Friday, December 3, 2010

#ASoIaF Re-Read: A Game of Thrones, Part 33

Welcome, good friends, to this corner--this fiefdom. If you're here for the ASoIaF re-read, that's great, because today we have Part 33, aka The Brilliant Sendoff. But first, a few things.

Actually, forget that. It's the last chapter-specific post. Let's get this thing moving. If you're just joining us, there are spoilers within. If you're just joining us and looking for a place to start, try to the Introduction, or Part 1. That's it.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#ASoIaF Re-Read: A Game of Thrones, Part 32

Fellow knaves, I greet you. It's time for this re-read thingy to get moving, because we're almost down to the wire. I'll keep this preamble short, for once.

New readers: Here there be spoilers. Be warned ye who enter. The future of characters you've yet to behold shall be whispered in the posts and the comments, and all surprise at their fates shall be ruined. If you've yet to read A Song of Ice and Fire, get ye hence to a bookstore, library, or a friendly bookshelf and begin with A Game of Thrones. Or else risk all and enter.

The previous post: Part 31. For newcomers: the Introduction and Part 1.

A short deviation to let you know that casting for A Game of Thrones goes on even while they're filming, and Walder Frey--that weasel--has been cast. He'll be played by none other than Argus Filch, or, as the Muggles know him, David Bradley. It's looking like a well-rounded cast.

We'll chat about that in a couple of posts. For now, let's get to a couple of endings.

Friday, November 19, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-Read: A Game of Thrones, Part 31

Welcome to another edition of the ASoIaF re-read. This is Part 31 of this project, and after today we'll be only four chapters from the end of this book. Crazy, eh? Well, Part 31 is brought to you by this recently released photo from the HBO set of A Game of Thrones. It features Bran in the early days, hale and hearty, and Jon, looking ever so emo. Not sure I like the teen mustache, even if it is Movember.

This photo is just one of the several posted on Entertainment Weekly, although I found them via fellow Game of Thrones fan Malene at Stargazing. Most of the photos look pretty sweet. Jaime and Robert look great. I'd still quibble with some of the casting, but not with anything major. The only thing that stands out in a bad way is this caption for Tyrion: "Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister, known as the Imp, is constantly getting into trouble because of his marauding ways." Marauding? HBO, are you creating a new side of Tyrion? Because I'm pretty sure marauders are people like the ironborn and the Bloody Companions, not the sons of Tywin.

Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers contained in the ASoIaF-related posts and comments at Fiefdom. If you don't know your Baratheons from your Lannisters, you might want to read A Game of Thrones first, and probably the other three books in A Song of Ice and Fire as well.

The last update was Part 30. If you feel like beginning at the beginning, there's an intro post, and a Part 1. If you want to start or continue any discussions in the comments, by all means, go right ahead. If you'd like to follow the blog, you can use Google Friend Follow, RSS, Twitter, or black magic. We don't discriminate.

Also, if there are any readers from Finland, there is a request from another reader: if you would know where to get Finnish translations of this series at a decent price (something under the 44€ that Suomalainen charges) please leave an answer in the comments. Thanks.

Alright. The end draws closer, so we'll continue under the cut/after the jump.

Monday, October 18, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-Read: A Game of Thrones, Part 30

Breathless news: George R. R. Martin is 5 chapters away from finishing A Dance with Dragons. That could still take months, but at least we know that the wait could be down to just months. I'll take it.

Back in the here and now, we have a new Re-read post to get to. This section contains devilry and mayhem. Heads explode, and heads roll. If that sounds like your cup of tea, great! However, if you're a first-timer, note that there are spoilers here, and you might want to start at an earlier post (such as the Intro or Part 1). Read, comment, and have fun. If that's not your thing, this blog has other posts that might suit your interests.

So step right up because the end of A Game of Thrones is drawing near, and for two significant characters, it draws very near.


Friday, October 15, 2010

After Rescuing the Chilean Miners or: A Promise Waiting to be Broken


The following is a deviation from the kind of posts usually associated with this blog.

Not so many hours ago, 33 Chilean miners were trapped in a cave. Now they are free. Bravo. Congratulations to "Los 33," as they've been dubbed. It's fantastic that everyone survived the 69-day ordeal--including the 17 days when no one outside the cave knew the men were alive. Their legend will grow, and they stand an excellent chance of reaping financial rewards for their endurance. Some will try to take advantage of them, and you could argue that some already have, with tragedy, hope, and greed making a hell of a combination.

But in the middle of the joy and harmony, there was one sour note.

"This mine will definitely never open again," President Sebastian Pinera said. It was a laudable statement, a promise to keep a replica of the incident from happening again.

It was also likely a lie.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I am thankful for a lot of things

Ah, Mondays. An awful way to spend 1/7th of your life. But today is Thanksgiving Monday in Canada, so I'm just waiting to get to tonight's apple pie.

Anyway, despite being busier than a one-legged Riverdancer, yours truly has suddenly been able to post things during the last 48 hours. Depending on what you like, you can see videos and things, or see a drawing of mine, and the next Game-of-Thrones post is almost ready. And now this. It's feast or famine around here.

This one is all video.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

We interrupt this long weekend...

This was supposed to be a carefree long weekend where I could get caught up on my To Do list. It's in the middle of getting derailed, but such is life. Anyway, here are a few things that have kept me sane in recent days. May you find them interesting in some way as well.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-Read, A Game of Thrones, Part 29

Winter is coming. Because it's October. I haven't seen the sun or sky in days. It's been a dreary kind of grey lately, but that just makes it the perfect time to find solace in books and arts-related hobbies. I've been skimming some of the later ASOIAF books, while beginning the first Malazan book and trying to keep a lid on my excitement for the up-coming, second-last Wheel of Time book.




