<i>Back to Before</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Back to Before: Exclusive Excerpt Tracy Solheim "He was grinning now, sexy laugh lines fanning out from his eyes..." <i>Foster Justice</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Foster Justice: Exclusive Excerpt Colleen Shannon "His mind might find her repulsive but his body sure as heck didn’t." Now Win This!: <i>Fifty Shades</i> Poster Now Win This!: Fifty Shades Poster Team H & H You've seen the poster, now here's a chance to have your own! <i>Marked</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Marked: Exclusive Excerpt Rebecca Zanetti "Heat pooled at the apex of her legs, stunning her with need..."
From The Blog
December 20, 2014
3 Harlequin Presents Authors Who Get it Right
John Jacobson
December 19, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Silver Bells Foxes
Team H & H
December 18, 2014
I Dream of Genies in Romance Novels
Sahara Hoshi
December 18, 2014
Happy Parental Pairs in Historical Romance
Janga
December 18, 2014
Saying Goodbye to The Hobbit
Christopher Morgan
Showing posts by: Regina Thorne click to see Regina Thorne's profile
Mon
Jun 16 2014 2:02pm

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 10 Recap: Happy Father’s Day, Tywin!

Arya in Game of Thrones Season 4 finaleThis post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4 finale, episode 10, “The Children.” Enjoy!

Nothing says “Happy Father’s Day” like a crossbow bolt to the belly, right? Last night, Tyrion Lannister took revenge for a lifetime of slights and contempt by his father, killed his ex, and escaped from Westeros with Varys. Meanwhile, Brienne let another Stark girl slip through her fingers, Bran found a creepy older mentor to replace his exploded friend Jojen, and Jon Snow lived to fight another day.

We open at the Wall, where Jon embarks on his kamikaze mission to kill Mance Rayder before Mance’s army takes the Wall from the depleted Night’s Watch. It’s taken Mance the better part of two seasons to show up onscreen again, but I’ll forgive that because Ciaran Hinds is just that charismatic. Mance lays out the Wildlings' motivation for coming South of the wall (the Wildlings are seeking the Westeros equivalent of Florida, so they’re kind of like snowbirds, but with more fear of dismemberment and less concern about heating bills.) I wished last week that the show had spelled out their motivation a bit more, rather than focusing on the Thenns and their brand of bald evil.

[How are we already talking finale shockers?...]

Mon
Jun 9 2014 11:50am

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 9 Recap: Dolorous Battle, Fearsome Snow

Jon Snow in Game of Thrones Season 4 episode 9This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 9, “The Watchers on the Wall.” Enjoy!

One of the drawbacks of being a lifelong fan of epic fantasy is that it often involves epic battle scenes, and after a few minutes of marvelling at the CGI and the VFX, epic battles tend to bore me. In order to swallow the bitter pill of stuntmen hacking at each other with swords, and CGIs of mammoths and things exploding, I need to have quiet moments with characters I care about. And this is why Season 2's “Blackwater” worked so well for me, and Season 4's “The Watchers on the Wall” had me looking at the time on my phone every thirty seconds.

It’s not that the show deviated from the books (though I hasten to assure non-readers that Pyp and Grenn are still alive and well in the books and the population of Mole’s Town was, in fact, evacuated TO the Wall and participated in its defense, rather than being butchered down to the last whore); it’s because there was no internal conflict for me in this episode, the way there was with “Blackwater.”

[What did you think of the Battle of Castle Black?...]

Mon
Jun 2 2014 9:25am

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 8 Recap: Little Finger, Big Mountain

The Mountain and the viper in Game of Thrones Season 4 episode 8This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 8, “The Mountain and the Viper.” Enjoy!

We open in the Mole Town brothel, where Sam had sent Gilly and her baby to protect Gilly from the lascivious tendencies of the men at Castle Black. Instead, Gilly has to suffer the rudeness of one of the whores, whose claim to fame is an ability to burp music. (Maybe you just have to be really drunk to enjoy that.) She also experiences an attack by Tormund Giantsbane, Ygritte, the cannibal Thenns and assorted other Wildlings on their way to rendezvous with Mance Rayder, who is moving towards the Wall with all the speed and dedication of an especially languid tree sloth. Gilly hides out upstairs in the brothel while the Wildlings kill (and probably eat) the whores and their customers from the Night’s Watch. Her baby starts crying and thus she and little Sam are discovered by Ygritte, who, though happy to murder innocent villagers and their offspring somehow spares Gilly and her kid.

