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Game of Thrones Recap S8-E1

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Bruh. Bruh. Bruh! The wait is finally over.

We’ve been waiting almost two years for season 8 of Game of Thrones and it’s finally here replete with all the intrigue, violence, politics and fantasy that we love. I’m looking to recap every episode this season and give you some theories on what each episode tells us about what is to come.

Season 8 starts off hot with an updated credits sequence. We’re still going around Westeros and seeing every location that will be in this week’s episode but now with the updated credits we don’t just fly past the locations but actually peek inside the different castles. At Winterfell we see the interior layout from the towers to the grand dining hall all the way down to the crypts and the thing that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck was them showing the stone tiles churning under the crypts as if to say we will see beneath the crypts this season. We also see the wall has come down and the ground between the wall and Last Hearth, the home of the Umbers has turned icy blue to show that the army of the dead has made it to Last Hearth. As the credits roll on we see that the icy blue is on the other side of Last Hearth as well as if to say the dead haven’t just rolled up to Last Hearth but also taken over and started to move on. More on that later…

The episode formally starts with a young boy running through the woods and along the road of Wintertown just outside of Winterfell trying to catch a glimpse of the royal procession. We see Queen Daenerys and Jon Snow on horseback riding side by side along with the Unsullied and all of team Dany marching towards Winterfell. The Hound, Jorah Mormont, Missandei and Grey Worm, Tyrion and Varys. Gang gang! It’s a callback to Bran climbing the battlements to see King Robert’s approaching in the first episode of the series.

We see many other northerners on the side of the road and they don’t look happy to see a Targaryen queen and her army in the north. Dany looks a little shaken by the lack of love for a moment until her two dragons do a flyover and scare the shit out of half the crowd. She’s reminded of who she is and quickly regains her composure. Arya is in the crowd along the road instead of waiting with the other lords and ladies at Winterfell and we see her expression as she sees Jon, (joy) The Hound, (trepidation) and Gendry (lust????)

We get inside the walls of Winterfell for the introduction of Sansa and Daenerys. Dany is very warm and gracious and is all smiles but Sansa is obviously not pleased that Jon has bent the knee. Nonetheless she does tell Daenerys “Winterfell is yours, your grace.” Sansa’s greeting is as cold as Old Nan’s tits and the new Queen is not here for it. This frosty relationship will need to warm up quickly because we have bigger fish to fry. Bran says as much during the introductions telling everyone “we don’t have time for this!” Hopefully, they heed his words.

Jon Snow rode a fucking dragon!… And right before that Jon got on Rhaegal while Dany mounted Drogon and they all flew to a secluded spot in the north so that the dragons could find some food.

Gendry was hard at work making weapons out of dragonglass at the Winterfell forge when the Hound shows up and picks up an order. He likes to give Gendry a hard time whenever they speak. Arya pops up from behind the Hound scolds him about teasing Gendry. We get the long awaited Hound-Arya reunion and it’s very respectful. They wil be fighting alongside each other some time soon. Then the Hound walks off and Arya’s knickers seem to get positively moist while she talks to Gendry about making her a customized weapon. The feeling is obviously mutual as they cautiously feel each other out. Maybe Gendry will need to see Ser Davos about some of that fermented crab before the show is over.

Sansa questions Jon about why he bent the knee. Jon tells her he doesn’t care about anything except protecting the north. Sansa asks if he bent the knee because Dany is a good queen or because he is in love?

Down in King’s Landing Euron Greyjoy and Queen Cersei meet in the throne room to confirm delivery of the Golden Company and their 20,000 men– but sadly no elephants. He starts spitting his Iron Islands game and she gives back her cold Cersei vibe and then rolls her eyes and starts to exit the throne room. Strangely though she pauses and allows Euron to follow her to her chambers. After they finish boning she tells him to kick rocks so she can drink wine alone. It all seems like a plot by Cersei. She’s drinking wine right after she and Euron finish even though she told us last season that she was pregnant. She had relations with Euron moments after telling him that if he wanted some booty he needed to buy a whore. In that moment when she was getting ready to leave Euron standing in the throne room there was a look between Cersei and Qyburn right before Cersei allows Euron to follow her to her chambers… perhaps they are setting Euron up to make him think he’s a father-to-be to ensure his loyalty or perhaps they are  just using his lust to make him personally vulnerable. Either way my favorite pirate Euron is going to get played…