[And while I'm typing this up, something amazing has just happened. This makes me so happy. It's nice to see my all-time fave get even more recognition, although some US media members are making it seem like they just discovered a cure for the common cold. Did no one notice that he was amazing in Toronto too?]

But ASOIAF is what we do here, and so that must reign supreme for now. Strangers to the re-read, get ye hence to the Intro or Part 1, but beware spoilers in the comments and posts if you haven't read all four books. Verily.

There are several ways to subscribe and keep track of new posts. Whether you like RSS, Twitter, or if you have a magical app that does the trick for you, I hope you enjoy your stay.

Let's get battling.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The day I realized I would never be a secret agent

Secret agents in fiction fascinate me. From James Bond to Jason Bourne to John Le Carré, I've always loved stories about espionage and intrigue.

You always get a glimpse of the characters in their early days, how they were selected and recruited. It always seems like the CIA or a similar institution goes up to them. (In Canada, I suppose it'd be CSIS.) No one ever seems to seek them out. In a way that is never presented as being creepy, they'll find you. They're the surveillance gods.

I guess that's great for some people, but what about for the rest of us? What about the ones who have weird, embarrassing moments, and would die of shame if they thought they were being spied on by spooks in nondescript vans packed with high-tech whiz-bangery?

Case in point: The day I realized I would never be chosen as a secret agent.

Example #1

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-Read: A Game of Thrones, Part 28

Greetings, dear readers, and welcome to this little re-read where some of us while away the time between now and the eventual publication of A Dance with Dragons, a.k.a. one of the most anticipated books of the last few years.

We're up to Part 28 right now, and all of this began at Part 1, or at the Intro if you prefer.

In recent news, I JUST discovered that Blogger has a handy feature that pulls up all the comments for you, without having to search through every post for them. Handy! I found it by accidentally clicking on "Comments" in my dashboard. I believe "attention to detail" is on my résumé...

Back to the re-read: There are spoilers. Perhaps not so much in the posts, but the comments are basically a free-for-all, and I wouldn't really have it any other way.

So follow along via RSS, or Twitter, or Google Reader, or whatever it is that you use to track blogs of either amazing awesomeness or relentless mediocrity. I keep my fingers crossed that this hodge-podge of a fiefdom lies at least somewhere in-between the two.

The Wall and the Dothraki Sea await.

Friday, September 17, 2010

While I was MIA...

Dear Readers,

Let me begin by apologizing for my month-long absence from the blog. From the online world, for the most part. Before, I was posting as close to regularly as I could manage, usually about one of my favourite book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Then... nothing. What happened? Well, I went to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. It was a fun experience and whatnot, and then after a few days I was back. And that's when trouble started.

No, the trouble started before then, but it didn't really start affecting me until then. I can't go into the details because some of it deals with my work, and a lot of it deals with my personal life, but I can say that it was a difficult few weeks. There was no time for most of the things I'd been doing before, and not much heart either. I'm sorry.

I'm back now. All is well, or well enough for the time being. The most recent post for A Game of Thrones is up, and I've got a couple of one-off posts on the way for the more casual reader. I'll also find any comments left during the last month and answer them as soon as possible.

Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for reading.

#ASOIAF Re-Read: A Game of Thrones, Part 27

Welcome back to the ASOIAF Re-read, for it is indeed back. Those of you who are not first-timers here might wonder where I've been. I wrote about it in a separate post so as not to take away from this. Suffice to say that I'm happy to be back, and I hope you're happy to read my ASOIAF-related ramblings. I hope you were well in the month since I last posted.

Where were we anyway? Oh, right: we'd finished Part 26, meaning we're now up to Chapters 58 and 59 (!!!). I hope you'll forgive any rust on my part, and hope we can get right back to the ensuing chaos in the Seven Kingdoms. (There's a lot of hoping going on here.)

Before we continue, please note that there are some spoilers in the post and in the comments regarding all four ASOIAF books. First-timers can start the re-read here or here, and you can follow using the RSS tab, or Google Friends, or Twitter.

There are kingdoms and lives to save. Let's roll.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

For those of you who wonder what else I post about...

This wasn't supposed to be an exclusively ASOIAF-related blog, despite what it looks like. I have posted about other things before, and I will resume doing so shortly. (My ASOIAF readers might ask where I'll find the time, but time management is about to become my new thing, so... I hope it works.)

Anyway, I'm out for now, flying somewhere from somewhere else. Details will follow shortly, as will the reason for secrecy. So, have a great few days, and tune in soon.

P.S. This made me laugh so hard that I was in tears. If you own a dog, you might feel the same way. Of course, if you own an intelligent dog, maybe you won't understand at all. From Hyperbole and a Half: Dog.

#ASOIAF Re-Read: A Game of Thrones, Part 26

Hello friends. As you read this I may or may not be flying again. I'm either really cold or really hot, depending on whether I'm in the air-conditioned plane or on the broiling land surrounding the airport. Seriously... 40+ degree weather? (That's 104 F, I think.) Could global warming be real?

Anyway, you're probably here to catch up on some ASOIAF tidbits. The re-read will follow, as usual, but in case there's anyone who doesn't know, you can find out more info about all the books at sites like Tower of the Hand, and http://www.westeros.org/. I trust by now you've all see the trailer for next year's A Game of Thrones series? Stay up to date on all the last from casting to filming to swashbuckling lessons at Winter is Coming. And then there's the big one, GRRM's Not A Blog blog.

Right. Let's get cracking. Tonight's one measly chapter (hey, I'm flying around in a laptop- and PDA-free world) features a young northern girl who is a tough, controversial survivor. Sansa.

If you're new to the blog, this all began with an intro post. Our last recap was Part 26. To track this blog, you may click the RSS button, or the Follow button. Perhaps Twitter is your thing? Then use the #ASOIAF tag. Warning: Posts and comments can have spoilers for the rest of the series.

