Mr Jefferson goes to Westeros

I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would think of Stannis Baratheon, heh. (Stephen Dillane played Jefferson is the HBO miniseries John Adams).

Jefferson: The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Stannis: Hey, that’s what Melisandre said too! Except, not so much the blood of patriots and tyrants, but the blood of my brother’s child, and not so much for liberty, but to get me the throne.
Jefferson: Yeah, you’re totally not getting the point here.

Picspam, because I’m in a Stephen Dillane mood today ūüôā Apparently he’s EIGHT years older than Mark Addy, who played Stannis’ older brother Robert. You can kinda see it from the lines of Dillane’s face, but it helps that they never actually appear together on screen, hehe.

Thomas Jefferson versus Stannis Baratheon.

Game of Thrones S02E09 (Blackwater) – Stannis’ Battle

Stannis’ speech is more economical than Tyrion : “Come with me and take this city”.

Now that’s a mark of a true leader, he’s the first off the boat storming the beach. The problem is, most of his men were Renly’s supporters, fighting for him under duress, so not very surprising they started bailing when it looks like they were going to be defeated. And with his most trusted man Davos out of commission (surely Davos is not dead??), Stannis is pretty much on his own. Hmmm, maybe leaving Melisandre is not such a good idea after all, heh.

I Miss Stannis

Two episodes without Stannis, and he’s not in the preview for the next episode either. How long does it take for his ships to get from whereever Renly’s camp was to King’s Landing anyway? Littlefinger did his world tour of Westeros mighty quickly, one minute he’s in King’s Landing, next he’s at Renly’s camp, all of a sudden he’s in Harrenhal spooking Arya. Father-of-murderous-shadow-baby, I miss you! I know Stannis is a world-class hypocrite with all his talk about honor and doing the right thing and all, but he’s still so much fun to watch.

On a less fun note, I accidentally read some spoilery stuff about the book, hinting that a certain character I can’t stand is supposed to be the chosen one or the savior of the world or something like that (I guess Melisandre got it wrong, heh). Whaaaat??? I’m struggling to get through his/her scenes now as it is, what am I going to do when he/she is THE major character with TONS of screentimes in the coming seasons?

“Papadopoulos & Sons” Trailer

Stannis Baratheon opening a fish-and-chip shop! Apparently the movie also stars Stephen Dillane’s real-life son, Frank Dillane. The younger Dillane played the young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter.

Teaser trailer, mostly interview with the Dillanes. I like that phrase “the chance to see your children in the world, operating”.

He looks so young! And so different from the dour, joyless Stannis, heh.

Funny family

Game of Thrones S02E05 (The Ghost of Harrenhal) – The False Advertising Edition

Oh for heaven’s sake, GoT, if you want me to root for the “good” guys, you shouldn’t have cast these three amazing actors as the “bad” guys! Now I feel like a psychopath for delighting over Tywin¬†acting like a¬†complete hard-ass, and for still being totally fascinated by Stannis after he did something that is¬†probably even worse that anything the Lannisters ever did. To top it off, now I LOVE Littlefinger again. Also, it would have helped if the show had cast somebody¬†more charismatic and less BORING as good guy Jon Snow. Good and honorable doesn’t have to mean boring, if you cast the right person; Ned Stark was never boring.

I feel cheated! HBO promoted the Renly-Loras-Margaery triangle quite a bit, with video previews¬†and numerous interviews with Natalie Dormer, and now it’s over, halfway through the season. All I can say is, Margaery Tyrell better be in the show¬†a lot¬†more, or people might have a case¬†against HBO for false advertising. So not only did Melisandre NOT give Stannis a real son and heir, the shadow baby she birthed killed his only brother and current heir. The latter part, I’m sure, is just fine and dandy with Stannis, since all of Renly’s bannermen are now following him. Except for the Tyrells, who were convinced by Littlefinger to¬†throw their lot with the Lannisters.¬†Where are the parents? Can Loras and Margaery just decide¬†by themselves? Curious, this. ¬†

Poor Renly, even Brienne the super-bodyguard couldn’t help him. Why would people immediately assume that¬†it was Brienne who killed Renly? Catelyn was right there too, and she’s not one of them. Did I miss some backstory about Brienne and Renly? The sobbing mess that she was over Renly’s dead body (not to mention the “I won’t leave him!”)¬†seems more than just distraught over doing a bad job protecting someone. The upside is, we now have the awesome¬†team of Catelyn-Brienne to look forward to.

Seriously, Tywin needs to come to King’s Landing ASAP and knock some sense into his children and grandson. Cersei and Tyrion are busy spying and plotting against one another while Stannis is coming for them. What the heck? So now EVERYONE is using magic? It’s that kind of show now? The Lord of Light versus wildfire. Aghhhhh, I’m not really liking this. Demon monkey, heh. Poor Tyrion.

