'. AND Vul-Con is an annual 'Star Trek' convention organized by Vulcan tourism. The original convention coincided with the annual town fair called 'Spock Days' and was held in June. But in 2016 the Star Trek convention was moved from 'Spock Days' to its own weekend in July and rebranded 'Vul-Con'. This was due in large part because 'Spock Days' was already a big fair with most of the locals attending fair activities and a large slow-pitch ball tournament. With the fair, ball tournament AND a 'Star Trek' convention occurring on the same weekend things got crowded and accommodations were scarce and campgrounds were at capacity.



 

I have been going to Vul-Con (Spock Days convention) since 2013 and I am not impressed with the organization of the con these last 2 years. I know there have been some reorganizational changes within Vulcan Tourism with new people running things, so it can be a confusing and daunting task going in new and organizing a convention. But this convention is a boost to the local economy every year it is successful and would grow based on its success. Once word gets out this convention is not to the high standards they achieved 2013 through 2017 people are going to stay away and go elsewhere for their holidays and that money they would have brought and spent in Vulcan will go elsewhere. Last year was TERRIBLE and so far things are not looking any better. I liked going when there was actual show stars, guest stars (of significance) and behind the scenes crew people that actually played big parts in making the shows (like Rick Sternbach and Ira Steven Behr). I really don’t care if I meet the guy who was in the Gorn costume in TOS (he might be a great guy and all but not on my fanboy list of people to meet), or a guy from Germany who looks like Spock. And to make matters worse currently the tickets for the convention are not available for purchase online yet...




I plan my summer holiday around this event and when I’m down there I spend a lot of money in the local economy (room, food, vendors, stores, etc). If  I am to come to Vulcan and invest my time and money as a tourist it needs to be worth my while. A lot of my friends who have attended in years past also share my concerns. I know the next guest being announced is Tracee Cocco, who was a background actress/ stunt woman on TNG and the TNG films (but I don’t think she had any lines except maybe “Aye sir”). There is a fourth guest being announced on the 15th of May. If it’s an actual cast regular or producer I might still go... depending on who it is. 

Tracee Cocco



It’s just sad to see how the quality of this con has declined so quickly. Plus according to the convention event poster releases on line you now have to buy a VIP ticket to attend the Q&A’s... that would be a deal breaker right there for me. Q&A’s should be available for everyone who pays for a ticket, with the VIP’s getting front row seating (as it’s always been). 

Hopefully things turn around. It would be a damn shame to see this convention turn into a mere shadow of its former self. In the years I've been going they have had Odo, Kira, The Doctor (Robert Picardo), Neelix, Chakotay, Garek, Gowron, Jake Sisko (just to name a few)... and now we are getting the guy who wore the Gorn costume? We are getting a guy from Germany who is a Spock look-a-like?





 
 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Star Trek: Disaster, Part Duh




So once again I got myself in a debate with a ‘Disco’ apologist whom loved with season 2 finale, while at the same time telling me the ‘Game of Thrones’ series finale will be disappointing. So he pointed out to me what Spock said: 



Where I replied that that is a total cop out by the writers and producers. They definitely were reading our comments and tried to do a course correction and completely ignore what their original intention was. And that intention was: Discovery IS a continuation of the original series timeline (TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY,ENT). Original Disco Show runner Bryan Fuller and later Show Runner Alex Kurtzman said as much until now...




If you like STD all the more power to you, but please don’t for one minute put it in the same league as ‘Game of Thrones’, in terms of writing quality and production. There is simply no comparison. Disco cannot even compare to its own predecessors let alone compare to the best show on tv right now, and that in my humble opinion is GoT.