Game of Thrones Series 7 Review and Look Ahead to Series 8 !!!WARNING: SPOILERS!!! #SpoilerSweats #GOTS7 #GOTS8

This post has some spoilers!!!!!

SPOILER-FREE REVIEWS?

I started this season of Game of Thrones intending to write spoiler-free reviews of each and every episode. Seven episodes, rather than the usual ten, means it should have been pretty easy. However, as you can tell, I gave up after episode three; in trying to write my episode four review, I simply found it impossible to not reveal stuff. Even not saying stuff says stuff. After all, if I suddenly stop mentioning a certain character, what conclusion would you draw? (Hmm, Bryan hasn’t mentioned Ned Stark for a bit…)

The lesson is that for season eight I will post full reviews, spoilers and all.

BEST MOMENTS?

Best episode of season seven had to be the final episode. Jaime has finally switched sides, apparently, which looked likely for a while now. Daenerys is still good, but is showing increasing signs of haughty regalitis. And we finally found out what we kind of knew already, ish, but which hadn’t been spelled out: John Snow is in fact a Targaryean, nephew of Daenerys, and the true heir to the Iron Throne. Just as this is officially revealed, we see Dany reveal her bits to John, just before they pump. So that’s going to be awkward over the coffee table in morning. The sight of an undead dragon destroying the wall was also a stand-out moment from the season.

That leads me to what I think was the most iconic, most “oh, nooo” moment of the whole season: Viserion the dragon becoming undead. As soon as we knew the dragons would be heading north, I was like, “Ooh, nooo”; one dying was always on the cards. Great moment, and we know that we are in store for some epic battles come season eight. Some people poo-pooed it by saying, ‘Erm, plothole! How could they get chains that big to drag the dead dragon!?’ To which my only answer is, ‘Erm, dragons you find believable, large metal chains not so much…?’

Other great moments include Leanna smugly telling Jaime that she dunnit. The captive undead spazzing out in front of Cersei. The capture of Ellaria Sand and her subsequent imprisonment by a mentally stable Cersei.

Many complained that this season was full-on with no development. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing; everything has been moved into place, and now we begin the rush to the end.

SEASON EIGHT?

Nothing would surprise me were it to happen in season eight. Including:

  • The white walkers taking over and destroying Westeros / the World.
  • Cersei winning, Jon and Daenerys dying.
  • Dany going schitz on power / refusing to bend the knee to Jon.
  • Ned Stark, or anyone of our other favourite dead characters, coming back in white walker form for an emotional, zombie-esque, ‘I don’t know if I can kill you! I still see the real you in that skelly shell!’ moment of emotional, heart-tugging drama.
  • Sam, in a kind of epilogue to the final episode of season eight, being the only one left alive, sat there Bilbo Baggins style with a pipe, now a very old man, explaining to the young hobbitses the true story of what happened. Y’know, the Song of Ice and Fire, as he will come to call it.
  • An apparently happy ending, with Sansa, Arya, Dany, and Jon co-ruling the seven kingdoms in peace, white walkers ended once and for all, slavery outlawed, feudalism abolished, a healthcare system free at the point of use guaranteed to all people of working age who pay a regular National Insurance contribution, and iPads for everyone — but just then, some crazy mothers from Essos appear in their ships on the horizon, dun dun dun! End of the world as we know it.
  • The Children of the Forest come back, Ewok-style, and fuck everyone’s shit up. After all, they made the white walkers to protect themselves from men! Perhaps they’ll be on the white walkers’ side.
  • The Dothraki go nuts and start raping and pillaging, as they are wont, which turns the layfolk against the Dany-Jon biumvirate, perhaps necessitating Jon or Sansa to backstab.
  • The good guys win a Pyrrhic victory; Westeros is so ruined by everything that there isn’t much of a world to rule over now. And the weakened Pyrrhic victors, Team Stark-Targaryean are left open to attack from foreign marauders.
  • Half the real life cast die in a kind of Munich Air disaster and/or nuclear war with North Korea means that we never get a proper final season eight.

