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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7, Episode 1: A Tale of Two Maps

Jamie Florence

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7, Episode 1: A Tale of Two Maps

 

After years of billowing story and cast, it was striking to note how the action hinged mostly on people we have been with from the beginning: Cersei and Jaime Lannister; Jon Snow; Sansa, Arya and Bran Stark; Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion. Even the Hound — now riding with the unkillable Beric Dondarrion and Thoros, the Myrish red priest with Brooklyn bartender styling — has been around, off and on, since the pilot.

The world of the show is smaller, too, as suggested by those maps. Pretty much everyone of note is back in Westeros, a land at least nominally ruled by a woman who has been around King’s Landing long enough to know that claiming the Iron Throne and keeping it are two very different things.

“It’s ours now, we just have to take it,” Cersei told Jaime, walking over a freshly painted survey of the empire she plans to keep in the family for a millennium.

What family? Jaime wondered. All our children are dead. And with enemies in every direction, how are we going to stay on top without any allies to help us? “We can’t win this war alone,” he said.

Cue the pirate king. Euron Greyjoy arrived last season aiming to kill his relatives and take control of the Iron Islands. He was largely successful, tossing Balon off a bridge and being named ruler, but Yara and Theon took off with the boats and pledged them to Team Targaryen. Give me some ships and I will give you the world, Euron told his minions then.

We saw the result on Sunday, as Euron arrived with his new fleet and plans for an alliance via a marriage proposal. “Here I am with a thousand ships and two good hands,” he said, clearly annoying Jaime, but even he would have to admit it’s a pretty funny line. (Pilou Asbaek struck an agreeable note of malevolent arrogance — his Euron could be a fun villain.)

After Cersei declined Euron’s offer, he promised a “priceless gift,” saying he won’t return to King’s Landing until he has it. Any guesses what it might be? My first thought was Tyrion, Euron’s gift pledge coming, as it did, right after talk of traitorous relatives and the joy of murdering your own brother. Plus Tyrion has a knack for getting captured (Catelyn, Jorah). I suppose a dragon would be the most priceless gift of all, but that seems impractical. Something that thwarts dragons, perhaps? (Giant strips of dragonpaper?) Feel free to share your theories in the comments.

A big question going into the season was what a childless Cersei might look like, maternal devotion long being her one tether to whatever remained of her humanity. On Sunday she looked fairly power-obsessed and spiteful, grousing to Jaime about traitors and eying “a dynasty for us,” which is an interesting interpretation of the dynasty concept. That said, I thought she was a goner last year and look what happened then. I don’t think her tactics will pay off in the end but in the short-term, at least, I’m done underestimating her.

We also saw Cersei’s instincts on display in an unexpected place: Winterfell. That’s where the seeds of Stark conflict glimpsed last season blossomed awkwardly in front of everyone, as Sansa took issue with the decency Jon showed toward formerly treasonous Northern houses.

Jon wants to restore the peace and ensure the loyalties of the families best positioned to defend against the White Walkers. Sansa wants revenge — let’s kick those traitors out and give their castles to families who deserve them. It was the kind of cold logic she picked up from Cersei, and Sansa confirmed as much a little later.

“You almost sound as if you admire her,” Jon said.

“I learned a great deal from her,” Sansa replied.

Photo

Pilou Asbaek in “Game of Thrones.”

Credit
Helen Sloan/HBO

Jon could still prove to be too noble for his own good, like Ned and Robb, or too dismissive of the threat the Lannisters pose. But I’m more concerned about Sansa. Her Cersei obsession leaves her vulnerable to Littlefinger, still skulking in the shadows of Winterfell with his own Iron Throne dreams. Strategically, it was hard not to side with Jon on the castle issue, especially after we saw the grateful Umber and Karstark children who won’t be tossed out of their homes.

More broadly speaking, he remains focused on the big picture — which according to Bran’s wintry vision, now includes zombie giants — while Sansa remains mired in traditional rules and the cycles of vengeance that have kept the blood flowing in this story.

It’s a quality she shares with her sister, who kicked off the episode’s cold open, perhaps a meta commentary on the best way to serve revenge.

Was the wine itself cold? Probably not, but it did the job. The Frey family was decimated within a few fateful gulps amid a brief recap of what they were paying for: Stark murder, mostly, but also just bad hosting manners. “Slaughtered your guests after inviting them into your home,” Arya, as Walder, reproached. (It, like the Son Pie she served Walder Frey before killing him, was foreshadowed by Bran’s Rat King story way back in Season 3.)

