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The First Award-Winning Horror Film: The Exorcist



Though the word “horror” was not used to describe a film genre until the 1930s, films including supernatural or frightening elements, usually adapted from fictional sources, began to be made as early as the 1890s. Between 1910-1920, quite a few European films featuring the supernatural, witchcraft, or superstitious beliefs were released. The German film Nosferatu, though an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, was the earliest vampire-themed production. Many of the earliest American horror films, such as The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame — both based on novels — were considered dark melodrama rather than horror, if only because of their stock characters or romance elements.

In the 1930s, horror films began to do more than just startle or frighten audiences. Filmmakers inserted elements of Gothic fiction into their stories, giving audiences dangerous mysteries, ancestral curses, remote and crumbling castles, doomed Byronic heroes, and oft-fainting heroines. Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein and H.G. Wells’ novel The Island of Dr. Moreau contributed elements that belonged more to science fiction than to Gothic horror, such as the “mad” scientist or doctor who, playing God, wants to re-animate corpses or manipulate human genetics to create some superior being but instead develops monsters. In 1933, the mad scientist appeared alongside Gothic elements in James Whale’s film The Invisible Man, known for its “clever and ground-breaking special effects,” and a new film genre was successfully underway.

In the 1950s-1960s, the subject matter of horror films began to include contemporaneous concerns along with the science fiction, supernatural, or Gothic elements. Alien invasions, deadly (atomic) mutations, demonic possession, post-apocalyptic worlds, and social alienation were prevalent in horror films such as The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Godzilla (1954), The Innocents (1961), When Worlds Collide (1951), and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). The terror of demonic possession reached its apotheosis in 1973, when The Exorcist — the first horror film ever nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture — demonstrated that a horror film could be as artistic as it was frightening.

Based on William Peter Blatty’s bestselling novel of the same name, The Exorcist tells the story of a young, innocent child possessed by demons. The novel was inspired by the 1949 story of a mentally ill boy, Roland Doe (psyeudonym), who was the last person to be subjected to a Catholic Church-santioned exorcism. According to the film’s director, William Friedkin, Blatty originally wanted to write a non-fiction account of the thirteen-year-old boy’s experiences in a psychiatric hospital but couldn’t get enough details: Blatty dramatized the story instead.

Linda Blair as Regan, The Exorcist © Warner Bros

Extremely faithful to the book, the film version of The Exorcist tells the story of 12-year-old Regan (Linda Blair),

Ellen Burstyn as mother Chris MacNeil, The Exorcist © Warner Bros

who lives with her actress-mother Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn).

Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn, The Exorcist © Warner Bros

When Regan’s personality begins to change, and when she complains of strange events, such as her bed’s shaking, her mother initially seeks helps from the medical community. Examined by doctors and psychiatrists, Regan is initially misdiagnosed with personality disorders, rebellious attention-seeking behavior, and brain lesions. Subjected to tests that are as frightening as any demonic possession could be, Regan suffers but does not improve. In fact, her condition worsens.

Lee J. Cobb as Lieutenant Kinderman, The Exorcist © Warner Bros

When one of Chris MacNeil’s colleagues and friends is murdered after having been alone with the severely ill Regan, Detective Kinderman (Lee J. Cobb) begins to investigate Regan, terrifying Chris that her young daughter will be accused of a crime she may have committed but of which she is not morally guilty.

Jason Miller as Father Karras, The Exorcist © Warner Bros

In desperation, Regan’s mother seeks help from a local Jesuit psychiatrist, Father Karras (Jason Miller), who is experiencing his own crisis of faith after the death of his mother and his inability to successfully counsel his fellow priests.

Max von Sydow as Father Merrin, The Exorcist © Warner Bros

Although skeptical of demonic possession, Father Karras soon concludes that something supernatural and demonic is, in fact, happening to Regan. Karras does not have the experience to help her, however, and he decides that he needs the help of an expert exorcist: Father Merrin (Max von Sydow, known most recently for his role as the Three-Eyed Raven in HBO’s Game of Thrones).

