Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Game of Thrones" Analysis featuring Drew Galloway

Back to our regularly scheduled programming. AKA I send Drew a wicked long email and he responds. Here ya go!

Robbie Vogel <>
May 13 (6 days ago)
to Drew

So clearly my previous effort asked you far too many questions. I got a little excited, it's Game of Thrones, what are ya gonna do? 

So, if you scroll past my nonsense ramblings, I've only asked two questions this week. And I'm trying to keep this short and sweet. Less is more.

Ok, here we go.

First, this episode (307 - "The Bear and the Maiden Fair") was written by George R.R. Martin, author of the original book series. This immediately excited me, but then I remembered that if I had my way, he would be locked in a dungeon, similar to the one in which we find Theon, finishing the novels before he dies of old age.

Also, did you know GRRM is a Jets fan?

Moving on.

Quotes of the week include the following:

Random Stark bannerman (possibly a Tully, I don't care to look it up): "I've seen wet shits I liked better than Walder Frey."

Bronn had a terrific day, with: "How did marrying a whore work out for you the first time?"   and    "You waste time trying to get people to love you, you'll end up the most popular dead man in town." and also  "You pay me to kill people who bother you. Evil notions come free."

Jaime with a Catholic priest joke to his doctor: "So why did the Citadel take your chain? Did you fondle one boy too many?"

Back to the notes. 

I think Robb's girl is a Lannister spy. They've already departed from the books in not making her a random maiden from the West (which would actually have given her a better possibility of being a Lannister spy, incidentally), and she writes in a language that Robb can't read. She's using her feminine wiles to win his heart, while her head spins circles around his. SPOILER ALERT: I think she's got something to do with the planning of the Red Wedding.

Either way, we now know that this relationship is well and truly fucked. There's no hope for them in the long term, and not really even in the longer short term. And why is that? Because Robb did the unthinkable. He said the one thing that you are ABSOLUTELY not allowed to say in this series. 

He said he loved her. 

My actual note reads: "NO NO NO ROBB NEVER SAY THE L WORD." Love was the theme of this episode, and love is nearly impossible in this society.

Think about any relationship in this story. Every single one is completely screwy. No one, and I repeat, NO ONE in this story has something even resembling a healthy, loving relationship. And not just romantic love either. Take the crazed parental love of Lady Arryn, Cersei, or Cat (or Dany, if we're really getting weird). Or the grumbling, vengeful rage that first Tyrion, and now Cersei, feel for their father. And don't even get me started on what Jaime and Cersei have. 

The only relationships that were presumably happy and kind of normal were those of Ned Stark (dead), Jon Arryn (dead), and Tywin and his unnamed wife (long dead). 

It seems, when playing the Game, there is no room for love in the equation.

This is why I love watching the Jon-Ygritte dynamic. It's clear that Jon is no wildling. His upbringing still hangs heavy about him like a cartoon rain cloud, and occasionally forces him to spout unhappy truths like his "Six times" monologue. He loves Ygritte, but he grew up south of the Wall. He knows that love is useless.

She, on the other hand, is a hopeless romantic and an extreme pragmatist all wrapped up in one flame-headed wildling. I think this is why I love her so much. She repeats the Jason-Mraz-inspired Tyrion-Shae mantra ("You are mine, and I am yours") with a zeal that makes you believe that SHE believes it. She's in it for Jon. Realistic about the future, which most likely includes her early death, but desperate and unashamed to spend her present with the man she loves. 

See my question #1 below for more on this concept.

On another note, George R.R. Martin is a horny old bastard. There was a serious amount of nudity on this Mother's Day episode, including a scene plucked straight from a Saw knock-off porno: the Varys-ization of Theon Greyjoy. I can only imagine the awkward familial interactions this scene in particular spawned (pun intended) in living rooms around the country. 

If you haven't seen it, please view this Tyrion and Bronn "Calvin and Hobbes" picture.

It's perfect. Bronn dispensing simple truth bombs while protecting the little one from all manner of seen and unseen enemies.

