top ten thursday

Top Ten Thursday: A Song of Ice and Fire Characters

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I’ve been sort of missing these past few days, but in my defense I had valid reasons. Got a new job and who knew that a job involved preparing and working? The other reason why I could not get to post this yesterday was because my internet was having a tantrum. So instead of torturing myself I decided to leave this for the next day, and to make up for it I’ll be posting a second TTT feature as well (sometime later today).

For this first one, we’re going with A Song of Ice and Fire Characters (I’m using the books and not the show because I’m not entirely happy with the direction the show’s taking and some of my favorite book characters aren’t as great on the screen). I will only be providing images and quotes without any commentaries so that I do not give away any spoilers to the character arcs. The reasons why they’re picked in the listed order is because of how well written the characters were or how enjoyable their chapters were.

10. Samwell Tarly

“Sam thought of all the trials that he and Gilly suffered, Craster’s Keep and the death of the Old Bear, snow and ice and freezing winds, days and days and days of walking, the wights at Whitetree, Coldhands and the tree of ravens, the Wall, the Wall, the Wall, the Black Gate beneath the earth. What had it all been for? No happy choices and no happy endings.” ~ Sam’s thoughts.

9. Ser Barristan Selmy (Barristan the Bold)

“Have no fear, sers, your king is safe… no thanks to you. Even now, I could cut through the five of you as easy as a dagger cuts cheese. If you would serve under the Kingslayer, not a one of you is fit to wear the white. Here, boy. Melt it down and add it to the others, if you like. It will do you more good than the swords in the hands of these five. Perhaps Lord Stannis will chance to sit on it when he takes your throne.” ~ Barristan on his forced retirement as a Kingsguard.

8. Cersei Lannister

“I am a lioness. I will not cringe for them.” ~ Cersei’s thoughts.

7. Sandor Clegane (The Hound)

“Spare me your empty little compliments, girl . . . and your ser’s. I am no knight. I spit on them and their vows. My brother is a knight.” ~ Sandor to Sansa Stark

6. Arya Stark

“A long time ago, she remembered her father saying that when the cold wind blows the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. He had it all backwards. Arya, the lone wolf, still lived, but the wolves of the pack had been taken and slain and skinned.” ~ Arya’s thoughts.

5. Theon Greyjoy (Reek)

“Only a fool humbles himself when the world is so full of men eager to do that job for him.” ~ Theon to Asha Greyjoy (disguised under an alias)

4. Brienne (Brienne the Beauty)

“All my life men like you’ve sneered at me, and all my life I’ve been knocking men like you into the dust.” ~ Brienne to Jaime Lannister.

3. Davos Seaworth

“I am a man. I am kind to my wife, but I have known other women. I have tried to be a father to my sons, to help make them a place in this world. Aye, I’ve broken laws, but I never felt evil until tonight. I would say my parts are mixed, m’lady. Good and bad.” ~ Davos to Melisandre

2. Tyrion Lannister (The Imp)

“My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind… and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That’s why I read so much, Jon Snow.” ~ Tyrion to Jon Snow

1. Jaime Lannister (The Kingslayer)

“He felt a bone-deep ache in his phantom fingers. I’ve lost a hand, a father, a son, a sister, and a lover, and soon enough I will lose a brother. And yet they keep telling me House Lannister has won this war.” ~ Jaime’s thoughts.

Top Ten Thursday: Game of Thrones Season 5 Plot Points

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I know, I know, that’s one hella long title. As I mentioned in last week’s TTT post, I wanted to do some lists related to a Song of Ice and Fire in honor of the new season of Game of Thrones which starts this Sunday. Last week featured my favorite book quotes, while this week I’ll be listing things I’m most excited to see in Season 5. This is based on the books and leaked spoilers for the series — while we do not know everything that’s about to go down, we have the synopsis and I’ll be leading myself on those. This means the night will be dark and FULL OF SPOILERS!!

I’m fairly sure I’ve used that gif before, but yes, if you don’t listen to Pedro Pascal then I can’t help you any further. Here we go!

  • #10: Melisandre’s play with Jon and Stannis.

Stannis the Mannis who does nothing but grind his teeth, Jon the sadface who knows nothing, and Melisandre the red priestess of Asshai. Oh and R’hllor, the Lord of Light, let’s not forget him too. These three characters put together could easily make a sitcom, so I’m excited to see how their time together plays out.

  • #9: Sansa is playing the game.

Basically, Sansa has already been learning how to be a player in the Game of Thrones for a while now, and her beginning as one officially started last season. But she has yet to prove herself and this means this season she won’t be the Sansa we knew so far. She’ll be Alayne.

  • #8: Pod and Brienne’s road trouble.

To be completely honest, I have no idea what this is meant to be. It’s ranked this high because of my curiosity. One of the trailers/teasers/promo videos featured Pod and Brienne with some men who flew under the banners of House Arryn, which means the Vale with Sansa and Littlefinger will be included in their story somehow.