Nominated for 10 Academy Awards, and winner of two — Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing — The Exorcist is still the highest-grossing horror film ever made (the earnings for the new version of Stephen King’s It have not yet been adjusted for inflation).

The film’s weaknesses are the same as those in its source material: its inability early in the story to decide if it is a murder mystery or a horror story, for example, and its extended scenes setting up the “innocence” of the major protagonists.

The Exorcist © Warner Bros

The film’s strengths outweigh any weaknesses, however, and its exploration of faith, maternal devotion, and possible psychological illness are still powerful more than 40 years after its release. The complex special effects are outstanding, as is the demon’s terrifying voice, which was supplied by veteran actress Mercedes McCambridge.

Regan (Linda Blair) floats, watched by Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) and Father Karras (Jason Miller), The Exorcist (1973) © Warner Bros (Photograph Allstar: Cinetext Collection)

The Exorcist is available for rent ($2.99 SD / $3.99 HD) or purchase from Amazon (free with a 7-day trial subscription to Cinemax), Cinemax (free for subscribers), iTunes, YouTube, GooglePlay, and Vudu.

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Losing Hodor: Game of Thrones, 6:5 Review “Hold the Door”


Tear-Jerkingly Sad


Last night, HBO’s Game of Thrones’ episode 5, “Hold the Door,” was much of the same talkity-talk-talk amongst characters that has thus far comprised season Six. In the unrealistic, deadly kind of dialogue that neophyte fiction writers err in, characters not only discussed — catalogued, more like — events that viewers already knew, but reiterated events that the other characters themselves were already familiar with.

Considering the crisp and snappy dialogue in the first five seasons of Game of Thrones, I been taken aback with the duller-than-dull dialogue that’s littering season 6 episodes, delaying any important action and completely devoid of character development. Last night, yawning through another Tyrion-Varys recounting of past events, this time with some new Red Witch, I decided that the show’s creator-writers, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, must have gotten much more of their dialogue directly from George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire than I originally realized.


While that’s certainly a compliment to best-selling author George Martin, it’s rather a shame for Game of Thrones. Martin failed to complete the highly anticipated sixth novel in the series, providing HBO show-runners with a detailed outline instead. I’ve said repeatedly in these posts and on the Twitter that Martin’s outline seems to have overwhelmed the show’s writers. It also seems to have denied them of the fine dialogue — which must reveal the characters’ natures, relationship, history, and conflict to be effective — that has been a hallmark of the show.

In each of the episodes this season, any really important action has been delayed until the final scene. From Melisandre’s removing her “magical” necklace and revealing that she is a withered crone rather than the sex-pot beauty who’s been seducing men all over Westeros,


to Jon Snow’s coming back to life after he was betrayed and murdered by his comrades of the Night’s Watch;


from Daenerys’ burning and killing all the Khals and emerging, once again, unburnt from the conflagration;

to Rickon’s being captured and turned over as a hostage to the sadistic Ramsay Bolton;


Game of Thrones has been ending each show with a Bang! of monumental proportions.


“Hold the Door” was no exception: its stunning final sequence with Bran, Meera, Hodor, and the White Walkers, gave viewers the shocks and the emotional devastation that the show is known for.

(If you didn’t yet see “Hold the Door,” do not continue to read this post, which is nothing but one big Spoiler, Very Horrific and Tear-Jerkingly Sad.)

Having finally found the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow, above L) in the Far North beyond the Wall, the youngest son of the House of Stark, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright, above, center) has been having visions of events prior to the present, leading viewers to speculate that we were going to be given new information about some of the series’ characters. Last night’s final scene fulfilled those predictions. To viewers’ dismay, horror, and grief, we learned that Bran’s continual selfishness led to the demise of one of the most loved and lovable characters in the series: Bran’s bodyguard Hodor (Kristian Nairn).


Ever since young Bran spied the royal Lannister Twins, Jaime and Cersei, having incestuous sexual relations and was thrown from the tower window by Jaime, the crippled Bran has been accompanied by his faithful companion Hodor. A big, affable, somewhat dim-witted fellow, Hodor, for reasons unknown to characters in the show and to viewers, was never capable of saying anything other than “Hodor,” though he was able to follow instructions. Hodor also seemed very fond of Bran, his brother Rickon, and their guide Meera (Ellie Kendrick).


