They Say A Blastocyst Is No More a “Baby” Than An Acorn Is An Oak Sideboard. But Consider the Texan. . . .

 Okay, I’m in something of a quandary here.

As some of you may know, I’ve long been playing around with CRISPR gene editing technologies here in my test kitchen/laboratory, and for the last several months have been shepherding a stew of amino acids and pluripotent stem cells (okay, harvested foreskins– don’t even ask,) in an attempt to reprogram a mess of undifferentiated goo into a tissue culture of human cardiac muscle cells.

So, long nerd-story short, I finally got them to coalesce into a jello-like mass that shows signs of electrical activity, to the extent that I was able to detect and record a faint and rhythmic current running through it all– which is to say, I got a heartbeat. Arguably a human one.  No brain stem, no central nervous system, no recognizable features that would indicate “humanity” as you or I know it, but by golly, I got detectable muscular contractions of cardiac tissue any reasonable clinician would admit is indicative of a heartbeat.

So, anyway, yesterday, we were cleaning up my long-neglected living quarters when my dear but not-too-astute housekeeper apparently mistook one of my petri dishes for a cheese plate and stuck it in the dishwasher and sterilized it into oblivion, thus resulting in what could, by Texas legal standards now qualify as having aborted my petri dish heart thingy.

So here’s my question: Can I turn Brenda in to the Texas authorities for cooking it?  I mean, I sure could use that sweet, sweet $10K bounty y’all are offering for ratting out anyone caught aiding or abetting the abortion of a potential human being. More to the point, if I were to create a whole nursery of these things in Amarillo, could I say, take out a million-dollar life insurance policy on each one of the petri dishes housing these “living unborn” and collect a payout from the Texas taxpayers if someone “forgot” to water them over the weekend?

Just asking for a friend.



I woke up this AM to a green miasma of skunk effluent permeating my house.  Again.

And upon inspecting my little orchard discovered that the bears had utterly demolished, branch and root, the last of my prized peach trees –and with it, the rest of this year’s harvest.  Again. 

When I came back in from my morning chores, I read (yet another) apocalyptic article on the depletion of the valley’s aquifers by out-of-state mega Ag conglomerates, and as I walked down to the mailbox to send off a Visa check I couldn’t afford (again,) noted that what one short generation ago was my verdant oak grove and resplendent riparian woodland now better resembles well, Venus. 

So it was in this dismal frame of mind that as I trudged back up the hill to the house musing upon the catastrophic denouement that is Afghanistan and how it should have been obvious to anyone who’d ever read Herodotus (or Alexander, or Kipling, ffs,) and how we human beings manage to fuck up everything we touch and how all our hard and well-intentioned works inevitably come to naught  — or worse– I passed my meager kitchen garden and saw. . . the TOMATOES.

Beefsteak.  Huge.  Fragrant. Velvet and scarlet and luscious. A small benediction in mockery of all the environmental carnage we have wrought. And by golly, I picked the things for my supper tonight and sniffed their earthy astringency and was grateful for my drip lines — even as I rued my complicity. Such being the human conundrum.

That is all.


Let Them Eat Kayfabe*– or How Murka Screwed the Putch

If ever there were a modern day analog to Nero fiddling or Marie Antoinette simpering, it’s the clip of the Crime Family Trump partying as Congress is about to be overrun with a riotous mob of cosplay “patriots,” one of whom dies of an apparent heart attack after accidentally tazing himself (repeatedly) in the nads while trying to steal a painting, and a woman photographed holding a “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden flag who was trampled to death.  For those who don’t believe in cosmic irony, let me hasten to add that both of these accounts are true.

Now, their insurrectionary ineptness notwithstanding, I’ve lived among the teahadists and Q-laid drinkers of MAGAville –generally willingly, always cautiously– for nearly 30 years now. I came here voluntarily from the glossy palace intrigues of coastal Southern California and fell fast in love with both the wild lands of the area and the kindly goodwill of my fellow outlanders.  When you live in far-flung and unsupervised places, having to rely on your neighbors in times of natural disaster and personal peril is simply a given.  Therefore, it behooves one to keep one’s nose clean and one’s reputation unsullied; the good people of this area will literally give you the shirt off their back, or plow your rutted driveway or capture and corral your errant livestock without even being asked, but if you cross them, gods help you, they’ll just as soon break every bone in your body and throw what’s left down a mineshaft. Then piss on it.

Like many a few other Americans, I woke up early Wednesday morning from a late night of watching the returns from the Georgia Senatorial runoff to witness the joint session of Congress formally count the votes that would usher the milky Uncle Joe into the People’s White House and oust from same, for good and for ever, the unfit incompetent and his odious larvae who’ve been infesting and overwintering there for the last four years.

I was expecting a shitshow of epic proportion; after all, one’s been planned, organized, and advertised all over the internet for the last six months, and anyone with even half a brain couldn’t help but notice Mr. Trump has had no choice but to bulldoze his way through the democratic process in order to remain in power– what with the myriad lawsuits, criminal charges, looming financial liabilities, and social banishments awaiting him as a private citizen, something big had to happen, and it’s not as if public scolds like Bill Maher haven’t been screaming “He’s not. Going. To leave!” at us for the last four years. 

So when I saw fascist uberhunk Jim Lankford stop midsentence in his pointless opposition and start edging toward the door of the Senate floor, I wasn’t all that surprised.  Disgusted, certainly, and maybe a bit grateful for a break in the tedium, but soon enough horrified as I watched the the Great Unmasked besmirching those sacred chambers with their cell phones afore and their selfie sticks aloft like so many ill-presented Disney tourists set loose on the Hall of Versailles.  And all I could think was “Where the fuck is the National Guard?” 

I think the answer to that is now pretty clear. They weren’t called– or rather, they were actively NOT called until it became apparent that maybe Mr. Trump’s allies were being threatened with dismemberment along with their radicaliberalsocialist colleagues. Indiscriminate mobs are like that; they don’t know their Angus Kings from their Chuck Grassleys, and ultimately couldn’t care less– nuance not being one of their strong suits.

And herein lies a lesson for any and all who would place their faith in the loyalty and extended goodwill of the politically incite-able: That same mob who crowed in adulation while their orange god-emperor boogied away in his party tent will inevitably, and likely quite soon, realize they’ve been bamboozled by a greedy, power-mad phony. A bigly fake. A lying cheat of the highest order. It’s not as if the man doesn’t have a multi-decades long history of this sort of thing available to anyone with a shard of literacy and a library card.

And when that mass realization hits, the ritual public flailing will begin; it won’t be pretty, and our country may not recover from its aftermath unto several generations. See also: The Reconstruction– which arguably still has not been successfully implemented nearly 160 years on. Never underestimate the righteous anger of a redneck who’s been humiliated by his own hubris– let alone the blowback from the machinations of a professional con artist under the guise of patriotism. 

Citizen Trump’s latest betrayal of his minions may not leave him and his Not-First-Not-Lady, hanging by their heels from the big brass letters on the facade of Trump Tower, but they will, metaphorically at least, break every last bone in his body and throw what’s left down the mineshaft of history to molder with the remains of other kayfabe C-listers like Vince McMahon and Sarah Palin. 

So beware all those who would rise to the zenith on inauthentic tides; we Americans love to elevate our plastic heroes almost as much as we love gawking and jeering at their epic– dare I say it, Shakespearian — downfall. Or as Allen Toussaint so aptly put it:

Sunrise. Sunset.

From the beginning, it hasn’t changed yet.

People fly high, begin to lose sight.

You can’t see very clearly when you’re in flight.

It’s high time that you found. . .

The same people you misuse on your way up

You might meet up with. . .

On your way back down.

*Kayfabe|ˈkāˌfāb|noun (in professional wrestling) Presenting staged/scripted performances and storylines as genuine or authentic.


Here Comes Donnie BooBoo!

Murka’s going to soil its collective camo pants when it wakes up and realizes it just elected the millennial P. T. Barnum — a lifelong dem as it turns out– whose sole intent is to rob their hick, hillbilly, house-frau, shut-in and pea-picking asses blind. 

 Start Shoveling.jpg

Every four or eight years or so, the pendulum swings and the Murkin Pirate Party sweeps in to our nation’s capital (no typo) to loot the US Treasury. Then, when it’s all been converted into Swiss Francs and squirreled away in friendly offshore banks, the earnest Dems come back in to clean up the mess and put Band-aids on the wounded. Until next time.

Well, it’s Next Time again, and the shitstorm is about to commence. But take heart, my young and not-so-youngish friends, you starry, now black-eyed idealists who labored and believed and sacrificed perfectly good pixels and sneaker latex on behalf of yet another craven oligarch with an okay speechwriter and an inauthentic voice; for Donald Trump is POTUS now, and now the GOP must own him.