  • #7: The adventures of House Bolton.

Winterfell, which did in fact fell when it got burned to the ground, is about to rise again. Sort of. But among the festivities there should be a wedding and we all know weddings in Westeros make for great entertainment.

  • #6: Arrival of the High Sparrow.

The High Sparrow is the newest High Septon of the Faith of the Seven. Let’s just say he’s in town to do some purging of sins… Can you think who’s sinned in King’s Landing?

  • #5: Meeting Doran Martell and the Sand Snakes.

I freaking adored Doran and the Sand Snakes and this should in fact be my favorite part of the upcoming season. But it appears D&D are making a lot of changes for the Dorne plot, which not only disappoints me but it also scares me that they won’t be portrayed as good as they were in the books. I know that changes are a must, they’re two different mediums and there can be no literal adaptation, but Dorne was just so fantastic in the books.

  • #4: Daenerys welcomes Tyrion.

It was pretty clear that Tyrion would eventually meet Dany, but it seems in the show they’re speeding up things and they’re cutting out Tyrion’s journey to her. Or otherwise making it extremely short. Either way, we get to have a Lannister and a Targaryen in the same room this season. Get hyped!

  • #3: Arya and the House of Black and White.

The Many-Faced God can have the rest, she thought, but he can’t have this.

Those are Arya’s thoughts about Needle, her stick-them-with-the-pointy-end sword. She’s training to be an assassin at the guild of the Faceless Men and in order to become one she has to lose her identity, she has to become no one. This means cutting off from her past, but she decides to keep Needle.

  • #2: Cersei’s downfall.

Come at once, she said. Help me. Save me. I need you now as I have never needed you before. I love you. I love you. I love you. Come at once.

Vyman was hovering by the door, waiting, and Jaime sensed that Peck was watching too. “Does my lord wish to answer?” the maester asked, after a long silence.

A snowflake landed on the letter. As it melted, the ink began to blur. Jaime rolled the parchment up again, as tight as one hand would allow, and handed it to Peck. “No,” he said. “Put this in the fire.”

Cersei’s my favorite character for Season 5, as she finally gets to reap all the things she sowed in the past. Not only is crap hitting the fan, but she’ll have no one help her clean it. Can’t freaking wait!!

  • #1: Jon Snow swings a sword.

The smile that Lord Janos Slynt smiled then had all the sweetness of rancid butter. Until Jon said, “Edd, fetch me a block,” and unsheathed Longclaw.

I did a happy dance when I read this part. It’s one of my all-time best scenes, and even though you won’t see the quote on any of my quote lists, it’s definitely among my favorites. I just tend to avoid listing it because without the context it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But basically, Longclaw goes through Slynt’s neck in order to meet the block.

Top Ten Thursday: A Song of Ice and Fire Quotes

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I figured with Season 5 of Game of Thrones starting in 10 days, I’d make the next TTT’s GoT-themed. But on the one hand the ideas I thought of included spoilers from the books, and on the other hand I’m busy with Camp NaNoWriMo and don’t have that much time on my hands. So I figured I’ll do one short and quick post (this one) which will be spoiler-free and it’ll focus on my favorite quotes from the books. The other (coming sometime in the morning) will be dark and full with spoilers. Yet, even though I say this is a short and quick post, the books are heavy and have a plethora of fancy and cool sayings so it was still a hard task selecting just 10 quotes.

10. Tyrion Lannister’s thoughts

It all goes back and back, to our mothers and fathers and theirs before them. We are puppets dancing on the strings of those who came before us, and one day our own children will take up our strings and dance in our steads.

9. Jon Snow to Jeor Mormont (The Old Bear)

“There’s no shame in fear, my father told me, what matters is how we face it.”

8.  Varys to Eddard Stark

“Why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?”

7. Arya Stark’s thoughts

Fear cuts deeper than swords.

6. Jorah Mormont to Daenerys Targaryen

“Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honorably. And Rhaegar died.”

5. The Night’s Watch Oath

“Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.”

4. Bran Stark and Eddard Stark

“Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”
“That is the only time a man can be brave.”

3. Jojen Reed to Bran Stark

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

2. Varys to Tyrion Lannister

“Power resides where men believe it resides… It’s a trick… A shadow on the wall… And ofttimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”

1. Tyrion Lannister to Jon Snow

“Let me give you some counsel, bastard. Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

Top Ten Thursday: TV Characters

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In continuation from the previous TTT’s theme, characters, here’s a quick and short list of my favorite 10 TV series characters. Took me a while to narrow them down, but here they are.

10. Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead)

If there was no Daryl, there would likely be no Walking Dead. Or otherwise it would have been a more boring show with less followers. Daryl started out in his brother’s shadow, and in a way he keeps living in the shadows. But he’s gone a long way, he’s bonded with the group and in some instances he leads it or helps Rick with that task. He’s an extraordinary tracker, somewhat bad-tempered, but otherwise fearless and he gets the job done. Needless to say Norman Reedus does a very skilful work of portraying the character.