Meanwhile, at Castle Black the next day, Sam, Pyp, Grenn, Dolorous Edd and Jon are talking about the attack on Mole Town—Sam blames himself for putting Gilly in danger, while the others patiently suppress the urge to tell Sam to shut up and worry about the danger that they’re all in when Mance Rayder finally gets to the Wall. Edd reminds Sam that Gilly survived Craster, the horrendous journey with Sam shortly after giving birth and even a White Walker. So after that, a few cannibal wildlings should be a picnic for her. (I don’t mean that literally, though!) Sam seems comforted by this thought.

[Take your comfort where and while you can...]

Mon
May 19 2014 3:02pm

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 7 Recap: Some Champions Are Better Than Others

Dany in Game of Thrones 4x07This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 7, “Mockingbird.” Enjoy!

Long ago, Ned Stark told his daughter Arya, “when the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives,” and in last night's “Mockingbird" episode, Game of Thrones explored variations on the theme of sibling relationships, and how families, of blood or of fellowship, stand or crumble. Oberyn’s lasting love for his murdered sister, Elia, and his passion for justice for her awful death made him volunteer to face a monster for Tyrion’s sake, while Lysa Arryn’s last jealousy of her murdered sister Catelyn led her to nearly kill Sansa and be murdered herself. Cersei’s lifelong hatred of Tyrion contrasted with Jaime’s lifelong protection of his little brother, and the love Jon Snow bears his half-sister Arya, exemplified in the sword he had made for her, was the reverse of the hatred between the Clegane brothers, which led Gregor to hold Sandor’s face to the fire for playing with his toys. And then there are the families of choice, built by fellowship in circumstances: Bronn’s friendship with Tyrion, built on liking and on gold was not strong enough to withstand his (quite understandable) fear of facing the Mountain in combat, while Arya’s friendship with Hot Pie led him to tell Brienne and Pod that Arya was still alive, information that very few people have.

[Families are...complicated.]

Mon
May 12 2014 11:31am

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 6 Recap: Brothers’ Keepers; Losers, Weepers

Tyrion on trial in Game of Thrones 4x06This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 6, “The Laws of Gods and Men.” Enjoy!

Antonio Gramsci, one of the most famous prisoners of the 20th century, once said that if “if you beat your head against the wall, it is your head which breaks and not the wall;" this week, Tyrion Lannister and Theon Greyjoy learned the truth of that adage as they refused their siblings’ offers of escape and retreated back into their own prisons, physical and emotional.

Meanwhile, Stannis Baratheon and Daenerys Targaryen both got some lessons about ruling. This was also the first episode of the show in which not a single Stark appeared. (Hopefully this will all be rectified next week, and we may even find out what happened to Rickon!)

We open with the male affiliates of Team Dragonstone sailing to Braavos to ask for a loan from the Iron Bank, giving the audience a glimpse of a place that has often been mentioned on the show. Basically, Braavos is Venice, except with an enormous statue of a standing guard over its lagoon. Even the stunning beauty of his surroundings and Davos’s reminiscences about pirates fail to get Stannis to unclench his jaw, as he and Davos cool their heels in the waiting room of the Iron Bank. I’ve watched Despicable Me a few too many times, because I half-expect Mr. Perkins of the Bank of Evil to walk out and crush an apple, but instead, it’s Tycho Nestoris (played by Mark Gatiss), who questions Stannis about why he’d make a good risk for the Iron Bank’s money, because he has 4000 men, 32 ships, and nothing to feed anyone with. If Tycho had made a big “L” sign in front of his forehead, he couldn’t have made it clearer that he thinks Stannis is a loser.

[And can we really disagree?...]

Mon
May 5 2014 11:47am

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 5 Recap: Little Girls and Big Sticks

Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones 4.05This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 5, “First of His Name.” Enjoy!