Speaking of truth bombs, Shae drops them as well. Tyrion is surrounded by truth-flinging brunettes. Kind of the exact opposite of his family. Probably the way he likes it. What I'm wondering is, why does Shae like him so much? She doesn't seem to care about money, clearly can't have any illusions about power, and has to remain hidden at all times. Seems like a shitty way to live, especially if your reward between the sheets is someone who was once mistaken for a child between the sheets by Tina Fey

Quick random timing question: The last dragon died out with a skull no bigger than an apple. The monster ones that roamed the skies and melted Harrenhal died 300 years before that. I kind of thought dragons lived for at least several human lifetimes, but it would seem that there had to be at least 7-10 dragon generations between the carriage-headed dragon of 300 years ago and the apple-headed one of, let's say, 75 years ago. How long do dragons live? Are we talking dog years here? If so, are Dany's three going through their teen angst, or does that come when SPOILER ALERT Drogon up and peaces the fuck out for weeks on end? 

Random Note Time: 

In which I jot down what I jotted down while watching the show.

This scene with Tywin and Joffrey wouldn't have been in the books, as neither of them were POV characters.

 Grey Worm looks like Colin Kaepernick

How long does it take to set up these elaborate camp tents for Robb and Dany?

Dany is becoming RUTHLESS in her emancipation efforts. Interesting to look at why. She was sold as a slave, but made the best of it (understatement) and became Khaleesi of the greatest khalasar on the Dothraki Sea. Conversely, she saved a woman from becoming a slave (Mirri Maz Duur) and, because she had not saved her in a more timely fashion, it cost her the life of her beloved Khal Drogo and her unborn child, who would have been the Stallion that Mounts the World.

You'd think she'd want to enslave everyone.

Foreshadowing from Tyrion as he gives Shae "chains of gold." I was wondering how they would make that future scene work, as the item denoting the Hand of the King is now a stickpin, rather than a necklace. 

I think Arya is confused. She proclaims to follow Death as her only God. SPOILER ALERT This is foreshadowing for her future efforts across the Narrow Sea.

However, the only encounters she's had with death besides that of her father have been from the hand of Jaqen H'Ghar, who follows the Red God aka the Lord of Light. So really, she's a follower of that religion.

Finally, it seems no good deed goes unpunished for Jaime Lannister. Saving Brienne from the frying pan of being raped by Locke and his followers earlier in the season, he's now unintentionally thrown her into the fire of being held ransom for far more than her father can ever pay (due to Jaime's lie that Brienne's father owns all the sapphires in the Seven Kingdoms). This is highly typical of George RR Martin's world, where nothing good ever works out and oftentimes, everything positive turns negative.

Also, if Jaime had hopped down into the bear pit with no sword and no right arm and said "I immediately regret this decision", that would have been awesome.

BUT more importantly, from this situation comes my second and final question. Read on. 

Question # 1: To borrow a line from Haddaway and the Butabi brothers "What is Love?" 

But seriously. More to the point, what can people who have to play the Game (nobles, highborns, etc.) reasonably expect from their romantic relationships? 

Question # 2: There seems to be no form of media in this society. No printed news, no books that haven't been written by hand, and certainly no long-distance communication except by faulty ravens. How did this affect the Jaime-Brienne fiasco that played out in this episode, and how do you think it has affected the series as a whole? Think about how Westeros views Dany and vice versa, and how the various Kingdoms of Westeros feel about different events. 

Finally, I would be remiss without mentioning THE UNDISPUTED BIGGEST COMEBACK IN THE HISTORY OF HOCKEY



Drew Galloway
9:23 PM (14 hours ago)
to me
Ok so first point----the guy with the incredible line about liking wet shits more than walder frey is breydan the blackfish tully---reasonably important character

I like your theory on robb's woman---they have departed a lot so it wouldnt be a shock if she betrays him............BUT i doubt it now that they made her knocked up---b/c of this she clearly must die when robb dies so their son is killed so sansa becomes heir to winterfell (b/c everyone assumes rickon and bran muffin are dead)

Arya is the best.....her death response was chilling. I cant wait until she becomes the ultimate assassin----think jason bourne meets uma thurman (kill bill) meets jack bauer meets----------WAIT 24 IS BACK?!?!?!!???!????? Holy shit a subject for another day (and thread)