9. Reginald ‘Red’ Forman (That ’70s Show)

If Red and Daryl share one thing, it’s their temper. Except Red tends to show it more often as he doesn’t live in the shadows and has a thing or two to say about everything. Kurtwood Smith was born to play the role, delivering all the sassy, ironic, and sarcastic comments with a passion. The show as a whole has fantastic writing and each character shines in its own way, but Red sort of still manages to steal the show.

8. Dana Scully (The X-Files)

Whenever someone says TV doesn’t have strong female leads, Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully is there to prove them wrong. With a background in science and medicine, the FBI saw her potential while she saw the chance to distinguish herself. She was still young when she attended the FBI Academy, but she was quickly assigned to the X-Files to assist Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) but they were pretty much equals in their work. While we’re on the topic of the X-Files, A 6-EPI REBOOT HAS BEEN CONFIRMED THIS WEEK!! Same cast, same story, same feelings!

7. Dexter Morgan (Dexter)

He’s the hero no one wanted, but the one they deserved. That’s obviously a poor play on words, as I don’t think Dexter’s anywhere near a hero. They guy was a sociopath and a serial killer. But he avoided murdering innocent citizens and instead he focused his “work of art” toward the criminals, mainly other killers. He worked as a forensic blood spatter analyst with the Miami Metro PD so he had access to all kinds of police things, including the ability to discover potential killers. I think it’s safe to say Michael C. Hall‘s Dexter Morgan was my favorite character, up till that moment where his character arc got screwed up. And we shall not speak about that series finale.

6. Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)

Leslie (portrayed by Amy Poehler) is a true refreshment to TV in every sense of the word. She doesn’t just show the standard strong female lead, but she shows how she’s flawed and human. She keeps working hard, usually fails, but never gets disappointed and keeps her spirit high and jolly. There are very few words which can describe Knope, but let’s just say she’s eccentric and extraordinary. If you ever need something done, Leslie has probably done it for you already, included several versions for you to choose from, and has made a scrapbook about it.

5. Xena (Xena: Warrior Princess)

Xena’s sort of the female version of Hercules, with a more interesting story arc. Also, Lucy Lawless.

4. Anthony ‘Tony’ Soprano (The Sopranos)

Tony Soprano through the portrayal of James Gandolfini is largely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, characters to ever appear on TV. All with due reason of course. While the character is an ill-tempered sociopath who for the most of the show tries to maintain his position as a street boss, he’s also shown as struggling with depression and experiences panic attacks. Anyway, maintaining one of the most powerful criminal organizations is obviously no small deal.

3. Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones)

I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards, and broken things. Peter Dinklage truly shines through the role of Tyrion Lannister, a witty dwarf-sized man born to the richest family in the whole seven kingdoms, which unfortunately is also the most elitist house. He gets hate and jokes on his account not only from the common-folk and the lords and ladies in the rest of Westeros, but from those around him, including his family. In fact, his family, with the exception of his brother, may hate him the most as they blame him for the death of his mother (who died while giving birth to him).

2. Walter White (Breaking Bad)

Some of the inspiration for Walter White actually came from Tony Soprano (see above at #4). You can see the similarities, Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) struggles with an illness (though in this case it is cancer) while he aims to maintain his position as Heisenberg, the infamous king of the meth industry (would it be classified as an industry? Guess we can ring the bell ding-ding-ding a few times and ask Mr. Gustavo Fring, or whatever is left of him). Walter has trouble both with his health and his family, but it certainly is no easy task to hide a meth business not only from your wife and kids, but also from your brother-in-law who just happens to be a DEA agent.

1. Edmund Blackadder (The Black Adder)

Lord Edmund Blackadder, latter Lord High Executioner and Minister of Religious Genocide, was a true master of the verbal insult. Rowan Atkinson has had some fantastic roles, but in my honest opinion none are even close to his portrayal of Edmund Blackadder. The man outshines those around him with his intelligence, his charm, with the ability to hide his fear and pretend he’s brave, and obviously with the amount of hate he gets from his rivals.

Honorable Mention

Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother)

Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Chandler Muriel Bing (Matthew Perry, Friends)

Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht, Suits)

Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds (Nathan Fillion, Firefly)

Top Ten Thursday: Video Game Characters

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I may or may not have a slight obsession with video games. Depends on how much time I can leave for that at the end of the day. I had more time in the past so I was able to spend more hours crushing things with the help of many fictional characters. Here’s my top 10 list of best characters from video games, chosen mainly on their story and iconic value. But to be honest I started with almost 40 characters and it took me a long while to get them down to just 10.

