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PG Farewell Stream Announcment


Edit: Here is the direct YouTube link to watch the recording


Hello SpecFicMedia listeners,

On Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 9pm Eastern, the Beyond the Wall crew will be recording a live podcast show in which we will bid farewell to our good friend, P.G. Holyfield.

There is also an in-person gathering and a Memorial Service occurring on Oct 11th and 12th, respectively.

If you would like to attend one or both of those events, please check the links on this post at

Of course, we understand that not everyone will be able to attend in person.

For so many, these podcasts are how they knew him.

So, the show on Wednesday the 8th will be a way for us, and for you, to express your feelings about this man, who brought so many people together.

We on the crew will be sharing our feelings and memories, but, we would also like to hear from you. If you have words, audio or video that you would like to share, please email it to us at

Even if you have already sent something, please re-send it if you would like it to appear on this show. If you would like to send something that is just for family or any other private audience, please indicate this in your email.

And of course, if you are reading this too late or are just unable to put your feelings together before we record, please send anyways.

Also, please help us boost the signal, both for this announcement and the show event links that will follow, so that everyone that would like to can participate.

P.G. Holyfield founded a great community at SpecFicMedia, but now his watch has ended.

Our watch continues and so we will carry on our sacred duty, which is to talk about things we love – and people that we love – with all of you.

Thank you, from your friends at


Farewell video stream on October 8 at 9pm (YouTube Hangouts on Air)

Gathering in Charlotte, NC on October 11 Facebook event page

Flying Saucer Restaurant
9605 N. Tryon Street, Suite A
Starting 6:00pm

Memorial Service in Charlotte, NC on October 12 Facebook event page

Embassy Suites
4800 S. Tryon Street
(shuttles available from Charlotte Douglas Airport)
Starting 12:00 pm, in the banquet room

Donations to the Patrick G. Holyfield Children’s Fund – GoFundMe

Website News

SFM Special Announcement

A brief audio announcement on our loss of PG.

Author News/Announcements Authors News Website News

PG Holyfield Health Announcement

PG and Kim, July 2014

EDIT: P.G. passed away on August 20th, 2014. Thank you so much for the past and continued support!


Beloved friends, family, and fans of P.G. (Patrick) Holyfield,

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that PG was recently diagnosed with cancer. We apologize that you have to find out this way, but this has surprised us all.

Over the past two weeks he has had extensive testing at his local hospital, as well as another round of tests and confirming opinion from a second hospital.

What it comes down to is that there are no treatment options, primarily because the cancer has spread to his organs. It has moved silently and swiftly and only presented symptoms in the last month. The disease has already taken a heavy toll.

Sadly, communication is already very difficult for him, so if you have called, texted, emailed, PM’d, or reached out in any other way in the last few weeks and haven’t heard back, this is why. It’s not because he doesn’t want to, it’s that he cannot. Please take no offense.

Organ failure and the pain meds have made it hard to communicate as clearly as we’re all used to. He has been focusing on rest and nutrition to fight this battle, and now we focus on time. The brief time for PG to experience the width and breadth of all of the lives he has touched.

As ever, Patrick has his special lady friend Kim (as he likes to introduce her) as well as family and close friends helping him get through this. If you would like to see him, please contact Vivid Muse immediately to try and work out details. The sooner, the better, as we’re told.

If you would like to send a brief video or audio greeting, or an email message (all to we will make sure he hears and sees it. If not video, please include a picture we can show as we read it to him. These messages of support and hearing how much he has meant to people gives a huge lift.

We’re by his side for moral and physical support. We’ve set up a GoFundMe Page for donations to help defray the mountains of medical bills this sort of thing results in, and to help PG with the other expenses in comforting him and his family in the coming weeks. We’d appreciate you sharing the link far and wide, and donating if able.

With your help in spreading the word, we can rally more support around him. Your well wishes will greatly lift his spirits.



Viv and Chooch

Questions and Answers

Q: What kind of cancer is it?
A: It is called Cholangiocarcinoma. As is common with this form of cancer, the exact location of origin is not known. It is aggressive and spreads quickly before symptoms are experienced.

Q: What “stage” is he at?
A: There hasn’t been an official designation, however, it is “late” stage. It has spread to his lymph nodes and organs, and is inoperable. Patrick went through one chemo treatment, but the disease did not respond as well as was hoped. His organs have begun to shut down. The doctors have been talking in days and weeks, rather than months and years.

Q: Where is he, can I send something?
A: Patrick is being cared for at home in Charlotte, North Carolina. In lieu of sending cards or flowers, please donate to his GoFundMe Page.

Q: How long has he been sick? This seems fast.
A: Extremely fast. Early in July Patrick began feeling “run down”, and shortly thereafter had some minor pain. He went in for a check up and the doctors initially thought he may have gall stones. After initial blood tests they knew there was something more serious. Two weeks ago they knew it was cancer and started more testing. Two days ago we learned there were no treatment options.

Q: Can I call him? How can I get in touch?
A: PG is currently unable to talk on the phone. You can send email or a Facebook message which we’ll read to him and show him your picture if we have one. Better yet, record a quick video or audio message! You can send a private YouTube or Dropbox link, Google Drive share, or attach to an email (to

Q: Is this a secret? Can I re-Tweet this or share it on Facebook or forward this to a friend?
A: Yes, please do! We want everybody that has read his stories, heard him on a podcast, or attended one of his convention panels to get the word. We feel that he could use all of the kind words and support possible.

Q: What can I do to help?
A: Send that encouraging video or message. Please share the donation link, shout it from the rooftops, and donate if you are able. Since we know posts get filtered, re-share in coming days to get the word out. Depending on your beliefs; sending prayers, positive thoughts, white light, good vibrations, noodly appendages, and rainbows are all greatly appreciated. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, he needs all the help he can get.

Q: Who the heck are you, anyway?
A: Viv and Chooch are friends of Patrick, as well as co-hosts on some of his podcasting and video endeavors. As parents, gamers, and dog lovers of similar age and interests, we’ve become very close over the past seven years. Our hope is to bring folks together in support of PG as quickly as possible.


Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 Episode 8

Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers.

ALSO: Matt had this into me weeks ago. I have been very remiss and apologize for not getting this up sooner. Episodes 9 and 10 of The Eye of Newb should be coming soon.


The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 8: The Mountain and The Viper

“Deciding a man’s guilt or innocence in the eyes of the gods by having two other men hack each other to pieces… tells you something about the gods.”- Tyrion Lannister


So-o, New York, and then Denver and US Airways (the “new” American Airlines), have all claimed me as their victims in the past few weeks, Friends.  Not necessarily in that order.  A bit of a more specific rant on at least a large chunk of this imprisonment in stages as we go along.  Once again, yer Faithful Newb finds himself racing to catch up with the events of Westeros – and, oh giddy up, boy – this here is the episode.  The title alone promises it.  The New Boy from Dorne and the uglier (in spirit anyway) Clegane brother are due to get it on, with the life of my beloved Imp dangling precariously in the balance.  Make it so, HBO Go.  Make it freakin’ so.  Off we go!

