Monday, May 25, 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 7 "The Gift" Review

After the most controversial episode of all time, “Game of Thrones” is trying to steer back into safer waters this week without depicting the rape of major characters and sticking to the formula of advancing as many plotlines as possible while trying to build momentum for the inevitable episode nine twist. Will it work out, or is the series now on a downward slope without any chance to escape? At the Wall, Jon is packing his gear. Tormund is released of his chains under the watchful eyes of the rest of the Watch, after which Jon says goodbye to the one friend he has left. I like Allister Thorne warning him one last time just what a stupid idea Hardhome is, but I’m somewhat at a loss whether or not Jon is going alone or if he is taking anyone with him. Well, that’s something the next episode will clear up because Jon is absent with leave for the rest of the episode.

A Flight of Links

- Steven Attewell analyzes "Game of Thrones"'s problem with Loras
- MovieBob reviews Mad Max
- Men's Rights activists are boycotting Mad Max, because of course they do
- Steven Attewell liked GOT episode 6 more than I did 
- Wertzone reviews Shadows of Mordor 
- I agree 
- Looks allright
- Bran V
- Good meta about Vargo Hoat
- Is GOT getting too dark and full of terrors? 
- Anita Sarkeesian on Mad Max
- Sean Bean really wants you to know that R+L=J
- Don't steal Diablo items
- The first FPS
- Michael Fassbender is MacBeth
- Sounds realistic
- Good meta about Margaery being a virgin
- And very good about Dany becoming a villain
- Not sure I agree, but interesting take on the utterly detestable Hatred
- Good meta about Dany's arc in TWOW.
- Meta about Orys Baratheon
- Good meta about Aenys and Maegor 
- Sean T. Collins reviews Mad Max
- How superhero-movies replicate 9/11
- The Mary Sue is boycotting Game of Thrones
- Man of Steel is closer to the original Superman than the old movies

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rewriting Sansa's arc

In a discussion of the rape scene in last week's "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", Miodrag Zarković made a distinct point about Sansa's arc which I find worth exploring: 
The critics were, however, okay with the nonsense from the pilot. Just like, until the very last episode, they saw no problem in Sansa marrying Ramsay. I’ll repeat once more: some of them were even congratulating Benioff and Weiss on a job well done!

I’d really like to know how would those critics solve the wedding night. Would they choose to make it ridiculous by having Ramsay act normal and omitting the rape? Ramsay? Normal? Do they really think that would cure the mess created the moment TV Littlefinger sent a raven with the marriage proposal to the Boltons?
I still think the problem isn't sending Sansa up North, because what is happening here is a total flaw in the argument. I think it's a Black-and-White-fallacy. Therefore, let me take up the challenge. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 78

Thursday is court day!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 78 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Jody Lent, a cloud architect in Chicago whose backstory weaves through philosophy ancient and modern, political science, and linguistics. His hobbies include board games and raising his two daughters in good Dornish tradition: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 6 "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" Review

If you thought after last week’s episode that a script by Bryan Cogman guaranteed a great episode, think again. This week, despite some very strong elements, suffers greatly from the total falling apart of one storyline and the divisive use of rape as a plot device by another. Although it’s the last scene of the episode, we start with Winterfell as per our usual geographically oriented approach to the series, given that we see no storyline at the Wall this week. Last season, I wouldn’t have dreamt of saying this, but I miss Jon. Well, into the fray.

A Flight of Links

- This critique is at the same time spot on and totally off the mark
- What CGI can't do
- Conan plays The Witcher 3
- Politics of GOT episode 5
- How Half-Life killed the FPS
- Yeah, could be fun
- The Merman's ambitions
- Was Robb destroyed by bad luck?
- Next part in Feminist Frequency
- ISBM review
- Great meta
- More great meta
- Raised by the screen: Doom
- What to do when you lose a Europa Universalis IV war?
- Good Mad Max review
- Starruler 2 review
- About the new DC series
- Good Kills makes a point about drone warfare
- Galactic Civilizations III review
-

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 77

Thursday is court day!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 77 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Tom North, an Aussie fan, currently studying film and vocalist in his band semi-active band Cittagazze. He doesn't tend to maintain an active presence in the fandom, mostly lurking and voraciously reading but occasionally pops up on reddit as Captain North or the Race for the Iron Throne comments.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 5 "Kill the Boy" Review

Last week’s episode was divisive, let’s say. I still like it, although I may have been a little bit too lenient. It’s not bad by any means. This week, the producers change gears entirely and somewhat unexpectedly. Instead of giving us the usually spread-out, sprawling narrative, the episode is firmly centered in the North, with a little bit of Essos in between, but nothing of King’s Landing, Dorne, Braavos or anything else. This is an unusual move for “Game of Thrones”, and we’ll have to see whether it plays out.

