Monday, April 25, 2011

game of thrones recap: 1.02 "the kingsroad"

Cersei Lannister doesn't visit a child's sickroom without looking fabulous

Wow. Last night’s episode was possibly even better than the first? Not that I don’t have my quibbles, but even though I’ve read the books, I’m still totally hooked. I think they did a pretty good job of fitting as much as they did into one episode – I haven’t read the books in a while but the events in this episode were easily a couple hundred pages in the book. And the actors’ are doing a marvellous job of capturing their relationships with the other characters with a single scene, line, even a look. It’s amazing. There better be some Emmy nominations! Also I am still completely in love with the opening title sequence (the theme song is just so perfect, and every time I hear it I get excited), but it got EVEN COOLER when instead of showing us the little toy Pentos, we got a little toy Vaes Dothrak, since that’s where the plot in the east was taking place. Anyway, I think the most effective way to write this recap is to focus on each of the four places it takes place this week: Winterfell, The Dothraki Grasslands, the Kingsroad, and the Wall (well, the journey north to the Wall anyway).


Most of the action still took place at Winterfell this week, where Catelyn Stark is currently mad with grief over the fall of her 10 year old son Bran. She doesn’t look like she’s slept or eaten since his fall, and is completely consumed with weaving some sort of weird basket thing for him. Meanwhile, we see just how much of a little shit Joffrey Baratheon is, when he tells his Uncle Tyrion that he has no intention of offering his condolences to the Stark family, saying “I hate the sound of weeping women.” Tyrion, in all his awesomeness, slaps those words right out of his head, while his scarred bodyguard, The Hound (or Sandor Clegane) watches on. Joffrey of course, cries and threatens to tell his mother. All this nephew slapping simply makes Tyrion hungry however, and he joins his siblings (and Cersei and Robert’s other two children, Myrcella and Tommen) for breakfast. It is here that Tyrion reveals his intent to go north with Jon Snow to see the Wall, and that Bran may not be as dead as Cersei might want. Cersei immediately heads to the boy’s room to check on his condition, revealing her own motherly sorrow over losing her first child. I loved this scene because Lena Headey played it so well, I have no idea if she was being truthful or simply manipulative, or even a bit of both. Catelyn though, seems to take this as sincerity, and thinks nothing of it.

Meanwhile Jon Snow is preparing for his own leave-taking, for he has made the decision to join the Night’s Watch. He has several wonderful scenes of saying goodbye to his siblings (Arya’s is particularly great), and he gives his littlest sister a parting gift of a girl-sized sword, which she calls Needle. Catelyn’s dislike of her husband’s bastard is solidified when she coldly tells him to get out as he is attempting to say goodbye to Bran, and Jon leaves Winterfell mostly bitter and angry. His father still doesn’t tell him anything about his own mother as they part ways outside of the castle, promising instead to tell him when he gets back from the south.

With the lord of the house and his daughters now gone for King’s Landing, the duties of running the castle are left to Lady Stark, but she is too consumed in her grief for Bran to have any interest in taking them up. Her oldest son Robb is left to pick up the pieces, but not before a fire breaks out in another part of the keep. With the household too involved in putting it out, an assassin suddenly appears in Bran’s room, telling Lady Stark “You’re not supposed to be here.” She tries to fight him off, and largely fails, until Bran’s direwolf busts into the room and puts an end to that assassin right away. This second attempt on her son’s life arouses her motherly suspicions though, and she returns to the scene of the crime, where she finds a single blonde hair. This coupled with her sister’s letter of warning solidifies her suspicions against the Lannisters, and she brings together the more important menfolk at the keep to tell them what she thinks happened. Apparently the assassin’s knife was much too nice as well, so they automatically believe her. Rather than send a raven though, Lady Stark decides to ride south herself to warn her husband, leaving Bran in the hands of the gods.

The Dothraki Grasslands

Daenarys Targaryen’s marriage still continues to be a trial, and the girl wallows in despair, in pain from all the riding and refusing to eat or drink. Ser Jorah Mormont, the banished knight from the Seven Kingdoms (we learn Ned Stark banished him for selling some poachers to slavers, a total Ned Stark move), tries to tell her that things will get better, but it doesn’t look like Daenaerys believes him. Her husband continues to plow her like a mare every night, and Daenarys continues to be upset about it, but she looks upon her dragon’s eggs and suddenly everything is alright. This scene was kind of problematic for one main reason – it has not been established to new viewers the Targaryen family history. Readers of the series know that the Targaryens were once masters of dragons, and that they took over the Seven Kingdoms by swooping in on dragons and devastating all the pitiful knights in their path and unifying the Seven Kingdoms with their dragony might. But dragons have been extinct for a long time, so that made it quite a lot easier for Robert Baratheon to depose them. But they haven’t talked about this at all on the show, so I can understand if a lot of new viewers were like “Uh….so why is she into it all of a sudden?” This could have been easily remedied by mentioning this history when Dany asks her handmaidens about dragons, or even when Illyrio gave her the gift to begin with.