  • To a bilgewater little muddy-street burgh, and a young lady with an impressive belching range coupled with a wide, nay colorful, vocabulary.
  • Oh, this must be Molestown and the graceful and inspiring company into which The Tarley has consigned sweet, dear and dim Gilly along with Young Sam.  Dolt.
  • The gratuitously burping maiden has decided to make Gilly her prison bitch or at least assert some version of class-rage or territorial supremacy upon her.  Charming.
  • What ho?  Gilly turns in a heartbeat from meek wilding to all “shut yer mouth.” I own you on the belcher at the fake bird calls employed by Ygritte and her band of Merry Murderers and Cannibals.  You go, girl!  Even though you’ll be stone dead and possibly supper in a moment.
  • Slaughter of innocents, and a few inebriated Crows, ensues, but wait…
  • The Flame-haired Free Folk Stewardess has a heart of gold after all, deciding on a whim to spare Gilly and the Baby Sam.  This character creates so much conflicting in me, Dear Readers.  She’s confounding, dull, stoic and all “you know nothing” to the point of tears in one episode. Then, a week later, she’s all Sheena Warrior Princess: The New Batch.  And then, just for kicks, she gets all noble and pissy and wonderful the next.  Dammit.
  • Cut away to – oh Gawd no – The Tarley.  Simpering and moaning again.  About the blood on his hands (again).  Looking all forlorn and weepy (again).  And blubbering his way through 5 minutes of my teevee time (again)!
  • While my Tarley Rage sweeps upon me  a quick aside to the Rant on New York, Part the First…

Newb will indulge in a small series of assumptions here, Friends…  One, that most of the three of you left do not live in NYC.  Two, that some of you have been to NYC, and further…  Three, that some of you may have even ventured into the yawning hellhole that is midtown Manhattan.

Now, with that as presumptive context, and with the intent of relating this rNtn at least some small way to speculative fiction, one final assumption…  That some, if not all, of you have been exposed to The Hunger Games.

Thus, ahem, beggineth the Rant…

New York City is, in fact, the Capitol fromThe Hunger Games, Dear Readers, and not in a good, “Hey, there’s Lenny Kravitz!” way, but in the rapacious, vampire-squid, consume all and create nothing way.  It has precisely zero redeeming qualities, from the insensible and frightening fashion choices to the hideously overpriced and bourgeois foodstuffs.  From the mountainous piles of bagged trash coating the sidewalks like mucus to the omnipresent wafting scent of stress and urine.  The sky cowers in miniature rectangles before the strangling hunks of oddly-mixed “architecture” and the people push past, around and through anyone who fails to adapt their aggressive, rapid and largely incoherent shuffle.  I loathe it.  Especially its lack of civility, basic humanity and HBO.

  • Pause for breath…. And…
  • Off to Splashy Time in the river for the Unsullied and Greyworm, whom, upon his greedy stare at his tutor descends deep into a case of hot for teacher.  Awkward.
  • So we slip away to Danaerys debriefing her handmaiden on the aforementioned Underequipped Horniness Upon the Waters.  I really did not need the whole curious about castration spiel.  Not one bit.
  • Lots of time in Meereen this week, Friends, wherein the Mountain and the Viper stubbornly refuse to engage in any attempt to murder each other.  Boooo-ring!
  • At least we have this whole subtitled,halting and thoroughly icky teenage love story betwixt Grey Worm and his language arts teacher to buoy us, right?  Endearing, isn’t it?  Not really.
  • Rage rising (thank you, Ben Stiller)…

So, about New York…  Rant, Part the Second (and hopefully the Last, as I must focus). How is it that the City That Never Sleeps is a positive slogan?  Do you know why it never sleeps?  Allow me to enlighten you.  It never sleeps because there’s some sort of bonus program for cabbies who honk inexplicably at 3am.  Apparently, also, the only time that any significant construction is permitted by law is after midnight.  Lastly, the average hotel room is only slightly less posh than solitary at Pelican Bay.  That’s why.

  • Apologies.  Rage subsiding.
  • Thankfully, Meereen is gone again, and we sweep across the Narrow Sea to… Ramsay and Reek?!  Again, no Viper, no Mountain, no battle of epic proportions.  Dammit!  As if I’m not all ascetic and torqued up enough already, the Newb must sit through the Tarley, the Awkward Romance, and now the Batshit Crazy.  Sigh.  I guess I’ll strap in for the long haul.
  • Listen, Theon… You’re screwed.  I promise that this insane freak will tear you asunder and flay your mind and spirit before he’s done with you.  Run.
  • But no.  Instead Reekjoy offers his countrymen the same “just and fair treatment” as he himself received.  Ah, crap.  Are they all going to lose their favorite toys, too?
  • Ha!  I love the reaction of the Ironborn lieutenant to his commanders decision to fight on.  A tomahawk to the skull will. change anyone’s mind, I guess.
  • Yep…just and fair.  Flayed and tortured.  Ramsay, you’re a complete raving lunatic psycho bastard (literally), and someone should just kill your ass soon.  Perhaps the Mountain or the Viper.  Please?
  • Cut away to… well, at least it’s Baelish (yes! Baelish!). I’m in for this.
  • Hee, hee, hee… if Littefinger’s lips are moving, he is operating.  one more compliment directed at the Vale or its People and his face will freeze in that knowing, canny smirk.
  • And again, for the second time in his recent visit to the Eyrie, Littlefinger finds his schemes thwarted at every turn.  The Counsel will speak to Sansa, and he will not have a chance to prep the witness.  Interesting and nicely tense.
  • Enter Sansa.  How will she play this? Uh-oh.  She promises truth.  I can sense Baelish’s panic from the other side of the screen.
  • Holy crap!!  You GO, Sansa!  I did not see that coming, but the Poor, Poor Pitiful One has learned well in the orbit of Littlefinger and Cersei.  She has played this extremely effectively.  Forget Poor and Poor and Pitiful… Sansa Stark is now an operator in her own right, one who is owed a large favor by the best operator in the land.  Master stroke.
  • Oh, and did I mention that Barelish escapes… again!  Love it.
  • Especially enjoyable was the spectacle of Petyr Baelish staring on, in near admiration of Sansa’s deception.  That, to me, is graduation.  With Honors.
  • A quick sally through the Eyrie sets up Littlefinger’s next step in the plan – get Robin out of the Eyrie.  Why do i have a sneaking suspicion that he won’t be coming back.  Ever.  Now, who would that leave as The Lord of the Vale again?  Oh, right… Baelish.
  • Back to Meereen?!  Oh, for the love of all that’s holy, why?!  Mister Selmy, sir?  Message for you.  Could this be why Tywin needed his quill a few episodes back?
  • Solemn grunting between Selmy and Jorah follows, and yes, this epistle did originate with Tywin Lannister – a royal pardon for spying, apparently.  Oh, Tywin, you savvy manipulator. Sadly, this means more time in Meereen, but it does once again highlight Barristan Selmy’s defining honor.  I’m sorry I ever questioned it.
  • Of course this turn of events does not amuse Dany in the slightest.  So she send the Andal packing on a mule, like Clint Eastwood.  I guess it brings new meaning the the old chestnut “and the horse you rode in on.”  Moderately pointless table-setting. Either way, I’ve lost the will to care.  Meereen grows almost as tiresome to yer Newb as Manhattan.  Can we move it along?
  • Back away across the Sea to somewhere in Derry or Belfast… er, the North… and the Bolton Show.  So Ramsay gets his dreams fulfilled and his father’s name.  That whole scene took a lot longer than it needed to just to establish that there’s a lot of the North and Mel Gibson won’t be here, blue face paint or no.  Ate least there was some semblance of mountains in it.  No Viper anywhere, tho.
  • And much like the previous curiosity about castration, yer Newb did not need the whole “Reek gives Ramsay a bath” mental imagery at all.  Shudder.
  • Back to the Eyrie – it’s in the mountains, I guess – and the ultimate, growling question from Littlefinger to Sansa:  “Why did you help me?”  Sansa, Dear, I am not only wholly your little sister’s now, I may be wholly yours.
  • Speaking of Arya (yes, Arya!), she and the Hound appear to be making their way along the Ambush Highway to the Eyrie.  And there’s a Clegane in this scene (finally!)
  • Oh Dear Lawd, but Sandor Clegane has literally the worst luck ever, and I am even deeper in love with Arya.  Maisie Williams’ laugh is just so inappropriate and infectious.  Auntie is dead, and one more path is closed to the Hound and his ‘companion’.  Magical.
  • Snip to the inside of the Eyrie, and Robyn the idiot-boy expressing his distaste and fear for Littlefinger’s ‘leave the Eyrie’ plan.
  • Aside… I wonder how much of his soul Baelish would have given to kow that the other Stark daughter was at the gates of his fortress?  What leverage to have missed out on.
  • And speaking of Stark Girls… er.. Ladies… er, uh, um… damn!  Sansa has bloomed into full-on Maleficent, courtesan, fairy princess hotness.  It’s literally all Littlefinger can do not to leer.  Amazing!
  • Fi-nally!!  Off to the dungeons of King’s Landing, wherein Tyrion (yes! Imp!) and Jaime converse about the not-so-subtle truth at the heart of this long and sordid tale by Mr. Martin.  Maybe, just maybe, the gods of Westeros are only mentally-deficient children crushing beetles with stones.  Chunk-chunk-chunk.
  • And the gong sounds, the guards come, and we’re finally off the the Mountain and the Viper!  Giddy with the glee, Friends.
  • Okay, so that last six… six?!… six? …only six, Producers?!  You teasing, toying bastards!!  Anyway, that last six minutes was worth all of the preamble.  So much so that I was completely engrossed and am just now catching up on notes.
  • The New Boy fought incredibly well.  He could have and should have killed Gregor Clegane with barely a scratch – which would’ve only cemented his legend – but he fell victim to the scourge of the supremely confident…
  • Monologuing?!  The Red Viper of Dorne falls victim to the oldest comic book villain mistake in the book?  Will they never learn?  Kill.  Then monologue.  Not the other way around.  The other way around ends with a popped head.  Literally.  Like a grape.  Awesome.
  • The looks of gloom, then hope, then triumph, then horror in the crowd were priceless.  Except for the little smirk at the end from Cersei.  Bitch.
  • I’ve never seen Tywin move that fast to declare something over, either.
  • All that said… The Imp.  Can Not. Die.  Producer… you hear me?  I will quit and walk away from it all if Tyrion is actually executed.   And this time, I mean it.