They own his jaw-dropping ignorance and his epic incuriosity. They own his vulgar buffoonery and the 24 carat gilt commodes he’ll install in the lavs of the Diplomatic Reception Room. They own his rotten, craven sons and his slimy little shit of a son-in-law, his gaffs, his grotty past and his squinty, pneumatic Stepford Wife, Daughter and Daughter-in-law collection.

Most of all they’ll own his inevitable (and inevitably monumental) fuckups. Every. Last. One. Of them. This can only bode well for the midterms and 2020 when the DNC-as-we-knew-it has long since been hooted into oblivion and the Democratic electorate will maybe have the good sense to nominate a genuine grassroots original like Bernie Sanders instead of trying to force a thrice-rejected Tracy Flick down our throats.

So, you’re saying, Allena, that maybe it’s not all bad; that maybe there’s some entertainment value to be had in what’s coming?

Why yes, (she responds), I believe there is.  To wit:

As The Donald humiliates himself on the global stage and not just the national one, he’ll likely be impeached over all the indictments brought against him by the justice department during Obama’s lame duck session.

He will be inaugurated, of course, because he certainly wouldn’t want to miss all those terrific parties, but then, when confronted by the tedious realities of his office, he’ll either resign de facto –and turn the reins over to that religionist nitwit, Pence– or resign for real to concentrate on looting what’s left of the US Treasury (those random loose bits of it that eluded Dick Cheney).

Ivanka and Jared will be crushed to give up their co-Chiefs of Staff position, but will soon set about spreading the rebranded Trump logo (Scion) across the planet. Too bad the coming trade wars will double the tariffs and triple the prices on their crappy imports, and disgruntled tenants in their budding slumlord empire will be moved to fill their malfunctioning toilets with bags of (now federally subsidized) RediCrete concrete mix as they set fire to the East Village on their way out.

Trump Cable television will launch with Roger Ailes at the helm, and reality TV will finally die a well-deserved death when everyone realizes that Ivanka and the rest of the Trump “princesses” aren’t really blondes, that those aren’t their real noses or jawlines, and that they didn’t grow those tits themselves. Also that they physically cringe and flinch and squirm away when Donnie tries to kiss them.

At least forty-eleven dumpy middle-aged and senior citizen females will publicly claim Donald Trump once bought them an abortion. Trump will be far more embarrassed by the fact that they’re his contemporaries and only 2s or maybe 3s at best than by his breath-taking hypocrisy. He will invite Bill Cosby and that idiot country singer with the gun fetish to all White House social events and pardon OJ Simpson in a sop to “the African-American Community”.

The military and State Department will soon be in open revolt. The IMF will freeze all of Trump Organization’s off-shore bank accounts and holding companies. His mafia-owned bankers will be pestered with unceasing margin calls. His wholly-owned family assets will be seized by the SEC and placed into a blind trust managed by one of Hillary’s squirrels at Goldman Sachs.

The Democratic minority in Congress, having been schooled in the art of brick-wall obstructionism for the last eight years, will go pro — using every parliamentary trick in the book to block his clumsy attempts to dismantle the social safety net and funnel entitlement monies into his own coffers, but at least we won’t have to worry about cronyism; Trump is only out for Trump. Look for a few principled Republicans to jump ship when Attorney General, Chris Christy tries to take away their Congressional parking passes.

Trump will steer the contracts for Rebuilding America’s Schools, Bridges, and Hellish Inner Cities to his construction firms, and reap his trillions therefrom. When he realizes that all those veterans’ ongoing health care benefits are what’s really bankrupting the country, he’ll “put them to work” building shit housing, picking fruit and driving deportation busses for $10/hour.

Mark Cuban(ski) and his billionaire tech/environmental cadre will go rogue, kuking Trump at every turn.  In an ironic twist, the nascent civil war fomenting on the streets will actually be fought by the oligarchy against the oligarchy (the oligarchy doesn’t like short-fingered vulgarians mucking up their well-ordered little world).  Trump is in for a world of social hurt the likes of which he can’t even imagine. He’s always been a laughingstock amongst the People Who Matter; now he will be sniffed at and snubbed where ever he goes — and on a grand cosmic scale no less. But only he’ll see it, because The People Who Matter can inflict their social cuts with surgical dexterity, and it will drive him absolutely crazy.

Anonymous, the hacking collective will have a four-year field day.  A chastened Julian Assange will turn over the really good stuff to the blogosphere and Robbie Mook— who will know what to do with it.

Obamacare will become Trumpcare I.E.; “something terrific”.  The fallout will be immediate and terrible and it will all be his fault. He will come to realize— too late, alas— that people tend to get really, really butthurt when their Abuelita dies because she didn’t get her heart meds.  (Multiplied by oh, about 200 million.)

Armed redneck militias will be surprised when Trump doesn’t welcome them into the People’s White House on inauguration day. When he doesn’t set out enough rum punch, and starts eminent domaining them out of their rust belt backwaters so he can build really, really terrific, absolutely first rate golf courses, they will turn on him with a vengeance that even Barack Obama in his Kenyan nightmares couldn’t fathom.

Women won’t go quietly either; but we’ll certainly go all passive-aggressive on his ass. Dumbfuck picked the wrong fight with this generation of pantsuits, and he’s literally surrounded by rich angry females (who will now have both a national voice and Secret Service protection to keep him at bay). I’m betting they’ve dealt with his piggy bullshit for waaaay too long, and one of them (cough, cough Ivanka) is likely to go ballistic on him in the press if not the courts. That part will be fun.

There’s more– oh, so much more– but it’s a beautiful day out and the system has been turned upside down, inside out, and wrongside up. It’s an anarchist’s dream, but hey, what do we care?  We survived Nixon. We survived Ronnie and Mommy. We survived GW Bush. Hell, our friends in Italy even survived Mussolini and Silvio Berlusconi!  We will survive Donnie BooBoo.  And we will prevail. Maybe.

In any case, WE’LL ALL HAVE RECREATIONAL POT! (And the merciful Gods of the Kind know we’re gonna need it.)



Noblesse Oblige vs Knobless Outrage


I’m not quite sure how I ended up in the VIP room at the Bernie Sanders rally in Bakersplat yesterday, but I did, and it was rather unlike any other VIP room I’ve ever been in. For one thing, the refreshment table consisted of three pitchers of water.  For another, the room was populated mainly by farm workers and volunteers — mostly young, mostly quiet, mostly all in tee shirts or shirtsleeves.

It was late in the afternoon with the San Joaquin Valley heat approaching three digits.  The Senator had just come off of two earlier rallies this day, one in Santa Barbara and one in Santa Maria, after a triumphant appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO show the night before. Now he’d stopped by the Kern Kounty Fairgrounds on his way to Memorial Day rallies in Fresno and Sacramento.

There was nothing crisp or calculated about his entrance, he just walked in and went to work, his hair in all its fabled Einsteinian disarray, and his off-the-rack navy blazer with the too-many gold buttons showing the obvious rigors of a grueling campaign schedule.  As he took the mic, he dispensed  with any staged show of bonhomie– the fake smiles and winks and pointing at the invisible people that is the wont of his Democratic rival. He thanked his hosts, gave a few abbreviated remarks, and then addressed the hundred or so VIPs assembled under the banner: Unidos Con Bernie.

“Please tell me about your concerns,” he said.  And did they ever.

Bernie listened.  Respectfully and intently.  Then he asked questions– thoughtful, pointed questions — and gave thoughtful, pointed responses, not all of which were “answers” and very few of which were talking points, and as he did, the perpetual rasp in his voice mellowed into a honeyed baritone and the exhaustion on his face turned into a focused intensity.

He did not flinch or pivot or revert to snippets from his stump speech, nor did he look to an aide for translation or glib statistics or a way to gloss over his response when confronted with a troublesome question. (And given that his questioners were overwhelmingly either undocumented or children of the undocumented, there were plenty of opportunities for fudging– especially with all the representatives of Bakersfield’s media outlets filming him from the back of the room.)

When one  worker advocate told him that the 20,000 people of Arvin could not drink the water they nonetheless had to pay $45/month for, Sanders actually flinched and was momentarily taken aback before repeating the man’s assertions and demanding of the audience “Is this true?!”  “Yes!” came the response; from Fresno and Earlimart, from McFarland and Taft and Frazier Park, the water table is contaminated with pesticides, fracking chemicals, and radioactive runoff from the waste dumps and landfills.  Over a million people throughout the Central Valley– mostly undocumented people — must pay up to $150 a month for water they cannot drink– this on top of the cost and hassle and environmental waste of having to buy bottled water for their daily needs. “You’re cleaner before you take a shower” said one.