 10. Arthas Menethil (Warcraft)

The Prince of Lordareon is the epitome of potential for greatness gone wrong. He was a trained Paladin, in a relationship with a fine sorceress, Jaine Proudmoore, and at some point he would have inherited the throne from his father, Terenas. Yet in his quest for greatness he made the grave error of picking up the cursed runeblade known as Frostmourne, which lead to him becoming a death knight and abandoning all he was. He led the Scourge in destroying his own kingdom, Lordareon, and eventually merged with the Lich King, becoming one of the greatest evils on Azeroth (fictional world) who ruled for years after. And that doesn’t even begin to describe his journey, as experienced by playing him as a character.

9. Kratos (God of War)

Born and raised in Sparta, he had hoped he and his brother would one day become part of the Spartan army. But the gods took his brother away and Kratos had to join the army without him. He got himself a great life, a wife, a daughter, a position as Captain of the army. But the gods were cruel, setting him in a fit of rage which pushed him to murder his family, subsequently stripping himself of his army position. Then he went on working for the gods, challenging the gods, and ultimately defeating the gods with the use of ‘Hope’ from Pandora’s Box. Talk about a damn character arc.

8. Duke Nukem (Duke Nukem)

Does Duke Nukem really need any explanation? He’s Duke Nukem, the self-proclaimed hero who saves the Earth numerous times.

7. Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog)

A blue anthropomorphic hedgehog whose weapon is curling up in a ball and who has the ability to run at supersonic speeds. He impales things on his spikes, he collects rings and power-ups, but most of all he runs and survives.

6. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy)

Born as a result of experimentation by injecting him with extraterrestrial life-form cells while he was still a fetus. When he discovers the truth about his creation he sets on a mission he believes he is destined for — taking full control of Gaia. And thus one of the greatest villains in gaming is born.

 5. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

It’s always the darn archaeologists, isn’t it? A young, pretty, smart, and athletic rich and English adventurer wanders from a ruin to a tomb, raiding all the scary and dangerous places around the world. I don’t believe there’s another video games female character as popular as her.

4. Illidan Stormrage (Warcraft)

Deep down, Illidan was just a misunderstood being. Always taken for granted, things never went his way, it seemed like the whole world is conspiring against him, and eventually he just went with the flow. That flow led him to acquiring unimaginable powers, but in the process also committing horrid acts against the inhabitants of Azeroth and that includes his own people, the Night Elves. Eventually he had a bit of a redeeming act where he and his twin brother, Malfurion Stormrage, stopped their quarrel long enough to save the one they were both in love with, Tyrande Whisperwind.

3. Gordon Freeman (Half-Life)

If an experiment ever goes wrong and our land gets invaded by a plethora of alien races, can we please make sure Gordon Freeman is leading our defenses? Because despite him being a theoretical physicist, he does a damn good job in Half-Life leading the uprising against the enemy.

2. Mario (Super Mario)

In the Mushroom Kingdom lives a short and chubby Italian plumber by the name of Mario, who sets on a mission to save the Princess Peach from a Koopa villain called Bowser. Sometimes we also see his brother, Luigi (a tall and skinny Italian plumber). He cannot run fast, but he can jump high and that’s how he gets his enemies — feet on head (thank goodness he’s a bit chubby?). He also collects coin, because… Taxes? And he eats mushrooms, which make him larger or smaller, which can kill him or give him an extra life, which give him the ability to shoot, etc. Let’s just say, while any of the Mario games are fun when you’re a kid, they’re even funnier when you’re a grown up.

1. Link (The Legend of Zelda)

A boy gathers the courage, leaves his home and everyone he knows for the greater good. He decides to follow his dream of fighting the evil forces which are threatening their land. Despite him being young, he manages to master all sorts of weapons, skills, and items, which help him on his long journey. He’s also friends with the Princess Zelda, whom he likes dearly and attempts to win her affections. Eventually, in the end he manages to vanquish all foes and becomes a famous hero in his world. But that’s a very crappy summary of Link. Link is something extraordinary, something that can only be experienced and not explained. Link is legendary.

Top Ten Thursday: Book Re-reads

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I’m not good at a number of things, and one of them is re-reading books. Yes, re-reading is good as it helps you catch things you’ve missed the first time around, it helps you understand everything better, etc. etc. But my mind just rejects the idea, I don’t find any joy in reading something I’ve already read, the book simply isn’t as appealing to me the second time around. But, as with everything, there are a few exceptions. Here’s my list of 10 books I’m okay with re-reading at any time and place.

10 – Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

I forget in which school year I had to read this, but I’m fairly sure I re-read it a few times during that year already. I did enjoy the Adventures of Tom Sawyer as well, but it pales in comparison to its sequel and the story of the adventures Huckleberry Finn had. The most intriguing thing is how the book manages to dive into touching subjects such as racism, religion, and war, yet it manages to remain light and friendly. It’s both funny and scary, it’s for children and it’s for adults, and it’s simply put extraordinary. It’s pure classic and it’s something that everyone should read no matter at what age they decide to do so. But more importantly, everyone should be brave enough to pick it up least one more time for a re-read.