…And to underscore that point the very next scene is Theon sneaking on board Euron’s ship with his team of Ironborn to free his sister Yara who Euron kidnapped last season. They kill a few guards and Theon frees Yara who is tied up. As she stands up Yara headbutts the shit out of Theon’s punk ass for letting her get captured in the first place! She forgives him though and helps him up but Yara has had enough of this political nonsense and she’s going home to the Iron Islands. Queen Dany can retreat there if things don’t go well in the North, she theorizes. Theon has other plans. He wants to go to Winterfell and join the fight. The Theon redemption tour continues.

Back at Winterfell Dany goes to thank Samwell Tarly for saving Ser Jorah’s life. This is another greet first meeting of key characters. Sam jokes that he may need a pardon for stealing books from the Citadel and stealing a sword from his father Randall Tarly. The wheels turn and Dany realizes she has flambeed the father of someone who has helped her immensely. Dany quickly tells him that she executed his father which Sam handles pretty well, until he hears that his brother was also executed. Sam breaks down and needs to be excused. This is a tough scene but the way she told him was key: she wasn’t cruel and she didn’t brag. There are a lot of Mad Queen/Dany has become too cruel theories out there but I’m not on board. She took responsibility. She may be callous in the field but she’s not personally cruel. She doesn’t relish in killing anyone but she doesn’t shy away from making tough decisions either. Nobody is going to be right all the time, but I think noting her temperament is key.

Samwell is deeply hurt by the news and is still reeling moments later when he sees Jon for the first time and per Bran’s recommendation tells Jon of his true parentage.

Yes, Jon knows he is Aegon Targaryen, sixth of his name. he knows he is the trueborn son of Rhaegar Targareyan and Lyanna Stark and he is rocked by this information but there was something about the way he accepted the news that made it seems like he wasn’t completely blown away. He questions why Ned lied to him and his next reaction is what this news will do to Dany.

“Daenerys is our queen,” he says. ”This is treason!”
“She shouldn’t be” is Sam’s immediate response.

Sam wants Jon to claim the throne. Sam’s first meeting with the queen has given him reason to believe Dany doesn’t have the requisite vision or compassion to lead the world. Sam has seen Jon first give his life and later give up the northern crown to save the people he cares about. Sam asks a great question: would Dany give up the crown to save the people she loves? Now even a Dany defender like me was put on pause by that question.

We see that our favorite bear-fucking redheaded wildling Tormund is still alive. He managed to make it to Last Hearth, the home of the Umbers in the north after being on the scene when the Night King burned down the wall with his undead dragon. Unfortunately, the army of the dead has beaten them there and taken all of the dead that they wanted and continued on (as per the credits!) Poor little Lord Umber’s body has been pegged to the wall with a spear or sword surrounded by the dismembered arms of a bunch of other corpses.

After Tormund, Beric and Lord Commander Edd run into each other at this ghastly scene we see little Lord Umber’s eyes open blue and the body comes back to life. Beric uses his flaming sword to re-kill the body.  The body and the arms are that same spiral symbol that we’ve seen multiple times in the show but this time with an undead body in the center. It’s reminiscent of the vision that Bran has of when the Night King was created. They showed him tied to a tree and he gets stabbed through the heart with dragon glass and when they pan out the trees surrounding him fan out into a spiral. After Beric re-kills little Lord Umber the flame fans out and light up the dismembered arms in the spiral and what we see looks a lot like the sigil for House Targaryen.

Now this may be a spoiler or it may be Dothraki horseshit but I think it’s a warning that the Night King’s true target is the baby that Jon and Dany are going to have. We don’t even know that she’s pregnant yet but that’s definitely happening and maybe the Night King’s true target is that baby.

One of the central questions of this season is the Night King’s motives. Death, for certain, but it’s not that simple. We’ve seen him leave people alive multiple times. He could have killed Jon Snow and his whole team at the frozen lake in season 7 but his real target was the dragon. He had those spears waiting for a reason.