At this, Bernie reddened visibly and dropped the mic. For a moment I thought he was going to split a gut; his outrage was that palpable.  “The country needs to hear about this” he said as if to himself.  Then, “The country will hear about this, and if I am elected President, we will ensure that people don’t have to pay $150 a month for water that poisons them!”

The comments got heated–even incomprehensible– but throughout, Sanders skillfully, diplomatically kept the conversation on-topic and never once resorted to either platitudes or pandering. “Please tell me what you’d like to see change” he’d suggest when they’d wander.

As the hour passed, and acutely aware of the thousands waiting for him in the sweltering grandstands just outside our air-conditioned reception room, Sanders listened politely while one tearful fellow choked and sputtered and droned on and on (and on) about his Mexican father — living and working here in this country illegally — and how much they loved Bernie and how Sanders “must” pass laws and enforce laws and write laws, and make people obey the law to ensure that his father and his siblings and his cousins could stay here and get the benefits and protections they are “entitled” to — oblivious of all irony.

I was cringing so hard at this fellow’s extended fawning and whinging and fascination with  his own voice that after a few minutes of it I literally put my head in my hands, bent over, and stared at the floor, wondering why, if things were so dreadfully awful for him, he’d stayed here for the last thirty years, and how Donald J. Trump might have responded to his litany of complaint.  But Sanders never wavered or tried to cut him short– or pointed out the obvious duality of his moral argument. He thanked the man (sincerely) for his kind words, sympathized with his travails, and promised that if he were elected President, he’d struggle to ensure basic human rights for everyone in this country (no qualifiers here), and make it his policy not to break families up but keep them together. (Presumably, he didn’t mean by encouraging deportees to take their kids and aunties with them on the bus back to Tijuana.)

Now, I’m of two minds about illegal immigration.  On the one hand, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Boring (yes, that was her actual name) spent an entire month on Doris Gates’ 1940s children’s book, The Blue Willow – in which a migrant farm child longs for a permanent home while struggling in abject poverty in the fields of 1930s San Joaquin Valley.  It’s hard not to empathize with a little girl your own age who has to sell her abuelita’s prized Blue Willow plate to pay the wicked landlord who’s come to collect the rent– or else!  These sorts of things stay with one when impassioned indoctrination comes at an early age– especially when at least two people of perhaps dubious documentation still call me “Mother”.

But I’ve also enormous sympathy and support for the people who jump through all the hoops, fill out all the forms, undergo all the interviews, pass all the tests, pay all their fees and wait their goddamned turn to come live here legally.  It’s really that simple.  If you hop the line and sneak across our borders or overstay your visa, I’m not all that inclined to offer you the protections granted to those who play by the rules — unless, of course, I am. . . .

In any case, while the session with Bernie did little to help me resolve my personal dichotomy, it did do one thing, and that was to solidify my respect for Senator Sanders’ moral integrity and for his simple (or not-so-simple, really), human decency. I may not support the entirety of his ideology– and certainly have my qualms about some of his specific proposals– but there can be no doubting that his compassion is deeply held, and not just a fungible artifact of the political “process”.   (Ahem, Hillary. Donald.)

I may be conflicted, befuddled even, but I also know he’s right.



Anyway, here’s what I learned:

 –Bernie Sanders, who is ten years older than I am, has the physical stamina to hold three rallies, two town-halls and uncounted one-on-one interviews with secondary market television news reporters in 100-degree heat on his 28th wedding anniversary– and still make me believe in his authenticity.

-Oaxacan pickers comprise 80-85% of farm labor along the west coast from Washington State to Baja California. They get paid piecework; 60 cents a flat (down from 90 cents last summer), work twelve-hour days, and are not represented by the UFW.

-Said field workers lack basic worker protections, get paid slave wages, must use only the substandard grower-owned and administered health clinic for even serious health issues and injuries, and are considering going on a multistate strike against Driscoll Farms– the nation’s largest grower of berries. (Investors take note.)

-An estimated million residents of small Central Valley towns and communities are forced to pay for non-potable tap water contaminated by pesticides, fracking chemicals, and toxic runoff from drilling and mines.

-People in Frazier Park are paying $150 a month for water they cannot drink and spending a like amount paying privatized companies to sell their own groundwater back to them in plastic bottles.

-Perhaps not coincidentally, the Kern County Library System (which includes 24 branches and two bookmobiles extending as far south as Ridgecrest and as far north as Delano and Maricopa and serves a predominantly poor and ESL community), operates on a budget of less than $8 million/year.  Its biggest demographic $upport comes from Republican women and it is on the verge of closing due to insufficient funding. Kern County Tax Measure F on the upcoming primary ballot would impose a 1/8 cent sales tax to fund the system and keep it from being privatized (and presumably sold off). It is unlikely to pass.

-An elite team of buff, articulate, personable and extremely well-groomed Kern County Sheriffs deputies do double duty as both VIP security detail and SWAT marijuana eradication teams. One of them recognized me as The Bear Lady, “Because of your hair”.




Rotten Pony



There was absolutely nothing to recommend Bruni Knappi.

For one thing, he was ugly. Fat, short, squat, with a deformed skull and drippy “fuck you” eyes–he had it all.  And he was mean. He broke things out of spite, he hated people in general and me in particular, he went out of his way to be a dick. It wasn’t just that he was obstinate; he redefined the term “passive aggressive”. But Bruni Knappi was my son’s Icelandic pony and Alec loved the little guy. They’d grown up together and Bruni had lived here for twenty years (and put up with Alec’s depravities for many of them), so I tolerated the nasty creature out of respect for that and, I suppose, admiration for his sheer perversity (which I always suspected was at least partially informed by the particulars of his relationship with the child).

Bruni wore his brattiness like a ribbon of honor.  If I’d finally coaxed a few ears of corn out of my unwilling garden, sure enough, he would barge through the chain link to consume them AND break up all the PVC irrigation as an afterthought. Roses carefully planted five feet inside the fence line to deter his teeth never stood a chance– he’d just bend the steel fencing inward and gobble away.  The sapling pines I planted to line the drive to the house, watered by hand for five years until they took root, nursed through the droughts and summer suns, were eaten overnight while I was off skiing once — he’d ignored them for years, but apparently after all those seasons of tending, they’d achieved their apex of piney tastiness–or maybe he was just mad I’d not taken him along with me to revisit the icy wastes reminiscent of his ancestral homeland.

To save my remaining peach and apple trees, I lined the orchard with electric fencing.  Having accidentally bumped into it once and awakened to find myself sprawled insensate on the ground, I had every faith in its efficacy.  So I watched with sadistic glee as Bruni walked confidently to the piddling metal strand separating him from his prey, pressed his hairy matted chest to it and. . . broke right through, as insulated from its voltage as he was from my ire.

Horse was a pill, a jerk, an asshole of the highest order. He was mean, ornery, tough as nails and aggressive as fuck, and as Icelandics routinely live for forty years and he’d never been sick a day in his life, I fully expected I’d live out my days subjected to his bedeviling. So imagine my horror last week to find him lying dead in the pasture with his hindquarters torn off.  I saw no signs of coyotes and none of struggle.  The grass leading to his body was bent in one thin path– yet I saw no claw marks on his back or neck– the hallmarks of a mountain lion.  I couldn’t imagine a bear big enough to take down a horse without leaving a sag in the barbed wire fencing, and why would a bear go for Bruni when the neighbor’s goats were grazing just across the roadway?  I comforted myself in deciding he had had a heart attack during the night, and Something had scavenged him while the dogs and I slept.

Anyway, after a morning’s grieving, I called a neighbor with a front loader and backhoe, paid him a hunnerd bucks and a glass of cabernet, and late that afternoon, we put Bruni Knappi six feet under the hard granite soil. Then as the sun set and the heavy machine smoothed and tamped the gravesite over and over again, I drank a final toast to the pony’s eternal rest –and to my blessed relief.

It was not to be.

This weekend Something dug him up during the night– or should I say, Something dug up the part of him that had bloated and risen to within a couple feet of the surface and broken the soil. Bruni Knappi had returned to work his evil.

This morning I hiked down with a shovel and gas mask to fill in the crater. As there are no rocks on that hillside and I’d no inclination to cover his newly-filled gravesite in concrete, I dragged the only heavy things I could find down to form a bier.  A limb of the old oak tree up the hill rested broken in the tall grass where the winds had snapped it off, so I gathered my strength, threw out my back and shoulders, and lugged it to the site. No, I didn’t use it to drive a wooden state through what was left of Bruni Knappi’s malevolent heart; I just stacked it high so the coyotes couldn’t dig him out again, and eventually left his grave once more with a heartfelt




Jax leaving his his obituary after the service.