So, denoument…

The Good – Head-popping wonderfulness.  A horribly wounded Mountain.  Arya’s laughter and Lady Sansa’s emergence from the chrysalis.

The Bad – Meereen… all of it.  The Reek and Ramsay show.  Cersei wins again, if only ata terrible cost.

The Ugly – A Tarley resurgence, and did I mention New York?


Until some undisclosed location in time, I remain Yer Faithful Newb.



Beyond The Wall

For Fun… A Little Contest

So, we’re having a little contest for BTW Fans:

The Season 4 Final Image Contest

What will the last scene, and specifically, the last image, be for Season 4 of Game of Thrones? Who or what will we see immediately prior to the Fade to Black, music rises, and credits roll for Episode 10 of Season 4?

If you recall, season 1 ended with naked Dany and her baby dragons. Season 2 ended with White Walker Horseman-Zombie hissing at Sam (don’t get me started on the multiple levels of mind-numbing plot ridiculousness of that scene two seasons later…). And Season 3 ended with Danaerys once again, being carried aloft in the Yunkai mosh pit (Pearl Jam concert was happening just inside the walls, I think).

I decided this would be fun for the hosts to do, but I decided to open it up to everyone.

How do you enter the contest?

Well, first of all, don’t post your guess here. We don’t spoil, and guesses from people that have read the books would certainly be spoilerific by default. Even if you haven’t read the books, don’t post your guesses here. Instead, send an email to btw at specficmedia dot com.

In your email, include two items:

  1. First, your guess, with as much detail as possible. If you’re correct, but someone else’s guess has more details right, they’re going to win.
  2. Tell us how many of the books you’ve read (or if you’ve skipped the books and just read the entire wiki). Or if you are only a show watcher. Honor system.

I’m the only judge. And I can be bribed. No f’ing tribunal, and no trial by combat.

We’ll discuss both the host entries and the listener/viewer entries on our final episode of the season (the entries we can talk about… if someone guesses something that doesn’t happen in the last episode but might still happen next season, or later, we’re not going to talk about it on the show). I may or may not give away a t-shirt or two. No promises. But maybe. If you’re lucky.

So, send me an email. Watch the last two episodes of Season 4. And then watch our final live BTW of the Season (date TBD, but most likely Wednesday, June 18th).

You have until 9 pm Eastern on THIS Sunday (June 8th) to send me your email. No watching the previews for Episode 10 before sending me your guess… So get on it!


Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 Episode 7

Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers.


The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 7: Mockingbird

“It is rare to meet a Lannister who shares my enthusiasm for dead Lannisters.”- Oberyn Martell


So nice to be back on my own damn couch, Dear Reader, armed with a much better beer selection than Midtown Manhattan, comfortably awaiting the fallout from the Imp’s open declaration of war on his father.  Fortified with a Young’s Double Choccy and giddy with the glee, Friends.

Thus, no lengthy prelude from yer Newb tonight, but rather straight into the action, already in progress… Off we go!