On to your questions:

1) Sex. Then less sex as they cheat on each other. Then death. There is basically no hope for any good relationships. On the surface, ned and cat's relationship seemed great----but then we found out she was promised to his brother, ned fathered a bastard (allegedly), and ned is never home always fighting & then getting his chopped

2) good point about the media. Everything is done through ravens so it presumably takes months (atleast) to receive news in westeros and even longer coming from across the sea.  It affects the series by creating more uncertainty. Nobody knows whether dany is a threat or not. Nobody knew where tywin was leading the army until he showed up & crushed stannis. Although curiously winterfell heard quite quickly about ned's death. So maybe there's inconsistancy. But your point remains. I like it.

Pumped for next week.....aka tomorrow

Sunday, May 12, 2013

"Game of Thrones" Analysis (Not) featuring Drew Galloway

Slight change of plan. Turns out Drew has an actual big boy job where he has to, you know, work and stuff. So his time to answer stupendously long emails is limited.

So, here's my email to him from last week, regarding GoT episode 306 "The Climb."

He gets a pass for last week, and I'm going to be ABSOLUTELY SURE to cut down my questions to the 2 most vital ones, so that we can fire back some email exchanges for your reading pleasure.

Now, I'm off to watch episode 307.


Robbie Vogel <>
May 7 (5 days ago)
to Drew
Hey there,

I figured since we’d be talking about Game of Thrones, I should keep some notes during the show. This could be a fun thing – we can work off these and talk about some stuff this way. Maybe next week you can do the notes and then shoot them over to me, and we can start from there.

Also, for clarity, my questions to you will be at the end.

Let me have the first “I called it” moment of this young feature: I CALLED IT! TRAVELING EPISODE! For God’s sake it was called “The Climb,” and the first three scenes (Sam and Gilly, Bran and Jojen, Arya and the Brotherhood) show a nation on the move – but to what goal? I think people might forget – I kind of do – that Bran is running from Theon and his men towards Jon, whom he was just alerted last night is now north of the Wall and surrounded by enemies. That was a big example of dramatic irony, where the audience knows something the character doesn’t, and it robbed the scene of any impact it could have had.

Moving on, Ygritte is my favorite character. Maybe not in the books, but definitely in the show. “
Don’t ever betray me – cuz I’ll cut your pretty cock right off and wear it around my neck.” This sentence, combined with her statement about the fact that she and Jon have to look after each other, is her in a nutshell. Fiercely loyal to those she cares about, she demands that same level of loyalty, and she’s not afraid to get nasty. In a few different ways.

My next note revolves around the GIANT plot twist that occurred in the next scene.

WAIT WHAT – THOROS OF MYR JUST GOT A RAISE. Why is he all of a sudden the center of a new subplot? Although this is perfect for my discussion from last week, where I asked why everyone doesn’t just adopt the Red God.

In the books it was always a little questionable which deity/ deities were the best: the old Gods, the Seven, or the Lord of Light. Now, from these quotes, it seems pretty obvious: “Our God is the one true God.” This happened in the conversation between Melisandre and Thoros, and I think she said it to him. Seems like a pretty legit statement, especially when coinciding with Thoros’s abilities in the resurrection department.

“You will make kings rise and fall.” This was Melisandre to Gendry, and I was a little confused about this. I researched it a bit, and I’m still not all the way convinced, except I think she means to use Gendry (Robert Baratheon’s bastard son) in some kind of R’hllor-based ritual – maybe more shadowbabymaking?
SIDENOTE: Thrones threw in a “back from the other side” bit from Beric, who’s died a handful of times.

It’s interesting that Melisandre assumed that there is something over there, and Beric said: “There is no other side. Only darkness.” This has to be about the most horrifying answer imaginable for a priestess who’s dedicated her life to serving the Lord of Light.

Another random note I had: “The wall would have to be so much more slanted for it to work. Although it’s magic.” AKA, a structure that’s 700 feet tall and (conservatively) 20 feet wide at its base would be ridiculously topple-prone. But I do remember Martin writing that it was infused with heavy-duty magic, the kind of old school spells that the Hogwarts castle and grounds are working with.