I just hope whatever they do, it isn’t a perfect happy ending. I just think that would not suit the world that’s been built up. Even if things end “well” (= white walkers and Cersei being killed, some good guys staying alive), I can’t see everyone remaining unscathed. One or more of Dany, Jon, Arya, Sansa have to die, and die horribly. And the hard won peace must be on a knife-edge, some new danger suggesting itself.

As much as this series is based on mediaeval English history (War of the Roses and such), I keep thinking Alexander the Conqueror; single-handedly reshaped the world order, and for a brief moment there was the promise of westerners and easterners inter-marrying and becoming a single culture ruled forever by Alexander and his heirs in a sort of Pax Alexanderna — only for it to all fall apart at once and his generals squabble and split the empire up. That’s sort of how I see things moving.

In any case, a whole year or more for season eight! How am I going to cope?? Oh, hang on… 😎

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Fatty Parry 30: WTH, Brown Rice!? @ww_uk @weightwatchers

this post originally appeared at https://diethealthlifegoals.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/cooking-wth-brown-rice/

Seriously, is it just me, or is white rice really easy to cook, but brown rice is IMPOSSIBLE TO COOK? I’m switching to brown rice for health reasons. But honestly, no matter which instructions I follow, white rice is always fine, but brown rice either comes out undercooked and hard, or as mucus covered mush. Seriously, what the HELL, brown rice!?‬

Weird thing is, I’ve done brown rice in the past with no trouble. But no matter what, I cannot manage it now!

HELP!?

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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TV Review: Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 3 #GoTS7 #SpoilerSweats

check out my film, TV, and Netflix blog at
https://filmmovietvblog.wordpress.com/

Note: gotta say, I’m starting to struggle at keeping these reviews SPOILER FREE without being absurdly vague…

Episode 3 was the best of Season 7 so far. Not quite good enough to be a five star smash, but more exciting than eps 1 and 2. It’s entitled “The Queen’s Justice”, but which Queen? This was definitely an episode where powerful women had their say, shall we say. Indeed, the trend is continued whereby we are left in no doubt that the most powerful characters in Westeros are all women; perhaps a ploy from the writers to distract from the ample amount of bewbs present in the early series.

Cersei showed, once again, what a sadistic and calculating woman she can be. Daenerys is definitely starting to display more of that distinctly regal side. Somebody dies — but not before delivering a satisfying piece of revenge. There’s some top quality military outwitting going on. And, unfortunately, the most boring storyline of all made a showing: Bran, of three-eyed raven fame, has turned up spouting yet more gibberish; this plot thread better have a satisfying resolution.

I’m loving how the series is now zipping along. Now that most of the characters are dead, and the rest have all mostly hooked up, everything is happening in a handful of locations. It’s really starting to gear up for the great finale.

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Fatty Parry 27: 12 Week Wedding Weight Loss: 2 @ww_uk @weightwatchers

check out my new health and life goals blog at http://www.diethealthlifegoals.wordpress.com

Introduction

Earlier this year, my weight peaked at 16st 12lb (236lb). I had never been so fat. And I felt it. With a family wedding looming, and having a Body Mass of over 30 (= “Obese Class 1”), I decided to take action and sort my life out. Hence, I went on a 13 Week Wedding Weight Loss program (weeks: 1 2 3 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 13). Click here for a quick explanation of the ins-and-outs, but the short of it is this: having a Body Mass of over 30 in a suit at a wedding in the sun in Spain is not a good look!

I lost weight and, whilst I didn’t reach my target, I made serious steps towards it and learnt a lot along the way.

Now I have another wedding in twelve eleven weeks’ time. So I’ve decided to not only carry on trying to fulfil my short-term weight goals, but to move towards the next phase in the transformation of me. 12 Week Wedding Weight Loss will be about achieving Phase 2: getting my weight to the ideal of 13st 7lb. I am currently 15st 11.2lb 15st 13.2lb. The long term goal is to not just get to and maintain a healthy weight, but to get seriously fit. But I’m jumping the gun: that’s Phase 3!