I’ve been trying to figure out why Stannis suddenly looks so, ermm, fetching this episode. (I’ve been fascinated by the character since the beginning of the season, but never in¬†the “be still, my heart!” way before). It’s the clothes! He’s usually wearing a robe. There’s something about the battle clothes and the sword … Ohhh, I’m so easy!

Here is where I think more badly of Stanis compared to, say, someone like Tywin Lannister. If Tywin Lannister had use magic and sorcery to kill someone, he would have wanted to know all the details, and he would have OWNED it. He would not have pretended like it never happened, or it had nothing to do with him. Stannis, on the other hand, didn’t want to know what Melisandre did to cause Renly’s death, or even hear anything about what happened in the cave. From what Davos said, we’re meant to believe that this is not the norm for Stannis (“I have never known you to hide from the truth”), that it’s all because of his obsession with the throne. I don’t know if it’s really true or not, since we’re not shown the Stannis before he was obsessed with being the king.

This is pretty juvenile of me, but Davos advising Stannis not to take Melisandre along¬†during the attack on King’s Landing reminds me of a guy telling his buddy “that girl is just not right for you!” And Stannis is all “I thought you’re my friend and I can count on you!” Davos can’t quite look Stannis in the eye, all “friends tell each other the truth!” Of course these two had a slightly more adult conversation:

Davos: Will you bring Lady Melisandre with you?
Stannis: Well, that’s not your concern.
Davos: If you take King’s Landing with her by your side, the victory will be hers.
Stannis: I never thought I’d have reasons to doubt your loyalty. Was I wrong?
Davos: Service means telling hard truths.
Stannis: Alright, what’s the truth? The hard truth.
Davos: She’s a foreigner, preaching her foreign religion. Some believes she whispers orders in your ear, and you obey.
Stannis: What do you believe?
Davos: You won those bannermen from Renly. Don’t lose them to her.
Stannis: We set out for King’s Landing without Lady Melisandre. And you’ll lead to fleet into Blackwater Bay.
Davos: Your grace, I’m honored, but my time at sea was spent evading ships, not attacking them. The other lords won’t be happy.
Stannis: Most of those lords should be happy I don’t hang them for treason. Hard truths cut both ways, Sir Davos.

These two are reminding me of the Robert Bratheon – Ned Stark relationship. Ned Stark failed to save Robert from his biggest enemy – himself. Will Davos be more successful? Probably not, especially since he also has Melisandre to contend with. She is not going to be happy about being left behind.

Arya, oh Arya! You had three wish for people to die, and Tywin is not your first choice?? ‘This is war, no one’s content”. Heh. I know Tywin is evil, but I love his clear-headedness about things, his willingness to face and state the truth, no matter how unpleasant (“We’ve underestimated the Stark boy for too long. He has a good mind for warfare, his men worship him.”) Wait, so Cersei and Tyrion never told their father about Arya being gone from King’s Landing? I expect we’ll see ¬†the repercussions from Bran’s decision in next week’s episode. Aghhhhhh, maybe Catelyn should have gone back to Winterfell like she planned to in the first place!

Funny how Ned Stark is now a cautionary tale ….

I guess being beheaded will do that to you, heh.

Stannis: When Eddard Stark learned the truth he told only me. I’d not make the same mistake. Send copies of that letter to every corners of the realms, from the harbors to the Wall. The time has come to choose. Let no man claim ignorance as an excuse.

Tyrion: I don’t like threats.
Varys: Who threatened you?
Tyrion: I’m not Ned Stark, I understand the way this game is played.
Varys: Ned Stark was a man of honor.
Tyrion: I am not. Threaten me again, and I’ll have thrown into the sea.

Game of Thrones S02E02 (The Night Lands) – The “Stannis is My God” Edition

This episode should have been called “Fathers and Sons”.¬† The two father-son conflicts are heartbreaking, even though the conflicts involved characters I don’t really know yet and are not particularly attached to (Davos Seaworth and his son) and a character I¬†don’t really care about¬†from Season 1 (Theon Greyjoy and his father). Add to that the story of a man so desperate to have a son that he’s willing to do something he wasn’t tempted to do for … umm …¬†pleasure.

Davos Seaworth and Matthos Seaworth

Davos is trying to convince¬†Salladhor Saan, a pirate,¬†to join Stannis’ army (Stannis has the smallest army at the moment among the contenders for the Iron Throne). Matthos is visibly not comfortable with this, even though his father was once a smuggler himself. (Matthos is the guy from the first episode writing the letter Stannis dictated announcing Stannis’ claim to the Iron Throne). The subject turned to religion, when Matthos, angry¬†that Salladhor doesn’t seem all that impressed with Stannis, started a rant about¬†Stannis being the¬†rightful king, chosen by the one true god etc etc. Salladhor’s retort? He’s been¬†to a lot of places, and everywhere he went,¬†people are always convinced their god is the¬†one true god. “The one true god is what’s between a woman’s legs”. Hah! Borderline sexist, but I might end up liking this Salladhor guy.