We know he can see Bran the way Bran sees everyone else so he can plan and strategize on a different level. He also left Craster (Gilly’s father) alive and safe in exchange for Craster giving the Night King his sons so we know he is willing to make deals and not just murder wantonly. The Night King has a specific goal that he’s been building towards and killing Jon Snow hasn’t been it so far. It would make sense that it’s a character that he hasn’t met yet and that flaming Targaryen symbol doesn’t feel coincidental. The show that took two years to come back and only has six episodes left doesn’t have time for cute coincidences. 

Finally, we see Jaime Lannister show up at Winterfell, unshaven, hooded, traveling very humbly. And we see Jaime’s face turn to shock as an expressionless Bran is sitting there in his wheelchair waiting to greet him.

Jamie pushing Bran out of the tower window is what set the events of the story in motion is season 1. The War of the Five Kings and Ned Stark being killed and later Robb and Catelyn Stark. Bran being paralyzed, Rickon later dying. Arya being forced to flee King’s Landing, everything that happened to Sansa at the hands of Joffrey and (even worse) Ramsay could be traced back to Jamie and that’s not even talking about the fact that Jamie killed Daenerys’ father and forced her and her brother to flee to Essos. Jamie could be in hot water from everyone at Winterfell except for the fact that Bran has no time for personal agendas and he always sees the bigger picture. Expect Jamie to be allowed to join Team Winterfell with Bran and Brienne vouching for him.

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10 Easter Eggs of Segregation in Lovecraft Country Episode 1

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We’re all familiar with movies hiding easter eggs throughout their films sending winks and nods to pop-culture references. Sometimes it will be a tip-of-the-cap to an author, actor, or creator. Sometimes it is paying homage to an inspiring series, book, or film that’s near and dear to the director’s heart. This week I’ve seen a first. A T.V. series that has several easter eggs depicting segregation and oppression that only eagle-eyed aficionado’s of the black struggle might have caught on to.

Lovecraft Country is littered with important details that would fly over many people’s heads, and as I watched it again, I caught more nods to the true oppression of many African-Americans during the post-World War II era.

As a film buff, nothing makes me happier than watching a review, breakdown, or hidden easter egg video on a TV show I enjoy. Yesterday I did the same with Lovecraft Country, and while many of the melanin-deficient reviewers on youtube touched on the themes of literature, horror, and fantasy, many understandably missed some of the most important historical references.

Here are 10 Easter Eggs of Segregation in Lovecraft Country Episode 1.

 

1. H.P. Lovecraft’s little poem.

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While we all know H.P. Lovecraft as an innovator of modern horror, fiction, and fantasy in literature, many people (including myself) didn’t know about a poem he wrote that spoke horribly about African Americans. Lovecraft Country alludes to the poem, but never recites it. Once they mentioned the title, I went straight to my Google Search. Below is the poem called: On the Creation of N*****s (1912)

When, long ago, the gods created Earth
In Jove’s fair image Man was shaped at birth.
The beasts for lesser parts were next designed;
Yet were they too remote from humankind.
To fill the gap, and join the rest to Man,
Th’Olympian host conceived a clever plan.
A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,
Filled it with vice, and called the thing a N****r.

I’m sure Jackie Robinson beating the S**T out of Cthulhu at the beginning of the episode was a collective middle finger from the black community to Mr. Lovecraft.

2. Seating for Black People

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Scene from episode 1

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Actual photo of a segregated bus

While this may not come as a surprise to many of you, a lot of people are ignorant to the fact that, yes, black people were made to sit in the back of the bus. Many know the story of Rosa Parks’ defining moment, but for decades this was the way of life for black people. Where insult to injury is predicated in the show is when the bus breaks down and the bus driver gets a local pick-up truck driver to ride the stranded passengers into the city. Immediately in the next scene, the only two black passengers were seen walking down the road into Chicago.

3. Propaganda for the Negro Soldier

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In Lovecraft Country, the above poster is not shown in this episode, but instead, it’s a black soldier telling other young black men that if they enlist, they can see the world. While Atticus walks by the soldier, there’s a glance of recognition as if Atticus was once one of those impressionable young men, and he knows their being lied to. Black men had to be enticed to enlist by different methods than whites because it was hard to show patriotism to a country that still to that day had kept them oppressed. So, they would show a poster of Joe Louis joining the fight…why don’t you? Get to see the world! Little did they know seeing the world would involve PTSD, death, and despair.