Friday, August 6, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-Read: A Game of Thrones, Part 25

Greetings, dear readers. This delay was brought to you by a week's worth of job fun (not fun at all), a long-weekend camping trip, and a solar-pulse induced blackout. For real. The burst of solar energy was actually supposed to fill the night sky with northern lights, but even though I waited in the heat without air-conditioning, while the contents of the fridge and freezer thawed and melted, I saw nothing. Which sucks because people saw them about 50 kms north of here (that's 31 miles for the Imperialists). So I have yet to see the northern lights. Sigh... Did anyone else see them? Care to link to pictures you may have taken?

But hark! the re-read beckons. Today we cover Chapters 54-56. But first, do you know that there might be spoilers ahead? Do you know that if you're a first-timer, you can start the re-read over at the intro post? And do you also know that you can keep track of this blog by clicking the RSS button, or the Follow button, or by using #ASOIAF on Twitter? Did you?

Well... this post isn't getting any shorter.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-Read: A Game of Thrones, Part 24

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I bring you this latest in a series of posts on A Game of Thrones.

For those of you who are new to this thing, there are possible spoilers ahead. If you'd like to start from the beginning, the intro post is here, the first post is here, and the last post that actually contained a recap is here >> Part 23. Keep up to date with the latest happenings here, either by subscribing via RSS or using the #ASOIAF hashtag on Twitter.

Lorem ipsum dolor, and so on...

Friday, July 23, 2010

FYI

My apologies. I've been under the weather the last few days, and I will be attending wedding festivities this weekend. (Wedding and germs should make a great mix.) Therefore, it has been and it will continue to be impossible to post for the next couple of days. In fact, the month of August is somehow filled with wedding occasions (another two), and at least one camping trip. This means that somehow, I'm going to have to buckle down and produce longer posts, but probably less frequently. I hope they can continue to be twice a week, but I'm not sure if they can be regularly scheduled. I'll have more for you the next time I post, which will probably be on Monday or Tuesday.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, July 19, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 23

What a week. My brain feels like it's been turned into mush. I apologize if today's commentary is sub-par, but it's been a rollercoaster kind of week. I mean that in a good and bad way.

Anyway, we're back with some ASOIAF chapters for this re-read. Today we team up with some totally opposite sisters for a bit of action and intrigue.

But first, the preamble! The intro post is here, and the first post is here, and the last post is here >> Part 22. There are several ways for you to follow the blog, including the RSS button near the upper right portion of this page, or you can use the #ASOIAF hashtag if Twitter's your thing.

The Re-Read beckons.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 22

What do you know... it's Thursday. Time for an ASOIAF re-read, wouldn't you say? Although, I warn you, today's post marks the point where SHTF, at least as far as one of the favourites is concerned.

So take this moment to think about the people of Westeros, and how they are living in relative peace. When last we met (Part 21), the seven kingdoms were united, but the king was on his deathbed. So, change was in order. And now it's coming. Oh dear... It will be a looong time before there's a similar sense or order.

The intro post is here, and the first post is here. There are several ways for you to follow the blog, including the RSS button near the upper right portion of this page, or you can use the #ASOIAF hashtag if Twitter's your thing.

Like I said, change is in order. Death, betrayal, and all kinds of craziness. Shall we?

Monday, July 12, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 21

Well, that weekend filled up faster than I expected, and I was unable to finish this post until last night. About my first chance to sit back and relax came on Sunday as Spain and Netherlands did their best to put 3 billion viewers to sleep. It was a spectacularly dull final to the World Cup, but congratulations to the winners.

Spanish readers, you must be feeling great. Dutch readers, I feel your pain. Maybe next time. Or maybe when van Persie and Sneijder learn to get along with each other. They seem to get on like Starks and Lannisters.

Speaking of those crazy families, let's get back to their little escapades, shall we?

Aquí está la entrada más reciente (part 20), the intro post, and the first post. You can follow along using the #ASOIAF hashtag on Twitter, and the RSS button near the upper right of the screen.

¡Vayamos!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Re-read postponed :(

Hey guys, sorry, but there will be no ASOIAF post tomorrow. My publisher has a book going to press this week and things are very much down to the wire. That's also kept me busy at home so... no Game of Thrones.

But that's not to say the blog will be postless. No, no, no. Things are just delayed. A Saturday post could work, and a Friday one is not outside the realm of possibility. So, check back in a day or two. Hope to see you then. Thanks!

Monday, July 5, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 20

Did you have a good weekend? For a long weekend that featured Canada Day on this side of the border, Independence Day on the south side of the border, the Pride parade, and a visit from the Queen of England, it was a fairly ho-hum stretch of days for me. Kinda blah. That's all I can say.

So what better way to kick off the first full week of July than with the latest from Westeros. This episode will feature some royals and not-yet-royals behaving badly, and the previously promised chapter that I'm oddly partial to. See? I eventually deliver.

In the interest of continuity, here is the last post (part 19), the intro post, and the first post. You can follow along using the #ASOIAF hashtag on Twitter, and the RSS button near the upper right of the screen. Your comments on these and other matters are always welcome, World Cup predictions included.

Picking up almost where we left off last time with The Ballad of Ned Stark...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 19

Happy Canada Day! Yes, we celebrate that on he first of July. It's formerly Dominion Day, from the days when Canada was under the British. Oddly enough, the Queen is actually here visiting and planting trees. This comes just before the weekend Pride parade, and just after last weekend's pretty negative Fortress Toronto experience.

Getting back to business, we are here for the ASOIAF re-read.

Here is the last post (part 18), the intro post, and the first post. You can follow along using the #ASOIAF hashtag on Twitter, and the RSS button near the upper right of the screen. Your comments are always welcome.

By the way, my apologies for mentioning in the last post that one of my favourite chapters was coming up. Nothing against these chapters, but neither is the one I was talking about. From now on I'll zip it until we actually get to the chapter.