  • We open with Jaime and Tyrion in the dungeons.  The Golden Boy with the Golden Arm is pee-yossed!  Fallout, stage one – Anger.  Dinklage continues his run of phenomenal emotional range, only a bit more tightly controlled, all while he and his brother plot various insults to dear old Dad.
  • The foreseeable upshot of the scene, of course, is that Jaime won’t be the Imp’s champion this time, either.  Not out of misplaced loyalty or some such, but simply due to he knows that he can’t win.  No shock there.
  • Well, that, and the fact (communicated by way a deliciously gruesome scene of slaughter) that Cersei has chosen Gregor Clegane as her champion.  Of course.  Cruelty knows no bounds, and far be it from the Ice Queen Regent not to test them anyway.  What fool would stand for Tyrion against The Mountain Who Rides?  Here’s hoping that Bronn still has his legendary cockiness.
  • Did anyone else, BTW, feel that Cersei was right at home strolling gaily through the viscera of doomed men?  Just askin’.
  • Cut away to Arya (yes!  Arya!) and the Other Clegane riding up to a burning lodge of some kind.  Complete with a gut-stabbed old guy.  Festive!
  • Very intriguing scene with the gut-stabbed dude  The conclusion?  Arya and the Hound should never, ever be allowed to work for the Westeros Suicide Hotline, Friends.  Ev-ah.
  • The Newb loved the commentary from the dying man about the whole world of Westeros being out of balance.  That could portend the run of this whole tale – whomsoever restores balance to this world will also end the story.  Or perhaps that’s crap and the Newb is merely waxing philosophical again.
  • A drink, a quickened death, and a convenient anatomy lesson follow, only to be capped off by a wannabe vampire.
  • What idiot tries to take down a man the size and strength of Sandor Clegane by biting him?  The Black Knight?  I thought he was partial to kneecaps.
  • And the other dumbass, the one who – in a past life wanted to shove a stick up Arya’s nethers last season – gets a quick blade to the heart, as well.  Arya… I think I love you.  Even more.  One day, dear girl, you will make an excellent Faceless Woman.
  • We swing northward to Castle Black, and more of the Sno-Tep and Thorne Comedy of Errors Hour.  One day, Alliser, the Wildings will arrive, and you, Ser, will get the sharp end of your comeuppance.
  • A roomful of Crows get a quick lesson in exactly how screwed they are from Sno-Tep while Thorne plays politics and Rome prepares to smolder, or freeze… whichever.
  • Cut back to Tyrion gazing wistfully up out of his dungeon at the lone slip of sunlight, and lo and behold, a decidedly more fashionable and less bloodthirsty Bronn arrives.  I’ll be the first to say that that, there, ain’t no ‘I’ll be your champion’ ensemble.  Here, at the end, Bronn quite sensibly wimps out.  Dammit.  WIll no one set aside plotting the demise of old, barren sisters-in-law long enough to fight for Tyrion?
  • I will most definitely miss the Imp and Bronn Act.  This feels like its end, tho.  Sealed with a handshake.
  • Off to Meereen.  Ah, Gawd no.  It’s Novartis again.  This dude is just tiresome.  And naked.  Two qualities I have a great deal of trouble stomaching in a male character.  Especially in a storyline this plodding,  At the very least, Dany’s newfound maturity is showcased again – from quavering, young, beaten bride-to-be to badass Khaleesi who takes what, and who, she wants – in 4 short seasons.  Impressive.
  • From one naked, tiresome character to another loathsome naked one we go. Off to Dragonstone, and Melisandre in the bath with Lady Baratheon.  Babble, babble, babble…what?!  Do not hurt Davos’ reading teacher, you evil wench!  She is the one bright spark left in the Onion’s life.  Shereen must live, and her awful, awful mother must be thwarted before blood is drawn.  Oh, and the Red Woman needs a swift kick in the teeth.  Soon.
  • Back over the water to Meereen.  Jorah no like Novartis.  Again with Dany sparring with a man only to relent at the last – but only a bit.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Ser Jorah looks like a puppy with a treat as he leaves.  Can we, for the love of all that’s holy, move on, please?
  • Thank you!  Off to Arya (yes!  Arya again!)  and the Hound, reciting a litany of interesting descriptors.  This is an absolutely beautiful dialogue, Dear Reader.  The Hound bares his soul to his captive – and practically has me in his pocket by the end.  This guy had no chance.  “You think you’re on your own?”  I wish only good things for this foul man going forward – he’s paid enough already.
  • On the flip side, if the Newb’s dear, darling, lethally awesome Arya still wants to kill the poor bastard, she can now.  The Hound has allowed her in, allowed her to show him kindness and help.
  • We sidle away to a nearby inn, replete with Pod and Brienne enjoying some kidney pie, courtesy of – hey that’s Hot Pie! Ooooh, and he’s a talker, ain’t he?  And fiercely loyal, to boot – even when Brienne reveals the noble reason behind her interest in Starks.
  • Poor Pod means well in his cautions to Brienne.  How could he possibly know that he’s picked precisely the wrong conversation to caution her about?  These two are gelling, and Brienne is beginning to take his counsel.  Sweet!  Plus, her “You were saying?” is spot-on pitch perfect.
  • I wonder what will happen to the pair of them on that narrow valley-of-the-shadow-of-death passage into the Eyrie.  (Shudder)
  • Cut back to the mildly far-gone visage of the Imp in the dungeons of King’s Landing.  And a surprise visitor!  Yes!  The New Boy!  Well, Friends, I could’ve and should’ve called this as soon as the Mountain was pronounced Cersei’s champion.  You go, Oberyn!  Kill that big, ugly badass with your poisons and your prowess and your unbridled rage.
  • Wow!  Damn.  Just… damn.  Amazing monologue from Oberyn (and the line of the night, BTW), not to mention the massive range of emotions playing out just beneath the surface of Peter Dinklage’s craggy, flame-bathed face.  Give this dude not one Emmy, but ALL of them.  Ever.  Now.
  • There it is.  Oberyn will fight for the Imp, if only to secure admissions and death from Gregor Clegane.  He may lose, but I doubt it – not without exacting a terrible price.  I hope.  Just to see actual pain on Cersei’s smug face.
  • Off we go from the dark dungeons of Castle Black to the brilliant white of a snowy Eyrie.  The look of pure delight on Poor, Poor, Pitiful Sansa’s face is palpable, beautiful and lifts the Newb’s heart.  I wonder how long it’s been since this tortured Northern girl has seen snow?
  • She quickly, as all children do, turns to playing with – building with – the magical white powder, only to have Robin, the Dimwit Sociopath, despite his protestations to the contrary, ruin her recreation of Winterfell.
  • Good for you, Sansa!  Smack that punk again.  He needs it.  And good on Baelish for backing her play.  Even though the temperature dropped on his arrival.  And I mean that as a compliment, for the record.
  • Eeesh.  Littlefinger is at his wicked best, and that move in for a kiss from Sansa sent shivers down my spine, especially after he mentions, idly, that she might have been his daughter under different circumstances  God, I love this character!  You never know when he’s actually telling the truth.  I stand corrected – Tommy Carcetti was not Aidan Gillen’s best role.  Baelish is.
  • And Lysa in the background.  Oooooo… this is gonna get good, although maybe bad.  Please don’t kill Sansa, Producers.  Not until Brienne finds her, anyway.
  • As if on cue, the Poor, Poor, Pitiful One is summoned to ‘Ole Bag of Meth Ferrets Lady’s throne room.  By the Moon Door.  Run, Sansa!  Run, you stupid girl!
  • And Lysa goes all full-on screaming Skeletor.  I’m genuinely frightened by this nutball and she’s only on my teevee.
  • Oh, it’s Baelish.  And he can’t stand Lysa, but he’s using her.  And he clearly has the hots for Sansa.  Run, Lysa.  No, wait – don’t.  Stay right there by the hole in floor and weep.
  • Hee, hee, hee – yes!!  Go Baelish.  “I’ve only loved one woman…”  and it ain’t you, Skeletor.  Shovey, shovey, shove-shove.  All that was missing from that scene was the Vincent Price laugh.


What a way to close, Friends.  The battle between the Mountain and New Boy is tee’d up, with Tyrion’s life in the balance.  Pod and Brienne are closing Sansa – now a murder witness – and must walk a treacherous path to get there.  Baelish is ascendant.  I’m so very in!

So, denouement…

The Good – Baelish and more Baelish, Sansa in the snow, Oberyn as champion, and Dinklage… simply Dinklage.

The Bad – Cersei and the Mountain, the parting of Bronn and Tyrion, and pretty much all of Meereen.

The Ugly – Melisandre and her taste for plotting infanticide in the nude.

Until some random future point, I remain your faithful Newb.



Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 Episode 6

Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers.


The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 6: Laws of Gods and Men

“I wish I had enough poison for the pack of you! I would gladly give my life to watch you swallow it.”- Tyrion Lannister


As a preface, Dear Readers… This, this here, is the episode the Newb has been waiting for.  The full-on rage of the Dinklage.  I will spill some details as we go along, for those rare few of you who may not yet have seen it.  That said, if you haven’t seen the episode, don’t rely on me.  Go.  Watch it.  Now.  Especially the last 5 minutes.  Yes, yes, I know I’m well behind any respectable kind of blogging schedule and this is probably unnecessary, but need I remind you that the culprits in that particular crime are cavalier and uncaring hotel managers in New York.  I will go and sin no more.

Suffice it to say that for those of us who adore Tyrion Lannister, last week’s flaccid, Imp-less, tiresome three-toed sloth of an episode was worth soldiering through just to get to the end of this most recent installment.  So very.  I am now so primed for the next episode I’m practically tweaking at resonant frequency.  And this coming Sunday, Newb will be on my own damn couch, with HBO blaring forth from the big-screen, anticipating greatness.  Deliver, Producers… deliver, damn you!

Enough, for now, about my reaction to the episode, and let’s get to, well… uh… my reaction to the episode.  There really is no elegant way to execute that hook.  Never mind.  Off we go!