But anyways, Daenarys finally decides to learn how to please her husband rather than cry about it, and asks one of her handmaidens, once a skilled courtesan, to teach her the ways of love. That was a pretty good scene – it was sexy but not gratuitous, and “You’re not a slave, so don’t make love like one” was pretty good advice for any young girl married off to a warlord. She may start in the bedroom, but Dany is trying to take ownership over his situation in pretty much the only way women are allowed to in such a society.

The Wall

The journey to the wall is pretty short, just a couple of scenes, but next week we’re going to get a much greater look at it, since next week’s episode is entitled “Lord Snow”. Basically Jon slowly starts to realize that maybe the Night’s Watch isn’t such an illustrious order as he imagined (after all, it’s mostly made up of criminals), and Tyrion helps him to see that. We also learn that of course, Tyrion is the smart one in his family, since his body doesn’t allow him to be much of a warrior, and that brains can be just as powerful as a sword.

The Kingsroad

Ned Stark and his two daughters, Sansa and Arya (with their direwolves) all head south with the King’s retinue to take their place in the Tower of the Hand at King’s Landing. But the journey does take a month, so of course some things take place on the road. Robert again expresses his dissatisfaction at being king, and expresses a desire to take out the Targaryen siblings across the Narrow Sea. His spies tell him about Daenarys' marriage and their alliance with the Dothraki, and Robert wants to take them out once and for all, mainly out of vengeance for Ned’s sister (Their older brother Rhaegar is the one who killed her, quite brutally). Ned however, is too honourable a man to sanction the death of children, and advises against it. After all, the Dothraki have no ships, and no way to cross the sea. Unless they do, they are really not a threat, and Ned doesn’t think they ever will, not being a sea faring people.

Sansa feels a little out of place with the sophisticate ladies of the court, but luckily her gallant future husband decides to take her out for a walk, where he plys her with wine and calls her gross things like “sweetling.” Sansa being Sansa completely eats this up. Arya however, is off sword fighting with the butcher’s boy, and Sansa and Joffrey find them. Joffrey immediately becomes incensed at the thought of a butcher’s boy playing at being a knight, and cuts him with his sword. Arya doesn’t like having her friends threatened though, and she smacks him in the spine with her “sword”. Joffrey though, still has a real sword and his about to hurt Arya when her direwolf Nymeria rushes to her defense, and bites the young prince’s hand. Sansa is mortified, and Arya is terrified, and grabs Joffrey’s sword and throws it in the river, then runs away with her wolf. Joffrey again cries like a little girl and then snaps at Sansa when she tries to comfort him.

Arya and Nymeria hide in the woods from her father and the king’s guardsmen, and she knows what will happen to her wolf when they find them. So she throws rocks to get Nymeria to run away, which the wolf reluctantly does, but Arya herself is found by the queen’s men and is dragged before the king before her own father can find her. Joffrey of course lied and said that Arya and Mycah (the butcher’s boy) beat him with sticks and set the wolf upon him, of course neglecting to mention that he’s the one who started it, and pulled his own real sword on them first. Arya accuses him of lying, but Sansa refuses to back up her sister’s story. Robert is not pleased that his son was disarmed by a little girl, and so says he’ll discipline his son as long as Ned disciplines his own children as well. But Cersei is out for blood, and while Nymeria is gone, she wants a direwolf dead, and doesn’t really care which one it is. Robert allows it rather than fight with his wife, and the episode ends with Ned ending Sansa’s wolf’s life (don’t worry though; the actual dog got taken home by the girl who plays Sansa!). But back in Winterfell, as this is happening, Bran finally opens his eyes…

  • Outfit of the week: Again goes to Cersei, for her elaborate silk wrap and gown that she wears in Bran’s room.
  • I love how Khal Drogo immediately loses his pants in his wife’s tent. Also OMG THERE IS ANOTHER SEXUAL POSITION IN WESTEROS. ALERT THE TOWN CRIERS.
  • The Hound is not very scary though.
  • Robert’s tankard when he and Ned are stopping for lunch is AWESOME.
  • Since the critics are making such a big deal of all the boobs and blood in this show, let’s do an actual count shall we? Scenes with boobs: 1. Scenes with gore: 2. Is this more than any other HBO show? I’m pretty sure not (and trust me, I watch A LOT of HBO). So why have so many critics fixated on this?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

guest post @ required2beinspired!