Moving on to Theon, it seems that his game should have ended before it even began. The big “X,” the flaying, it’s all first-grade stuff for someone who allegedly studied at the knee of a Citadel master. He’s at the Dreadfort, being flayed by a Bolton (who we know is Ramsey aka Reek). First-grade stuff, really.

My next note reads: “I don’t get this thing with Jaime Lannister.” And I don’t. So see my questions.

Moving on to probably the best actor in the series, at least for my money, Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. The way he asks questions is hilarious, it’s like every time someone tells him something, they’ve just asked for $1,000 and a new passport. He goes: “…whyyy…” with this very ponderous, low-voiced, vaguely threatening purr that almost isn’t a question as much as a scold.

The scene with him and Lady Olenna was gold. Highlights included: “My stomach is quite strong,” (foreshadowing!!), “sword-swallower” and “prize flower” in reference to the Knight of Flowers, and “As an authority on myself I may have to disagree,” as Lady Olenna refuses to be told how to think. However, as usual, Tywin holds the trump card, with the threat to cancel all further lineage of a Tyrell House by conscripting Loras to the Kingsguard. Olenna held her own, but just didn’t have the cards to play in this hand. She lives to fight another day, however.

My next note is a verbatim thought taken straight from my brain to the computer as Jon and Ygritte somehow didn’t splat to the ground from 500 feet up the north face of the Wall:

“LESS THAN NEGATIVE INFINITY PERCENT CHANCE THAT WALL SCENE HAPPENS – rope would fray and snap instantly with that much weight, then Ygritte would pull Jon down without a doubt.”

Moving on, I’ve found another I CALLED IT! moment: the way Tywin uses his children as nothing more than pawns, with no regard for any of them (save maybe Jaime): “Father doesn’t discriminate – we’re all being shipped off to hell together.” That was Cersei, talking to her little brother, who FINALLY finds out once and for all who commissioned his head cleaved in at the Blackwater.

This is a great thing that the show has done well in adapting from the book – the idea that you don’t really know what happened until several weeks (chapters) later – I remember reading the books and having to keep going in order to figure out the whole picture of one subplot, and then once I’d figured it out I would already be on to another one. This scene with Tyrion finding out that Joffrey tried to kill him like 8 episodes ago is the same thing and I love it.

NONSEQUITUR NOTE: I need more Shae!! She was always awesome and now she’s got about 2 lines every 3 episodes.

Now we get to the part of the episode that really made it stand out for me as a solid contender for best episode of the season so far. Namely, Littlefinger.

First of all, his voice is Batmanish – with every scene, it seems to get lower and gravellier.

The maneuvering on his part in this episode was absolutely RUTHLESS, and that voiceover monologue was the best (yet cheesiest) (yet still awesome) way to capture that.

“Chaos is a ladder. Many who get to climb it fail, never to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”

My exact words after Sansa’s grief-torn face watches Baelish’s ship sail off with her dreams: “What a fuckin… …… what…… … holy shit.”'

If this is all they kept Ros around for, and they knew it way back when they started her storyline in the show, then good Lord someone deserves a raise.

Moving on.

A couple things about the climax atop the wall:

 1. Looking back at the wildling lands, you look down on the tops of mountains. Either they have 650-foot tall mountains, or the land slopes SHARPLY down and the wall is built on a bigass ridge.
2. Is the wall some sort of meteorological barrier? I suppose it could be, at that height, but it was funny that the North looked like Greenland and the South looked like Toledo, Ohio.
3. Holy shit I would not make out with someone up there. One slip and it’s good night Charlie.

1.       Where is the plot going now that Thoros apparently failed in his mission to convert the King of Westeros to the religion of the Red God? Why was that necessary to bring up at all? Highly confused.