  • So Braavos gets its own spot on the map, complete with a popup man-bridge, but still no handy location for the Darth Pale’s Walkerplex 3000.  Still annoying.
  • The Onion and Stannis the Dour lead us straight into the Braavosi straits and beneath the giant bridge-man.  How can they resist the urge to look up?  I mean, c’mon, I know that they’re serious men on serious business and all, but a huge, lichen-encrusted stone butt is always funny, assuming one possesses an ounce of Y chromosome.
  • This must be part and parcel of Davos’ stroke of insight from a couple of weeks back – go borrow some coin from Braavos.  Clearly the Iron Bank is some otherworldly version of Goldman Sachs + the IMF.
  • Heedless of their infernal power and bottomless coffers, Stannis is not a man who takes kindly to waiting, despite Davos and his attemts to soothe via the clever deployment of piratical tales.
  • Oh, marvelous.  It’s a stew of my least favorite things:  condescending bankers, boardrooms, meetings and absolutists.  Wake me when it’s over, please.
  • Okay, so some parts of that were cool – f’rinstance, Stannis henceforward may never again speak down to the Onion as a worthless underling.  He will anyway, but he shouldn’t.  Davos just single-handedly solved that pesky army problem, thereby reanimating the “other” Baratheon’s hopes to grace the Iron Throne.
  • Very interesting observation made in Davos’ impassioned speech about Tywin Lannister, as well.  Foreshadowing perhaps?  Can’t be.  Altho-ough, now the Newb’s mind is spinning with the possible ramifications of a Lannister death that is not Cersei’s.  If Tywin were to meet his end, King’s Landing would be thrown into paroxysms of chaos and the balance of power throughout Westeros would be well and truly screwed with.  But that’s for later… and might very well be a head-fake anyway.
  • In the here and now, Davos is courting my favorite pirate from the Blackwater siege season out of a steaming hot bath (that also has water in it) using the old ‘throw money on the table’ trick.
  • Pirate humor.  Heh.
  • Cut to grey seas and Asha Greyjoy upon them, giving her men some fuel for the upcoming rescue mission.  Curious relationships abound between brothers and sisters here in Westeros, Friends.  Some, like Cersei, would marry one brother and kill another.  Others, like Arya, want nothing more than to kill in the name of their brothers now deceased.  Still others, such as Asha, wish to kill anyone and anything that chooses to stand between her and her brother.  Just an observation.
  • Nonetheless, I would not want to be Ramsay Snow right about now.
  • Or maybe I would, what with the neck-rattling sex he’s having while his castle and keep are invaded by Ironborn.  Good for Mr. ‘Call Me Bolton’, but that freakshow smirk of his has got to go.
  • What’s up with Theon?  Is he really so far gone that he’d refuse rescue from this smirking bastard?
  • And what’s up with Ramsay, as well?  I mean, I know he’s that far gone, but are those deep lacerations coital in nature or does he always fight sans shirt?  Someone please kill this annoyance, please?
  • As the dogs of war let slipped are… yeah that went sideways on me in a hurry… Asha beats a hasty retreat and lies about her brother’s mortality.  That might just come back to haunt her.
  • Uh-huh.  It will.  A skin-crawling bath scene with Ramsay and Reek.  I need this visual like I need a sucking chest wound.  Neither is much fun, and they both hurt to be around.  Just.  Eewwww.  That said, now that the Ironborn believe Theon Greyjoy to be dead, what, pray tell, is Ramsay Snow going to give them?  That’s right. Theon Greyjoy.  More importantly, what will this bit of role-playing do to the former Ego King’s fragile psyche?  It pains me to feel this much sympathy for Reekjoy, but I can’t stop feeling it.
  • We cut to goats.  Just goats.  And a hillside waterfall.  And a boy.  And a dude chasing the goats.  What the hell?  Why should I care about goats?  Oh.  That.  A dragon.  A mighty big dragon.  Barbecuing some goats.  So, only mildly pointless.
  • Quickly away to the Meereen throne room and Sweet Dany, the new Queen in Town.  Damn, but she’s got a whole bunch of titular nouns and adjectives, which is a fun way to work ‘titular’ and ‘Danaerys’ into a paragraph.  Nothing more.  And there’s that goat-chasing dude again.  Oh, I get it now.  The bill has come due for that little goat-b-cue.  In paying the goatherd back for his losses, Dany is proving her ruler’s mettle so far.  No Baratheon’s Disease for this girl.  Next test?
  • A former Master of Meereen enters, earning Dany’s thinly-veiled contempt.  This one’s a bit harder, as his plea serves to remind our new Queen of the unintended costs of the ‘justice’ she so recently meted out.  She handles him with aplomb, as well.  Next?
  • Well, so far, despite the long list of supplicants, Dany is not succumbing to her desire to run like hell.  It’s early yet, though.  Throw a few thousand more audiences at her and see if she starts cooking random goats, too, says I.
  • Back we swing across the Narrow Sea to the small counsel chamber in King’s Landing.  All of the newly-minted members are in attendance, from the obsequious Lord Tyrell to the funny-as-hell Oberyn.  I’m really growing to like this New Boy.  He shares my disdain for the AM side of the clock.
  • Interesting that Jorah the Andal has officially severed al ties with the Lannister clan.  And did Oberyn just make a pass at Cersei, using the Unsullied as his pretext?  No accounting for taste, I suppose.
  • I wonder what Tywin has planned for Meereen and its new Queen that requires his quill and paper.  Another failed assassination attempt, perchance?  Not with Selmy around, surely.
  • Woot!  Off to Varys in the throne room.  What a visual treat.  Somehow hollow in Baelish’s absence, tho.  Who will be the Spider’s sparring partner now?  Oberyn seem game to try…
  • Nice exchange.  Not Littlefinger-caliber, by any means, but still nice.  We learn a bit more about this fascinating spider.  he is from a land where Oberyn has traveled, though it surprises him how easily Oberyn places him.  Also, Varys is not only sexless but uninterested in sex.  And thrones.  Watch that “for the good of the realm” spiel fall away and his true lust for power come to the fore!  Awesome.
  • From the throne room to the dungeon, and big brother Jaime come to escort the Imp (yes!  Impness!) to his trial.  This oughta be interesting…
  • So-o, as I mentioned in the intro, Dear Readers, the last 20 minutes of this episode are arguably the greatest, most epic and astounding bits of film the entire GoT series has produced so far, in the Newb’s humble opinion.  Better than the golden crown.  Better than the Blackwater.  Better than weddings, were they Red or Purple.  Not quite better than Joffrey’s choking death, but longer and somehow more satisfying.  Dinklage is thoroughly, terribly awesome, in words, expressions and steaming, justified, volcanic rage.
  • I won’t even try to capture the nuances.  Just go watch it.  Some standout highlights to whet your appetite:
    • Oberyn jousting with Pycelle over poison.
    • Cersei’s cravenly superior sneers.  Bitch.
    • Pycelle’s dreadful overreach regarding Joffrey’s nobility.
    • Cersei’s outright lie about Joffrey’s whereabouts during the battle of the Blackwater, and Tyrions reaction.
    • All things Varys, most notable his response to Tyrion’s lone question.  Runner up (with a bullet) for line of the night: “Sadly, my lord, I never forget a thing.”
    • Jaime dealing away his Sister-Concubine-Victim, or whatever she is this week, in return for his baby brother’s life.  Jeebus.  Tywin always gets what he wants, don’t he?  Even if he has to pull heaven and earth asunder and threaten the death of his child to make it happen.
    • Shae.  Holy Gods, Shae.  Did not see that one coming.  Nor did I foresee the consequences…
  • These last five minutes, tho… Holy freakin’ crap.  Gotta dwell there for a bit.The Imp truly comes into his frightening own, finally spilling years of pent-up emotions that seethed just below his expertly controlled visage forth for all to see.  It is thing sublime, done of mastery. From the drop into his seat at Shae’s first lies onward, Peter Dinklage rides us raucously off the rails, and parts us decisively with the tracks and ties entirely.  So many potential lines of the night, Dear Readers.  So very many.
  • Basically… Just watch it.  You won’t regret it.

So on to the denouement…

The Good – Sparring in the throne room and pretty much Dinklage in his entirety.

The Bad – Ramsay Snow’s sexytime clown face and Bankers Without Borders.

The Ugly – Theon Reekjoy.  What.  The.  Hell.  Is wrong with that boy?