Many of Bran’s visions since he found the Three-eyed Raven have involved himself and his brothers when they were younger, as well as the young Hodor, who was called Wylis (Sam Coleman).


To Bran’s surprise, the young Hodor-Wylis is capable of speaking, of training with swords with the young Stark brothers, and is a belovèd son to his mother. Nothing has been revealed about why Hodor became simple-minded, able to say nothing other than “Hodor.”

After Bran had a vision in which he saw an army of White Walkers approach the underground caves where he, Meera, and Hodor have been hiding, the Three-eyed Raved told Bran he must leave.

Like, yesterday, Bran-Boy.


Apparently, because the White Walker (above) grabbed — and permanently marked — Bran’s wrist, the White Walker would now have the ability to enter their hiding place and kill its inhabitants.

And that is exactly what he did.

Once inside the underground or mountain labyrinth, the White Walkers proceeded to attack the Children of the Forest, the Three-eyed Raven, Bran, and his companions.

(In a surprise Reveal, the Children of the Forest admitted to having “created” the White Walkers by killing the men who first invaded and destroyed their land.) Despite having made the White Walkers by killing men, the Children of the Forest defended Bran from the Blue-eyed Zombies.

Meera screamed repeatedly at the unconscious Bran — who was having yet another vision of his childhood — that they “needed Hodor” to help them fight the White Walkers. Bran then sent his spirit into Hodor’s body, as he has done in the past, so that Hodor could fight for them.

Surprisingly, Bran, in the vision, also occupied Hodor-Wylis in the past. (Please don’t ask me how: I’ve never been able to figure out any of the time-traveling stories, like Twelve Monkeys or Terminator, where a character is himself, his father, his son, etc.) Though, technically, when he was younger, Bran had not mastered the ability to put himself into another animal’s or person’s body, Hodor-Wylis’ eyes turned white as Bran also went into the younger Hodor’s body.


In a typically self-centered move, Bran stood there and watched — listening to Meera, in the future-present, scream instructions to simple-minded Hodor as she attempted to save Bran from the White Walkers. To Hodor-Wylis’ mother’s horror and consternation, young Hodor collapsed and seemed to be having a seizure.

Bran looked on, rather disinterestedly, I thought, but then, that’s Bran’s nature: he’s interested in himself and his own survival; he appears to regard everyone else as existing only to ensure his survival, improve his own life, and even alleviate his boredom. (He’s also often filled with self-pity concerning his crippled state, but that wasn’t in last night’s episode.)

In fact, it was while the Three-eyed Raven was off in a vision of his own in “Hold the Door” that Bran awoke, and, in what seemed to be a fit of boredom, grabbed some bones lying in the cave, and proceeded to have the fatal vision of the White Walkers that enabled them to grab Bran’s wrist which allowed them to enter the hideout.

In the past, in the courtyard of the House Stark, Bran could hear Meera screaming to Hodor-in-the-present “Hold the door” — and that’s when, with a sudden catch in my throat, I realized what was going to happen — while young Hodor-Wylis convulsed on the ground, shouting, in return, “Hold the door.”


Bran just stood there, listening to Meera in his present, while vision-observin and listening to Hodor-Wylis in his past. Bran’s selfishness was extremely apparent in that scene, and I’m guessing that most viewers’ sympathy and affection poured out toward Hodor, in both time periods, not toward Bran.

 Meera pushed or pulled Bran in the sled, away from the rampaging White Walkers, repeatedly shouting “Hold the Door” to the faithful Hodor.


Meera shouted over and over in the present, while Hodor-Wylis, in his seizure, shouted over and over in the past. (And then, I admit, Bran seemed to feel something like empathy or sadness for the young Hodor as he shouted “Hold the Door” in the past.)

In the most powerful and heart-wrenching scene of the entire sixth season, “Hold the Door, Hold the Door, Hold Door, Hold Door” eventually, and tragically, became “Hodor, Hodor, Hodor.”