And we won't get to it without advancing through the others. Sally forth.

Monday, June 28, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 18

What a difference a few days can make. Last time I posted, I was praying for the Azzurri to win. Well, that didn't happen. But I survived, making it through the five stages of grief. There was more shame and anger than outright depression. In other words, it wasn't 1994.

A few things helped pull me out of my funk, including this little re-read, and you, the readers. (Awww...)

Here is the last post (part 17), the intro post, and the first for-real post. You can keep on top of the shenanigans at this blog in several ways, including the #ASOIAF hashtag on Twitter, and the RSS button near the upper right of the screen.

Let's do this.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 17

Ahoy, ASOIAFers! Thanks for dropping in. This has been a decent week. Work is alright, World Cup matches are fun, and I had my very first earthquake experience. Yes, an earthquake. Everything is fine (it was pretty small), but it was a bit confusing for about a minute as we wondered just what was going on. This isn't a San Andreas Fault kind of area.

But life went back to normal after a few minutes, and as such, we are back with the next instalment of A Game of Thrones. Our last post was Part 16, and if you are a newcomer, you can start with the intro or jump to Part 1, or start wherever you like. Don't let the man tell you what to do. You are the master of your domain. And so forth.

Twitterers, you'll can use the #ASOIAF hashtag, and anyone can click the RSS button right under the blog header featuring Basil Rathbone and Errol Flynn in what is still the best Robin Hood ever made. (Bring it, Russell!)

It's June 24th, and I may well be reduced to tears in a few hours if Italy doesn't advance in the World Cup. In the meantime, here is the first post-earthquake post.

Monday, June 21, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 16

Hello, and welcome back to this little thing called the ASOIAF Re-read. It’s been a while, but I’m back from vacation, ready to buckle down and finish A Game of Thrones.

A few things have happened while I was away. For example, the teaser trailer for next year’s A Game of Thrones has been released. If you think you’ll enjoy 17 seconds of darkness plus 5 seconds of random footage and ominous music tones, then it’s a very exciting trailer. Expect longer trailers before summer is out.

If you’re feeling rusty and need to remember where we left off, that would be Part 15, and if this is your first time visiting, the whole shebang starts off here with the intro and Part 1. Wit and coherence vary. Spoilers abound.

If you're following on Twitter, you'll want to use the #ASOIAF hashtag, or you can click the handy-dandy RSS button right under the blog header featuring Errol Flynn.

It’s June 21’st, the first day of Summer. Summer is the name of Bran’s direwolf. This post features Summer and Bran. It also features Dany, who’s been missing for a while. So let’s start with her, shall we?

Monday, May 17, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 15

Good evening, readers. Welcome back to the thing we like to call a re-read of the series known as A Song of Ice and Fire. This post is brought to you by a photo from the upcoming HBO production of A Game of Thrones. Whee!

Today's post follows the Monday trend of the last couple of weeks. That is, it's coming late in the day. I have my reasons. They will be revealed soon.

Furthermore, this post will only be able to cover a single chapter #35 to be exact.

This and all #ASOIAF-related posts contain spoilers for the series. The intro to the posts is here. Entries can be tracked with the ASOIAF tag (#ASOIAF on Twitter).

That's all. Weigh in with your comments in the ... um... comments section. And stay tuned after the post for An Announcement.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 14

Hi! Welcome back to the re-read. For anyone new to the re-read, this is where you can go over A Song of Ice and Fire bit by glorious bit. We also go over the frustrating bits, because it’s good to get riled up about things once in a while.

This post covers Chapters 33-34 of A Game of Thrones. That means this will be a Ned and Cate doubleheader. Give it up for the Starks!

(I can’t hear you.)

This is also a post in which I try to move on, repeatedly, and yet I still manage to summarize like a fantasy author. Which is to say that brief, this is not.

The intro post is here, and all the entries can be tracked with the ASOIAF tag (#ASOIAF on Twitter). All posts contain occasional spoilers for the first four books in A Song of Ice and Fire. Likewise for the comments section.

You know the drill: Summary, commentary, *headdesk*, and comments. Not necessarily in that order. Shoot first and ask later. Whatever works.

(Sssleep.)

Did someone say something?

(We wants it, prrreciouss.)

Um, let's get started.

Monday, May 10, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 13

Hi there. Welcome to the ASOIAF Re-Read, the late night edition. Your host spent the last few days driving hundreds and hundreds of kilometers (1 kilometer = 0.621371192 miles, for those of you who like your measurements in imperial), and had no time to type things out at the usual time.

But better late than never, right? I'm going to pretend that you answered yes. It makes things easier that way.

So let's get down to business. This post covers Chapters 31-32. The very first post is here, the most recent post (Part 12) is here, and all the entries can be tracked with the ASOIAF tag (#ASOIAF on Twitter). All posts contain occasional spoilers for the first four books in A Song of Ice and Fire. The same goes for the comments section.

As always, I appreciate your comments, theories, corrections, and what-have-you.

And now I think it's late enough. Let us begin.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 12

Hello! Also, goedendag, guten tag, hallå, mojn, and bonjour. Welcome to the tourney. I mean the Re-read of A Game of Tourneys, and that has tourneys in it. What?

There was a slight interruption in the regular schedule on Monday, but all is well now. Today we get to cover Chapters 29-30. Before we can begin, here is the requisite spiel:

The intro post is here, Part 11 is here, and all the entries can be tracked with the ASOIAF tag (#ASOIAF on Twitter). This post and all posts contain occasional spoilers for the first four books in A Song of Ice and Fire. The same goes for the comments section, where I freely encourage commenting on theories, holes in theories, and anything else that comes to mind.

(Get on with it already!)