Davos and Salladhor sealed the deal, and poor Davos has to continue the religion convo with his son. Matthos wants his father to learn how to read so that he can read the holy books (and be more of a believer, I suppose). Davos said he wished he can believe in god, but he’s been everywhere and seen people pray to every god there is, for rain, for wind, for home, and it never worked.

Matthos: But you always came home.
Davos: I wasn’t praying.
Matthos: But I was. Every night when you’re at sea, I light a candle, and I prayed, for you.

Ahhhhh, this is heartbreaking. What is a father supposed to say to that? “Sonny, your prayer meant nothing, that wasn’t what kept me save”? Of course not, so Davos tried changing the subject.

Davos: You want me to have a god? Fine. King Stannis is my god. He raised me up and blessed me with his trust, he gave you a future I could never have imagined. You know how to read, you’ll be a knight someday, you think a fire god commanded all that? It was Stannis, only Stannis.

Of course this also explains the backstory between Stannis and Davos, and the root of Davos’ loyalty.

Theon Greyjoy and Balon Greyjoy

Theon managed to convince Robb to make Theon’s father the King of Iron Island once again, if Balon Greyjoy agreed to help him in his rebellion. Unfortunately, daddy didn’t take to¬†the offer too kindly – no one gives me the Crown, I will take it myself – and basically flipped out when Theon said the offer was his idea, and that Robb listens to his advice and thinks of him like a brother. This is further proof for Balon that Theon’s loyalty is with the Starks now, and he has forgotten that Ned Stark killed his brothers during the Greyjoy’s rebellion. See, this is why the whole “taking someone’s son as a hostage so he won’t rebel” thing never made much sense to me. Having raised Theon basically like one of the family, would Ned, or Robb, really be willing to kill Theon if his father does rebel? And Theon’s father, after not seeing his son for so long, and suspecting that Theon’s loyalty has changed after living with the Starks, isn’t it possible that he won’t really care all that much what happens to this son?

There’s also the added complication for Theon that he had not foreseen, probably because of his attitude towards women (he seems to think they’re only good for his pleasure, enough said). Much to his surprise, Theon’s sister Yara is now basically their father’s trusted heir. Theon’s feeble opposition (But she’s a woman! How can she lead an attack?) is laughed off by his father, and Theon seemed so stunned by this that he almost missed the other thing his father was saying – Yara will not be leading an attack against the Lannisters, but against¬†another target.¬†I’m guessing Winterfell is the actual target? With Robb and most of his men gone to war, Winterfell would be very vulnerable at this point.¬†¬†So, where would Theon’s loyalty lie? With the Starks, or with his father? I’m thinking the “sis got the position I should have had because I’m the only surviving son” would grate on him so much, Theon would be willing to do anything to¬†regain his father’s trust, the¬†Starks be damned. Oh Robb, you should have listened to your mother when she said this is a bad idea. Why did you trust Theon so much?? (My brother, the big tease that he is, told me I will be saying that a lot this season – Oh Robb! Why didn’t you listen to your mother?)

Stannis and Melisandre (and the promised son)

Stannis is complaining to Melisandre¬†that the Lord of Light hasn’t really done much to help him in his quest to be King, even though he’s burned all the idols of the old gods the people used to believe in, and he’s¬†recited all the words¬†praying to the Lord of Light.¬†Yeah … I don’t think real faith works like that, Stannis, faith is not supposed to be quid pro quo. Melisandre then basically took off her clothes and told Stannis he hasn’t given himself completely yet to the Lord of Light (the implication being, that will only happens if Stannis has sex with her). Stannis is not interested –¬† he has a wife, he took a vow, etc etc.¬†Melisandre talked about how his wife is sickly, and unable to give him sons, but Melisandre can, and will, give him a son.¬† (The obsession with sons, rather than children in general, is icky and disturbing, but I guess it’s one of those “this is the culture these people¬†were living¬†in at the time”). And suddenly Stannis is interested! What turns him on isn’t a beautiful naked woman offering herself to him, but the naked woman promising to bear him a son. Hmmm. I think I would be ¬†inclined to¬†feel more charitable towards a¬†man who strays because of lust and a momentary weakness of the flesh – that seems very human. But this …. this¬†is more disturbing somehow. ¬†Stephen Dillane is just so brilliant as Stannis though, I can’t keep my eyes off this character. The way Stannis¬†is almost in tears when he said “a son?”, the pure desperation in his “union’ with Melisandre. It’s clear that Stannis is a more complicated and ambiguous character than the always honorable¬†Ned Stark, but he’s my Ned Stark this season, the character I’ll keep watching the show for. (Please, please¬†don’t tell me he’s going to die too?!)