2.       On a similar note, remember the “devil” to the Red God’s “god” in the books? It’s called “The Great Other.” And the “white walkers” in the show are actually called “Others” in the books. AND from what I understand, the realm in the books is totally doomed unless they all somehow band together and fight off the Others – this is why the wildlings moved south of the wall, and it’s basically the huge main conflict that will end the last two books. So my question is, with all this Red God talk lately in the show, why no mention of the connection between the Great Other and the white walkers, since both thrive in cold and darkness and the latter are clearly a physical manifestation of the former?

3.       What is the purpose of showing so much Theon torture? Just to give the audience a glimpse of how awful the Bastard of Bolton is?

4.       What is going on with Jaime? Why does Roose Bolton think that if he just lets Jaime stroll into King’s Landing, and all he gets in return is the “promise” (and we know how good Jaime is at keeping promises) to clear Roose’s name, that that’s a good deal?

5.       I feel like Baelish and Varys are the two most important players in this titular Game. I also think I remember not realizing until much later in the books that Baelish is an absolute MASTERMIND villain. It’s starting now to look like these 2 are the good and evil at the top of the food chain in King’s Landing. Is this how you view it? Was it this obvious to you in the books, and am I just a hopeless optimist who expects everyone to be a combination of Ned Stark and Mr. Rogers?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

NEW FEATURE: "Game of Thrones" Analysis, featuring Drew Galloway

So "Game of Thrones" is the best show on television. If you're not watching it, you should be. Also, if you're not watching it, stop reading now, unless you're starved for world-class television analysis.

Drew (one of my best friends from BC) and I talk about the show and the books constantly, and actually have some good insights, so I figured I should share these with the Thrones-loving fans of the world.

Read on for talk of Lannisters, Starks, Hounds, Red Gods, and general mystery and intrigue.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I Guess That's How it Works

So I've been getting about 5 emails a day from BC telling me to give money,
 because clearly the people who want to donate tons of money to their college
 are those who are less than a year out and in debt up to their eyeballs. 

So when I got my 9 millionth one of these emails, rather than deleting it, I
 decided to shoot back a stupid response. I 100% believed that it would go
 to a nonworking email address, or that I would get a  DELIVERY STATUS
NOTIFICATION FAILURE notice (or something), or that no one would read it. 

Turns out, I was wrong.

Dear Robert,

It's time to strike BC GOLD!

Again this year, BC GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) classes are participating in the BC GOLD Rush Challenge. This is our chance to raise class participation and establish life-changing scholarships. For each class that meets its participation goal, an anonymous donor will give BC $25,000 to help a student in financial need.

But we need your help. The Class of 2012 needs just 367 gifts by May 31 to meet this Challenge. In addition, your name will be listed side-by-side with those of your friends and classmates on the Boston College Honor Roll of Donors.

The GOLD Rush Challenge is all about participation. The more GOLD alumni that donate, the more we can earn for scholarships at BC. A gift of any size will make a huge difference, so please donate what you can.

Participate in the GOLD Rush Challenge by making your gift today.

Thanks in advance for your support.


Danielle V. Auriemma '10
BC GOLD Leadership Council Co-Chair

This message has been sent by Boston College to alumni and friends of the University.
To be taken off of this list, please click here to change your email preferences.

Robbie Vogel <>
10:29 AM (2 hours ago)
to bcfund
Yo, I just spent a quarter of a million dollars to go to that school. I barely have a job, and my parents are struggling to pay BC and will be struggling probably until they die. They just refinanced their house and did a bunch of other stuff like that. So I'm not donating to BC pretty much ever, but certainly not until like 15 years from now at least. So please take me off your list, if that's how this works. 
11:46 AM (1 hour ago)
to me
Good afternoon Robbie,

I wanted to let you know I received your message and I have submitted a request to have you taken off the email and mailing list. I wanted to also make you aware of the fact that it can sometimes take a couple of days before your name is removed from the list. Therefore, you may receive some correspondence until my request is processed.

Additionally, I wanted to say that I wish you and your parents the best of luck.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Anyenda Inyagwa
Boston College Fund

That kind of seems like a form letter response, except for the 2nd to last sentence. I bet a lot of people do this kind of thing. You should try it!

PS: I'm JUST NOW seeing that little notice at the bottom of the email that says "To be taken off this list, click here." So, I'm dumb. Fair enough.