Shall we begin? Ok. Tourney!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Missing: One copy of A Game of Thrones

We interrupt our regularly scheduled re-reading for bring you this message: There will be no re-read today. Due to a slight mixup, I am short one copy of A Game of Thrones (my only copy). I happened to gain some freshly laundered female clothing in the process, but that won't help me with quotes and stringing together chains of events.

The mixup will be fixed in a couple of days, so Part 12 of the ASOIAF Re-read will have to wait until Thursday to recommence.

(And we were just getting to the tourney...)

We'll get back to the regular swing of things on Thursday. My apologies for the blunder.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 11

Happy Thursday to you. Thanks for dropping by and seeing what this little re-read of mine is all about.

It's about ASOIAF! Wooooo! (For those of you who do not know my humour, there was zero sarcasm in that. I actually get that excited.)

Today we get to cover Chapters 27-28. The intro post is here, Part 10 is here, and all the entries can be tracked with the ASOIAF tag (#ASOIAF on Twitter). This post and all posts contain occasional spoilers for the first four books in A Song of Ice and Fire. Read at your own discretion. Also, this only covers what has been mentioned in the four main books. The short stories are beyond this blog's scope for now.

You may begin.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Five links for Wednesday

I thought I'd post some of the links that have caught my eye in the last few days. Despite the pattern, I don't plan on making a habit of this link-sharing. But it's something to do while eating lunch and having a great english muffin practically stuffed with peanut butter and jam. (Long story. Never mind.)

-To me, the Super Mario games are second only to anything Zelda-related. But in case you ever wondered what it would be like to play Super Mario as Link, or Samus, or Megaman (!!!), well, wonder no more. They have that now.

-There is a Firefly re-watch at Tor.com. This week's episode is full of the show's trademark humour and banter. And what with Mal going to the Special Hell, Jayne offering his most favourite gun, and Christina Hendricks in her pre-Mad Men days, I'd forgotten all about Inara smooching Captain Tightpants. One of the best lines? Mal to Jayne: "Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." Get acquainted with Mrs. Reynolds.

-Thanks to Book Madam & Associates for this. (WARNING: Artsy content, yet possibly NSFW, depending on where you work.) Fairytale Heroine Pin-ups.

[Edit: I just took a better look at these. They're on the racy side. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but now you know what to expect. What I'm wondering is how these good on Book Madam's blog about books and publishing. "Fairytale" = Book connection? Seems like a bit of a stretch. Curiouser and curiouser.]

-Oh, the irony: The (old) Tea Party was actually against imperialism.

-Writers of fiction, take note. The Faster Times presents its rankings of literary magazines that are best for fiction and submissions. Not surprising: The New Yorker tops the list. Surprising: Playboy is up there. I thought they cut back on fiction years ago.

Monday, April 26, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 10

Good day to all, and welcome back to the Re-read.

We left off at the end of Part 9. Today we'll cover chapters 25 and 26, in which there is a lot of talking, a bit of action, and someone finds out he could be sleeping with the fishes if he doesn't behave.

The intro post is here, and entries can be tracked with the ASOIAF tag. (#ASOIAF on Twitter.) This post and all posts contain occasional spoilers for the first four books in A Song of Ice and Fire. Read at your own discretion. Also, we are only covering the main books so far and not touching any of the short stories that have been published in collections.

The preamble is over. We begin after the jump.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Saturday links

A few things I wanted to put up before getting to my next re-read post for A Game of Thrones. (You're reading them and keeping up to date, right? Cool.) Here are your Saturday links:

-Are you a fan of True Blood? You can win a signed copy of Truly, Madly, Deadly by Becca Wilcott. All you have to do is submit a caption for the photo of the author. Contest closes Wednesday, May 5.

-Fewer vs Less: Now you know.

-Gentlemen, do you know how your facial hair scores on a scale of trustworthiness? Does it skew towards Very Trustworthy or Disastrous? This diagram will inform you. (Note: I'm disappointed that of all the facial-hair types, my perma-stubble was not listed. I don't know what that means.)

-Two weeks ago you never cared that Iceland had a volcano. Now? Now you follow it on Twitter. It's a lava, not a fighter.

-People who don't take public transit don't know what they're missing (that sentence was 90% sarcasm-free).
The people who tarnish the experience of taking public transit are generally the ones who are unfamiliar with transit etiquette. They're the ones standing still on escalators and standing right in front of the subway doors when people are trying to get out. Most people huff and move on. Well, not anymore. Someone in Toronto has come up with the bright idea to make etiquette posters for the TTC.

-I'm typing this while some guys across the street sing slightly off-key. They sound like they've had a very, very long night. But really, can't you pick a better chorus to sing over and over again than "She's so High" by Tal Bachman? That must be my cue to leave. See you on Monday for ASOIAF.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 9

Welcome, dear readers, to the Thursday edition of the Re-read. 

Today we move on from Part 8. This post covers Chapters 23 and 24, in which a girl continues maturing, and a boy finds out that winter is really long.
The intro post is here, and the ASOIAF tag is being used to track all entries. (#ASOIAF on Twitter.) 
There are spoilers after the jump for the first four books in A Song of Ice and Fire. Read at your own discretion.
Pause. Take a deep breath. Are you ready? Ok, let's go.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mid-day break, with links and cake

I actually have some time for lunch today. One of our fantastic authors stopped by the office and brought cheesecake. So I will pass on some links from the last couple of days and enjoy my delicious slice of cherry cheesecake.

-I imagine most people have heard about the following story by now, but the next time you feel like making tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto, and you find yourself reaching for your Australian edition of the Pasta Bible, double check if the recipe calls for freshly ground black pepper or freshly ground black people. It's generally impossible to catch every single typo, but that one will cost a small fortune.

-I mentioned some MS Paint comics last weekend. Well here is Billy: A Love Story. This comic by Nic Boshart is about a love affair with IKEA's Billy bookshelf. Between the new-looking copy of Ulysses and the Boing Boing bookshelf "porn", file this one under Funny Because It's True.