Well, Friends, as I watch the glowering stare-down between a triumphant Tyrion and a mortified Tywin (again), Newb is deep, deep in for next week.  I have to know where this crazy train stops.  Have to.  And thus, until next time, I remain your Faithful Newb.




Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 Episode 5

Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers.


The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 5: First of His Name

“Your friend’s dead and Meryn Trant’s not ‘cos Trant had armor and a big fu$%ing sword.”- The Hound


Back, I am.  Back from EN (why, God, WHY?!) CEE and a hotel suitable for the Dark Ages in its utter lack of HBO.  Time to catch up on my Newbly ranting duties and with the two remaining Dear Readers willing to tolerate my unique definition of ‘episodic’.

If it’s any comfort, Manhattan’s stubborn insistence on preventing a certain Newb from partaking in the post-Fortress of Crystal Gale-itude tales of Westeros was deeply irritating.  It chafed at my id, Friends.  Of course, so did the traffic, the absence of a noticeable horizon, the teensy glimpses of sky, and the $53 steaks, a la carte.  Apparently ‘ supply and demand’ is an outdated economic model on that overpopulated isle, and has been roundly rejected in favor of a ‘pillage the out-of-towners until they squeal’ one.  At least there’s still decent gyros by the side of the road and the beer’s mostly cold.

All that aside for now… Onward!


  • So, the first aggravation is: No deets whatsoever on the location of Darth Pale and the Baby-snatchers in the opening credits.  WTF?  Is this the Area 51 of the North or Patrick Duffy’s fever dream, or worse?  If it’s where Winter is Coming From, shouldn’t we at least get a pop-up book compass point for it?  Bah.
  • We open with Tommen formally crowned as the new King of the Andals and Blah, blah, blah, etc., etc.  Margaery seems schemingly giddy about this turn of events.
  • Tommen = Still smitten.
  • Margaery = the feminine equivalent (if, indeed there is such a thing – please Dear Female Reader, educate me so that I may add the appropriate term to my lexicon) of cock-blocked by the Ice Queen, Cersei.
  • Oh, crap.  Straight outta cock-block and directly into full-blown ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ for the Lady Lannister.  Run, Margaery!  Run!
  • Wait just a damn minute.  Cersei seems less interested in cock-blocking than co-opting or conspiring.  Huh!  And, runner-up line of the night to Margaery: “I won’t even know what to call you… sister or mother.”  Well played, Miss Thing.  Well played.
  • For the record, I prefer Cersei as her normal Robert Patrick relentless Terminator of entitlement and pure evil than this doting mother figure.  Watching this makes me feel all filthy inside.
  • Thankfully, we flit away to a counsel chamber in Meereen and Dany holding court.  Novartis screwed up and started thinking for himself again, and for some reason stole himself a navy.
  • Stoic banter ensues about odds and armies and allegiances follow.  Ergh.
  • Dany’s conquests around and about Slavers’ Bay are cycling through rulers, at an impressively Ecuadorian pace, from bad to worse.  Thus, she decides to answer my previously-posed Baratheon Disease question and try her hand at ruling for awhile.  Interesting.
  • At least she’s finally taking counsel from Jorah the Andal again.
  • Cut to Sansa and Littlefinger (yes! Littlefinger!) on a craggy path en route, no doubt, to the Eyrie.  We review the highly defensible position that said outpost holds and subsequently  plunge into the murky world of Baelish’s paranoia.  He’ll fit right in with dear Lysa Arryn.
  • Speaking of that selfsame freakish Bag of Nutso, here she (along with her dimwit son) is!  Wheee!
  • At least she’s kind to the Poor, Poor, Pitiful One, so she can’t be all bad, right?  Brain like a sack of meth-addled ferrets, sure, but not all bad…
  • Little Lord Dimwit, by contrast, has all of Joffrey’s lack of tact and some of his sociopathy (note his fascination with flying babymen and presents plunging to their doom).
  • Why do I have a feeling that Robin – that’s the dimwitted little twerp’s name! – will not, at an absolutely critical moment, recall his mother’s admonition against using Sansa’s name in public?  I’ll spot a tenner on that one.
  • Gaaaahh!!! Ugh!  Noooooooo…!  Making out with ferret-brained Lysa?  Holy crap is Baelish paying his dues for this particular scheme.
  • Apparently, per Lysa, the Arryns also had a role in Joffrey’s demise.  This woman is all 31 flavors of mixed nuts, true, and I wouldn’t kiss her with Baelish’s tongue, but I like her a little, teeny bit more with each reveal.
  • Poor Petyr – every excuse he makes to delay his impending nuptials (bad things, after all, do happen at weddings around here) has already been anticipated and thwarted by Lysa.  Oh, you need a Septon?  Got one right here!
  • So, this is to be the episode wherein your Newb is never allowed to feel clean in body and mind again.  First, there was Momma Cersei.  Then the smooches with the crazy… and now screaming fornication among scheming eels.  Blech.
  • Aaaand, there it is.  Lysa’s shrieks of ecstasy.  Pardon a moment, Dear Readers.  I need to step away and bathe my cowering inner child.  Like, right now.  With Clorox.  And Bombay gin.
  • Away we go to Tywin and Cersei, sparring.  The elder Lannister pushing the younger to marry Loras Tyrell already.
  • Interesting reveal about the dry mines and the Iron Bank of Braavos.  So much for sh*tting gold.
  • Clearly, Cersei Lannister is not used to dealing with bureaucracy.  People work in banks?  Seriously?!  People have souls.
  • Ah, now Cersei is trying to sway the judge – work the refs, if you will – to ensure her little brother’s execution.  Bitch.
  • Cut to the Hound and Arya (yes!  Arya!) and the latter’s icy-veined bedtime recitation of her own personal dead pool.  Hound is having none of it.  Although, it seems that Sandor hates Gregor as much as Arya hates Sandor.  Nice fade on her saying so, as well.
  • Back to Bag O’Ferrets Arryn and Poor, Poor, Pitiful Sansa having some sweet treats and twittering like birds.  It’s far less oogy without the carnal wailing, but still… yawn.
  • This chatter is nice… Too nice.  And, there we go.  Lysa is jealous, insane, and has all the bedside manner of a diminutive Skeletor – not to mention the cheekbones.  It’s exactly like she’s permanently trapped between a grin and a snarl.  Damn.  She makes watching Cersei almost tolerable.  Almost.
  • Oh, thank all that’s Holy, we snip to Brienne and Pod and an uncooperative mare.  Brienne is rapidly giving up on Podrick, but the stubbornly loyal boy refuses to take his leave.  Touching battle of wills, tho.
  • Back to the Hound… without Arya and genuinely fearful.  She’s merely stepped away to practice her swordplay.  And, apparently attack the Hound.  Heh!  Line of the night to Sandor Clegane.  Pretty sound philosophy he’s got there, in the Newb’s humble opinion.  When given a choice, go with armor and a big f@&#ing sword.
  • Slip away to Oberyn and Cersei in the gardens with some poetry.  Oh, the former Queen Regent is so-o working the refs tonight, Friends.  I hate, nay loathe and despise, her.
  • That loathing is not tempered, even a smidge, by her whole ‘I miss my baby girl’ schtick.  If a Lannister has a date with death this season, please God let it be Cersei.
  • We roll out of that scene and for some odd reason into a Pink Floyd video… or at least the flaming rabbit from therein.  Ah, I see… loyal, gentle Pod is merely proving that he can’t cook worth a damn either.
  • I’d say Brienne is not only gathering her own wood, but assiduously plotting to be rid of this inept squire.  Until…
  • Pod reveals that he not only has some combat experience, but has, in point of fact, personally shoved a spear through the neck of a King’s Guard.  Suddenly, Brienne welcomes assistance with her armor straps.  Perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for this partnership yet.
  • And off northward we swing to the Craster Corral.  Goody!  I’ve been waiting for Karl to taste the wrath of the Immortal Sno-Tep.
  • Not yet to be, tho, for instead we find Bolton’s Pet Rat slinking through the Mutineers’ camp in search of Bran and Rikon.
  • Sneaking, exposition, lamp, snowflakes… yawn.
  • Bran notices the sneaking at least , as we wheel-shot to the captured ‘Lil Rascals in a snowy shed.
  • As a quick aside, it still freaks me out a bit that whenever Jojen, the blond seer-boy, opens his mouth to utter some acid trip of counsel to Bran… Ferb’s voice comes out.
  • In any case, it seems there are more creepy weeping trees in the Newb’s future, or so Jojen says.  Step one: secure alcohol.  Step two: hunker down and grit teeth.  Step three, and the last: endeavor to persevere.
  • And we’re off to the woods again and more Crows, prepping.  The Pet Rat was ostensibly scouting for their imminent attack.  Finally – swordplay!  Jeebus, but this episode has dragged.  Feels like a week and a half since anybody got slain, smote or cleaved.
  • On another side note… walnut pie?!  Urk.
  • Either way, Locke the Pet Rat is intent on Sno-Tep not discovering Bran.
  • Through the magic of telly-vision, we leap forward in time to a darkened Craster Corral and our old psycho buddy Karl making some bad decisions.
  • Bad decisions involving ‘Lil Rascal Meera and violent molestation.  Karl, my old psycho-buddy, you are going to die.  Tonight.  Of that I am certain.
  • As if on cue… Send in the Crows!  Yes!!  Mayhem!
  • Well, crap.  That was short-lived.  Pet Rat steals away under cover of the mayhem with Bran…
  • Back to the mayhem!  Yes!!  Bring it… blood, fire, piss, vinegar and all!
  • Oh, quit with the jump cuts, ferchrissakes, Producers.  Wait, wait… Bran just turned Hodor into a weapon, didn’t he?  On the one hand, awesome.  Who wouldn’t want their own personal giant?  On the other hand, dear, sweet, innocent Hodor shouldn’t be used as a leg-breaker.
  • Back to mayhem!  For a second and a half…  Ergh.  Hey, Producers, could we please try, y’know, sustaining this level of tension for a whole episode instead of just tacking it on the end like firecrackers on a molasses flow.  Sigh.
  • Pet Rat meets the Hodor-bot of death and loses his spinal fortitude.  And the Hodor conflict arises within me again.  Poor oaf should not have to deal with blood on his hands.
  • Bran, now freed and un-warged, is desperate to reach his big brother Jon, naturally, but Ferb won’t let him.  Something about Blinky the Three-eyed Fish, er Bird.  Or something.
  • Back to mayhem!  That irascible psycho Karl should really seek him some employment in the local Benihana, what with those wicked sweet chippity-chop moves he’s got.
  • Oh, Sno-Tep, Karl (unfortunately) is right.  If you fight all honorable and Nedly like that, you’re gonna get your sullen ass killed.  Told ya.
  • Thank Heaven for Lizzie Borden Craster and her trusty kitchenware.  And Karl bites it.  For the record, I called a broadsword to the throat, and I was not far from wrong.  Only 180 degrees around the neck.  Very, very nice finishing move, Sno-Tep.  Very Mortal Kombat, indeed, and the audio was worthy of Sam Raimi’s finest.
  • Rast, that poor bastard, for his part, has taunted his last direwolf and will spend the rest of his short, brutish existence as a large Milk-bone.  Also very nice.
  • Which brings us to our Hallmark moment of the night.  A boy and his carnivorous killing machine, reunited again.
  • And a bonfire to boot!  Hell, this is turning into a Lowenbrau commercial.


So, debuting a new denouement… the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.


The Good – Swordplay, a justified murder of (ex) Crows, a nasty neck wound, and not a hint of The Dreaded Tarley.

The Bad – Lysa Arryn’s private sex tapes, no Tyrion, and all kinds of ref-working.

The Ugly – Momma Cersei.


Until next unspecified elapsed duration, I remain your Faithful Newb.



Feature The Grump Speaks

“The Grump Speaks” for 05/08/14

The Grump Speaks… Episode 3.

Spoilers? Why do people even complain about spoilers? HBO spoils the episode before the episode even starts.

Episode Reviews Feature Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 Episode 4

Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers.


The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 4: Oathkeeper

“The Kingslayer Brothers.  Do you like it?  I like it.”- Tyrion Lannister



So-o, Dear Readers, yer man here, one Faithful Newb, enters this evening’s viewing steeped in hope.  Hopefully there will be no more forcible rape of siblings beneath stained glass.  Hopefully there will be less Tarley and more Baelish, as well.  Lastly, and over all, I sincerely hope that some of the lovely plates arrayed around the table in last week’s episode might, just might, bear consumable fruit this week.  Oh, and less Tarley.  Not being redundant, merely emphatic.

Least the plate-harvesting (again, hopefully) commence… off we go!

  • Fire!  We begin with fire.  Somewhere, Beavis is cackling.  And right and now, Grey Worm is haltingly learning a new language under the kind but insistent tutelage of Dany’s handmaiden.  No, that’s not a metaphor.  He also appears to have huge righteous indignation and manslaughter issues – woe to the Masters.
  • Speaking of the lovely Dany, she arrives for a quick QC check and ominously declares it to be time.  Time for what?
  • Time for nocturnal subterfuge and insurgency-feeding is what!  Well played, Danaerys.  Very well played.  Arm the slaves of Meereen, avoid losses and build buy-in for a fetching, blonde new ruler.  Most importantly, create acres of shared culpability for revolt and murder.  You’re getting very good at this game, young lady.
  • Bummer of an evening to be a Master of Meereen, though.  Kinda of a dove-in-the-wedding-pie feeling, if you catch my drift.
  • Yet again, our lovely Dany is worhsipped as a liberator, and by my count she hasn’t been forced into nudity to gain an advantage or prove a point once this season.  That’s progress, even for a wandering queen.
  • Whoa.  Public crucifixion for the Masters, eh?  We’re going old school.  Nice.  A lingering question, for the Newb anyway, is whether this is the first flare-up of the condition known as Baratheon’s Disease… great warrior, legendary liberator, skilled leader and atrociously inept ruler.  In any case, Plate Number One is down.
  • We slip away across the Narrow Sea to the One-Handed Wonder and Bronn sparring on the schtupp-me balcony once more.  Jaime seems to be improving, but still unable to spot the golden knockout punch coming.  Heh.
  • A bit of steel sparring begets a bit of verbal sparring and births one major hanging question… will Jaime indeed fight for his imprisoned little brother against the wishes of his Lover-Sister?  No joy on Plate Number Two… only more questions.
  • Off to the dungeons and Jaime actually visiting Tyrion.  That’s a good start.  Maybe Plate Number Two was just delayed?  Oooooh… so the incestuous nature of the deceased King Junior Sadist is now out in the open, at least among one generation of the Lannisters.  Line of the night to Tyrion.
  • Dear God, Jaime, we’re all somebody important.  We’re all gentle snowflakes.  Are you really this thick?  The Imp may be a (sob) dead man without your help.  Don’t let pesky things like your title and treason stand in the way.
  • And we close with a very quizzical insight from Tyrion about Sansa not being a killer – yet.  Foreshadowing?  Perhaps, but Plate Number Two remains stubbornly set.
  • I guess we’ll find out about Sansa, as we shoot back waterward to that selfsame Poor, Poor, Pitiful One aboard Baelish’s ship.  Sad, dear thing – shuffled from one captivity to another.  At least Littlefinger’s plan does promise her greater safety than within a thousand yards in any direction of Cersei.
  • Aha!!  Littlefinger admits his role in killing Joffrey!  My suspicions were totally wrong.  I pegged Dame Tyrell for that deed.  Something about that wedding speech was just too heavy-handed.  Alas, Plate Number Three is down,  but down the wrong tube.  I choked a bit on that one.
  • Nice line from Baelish – almost the line of the Night, Friends: “A man with no motive is a man no one suspects.”  I suspect he has that embroidered on something dear to his heart.  Perhaps the corpse of the first small animal he killed.
  • Damn!  And there it is.  The Tyrell connection.  Baelish may have killed Joffrey, but he did so for his new reasonable and predictable ‘friends’.  My suspicions were well-founded anyway, if errant.
  • Yes!!  Sorry – the scene is the Ladies Tyrell chatting in the garden at King’s Landing.  The ‘Yes!!’ is because I WAS right about Dame Tyrell!  She did kill Joffrey, and in his inimitable way, Baelish enabled the crime.  And it only took 4 or 5 viewings of his death to figure it out.
  • Got lost in my triumph there, Friends, the other key reveal in the senior Tyrell’s prattling is that she was an OG – Original Gold-digger – and she’s trained her daughter to be even better at it than she was.  These two are hell on wheels when it comes to poor, unsuspecting royals.  In short, her newly de-Queened daughter has a new way forward to the throne – straight through sweet little Tommen.  That boy won’t know what hit him.
  • Of, course, per my prior rantings, this means I have to give big hugs to Dame Tyrell and Littlefinger.  And then check my back for daggers, and move on.  Plate Number Three well and truly down, and oh, so satisfying.  Gonna need my stretchy viewing pants in a minute here.
  • A hard cut follows… back north to Castle Black and more swordplay.  Sno-Tep is in his element, training men to fight honorably and effectively against duel-wielding savages.  At least there’s minimal guttural dialogue.