Wrote a guest post for fellow Canadian fashion blogger Natasha over at Required2BeInspired! You can check it out here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

game of thrones recap: 1.01

Queen Cersei does not do drab people

I said I was gonna do a Game's recap, and by George (hahaha get it?) I'm actually gonna do it. With commentary on which outfit was the most fabulous, of course. But first off, here's what happened:
The show opens with a squad of Night's Watch passing through The Wall into the appropriately named Wilds, on a mission to track a group of Wildings that were passing too close to the Watch's domain. But of course, if that's all that they found, that would be boring, so instead this merry band of misfits (led by an appropriately douchey nobleman) finds the Wildings dead, seemingly ceremoniously dismembered. And then on top of THAT, they come back to life, and tear the rangers limb from limb. Except for one terrified boy, who forsakes his duty and runs for the hills instead of returning to Castle Black to warn the rest of his brothers in arms.
However, in doing so he signs his own death warrant, for as his commander explains before they all get torn apart is that a brother of the Night's Watch can't leave The Wall, and if he deserts, all that is left for him in the south is death. This is exactly what happens to this boy when he is caught by the men of the warden of the North, Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean). We are introduced to the rest of his family as well: wife Catelyn, the five trueborn Stark children (Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon), and his bastard, Jon Snow. Considering the breadth and depth of Martin's novels, the show has relatively little time to introduce people. But time is definitely not wasted on this show, and I think one of the good things it has done so far is managed to introduce the characters without actually TELLING us outright who they are in very little time. The Stark children are introduced in about 5 minutes, and it's fairly apparent what each child's role is in that family in those short five minutes. Arya is the tomboy and mischief maker, Bran is the aspiring warrior, Sansa is the lady, and Robb and Jon are the supportive older brothers (but not so supportive they don't make fun of their siblings, because honestly, that is the one other thing older brothers are for, no?). Although the look Lady Catelyn shoots at Jon at the end of the scene makes it very obvious how much she enjoys having him there.

Lord Stark, being the honourable man he is, beheads the deserter himself, and takes his three eldest sons along with him. We learn that in the North the lord himself always carries out the executions, for they prescribe to the Old Ways that have largely been forgotten in the South. The deserter tells Ned about the "White Walkers" that he saw before he ran away, and is little more than a babbling idiot at this point. Ned tries to shrug it off, saying that these creatures have been gone for thousands of years, but it's pretty obvious he's more worried than he's acting. However, he doesn't have long to ruminate on this before he receives more bad news: Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King (basically the King's right hand man and most trusted advisor), has died suddenly, and King Robert and much of his court are on the way north to Winterfell. Both Ned and Catelyn immediately see that the king is coming North to ask Ned to be Hand, and neither seem particularly happy about it, but hosting a king is no small feat, and preparations take precedence. Oh! And the Stark children find their direwolves, sigil of their House, a creature of myth that also hasn’t been seen below the Wall in millennia. I’m not sure that direwolves are supposed to be that adorable, but they made me squeal every time I saw them and their cuteness. There is even a runt for Jon Snow.

So, direwolves found and grudgingly allowed to live by Ned, the King finally arrives at Winterfell, and we are more thoroughly introduced to his family: Queen Cersei, her brothers Jaime and Tyrion, and their son Joffrey. Ned and Robert immediately fall back into the brotherly camaraderie of their youth (they were wards together at The Eyrie), and head down to the crypts at Winterfell, where Robert asks Ned to be Hand (as expected), that his son and Ned’s daughter Sansa be married, and it is revealed that Robert is still madly in love with Ned’s long deceased sister. A lot of people thought that Mark Addy was an odd choice for King Robert, but I thought he was wonderful, especially in the scene in front of Lyanna’s grave, where he played his love for her with genuine sadness and regret. It is also while down in the darkness that we learn that the Targaryens, the House who ruled the Seven Kingdoms before Robert took it from them, still have descendants alive and well in the city of Pentos.