-I bought two graphic novels yesterday. I know, like I need more books on my To Read pile. One is Mercury by Hope Larson, an artist I quite like. I hope the story is as good as the illustrations. And the other is Volume 1 of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which I've read before.

-Some people like chewy cookies. Not me. I think twice-baked biscotti are the way to go. But not everyone grew up cracking their teeth on Italian cookies. So you decide how you want to bake your dunking sweets: crisp, soft, or chewy.

-Now that the ash cloud from Iceland's unpronounceable volcano has shifted a bit, people can get back to planning upcoming European vacations. If you're still thinking of places to go, my friend Mel has been living in France for several months, and she has some wonderful photos of her travels up on her blog.

All done! Time to see if there are any New York Style slices left in the kitchen.

Monday, April 19, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 8

Bonjour, fair people of the internet! Monday has arrived with a brand new Re-read!

Today we move on from Part 7, covering Chapters 21 and 22, in which people ask a lot from a little man, and a little girl takes a level in badass. Good times.
For earlier posts, the intro is here, and the ASOIAF tag is being used to track the entries. (#ASOIAF on Twitter.) 
This post contains spoilers for the four published novels in the series known as A Song of Ice and Fire. That's all the warning you get.
The post, it awaits!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday morning links

I have previously expressed my thoughts on spelling, grammar, and punctuation. I'm not exactly a vigilante fighting for the sake of language, but I still have my peeves.

Now there's a new way of getting the point across, and it involves MS Paint. Just take a quick look and see how The Alot is Better Than You at Everything.

I think it's funny, and I also like that Allie at Hyperbole and a Half uses Paint, the one illustrating/design program that I can properly use. I use a Mac at home, and I didn't realize until now that I miss Paint.

Apropos of nothing (other than I've already watched this a few times because I love it), here is a video of dogs sliding in the snow. Does anyone's dog do this? I'm taking Darcy to a hill next winter, and I will get him to slide whether he likes it or not. If he's anything like these labs, he'll love it!



That's all for now. I have to go read A Game of Thrones and work on my latest drawing project, which I'm happy to say is turning out far better than any of my other practice sketches so far.

If you're looking for something else to look at, something with comedy and genius all wrapped in one cozy package, here's How a Sandwich Makes You Its Bitch in 11 Easy Steps. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 7

Oh my! It's Thursday. Time for another re-read post. Apologies in advance because there are only two chapters in this one. BUT the chapters are longer than the previous ones, so hopefully that makes up for things.

Seriously, these ones were hella long, and they would not condense. Must find a way to prune the summaries.

Without much further ado, let's get to it, picking up from where we left off at the end of Part 6. Beware spoilers, ye who dare to read on. If you are new to this, or if you are looking for earlier posts, the intro is here, and the ASOIAF tag is being used to track the entries here. (#ASOIAF on Twitter.)

Read on.

Monday, April 12, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 6

Hiya! Welcome back from the weekend. We begin this week with some ASOIAF related news: Rand al'Thor has defeated Jamie Lannister. You can see how the rest of the Suvudu Cage Match 2010 went down, but the final was really, really close. My favourite series up against my second-favourite series. Any guess to how I voted?

Anygeekiness, we have a re-read to get to, one with a bit of good news sandwiched between chapters of doom. Let's move on from Part 5 and go to Part 6.

The intro post is here, and all posts are tracked with the #ASOIAF tag. There are some spoilers in these posts. Ignore the caution at your own peril. Proceed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 5

It's Thursday! That means a re-read is in order.

In Part 4 I wanted to check that I wasn't breaking copyright law by quoting sections of the book. I think I'm ok (key word: think) because it falls under fair use laws, and I own the actual book. So that's that, in case you wonder about that kind of stuff.

The intro post is here, and all posts are tracked with the #ASOIAF tag. There are some spoilers in these posts. Granted, it's not like finding out that Snape kills Dumbledore, Verbal Kint is Keyser Soze, or the passengers on Oceanic Flight 815... wait... that one hasn't happened yet. But, yeah, I advise caution. Let us proceed.

Monday, April 5, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 4

Welcome to the Monday version of this re-read. The Easter long weekend just passed and I hope you were able to enjoy it as much as I did. I didn’t get much leisure stuff done, but I got through plenty of spring cleaning. The weather here is finally warming up.

(What’s that? We have a re-read to get to? I’ll get right on that.)

There’s a lot of text in this one (and I need to check that I'm not breaking copyright law by quoting so much), so I’ll be brief. The intro post is here, and the previous post (Part 3) is here. Beware spoilers. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 3

Hurray! Hurray! It's April Fool's Day! Remember some of the pranks you played on this day when you were a kid? Remember how they used to be fun, and then one day you realised every prank you'd pulled in previous years was really lame? That's ok, as long as you decided to atone for past missteps by doing a really labour-intensive but rewarding prank. Like this. (Admittedly not done for April Fool's, but it works.)

Now that that intro is over, welcome back to the Re-read. For no reason whatsoever, I switched the cover image for this post. My first copy of A Game of Thrones used this cover. I liked it at the time. Now it looks a little dated. [Edit: Do cover analysis later. Cut to the Re-read.]

Disclaimer: Spoilers await if you haven't read the four books in the series. The intro post is here, the last post (Part 2) is here, and the entries are tracked with the "ASOIAF re-read" tag.

Be forewarned: The following material contains violence, coarse language, sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Monday, March 29, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 2

I am bleary-eyed today, courtesy of some unscheduled essay-editing for my still-in-school siblings. I'm also in a hyphen-at-will kind of mood, which could be because of my lack of sleep. But who has time for sleep when there are kingdoms and thrones on the line?