9 – George Orwell’s 1984

I don’t know when I read 1984 for the first time, but I do remember when I re-read it for the last time and that was 4 months ago. It’s one of the best literally pieces of work I’ve ever read and most definitely the best dystopian and political fiction book. It’s written in such a simple manner yet it’s structure and content is frightening complex. It was a brilliant read the first time around, but more so on the second and third read because you just can’t soak in all the fantastic bits and pieces in a single reading. It also happens it has one of my all-time favorite quotes “Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”

8 – Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels

Is there anyone who didn’t enjoy this? It was likely one of my favorite reads during my school years, and those were quite low in numbers. All the voyages, all these fantastic and diverse places, the plethora of characters and events that follow his journey, they’re so well written you would think this is a diary of a real person’s travels and not actually a novel written as a parody for the traveler’s tales subgenre. If you have to pick a few books to take with you on a stranded island, this should definitely be one of your picks. That is, if you humor can stomach jokes on your own not-so-good situation. If you can’t appreciate a good book then this would be a bundle of gibberish for you, while for everyone else it should be something joyful no matter how many times you’re reading it at this point.

7 – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

It’s my understanding that at the initial release the book was considered quite controversial and had very mixed reviews. Yet the story lives to this day. In fact, it was so influential it actually spawned a whole genre of monster horror stories, movies, tv shows, plays, and illustrations. Some may have disliked the way the book was written or found it too awkward/weird, which I can somehow understand for the early 1800’s. But it’s clear that the story of a scientist who devotes himself to his work to a point where he not only bends but breaks the rules and uses unorthodox experiments to achieve his goals is quite intriguing. Or maybe it’s the rise of said work/creature/whatever which can no longer be controlled as it now has a mind of its own that’s intriguing? Maybe it’s a bit of both, I’m not fully sure myself, but I am sure I’m not tired of rereading it yet.

6 – Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment

Might be a controversial piece, it seems opinions are divided on it, people either hate it or love it, or they don’t even know it. There’s very little middle ground when it comes to Crime and Punishment. For myself, the story of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov is perhaps one of the best reads I’ve ever had. The moral dilemma of whether the end justifies the journey, of whether bad actions are acceptable if they’re meant to help achieve greater good, is still present and debatable to this day. Who is worthy and who isn’t, who gets to judge and decide, and does ridding the world of those deemed unworthy in order to help the worthy sound like something okay to do? Can we justify our bad actions with a simple it’s meant to help me provide greater good?

5 – Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde was one of the first writers I started appreciating, likely because his work was more available than the work of many others. Call it commercial if you will, but you knew there was always some book of his in the local libraries. The first time I read about the Picture of Dorian Grey was during an early age English class, though it was more of a summary and it was used for other purposes (not for lit reading). The summary itself sold it to me, it was a fascinating yet creepy tale. It was quirky. It was something different than what you’re used to hearing, and for some reason that was appealing to me. To this date I’ve read at least a dozen versions or editions of it and I still like each and everyone one of them.

4 – Dante Alighieri’s Inferno (The Divine Comedy)

I rarely find someone who loves Dante’s Divine Comedy, let alone someone who loves it as much as I do. The first time I read it was during High School, and I was meant to read just the Inferno part but I was hooked and I went on reading he whole thing. While I did some heavy reading during High School, I usually avoided the school readings because most of the books were ridiculous, horridly translated from their originals, or some were just bad books (I understand this may not be the case for everyone, the school reading lists vary from country to country and from generation to generation). Dante’s Divine Comedy, specifically Inferno, was a refreshing change and something I’ll forever cherish.

3 – JRR Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of Rings)

I don’t think I have come across anyone who doesn’t love, enjoy, or at least appreciate the work of Tolkien. I do know some people don’t like fantasy so they shrug it off or blurt out various things how the books aren’t that great, but I don’t think there’s a person among book lovers who does’t at least understand the importance of Tolkien’s work. He had a craft like no one else, he was master of the written worlds and he’ll forever remain as such. It doesn’t matter which of his books I would pick up but the details will always be as entertaining the 100th time as they were the 1st time around. Yet, my journey with his work started with the Fellowship of the Ring so I like it just a tad bit more than the rest of his stories.

2 – JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter)

The Harry Potter series was my very first series of books, and it was my introduction to the world of fantasy. Fantasy being my favorite genre, you can see why I could reread it any time, I consider it important because of the influence it has had on me. Out of the whole series though, Half-Blood Prince is my favorite. It’s the first book out of the series which I think goes beyond the children audience. But, more importantly, the revelations and information available in this book make it my favorite.

1 – GRR Martin’s A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire)

This is a more recent obsession of mine, as I only started reading the series about five years ago, around 2010/2011. The reason it finds itself at the top is of course the writing style and the many hidden details, foreshadowing, and double-meaning writings. When it comes to a Song of Ice and Fire, each sentence’s as important as the next, and every word brings something to the table. It doesn’t matter how many times you have read and analyzed the books, on your next reading you realize/discover something new. If we take and review the whole series I believe that we’ll find out Storm of Swords is firmly placed as the best book from the series and that’s why I’ve selected it from the published books.

