Audio Author News/Announcements Authors Beyond The Wall Feature Podcast

BTWS06ES1 – George R.R. Martin Interview

George R. R. Martin at SDCCWe are happy to bring you this interview of George R. R. Martin at Mysticon brought to us by the sexy beast Podcasting’s Rich Sigfrit. Rich has been kind enough to share this interview via simulcast on BTW and Geek Radio Daily. The interview was recorded at the end of February just before the Season 6 premiere which is why you hear a lot of questions about whether Jon Snow is alive or not.

Our next episode will either be our Season 6, Episode 6 discussion, or live show at Balticon 50 depending on how well recordings go.

Be sure to leave some feedback or share for an entry to our season 6 contest to win a $50 gift card. Get 5 bonus entries if you rate/review us on iTunes or Google Play.


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.




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.


Episode Reviews Feature Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 Episode 3

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 3: Breaker of Chains

“Your father lacks an appreciation of the finer points of bad behavior.” – Ser Davos



Still reeling a bit from the bloody demise of my beloved Ros’ killer, Friends.  Hee, hee, hee… did I mention that Joffrey’s dead?  Did I mention how I laughed?

Thus, it’s fair to say that your faithful Newb may… how you say… struggle a bit to stay present and pay attention through this next installment.  But… for you, for you, Dear Readers, I will (albeit briefly) cease and desist rewinding and re-watching the President of the Westeros Junior Sadists’ League agonizingly throttle on his own sputum while mewling for his psychotic mommy.

More stuff, apparently, has happened in Westeros of late.  So-o, armed with trusty notepad and fortified with a perfectly chilled Dark Horse Special Black, I will soldier on.  And off we go!

  • We return to Cersei’s rage and Tywin’s loss of certainty and control.  Yummy.  Can’t get enough.
  • But are quickly whisked away to answer the riddle of where, precisely, the Human Wine Cask is spiriting Poor, Poor, Pitiful Sansa.  Up and alley, down an alley, into a dinghy and out of a dinghy, to scale the trim hulk of a ship in what I assume must be the Blackwater, hidden in swirling mists.  Aboard said vessel lurks none other than Tommy Carcetti, er, Littlefinger!
  • Of course Baelish had to be here.  New rule, to swipe unceremoniously from Bill Maher… If someone, anyone, dies under mysterious circumstances anywhere in Westeros, henceforward the Newb will simply attribute some level of de facto a priori involvement and malfeasance to Littlefinger.  Period. Amen. Crack-a-dew.
  • Oh, Dontos, you truly gifted fool, don’t wait for your pay!  GTFO while you still ca… never mind.  There it is.  Shot in the face for your troubles.  This is Petyr Baelish’s world my sad, sodden little  man, and you merely die in it.  Lord, how I’ve missed Littlefinger.
  • The only downside i that my whole whodunnit theory just got set on fire, sunken in the swamp and otherwise obliterated.  To this point, I’d believed, after multiple viewings of the prior episode, that Dame Tyrell was the murderer.  That little speech about killing a man at a wedding was too juicy a clue.  I thought she and she alone must be the one to whom I owed the biggest ever hug to.  But now… now I am forced to revise my thinking.  Baelish, you beautiful bastard – YOU did it.  Didn’t you?
  • With no clear answer either way, we’re dashing off coastward to the aforementioned Dame Tyrell and her lovely not-quite-Queen daughter conferring at some length about dead, doughy lumps and other things as well.  Prattle, prattle, prattle, and your basic reveal that these two are the living, if fictional, embodiment of “operators”.  Nice.  And thus seemed so sweetly shrewd.
  • Cut to Joffrey’s body… giggle… I enjoy that particular juxtaposition of referential nouns no end.  Cersei and Tommen are brooding here.  Maybe even grieving.  At least Tommen may be capable of grief.  I doubt Cersei is capable of such a nuanced emotion in her deep, dark bag of bitchy superiority.
  • Sheesh, not for nothing, but those little eye pebbles Joffrey is sporting are creepy.  Not crying, hallucinogenic fauna creepy, mind.  But still and all… creepy.
  • Oh, goody, Tywin’s here, too, and he’s blowharding.  Since when does he care what makes a “good” king?  The term “good” can hardly be applied to him, or any, save one, of his progeny.  Interesting guessing game, though, and quite the tour of past crazy seated on the throne.
  • Oooohh… I see where this is going now.  Tommen, dear boy, listen to me, your Hand, and your council or you’ll be just as dead as all of those other idiots.  Tywin, you may not be good, per se, but you’re good at this whole completely evil and manipulative f**ker deal.  I do love the slap at Joffrey right in front of his corpse and his mommy.  I love Cersei’s smothered outrage even more.  Lena Headey is killing it with her expressions tonight.  They run the full gamut from homicidal to outright psycho.
  • The fact that Tywin starts in on the birds and the bees just as UncleDaddy Jaime wanders in is also rich.  Chuckle.
  • So Cersei wants Jaime to kill Tyrion and avoid a trial altogether.  And good on Jaime, he refuses.  This new Kingslayer-with-a-conscience is appealing… but…