A Flight of Links

- The movie no one asked for but we probably deserve
-Why doesn't every GOT episode get her own intro?
- Reviews of GOT episode 5: AV Club,
- Some explanations for episode 4
- Boring Marvel posters
- What will True Detective Season 2 be about?
- Polticial analysis of GOT episode 4
- Catelyn IV

Friday, May 8, 2015

"A Hymn for Spring" officially on sale

Rejoice, readers all over the world! The second official "Tower of the Hand" ebook is now on sale on Amazon.com, Amazon.de and whereever else you might want to shop it! I con tributed not one not two but three essays for the book, covering such topics as a cultural interpretation of the Battle of the Redgrass Field, the nature of patriarchy and a character study of Barristan Selmy, including a prognosis on what will happen to him in the books, now that he met his demise on the show. 

Read more in the official description:
Tower of the Hand: A Flight of Sorrows was a book jam-packed with insightful analysis of the Song of Ice and Fire series, but it only barely scratched the surface of the huge and complex world that author George R.R. Martin has created.
A second anthology, then, is not only desirable, it’s absolutely critical to unearth all that Martin has tucked away into the many dense folds of his narrative.

Here’s how we’ve expanded A Hymn for Spring in order to make it the most comprehensive exploration of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros yet:


  • Updated to cover the newly published Song of Ice and Fire material, including The Princess and the Queen, The Rogue Prince, and The World of Ice and Fire.

  • Four brand-new authors, who hail from some of the most authoritative Ice and Fire websites and podcasts, in order to provide fresh perspectives on the main series.

  • More than twice the size of A Flight of Sorrows, allowing not only for more essays on a wider range of subjects, but also for longer, more comprehensive analysis.

  • A huge swath of bonus material, including additional essays from the Hymn for Spring authors – and their special guests – and sneak previews at the next big projects from the Tower of the Hand editors.

NEW AUTHORS

Steven Attewell, the mastermind behind Race for the Iron Throne, brings his political and historical expertise to bear on the effectiveness of Machiavellianism in the game of thrones and the economic gamesmanship of Lord Petyr Baelish. The founder of Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire, Jeff Hartline, makes readers fundamentally question their understanding of King Stannis Baratheon. And History of Westeros co-hosts Aziz and Ashaya offer the single most authoritative account of the history – and mythology – of Harrenhal, while Tower of the Hand/Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire contributor Jim McGeehin does the same for Robert’s Rebellion.

RETURNING AUTHORS

Stefan Sasse, from the Boiled Leather Audio Hour and The Nerdstream Era, determines the effects that patriarchy and civil war have had on the Westerosi psychological makeup. A Podcast of Ice and Fire co-host Amin Javadi investigates the nature that songs and singers play in the various cultures of the Seven Kingdoms, and, even, in the nature of the narrative itself. And Tower of the Hand co-founders John Jasmin and Alexander Smith expand the focus to include both an exploration of how HBO’s Game of Thrones simultaneously improves and degrades Martin’s original story and a look at traditional games to help predict the success of all those who play the game of thrones.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 76

Thursday is court day!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 76 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Harwood, a member of the community.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 75

Thursday is court day! Unfortunately, due to a series of real live problems, we couldn't post last week, so this week, enjoy two rulings in a row!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 75 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Ser Drew of the Bluewater, who is an attorney practicing in south Florida, and devotee of Mr. Martin's books. Try as he did, he was unable to work "stare decisis" or "res ipsa loquitur" into his opinions. If he lived in George's world, he'd most certainly want to live in the Summer Isles, with a vacation manse in Naath.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 4 "Sons of the Harpy" Review

Game of Thrones has, so far, delivered three great episodes in a row. This is somewhat unusual, given that earlier seasons always started slow (with the notable exception of season 4’s death of Joffrey), and it also seems kind of inevitable. At one point, momentum runs out of steam, and there has to be an episode that misses a beat or two. Even the best of series have this problem, and Game of Thrones is certainly no stranger to it. Will it be “Sons of the Harpy” that breaks the pattern?