I therefore aim to lose 32.2 pounds in twelve weeks, a loss of just under 2.7lbs 3.1lbs a week.

Last week

Last week was… an unmitigated disaster. By Thursday, I had lost exactly 2lbs. So far, so good. Unfortunately, my private life took a chaotic turn for several days and the food and drink went out of control. By Monday morning, I had gained four pounds! I am now 15st 13.2lb. What a downer. I think I need to do a post talking about how to manage your weight/diet in stressful circumstances… once I work out how myself! Now I have to lose 3.1lbs a week to meet my goals. But remember: healthy, slow weight loss is better than rapid weight loss! But 3.1lbs a week is still sustainable and reasonable.

Next week

I aim to lose 2.7lb 3.1lb a week. So I hope to be 15st 10.1lb (220.1lb) by my next update. Here’s a chart of my weight beginning with the previous program (13 Week Wedding Weight Loss).

  • week 0 (last week): 10/07/2017: 15st 13lb (223lb)
  • week 1: 17/07/17: 15st 11.2lb (221.2lb)
  • week 2: 24/07/17: 15st 13.2lb (223.2lb)
  • GOAL: 14/10/17: 13st 7lb (189lb)

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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London Terror Attack 22/03/2017 #WeAreNotAfraid

London has always been attacked by terrorists. We know that. But this never has, nor ever will, stop us leading our lives freely. I can say hand-on-heart: WE ARE NOT AFRAID.

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

The SNP are Opportunistic Scum @theSNP @NicolaSturgeon #IndyRef2

… the SNP and Scotland are not the same thing …

I am a unionist … but I am a democrat above all else … if Scotland wanted to leave the UK, then it is undeniably right that they should leave … Yet now demonstrably is not the time for another referendum.

I’ve lost all respect for the Scottish National Party. They are acting like opportunistic, hateful scum. None-the-less, I still 100% respect the idea of Scottish Independence; let’s not conflate the SNP and Scotland, as if they were the same thing, even though Sturgeon and her motley crew keep trying to blur the distinction.

I want to be clear about something.

Yes, I am a unionist and believe that the four nations of the UK are better off together. However, I am a democrat above all else. And even though it would break my heart, if Scotland wanted to leave the UK, then it is undeniably right that they should leave, although I would bid them adieu with a tear and a friendly handshake. See my posts about the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum for more about my views.

But now demonstrably is not the time for another referendum. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon talks about the “democratic outrage” of not being allowed to hold another independence reference by 2018-2019. But I think the only outrage is her behaviour and that of other SNP top brass.

Let’s get real.

  1. The official logic of a 2018-2019 Scottish Referendum is that Scotland will remain in the EU if it leaves the UK before the UK leaves the EU. However, this “logic” is horseshit and has been repeatedly shot down by everyone in the EU. The United Kingdom has membership of the EU, and Scotland would not inherit the UK’s membership. Therefore, Scotland would have to reapply to join the EU even if it seceded from the UK but the rest of the UK remained in!
  2. Scotland knew that there would be an EU referendum and therefore knew that if it voted to remain in the UK, there would be the very real possibility that that would mean leaving the EU. Therefore, material circumstances haven’t changed in quite the way the SNP claim.
  3. It is plainly absurd for any Scottish Independence Referendum to be held before (1) we had left the EU, and (2) before the dust had settled. The SNP said this referendum was once in a lifetime; what, the lifetime of a gerbil? Wait for the UK to leave, and for the dust to settle, and then the Westminster government should be totally open to a new referendum.
  4. I wonder, though, if the SNP would be pressing for a second referendum in 2018-2019 if Scotland had voted to leave the UK… you know, just to make sure — after all, Brexit means circumstances have changed…
  5. The UK got opt-outs, and Sweden et al joined way back when. Any new member of the EU would have to adopt the Euro. Sorry, but that’s a fact. An “independent” Scotland in the EU would also be in the Euro.
  6. I still cannot grasp the fundamental logic of the SNP position, in any case: being 8% of the population of the UK, with 9% of the seats in the Commons, and one of four member states, is worse than what would be 1% of the population of the EU, with around 1.6% of the seats, and one of 28 member states…!!? This smacks of serious anti-English bias in the SNP leadership (not amongst members, though, who are mostly just patriotic Scots, not English-haters).