… What in the (bleepity bleep motherbleeping bleep in the name all that’s bleeping holy) was THAT?!  Did this just turn from sitting shiva to a ‘smack my bitch up’ video?  The Newb feels a tad violated, in all candor.  Cersei is a hateful woman, and I pity Jaime his love for her, but forcible rape on the chapel floor is more than a few steps beyond.

  • Thankfully, we fade to Arya (yes, Arya!!) and the Hound under a bridge.  Sandor Clegane calmly contemplates a future as a sell-sword across the narrow sea.  Seems logical.  But then, what ho…
  • Along comes Dennis the Farmer – help, help, he’s probably been repressed – and Arya covers their presence on Dennis’ land with a rapid lie and a wonderful guess as to loyalties.  This girl is quick-witted, Friends.  Full stop.  And that’s not even in the top three things I most admire about her.
  • Thanks to the successful guesswork, we cut to a most unappetizing scene of prayer and stew-guzzling.  Dennis the Formerly Repressed Farmer and the Hound reach a quizzical agreement.  I’ve never pictured any Clegane as a farmhand.  But I also understand that there is no good reason for a man not keep at least a dram of ale in his house.  None at all.
  • The next morning, we awake with Arya to cries of alarm, and find that Clegane the Farmhand was never to be.  Also, apparently that whole “Hound with a Code” only applies to people that the Hound believes will live long enough to miss the items stolen.  Dammit!  (Brief aside, Friends… as a big guy myself, with some hand-to-hand combat skills, courtesy of kind senseis and a bit of a checkered career path, this turn of events really irks me.  I was coming around to truly liking this new Hound, but now I’m, well… what was that word my dear mother used to wield like a rapier?  Ah, yes.  Disappointed.  Very disappointed.)
  • He does raise a valid point, though, even in the midst of disappointing me.  Arya has to come to terms with the rules of engagement of the sh*theap in which she lives, before it costs her her own head.
  • Cut to the Wall – Castle Black to be precise – and, aw God, no.  The Tarley.  Time to get another beer.  This storyline is just… So. Damn. Tiresome.  Someone wake me when this slubbering, whiny blob figure life out.  I do feel sorry for Gilly, though.  While The Tarley did save her and her baby’s lives, caring for someone as clueless as Blob Boy here has got to be frustrating as hell.
  • Snip to the Chamber of the Wacked-out Baratheon Table.  Stannis is somehow convinced that leeches led to Joffrey’s death.  Poor, dense bastard.  It pains me to watch The Onion try to reason with the Emotionless One about the efficacy of infantry over flame-broiled annelids.  Davos is clearly feeling some pressure to solve the problem of troops, and by extension gold.
  • This pressure does not prevent him from attending a reading lesson with the daughter Baratheon, who thankfully survived last week’s encounter with Melisandre.  And this scene produces both the line of the night, as well as the runner-up.  “If you see the word ‘knight’ and say ‘ker-nig-it’…”  Hahahahahaaa!  Somewhere Graham Chapman is laughing just as hard as I am.  I’d swear it.
  • Aaaand, the encounter produces a spark of illumination for Davos, as well.  Something to do with the Iron Bank of Bravos.  I’m sure there’ll be more on this later.
  • Oh, crap.  Cut to The Tarley again.  Gilly, dear girl.  Listen to my words, please?  Find someone new.  This boy is a round mound of confounded.  By literally everything.  Yawn.