Game of Thrones is a show replete with questions: Who are Jon Snow’s parents? What happened to the assorted hoods, hats, helmets, and other headgear of the Night’s watch? Where’s Gendry? When will Sansa ever be free of danger? Why was Jon Arryn killed? (Or perhaps more accurately, who the heck was Jon Arryn and why do we care?)

But first, another coronation, in which super-cute Tommen “Baratheon”/Lannister is crowned King in his brother’s place. “Long may he reign!” the crowd yells, though unless his entire incompetent Kingsguard has been replaced by people who know what they’re doing, that’s unlikely! Meanwhile, Tommen gets some encouraging looks from his secret midnight visitor, Margaery Tyrell. Tommen’s mother Cersei follows his extremely obvious smiles to where Margaery is standing on the sidelines all by herself. Uh-oh!

[There must be blood in the water...]

Mon
Apr 28 2014 1:00pm

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 4 Recap: Taking the White?

Brienne in Game of Thrones 4.04This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 4, “Oathkeeper.” Enjoy!

I’ve read George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels multiple times (except for the fifth one—I only managed to get through that once!) and so very often, I can figure out the events of an episode simply by the title and those TV Guide summaries. So I thoroughly enjoyed being completely mystified and shocked at the end of “Oathkeeper,” last night’s episode. (Though at this point, given how utterly vile 99% of the humans on the show are, I’m beginning to be a bit sympathetic to the White Walkers’ point of view! Especially since they can perform the miracle of quieting a wailing baby.)

We open with Missandei giving Grey Worm an English lesson (or I guess a “Common Tongue” lesson) because he only speaks Valyrian. They have some touching reminiscences about their pre-slavery lives and I think I might be falling just a little bit in love with Grey Worm (and so is Missandei.) Their studies are interrupted by Dany and Ser Barristan who come in to tell Grey Worm it’s time for his plan to infiltrate Meereen through its sewers. (N.B.: Vicious tyrants need to think about whether they really want functioning sewer systems, because people are always infiltrating their cities through those things. Maybe best to let the rubbish build up and not leave a big opening that enemies can come through.) Inside Meereen the slaves are congregating in the sewers (see above! Sanitation or political control seem to be a zero-sum game!), and some of the older ones are all “Slave uprisings, been there done that!” while the younger ones are all hot to rise up and kill the Masters. Enter Grey Worm, who tells the slaves that they have to win their own freedom and provides them with the weapons to do so. (In principle, I completely agree with Grey Worm, but I think he kind of forgot that the Unsullied didn’t really do any “winning their own freedom”—that was all Dany and her dragons!)

[Up next: Khaleesi doles out justice...]

Mon
Apr 21 2014 3:21pm

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 3 Recap: Fifty Shades of NO!

Game of Thrones Season 4 episode 3This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 3, “Breaker of Chains.” Enjoy!

If you'd told me before Episode 4.03 of Game of Thrones that neither Littlefinger re-enacting the plot of Lolita with Sansa nor a wildling telling a little boy that his mama and papa are about to be the main entree in a cannibal feast would be the most disturbing thing I would watch last night, I would definitely not have believed you!

We open in the immediate aftermath of Joffrey's death; after Dontos the Fool gets Sansa away from the disastrous Tyrell-Baratheon wedding, he delivers her to a rowboat, and from there to a ship shrouded in fog and creepiness, where we learn that Littlefinger knew that Joffrey would die, since he sent Dontos for Sansa. He proves that Dontos was only in it for the gold he'd get, since Littlefinger provided the family heirloom (the necklace) that Dontos gave Sansa. Now Pedofinger has Sansa all to himself because she too is in danger of her life for being unwittingly involved in the murder. Poor Sansa! I bet she never thought she’d look back to the good old days when Joffrey was showing her Ned’s head, huh? Littlefinger ties up a loose end by having someone shoot Dontos, because “Money buys a man's silence for a time, a bolt in the heart buys it forever.“

Meanwhile, Sansa’s sister Arya is still traveling with the Hound, when they encounter a farmer and his little daughter who makes a mean rabbit stew. Arya manages to get them in for a meal without any bloodshed, and the farmer even offers the Hound a job protecting him, his land, and his little daughter from marauding Freys. For a moment, it looks like the Hound will take the man up on his offer, but after finding out the farmer has a stash of silver coins, instead, the Hound hits the guy on the head and steals his money. When Arya yells at him about that, Sandor tells Arya that the farmer and his daughter will be dead before the winter. Which is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, really. Arya calls Sandor the biggest shit in the Seven Kingdoms (highly debatable, considering other things that happened in this episode) but follows him anyway.