We cut to the villa of Magister Illyrio, where Daenarys and her brother Viserys are being hosted, and learn that the young Daenarys is being married off to a barbarian king she has never met in order for her brother to gain the armies to take back what he sees as “his kingdom”. Harry Lloyd, the young man who plays him, does so to perfection, with just the right amount of arrogance, creepiness, and incompetence. I particularly love the scene where Dany is presented to the Khal, who says nothing and rides away, and Viserys runs down the steps flailing “DID HE LIKE HER!? WHAT’S GOING ON!?” Daenarys herself is utterly passive and without agency, and when she tries to speak up, is quickly put back in her place, despite the fact that she is terrified of her new husband and his people. But of course her brother cares for nothing but power, and the wedding proceeds anyway, with neither of them knowing anything of either the Dothraki tongue or its people. Personally, I felt the wedding itself was a little lacking, coming off as pretty tame despite the entrails and what I am going to call ‘shag dancing’. It didn’t seem like there were enough people there, and it kind of seemed weird that it was in the middle of the day, and it reminded me of almost any time there were Amazons on Xena (but not in a good way). I think there was a more elaborate wedding in the original pilot, but the whole thing had to be reshot when Daenarys was recast, and I think the budget for the second go was scaled down considerably. But anyway, Dany receives a few wedding gifts of note, the first being several books of poetry and legends from the Seven Kingdoms knight, Ser Jory Mormont. She also receives three petrified dragon’s eggs from Magister Ilyrio, and a beautiful white horse by her new husband that would look just like her if Daenarys were a horse. However, she still goes into their wedding night fearful and crying. Again I was kind of disappointed that they left her there, because in the books the Khal turns out to be a much more tender soul than his culture or manner suggests, but HOPEFULLY this is made clear in the next episode.

So, after the wedding there is a big banquet feting the King at Winterfell, but of course it is not a happy time for all of the guests, mainly Cersei (whose husband’s face is in a serving wench’s bosom the whole time), Jon (who is banned for not being a trueborn son), and Ned himself (who is fretting about what the Night’s Watch deserter said to him about White Walkers). Oh and the Starks receive a message in the night from Catelyn's sister, the wife of the late Hand, expressing her fear that her husband was murdered by Lannisters. This doesn't stop Ned from taking the position though, nor from them marrying Sansa off to Joffrey. The episode is ended with Bran discovering the Lannister twins in a very er, compromising position while the King and the rest of the household are out on a hunt, and Bran is tossed from the window in the twins’ hurry to try to cover it up. This is the secret matter they were discussing earlier at Arryn’s funeral in King’s Landing, the thing that the Queen hoped he had not told her husband. In short: INCESTUOUS INTRIGUE.

Other notes:

  • Love the opening sequence and I think the theme song is perfect
  • The wall looks amazing and not fake at all. I’m pretty impressed with al l the CGI (especially for a TV show); it looks more like paintings than hastily cobbled together polygons.
  • The standout performance so far for me was definitely Lena Heady as Cersei. She plays her like a lazy lioness waiting for her prey to move before she rips them apart: polite, but you can tell there’s something very scary under all that hair and pretty clothing. I also really liked Jaime. I was sceptical when I saw Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in stills, but he totally has the Jaime smart alec swagger down. And Peter Dinklage was hilarious PERFECTION as Tyrion. And Maisie Williams is so cute, so perfectly Arya.
  • EW were those Jon Arryns’ organs on display in cups at his feet during his funeral??
  • The Godswood is beautiful. I wish I had one.
  • OK, so that half naked shaving scene was DEFINITELY for the ladies in the audience. I will give you that one New York Times. But I honestly didn’t get some reviewer’s bitching about the nudity and violence in this show. I’m pretty sure Deadwood had more nudity and violence in the first five minutes. It’s all definitely less gratuitous than True Blood.
  • God bless Emilia Clarke’s “woman’s body.” I hope they don’t make her starve it all off over the course of the seasons.
  • I also loved how everyone actually looks like they could be related to those they were supposed to be related to.
  • Oh and OUTFIT OF THE EPISODE has to go to Cersei, when she first arrives in Winterfell (see above). She is like BITCHES I WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO DO FUR. THE QUEEN DOES NOT DO GREY.
Sorry things got a bit lengthy, but dang, A LOT happened in an hour.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

love it burberry

I already like Burberry a lot, but this hologram show they did in Beijing is about 1000 tonnes of awesome.

Monday, April 11, 2011

classy motherf*cker:drake

I'm not gonna lie, I have never heard this dude rap. But I HAVE seen him without the use of his legs on Degrassi, so that's something, right? I'm sure he rapped about it. But I gotta say, dude does wear some great sweaters. And you gotta love a dude who loves Comme Des Garcons. ALSO THAT MILITARY JACKET IS AMAZING.
Basically, Vulture has done all the work for me putting together this slideshow. I also love the '50s dowop sweater, but that's kind of expected. Check it here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

they want me to wear what now!? prada creeper edition

So these are the hot shoe for spring. I mean, I can appreciate the fashion elite proclaiming comfortable footwear as in, but these are ugly. If it were just the oxford I wouldn't object, the two toned is awesome. BUT THAT SOLE. I'm sorry fashion editors, but no. These are practically orthotics. These are practically a boot you would wear to correct a club foot. I think I will save my $800 for other things.
If you want to see them in action, Elle has a whole editorial where the model wears only these shoes, and they are still terrible. But be pumped to make fun of people wearing them, because apparently they are sold out.