Disclaimer: There are some spoilers. If you haven't read all four books, surprises could be ruined. The intro post is here, Part 1 was here, and all entries are being logged with the "ASOIAF re-read" tag.

That's enough official business. Now for Part 2 of the Re-read, in which we get up close and personal with the people of Winterfell, and I find it hard to be brief.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

#ASOIAF Re-read: A Game of Thrones, Part 1

Hi there! Bienvenue! Welcome to the first re-read post for the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire, better known as A Game of Thrones. This post will cover the Prologue and Chapters 1-3. Est cet assez bon? (And I think I've exhausted the limits of my French. It's probably for the best.)

WARNING: There will be spoilers. If you haven't read the series yet, or if you are reading the books but you haven't finished them yet, please keep this in mind as you follow along. I will mention things that happen in all four books, and it will ruin the surprises for you. (As an aside, a few hours after putting up the intro post yesterday, an article in The Toronto Star caught my eye. The headline? Do yourself a favour: Don’t read this book. The book? A Game of Thrones, and its sequels. It's a cheeky article, and here's how I sum it up: Read these books, and sooner or later you'll do something crazy, like blogging about them in detail.)

For a complete list of recaps and posts related to this series, look no further than the A Song of Ice and Fire master index.

One more thing: I'm assuming that whoever reads this will have read the books as well, so I will spend as little time on back-story as possible.

Now the warnings are all out of the way. If you've made it this far, thanks for tagging along. This is a bold, bloody, and sexy story. I would throw in more adjectives, but why not just get on with the re-read? Let us proceed!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Winter is Coming: #ASOIAF Re-read

Hello, and welcome to the introductory post of a fun project about re-reading George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Some of you may know that the first book, A Game of Thrones, got the green light for production by HBO, and it should be ready within a year. And if you know that much, then chances are you also know that the fifth book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, could conceivably come out some time this year. In anticipation of both events, I’ve decided to go through the published books one at a time, chapter by chapter.

(For a complete list of recaps and posts related to this series, look no further than the A Song of Ice and Fire master index.)

For anyone who doesn’t know me, my name is Francesco, and this is an extra-curricular labour of love. I work in publishing, and I do a little of this and that for fun on the side, but I'm a bookworm at heart; reading and writing are what I like to do best. Mostly, I just wanted to re-visit one of my favourite series and do some in-depth analysis instead of just racing through the books at top speed. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

I was introduced to A Game of Thrones about two and a half years ago by an old friend of mine, who loaned it to me after I let her read my Wheel of Time books. Then I realized that my girlfriend’s roommate had the same books, and he told me a bit more about the series. It sounded intriguing, so I started reading. And you know what happened? I became another obsessed fan of this series, and of Mr. Martin. As if being WOT-crazy wasn’t enough. All that’s left is for me to start watching Lost.

I’d be lying if I said I got this idea out of the clear blue. No, this re-read thing isn’t new. Over the past year and a bit, I’ve been following Kate Nepveu’s writings on The Lord of the Rings and Leigh Butler’s take on The Wheel of Time. If you’re a fan of either series, I highly recommend reading Kate and Leigh’s work. I’ll essentially follow the same convenient outlines, with a “What Happens” recap, followed by commentary. I don't have the savvy web guys at Tor to make handy indexes and pages for me, so I'll make do with tags or #hashtags to keep the related posts together. We'll figure something out.

My aim is to have two regular posts a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, covering as many chapters as possible. There is a lot of information to cover, and I can’t possibly go in-depth on every single detail, so I’ll have to pick and choose which parts get mentioned. Disagree with my choices and interpretations? That’s what the comments are for. Share your insight.

It’s been over a year since I last read these books, and I don’t remember all of the theories and the lesser events. I hope that this re-read will provide a better understanding of the series at large and the finer details, while at the same time whetting my appetite for the HBO series and the new book. (As if it needed whetting.)

I hope this will be fun, because otherwise, what’s the point? Part 1 of A Game of Thrones will go up tomorrow, and I hope you’ll join me in reading along and commenting. See you then!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Invaded by Amazon?

There's been some news recently about Amazon setting up shop in Canada. Amazon.ca already exists, but it's operated from cyberspace and distribution goes through Canada Post. Understandably, Amazon wants a physical presence in the country. Also understandably, Canadian booksellers want to keep Amazon out. So where does that leave book buyers?

For one thing, you'd have competition for dollars. In one of the more intelligent pieces written so far, Roy MacSkimming likens the possible shift in bookselling to the Wal-Mart effect. The immediate benefits for consumers would be lower-priced books, at least for a while. Independent booksellers already find it difficult to compete with online retailers and Indigo, the biggest bookseller in Canada. Amazon could cripple them further, but hey, people will save a few bucks on their purchases.

Now assume that precedent is set, and foreign-controlled companies are allowed to operate in the Canadian bookselling business. Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo, said: "Supposing I should decide three years from now that, in order to expand some of my capability, I'd like to partner up with a foreign company [...] I do not want to be disadvantaged." Reisman could partner with a client such as Borders, like she tried to back in the mid-90s before buying Chapters, resulting in even more competition.

MacSkimming writes: "Decades of public investment in the industry would be lost. And for what?

"Abandoning the book industry to the free play of market forces would result in Wal-Martization, the law of lowest cost, lowest common denominator. This would be portrayed as a victory for the consumer but would, in fact, be the very opposite. Readers would be able to buy all the imported bestsellers they wanted, very cheaply, but would be deprived of the current rich choice of Canadian and international titles."

If MacSkimming is correct, that means there would be cheaper books, and more choice, but a smaller Canadian percentage due to increased volume of foreign content. Years of investing in Canadian culture and authors would be undone, all to let one retailer in and drop the price of books by a bit.

So, is it worth it? My mind isn't made up on the issue. It probably depends on vested interests. This arguement is more about business and less about culture, but I think the culture arguement is a valid one.