Alec’s tribute below:


They say a man’s best friend is his dog, but Bruni lived through four of them. A wonderfully passive aggressive friend who was the scourge of mom’s gardens and a clever bastard who could open most locks, for over two decades, this Icelandic transplant was a mainstay of the ranch, eating everything in sight and doing what he wanted on his own time.
Bruni was not the ideal horse by any means. He was significantly shorter than virtually every horse in the town by a foot, and a fuzzball ill-suited for the desert climate. He was lazy, obstinate, tricky, and had a spherical belly that proved the bane of every girth. But despite all this, we made it work.
His more laid back style was perfect for long rides. While mom would be galloping off ahead, we trailed behind with the pups. The complete failure of any tack to work on him led to me learning to just go without. I’d find him in a field, hop on and go for miles; steering and breaking with legs. As I grew and he didn’t, we made for an odd visual, my feet dangling and nearly brushing against the ground.
By all accounts, Bruni should have been the death of me. You get really bored in the country; so I’d vault over him, sumo wrestle him, and much to the horror of my mom, dirt ski by holding onto his tail with while he ran.
This isn’t to say we got along perfectly. The first time I ever broke my nose was due to this bugger taking off while I was taking a nap on him. In order to not worry the more concernable members of my family, I sounded like a Lifetime victim for a few weeks. “I was playing and I fell…” Also, he had a habit of running me under trees at the last moment. This would be followed by me murderously chasing him for a few hours until we both got hungry. It was great cardio.
But he’d always be happy to see me when I came home. And not just because I was generous with grain. Whenever mom called to vent about how he’d broken into the vegetable garden or hot wired the car, I’d follow it up immediately with “That’s my pony!” She’d follow it up by promising to barbecue him one day and say “That’s your pony!” But she knew there wasn’t enough meat on him to be worth it.
And every time I brought a friend up, they had to pass both the mom test and the Bruni test. Some fared better than others. In addition, he understood basic commands, so when I wanted to scare my more easily startled friends. I’d point at them and say “kill”, at which point he would advance on them, causing them to flee quickly behind the safety of the chain link. He’d get many carrots after that.
So farewell faithful pony. May Valhalla be filled with endless horns of carrots and unsecured doors. And as the heavens thunder with rage after you break through under-secured gates. I’ll smile to myself and say, “That’s my pony.”









For a variety of reasons I’m no fan of flags. They are divisive, aggressive, uncompromising, flamboyant, vague and just generally a symbol of everything I was taught as a child not to be. They fly where they probably shouldn’t, evoke a wisdom and concurrence that may or may not be real, and add a note of implied menace and chest thumping to otherwise joyful and/or solemn occasions. Flags serve to remind us that Big Brother is watching and ubiquitous – so don’t you dare step out of line or we’ll sic the Grand Forces of Agency upon you.

In short, the anarchist in me detests everything they stand for. Also, the graphics on some of them (I’m talking to you Old “Glory”) look like someone threw up stars on a tablecloth.

That said, I am as nauseated by the Confederate flag brouhaha that’s informing our latest media handwringing as anyone else is—and for the same reasons. Small-minded rednecks appall me every bit as much as grandiose politicians do.


In America, we have this thing called the “First Amendment”* (enforcement of which is ironically represented by a flag,) and it allows us to speak our mind, trumpet our monumentally stupid opinions, and just generally be social assholes as long as we don’t physically deprive someone else of their rights to do the same. That means if I want to fly (or shoot to smithereens,) the swastika or the black flag of ISIS –or my personal favorite, the Mars Attacks (Ack, Ack) flag (see above)—I’m allowed to do so as long as it doesn’t break any laws or foment civil uprising. I mean seriously, we can rally a thousand times the response in a ten-thousandth the amount of time on Twitter, so why bother with the visual identifier? It’s only there as a reassurance to the timid and a threat to the offended anyway –or to guide the wayward to the closest Post Office.

Instead of trying to legislate that which rightfully should simply be shamed out of existence, let’s abolish all of the damned things and try to get along without the implied threat of mob retribution if we don’t toe the edict-du-jour, mkay me Sparkies?

No? I didn’t think so, but a girl can dream. . . .

*Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you grumbling; the American flag supposedly represents those freedoms, but let’s get real here. One man’s freedom is another man’s oppression, and the flag represents anything the People In Power want it to represent. Just ask Dick Cheney. Or the once-thriving country of Iraq. To illustrate my point, here is a shot of the flag I flew on my front gate the morning after Barack Obama was first elected POTUS. I waited all week for some outraged  “patriot” to unload a shotgun into it, delighting in the dissonance it must be creating in the minds of the viscerally offended; a great big middle finger to their thwarted Sarahpalinesque imaginings, symbolizing the tyranny of the majority over an oppressed minority (tee hee. . . .)


How teddibly uncivil of me, huh?


GoT, WTF? How Beloved Son Saved the Family Television Viewing Experience


Surely I’m not the only person who bugs the crap out of my kid while watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones?

“Son, who is this guy?”

“Son, who is this guy?”

“Son, why is she poking him?”

“Son, what’s that one’s name again?”

“Son, what’s with the smoke baby?”

It’s enough to drive the poor boy batty—even from three hundred miles away. Accordingly, this season we’ve hit upon a fine compromise: We both watch the East Coast showing alone on our respective television sets when it comes on at 6 PM, then we watch the West Coast showing together at 8:30 while chatting via social media. In between those two airings, Beloved Son sends me an email with a concise scene-by-scene synopsis – which I print out and refer to before and during our mutual GoT-fest.

The result? I get the names, places, sequences, back-stories and predictions all neatly lain out for me to study, so when we watch “for fun” later on I don’t pester him with irrelevancies and ruin his regard for my cognitive health by asking him questions he’s already answered a dozen times before.

It occurs to me that you, too, may find this solution helpful– particularly if you’re the type who shares at GoT addiction with a clueless loved one, (or if you are said loved one seeking to maintain that connection.) So, as a public service, for the rest of the season I’ll be posting his synopses here on my blog during the intermissions. Thank you, Alec.  Who do be da berry bes boy!?

Here is season five:


Well, the past 10 weeks have been fun, but all things come to an end. Who will live? Who will die? Will there be payoff to Daenerys’s desert adventure? We’ll find out tonight!

We begin in the North, where the ice is melting and Stannis(asshole)’s sacrifice of Shireen paid off. Melisandre tells him he is destined for winning, he ignores her and walks off. Mel is not too happy with this.

A trooper wants to talk to him, and hesitates when he sees Mel. He says half the men deserted. Mainly the sellswords. Another man wants to show him something. His wife is hung from a tree. A trooper tells him Mel has ridden out of camp. Stannis orders his men into formation.

Meanwhile, Jon is telling Sam of the White Walker incident. They’ve lost all their Dragonglass. They talk about Valaryian Steel. Jon knows he’s massively hated, partially for sacrificing Night’s Watch to save Wildlings. Sam wants to ask Jon something, he wants to be sent to Maester School in Old Town with Gilly and baby Sam. Since Maester Aemon is gone, they need a Maester. Jon doesn’t want to lose his only ally. Sam also wants to go because he’ll die if he stays thanks to Gilly. Jon relents. Sam reveals he’s lost his virginity.

Sam says he’ll come back, and they toast to his departure. And Sam leaves. Jon is now alone… except for the 5000 wildlings.

Stannis and his men have reached Winterfell, they are beaten and battered, and have no horses, but they have made it.

The Boltons ready their defenses inside.

Sansa picks her way out of her locked room, and walks through the courtyard.

Meanwhile, Podrick is carrying rabbits, he sees the army of Stannis and runs back to report to Brienne.

Sansa makes her way to the tower where Bran fell.

Brienne looks at the tower. And leaves, right as the signal is lit.

Stannis sets up his formations, and preps for a siege. BUT, the Boltons ride out to meet him. They have many horses.

Sansa watches over with her candle.

Stannis gives a look of, “well, shit” and draws his sword. The cavalry flanks in, and the battle begins.

Stannis loses. Decisively. He walks away with his sword as a cane, and is set upon by two Bolton troops. They hobble him, but he fights them off.

Brienne finds him. This is convenient. She seeks revenge for the death of Renly. She sentences him to die, and draws her sword. Stannis has lost the will to live and tells her to do her duty. She swings and we cut to Ramsay.