[Could be worse, Arya—really...]

Mon
Apr 7 2014 9:56am

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 1 Recap: Two Swords, No Waiting

Dany in Game of Thrones Season 4 episode 1This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4 premiere, “Two Swords.” Enjoy!

On tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones we checked in with old friends, met some new ones and watched scarred men enjoying feasts of roasted chicken and roasted Crow. Welcome back to Westeros, where an episode without a beheading just means we’ll get some cannibalism instead.

In King’s Landing, Tywin and Cersei both got the newly returned Jaime some nifty “welcome home, sorry about your hand!” presents: Tywin gave him a sword melted down from Ned Stark’s giant blade (passing the sword from a man without a head to a man without a hand); Cersei got her brother/lover/baby-daddy an enormous new golden hand, even if a hook would be more practical for a man in Jaime’s predicament. (That thing is so huge, it looks like Jaime should be waving it during the Westeros equivalent of March Madness or the Superbowl—which would probably involve beheadings for the losing team.) After giving Jaime the sword, Tywin tried to browbeat his older son into leaving the Kingsguard, to which Jaime said “no!” which may be the first time any of Tywin’s children have ever said that word to him. Cersei also said “no!” to Jaime’s attempts to get back in her smallclothes. Come to think of it, if Cersei had just said “no!” some seventeen years earlier, she would have spared everyone Joffrey (something that Jaime himself may have pondered after being insulted by the little weasel who is his son/nephew/King).

[And you think your family's dysfunctional...]

Sat
Apr 5 2014 9:30am

All Men (and Probably Many Women) Must Die: Preparing for Game of Thrones Season 4

Jaime in a Game of Thrones Season 4 posterBirds are chirping, flowers are blooming and winter is coming! Yes, folks, Season 4 of Game of Thrones is nearly upon us. For those of you who need a little reminder of who died, who lived, and who wished they’d died during Season 3 is a brief recap of where we left our heroes (and our villains).

The King’s Landing Crowd

At least 50% of the action and 99% of the style of this show takes place in King’s Landing, where last season saw the beginnings of a clash between the Lannisters and the kinder, gentler and just as scheming Tyrells.

King Joffrey Baratheon, walking advertisement for why twincest is best avoided, is still, alas, amongst the living. Last season, he ordered a new wardrobe, was smitten by Margaery Tyrell, murdered Ros and got sent to bed without his supper by Grandpa Tywin.

Cersei Lannister learned that even if you’re daddy’s little girl, he’ll marry you off against your will, as Tywin betrothed her to Loras Tyrell, so eventually she’ll be both grandmother and aunt to Margaery’s and Joffrey’s kids. Which seems right since she’s aunt/mother to her own (at least her baby-daddy Jaime made it back to town at the end of the season.)

[Can't they just go on Family Feud and work it out?...]

Thu
Jan 2 2014 4:30pm

Loving Lymond: Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles

The Game of Kings by Dorothy DunnettNews about the upcoming TV series based on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series inspired some thought about potentially filming a series based on Dorothy Dunnett’s six-book Lymond Chronicles. Dunnett’s series is also set in Scotland, though it takes place a couple of hundred years before Gabaldon’s series. If I had all the money in the world, I'd hire Tom Stoppard to adapt these novels and Tom Hiddleston in his Prince Hal mode—smug, arrogant, conflicted and charismatic—to play Lymond, but alas, I haven't the cash, so the best I can do is get other people to read this incredible series.

What are the Lymond Chronicles? Think of them as the Scottish love-child of Alexandre Dumas and Dorothy L. Sayers, with an added layer of psychological complexity and political maneuvering that is reminiscent of Game of Thrones. Most of all, this compelling historical romance (in which no one, thankfully, has historically accurate pox scars and missing teeth) is the story of Francis Crawford of Lymond, and his long journey to find love, save his country, and live up to his great potential.

