[Re-Read] A Storm of Swords – Tyrion II

This post has spoilers for George RR Martin’s fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, including fan theories and speculation. If you do not wish for certain information regarding future plot points from this series or other related series to be revealed to you, you might want to consider not reading any further.

Well, it’s been a while but it looks like the ‘Re-Reads’ part of Re-Reads and Reviews is back on the menu. I don’t intend to go on hiatus again but no promises right now, unfortunately, given how bonkers my schedule is right now. It took me a while to even remember where in the story we stopped, and then it took me a while to just familiarize myself with the story again; it’s not like I’ve forgotten anything but rather I needed to remember what I’ve already talked about and what I intended to mention in future posts. For we dive back in to this read-along, I should probably explain why there has been such a long gap between posts on A Song of Ice and Fire. Long story short, I was rather disheartened by the fact that we still don’t have The Winds of Winter. Yeah, yeah Martin isn’t our bitch, sure, message received – but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been six years and the book is nowhere in sight. I guess I could finish this re-read project and move on – it’s not like there’s any shortage of things for me to cover – but when I first started this way back when, I sort of imagined that The Winds of Winter would be out by now and that was primary motivation in getting me to pump post after post out. Of course, back then I also had a mountain more time than I do now, which obviously helps as well, but when the key motivating factor disappeared, I turned my attention to other topics. The good thing is that when I decided to pick my books back up, thanks to Amazon, I had all my notes exactly where I left them – I don’t know if there is a way for us to share annotations with each other, but that could be a pretty cool idea for a community read through.

Coming back to this re-read project, I guess, if it’s not going to be in time for the release of The Winds of Winter, then at least it will get some buzz around the final season of Game of Thrones – to which I have foolishly read spoilers. I won’t spoil anything here of course, but be warned that as always, this re-read does have spoilers for the television series. The re-read last left off with us looking at the older Lannister boy as he began to the long, long journey to redemption. This post however, picks up on where we left Tyrion – he has recovered from the worst of the wounds that he experienced in the Battle of Blackwater Bay but there are psychological scars that are still plaguing him, though of course, we aren’t told this. Not a great happens in this chapter from a plot perspective, but a lot of Tyrion’s future misfortune is sown here. His unwillingness to set Shae aside, his inability to accept that he is no longer able to call shots, his insistence on staying in game that is looking like it has already been lost. As has always been the case with Tyrion, these decisions are understandable, if not logical, but they will come back to bite him nonetheless.

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[Anime] Fate/Zero: Fate/Zero (S2E25)

Lonely At The Top

This post has spoilers for Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero. If you do not wish for certain information regarding plot points from this series or other related series to be revealed to you, you might want to consider not reading any further.

Before I even begin this post, I need to thoroughly apologize for the delay between this post and the last. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks between exams, interviews and real life and I just haven’t had the time I needed to do these last two episodes of the series justice. I saw both ‘The Last Command Spell’ and ‘Fate/Zero’ back to back and I think it’s simpler to digest the episodes together since it is only collectively that they offer the closure and resolution of a finale. The two episodes really should have been combined into a single hour long festival of crushed dreams and shattered ideals; no one came into this series expecting sunshine and rainbows but neither had I expected to see a man’s spirit snapped in two like a particularly frail twig. The first episode, ‘The Last Command Seal’ draws the audience in by revealing the Grail’s true nature to the audience and the futility of Kiritsugu’s lifelong struggles while ‘Fate/Zero’ finishes the job off with an emotional sucker punch that is just designed to leave you empty and reeling for a while. This post will be a long one, but I have attempted to have some semblance of order and flow into it so that it’s not just one big blob of incoherent musings.

Spoilers beyond. Beware

[Re-Read] A Storm of Swords – Jaime II

 

ASoSSecond Jaime chapter! This week, we’re back with Jaime Lannister but he’s still very much in his embittered, condescending phase of character development. That means he’s still looking for a way to escape Brienne’s clutches, he’s still insulting everyone around him but we’re beginning to see that there’s more to him than lusting after Cersei and bitterly reminiscing about how he became the Kingslayer. Ok, so not a lot more than the lust and reminiscence but it’s enough to be going on with for now. Particularly, in this chapter, we have to once again adjust our view of Jaime – he’s not just a lying, murderous rat trying to weasel his way out, but instead, there is some vague hint of goodness about him. He makes his first attempt at reaching out to Brienne but she, understandably enough, is in no mood to hear it. It’s a shame but it’ll take a fairly traumatic experience for the two of them to open up to each other.