So-o, Producers?  Yeah, you clowns.  Lean in close, please, so’s I can yell a bit in your ear.  It was someone’s high artistic concept to jump me, your trusting viewer, from The Tarley to an orgy?!  Seriously?  Very, extremely not cool.  It’s gonna take several rounds of high-test, some therapy and possibly a sweat lodge or two to wash that off my synapses.  Don’t.  Ever again.  Just don’t.

  • Moving on.  Oberyn and his dusky companion are, um, sampling the wares a bit, it seems.  I wonder how much Baelish is clearing on this binge.  Hey, who’s the busty redhead with the sweet caboose… oh, sorry.  Got distracted.  I miss Ros.  I really do.
  • Tywin joins the party, at least metaphorically, as in Tywin walks into the room where the party is occurring.  And he has accusations a-brimming.  Very interesting reveal about Oberyn’s expertise in poison, as well.  As such, he is invited by the senior Lannister to join Tyrion’s trial jury.  Even offered a Small Council seat.  Because…?  Newb is confused.
  • Aha!  Tywin is playing the long game here.  I did not know that Dorne successfully resisted the Targaryens and their aerial, flame-spewing iguanas.  Besides, that verbal sparring was easily the strongest scene of the night, so far.
  • And off to the dungeons again.  That means Impness!  Yay!  Pod pays a visit, and Tyrion pays tribute and farewell to Pod very fittingly.  A thing of immense beauty and vulnerability.  Tyrion, you Are. Not.  Allowed.  To  Die.  Got it?  Good.
  • Pod provides a single juicy clue – Joffrey (allegedly) was killed by a poison named “the strangler”.  Seems an apt description, given Joffrey’s denouement.
  • Condemned, imprisoned and all, The Imp still asks for his big brother Jaime.  Huh.
  • Cut to a brook and a village and some blokes discussing potatoes.  See, these, here, are the Newb’s people.  And they’re getting killed.  Stupid freakin’ monosyllabic cannibals.  And Ygritte, too.  They send one newly-minted orphan off the warn the Crows, at…
  • Castle Black it is.  And Bubba Sno-Tep, the walking cardboard cutout, holding court.  At least he displays common sense in this instance.  It appears (shudder) that Jon Snow may know more than nothing after all.  Both not chasing the cannibals and marching of to kill the mutinous Crows keep are good, sound strategic calls.  Someone does need to kill Karl dead.  Hopped up little sh*t.  He never should have killed Mormont.
  • Sharp swing to across the narrow sea and Sweet Dany outside the walls of Mereen.  And, oh joy… Novartis.  At least the dull prettyboy can hurl a knife.  I do love the catapulted slave chains – nice move, Danaerys.  Plus, this means more blood and violence.

Hmmm… a full hour of irksome things, loathsome things and table-setting.  At least I had the afterglow of Joffrey’s strangled demise to ride it out with.  ‘Til next time, Friends, I remain your faithful, if deadline-challenged, Newb.