Ramsay seems quite happy with himself as he goes about and kills the wounded. Ramsay heads hoe, and the battlefield is littered with corpses.

Sansa breathes heavily, and paces, and she’s met by Miranda with a bow, to escort her back to her room. Theon is with her. He says to go with her. Sansa says she wants to die while she still has fight in her.

Miranda says Ramsay needs her until Sansa gives him an heir. But Sansa remains defieant, Miranda readies her bow, BUT Theon gains a spine and chucks her over the edge. Splat.

The gates open, and Theon and Sansa make it to a wall and leap off the edge to the snowbank below.

Meanwhile, Meryn Trant is back in the whorehouse, with a stick. He likes beating underage girls. He beats two, and they scream, the third does not. He beats her again, and nothing. A third time, breaking the stick, and nothing. He sends the other two away. He hits her again in the gut, and she doubles over. IT’S ARYA! And she stabs the living fuck out of him.

She tells him who she is, and continues to stab him. She says he is nothing, and slits his throat.

Arya returns to the House of Black and White. She returns a face to the wall of many faces. She smiles, and is confronted by Jaquen and girl. Jaaquen takes out poison and says only death can pay for life, and he takes it. The girl asks why she is crying. Jaaquen appears behind her where the girl was. Arya pulls many faces off of the corpse. She ends with her face on the body. She goes blind and screams, wondering what is happening.

Then, in Dorne. Myrcella and Trystane head off with Bronn and Jamie. Ellaria kisses Myrcella, deeply, and apologizes before wishing her well. Bronn says by to the Sand Snake who flashed him. She says something sexual and bites his ear seductively.

Jamie and Myrcella chat in the ship’s hold Myrcella asks if cersei will like Trystane.

Jamie wants to tell her something. He begins saying how weird family histoies are weird, and how they don’t choose who they love. He’s awkwardly trying to tell her about her true dad being him. Myrcella knows, and she’s glad. She hugs him and he’s shocked but happy.

But, Myrcella begins to bleed through the nose. Seems there was something in the kiss. Ellaria looks at the ship, and her nose begins to bleed. The young Sand Snake gives her a hankie. Ellaria takes an antidote, and walks on. The ship sails on.

Meanwhile, Tyrion, Dany and Daario hang out in Mereen, taking in what the fuck just happened. Tyrion says “You love her” talking to both of them, and tells them how fruitless it is. Grey Worm and Missandei comes by, Grey Worm says Jorah shouldn’t be there, but relents when he hears Jorah saved her. Tyrion responds back in Valaryian.

They plan to search for Dany in the wilderness. Jorah and Tyrion butt heads. Dario plays peacekeeper. Dario says it’s pointless to bring Tyrion along. But wants to keep him there as ruler in their absence, while Gray Worm plays figurehead, with Missandei. And Jorah and Dario head off on a wacky adventure to find Dany.

Tyrion and Gray Worm look at each other.

Tyrion looks out at Dario and Jorah riding out, and VARYS shows up. Varys plays coy, and they set up their rule.

Meanwhile, Dany and Drogon are in the wilderness. She’s a little dirty, and Drogon is asleep in his bed of carcasses. He’s a little wounded. Dany says she needs to return and climbs on. He shakes her off, still a bit wounded, and goes to sleep. Dany heads off t look for food. She wanders a ways, and hears a horse. It’s a Dothraki. More Dothraki appear. She removes her ring. More Dothraki appear. A shit load more Dothraki appear.

Meanwhile, Cersei is hanging out in her prison cell. Big nun tells her to confess. She finally relents, and confesses before the High Sparrow. She names Lancel as a past lover, but not Jamie. The Sparrow pushes this point, and she denies, he believes her. The Sparrow still says there will be a trial. She begs to see her son. Sparrow permits it, and grants her parole… after her atonement.

Cersei is washed by the nuns, and her hair is cut. The nuns give her a lovely pixie cut. The Lannister Anthem plays as the door open. She walks down the stairs, and is led to the crowd. The Sparrow tells the crowd her crimes and Cersei looks at her destination. She will be stripped, and make a walk of atonement.

The nun walks behind her saying SHAME. Cersei walks. The outrage blogs prep a busy Monday. The crowd joins in the insults, calling her all manner of names, and pelting her with vegetables. Cersei keeps her head up. The entire city yelling at her and booing her gradually begins to wear on her. She begins to cry. She falls, but looks up to see her destination. Feet bloody and covered in refuse, she walks on. Soon, she sees the Gold Cloaks, her destination is right there.

She walks past Lannister troops, on the verge of completely losing it, and reaches the gate. Her Uncle Kevan, Maester Pycelle, and Qyburn greet her. Qyburn says he will heal her. Qyburn present a new member of the Kingsguard, a giant with the face of a corpse, who carries her. Qyburn says he took a vow of silence, and will kill her enemies. Cersei regains some composure.

Meanwhile, Jon and Davos have a scene, Davos calls for more men. But, Mellisandre is at the gate. Davos confronts her and asks her about Shireen. Mel walks on, and shows human emotion.

Jon reads messages in his quarters. Ollie the boy comes in, and says Jon’s Uncle Benjen is alive, and a wildling knows where he is. Thorne joins the. A group of the watch await, and Jon is led to a sign that says Traitor.

Thorne stabs him and says For the Watch. Jon is Caesared. The last stab by Ollie. Et Tu Ollie.

Jon bleeds out on the ground. He face goes pale. And we fade to black.

Thanks for watching.


Welcome mumsy, to episode 9. Traditionally this is the part of the season where everything goes nuts, so brace yourself and let’s see how this goes.

We begin in Stannis’s camp. Mel’s danger sense in tingling. And we have fire… everywhere. If you remember last week, Ramsay was going to mess everything up. Horse is on fire, and we are in daylight.

Ramsay successfully destroyed their food stores, Stannis says to hang those who failed the lookout.

Davos councils Stannis, and Stannis eyes Mel and his wife… this will not goes well.

Meanwhile, Jon has reached the wall with shell shocked wildlings.Thorne looks down on him and his horde, Jon walks forward. We have eye contact somehow, and Thorne gives the command to open the gates.

Jon talks to Sam and tells him how his mission pretty much failed. Sam tells him he did ok. The Night’s Watch gives Jon the evil eye.

The giant, Wun Wun walks through, and seems too old for this shit. Olly the Boy whose family was killed by wildlings does not seem happy either. Thorne says Jon has a good heart, but will get them all killed. Jon mopes.

Meanwhile, Stannis looks over his table. Stannis sends Davos back to Castle Black to get reinforcements from the Night’s Watch.Davos says he shouldn’t leave him now, if we remember, Davos is Stannis’s conscience, and Davos sees through this, and says that Shireen should come with him. Stannis says no…

Meanwhile, Stannis’s men are fucked up. Davos goes to visit Shireen, who is happily reading about an old war The Dance of the Dragons. Davos gives her a gift, and says goodbye.

Meanwhile, in Dorne. Jamie visits Prince Doran. The family is all there. Jamie reveals why he came. Doran doesn’t want war, Elaria does. Doran offers a toast, and Ellaria pours out her wine. Doran agrees to send Myrcella back, with Trystane, her betrothed. And that Trystane will sit on the small council.

Ellaria says something snippy, and Doran threatens a bit.

Jamie asks about Bronn. Doran leaves the punishment up to Trystane.

Meanwhile in the cells, the Sand Snakes play the slap game. The asian one has better reflexes, but the short haired one is more cunning. Bronn is released, and says short haired snake is the most beautiful woman once more, which she made him say when she gave him the antidote.

Bronn is brought to the council and set free, on one condition. He gets punched by the head guard, since he punched the prince.

Meanwhile, Arya is on her assassination mission. She pulls out her poison and continues towards the target. But she sees something… It’s Poppa Tyrell, Mace, and Meryn Trant.

If you remember, Meryn Trant is on her personal hit list, for killing her fencing master.

Mace chats with the Iron Bank about grapes. He is there to negotiate the debt of the Kingdom.

Arya continues to follw while Mace sings.

Meanwhile, Meryn hates guarding him, and visits a whorehouse with his men. Arya follows.

She enters the house and the keeper tells her to go away, a lady keeps her in.

Meryn surverys the goods, and likes them young…A guard brings Arya in. The mistress sends her away, and brings out a young girl. He’s ok with this. Arya is send out, her revenge will come another day.

Meanwhile, Arya returns to the House of Black and White. She gives an excuse and heads over to fix a body.

Back in Dorne, Doran makes Ellaria swear allegiance to him after her failed rebellion. She is saddened by this.