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[Anime] Fate/Zero: The Sea at the World’s Edge (S2E10)

Lonely At The Top

This post has spoilers for Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero (up to episode 23). If you do not wish for certain information regarding plot points from this series or other related series to be revealed to you, you might want to consider not reading any further.

After an episode filled with of characters being forced to come to terms with the consequences of their ideals, you can’t help but walk away feeling like it would be better to never dream at all. In one of the series’ most emotionally charged scenes so far, Gilgamesh and Rider have their final confrontation. No punches are pulled, no quarter is given; Gilgamesh brings out Ea and Rider uses Ionian Hetaroi but it was clear from the beginning that everyone involved knew what the outcome would be. Rider exits the stage with his head held high; he was defeated in battle but Gilgamesh could not conquer his marauding soul. Meanwhile, the episode’s other big reveal, Berserker’s identity, was the source of further anguish for Saber, because clearly the poor girl hasn’t been through even. She is forced to accept the truth in Rider’s words when it looks her right in the eyes and says her name. There is a lot to praise in this week’s episode ‘The Sea at the World’s Edge’ but also a couple of points of criticism.

Spoilers beyond. Beware

[Anime] Fate/Zero: All The World’s Evil (S2E9)

Lonely At The Top

This post has spoilers for Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero (up to episode 22). If you do not wish for certain information regarding plot points from this series or other related series to be revealed to you, you might want to consider not reading any further.

Is there a word in the English language for a feeling where you both want and don’t want to know what happens next? This week’s episode of Fate/Zero left me with some mixed feelings; sadness at what I know is coming next and excitement at finally getting to see it. This episode, ‘All The World’s Evils’ brings us as close to the final showdown as possible without actually showing us any of it – an upcoming fight between Saber and Berserker is mentioned and a showdown between Kirei and Kiritsugu is looming on horizon as well. I face a weekly struggle to keep myself from binging through the remainder of this series, but this week that required an exceptionally Herculean effort for which I think I deserve several pats on the back. I have learned over the course of this series that my death flag sensor isn’t particularly refined, which is good in a way because all I saw in this episode were death flags. Waver gets an emotional farewell from family he never knew he had and gives Rider a final set of missions while Kirei is forced to accept that his read on Kiritsugu was totally wrong, though Iri pays a hefty price for teaching Kirei that particular lesson. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that this Grail War was Kirei’s to lose but since I do know better, I’m just going to remark on how startling it is that Kirei loses this despite the haggard state the rest of his competitors are in.

Spoilers beyond. Beware

[Re-Read] A Storm of Swords – Davos II

ASoS

This post has spoilers for George RR Martin’s fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, including fan theories and speculation. If you do not wish for certain information regarding future plot points from this series or other related series to be revealed to you, you might want to consider not reading any further.

The last time we saw Davos Seaworth, he was demonstrating just how Seaworthy (look, let me just have this one) he was by surviving the sinking of his ship, the burning of his fleet, the loss of his sons, starvation, dehydration and a crisis of faith. This week he makes it to Dragonstone, a man with a mission. This is a fairly long chapter though not a particularly eventful one. We learn just how poorly Stannis’ war fares, though we learned enough from the other characters to hazard a guess before this; indeed, most of this chapter is devoted to getting the characters on Dragonstone moving along on their storyline for this book. The chapter ends with Davos out of the frying pan and into the fire – or is it the other way around? Either way, it’s hard to envy Davos his cold dungeon cell when he’s only just recovering from his nasty ordeal.

Click here for chapter commentary

[Anime] Fate/Zero: Knight On Two Wheels (S2E8)

Lonely At The Top

This post has spoilers for Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero (up to episode 21). If you do not wish for certain information regarding plot points from this series or other related series to be revealed to you, you might want to consider not reading any further.

Love brings out both the best and the worst of mankind, doesn’t it? Sometimes, it inspires men and women to overcome herculean obstacles but occasionally, it also drives people stark raving mad. Matou Kariya was never the most stable of characters to begin with but in this week’s episode ‘Knight on Two Wheels’, we see Kirei gleefully push him over the edge and past the point of no return. Elsewhere, Saber’s dedication to duty drives her in pursuit of Rider, only to discover that she, and the audience have been deceived – Irisviel is not with Rider and never was. Kiritsugu reaches a similar conclusion but the stakes are higher for him than for Saber; Irisviel isn’t just his wife, she is also the key to ensuring that all of Kiritsugu’s actions weren’t for nothing. This week’s episode was a thoroughly enjoyable one – the motorbike action sequences were a little dull but watching Kariya’s sanity collapse like a house of cards sort of made up for it, in a very sadistic sense.

Spoilers beyond. Beware