Feature The Grump Speaks

“The Grump Speaks” (Text Only), for 4/28/14

NOTE: I wrote this and recorded some video after the airing of Season 4, Episode 2 of Game of Thrones. But a computer issue (i.e. two weeks later I now have a new computer) prevented me from editing the video, and by the time I had gotten around to it, the premise of my far-fetched theory had already been proven false, so I figured I would just release the text of my thoughts on the episode known as \\The Purple Wedding.\\ Enjoy the ramblings of a man with a dream…


“The Grump Speaks”

S4E02 Game of Thrones – \\The Lion and the Rose\\

Or… \\Get that boy some Benadryl and an epipen!\\


If you are visiting The Grump Speaks for the first time, I\\™m P.G. Holyfield. I\\™m one of the hosts of Beyond The Wall, which is a Game of Thrones podcast, and the founder of I hope to release a video in this series every week or two, and for the next nine weeks I\\™m sure we\\™ll remain focused on Game of Thrones. This week? A bit of a ramble on season 4 episode 2, “The Lion and the Rose.\\

First, let\\™s get the Bolton Family Reunion and The S Jam (Stannis, Selyse, and Shireen) out of the way. We all understand that Ramsay \\Sausage Eater\\ Bolton is a bit on the psychotic side. But after seeing him interact with his father, Roose, I get the feeling that Ramsay barely approaches the repressed evil that is his father. At least Ramsay Bolton and Locke \\Give that man a Hand\\ …  well, just Locke, express their feelings. Roose is just going to explode at some point, keeping things bottled up like that. I just get the feeling that the lovely Walda Frey isn\\™t going to enjoy her stay at the Dreadfort for very long.

theon01Also, here is one of the supposed payoffs of last season\\™s torture porn. Reek, broken, obeys Ramsay like one of Ramsay\\™s hunting dogs. Again, we could have used some of that time last season for something more beneficial… oh, I don\\™t know, like maybe showing a bit more of Ser Dontos? So we didn\\™t have to have lines like (mimicking Sansa \\I want to be his queen and have his children\\ voice)…\\Oh, I remember you, you\\™re the knight I saved from drowning on Joffrey\\™s name day\\… very silly, considering Sansa should have seen Dontos a hundred times over the last year at Joffrey\\™s court. Oh yeah, and my point… even with all that we saw of Reek\\™s torture, I just didn\\™t by the complete transformation. Maybe there is more to Reek… but I doubt it. 😉

But enough complaining about that. At Dragonstone, Melisandre sacrifices three to the fire, and at least one is, at least by marriage, royal blood. I\\™m betting R’hllor appreciates the sacrifice of the king\\™s brother in law just as much as blood from a king\\™s bastard son… but what do I know?

Actually, I do know something. Melisandre burns a leech with Gendry\\™s blood, and Robb Stark dies soon thereafter. She named Joffrey with another of those leeches, and after burning three at the stake as some sort of MMO buff,  Joffrey drops like Widow\\™s Wail through a pigeon pie. All I know it, if I was Balon Greyjoy, or anyone else that had a less than positive stray though about Stannis, I\\™d find me that Thoros guy to protect my ass from Scary Spice.

As for Shireen, (\\Outlaw Country!\\) … she\\™s had more screen time than in the books, which I like, but one thing is for sure: if the blood of a bastard nephew and the burning of a brother-in-law is enough to kill kings, what would the blood of Strannis\\™s old daughter provide Stannis?

But enough of that, for now. Let\\™s get to the end of that Purple Wedding:

Ned Stark once said \\Poison is a woman\\™s weapon.\\  Pycelle\\™s response? \\Poison is the preferred weapon of women, craven, and eunuchs.\\

Now coming at this as a book reader, I know the current book universe answer to the question, \\Who killed Joffrey?\\ But after watching the Purple Wedding, I think there is a chance that the tv show universe could, and I mean could, change this. I mean, sure, all the pieces are there in plain sight that mirror the book, or at least mirror the point-of-view influenced judgments of characters from the books.  But wouldn\\™t it be fun if the show really went in a different direction? They\\™ve certainly been tinkering with characters and plots… why not have some fun and create a new mystery, even if its main purpose is to mess with the book readers who have spent the last three years snickering at non-readers as they experience this universe for the first time? Personally, I would love it.