In short, the Scots are a nation and not a county of England — as Alex Salmond absurdly recently claimed is the opinion of those against doing IndyRef2 in the SNP’s timeframe of 2018-2019. And thus, they have absolutely the moral right to another referendum. Luckily, the UK government is more enlightened than, say, the Spanish government, and we’re happy to give a binding referendum to Scotland. But this timeframe of 2018-2019 is absurd. It is political opportunism. Let’s wait until the next parliament. If there is wide enough support for another referendum, then let’s crack on with Indy Ref 2!

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Elected House of Lords? @electoralreform #electoralreform #lordsreform #sortition

The Electoral Reform Society and others claim that we need an elected upper house in order to be fully democratic. But I say that they have confused democracy with vote-ocracy.

Today’s papers are full of a periodic favourite: how the House of Lords needs to be reformed. Reports of one peer who left a taxi waiting whilst he went inside just to sign in for his £300 daily expenses only to then nip off again in his taxi (!) have (re)surfaced. The Electoral Reform Society, who I largely agree with and support, have called for an elected House of Lords.

But I disagree.

The House of Lords is a total mess. No doubt. Packed with cronies, those with conflicts of interest (taking EU pensions whilst voting on whether we should leave the EU!), and lazy sods who turn up for their dole. The place is an anachronism. And it’s a great pity that Labour could not finish the reform job they started in 1997; if they had prepared for government a bit more, maybe they would have.

But electing members of the Lords is not the solution. In fact, it would make things worse.

Why replicate the elected Commons? Why have yet more elected careerist politicians?

The Electoral Reform Society and others claim that we need an elected upper house in order to be fully democratic. But I say that they have confused democracy with vote-ocracy.

If not an elected Lords, then what?

The Lords is supposed to be a politically neutral, disinterested, body of wise counsellors, who have no vested interests, who are not career politicians, and who act as a sober check on any possible elected dictatorship of the Commons. But how to get such a House?

Clearly, elections corrupt the system and invariably lead to politicising. Not merely my words and thoughts, those of the founding fathers of the US. The ancient Athenians and Romans knew this, too, which is why leading figures were selected by sortition (out of a hat, as it were, like jurors are nowadays) and were limited to a single one-year term.

Thus, there are intricacies involved in reform, but I put forward the following as a sound basis.

  1. There should be far fewer Lords than there are MPs in the Commons. But currently there are 805 Lords and 650 MPs. I propose to cut the number of Lords to around half the number of MPs, let’s say around 300.
  2. Lords should not be elected (barring e.g. the Bishops), and should either serve life terms, very long one-off terms, or very short terms. Perhaps all three depending.
  3. Lords must forsake any political allegiance or conflicting interests as the Speaker of the Commons does.
  4. Around half or more (two-thirds? three-quarters?) of the Lords will be chosen by sortition (like jury duty) from a pool of eligible persons who have not opted out, representing equally the leading minds in all key disciplines such as science, technology, business, the arts, philanthropy, and so on. Such individuals should serve long single-terms/lifelong terms.
  5. Most of the left-over minority of the Lords should be chosen by nomination by the political parties in proportion to the seats they have in the Commons and for a single term, perhaps the length of the next parliament, no party in the Commons having fewer than one appointee in the Lord. For example, if 100 seats were to be made available this way, the Conservatives would nominate around 51 members, Labour around 36, the SNP around 8, the LibDems, UKIP, Greens and so on 1 each, all based on their current seats in the Commons.
  6. There should be an even smaller number (around half of the nominees) who are selected by sortition from the public at large, after having met various qualifications, and who should serve single one-year terms.
  7. The 26 Lords Spiritual should keep their seats.
  8. The 90 hereditary peers should keep their seats until they all die. Their seats will not be handed on. Eventually, there will be no hereditary peers left.