[Historical romance fans, this one's for you...]

Fri
Dec 20 2013 4:00pm

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best of 2013, Day 2

Written in Red by Anne BishopMay old friends be forgot? We don't think so! We're celebrating our favorite reads with four days of the Best of 2013. We asked our bloggers for their favorite books of 2013, with one stipulation, they had to be new to them and not necessarily new to 2013. We know we got a few recommendations to add to our to be read piles and it's a great way to feed those readers you hopefully get for Christmas!

Check back every other weekday between now and Christmas for all of the blogger recommendations! See the recommendations for Day 1Day 3, and Day 4.

Sahara Hoshi:

Anne Bishop's Written in Red
Cranky wolf shifter meets fun and adorable magically gifted heroine, what's not to love?

Nalini Singh's Heart of Obsidian
The heroine has an amazing name and the hero isn't too shabby either.

Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl
For every time you squeed or sighed over something and nobody understood you, finally there's a book for it.

[Who's next!]

Mon
Jun 10 2013 10:37am

Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 10 (Season Finale) Recap: Family Matters

Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones 3.10, MhysaHow is it already Game of Thrones finale time?! If you need to catch up, don't miss Regina Thorne's Season 2 refresher or her recap of episode 3.01episode 3.02episode 3.03episode 3.04episode 3.05episode 3.06episode 3.07, and episode 3.08.

And now, onto last night's episode 3.10, “Mhysa.“

***SPOILERS FOR THE GAME OF THRONES SEASON 3 FINALE***

It’s hard to top the Red Wedding, so it’s probably wise that “Mhysa,” the Game of Thrones season 3 finale, didn’t even try. Instead, we got a kitchen sink episode that set the stage for next season while giving us closure on some of the plot arcs of this season.

We open at the Twins where the Red Wedding is still going on in full swing, with Frey soldiers slaughtering the remainder of Robb Stark’s army. From somewhere, Sandor Clegane has found a horse and is riding away slowly with Arya Stark in front of him. Arya is still blessedly unconscious from when Sandor knocked her out, but unfortunately she wakes up in time to see the Freys parading Robb’s decapitated body with the head of his direwolf sewn onto it, as they chant “the King in the North.” The look on Arya’s face is pure devastation; she will remember this forever.

[If only we could all un-see that...]

Mon
Jun 3 2013 9:43am

Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 9 Recap: Nice Day for a Red Wedding

Robb and Catelyn StarkGame of Thrones Season 3 is here! Need to catch up? Don't miss Regina Thorne's Season 2 refresher or her recap of episode 3.01episode 3.02episode 3.03episode 3.04episode 3.05episode 3.06episode 3.07, and episode 3.08.

And now, onto last night's episode 3.09, “The Rains of Castamere."

***MAJOR SPOILERS FOR LAST NIGHT'S EPISODE***

In last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, the Freys hired Dothraki wedding planners (Motto: at least three deaths or your money back!) and threw a party at the Twins that no one in Westeros will ever forget. We focused on the Starks (and Dany), though the Lannisters certainly made their presence known. And we also found out that Roose Bolton likes fat girls, killer one-liners and sobriety at weddings.

We open with Robb asking Catelyn’s advice about his plans to attack Casterly Rock, the seat of House Lannister. Considering how rocky their relationship has been since Cat released Jaime Lannister, she’s a bit surprised that Robb is even talking to her, let alone asking her what she thinks. He tells her that her advice about not sending Theon back to the Greyjoys was absolutely correct and that because he ignored her, Winterfell, Bran and Rickon are lost. Cat nobly refrains from saying “I told you so!” and instead says that Robb’s plan is dangerous, though he thinks he can succeed with the help of the Freys. If the Lannisters catch Robb’s forces between Casterly Rock and the sea, “we’ll lose the war and die the way Father died. Or worse,” Robb says somberly, in a chilling bit of foreshadowing. Catelyn tells Robb that she wants the Lannisters to suffer by losing what they love.