Until the loving, faithful, innocent Hodor was killed by the White Walkers.

And viewers wept.

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A Man Must Have A Name: Game of Thrones, s6 e4, Review & Recap


Spoiled & Rotten


After weeks of catching viewers up on all the characters by having them talk a lot without doing much, creator-writers David Benioff and D. B Weiss took off in “Book of the Stranger,” the fourth episode of HBO’s sixth season of its hugely popular Game of Thrones. Based on the best-selling fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, season 6 was not written from the highly anticipated 6th novel in the series. Instead, author Martin provided Benioff and Weiss with a detailed outline. That outline seemed to overwhelm the writers initially, as they attempted to set up the storylines of every single character in the show, while introducing new ones (or younger versions of existing characters). But last night’s episode had the writing — and the action — back in stride.

Jon, Sansa, and the
War for Winterfell


Sansa (Sophie Turner), accompanied by her protector Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Brienne’s squire Podrick (Daniel Portman), finally arrived at Castle Black, where Sansa was re-united with her brother Jon Snow (Kit Harington).


Though Jon had stepped down as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, naming Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton) as his replacement,


Jon had not yet left Castle Black. Sansa convinced him to return to Winterfell and, with an army of Wildlings, to take back their ancestral home from Ramsay Bolton, whose father Roose took the castle and lands after he betrayed and killed Robb Stark.

Accompanied by Brienne, who has proved herself a superior swordsman and a stout defender of the Stark family, Jon and his Wilding army managed to quickly overpower the dissatisfied army of the Boltons.

The hostage, Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson), youngest brother of the Stark family, who no longer looks like this,

but like a taller, thinner, older version of his chubby-cheeked self, was feeling violated by his imprisonment; the beheading of his Dire-Wolf, Shaggy-Dog; and the killing of his Wildling companion and protector, Osha (whom Ramsay had killed in an earlier scene). In a scene that mirrored the one with Osha, where she failed to grab a nearby knife, Rickon managed to snatch a knife from Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) and kill him just as brother Jon and his Wildling army swarmed the castle grounds.


At the death of the notoriously sadistic Ramsay, viewers around the globe cheered, no doubt.

After the monumental battle for Winterfell, which, though shorter due to the episode’s time constraints, was more stunning than the season 5 battle involving the Wildlings, the White Walkers, and the Wights, Jon Snow declared himself, as the oldest surviving son of Ned Stark, the True Warden of the North.


With her brothers’ approval, Sansa declared herself the True (and First of Her Name) Wardeness of the North: she has finally matured enough to be the strong female character viewers have longed for and is no longer looking to men to make her life decisions.

Say, Hallelujah, Brothers and Sisters.

With Sansa’s urging, Jon made plans to lay siege to King’s Landing. Though he didn’t openly declare himself the King of the Iron Throne, Sansa and the others do plan for Jon to become King, especially since Melisandre (Carice van Houten, below) now sees Snow, not Stannis, as the King of her visions.


Melisandre, who re-animated Jon Snow after the Men of the Night’s Watch betrayed and murdered him, once again proved herself a competent Witch and practitioner of That Ol’ Black Magic. After Theon (Alfie Allen), former ward of the House Stark, was roundly castigated for “not being a man” by his sister Yara (Gemma Whelan, below L),


Theon left the Iron Islands and made his way north to the only real home he has ever known: Winterfell.


There, Melisandre restored Theon’s mental acuity if not his missing manhood (I guess there are limits to her powers, after all).images-27
This may be an extremely bittersweet restoration for Theon, who, in one of the more poignant moments of the series, realized that he has loved Sansa ever since he helped her escape from her rapist-husband (and his torturer), Ramsay Bolton.

Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), who was a smuggler and who is more comfortable on the deck of a ship than on dry land, accepted Theon as his equal — considering Theon’s lack of physical manhood — and, even though they do not need ships to storm King’s Landing, the two became companions and warrior-pals.

That Davos, he’s always had a soft spot for the unfortunate.