Other storylines:

Fascinating convo between Tyrion and Cersei, about what ruling is all about. To Tyrion, it’s about the loyalty¬†of the people you rule, and how cruelty and indifference (like letting your people starve, Cersei, or killing babies because you suspect they are the late king’s bastards, Joffrey) won’t engender loyalty. To Cersei, it’s a bit different:

Cersei: You want to be Hand of the King, you want to rule, this is what ruling is. Lying in a bed of weeds, ripping them out one by one before they strangle you in your sleep.
Tyrion: I’m no king, but I think there’s more to it than that.
Cersei: I don’t care what you think! You’ve never taken it seriously, you haven’t, Jaime hasn’t. It’s all fallen on me.

Well obviously from a moral and ethical standpoint, Tyrion has the better argument¬†(killing¬†babies and letting people starve = bad, FYI, Cersei).¬†But even looking at it from a purely pragmatic point of view, Cersei’s view of ruling is only effective once you have consolidated power, when you’re the indisputed ruler.¬†When you are at war with various other factions to keep the power, it’s not really wise to alienate the very people you’re trying to rule.

I can’t believe Gendry is the only one who suspects that Arya is a girl. But pretty smart of her immediately telling him she’s not just any girl, she’s Ned Stark’s daughter. She’s going to meet up with Jon Snow at some point, right? Maybe I’m going to care more about the Night’s Watch storyline if Arya is a part of it. Jon Snow is so bland, even Theon is a much, much more intriguing character than him at the moment. Daenerys and her people are still stuck in nowhere land, with little food and water. Magic dragons, when will you grow up and destroy her enemies? This is a bit shocking even to me, but I’m not really liking Littlefinger in Season 2 so far; he seems to have lost his usual cunningness, and his gratuitous cruelty to the grieving prostitute is not a very smart move. Yes, he can be cruel and sadistic, but he’s usually smarter about it than this.

Still no Renly, his wife and his lover the brother-in-law (aghhh, I can’t wait for this storyline to start!) ¬†And no Robb, Catelyn and Jaime this week. I wish the show would cool it a bit with some of the more explicit scenes. Some scenes do serve a purpose – the Stannis-Melisandre one for example¬†tells us a lot about Stannis in just a few seconds – but some of them, especially the ones in Littlefinger’s establishment, feel very gratuitous and not really relevant to the story.

Anna Karenina (2000)

I have a sudden obsession with Anna Karenina. Apparently there’s a 2000 British miniseries starring Stephen Dillane as Karenin and Mark Strong as Anna’s brother Oblonsky. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! I want to¬†watch this ASAP! Anna was played by Helen McCrory (probably most well-known as Cherie Blair in “The Queen”) and Kevin McKidd (Dr Owen Hunt aka Cristina’s husband in Grey’s Anatomy) played Count Vronsky. Was looking at the IMDB page for the 2012 Anna Karenina; I can’t find casting info for Nikolai Levin the dying brother. This, plus the fact that Joe Wright casts relatively unknown actors for the parts of Kitty and Levin made me suspect that the movie will be mostly about Anna, Vronsky and Karenin, and ignoring a large part of Levin’s story. Not surprising, I guess, you can’t fit everything in 2+ hours, and once you’ve cast a¬†big star as Anna, you can’t keep moving from her story to someone else’s.


New Game of Thrones Season 2 Pictures

Finally a picture of Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon. According to the caption, the woman is Melisandre his adviser, but Mr Google informed me she’s also a priestess. Hmm, Stannis is not some sort of a religious nut, is he? Like we can only fight on certain days because the gods don’t favor it, or we need to sacrifice virgins and children to appease the gods or something like that? Hopefully not.

Another new character, Balon Greyjoy (Theon’s father).

I’m generally meh on the three young studs, but Robb Stark is looking mighty fine here.

More pictures here:

Game of Thrones Season 2 Trailer

Game of Thrones teaser trailer for Season 2. Voiceover is by Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon:

Wow, that does not sound like Stephen Dillane at all, at least the Stephen Dillane I remember from Welcome to Sarajevo and The Hours. That guy in the trailer sounds more like Jason Statham! What the heck? Hopefully Stannis will not be talking in that tone of voice all season. I guess “the cold winds are rising” is Stannis’ version of “winter is coming” from the Starks. I assume they’re all speaking in metaphors, since we’ve seen plenty of cold, wind and winters in the show already.

I haven’t seen any picture of Dillane as Stannis yet, but here’s Dillane as the conflicted journalist in Welcome to Sarajevo, and as Virginia Woolf’s husband in The Hours: