Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Big Little Lies… so not Knots Landing (spoilers possible)

April 12, 2017 Leave a comment

I’d heard about this mini series starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, and Laura Dern and saw a couple of previews. I figured, rich women in California with perfect lives, let’s just give our awe and wish we were them.

Wrong. Dead Wrong.

Adapted from the best selling novel by Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies is the story of a group of women whose children are enrolled in the same first grade class in affluent Monterey, California. Despite the picture-esque landscape and the million dollar homes, each of them has crosses to bear, and some of those are very violent.

Sure, it ain’t Westeros with people getting their heads chopped off, but believe it or not, I had as much of a visceral reaction to this mini series with regards to depictions of domestic violence (be forewarned, it can be very triggering) as Game of Thrones. I won’t go into details much, but some of the episodes can be quite jarring. Funny, witty, dark, and dangerous… each episode has those qualities.

Do I recommend this series? Yes I do. The performances are top notch and the writing is amazing. Just be prepared to feel some kinda way at the end and realize you need to step outside and take a breather because of the intensity.

Let me just say: if Nicole Kidman doesn’t get at least an Emmy nod for her portrayal of Celeste, I would be in complete shock. She gave a tour de force performance in this series. Alexander Skarsgård also gave a very nuanced, charged performance as Perry, her husband. The man is so expressive, he doesn’t even have to say anything to be sweet, loving, dark, and menacing all at the same time with one glance, or one whisper. I’ve seen a lot of his movies and True Blood (he’ll always be Eric Northman to me), and he just impresses me every time.

What will happen to Jon Snow, some personal theories (Game of Thrones spoilers as always)

June 17, 2015 Leave a comment

You. I like you. Yes, I like you too.

Before I start this, let me answer the question that’s often asked: I’ve read ASOIAF up until A Dance with Dragons, so I will work from a book/show perspective. In that particular book is the scene where Jon gets betrayed by the men of the Night’s Watch (minus Olly who doesn’t exist). In the book, as Jon lays dying, he says the word “Ghost” and then it’s all fade to black. There is no conclusion that he truly died, or what happened. I’m guessing George R.R. Martin is going to address it in The Winds of Winter, but there’s no guarantee even that the book will be out before the next season.

However, remember this little factoid: The showrunners have confirmed time and time again that Martin has told them how it all plays out, and they also most likely know what all is happening in The Winds of Winter. Viewers were up in arms about Shireen and what happens to her because she was still alive in A Dance with Dragons. But, Martin had told D&D that it was eventually going to happen in the books, so they took it in the direction they did to give Stannis some sort of conclusion that he is most definitely not Azor Ahai reborn. Melisandre also realizes this in the season finale (although she was the one to tell him to burn his daughter) and decides to jump ship back to the Wall.

So, you have Melisandre and Davos at the Wall when Jon is stabbed. Remember, Melisandre has the same power that Thoros of Myr has in that they have the power to re-animate. Thoros used it on Catelynn and she became Lady Stoneheart (how I wish she would have appeared in the series, but oh well). So, that can be one conclusion for Jon next season, she re-animates him. This is entirely possible because she has stated before that her power is greatest when she is at the Wall, she showed an obvious interest in Jon and knows he’s got a destiny far greater than almost any other character in ASOIAF. I could see her doing that.

Another theory: remember what I said about Jon saying “Ghost” in ADWD. His direwolf Ghost is still alive, and Jon has the ability to warg, just like the rest of the Stark children (I have my doubts about Sansa, but that’s another story). So, as he lay dying it’s very possible that his soul wargs into Ghost for the time being. Not permanently, mind you, but just until his anima is out of harm’s way.

And yet another theory that’s gaining traction on the interwebs: Remember when the Nights’ King looked at Jon with much interest after he cut down the White Walker? Perhaps Jon is also destined to be a White Walker, and eventual Nights’ King who can create a treaty of peace between the Cold ones beyond the Wall and the southerners, thereby ending Winter. I’m not a fan of that theory myself, but it’s out there.

At any rate, Jon is who he is, the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark (if R + L = J holds). As such, he can make a claim to the Iron Throne. Kit Harrington and D&D have said in multiple interviews that Jon Snow is dead dead dead. Sure, that can be true. The Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch can be truly dead. But if he is resurrected, he will be Jon Targaryen, no longer Jon Snow, a man once sworn to the Night’s Watch but is no longer because technically he “died”. The oath dies with Snow, so to speak. He can leave and get on with his real career path, a trueborn Targaryen/Stark who can be both Azor Ahai reborn/ The Prince that was Promised and the rightful King of Westeros.

This is a pretty interesting spot to be in, where the show has caught up to the published books and no one (aside from insiders with Nondisclosure Agreements I’m sure) knows what will happen next. It’s pretty exciting stuff. I for one am looking forward to next season and the release of The Winds of Winter. It’s time for some new reading material 🙂

Video – Thug Notes takes on ‘Romeo and Juliet’

January 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Wish Sparky Sweets, PhD. was doing these videos when I was in high school and reading all these plays and books.