4. The Negro Motorist Greenbook

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Scene from episode 1 depiction of the Green-Book

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Actual Green-Book

The synopsis according to IMDB.com is: “Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Black as he joins up with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father.” While this is true, it’s not the whole story. Why are they embarking on this trip? It’s to help update what many people may know as, The Negro Motorist Greenbook. Yup, just like the movie, The Greenbook. If you don’t know, this book was originated by Victor Hugo Green as a travel bible for African Americans. It provided details of safe roads to travel, places for food, repairs, and lodging where they wouldn’t be turned away or even worse, assaulted.

5. James Baldwin’s monologue on racial divide

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During one of the scenes in Lovecraft Country, we see a montage of our protagonist’s road trip. In the montage we see different moments where they face discrimination, others facing discrimination, and the hardships of ignorant people with all the privilege in the world monopolizing on their entitlements. Usually, during movie montages, a composer would play a score to envoke emotions during the collection of scenes. Lovecraft Country went in a different direction. Instead, they played the monologue of James Baldwin’s renowned speech at Cambridge University where he debated with William Buckley on the subject of the United States racial divide. James Baldwin was a brilliant playwright, novelist, speaker, and activist that eloquently described the plight of the black man as it still stands today. Merged with the scenes during the montage, it speaks volumes about the state of America.

6. Ice Cream stand Scene

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Scene from episode 1

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Gordon Sparks photograph

In one of the scenes in the montage, we see a black man and his children waiting at an ice cream stand for service. Right over them is a sign that says “colored” and on the other side of the stand is a group of white people with ice cream being tended to by the servers. This scene looked extremely familiar to me. When I did some research, I realized this scene was based on a famous photograph by Gordon Parks, photographer and journalist who well-documented scenes of the segregation and civil rights era. Years ago I saw his work in its full brilliant quality at the High Museum in Atlanta. The color and detail brought a realism that a black-and-white photo could never do. It made this a real thing.

7. Mother and daughter under the neon sign

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Scene from episode 1

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Actual photo

This scene once again pays homage to another photograph by Gordon Parks. A mother and her daughter dressed elegantly as if they were going to church, standing under a large neon sign that says ‘Colored Entrance’.

8. The billboard across from the gas station

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Scene from episode 1

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Advertisement the billboard is based on

While Atticus and company are at a gas station filling up their car, they are approached by a gas station attendant pretending to be a gorilla to mock them. Leticia holds Atticus back from approaching the man as the attendant intensifies his ignorant behavior and she forces Atticus into the car. As they pull off, you can see a Billboard for Aunt Jemima in the background. Aunt Jemima has always been a misrepresentation of black culture through the lens of the white man and advertised to his fellow man as the overall perception of black people. The image of  Aunt Jemima is a source reflection of the learned behavior of the gas station attendant.

9. Sundown towns

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Scene from episode 1

Two years ago was the first time I’ve ever heard of a Sundown Town. No, not through a history book, but as a warning about staying too late in a little town in Texas that exists today! If I didn’t hear about this first hand, I would’ve thought it was a theme of the past, but no. There are currently county’s that do not condemn the abuse of black people once the sun goes down! While the billboard here might be a relic from the past, Sundown Towns are definitely alive and well across America!

10. White walls

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Scene from episode 1

Not only is this one telling, but it also holds all kinds of subliminal messages. While the group finds a Green book safe haven for dining called Lydia’s, they are surprised to find the restaurant is now called, Simmonsville Dinette. Still, they walk in and are greeted by unwelcoming faces. While the server goes to the back for what seems like their coffee orders, Atticus realizes that the walls are painted white. He asks his uncle to remind him why the white house was white. His uncle tells him about the war of 1812 when British soldiers torched it and when slaves were tasked to rebuild it, they had to paint it white to cover up the burn marks. This tells us two things. Lydia’s restaurant was burnt down and rebuilt by trespassers (obviously for being a safe haven for blacks in this all-white town) and the blackness of this restaurant was erased and covered up by the ‘white’ paint. My goodness, I could go on and on about this one!