Jamie writes something and Ellaria comes to visit him. Ellaria says she is ok with sibling fucking. She flirts a little.

Meanwhile, Shireen plays with her deer against the backdrop of a fire… possible foreshadowing. Her dad comes in, and she tells him about the Dance of Dragons, which Stannis is unfamiliar with. Stannis asks who she would pick between the two sides of the Dance. Stannis says sometimes the world forces people’s hands. Shireen says she wants to help and hugs him, and the audience’s heart breaks. Stannis asks for her forgiveness.

Shireen is marched off to the pyre, as Iphigenia to Stannis’s Agamemnon. Shireen finally understands what is happening to her. Mel greets her while Stannis is absent. She is tied to the pyre and Stannis and Mom come out.

Momma Batatheon has second thoughts, but Stannis holds her back. The pyre is lit, and mom runs to the pyre but is held back. The girl is burned to death, and I start rooting for Ramsay fucking Bolton.

In Mereen, Dany overlooks the fighting pits. Two men are presented before her, and she begins the games. Dario likes the show and says who to bet on, Hizdaq has a different thought. Tyrion listen on and preps a comeback. Dario gives a long speech on who will win and why, then the other guy wins via decapitation. Tyrion is not a huge fan.

Tyrion says his father would have liked Hizdaq. Dany gives a slight threat to husband Hizdaq.

Many fighters step up and a Westerosi knight step up. Jorah is among them. Dario tries to stop it and Hizdaq tells him to shush. Dany claps, and the
fight is on.

Jorah kills his first, and looks to Dany. He finds himself up against a Bravosi waterdancer, who is much faster. Dany looks concerned. The waterdancer looks up to Dany for judgement, and goes for the kill. The spearman temporarily saves his life.

It’s down to Jorah and Speardude. Jorah wins! Dany looks on and… holy shit, Jorah throws a spear!

At a Son of the Harpy. It’s an ambush!

The Sons of the Harpy start killing everyone. Hizdaw flees, and is stabbed. Jorah makes his way up and offers a hand to Dany, she accepts.

Tyrion grabs a knife and saves Dany’s handmaiden. Dany and crew try to escape, but are blocked off. They are surrounded in the middle of the arena. Things are looking very bad and Dany preps for death, when…



The harpies brought knives to a dragonfight.

A spear gets lodged in Drogon, sheer numbers are overrunning him. Dany calls to her dragon and walks to him. She pulls out the spear and he roars at her. He gets another spear, and she gets on him, and tells him to fly.

Dany takes off on a fucking dragon and I am practically in tears at how awesome this is.

The rest of the cast looks on, and we fade to black.


After a short traveling break, we are back in the world of Westeros for Episode 8 of Game of Thrones. Plotlines are beginning to wrap to their seasonal conclusion, so hang onto your bum, it’s going to get complicated.

We begin in Danyburg as Tyrion and Jorah sit before Dany. She shushes Jorah, Tyrion uses his usual charisma to endear himself. He plays to her history, since her old history guy Barristan Selmy died, this may work. Tyrion then plays up his worth, and knowing things she does not. Killing and Politics aren’t always the same thing.

She asks him what she would do with Jorah. He gives a very good answer. She expels Jorah from the city, she seems a bit troubled by her edict.

Meanwhile, Jorah’s Greyscale infection continues to grow.

Cersei meanwhile, needs a shower. The giant nun offers her water if she confesses her. Cersei wants to speak to her son. The nun beats her while Cersei stays strong.

The nun leaves and Cersei lets go her facade.

Then, Arya rehearses one of her new identities as Molly Malone with her cockles and mussels, alive alive o. Jaquen beats her less, her lies are getting more convincing.

Arya walks a new route, what will she see? She comes to a moneylender, and gives him an oyster. He likes them. The moneylender turns down a desperate man, and Arya listens. The target preys on merchants with insurance policies.

Jaaquen gives her poison. Arya smiles as she walks off.

Assassin girl says she is not ready, Jaaquen says what will be will be.

Back in cersei’s cell, Maester Qyburn, her Frankenstein comes to talk. He tells her her accused crimes and that the faith needs less to convict. She asks about Jamie, of whom there is no news. Her Uncle Kevan has returned to be hand of the king. He wants nothing to do with her. Her son has been in his room not eating since his wife and mom have been arrested.

Qyburn says there is a way out, Cersei refuses to confess due to her megapride. Big nun comes in and Qyburn leaves.

In the North, Theon goes into Sansa’s quarters. Sansa asks why Theon told Ramsay about her friends. Theon remains broken and says he did it to save her. Sansa is happy Theon were tortured, because he led to the death of her family. Theon says he deserves it.

Theon reveals the boys he killed weren’t her brothers, but tries to hide it, Sansa makes him confess without knowing this. Sansa now knows she is not the only Stark left. Theon flees.

Meanwhile, the Boltons have a war council. Roose Bolton sees the wisdom in a siege, because he is a lot better supplied. Ramsay does not agree. Ramsay name drops the book title “A Feast for Crows.” Ramsay wants to take 20 men, and hit Stannis hard.

Tyrion and Dany have wine in private, apparently he made an impression. He drops her dad’s policies and then talks about his own. She asks why he killed his dad. Tyrion doesn’t want to go over it, yet. Dany admits her dad was bad.

Tyrion says they are both terrible children, then continues on his Dany endearing tour. Tyrion compares his family to her. Tyrion talks about Varys, Dany doesn’t like him because he was the spymaster, but Tyrion does.

Now they talk about his brother, Dany doesn’t like him because he killed her dad. Though, she doesn’t know the whole story. Dany decides to keep him. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

Tyrion says that maybe she shouldn’t go to Westeros, since she is doing good where she is. But Dany wants to go to her home. Tyrion tells her about the politics and who MIGHT support her. Dany gives an analogy about a wheel, and breaking it, and so on.

Mwanwhile, in the fighting pits. Jorah has returned. He wants to fight in the great pit in front of the queen. He was free, but he wants to fight for her again.

Cersei and the nun again. She’s still holding strong, with and hit the Anger section of Kubler Ross. But now she drinks water from the floor, and is not doing well once the big nun leaves.

Gilly tends to Sam at the wall following his beating from saving her last week. The wee boy Ollie who killed Ygritte comes in with food. The boy wants to talk about Jon dealing with Wildlings, who he hates, because they killed his family.

Sam says they need to trust the wildlings because of the army of the dead. The boy doesn’t trust it, but considers Sam’s argument. Sam says not to worry, because Jon always comes back…

Jon meanwhile, heads to the Wildling home. He’s in slightly hostile territory. His companion Tormund asks if he trusts him, and they walk. They are met by the Lord of Bones. Jon says they are allies, this upsets the wildlings. Words are exchanged.

Tormund bludgeons the Lord of Bones to death, and says to gather the elders.

In the elder council, Jon states his case. A giant overlooks.Jon offers them Dragonglass, which Sam killed an ice zombie with, if they join. Jon wants them with him to join when the fight ends.

They ask how Mance, the old North leader died, Jon answers in the dumbest way possible, thankfully Tormund tells the whole story. Jon says to think of the children, and to unite to survive. The wildling leader and the rest, decide to jin since they trust Tormund. Even the giant agrees.

A Thenn does not however. Expect to see him killed by zombies in the finale.

The wildlings head to their ships… which they have… which makes a wall kind of pointless. They have approximately 5000 going with Jon. There are stubborn ones however.

Lady Wildling leader sends her kids to the boats, without her.

A giant plays with dragonglass, and one of the Night’s Watch looks at him. The dogs start barking.

They look to the hills, and see… an avalanche incoming. The Thenn orders the gate shut, which many outside the gate.

The snow hits, and the pounding at the gate stops. The Thenn looks through the gate and sees a zombie.

Some wildlings stay to defend, the rest get the fuck out of there.

In the big house, there are zombies on the roof.

There is panic of what to do, Jon grabs his sword and heads to battle.

The zombies break through, it’s not looking good, and there are a lot more. Headshots don’t stop them.

Jon looks up and sees the White Walkers watching over. He looks down to see the house under attack, and we have a tracking shot fight.

The giant breaks out and smashes. and Jon runs into the burning building to save the dragonglass. A while walker walks thrugh the flames, his cold putting it out as they go.

The Thenn battles the White Walker, and loses easily. The walker chucks Jon across the room, and they battle. Jon doesn’t have his sword. Jon grabs a sword and the walker shatters it. It’s not going well for Jon, but he gets his sword back.

The Walker swings, but his sword holds up, because it’s made of Valaryian Steel. We have a fight! And Jon kills the fuck out of the Walker, as the Night’s King, leader of the walkers, looks over the battlefield.