But let\\™s look at this as if it were an episode of Westerosi Law and Order (insert obligatory \\˜Dun dun\\™ sound effect). What is it they always say a suspect needs?? Motive, Means, and Opportunity.

Motive is easy. Everyone other than Cersei, Jaime, and possible Ser Meryn would fall into the \\The world would be better place without Joffrey Baratheon\\ category. Now there are certainly those with more of a direct axe to grind, but it was pretty obvious at the wedding feast… you could count the people smiling much more easily than those that were not.oberyn_loras

Now for the means… Poison. Who knows poisons? Oberyn Martell does, as a man from Dorne. Pycelle does, surely. Whoever killed John Arryn does… wait, remember John Arryn? The whole reason Ned Stark ended up in Winterfell was because John Arryn was most likely poisoned. And though suspicions were aimed at Cersei Lannister for John Arryn\\™s death, she is about the only person not on the suspect list for Joffrey\\™s murder. In any case, I doubt there is anyone in attendance at that feast without the \\means\\ to acquire all manner of poisons.

So now we\\™re down to the last one… opportunity. If the wine was poisoned, then you only had a few people close enough to that magic cup. Tyrion, surely, but we\\™re going into this believing Tyrion is innocent. Sansa picked up the cup. Tyrion gave the cup to Joffrey. Margaery took the cup and put it on the table behind her. Hey, Tywin was on that table, wasn\\™t he? Olenna was at the next table, but I guess she had time to get over to the cup while the pie was being rolled out and Joffrey was doing his Widow\\™s Wail thing.

But what if the wine is a proverbial red herring, to get viewers to watch the principle participants that were most likely involved from the book? Because I feel it\\™s just as likely, to these grump eyes, that the poison was in the pie.

Cute ladies brings in pie on plates, one specifically hands a piece to the king and new queen. Margaery takes it and feeds Joffrey. Margaery, doing her best to stay gluten-free, doesn\\™t take a bite herself. Joffrey immediately starts choking/coughing after the bite of pie, not after drinking the wine. It\\™s only after this that he drinks more wine and his throat gets all esophagus closey and face hemorraghy.

If I\\™m right (Editor\\™s note, yeah yeah, I now know that I\\™m wrong), then anyone could have poisoned Joffrey. All they needed was access to the pie and access to the girl delivering the pie. Varys? Littlefinger, from another part of Westeros? Oberyn? How about Bronn, our favorite man without honor?

And for those that may say that there are too many variables in my crackpot theory… how could you ensure that Joffrey gets the poisoned piece of pie?

girl_pieAll I ask is, what is more likely? A single poisoned piece of pie is carried and handed directly to the queen, where it is custom that the queen feed the king the first bite of pie? OR, if you are one that believes in the necklace theory, that your ENTIRE assassination plot hinges on the idea that the still grief-stricken Sansa Stark is going to independently choose Joffrey\\™s wedding as the event to wear Dontos\\™s necklace, and that she would even remember the necklace, considering she could barely remember the man that gave the necklace to her in the first place?

All I can say is if it is the necklace, I\\™m going to have a nice rant in a future episode of Beyond the Wall on the topic of \\˜lazy execution.\\™

NOTE: Yes, my rant will be a good one this week. 

Like I said, I know I\\™m probably wrong about this, and it\\™ll play out more or less exactly how it happened (book point of view limitations notwithstanding, of course) in the books. But IF the show decides to change things up around the assassination plot, I would be very happy. Because it would mean nothing is safe, anything is on the table, and that could be a LOT of fun, indeed.

Until next time, stay grumpy. I certainly will.



Episode Reviews Feature Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 Episode 2


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 2: “The Lion and The Rose”

“Now go drink until it feels like you did the right thing.” – Bronn

You thought it, didn’t you?  Come onnnnnn…. you know you did.  Admit it.  You thought something along these lines: ‘That bastard!  He went and ran out on us again. He’s somewhere near a drink right now, giggling, as we quietly resent his cruel Newb-ish ass.’