Top Ten Thursday: TV Series Finales

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[No worries, this is spoiler-free!] There are so many shows out there, yet so little time to watch all of them. We may choose to watch only popular or critically acclaimed ones, but the truth is regardless of whether a show has had a good or bad course, the last episode can always go the other way. There are bad shows with great endings, good shows with bad endings, and if I’m being honest I’m not sure which case is better. Here’s my list of favorite top 10 series endings till today (do note there are countless shows I haven’t seen).

  • 10 – Lost

I’m listing this here not because of its greatness but because it marked this show’s end. Okay, jokes aside, it wasn’t horrible. It was something and it was likely the best it could have been after everything that happened in the previous seasons. This show got so complex, with double and triple meanings and “it’s up to you to decide what that is” that I was expecting it’d have a joke of a finale. And while the finale doesn’t really reveal much, it was decently done and managed to wrap up a series that should have ended way sooner.

  • 9 – The Sopranos

I’ve previously mentioned (might not have been here on this blog but I’ve definitely expressed that previously) that this show wasn’t really my cup of tea — but I cannot deny that it was quality TV. Its finale was controversial, some people still aren’t over how it ended, but I believe it was a bold move and something unique. If you’ve watched it, whether you loved it or hated it, it’s definitely something you’ll remember.

  • 8 – House MD

To be upfront here, I started hating this series because it got so ridiculously repetitive and lost all signs of a plot in it. It was basically running season after season because of the main character and his responses to those around him. Except in their final season it improved significantly, and managed to deliver a satisfying end to what was becoming a tiresome song on repeat.

  • 7 – 30 Rock

I feel this show was starting to become slower as time went by, but it picked up the pace for its ending and it certainly delivered a quality finale. So many references, so many jokes, so many references to jokes, and yet it also provided a lot of sweet and touching moments. It was a refreshing episode that shows the spirit of the whole series.

  • 6 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

A fantastic wrap up, a lot of highly emotional farewells, and overall a great ending for a great series. I

  • 5 – The Office

Small time jump, a reunion for all employees throughout the series, and a wedding. Maybe it’s all of those things that, maybe it’s the emotions, maybe it’s the humor, but the Office’s finale was a satisfying end to a very long (yet always funny and true to itself) series. I don’t believe it could have ended any better.

  • 4 – Friends

Another comedy, another very long series, and another fantastic ending. Everyone takes their separate way (except Ross with Rachel and Chandler with Monica), some sad farewells are said, a final cup of coffee is to be taken at the one and only place, and we have a final look at the now-empty apartments which look so sad.

  • 3 – Six Feet Under

I loved their series finale for two very simple reasons — it gave closure for all characters, but all of that was done by an episode completely different from how they ran the whole show. And it was the good kind of different. In many aspects I believe this show can teach every writer or producer a thing or two, because despite all their flaws it will go down in history as one of the best series.

  • 2 – Parks and Recreation

This one just took place but it has strongly placed itself near the top. After their previous season’s final episode I thought they will never manage to produce anything better for a finale. That episode in itself was better than most series finales, making anything as good as that was mission impossible. Yet, they managed to accomplish said impossible mission and delivered a finale which not only wraps up everything, but provides a lengthy and detailed view at the happenings of many characters from the series (both leading and supporting ones). Humor mixed with sadness, laughter mixed with tears. Ron Swanson would likely say “crying: accepted at funerals, the Grand Canyon, and the series finale of Parks and Recreation.”

  • 1 – Breaking Bad

There was a lot of talk about this one and it’s clear everyone didn’t enjoy it. But to me, it was perfect. It featured everything I think it needed to have, nothing less and nothing more. That’s how the whole series was, in my humble opinion, and I love that they stayed true to their goals. I had many scenarios in my head about which direction the show will take for the finale, but in the end I’m pleased with how things actually went down.

Top Ten Thursday: Overused Plots

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Have you ever read a story or watched a movie/show and thought the plot seemed familiar in some way? It should be a common occurrence, since most ideas nowadays are just a spin on something that has already been done. But sometimes that plot has been redone so many times that it’s just lazy writing or catering for the masses at this point. I’m likely guilty of that as well, after all most of our ideas are born from the work of other people, but we could definitely do a better job when it comes to originality. Although, quite a few authors have managed to work cliches into their work without an issue. Can you think of a few overused plots on top of your head? Here are my top ten!

10. Switching Twins

It may not be as common as I believe it to be, but whenever I’m reading/watching twins my gut tells me they’ll be changing places. Not only that, but during crucial scenes where the identity is important, they’re bound to have switched places. Whether they end up kissing or killing them, they do that on the wrong twin. Insert collective gasping here because no one saw that coming.