Lady Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is, of course, accompanying Jon Snow to King’s Landing, having her own personal reasons for revenge against the Lannisters, though I cannot, at the moment, recall exactly what they are. Still, she’s too wonderful a character to drop her from the storyline now, so whatever her reasons for continuing to be a Knight and to do battle, I cheer her on.


To Brienne’s consternation, she has become the love object of the Wildling Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), affectionately known by fans, reviewers, and bloggers, as the Ginger Wildling.


I, for one, encourage the writers to explore this fascinating love story. As tall, as powerful, as fierce a warrior, and equally devoted to the Starks (in the form of Jon Snow), the Ginger Wildling is just the man for Brienne: he’ll respect her as a warrior and as a woman.

Brother Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), who is also a taller, thinner, older version of his younger, chubby-cheeked self, did not appear in episode 4, but he is, no doubt, still in the Far North, with the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow, below L),


having visions about the various characters viewers have come to know and love, including Ned Stark, only in younger versions of themselves.


Vox reviewer Matthew Yglesias has speculated that these visions will have something to do with the parentage of Jon Snow: long known as the bastard of Ned Stark, Jon Snow may, instead, his nephew.


According to Yglesias, Jon may be the son of Ned Stark’s sister, Lynna (never in the series), who was ostensibly kidnapped and raped by the Mad King’s son, Rhaegar Targaryen (also not in the series).

But none of that was in Sunday’s episode, so enough about that.


Youngest female Stark, Arya (Maisie Williams, above, center) was also missing from episode 4, but she is, in all likelihood, still in the House of Black and White, with Jaqen H’gar (Tom Wlaschiha, above L), learning to be one of the Faceless Men.

Because, after all, though he be faceless, “a man must have a name.”


The only other Jon Snow compatriot who was not in Sunday’s episode was Sam Tarwell (John Bradley), last seen heading to the Citadel with his Wildling love, Gilly (Hannah Murray), and her baby, Little Sam. No doubt, once Sam discovers that Jon has left the Wall and is heading to King’s Landing, Sam will also go there, if only because he does not really want to be separated from Gilly and Little Sam, and because he wants to become a Grand Maester.

Fans who are attached to Dolorous Edd are probably hoping that he will defect from the Night’s Watch to join Jon, Sam, and the Ginger Wildling.

Led by Jon Snow and Sansa, the Starks have become the pre-eminent family in Westeros, and not just because the House Stark has more living family members than anyone else.

Cersei, Jaime, and
the Battle for King’s Landing


At the end of season 5, after her humiliating Walk of Atonement, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) was greeted by Maester Qyburn (Anton Lesser, below, center), who presented her with the “newest member of King’s Landing,” none other than the dead-now-reincarnated Ser Gregor Clagane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson), also affectionately known as The Mountain, and brother of the now deceased Knight, Ser Sandor Clegane, who was affectionately known as The Hound.


The Mountain has become Cersei’s protector. Unbeknownst to everyone, including Cersei herself and her twin brother and lover Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, below L), Ser Gregor retains the power to act independently.


Revealing his long-standing — and secret — love for Cersei to the viewers (in a rare, un-armored moment), but not to the Queen herself,

Hafthor Bjornsson 420lb - 190kg 6'6 FACEBOOK

Ser Gregor made it his mission to eliminate the man who shamed and humiliated Gregor’s Queen and LadyLove: the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce).


The High Sparrow, meanwhile, was busy hounding Cersei’s daughter-in-law, Queen Margery (Natalie Dormer, below R), and, in an attempt to trip her up and implicate her in a moral crime. To further that nefarious aim, the High Sparrow allowed Margery to see her imprisoned brother Loras (Finn Jones, below L), who is most definitely cracking under the strain of the prolonged imprisonment, and not just because he hasn’t been allowed to bathe, do his hair, or wear pretty clothes with flowers embroidered on them. In fact, Loras might have damned the entire Tyrell family with his jail-house “confession” to Margery, who remained strong and determined to get herself and her brother out of jail.