Not so fast, Dear Readers!  Newb ain’t going anywhere – yet.  Suffice it to say that I have an interesting relationship with time.  I’m generally aware of it, and yet in no way constrained by it.  If that frustrates you, Friends, you must talk to the lovely Mrs. Newb.  She’s got you beat on the old frustrat-o-meter, of that I am dead certain.

Thus, I would encourage each and all (3 or so, by my reckoning) of you to think of this column as definitionally ‘episodic’ more like ‘he’ll get around to it in between his recurring episodes’ and less like ‘there’ll be a new post after every episode of Game of Thrones’.  It’s a character flaw which I have simply come to accept.  It makes the coping so much easier.  Besides there’s been the waves of giddy joy to contend with (more on that toward the end).

In any case, off we go!

  • We open in the woods with bows and arrows… Hunger Games much?  I bet Ramsay would kill it in the Arena, frankly.  And who is this poor slip of a lass being hunted like prey?  Does it matter?  More importantly, with Little Red Shooting Hood, Ramsay’s heartless but skilled co-huntress?  Never mind.  All of those questions pale at the sight of Theon/Reek’s while the hounds tear the wounded quarry apart.  If that was the whole message of this scene, I think I, for one, get that he’s a broken wretch already.  Certainly hope that it meant something more to you Overachieving Book-Readers out there among you.
  • Cut to King’s Landing…  Clever segue from Greyjoy to a big, fat sausage – nyuk, nyuk,  Jaime and Tyrion having lunch.  Witty repartee, spilt wine, and a hired swordplay trainer for the one-handed Wonderboy.  Hmmm.  Jaime’s ego and self-pity meet Bronn’s legendary low BS tolerance.  This oughta be interesting.
  • Add one scream-drowning oceanside balcony, a brace of sparring swords and it is!  Smack him around, Bronn – just for the hell of it.  That one-armed sympathy junkie could use it – for his own good.
  • Off to a gray highway, some horsemen (with a flag!  Where’s Eddie Izzard when the joke is just laying there, helpless?), and a castle.  What ho?  I keep waiting to hear “it’s only a model.”
  • Ah, I see.  Roose Bolton returns home to his bastard.  I bet that smarts if you’re the new Senior Flaying Minister of the Junior Sadists’ League who only wants to just like daddy.  Roose wants naught to do with this wild-eyed whackjob, and I can’t say I blame him, especially after the girl-meets-dog action at the open. Also, apparently bringing forth Reek from Theon complicated life for Roose with the Ironborn. Bad move, Ramsay (a.k.a. Captain Freakshow) Snow.
  • Egads, the lathering and the shaving and the twitching and the grimacing.  Once, Friends, I wished to see the Egoholic Airhead, Mr. Theon Greyjoy, brought low.  But this?  Painful to watch, even though I do love the twist of the knife from Ramsay regarding the death of Robb Snow.  Sick bastard.  The conversation does serve to let us know that the Bolton clan (there are too many Snows in Westeros to reasonably track them all)  now knows of the continued breathing status of two Stark males, namely Bran and Rickon.  So, Roose sends his “pet rat” after the Stark boys and shoves captain Freakshow off the a run-in with the Ironborn – one which I sincerely believe he hopes will be Ramsay’s last.
  • Back to King’s Landing we go, and thankfully to the Imp and the Spider.  There hasn’t been enough Varys so far this season, in my view.  The Imp learns that Shae’s presence and significance are now known by Cersei, thus will be known shortly by a vengeful Tywin, and that he cannot rely on his usual coterie of friends with his father in the game.
  • We slide from the Spider and the Imp to the President and Premier of the Junior Sadists’ League himself – One Joffrey Baratheon.  It seems that, as he is soon to wed, Joffrey is receiving gifts from special subjects.  In doing so, he is surprisingly gracious to his diminutive uncle, despite his obvious disdain for the book Tyrion has given.  This graciousness will never do in this particular relationship.  Never.