This sort of thing seems like a reasonable compromise which would achieve what we want of the Lords — and most importantly, doesn’t confuse vote-ocracy with democracy.

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Netflix Review: Under the Shadow (2016) #100WordReview #Netflix @UTSFilm @KermodeMovie #UnderTheShadow

under_the_shadow_posterStars3

Under the Shadow (2016) sees a mother struggle to maintain a normal family life in war-torn 1980s Tehran amidst Iraqi bombs and a mysterious evil presence.

BAFTA award-winning, foreign language, original setting, social commentary, Mark Kermode-approved: everything a latte-supping cosmopolitan liberal like myself loves. Yet this Iranian The Babadook doesn’t quite work.

Where Babadook was a nerve-shredding slowburn, Under the Shadow was just a patience-shredding slow. Babbadook‘s is-it-isn’t-it-real psychological terror has been replaced with going-nowhere social commentary on feminism in post-revolutionary Iran. A truly scary “monster” and creepy apartment building can’t hide the lack of focus or peril. Disappointing.

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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2nd Presidential Debate #PresidentialDebate #KarlBecker #Debate @HillaryClinton @realDonaldTrump

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Here are some brief thoughts on the second presidential debate (I don’t want to wax lyrical, as this would turn into an essay!).

  1. Trump was much stronger than in the first debate; Clinton was much weaker (I’m not going to call them “Donald” and “Hilary”; they’re not my friends). Things were close enough that both sides could (and have) claimed a win. My feeling: Clinton just edged it due to the occasional odd moment out of Trump’s mouth, even though Trump’s best moments were probably slightly better than Clinton’s.
  2. Trump came out with some bizarrely inept statements. For example, CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE POST

Wisdom Tooth Haemorrhoids #WisdomTooth #Haemorrhoids #Hemorrhoids #Dentistry

Two-Chocolate-Lego-Bricks

After six months of my face ballooning, and my diet largely being made up of antibiotics, I had all of my wisdom teeth taken out last week. I was really not keen on getting it done as I had a fear they were accidentally going to nick my inferior alveolar nerve nerve and paralyse my face. But it had to be done.

Seven days later:

  • Yes, my tooth socket areas hurt a lot.
  • Yes, they necessarily did a hatchet job on my gums, which also hurt.
  • Yes, my mouth is riddled with infections and what are known as “major” ulcers.
  • Yes, an extremely limited liquid diet, so as to not agitate the tooth sockets or the ulcers, is boring the hell out of me.

But the worst bit about having all of my wisdom teeth out? The haemorrhoids.

That’s a worry that didn’t cross my mind, pre-op.

But with a diet consisting wholly of water, yoghurt, ice lollies, and cold cream of tomato soup (the last turns out to be a no-no as it is making my infection worse!), I am simply unable to poo.

I’ve never had that problem before. A slightly excessive amount of coffee, chilli, and Jakeman’s sweets, has meant my bumhole has always been thoroughly lubricated, and my plop healthily medium soft.

But now I am laying actual bricks.

Yet I can’t lay them.

The lavvy routine is the same each time. The jagged, baby-sized turd very slowly creeps down my bot-canal. It stretches my rim till tears fill my eyes. Yet it won’t come out. My arse ring just contracts further and further, yet there’s no epidural to hand, and no sign of my red baby’s head.

The only way to get the crap packet out of my bleeding rear eye is to rhythmically clench my butt cheeks and breaks little pieces of dung off, and then suck the vitriolic little shit back up into my rectum. I’ve been chiselling away at this bum boulder in this manner for a day now.

Solutions? No idea. The laxatives aren’t working. I just never thought I’d get piles from having my teeth out.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

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