[If wishes were horses...]

Mon
May 20 2013 9:32am

Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 8 Recap: Dysfunctionally Erect

Tyrion in Game of Thrones Season 3, episode 8Game of Thrones Season 3 is here! Need to catch up? Don't miss Regina Thorne's Season 2 refresher or her recap of episode 3.01episode 3.02episode 3.03episode 3.04episode 3.05episode 3.06, and episode 3.07.

And now, onto last night's episode 3.08, “Second Sons."

*****SPOILERS*****

If last week’s episode of Game of Thrones was a meditation on the many facets of love, this week’s “Second Sons” was a cautionary tale about sex and marriage. (Boys of Westeros, if you get a woody, watch out because someone is either going to cut it off or attach a blood-sucking worm to it. It’s enough to make you join the Night’s Watch!)

We open with Arya and Sandor “the Hound” Clegane; the Hound captured Arya after she ran away from the Brotherhood without Banners last episode. Sandor is sleeping, and Arya lifts the biggest rock she can find so she can crush his skull and escape again. Arya, you need to let sleeping dogs lie! Sandor, of course, isn't asleep and he tells Arya that if she kills him, she can go free, but if he survives, he’ll break both of her hands.

[Decisions, decisions...]

Mon
May 13 2013 9:19am

Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 7 Recap: Bearly Alive, Bearly in Love

Brienne vs. the bear in Game of Thrones Season 3, episode 7Game of Thrones Season 3 is here! Need to catch up? Don't miss Regina Thorne's Season 2 refresher or her recap of episode 3.01episode 3.02episode 3.03episode 3.04, episode 3.05, and episode 3.06.  And now, onto last night's episode 3.07, “The Bear and the Maiden Fair."

*****SPOILERS*****

“People work together when it suits them. They’re loyal when it suits them. They love each other when it suits them, and they kill each other when it suits them.” Two characters disproved Orell’s bleak view of human nature tonight: Danaerys Targaryen put her plans to invade Westeros on hold for the sake of 200,000 slaves who are of no possible use to her war effort; and Jaime Lannister, whom we first met screwing his sister and throwing a boy out of a tall tower, risked his life to save a woman he’s come to respect and love.

We open in the aftermath of the Wildlings’ epic climb over the Wall. They’re in the green lovely area known as “South of the Wall” and Ygritte teases Jon about all his peoples’ quaint customs such as marching on roads, having flags and drummers for their armies and needing a drummer to give them a beat. Ygritte marches to the beat of her own drummer of course, although I notice that she didn’t mock the quaint southern practices Jon Snow uses in bed. Orell is clearly jealous of Ygritte and Jon’s relationship and tells Jon he’ll never hold onto Ygritte. I think he’s doing okay, actually!

[Maybe you know a little something after all, Jon Snow...]

Mon
May 6 2013 12:03pm

Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 6 Recap: The Midseason Lull

Ygritte and Jon Snow in Game of Thrones Season 3 episode 6Game of Thrones Season 3 is here! Need to catch up? Don't miss Regina Thorne's Season 2 refresher or her recap of episode 3.01episode 3.02episode 3.03, episode 3.04, and episode 3.05.  And now, onto last night's episode 3.06, “The Climb."

*****SPOILERS*****

“We’re just soldiers in their armies and there’s plenty more to carry on if we go down. It’s you and me that matters to me and you.” In the game of thrones, there are kings and queens, lords and priests and generals, and at the very bottom of the ladder, there are the pawns whose only hope of survival is that they matter to someone else. Unless you have someone to give you a hand when you slip, you’re doomed to fall.

We open with Sam and Gilly, who’ve taken a moment during their headlong flight from Craster’s Keep to have a fireside chat. Sam shows Gilly the dragonglass knife he uncovered at the Fist of the First Men last season, and then sings a song about the Seven Gods to lull Gilly’s baby to sleep. This scene is super cute and sweet, even without marshmallows to toast over their campfire, but I keep waiting for a White Walker to pop up out of the woods and behead someone. Game of Thrones: where even a lullaby can be scary.

[Security and happiness are overrated...]