More fighting. Commander Lady Wildling is confronted by undead children, who overwhelm her.

Jon coughs up blood, and a Night’s Watch guy picks him up, right as the Zombies begin to leap off a cliff after them. Lemming formation attack!

Tormund continues to fight as the gate is breached. The giants holds tm off with a giant log on fire.

The Night’s King continues to watch as the last group gets on the boat, except the giant. Who walks out into the sea, with zombes all over him. He’s a bit lightheaded, but he continues to walk.

Jon looks back at the slaughter. The people are killed to a man. And the fighting stops. The Night’s King walks out to the edge of the docks, and looks at Jon before looking back. He raises his arms. And brings the people he just killed back to life, now members of his army. So if you liked Lady Wildling Commander, she’s still in the show a bit more.

Jon sends for his brown pants.

That’s all for now, holy fuck.


Good evening Mumsy,

Tonight’s episode comes from the house motto of the Martells, so expect a large portion to involve our favorite girl power team made up of an Indian, a Maori, a Singaporean, and an Italian playing vaguely Arabic relatives trying to avenge Inigo Montoya for a poorly justified reason.

For fun, I’ll be playing a drinking game tonight, feel free to join in the following:

Take a sip:
For each name Arya says on her death list

Jon talks about his vow

Someone tells sansa she’s not alone

Cersei appears with a wine goblet

Someone in dorne talks about revenge

Someone says “winter is coming”

Tyrion complains about NOT being drunk

Daeny does something villainous, but it’s played as badass or heroic

Brienne mentions her vow

Jamie doesn’t do something because of his hand

Jorah swoons or sighs over Daeny

A dragon is shown flying

Bronn says something about sex

Sam says Maester

Margaery smirks

Gray worm speaks broken English to a character who speaks Valaryian perfectly

You see Man Ass.

Ramsay has daddy issues

Someone says “The North Remembers”

Mellisandre says Lord of Light or gets naked out of nowhere

Stannis corrects grammar

Finish drink
If Gendry, Rickon, an Ironborn other than Theon appear on screen

A character with an arc dies

NOTE: ‘Twas a sober night indeed.

And here we go!

We begin in the House of Black and White, Arya is prepping a body in her training to eventually become an assassin.This process is repeated as she preps many different bodies.

Arya tries to see where they take the body, but she is stopped by assassin girl. Assassin girl gives vague generalizations, and asks Arya her name, Arya responds no one, and assassin girl doesn’t believe her. Assassin girl gives a backstory, She was an only child who was nearly killed by her step mom. She then asks if that story was true or a lie. And sends Arya back to word.

Later, Jaaquen visits her in her room, and asks who she is. Arya answers honestly. Arya tells her story, with small lies. Jaaquen sees through all her lies and beats her with a stick. Arya says she hated The Hound, Jaaquen says this is a lie. Arya is tired of this game, but Jaaquen says it never ends.

Meanwhile, Jorah and Tyrion continue on their journey, Jorah looks at his Greyscale infection. Tyrion talks about why he was where Jorah kidnapped him. Jorah seems to relate to Tyrion’s story, about his dad banging the woman he loved. Tyrion talks about meeting Jorah’s dad, the former commander of the Night’s Watch, and how he lived a great life. Jorah did not know his dad was killed.

They continue on the route.

Back to Arya scrubbing floors. Someone brings a girl into the room. The person says they have exhausted options and just want the suffering of a girl to end. Arya comforts the girl, and gives her water from the fountain that kills people.

Jaaquen watches from the shadows

Arya is then shown prepping the body of the girl. Jaaquen watches and leaves, Arya follows. Arya finally sees the forbidden room. It is very large and has giant columns. Clearly bigger on the inside.The columns are each filled with countless faces.

Jaaquen asks if she is ready to give up everything about her. Jaaquen says she is not ready to be become no one, but is ready to become someone else as Arya looks at an old lady’s face.

And back to Jorah and Tyrion, talking about why Jorah chose to follow Daeny. He chose to be devoted to her after her dragon and swoons. DRINK!

Tyrion asks the endgame of Daeny’s rule, and her potential right to rule. But, first, they see a slave ship, and are hopelessly outnumbered, and captured by Adebisi from Oz.

The slavers decide to kill Tyrion and cut off his dick, Tyrion argues to keep it attached until they see it. They are off to the slavers pits, Tyrion says that Jorah is a great fighter, who would be better sold in the fighting pits. Tyrion talks up Jorah, Jorah talks up Jorah and mentions the time he killed a Dothraki. Adebisi likes this.

Then, Littlefinger returns to King’s Landing, and is confronted by the Faith Militant and Brother Lancel, who tells him his vice isn’t welcome here in the new holy city. Littlefinger says he has been summoned by the queen. There are tense eyes made.

Littlefinger meets with Cersei, with a goblet, Drink! Littlefinger and Cersei go over why it was a bad idea to have Ser Loras Tyrell arrested, Cersei says it was the faith militant that did it, not her. They talk politics.

Littlefinger says he found Sansa, and she’s in Winterfell, with Roose Bolton. Cersei does not see through Littlefinger’s schemes. Cersei wants war. Littlefinger councils patience, and to attack once Stannis and Roose finish their battle.

Littlefinger offers his troops from the Vale. And if he succeeds, he asks to be named Warden of the North. Cersei wants Sansa’s head on a pike. Littlefinger only lives to serve.

Meanwhile, in Dorne. Cersei’s daughter Myrcella is about to be proposed to by a prince of Dorne. They are watched over by the ruler of Dorne and his head guard. The ruler says they need to be protected.

In the meantime. Bronn and Jamie ride their captured horses in Dornish garb they took off the people they killed.. Bronn sings.

Elaria preps her Sand Snakes, and they head off for revenge. Drink!

Jamie and Bronn are in the garden, the Sand Snakes are in the garden. Jamie reveals himself to his “Niece” and meets Tristain, the Dorne Prince. Bronn knocks out the Dornish Prince. And the Sand Snakes attack.

One of the Sand Snakes steals Myrcella, and Bronn is sliced by a probably poisoned blade.

The guards show up. All parties are captured except for the one who stole Myrcella. Elaria is also captured.

Meanwhile, near King’s Landing. Granny Tyrell is en route.

Grany Tyrell chats with her Granddaughter Marge.

And now, Granny Tyrell vs. Cersei. Granny is lacking tact. Cersei plays dumb about her involvement in the imprisonment of Loras. Granny threatens to take away their house support if grandson is not returned. Cersei plays dumb.

Cersei says there will be a short trial and dismisses Granny.

Then, at the hearing, Loras is on trial. Loras says he never banged a dude, and is dismissed from the stand. Marge is called to the stand. Marge says she is the queen, the High Sparrow says all are beholden to the law. Marge says she Loras told the truth, and is dismissed.

The guy who Loras had sex with comes in. And he testifies against both. Cersei feigns outrage. The witness mentions a birthmark. Marge is arrested as well. Marge calls out for King Tommen to do something, he does nothing.

Granny and Cersei share a glance.

Meanwhile, Sansa and Ramsay’s girlfriend Miranda have a scene in Winterfell. Miranda bathes Sansa. And washes the dye out of Sansa’s hair and tells Sansa of the girls Ramsay grew tired of, and their horrendous deaths.

Sansa is pretty fucked.

Sansa shows some balls and asks how long Miranda has loved Ramsay, and shows some pride before dismissing her. Sansa realizes she is fucked after Miranda leaves.

Later, Sansa is in white, and a clean Theon shows up to give her away. Sansa wants nothing to do with him. Theon is afraid of what will happen to him if she doesn’t cooperate. Sansa doesn’t care, and walks off without him.

And we have a wedding. When asked who gives her away, Theon says his own name rather than “Reek”, this may be an important thing.

The wedding completed, Sansa is brought to the bridal chamber by Ramsay. Theon is with them. They discuss her virginity. Ramsay doesn’t exactly believe her.

And now, a very uncomfortable sex scene. Ramsay makes Theon stay and watch, and calls Theon Reek again. And Ramsay tears off Sansa’s clothes and begins, while Theon is quite upset.

That’s all for now. Tune in next week for the probably quite uncomfortabe follow-up.


Today, on a very special Mother’s Day edition of Game of Thrones:

We begin in Danyburg. Where Grey Worm lies wounded on a coma bed overlooked by Missandei. Ser Barristan didn’t make it, and Dany makes a neutral acting choice.

Hizdaq, leader of the deposed nobles appears lacking tact. Dario suggests pulling back and murdering about.