Later, as the High Sparrow was once again regaling his captive audience, Queen Margery, with tales of his rambunctious and rowdy childhood adventures — and as Margery was attempting not to fall asleep out of sheer boredom, astutely recognizing that his rambling monologue was a highly sophisticated and clever method of torture —


Ser Gregor, back in full armor, broke in, roaring most frightfully, revealing that he still retains the power to scream, as well as to fight.

With no preamble whatsoever, The Mountain ripped off the head of the High Sparrow. He killed any other Sparrows who came running to the High Sparrow’s defense. Ser Gregor, magnificently bellowing, even decapitated Cersei’s cousin-lover Lancel, who had turned Sparrow after being betrayed by Cersei.


Viewers were probably disappointed that The Mountain missed killing Septa Unella (Hannah Waldingham), but there was only so much he could do in any one day. Ser Gregor then escorted Queen Margery safely back to the Red Keep, where her husband and family welcomed her.


After Queen Margery was freed and returned to King Tommen’s (Dean-Charles Chapman) side, her grandmother Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) decided not to further agitate Cersei and Jaime, if only because she feared retribution from The Mountain, unpredictable bad-ass that he has now proven he still is, even after death and re-incarnation.

Olenna also, wisely, forged an armed alliance with the Lannister twins after it was learned that Jon Snow and his army of Wildlings were marching on King’s Landing.

As the inhabitants of King’s Landing prepare for battle with the approaching army, they have set aside their individual grievances in the longing to retain power and to retain the Iron Throne.

Oh, and to have The Mountain on their side in any battles.

Littlefinger and
the Battle for the Vale


In a surprise moment for viewers, Lord Petyr Baelish (Aiden Gillen) — once a villain, always a villain, as they say — returned to Game of Thrones and to The Vale, where he confronted his stepson Robyn Arryn (Lino Facioli), also a taller, thinner, older version of his younger, chubbier-cheeked self, about the loyalty of them men around him.


Viewers all know Little Robyn’s penchant for throwing people out the MoonDoor to their deaths. When Lord Petyr, also known as “Littlefinger,” attempted to toss Little Lord Robyn out the MoonDoor, right after the extremely confused and frightened subordinate had been tossed, Robyn grabbed Littlefinger by the clothes and took him along for the ride.

It didn’t have too much to do with the other storylines in the episode, so I can only assume that the writers were just tying up loose ends.

Or tossing them out the MoonDoor, as the case may be.

Tyrion, Varys, and
the Battle for the Unsullied


Oh, that Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage).

Talk about a man who must have his names.

In “Book of the Stranger,” Tyrion finally returned to form after weeks of attempting to play drinking games with parties who don’t drink, aimlessly strolling the streets of Mereen with Lord Varys, and amiably but ramblingly talking to just about anyone who was also in the scene with him. Over the past few weeks, viewers have probably wondered what in the name of the gods had happened to the man who killed his own father by shooting him with a cross-bow as he sat on his chamber-pot.


With a smile and a pithy remark, Tyrion finally dispatched Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Gray Worm (Jacob Anderson), both of whom have been pretty unhappy with his socio-political platform, especially since he was trying to please the Masters by re-instituting slavery, albeit only for a seven-year period.


Tyrion then went after his so-called friend, Varys (Conleth Hill, above R, in background), who, given his own history of betrayal, should have been prepared for Tyrion’s treachery, but wasn’t. Because Varys has often delivered droll badinage with other characters in his scenes on Game of Thrones, viewers may miss him.

Then again, they may be so happy to see Tyrion back in the saddle, metaphorically speaking, that they’re willing to sacrifice one to spare the many.


In any event, Tyrion simply ordered the Sons of the Harpy (represented above) and The Unsullied to obey his orders.

And they did!

I guess once-a-brainwashed-automaton-always-one.

After Tyrion had Daenerys’ army under his command, he dropped the Free the Slaves Movement and headed to King’s Landing, where he plans to stop being just the little brother of the Lannisters and to claim power in his own right.

Daenerys and the Battle
for Whatever She Wants

at the Moment


Confined to the abode of the Dosh Khaleen with other widowed wives, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finally decided that enough is enough. After listening to the High Priestess and other widows heckle and berate her, she slipped outside “to make water” because, you know, the crones who preside of the city of Vaes Dothrak would not have the ability to meet their body functions inside the structure.