9. The Prophecy

A not-so-vague prophecy which provides a detailed summary of all the events about to go down in the near feature, automatically spoiling the reader/watcher of what’s coming. It takes away from the incentive to read the book/watch the movie, though you may still wonder if it’ll turn out correct and continue reading/watching. But if you do so, and it turns out correct, there’s also a slight feeling of disappointment, unless the story was overall appealing, as to why you went through the whole thing when you could have just read/watched the prophecy.

8. The Wild One Tamed

People change, we all grow and evolve over time. But it’s shocking how many fiction characters change completely overnight or just over a short period of time. The dumb jock becomes the smart savior of the world, the flirtatious person turns into a saint, the naive virgin is now a bad-ass, and the reader/watcher is still who they are except they’re likely cringing at this part.

7. The Orphan

This goes especially for prologues, if there’s a story about a baby being abandoned you know right then and there that is going to grow up into one special human being. This is so apparent that if after said prologue it doesn’t turn out that way I’d blackout for a few days due to the massive shock. In my humble opinion this is even worse than the prophecy plot, as there you’re deliberately giving away your story while here you’re unintentionally spoiling it from the very beginning. Not at all entertaining if I’ve read it before already and if I know what’s coming, that takes away both the surprise and the freshness from the story.

6. Fake Death

The character dies and then surprise, surprise, they actually don’t. The ground in fiction isn’t very receptive of bodies, apparently. I tend to blame this one on Tolkien for bringing back Gandalf and even stronger than before, but there are older stories with that plot. It seems death is very rarely final or crippling, it’s more often reviving the protagonist or portrayed as rebirth of the character. Which isn’t bad, but haven’t we had enough of that already?

5. Ugly Duckling

This doesn’t refer solely to the romantic part of stories, but it’s definitely more prominent there. The character who was appalling and/or least desirable to everyone at the beginning of the story, eventually becomes the most appealing one. While its’s a great story on its own, this is used so frequently now I believe at least every third movie includes that plot. They don’t have to be appealing to everyone, no one is loved by all, but they don’t have to be so hated in the first place as well.

4. Funny Sidekick

Since the protagonist is so busy trying to impress everyone with their skill, they’ve lost all sense of humor and it’s up the sidekick to bring the jokes to the table. Not to mention the sidekick is literally useless and serves no other purpose but to provide sarcastic and witty remarks. Humor’s great, sarcasm’s even better, but the source needs to be any character as opposed to a single character with no other purpose.

3. A One-man Job

This has quite a few versions, from not accepting anyone’s help because they feel it’s their mission, or a specific character has to return to and old position because everyone feels only they can do the job. Heck, whole cities or nations would depend on a single person — are thousands of people so incompetent opposed to that single person? Were the other characters there just to applaud whenever the protagonist does something cool? Or were they meant to look dumb so the protagonist can look smart? Might as well use a laugh-track instead of supporting and minor characters if that’s the case.

2. Pure-Evil Enemy

Who is the protagonist and why are they so bent over to spread the seeds of chaos? We’re human being,s we all have a story and we all have our reasons for doing what we do, whether it’s good or bad (sometimes we just don’t realize when something is bad). The protagonist needs that to, they can’t just be born evil. No one’s born with the will to destroy the world, though they can get that will due to events in their life.

1. Love Triangle

Yep, that takes the first spot. Is this fun for anyone at this point? You have whole franchises where the world depends on the work of a few people, yet the focus goes to the girl’s inability to choose between her two suitors. They’re doing everything (read: fictitious exaggerations of love) to win her over but it’s too hard for her to pick one because they’re both so ridiculously good looking, highly intelligent, extremely courageous and kind and… Yeah, I need to rest my eyes now because they’ve been rolling for a while. It’s too much and it’s been done too many times, simple as that.

Top Ten Thursday: New Summer/Fall TV Shows

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I’m basically cheating at this point but whatever, I’m doing another weekly feature – Top Ten Thursday. Except this time around I’m not limiting it to a single theme, meaning one week it may be about my top then books of 2014, while the other week it’s about my top ten ways of wasting time when you’re bored at home (here’s me hoping I don’t actually end up publishing the latter). I haven’t yet covered any shows from this summer/fall period so I’m doing this now.


Or in other words, shows I haven’t seen yet that could be good based on description and reviews. Feel free to skip these if you’re only interested in the top 10 list.

Jane the Virgin (CW) – TRAILER

Feels weird opening the list with this title, but apparently the show’s not as cheesy as the title itself. A woman who’s decided to remain a virgin suddenly finds herself pregnant – no miracle though, a doctor just accidentally inseminated her artificially. I’ve strayed away because it doesn’t seem that funny to be worth watching, but it’s actually got good reviews.

The Leftovers (HBO) – TRAILER

2% of the world’s population mysteriously disappears. The “leftovers” have to rebuild their lives and continue without their lost ones, unable to understand how they disappeared or where to. Okay when you put it that way it doesn’t actually sound very appealing.