I was expecting this series to be littered with easter eggs, but knowing they have incorporated easter eggs specifically about the black movement and struggles has me fired up to see what else is in store for these characters. Did you see any easter eggs that I missed? Comment and let me know.

 

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AMAZON’S “CARNIVAL ROW”

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Just three episodes in and Carnival Row has me hooked and mesmerized by the sheer amount of work Amazon Studios has put into making and building a world set in a Victorian fantasy wonderland. It may feel familiar and even remind you of majestic scales seen in Harry Potter or even The Lord of the Rings but make no mistake this series stands on its own and will be the model other similar fantasy tales are told.

Amazon studios really delivered an amazingly realistic looking world!

You also get hints of Sherlock Holmes from the many British actors the show puts on display. This world not only houses humans but it also features Fauns aka Critch or Puck. Which are humans with horns attached to their heads and goat legs for…. well legs of course.  The second tier of creatures are the Fae who resemble humans at first glance but instead have wings on their backs. They are a non-violent group who fled their homeland from outside invaders. They’re also called Pix. The last group of other worldly beings are called the Pact, who are no friends to the Fae. I hesitate to enter spoiler territory as the reveal of what these creatures are can be seen early in the series.

The story is essentially a civil war among three groups of people and conflicts with the overpowering government in place. Mix that with the ongoing tensions of humans and creatures attempting to live in “harmony” in one land and you have yourself an amazing story relevant to our current state of disarray in this country.

Leading the cast are actors Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne who wonderfully steer this complex interweaving beautiful fantasy world in the right direction, each playing characters opposite of each other but also having their own past backstory of fighting together in a war as well as a blossoming romance between them. Enough so to make their current situation even that more appealing and engaging.

If that’s not enough there is a serial killer prowling about the city disfiguring their prey in a grotesque inhumane fashion. Another character worth mentioning is the actual city where most of the story takes place which is called the Burge. The city is brimming with life and cracks of danger lurking in each corner. Just the lighting alone from street lamps illuminating light in the dark noir city alley ways instantly puts you in that time period, not to mention the costume details of key characters. Amazon studios really delivered an amazingly realistic looking world. All worth investing your time and attention in to.

Delving into anything thought provoking and relevant to our current times, with a touch of sci fi and tech to keep the needle on the beat.

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THE BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL

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It’s a Friday night and i’m finishing up some work waiting for a friend. So I click over to the Angels Seattle game and the first thing  I see is the entire Angels team adorning the number 45, the number worn by their fallen teammate Tyler Skaggs who died of unknown circumstances. However there was something else that I came to realize while watching. Mike Trout really is one of the best baseball players i’ve ever seen!

The man delivers something productive practically every time I see him play. Whether i’m watching at the stadium, in an airport or at home. He’ll surely be diving in centerfield to rob a hit, stealing a base to get in scoring position or driving himself in with a 400 foot home run. His impact is beyond REAL!

If you haven’t seen him play, I suggest you catch it while you can. This level of excellence doesn’t come too often and you wouldn’t want to regret missing it. Let’s put it this way, Mike Trout signed a 12 year contract for…wait for it….$426.5 Million dollars plus a 20 million dollar bonus. And guess what? He’s not overpaid! The dude is really that good.

Mike Trout really is one of the best baseball players i’ve ever seen!

If you don’t believe me, just peep the stats. Coming into his 9th year in the league, the former rookie of the year, 2 time MVP (finished second 4 times) and 8 time all-star has been averaging 38 home runs, 101 rbi’s and a batting average of .306 per season. This is a Lebron in a lifetime type of talent with a lot more in the tank to go.

It may come as a surprise to the casual sports fan since Mike isn’t in every other commercial like most superstar athletes. But to baseball aficionados out there, this isn’t really a revelation at all. They’re just praying the Angels get some more talent around him to showcase those skills to the world or just trade him to the Yankees. I’m pretty sure New York can find a way to make some room for him.

HB aka The World Traveler is fully committed to exploring and sharing with you what the world has to offer in travel and music. Get on board and enjoy the ride!

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