  • Aaannd, there it is.  Joffrey, enamored of his new Valyrian steel sword (thanks, Ned!), chops his uncle’s book asunder with glee.  Asshat.
  • Oh, noes!  Shae and Tyrion.  This must be the big and horrible goodbye.  Wow, it is, and can the Imp ever be a total prick when he wants to be.  It doesn’t suit him, even if it is pretense out of concern for Shae’s life.  Nonetheless, I can’t help but think that the “woman scorned” angle may come back to haunt the Imp.
  • Cut to a dark, dank, firelit beach at midnight… ah, scenic Greenland.  No, wait, it’s only Melisandre torching some nobodies for science, er, sorry, The Lord of Light or something.  This sorceress beeyotch can die any time now.  How about a date in a delightful sylvan glen with Ramsay and his pooches?  At least Ser Davos brighten the scene a bit.  The Onion has grown into one of my favorite characters.
  • Jeebus, but dinner conversations in the Baratheon household are about as lively as a deceased flounder on a county highway… flat, weird and gravelly.  Although, Stannis the Emotionless does, it seems, have a weak spot – his daughter.  So, of course, Melisandre must go and see her.  Crap.  This show is murder on sweet, intelligent kids.  The conversation does reveal that Melisandre believes that she is living in hell already.  Thta explains her taste in clothes, at least.
  • Whoosh!  Hard cut to snowy woods.  Must be the North.  In a dream.  With a wolf.  Yoiks!  HoDeer was a horror show, Dear Readers.  Less of that, please?  Or at least warn a brother that he needs a stiffer drink first.
  • So, Bran is now a wolf-dream and HoDeer junkie.  Better than heroin, I guess.  And another thing… why is everyone so bloody serious in the North?  Somebody get these fur-clad downers a snowmobile, for chrissakes.
  • Oh, dammit, no!!  Not another one of those creepy weeping trees.  I AM going to need stronger drink for this episode, Friends.  Hopefully it’ll improve my writing.  Probably not.  Expectation management, Friends, is an under-appreciated art form.
  • Okay, what the hell was all of that tree-touching Oliver Stone weirdness?!  And why no naked Indian?  Seriously.  That little sequence was probably all 31 flavors of red meat for the Book-Reading Overachievers out there, but it’s an overly-large slice of deep fried WTF to the Newb.  A crazy dream sequence just to tell our stone-faced little band of wanderers to keep going the same direction that they were already headed?  It’s like the hideous love child of GPS and LSD.  GPLSD.  Heh, that could be fun.  Until it recalculated.  Where was this metaphor going, anyway?  Oh, right… South.
  • To King’s Landing and a royal wedding already in progress.  I don’t even like these damn things in England.  Why would I care about one in this place?  Blah, blah, dearly beloved… blah, blah, pledge this and that.  Where’s Peter Cook when you really, really need him?  “Wu-uv.  Twoo wuv.”  Now that was a wedding.
  • Cut to outside, and Tywin and the Grand Dame Tyrell on their way to the wedding feast.  Just a quick, walking reminder that the gold-sh*tting Ones require the funding of the rosy Ones awhile longer.
  • And lots of jump-cutting, this time to Tyrion and the Imp entering the wedding feast itself.  Bronn confirms that Shae reached her boat and any followers which he may or may not have had in the process almost certainly did not exist or least have ceased to by now.  Well. there goes my “woman scorned” theory.  Heh. And Bronn gets the line of the night.
  • Also, I cannot be the only one who lapped up Pod’s backward glance at the… ahem… acrobat.