  • Wait a minute.  That rat-faced dude over there is Bolton’s Pet Rat, the one sent ot find and eliminate Bran, Rickon and possibly Sno-Tep himself.  Not good.
  • It is nice to see that despite the shifting fates in Westeros, some things are constant.  Thorne still sports a hard-on for our beloved cardboard cutout.  Jon has grown a bit more mature, at least, as evidenced by his non-pouty stepping away from this challenge.
  • As he does so, Thorne and his right-hand man plot and scheme, convincing each other that maybe Karl and the rest of the Craster Corral Mutineers might solve the Jon Snow problem for them.
  • Eeesh.  It’s all 31 flavors of slimy and awful to watch Locke, Bolton’s Pet Rat, sidle up Jon like a buddy.  It makes me want to yell at the TV and I don’t even like that Nedly Bastard.
  • Cut away to Cersei and her ever-present glass of Bordeaux… and her Brother-Lover-Rapist (?).  The referential titles are getting all swimmy and disorienting now.
  • These two Lannister sibs sure are all formal and testy tonight, and for once I can’t quite bring myself to blame Cersei.  (Gah!  That last sub-clause seared my soul to utter, if I’m honest.)
  • Yeah, that’s better.  Calling Sansa a “murdering little bitch” melts away any and all inklings of sympathy I may or may not admit to having felt for the former Queen Regent.  She sure has turned her legendary chilliness on her Sibling-With-Benefits-Perpetrator.  (Nah, that title’s even worse.)
  • Switch to Tommen’s darkened bedchamber and the younger of the Tyrell OGs sneaking in to ply him with sweet nothings.  Or just talk.  In a caring and sincere way.  So, that was much less sickening than it could have been – and in the end, Tommen is completely smitten.  Yet another Plate is set.
  • We cut away to Jaime and Brienne considering that infernal book with such a short entry about the Kingslayer we saw earlier in the season.  Brienne brings so much honor and gravitas to just about any scene she’s end.  Listen to the Newb, right?  I think I may the smitten one.  Whatever, I’m all in for this scene already.
  • Wow.  Just wow.  Gifting Brienne not only his Valyrian blade but a completely awesome new set of plate armor is a great start to redemption and a bigger entry in the book, in my view.  So is following both up with a quest to find and defend Poor, Poor, Pitiful Sansa – in direct contravention of the earlier order dispensed by his Familial-Snugglebunny.  (Pah!  Blech!  Spit that one out and throw it away, Friends.  The term ‘snuggle’ should, never, ever be associated with Cersei.)
  • Whaaat?  One final gift, and a perfect one, at that.  Pod and Breinne will ride out together, thereby keeping Pod safe on the quest to keep Sansa safe.  Not to mention the image of supreme Loyalty and devout Honor riding side-by-side.  The final gift, courtesy of the Imp, puts a fine point on it all.
  • And that backwards glance confirms that, on some level, Brienne does love Jaime.  It’s a damn shame that his sister corrupted him first.
  • Ergh.  Away to… The Tarley.  Damn you, Producers.  Damn you.
  • And courtesy of the Tarley and his amplified bewilderment, Locke now knows where Bran and Rickon might be – which leads him, of course, to pop up as a volunteer when Sno-Tep is oh, so generously given leave to mount a sortie to the Craster Corral.  Yet another Plate set for future consumption.
  • Off to a skull, and Newman!  Sorry, no, I meant Karl!  Oh, no he didn’t.  That prick just quaffed from Lord Mormont’s dead skull.  And he’s authorized the mass rape of Craster’s remaining daughters, as well?  Needs. To. Die.  In a pool of his own intestines.
  • The daughters herald the arrival and anticipated dispatch of Craster’s last son.  I have come to see that babies, in particular, have it extremely rough in this here patch of Westeros.  Poor little dude.
  • Karl’s harangued henchman wanders out to abandon the bawling infant and feed the caged direwolf – I think it’s Sno-Tep’s wolf… Winter, maybe?  Don’t tease the huge canine death machine, you idiot!  No, wait – do.  Tease him until he rips your damn throat out.  Or perhaps the Walkers will get you first, given the rapidly freezing puddle and the cawing.
  • Cut to Bran, Hodor and the rest of the ‘Lil Rascals gathered around yet another fire.  Lotta fires in this episode, I’m noticing.  Winter is coming, I suppose.
  • Uh-oh.  That same baby’s cries reach the ‘Lil Rascals lair.  They are clearly very close to Casa de Craster.  This random and troubling stimulus lead Bran to feed his addiction and warg straight into Summer for a quick peek.  And lead the direwolf directly into a trap , but not before she spies Ghost in a cage.  Yep, these kids are danger close to Karl and Mutineers (M, u, t… T?  A drink with jam and bread… i, n, e… ‘E is a right bastard that one…e, r, s… S? Hmm, can’t quite make that work.  Worth a try, tho.)
  • Bran, oh, Bran.  Why must you be damn Nedly?  You’ve led your whole merry bad into a trap.  Hodor is being stabbed like a dancing bear, and Karl is alternately fondling and slapping children.  Not at all cool.
  • Of course, suffering from an advanced case of Nedliness, Bran reveals his identity to save his traveling companions.  And the main course is now well and truly set.  I wonder what accident might befall Karl when Sno-Tep gets here.  No I don’t.  Broadsword through the throat is my first guess.  The question is, after that’s done, will the dense and largely unperceptive cardboard cutout realize that his semi-sibling is still in mortal danger from the Pet Rat?
  • But that’s for later.  For now, we sweep away to the snowy plains, a gruesomely undead mare, and our little lost babe-in-the-literal-woods.  He’s now wrapped in the crackly arms of a Walker (the White variety, not the flesh-frenzied zombie kind… but you knew that already).
  • Wait, wait, wait just a freakin’ minute.  What is this place?  Where’s the ghost of Jor-El?  Why is Darth Maul’s uglier – and much paler – brother touching infants inappropriately and making their brown eyes blue?  I thought only Crystal Gale was capable of such dark witchcraft.  Basically, W. T. F.?!?
  • I am so confused and rattled at this point, I have no choice but to hang for next week.  Thus, I remain your Faithful – and slightly fetal after that last bit – Newb.