Irvine Welsh’s Filth is finally getting released, and James McAvoy does a heckuva job

September 24, 2013 Leave a comment

There are a few authors for which my love is so boundless I feel the need to go out and get every book they’ve ever written. Such is my devotion to Irvine Welsh. Since reading Trainspotting many years ago, I’ve become a devotee to his brand of giving the scummy types a humorous and realistic voice. True, you may need a Scot-slang-to-English dictionary for some of his work, but once you start getting it, it’s all good.

Filth is one of those novels that when I first read, I never thought anyone would want to make a movie out of it. Not that it’s bad, but because it was dark and dangerous, and the “hero” of the story (Bruce Robertson) doesn’t act like a hero in the slightest. Yes, he’s a member of the police force, but he’s probably more twisted and demented than a hundred inmates at a criminal asylum.

James McAvoy plays Bruce Robertson in the film adaptation, and he is completely believable as a fortysomething drug-addled boozehound. I can’t wait to watch it.

I’m going to post the Lionsgate official trailer for the movie. It’s a bit racy, so beware.

Thug Notes: Excellent Literature critiques, indubitably

August 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Show his channel some love. In fact, I’ll start you off with some of his cuts:

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Dunk and Egg, plus a Game of Thrones recap (And Now His Watch has Ended)

April 22, 2013 2 comments
Love these books :)

Love these books 🙂

Over the weekend I finished the Dunk & Egg novellas… well, the ones written so far. In order, the publication list is as follows:

  1. The Hedge Knight (Legends)
  2. The Sworn Sword (Legends II)
  3. The Mystery Knight (Warriors I)

George R. R. Martin has said that he plans to write many more novellas to flesh out this particular story. It’s set in Westeros about 100 years before Game of Thrones, and tells the story of Dunk (or Ser Duncan the Tall), a hedge knight getting into misadventures with his special squire, Egg. Why he’s special is something you have to read for yourself. I highly recommend these books also because there’s some great stories by other fantasy writers like Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, and my girl for all time, Anne McCaffrey. Any book that includes something from the Pern series is entirely read-worthy in my humble opinion.

So, onto Game of Thrones. Here are my thoughts:

  • Theon has the worst luck around. He met one of the most sinister characters in the series, who looks as innocent as can be. I almost feel sorry for Theon.
  • I don’t remember Varys keeping his tormentor in a box from the books. Did I miss something?
  • Commander Mormont is no more. That is still such a bummer to me. Craster I won’t miss, obviously.
  • Ha ha, Dany fooled the slaver (surprise to no one). She, like, can totally understand and speak Valyrian, man. Freak out. Plus, she does what she set out to do, acquire an army of free men who would die for her, not because she owns them, but through their own free will. And, her dragon got a nice kebab out of the situation.
  • So the Hound will match up with Beric Dondarrion (in the next episode). This should prove interesting.

My feelings for Jaime Lannister are very different I think than a lot of people. Normally people love to hate him. I actually don’t. I find him one of the more interesting, and ultimately well meaning characters in the series, even though he can still be a doody-head. He killed the Mad King (Aerys) to prevent Kings Landing from being destroyed by pyromancers, but this isn’t something that’s widely known in Westeros. And so, he continues as the Kingslayer without the truth coming forth.

True, he’s in an incestuous relationship with Cersei, but he has always loved and protected his younger brother Tyrion from the blame and hatred their father Tywin harbors for his role in their mother’s death (she died while giving birth to Tyrion). And true, he fathered another crazy loon who sits on the Iron Throne (I’m looking at YOU, Joffrey), but he tries to protect Brienne when the men try to rape her. See how it’s a back and forth kind situation with Jaime? I want to hate him, but he does too many good things to do so.

Anyway, we’ll see what happens next week.

Why I liked the book Life of Pi but not the movie, necessarily

March 25, 2013 Leave a comment
Life of Pi

Life of Pi

I’ll be the first to admit, I have a bad habit of reading a book before watching the movie adaptation. This time was no exception. What was interesting about the situation was not that I was anticipating watching the movie itself even during Oscar season, but that another book (Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives by Thomas French) actually made me want to read it. I love reading books about animal behavior; makes more sense than human behavior a lot of the time (just kidding, maybe).

On to Life of Pi, the movie.

The movie had many many differences from the book, but ultimately what really disappointed me was very little time was devoted to Pi and his observations in his father’s zoo, not to mention his quest for religious enlightenment out of as many religions as possible. They were so very interesting in the way Yann Martel described them that I didn’t understand why none of it was really captured. I’d say 5 minutes out of the movie, maybe. Then, a love interest for Pi? I don’t remember that, either.

Now I know that the producers of this film wanted to get as wide an audience as possible to watch it, so the graphic imagery was cut out. However, I felt like it should have been part of the movie, because a lot of those descriptions really drive home to the reader how much of a mistake it is to give animals too much in the way of humanistic qualities. A tiger is a tiger, no matter how cute and cuddly you may think it is.

Ultimately, if the movie had stayed true to the book, it should have been at least a hard R rating. That would limit audiences, but at least the more interesting scenes from the book would have made it in.

The book is wonderful, but not an easy read. If you are squeamish (and I do tend to be), don’t eat a big meal before reading. But it is so very worthy.

How often do you get a warning like that, right?

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