  • Ah, Dame Tyrell.  Interesting speech within earshot of the King and the Hand.  Foreshadowing?  Someone is going to die at the wedding feast?  All the jumping about is certainly ratcheting up the tension.  Intrigued is the Newb.
  • Freakin’ bards, man.  I gave my love a cherry and suchlike… Now you know by now, Friends, that I am not in the Joffrey fan club, but he did play that little bit perfectly.  Take your filthy lucre and get the hell gone, bard.”
  • Aaand, Loras seems to… ahem… ‘know’ Oberyn.  OMG, OMG, OMG… Shocker!
  • Wow, lots of blend cuts to other conversation around where the Director really wants us to look.  Jaime and Loras.  Threats.  Jealous much, O Brother-Lover of the Queen Regent?  Jaime is an honest jealous lover, though.  Cersei WOULD murder Loras in his sleep without batting a lash.
  • Yep, definitely escalating now.  Brienne’s congratulation and blessing is the punctuation.  That much good, honorable and right can only signal the nascency of something truly horrible.
  • No, wait, it’s only Cersei (again!) Brienne’s time and stories with Jaime seem to have stoked her jealousy.  Bad for Jaime.  Good for me, though. I enjoy watching Cersei rage and squirm.
  • Predictably, another blend cut, wherein, also predictably, Cersei takes out her inner turmoil on Pycelle and the poor.
  • Jump to Ser Dontos, who wasn’t kidding about being a literal fool.  He takes some target practice from the wrong end, and then we shift to…
  • Oberyn.  Will he be the author of tonight’s badness?  No, but he does get full credit for shutting up smug Cersei with exactly the right riposte regarding her daughter’s safety.
  • Cut to Joffrey being his usual pompous, whiny self.  A special amusement?  No!  He isn’t really going to bring out Robb’s cooked head for Sansa’s humiliation, is he?  (Quick soliloquy, Friends… It may just be all the rapid cuts and suspense-building talking, but I’m actually feeling a bit of tension and anticipation tonight)
  • Worse.  It’s dwarf-tossing and a joust AND a huge, tasteless swipe at pretty much everyone present.  This new “King” is a, well, there are special words, terrifically inappropriate words, reserved specifically for him.  Even Tywin and Cersei are not amused, and poor, poor pitiful Sansa must relive her personal horrors again.
  • Oh, Joffrey, you complete ass.  Calling out the Imp in public again.  This will not end well.  Look, Producers, I don’t care how this ends, but know that if you take Tyrion from me, I will never watch your show again.  I will rent and buy DVDs just to set them ablaze and dance around them.  I will extinguish their guttering flames with a stream of my own urine.  Just so we’re clear on this.
  • Ah, the old wine-on-the-head gag.  This is truly escalating quickly now, and Cersei’s smirk is icily priceless.  The new Queen tries to reel in the crazy, yet again, to some avail.  Tyrion is demoted to cup-bearer, and Joffrey just can’t stop himself.  Good for the Imp!  Refusing to kneel.  Please, Producers… understand that… oh, look – pie!!
  • Damn.  It truly sucks to be a dove in a pie when there’s Valyrian steel flying about.
  • And, Joffrey fires up the crazy again, calling Tyrion back despite the latter’s wine-saturated state.  Once more with the cup.  This is getting to be a bit of a let-down.  We all know Joffrey’s an ass and that he hates his uncle.  So what?
  • Wait, wait… whaaaaaaat?!  No!  Can it be?!  Oh, bliss.  Oh, rapture.  Oh, sweetness and light!!  Joffrey’s dying slowly and in agony.  How I laugh!!
  • But, no… Sansa’s disappearing with Dontos, and the Imp just drew the short, sharp end of Cersei’s “momma-bear in torment” wrath.
  • Crap.  But also, Woo-hoo!!  And crap.  All over, again.

No matter, Joffrey has shuffled off the mortal coil in a painful and bloody fashion.  Now the Newb just has to watch it about six more time until I figure out whodunnit.  Until next week – or some future point in time chosen totally at random – I remain your faithful Newb.