One more thing to note about the cost of books in Canada: It costs more to have books in Canada because of the country's small population and large land mass. Fewer people means smaller print runs which actually cost more than the larger print runs because it costs less to print in bulk. And because most warehousing is in the Toronto area, it costs more to ship and distribute over a territory as large as Canada. So, blame higher Canadian prices on geography.

If it's not one thing, it's another.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Clara Hughes: Red, white, and bronze (or gold)

I don't know what it is about sports that can get people caught up in the fervor and excitement of cheering for a team or an individual. Cheering for teams is like cheering for laundry, said Jerry Seinfeld. So how come a large event like the Olympics can come around and all of a sudden people care about sports they only hear of once every four years? Biathlon, speed-skating, bobsleigh... these are not sports with followings that compare in size to the fan base for soccer, football, baseball, and the other heavy hitters. Players in big leagues are professionals instead of amateurs like a lot of other Olympians. So where does the interest come from? National pride? A fascinating individual? An underdog story?

There are about four days left in the 2010 Olympics, and there have been some great moments so far, but my favourite moment will be tough to beat--even if the Canadian men's hockey team wins gold. (Mind you, losing would be the biggest disappointment.) And yet, it's not a golden moment as far as the medals were concerned. I'm talking about the last race by Clara Hughes. It was an incredible race, good enough for bronze when all was said and done. I didn't even see the race! I was stuck in traffic, so I listened to it on the radio. The volume was cranked, and I heard everyone screaming and cheering at the oval in Vancouver, and I heard the announcer shout to the point where throat lozenges were on standby.

Again, there was no gold involved. This was purely a case of caring because of the individual. Even a quick look at her Wikipedia entry will tell you that Hughes is the only person ever to win multiple medals in both the Summer and Winter games, winning two in cycling and four in speedskating. And then there's her story of being a problem child who became a problem teen; out of school and into drugs. Then in the winter of '88 she caught speedskating while channel-surfing on TV and decided she wanted to be an Olympian. Six medals later, her Olympic career is over at age 37.

I'll remember watching Hughes take two bronze medals for cycling in Atlanta when I was only 12, watching my first Games in '96. I'll remember her winning gold in Turin four years ago. I'll remember being so thrilled when she was picked at the flag-bearer for the Canadian team this year. And I think I'll have to remember wiping my leaky eyes in the middle of traffic after her last race, surrounded by other cars honking their horns.

To close, I can't really write anything better than these words from Hughes's journal, her final post before leaving for Vancouver a few weeks ago:

Thank you, everyone, for your support. Thank you for being excited about the Olympics and thank you for caring. When I am carrying the Canadian Flag into BC Place on the 12th of February, I am representing each and every Canadian. When I am racing, I am no longer just myself. I am something bigger, faster, stronger and far more beautiful: I am Canada. I just can’t wait to do this one more time. I will not lose sight of this gift of opportunity.

This is it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

George RR Martin/Dance With Dragons

Back from a long weekend of quiet but eventful happenings. I'm not ready to post a big post just yet, but here is a fake ad that made me laugh:


And here is the article that included it: George RR Martin Has Written 1,200 Pages of Dance with Dragons; Fans Are Impatient. To which I say: Yes We Are!

(Just a reminder: I do not think GRRM is my bitch.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weirdness in food and drink

According to this article, people outside of Ontario (and maybe Quebec and the Maritimes) don't drink milk out of bags. I know some people buy milk in cartons, and others buy it in jugs (although I only know one person who uses a jug), but I thought the bag option was available everywhere. I thought wrong. And people outside of these provinces are getting in a huff about it. Over milk containers? Really? Watch the video that started the kerfuffle:



Meanwhile, in the food world, here's one more thing to make me want to be a vegetarian again:

"The great American hamburger, we are told, is made with "Premium Black Angus patties." The New York Times reported this week that a significant quantity of this meat actually comes from Beef Products, Inc., which sweeps up the scraps from the killing floor, the bits and pieces of the mutant cattle that is being fed anti-biotics and "feed." Until it was banned by the Feds in 1997 because of mad cow disease, "feed" often included chicken feces, poultry feathers, cow blood, horse parts mixed in with soy, peanuts, and cottonseed. But the FDA didn't go far enough and today cattle sold for food can be fed pig and horse blood as well as tallow. The problem with cattle who eat feed rather than the grass nature intended them to eat is that they get sick and so are fed massive doses of antibiotics; but even that isn't enough to stop E.coli infection, so the scraps that end up in hamburgers are treated with ammonia. To quote the Times: "With the U.S.D.A.'s stamp of approval, the company's processed beef has become a mainstay in America's hamburgers. McDonald's, Burger King, and other fast-food giants use it as a component in ground beef, as do grocery chains. The federal school lunch program used an estimated 5.5 million pounds of the processed beef last year alone." Even after all that Mad Cow business they are still trying to turn cattle into carnivores because its cheaper and they get fat sooner, and the poisoned garbage from slaughterhouse floors is being swept up, cooked with ammonia, and sent to school kids. Mmmm. "Quality you can taste." Then you wash it down with a gallon or so of "soda" in a recyclable plastic container made with "high-fructose corn syrup" (because it's cheaper than sugar and has a longer shelf-life.) Oops, now they've found that those soda bottles contain BPA and even aluminum soda cans are lined with it, and oops, the human body thinks that BPA is estrogen. Maybe that's why all those boys have such big boobs, that and the soy milk. Meanwhile Mayor Bloomberg is trying to ban salt! Watch the film Food, Inc. And then lets all move to Sicily."

Yummy. Did you like that? Deeeelicious. (By the way, is it against some law to be quoting so much of an article? I'm a little hazy on the rules.)

And just like that, it's almost lunchtime. What do you say? Burgers and milk?
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