“Tell them winter came for House Frey,” Arya instructed one of the women she spared. It’s a first-rate catchphrase for a ruthless assassin, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about her soul. We’re reminded that the Stark girls have suffered plenty of trauma, from witnessing their father’s execution through multiple rounds of physical and emotional abuse. As they grow into ever more powerful women, will they resist or lean into the dark forces and experiences that have shaped them?

Photo

Maisie Williams in “Game of Thrones.”

Credit
Helen Sloan/HBO

Arya originally planned to go to Winterfell, but apparently changed her mind once she heard her kill-list target is in charge in King’s Landing. I’m going to kill the queen, she told Ed Sheeran and his soldier friends.

Jon, as ever, is looking northward, but circumstances may be pushing him toward Dragonstone. On Sunday he announced his first major defense initiative as King in the North: An enormous dragonglass mining effort. Samwell Tarly later learned, between his maester orderly rounds, that large stores of the substance, which kills White Walkers and which we know as obsidian, are at (surprise) Dragonstone.

And who is currently at Dragonstone? Jon’s aunt, also known as the other powerful queen in this story, who has moved into her ancestral home and has a nice map of her own.

In sparkling sunlight, Dragonstone looks more majestic than it did during Stannis’s gloomy tenure. The dragon-wing rooflines seem more graceful, perhaps because the castle somehow knows a Targaryen has returned but more likely because C.G.I. aesthetics have improved since Season 2.

After some light redecorating, Daenerys and Tyrion adjourned to the map room, which the greater Thronesweb tells me is called the Chamber of the Painted Table, and is where Aegon Targaryen planned his conquering campaign hundreds of years ago. More recently it was where Stannis held his meetings and where, you might recall, Melisandre seduced him into conceiving a fratricidal shadow-baby back in Season 2. (About right where you’re standing, Dany — you might want to move over a couple feet.)

Photo

Emilia Clarke and Jacob Anderson in “Game of Thrones.”

Credit
Helen Sloan/HBO

“Shall we begin?” the Dragon Queen asks Tyrion. This being the former occupier of Meereen, we could be in for a lengthy stay, though she seems more motivated since she emerged from that flaming temple last season. Besides, we only have 12 more episodes to go — so if she’s ready, so am I.

A Few Thoughts While We Remember the Little People

• There were several suggestions that though they don’t show up on the maps, the plebes of Westeros could be a factor this season. The most chilling reminder that they matter, too, and that actions of the powerful have consequences, was the family the Hound victimized in Season 4, found dead in its home. More subtle was the lingering scene with Sheehan’s soldier cohorts, decent men who just miss their families. Up North, Jon plans to teach everyone, age 10 to 60, to fight White Walkers. I wonder how the citizens of King’s Landing, who hated the Lannisters even before Cersei killed scores of them with her wildfire, might come into play later.

• The Hound might be turning into a believer, after seeing visions in the flames about thousands of the dead marching past a castle near “where the Wall meets the sea.” That sounds like Eastwatch, where Tormund and the Wildlings are going as part of the defense effort.

• “You think you’re fooling anyone with that topknot?” the Hound asks Thoros. It was a bit anachronistic but I enjoyed it.

• “I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me,” Lyanna Mormont, awesome as ever, tells her chauvinist bannermen colleague. “And I don’t need your permission to defend the North.” Davos looked ready to adopt her.

• Tormund’s game could use some work.

• Sam is having a different experience at the Citadel from what he probably imagined in his maester dreams. The pot montage was the most disgusting thing I’ve laughed at in awhile.

• “The Wall has stood through it all, and every winter that has ever came has ended,” the archmaester of the Citadel tells Sam. That was a nice debut monologue for Jim Broadbent, but every time I hear someone mention the imperviousness of the Wall — see also Sansa on Sunday — I become a little more convinced it will break down before the end of this story.

• Guess Jorah didn’t find that greyscale cure, huh?

• What did you think about the kickoff to Season 7? Are Jon and Sansa headed for a break? Did the Sheeran cameo take you out of the story? (I was fine with it.) What’s your favorite thing to give murderous monarchs? Please fire away in the comments.

Via: NYTimes

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Watch the first full trailer for Marvel’s Black Panther

Riot Housewives

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Watch the first full trailer for Marvel’s Black Panther

The first full trailer for Marvel’s Black Panther is here, and it gives us a better look at the world of Wakanda, where T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is the newly crowned king. In the trailer, we see Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), as he attempts to dethrone the Black Panther, plus lots of slow-motion, aerial views, and tight spandex. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) reminds the Black Panther, “You get to decide what kind of king you are going to be.”

Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther is a highly anticipated addition to Marvel’s cinematic slate, and it’s the first Marvel film to feature a predominately black cast.

Black Panther comes out on February 16th, 2018.

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Justice League Star Announces ‘Flash Week’

Chris Parker

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Justice League Star Announces ‘Flash Week’

 

With Justice League approaching its release, ‘The Flash’ week is now underway. While fans have already had a whole movie each featuring Wonder Woman and Superman and saw the two join forces with Batman last year, the other members of the Justice League aren’t quite as familiar. Out of all of them, however, The Flash is the best known. Even before his hit TV show on The CW, The Flash has long been one of DC’s most popular character.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad both featured cameos from Ezra Miller as The Flash, and Barry Allen has gotten plenty of screen time in the Justice League trailers so far; and for those who have seen the movie, he’s apparently one of Justice League‘s best parts. Still, Warner Bros and DC want to make sure audiences know what separates this take on the hero from the one who’s been on The CW for years. As such, this week’s Justice League ad campaign is all about the Scarlet Speedster.

Justice League is kicking off ‘Flash Week’ today, with a new video featuring Miller. All week, new content will arrive focusing on Barry Allen, including new footage from the film. You can watch said announcement clip with Miller, below:

 

 

Last week, Justice League put the spotlight on Aquaman, revealing new footage of him in the film along with commentary from Jason Momoa. ‘Flash Week’ is starting even earlier this week, so we should get even more from the hero and his actor. While Aquaman will get his own solo film next year, WB and DC have yet to announce an official release date for The Flash’s solo movie, Flashpoint. Hopefully, Justice League will help sell fans on Miller’s character and increase anticipation for the solo adventure.

As we await more insight on The Flash, the marketing for Justice League has continued to offer promos, new footage, and interviews with the cast. So far, we learned about the weaknesses of each Justice League member. Though they seem god-like, they do have individual shortcomings. We also learned how Cyborg’s origin will differ from the comics. Like Aquaman and The Flash, he will get more time in the spotlight soon (and considering he’s nowhere near as well-known, he’ll certainly need it). In the meantime, stay tuned as more information on The Flash in Justice League is revealed.

Source: Justice League Twitter Account

 

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Jigsaw Trailer Recaps The Saw Franchise

Chris Parker

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Jigsaw Trailer Recaps The Saw Franchise

 

A new trailer for Jigsaw gives fans and newcomers alike a refresher course on the series so far. The Saw franchise was a staple for horror fans every Halloween in the mid to late 2000s, until the series seemingly called it quits with The Final Chapter back in 2010. The Saw movies revolved around the exploits of John Kramer, a man diagnosed with a terminal illness who decides to use the time he has left to kidnap victims and test them to see how much they value their lives.

He would place inside vicious, themed traps, where they would usually have to shed some blood – or limbs – to survive; most of them didn’t. The series is one of the few horror franchises that paid close attention to continuity, with each sequel building on characters and plot revelations from the previous entry. By the time the series reached part seven, though, the story had gotten too convoluted for many, and it felt like Saw had run out of steam by the time The Final Chapter opened in theaters.

Jigsaw aims to revive the series once more, and a new trailer has appeared that quickly recaps the first seven Saw movies, and explains Kramer’s motivations and philosophy. The new sequel follows a fresh batch of victims being tested – and tormented – by the legendary Jigsaw… which should be impossible, since John Kramer died in Saw III.

It will be interesting to see if Jigsaw does well, since audiences seemed burnt out on the series back when The Final Chapter was released. The Saw franchise belongs to an era of horror commonly known as “torture porn”, which typically featured victims being graphically tortured and dismembered. Other movies from this subgenre including the Hostel films, The Collector and Wolf Creek; and while they proved profitable for a few years, their inherent nastiness soon turned most viewers off.

The original Saw was actually more of a taut thriller with little in the way of gore, and this new entry appears to be playing up the mystery of who exactly is behind the new tests. Jigsaw may have also lucked out in terms of timing since horror is experiencing a real boon right now. IT is now one of the highest grossing horror movies of all time, and Blumhouse is having a great year thanks to films like Happy Death Day, Split and Get Out.

With Pennywise emerging as a new horror icon, and the forthcoming Halloween reboot bringing Michael Myers back to life, maybe there’s room after all for Jigsaw in the modern horror scene.

Source: Lionsgate

 

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