Mon
Apr 29 2013 12:27pm

Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 5 Recap: Kissed by Secrets

Robb and Talisa in Game of Thrones 3.05, Kissed by FireGame of Thrones Season 3 is here! Need to catch up? Don't miss Regina Thorne's Season 2 refresher or her recap of episode 3.01episode 3.02, and episode 3.03, and episode 3.04.  And now, onto last night's episode 3.05, “Kissed by Fire."

*****SPOILERS*****

With one notable exception, “Kissed by Fire” was an episode of intimate physically and metaphorically revealing moments linked by the motif of fire, which both nurtures and destroys, and by the themes of service, honor and loyalty.

“Valar dohaeris,” Missandei told Dany in the first episode of this season. All men must serve, but who they serve and why defines who they are. Jaime Lannister and Barristan Selmy both served a mad King, but Jaime chose to serve the greater good by killing that King; Thoros of Myr and Selyse Baratheon serve a fiery god because the night is dark and full of terrors; Tywin Lannister’s children are forced to serve their father’s ambition and he serves the chimera of his family’s name; Robb Stark serves out some stern Northern justice to Rickard Karstark who placed his private vengeance over his service to his King; Grey Worm serves Danaerys out of love and gratitude, and Gendry is tired of serving lords, choosing instead to become an equal among brothers.

Our first scene was an almost literal trial by fire; Sandor Clegane, the Hound, accused of murder by Arya Stark, was sentenced last week to a trial by combat against Beric Dondarrion, the leader of the Brotherhood without Banners. Sandor seems fairly confident, until Beric magically sets his sword on fire by sprinkling it with his blood. If there’s one thing Sandor Clegane fears, it’s fire, thanks to his brother’s holding his face into the flames when they were children.  

[Can't say that I blame him...]

Mon
Apr 22 2013 9:25am

Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 4 Recap: Free Your Slaves (and the Rest Will Follow)

Dany in Game of Thrones Season 1, episode 4Game of Thrones Season 3 is here! Need to catch up? Don't miss Regina Thorne's Season 2 refresher or her recap of episode 3.01episode 3.02, and episode 3.03. And now, onto last night's episode 3.04, “And Now His Watch is Ended."

*****SPOILERS*****

Last night’s Game of Thrones taught us that revenge is a dish best served in a box with its mouth sewn shut, that roses are boring unless they're named Margaery or Olenna, and that dragons are not slaves.

We open with the aftermath of Jaime Lannister’s maiming by Roose Bolton’s man, Locke. Jaime rides with his rotting hand on a rope around his neck, as Locke’s men taunt him about his manhood and Cersei. Jaime falls off his horse into a puddle of viscous mud, struggles to his knees and begs for a drink of water; Locke offers Jaime a flask that he gulps down greedily before Locke tells him that he just drank horse piss. Brienne of Tarth looks on, horrified at Locke’s wanton cruelty, as Jaime vomits up what he just drank.

[Never thought I'd say it, but poor Jaime!...]

Mon
Apr 15 2013 11:48am

Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: Give This Episode a Hand!

Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones Season 3, episode 3Finally, Game of Thrones Season 3 is here! Need to catch up first? Don't miss Regina Thorne's Season 2 refresher or her recap of episode 3.01 and episode 3.02. And now, onto last night's episode 3.03, “Walk of Punishment.”

*****SPOILERS*****

In the world of Westeros, punishment rains down on everyone; the real divide isn’t between guilt or innocence, it’s between power and powerlessness. Those with power are free to indulge their most malignant instincts while the powerless are enslaved to the merciless whims of others. “There’s a beast in ever man,” Jorah Mormont says. “And it stirs when you put a sword in his hand” and open violence is the most basic (if crudest) form of power in this world. 

For a show that claims to eschew themes, this episode was permeated with questions of power, guilt, and innocence. What happens when you lose the power of your family name, the power of your skill at swordsmanship or your strength? What happens if you never had that power in the first place? We could argue that Theon and Jaime were justly punished for their crimes, but then we have to ask what Brienne, Craster’s daughter Gilly, and the nameless slaves of Astapor ever did to deserve the same punishment handed out to guilty men like Jaime and Theon.

[Life's a bitch...]