Accompanied by a slave, who expressed feelings similar to her own, Daenerys learned that Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen, below R) and Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman, below L) had come to secure her release by any means necessary. She already knows that both of them are in love with her, so they didn’t have to tell her again: their being there on a rescue-mission proved it.


In a super-coolio coup d’état, Daenerys got all the male leaders together in one wooden structure, at night, so there were lots and lots of braziers burning all around. While the men strutted and preened and threatened Dany with rape and other forms of violation and bodily harm, she casually positioned herself near the braziers.

Then, Bammo!

She knocked the braziers over with her bare hands, spilling the flammable lighter fluid that was apparently in with the charcoal, spreading fire throughout.


 As the remaining Dothroki gathered outside the burning building, Daenerys, in a scene that resembled that in the finale of season 1, stepped out of the conflagration.

Naked, but otherwise unharmed.


In awe, everyone feel to his knees before her. Including Ser Jorah and Daario Naharis. While Daenerys accepted their tribute, she seemed restless without her dragons.

In a surprising volte-face, Dany ordered the male Dothroki to execute Ser Jorah and Naharis, no doubt because she’d grown tired of listening to men bickering around her.

This left the Mother of Dragons free to reclaim her dragons — if she can find them — convince the remaining Dothroki to cross the Salt Sea, and take back the Iron Throne of her father.

It’s about time, says I.

The White Walkers
and their Gang


As Jon Snow and his army headed for King’s Landing, they were surprised by the appearance of a lone figure on the horizon. Jon sent someone to discover who it was. Upon reaching the unknown figure, the rider and horse toppled to the ground. Disconcerted and discombobulated, Jon decided to investigate himself. Accompanied by Brienne, Davos, Theon, and the Ginger Wildling, Jon approached the mysterious figure.

No doubt viewers were expecting one of the White Walkers,


or, at the very least, one of the Wights.


Imagine, then, the shock of seeing this character, whom everyone assumed was dead.


Yes, it was Lady Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley).

Last seen with her eldest son Robb at a wedding where he and his preggers wife were both murdered by Roose Bolton (father of Ramsay), and where her own throat was cut, Lady Cat seems to have been re-animated.

And she brought an entire army of White Walkers — sans Wights — with her.

Including this super-omnipotent and spooky guy, who can raise the dead simply by lifting his arms.


Jon clutched his chest, his eyes wide with abject terror or innate recognition or the super-creepy-creeps and terrifying-terrors that he was about to stop looking like this,


or even like this,


and start looking like this…


Then, just when you thought nothing more exciting could possibly happen in a single episode…

Enough, enough already, I can hear you saying. None of this was in Game of Thrones’ latest episode.

To which I respond, Yes, indeed, some of it did, in fact, happen:

  • Jon and Sansa were reunited at Castle Black
  • Sansa convinced Jon to return to Winterfell
  • The High Sparrow regaled Margery with his outré childhood exploits
  • Margery met brother Loras in his cell, where he appeared unhinged
  • Littlefinger returned to the Vale
  • Ramsay killed the Wildling Osha
  • Theon went home, where he was berated by his sister
  • Tyrion re-instituted slavery to please the Masters, albeit with a 7-year limitation
  • Daenerys burned up the Dothroki male leaders
  • Daenerys emerged, unburnt and nude, from the flames
  • Everybody bowed to Daenerys as the music — and the flames — swelled

But, oh, how I wish all those exciting things in my blog post had happened in “Book of the Stranger.”

Instead, my once belovèd Game of Thrones has become deadly dull with endless scenes of characters talk-talk-talking, relating pointless childhood memoirs or events with which viewers are already familiar.


If only…

p.s. Apologies to fans, to Peter Dinklage, and to Charles Dance for accidentally calling Tyrion, “Tywin” earlier. And thanks to Mat Cooke for catching it for me!

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Game of Thrones, s6 e2-3

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Winter is Coming:
My Game of Thrones Posts,
Seasons 1-5



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