How I’d Fix Game of Thrones Season 8 – SPOILERS!
Miscellaneous / May 15, 2019

So guys, I know I’ve not written much lately, but I feel compelled to write given my strong reaction to Season 8 of Game of Thrones.  Full disclosure; this post is being written after the first five episodes have aired but before the series finale.   It’s no secret that the audience reaction to this final season has been less than positive to say the least.  Many of the writing choices made by the showrunners have come under heavy fire with the main criticism being that they have sacrificed character development for spectacle.  Unfortunately, I can’t say I disagree with popular opinion.  It’s a shame as the source material is excellent and the production values of the show are outstanding.  Each and every person involved in the show has given their all to it, but that doesn’t balance some serious errors of judgment in writing. All that being said, I have given a lot of thought about changes I would make to the season to improve it.  My goal here is to make as few changes as possible while better serving the overall narrative and character development. The most significant cause of criticism and for me the biggest writing error…

Game of Thrones Season Six – Spoilers
Miscellaneous / July 8, 2016

One of my pleasures on a Sunday evening has been watching HBO’s Game of Thrones season six.  This is the first time that the show has outpaced George R.R. Martin’s books which made it a particularly fascinating season.  The season was for me a mixture of highs and lows, with more highs than lows.  I will split the post here for those who don’t want any spoilers about season six.

Reading roundup – June 24th 2016
Book Reviews , Reading Roundup / June 24, 2016

Good morning and welcome to another reading roundup.  And happy St Jean to my fellow Quebecers! [book-info]This week I read the wonderful Iron to Iron, the prequel novella to Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf.  Like Wolf by Wolf, it is set in an alternate universe in which the Axis won World War II.  It tells the story of Luka Löwe and Adele Wolfe’s burgeoning romance during the 1955 Axis Tour, a relationship which causes much of the tension in Wolf by Wolf.  Within a couple of pages I was immediately back in the world created by Graudin and back following the Axis Tour.  I listened to Wolf by Wolf in audiobook and although this novella is an ebook only, I still heard it in my mind with Christa Lewis’ voice.  It’s not often that I have such a strong link with narration.   For those of you who have not yet read Wolf by Wolf (and why not may I ask?) the Axis Tour is a motorcycle race between Berlin and Tokyo, with the winner receiving an Iron Cross and many accolades.  Iron to Iron is told from Luka’s perspective, and we learn more about him.  Both he and Adele…

Reading roundup – June 18th 2016
Reading Roundup / June 17, 2016

Good morning and welcome to another reading roundup.  It’s been  fairly quiet week on the reading front.  I’ve been working to finish Mark Lawrence’s The Wheel of Osheim which I finally did.  Expect a full review next week.  I have also started the audiobook of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae.  I picked up the sequel, Gemina, at BEA and want to refresh my memory.  In terms of audiobooks, Illuminae is superb. It is a full, multi-cast performance and is definitely worth listening to.  I have Gemina in hard copy ARC form, but I will certainly be picking up the audiobook if it’s anything like the first in the series. On non book related news, Apple announced its big updates to iOS and OS X (renamed MacOS.)  There are a couple of updates in particular about which I’m really excited.  First is the integration with VoIP apps (such as Skype) so that they can be handled like normal iPhone calls.  My parents live in Scotland and aren’t very comfortable yet with the internet, so I use Skype to landline to call them most of the time.  Skype has a nice monthly rate for unlimited calls to UK landlines.  It will…

Reading roundup – June 3rd 2016
Reading Roundup / June 3, 2016

So this last week I finished Claudia Gray’s 1000 Pieces of You which I mentioned adding to my library in my last reading roundup.  Sci-Fi is a genre into which I dip now and again, although I’m not an expert on it.  1000 Pieces of You is a well put together, fun read (well, actually, fun listen as I listened to it primarily in audiobook) – expect a full review on it soon. I also started Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Mist and Fury, the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses.  At first, I admit, I struggled to get into the story.  Slowly though I got sucked into the Feyre/Rhys storyline and am now really enjoying it.  Maas has a very “modern” writing style despite this being epic fantasy.   I’ve also spent quite a bit of time this week marathoning the first season of 24 on Netflix.  Jack Bauer for the win!  Although it’s been some time since I watched the show, I remembered all the twists and turns, so it wasn’t quite as exciting for me as it was the first time I watched it. As usual, I watched this week’s episode of Game of…

Thoughts on Game of Thrones Season 2 – Book 2 and Season 2 spoilers
Miscellaneous / May 22, 2012

I was motivated to write this entry today following the news that GoT screenwriter Bryan Cogman has left Twitter. He explains that this is due to negative backlash on some of the creative decisions made by the team.  I can respect Mr. Cogman's decision and am sorry that the feedback he received was phrased in a negative and hurtful way.  As a fan of both book and TV adaptation, I would like to share my thoughts.   One of George R.R. Martin's strengths as a writer is in his characterization.  The multiple point of view structure of the novels allows him to populate his world with characters as varied as a young tomboy, a young Queen coming to grips with her newfound power and a smart dwarf who wears his armour in his mind and for us to get to know and love them.  Each of these characters has a well thought out story arc with its own emotional beats, and following these characters on their respective journeys is one of the pleasures of reading A Song of Ice and Fire. HBO has brought together a fantastic cast and crew to bring these characters to life, and it has been a…

On Quality Drama
Miscellaneous / September 15, 2011

Having watched some excellent quality drama recently I decided to review what they had in common. First of all, it would probably help if I gave examples of what I consider quality television.  It includes, but is not limited to: the Sci-Fi Channel's reimagined Battlestar Galactica, ABC's Lost, HBO's highly acclaimed production of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, and the UK's ITV channel Downton Abbey.   At first glance, these may not seem to have much in common.  What connection could there possibly be between a futuristic sci-fi drama, a time-travel mystery, a swords and sorcery fantasy series and a period piece set in early 20th century England?  The answer, dear reader, is characters, people in whom we have a vested interest, portrayed by competent actors.  We may not necessarily like the characters, but we do have to want to know what happens to them.   It is not even a case of identifying with the characters.  I have never been stranded on a mystery island with a Smoke Monster, nor survived a robotic genocidal attack. However, at the core of all of these shows is human interacting with human, humans dealing with situations outside their comfort zone, humans dealing…