A Flight of Links

- A comparison between GOT executions
- Good analysis of Sansa's arc in season 5 
- Baltimore, the Wire and the limits of art 
- Vox has a good review of Avengers 2
- Sean T. Collins reviews the new GOT episode
- Another good review of said episode
- If you insist in cutscenes, do it right
- And an explainer for it
- Do we need cinematic universes?
- Liveblogging Telltale's GOT
- Steven Attewell has a political analysis of the episode.
- And a sneak peak into his new book
- Why Steam's paying for mods was a dumb idea
- How do fractals work?
- Bloodborne analysis
- Total War Warhammer announced
- An assessment of the reign of Aegon I 
- Analysis about Rhaenys
- Another glowing Avengers 2 review
- Some people critisize Avengers 2 for ill serving Black Widow
- But not all feminists agree
- Are there time zones in Planetos?
- Exactly.
- There's stupid, and this

Monday, April 27, 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 3 "High Sparrow" Review

We’re in officially new territory with a whole host of storylines now. Sansa and Littlefinger, Jaime and Bronn, the whole northern storyline and soon enough the Watch as well – so far, the season proves that it can stand on its own, a feat many doubted it was capable of given the mixed track record it enjoys in those areas. But let’s see for ourselves as things stand this week, shall we? At the Wall, Jon has to treat with Stannis again. It’s a nice touch that he keeps his own steward around, one has to say. Stannis appreciates it, at least more than Jon’s refusal to become Jon Stark. The encounter plays out a bit formal, like both men know what the other is going to say already which is basically what this is. Stannis gives the wildlings to Jon, simplifying the politics in the book, namedropping Tormund, and leaves, not without advising Jon to send Thorne elsewhere, which is sensible. He is then offered “just one man’s opinion”, as Davos plants the seed of Jon’s (book-)downfall by stirring him up against the Boltons.

A Flight of Links

- This. 
- The Making Of Warcraft, part 1 
- For German readers: my review of "Fury" for my history blog 
- Venus and Jupiter 
- AV Review of episode 2 GOT Season 5
- And Steven Attewell's political analysis of episode 1 and episode 2
- Looks stupid but fun
- Why Star Wars won the trailer war against Dawn of Justice
- Can't argue with that assessment
- Yeah, well, wants to win an Oscar
- Star Wars photo essay
- The most stupid article I ever read about GOT is this review of episode 3. German, unfortunately. Gist of it: Jon beheads someone. ISIS beheads people. The show is inconsiderate of the victims of ISIS. 
- The politics of videogames

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Boiled Leather Audio Hour Episode 38

The Alayne Game: Discussing the New “The Winds of Winter” Sample Chapter and the Start of “Game of Thrones” Season Five

BLAH is back with two, count ‘em, two topics! This go-round, Stefan & Sean tackle the new “Alayne” sample chapter from The Winds of Winter and the first two episodes of Game of Thrones Season Five. What’s in store for Sansa in book six? What’s our read on GoTs05e01-02′s plotlines and performances? Listen and learn, ladies and gents! And while you do, you’ll discover some very happy news from House Sasse, as well as musical surprise or two. Enjoy!

Download Episode 38

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 2 "Black and White" review

Did anyone else have the feeling during this episode that they accidentally hit the "forward" button on their remote? Boy, the plot moved along fast. The Night's Watch is going to have an election and oh by the way all hail Jon! Arya has to prove herself to gain entrance to the House of Bland and White and hey look the door's opening now. Somehow I expected this to move a tad slower. But was it bad? Let's have a detailed look at storylines and stuff.
doran-5.jpgPrince Doran deals with the new queen bee in Dorne.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 74

Thursday is court day!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 74 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Manu Mishra, a member of the community.