Murder in the First (TNT) – TRAILER

The series focuses on a single murder case, from the committing of the same to the trial for it, and everything in between. Depending on the details of the case, that  could be great.

Red Band Society (FOX)TRAILER

From the point of view of a boy in coma, we see the lives of a group of teenagers in a hospital. Comments see to go along the lines of “this is what Glee should have been like”, but this doesn’t seem similar to Glee to me.


An “on-call” doctor who does surgeries for cash. Except it’s never just that simple, is it?


10. Power (Starz) – TRAILER

A drug dealer struggles to juggle his business, family life, covering up the drug dealing by opening a new club, and rekindling fires with an old love interest. Yeah, it’s messy and not that good but it’s still decent and can keep you entertained.

9. Tyrant (FX) – TRAILER

This show had such huge potential yet it decided to throw it all out of the window (it’s still good, but boy it could have been way better). A Californian pediatrician is  a son to a Middle Eastern dictator. As a form of vacation he agrees to take his family there for his nephew’s wedding. But things quickly get complicated and the family gets pulled into events that prevent them from leaving.

8. Outlander (Starz) – TRAILER

Based on the series with the same name by Diana Gabaldon, in which a certain Claire Randall, a combat nurse from 1945 is sent back in time to 1743 under mysterious conditions. With no obvious way to go back, she’s forced to adapt, pretend, and live in her new world while looking for a way back home.

7. Constantine (NBC) – TRAILER

We’re gonna have to file this under disappointments – when I hear “Fantasy” and “Horror” I certainly expect a lot more than what Constantine puts on the table. And yes, this is in essence the same John Constantine from the movie “Constantine” back in 2005. A man knowledgeable in the art of magic and demons goes on the hunt to prevent the uprising of a great evil. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad, but it certainly isn’t anything special or something that hasn’t been done.

6. Penny Dreadful (Showtime) – TRAILER

Speaking of things that haven’t been done before, Penny Dreadful. Which I can’t really explain because of all the characters and plots it tries to juggle at the same time. It uses A LOT of characters from 19th-century British and Irish fiction (Dorian Grey, Victor Frankenstein with his monster, Abraham van Helsing and Mina Harker, etc.) but changes them for the show’s purposes and to fit with what they’re trying to do (and I’m still not fully sure what that is, but the cast is fantastic so the show’s easy to digest).

5. Extant (CBS) – TRAILER

If there ever existed a goddess of disappointment, it’s Halle Berry. I genuinely liked the plot of the series — an astronaut goes on a 13-months-long solo space mission, yet returns home pregnant. While she tries to understand what has happened, she has her baby (which is developing with a crazy speed) extracted from her. And no mother ain’t leaving her baby, human or alien, so she sets on a mission to find it. Meanwhile her husband’s struggling to keep the development of their prototype android son (a “humanich”), Ethan, in order.

4. The Strain (FX) – TRAILER

Look folks, it’s Mr, Filch! To address the elephant in the room, the acting is poor and the writing is ridiculously convenient for the events that take place (read: the writers seem to doing things the way they suit them). A virus outbreak starts in New York City, and surprise, surprise, it’s pretty much the zombie apocalypse. Except it’s not. They’re not actual zombies, more like zombie-vampire hybrids because their master is in fact a vampire. But the scary, creepy, fantasy-type of vampire and not Twilight’s sparkling twink-type of vampire. Despite all its flaws (weak acting and writing), the potential in this show is huge and one can only hope the crew decides to step up their game.

3. Gotham (FOX) – TRAILER

Basically, the place before Batman. It focuses on James Gordon’s rise in Gotham, but it includes a plethora of characters from the DC world. Some are obviously shown for the sake of showing them, earning themselves extra credit with the audience. But it’s definitely worth the watch if you ever get the time.

2. How to Get Away with Murder (ABC) – TRAILER

The show starts with a Criminal Law class which the professor likes calling how to get away with murder. The professor is a defense attorney and she has the students analyze her cases in order to provide them with some actual practice on the matter. She gives them a test and selects a group of 5 students which will remain to work for her. However, not everything in the professor’s life is as smooth as she’d like the world to believe and events soon unravel that change everything for the whole group. I can’t get enough of this, honestly.

1. The Flash (CW) – TRAILER

The CW used to be the teenage girl’s channel, poorly written stuff with no acting, but a lot of apparent eye-candy material. I guess the Arrow started in the same way, but once they got all the cliches out during the first season, they proved they can make a quality TV show starting from season two. Having learned their lesson through the Arrow series, this year they’ve brought the Flash, which quite honestly is so good it’s a bit scary how good it is. No need to explain the plot, it sorta follows the Flash’s story from the comics. Best part? They’re doing crossover episodes with the Arrow. Worst part? Not sure how the other shows can top this.

What do you think? Agree/disagree with any points of the list? Think I’ve missed some shows worth noting (and watching – I’m always looking for new recommendations)? Let me know in the comments.