Dany prefers to round up the heads of the families, including Hizdaq.

Dany then goes to visit her captive dragons, and apparently feed the noble families to them.

She mentions that her children will eat them if she asks, and though they are misbehaving, she still loves them.

Happy Mother’s Day.  (ahansen note: Ain’t he sweet?)

One of the nobles gets set on fire and eaten, Daenarys has reached Joffrey levels, and yet is still considered one of the good guys. To be fair, it is in her blood, her dad, The Mad King did a calmer version of this.

She lets the rest go… for now.

Meanwhile, Sam and Maester Aemon Targaryen, Dany’s uncle(or great uncle) chat at The Wall. Sam reads news about Dany and why she isn’t at the plot. Aemon insults himself being useless at the wall while she is alone.

Jon comes by wants to talk to Aemon alone. Jon wants advice, Aemon says to do it regardless of what it is. Tells him to kill the boy and let the man be born.

Jon then talks to Tormund, one of the top wildlings, who is in chains. Jon wants to include the wildlings in the realm. He wants Tormund to collect the wildlings and bring them south. Jon wants to use them to man the defenses on the wall against the ice zombies. Tormund is skeptical of the wildlings accepting this plan.

Jon undoes his chains after Tormund says it’s easy to say when not in chains. Tormund asks logistics and agrees, if Jon comes with.

Jon then presents the plan to the Night’s Watch. They are skeptical. Stannis overlooks and corrects grammar to himself. Sam offers a nice place to put them, and is shut down. One of Jon’s friends says they’ve killed too many of their brothers to be forgiven. Jon makes one more case against zombie swarms, and the Watch is still less than enthusiastic.

Jon heads to his quarters and is visited by the small kid whose parents were killed by Ygritte, who then killed Ygritte. The kid does not like his plan. Jon responds back that he has lost everyone too, and that they can’t do this without reinforcements.

Meanwhile, Pod and Brienne are in the shadow of Winterfell trying to stay relevant after their plot already ran out. Brienne still wants to rescue Sansa. An old man brings in supplies. Brienne tells the old man he needs to get a message to Sansa. Brienne continues on about her oath to Catelyn.

Meanwhile. Ramsay’s girlfriend Miranda(?) looks out a window naked for… some reason. They talk about Ramsay’s upcoming wedding, she’s still naked. Ramsay says he can’t marry her anymore because he’s no longer a bastard. Now he’s out and naked. Miranda asks if Ramsay thinks Sansa is pretty… if you remember, they killed someone who Miranda thought was prettier than her via hunt and dogs prior.

Ramsay says he’ll keep banging her after. They have a naked struggle. Ramsay says not to bore him. And they begin to have rough crazy sex.

Sansa meanwhile, is fully clothed, and an old lady visits her. And gives her a signal to use if she is ever in trouble.

Sansa takes a walk around Winterfell and visits the tower where her brother Bran fell, and- OH shit Miranda. Well, this won’t end well. Miranda likes Sansa’s dress which Sansa made, Sansa responds coldly. Miranda says there is a way to remember her family.

Miranda leads her to the kennel, and Sansa is skeptical. Sansa walks in and heads to where Miranda told her to go. And she finds… Reek! It’s Theon! Sansa has a look of rage, since Theon sacked Winterfell and killed her brothers for all she knows, and storms off.

Later. Theon is helping Ramsay dress. Theon says Sansa saw him. Ramsay doesn’t like that Theon kept a secret from him. And has Theon give him his hand. But… Ramsay shows mercy.

Then, continuing a surprising amount of time in the North. The Boltons have a meal together. Roose and his wife, the fat Frey are there. Ramsay toasts to the wedding. Sansa says the place she is is her home, but the people are strange. Theon comes in with wine.

Ramsay mentions Theon’s attack on Winterfell, and says the catchphrase used against his own family “The North Remembers” in regards to Theon and his punishment. Ramsay tells Theon to apologize. Theon apologizes, and Ramsay say DONE after a tense scene.

Ramsay continues to dig the knife in by saying that Theon is the closest Sansa has to living kin, and says Theon will give her away at the wedding.

Roose reveals some news, that Walda, his wife, is pregnant. This… does not set well with the bastard.

Another scene!?!?!?! Ok, guess this entire episode is in the North. Ramsay and Roose discuss the pregnancy. Ramsay does not like the idea of being replaced. Roose decides to tell him about his mom. And how Roose raped her after she married a miller without his consent. Then a year later, Ramsay. And Roose decided to keep him.

Then they discuss Stannis’s inevitable invasion against them. And how they will kill him.

Meanwhile, at the wall, Sam and Gilly talk about Maesters. Stannis hops by and mentions how Sam’s dad beat his brother in battle. Stannis wants to know more about killing white walkers. Sam has been researching how to fight the ice zombies.

Stannis meets up with Davos and tells him, it’s time. They will march on Winterfell. Stannis wants to bring his family.

Davos talks to Shireen about the battle, Stannis’s wife tells him not to scare her.

Stannis has one last chat with Jon, and they’re off!

Meanwhile, in Danyburg. Gray Worm wakes up three days later. Missandei remains watching over him. Gray Worm is sad at his failure. His true sorrow comes from being afraid he’d never see Missandei again when he was stabbed and fell to the ground. She kisses him.

Missandei and Daenarys chat. Daeny asks for advice, Missandei is hesitant to give advice. Missandei tells her to follow her instincts.

Daeny visits Hizdaq. Daeny says she was wrong, and that tradition is good, and will bring the people together, and she will open the fighting pits to free men. And she will marry the leader of an ancient family. Apparently she will marry Hizdaq.

Meanwhile, Tyrion and Jorah sail. Tyrion wants to know where they are, Jorah stays quiet. Tyrion talks a bit more. Tyrion is annoyed at his soberness. Jorah sees something. It’s Valyria, Daeny’s destroyed ancestral homeland. They recite a poem about the fall, when The Doom, probably a volcano, destroyed the ancient city.

Tyrion sees a dragon. It’s Drogon. A person leaps out of the scenery, covered in grayscale, they have gone crazy from the disease. Tyrion leaps into the water to escape one, and is dragged down by one of the lepers.

He comes to, and Jorah is looking down on him. Jorah cuts Tyrion’s bonds.

Jorah reveals he is infected to the audience.

And that’s all for now.


We begin where we left off last week. Jorah has abducted Tyrion and is committing a boat-jacking. Says he was taking him to the queen, but which one!

Meanwhile, Jamie and Bronn head to Dorne. He overlooks Qarth, where Dany visited a few season ago. They travel stealthily for their rescue mission of Jamie and Cersei’s daughter. Bronn makes a comment when Jamie says ‘niece.” Bronn seems skeptical of this plan, is familiar with Dorne. Bronn guesses that Tyrion was set free by him.

Jamie reveals that Tyrion is no longer welcome, because he killed Dad Tywin Lannister.

Meanwhile, Cersei rules as queen regent. Marge’s dad offers to pay back a portion of the massive loan that the Iron Bank of Bravos is demanding. She is sending Marge’s Dad with her murderdog Ser Meryn to Bravos to settle the debt. This does not look good for Marge’s Dad.

Menawhile, she meets with the High Sparrow, leader of the cult. She offers wine, he declines. Cersei brings up the Faith Militant, a group of warrior devout, and rearming them. Cersei is not smart.

Cersei says there is a sinner in her midst. The Sparrow says he will be judged.

Meanwhile, the cult of Sparrows is going around wrecking immorality. Beer, whorehouses, moneylenders. They head about wrecking everything without fear of the soldiers stopping them. They especially hate the gays.

Meanwhile, Cersei’s cousin Lancel is branded with their mark.

The Sparrows grab Ser Loras, the Knight of the Flowers. Marge’s brother and Cersei’s betrothed. The gay knight.

Marge confront her husband about this. She’s not happy. He promises to set him free.

He goes to confront Mom. Mom denies her involvement. Says if he speaks to the sparrow, he may be released.

Tommen heads to the High Sparrow with his Kingsguard. The Sparrows block his way. A kingsguard offers to kill them. Tommen hesitates, meanwhile the crowd yells he is an abomination. Tommen backs down.

Tommen returns to Marge, and says he was unable to free him without violence. Marge puts him in his place. Marge says she’s calling her grandmother, who if you remember, was the awesome old lady who killed Joffrey with Littlefinger.

Meanwhile, at the Wall. Stannis and Mrs. Stannis talk, Mrs. Stannis talks about her failure to raise a proper heir when speaking of their daughter. Red witch Mellisandre walks up and reminds her that the daughter has the blood of the king.

If you remember what she does with people who have the blood of the king, this could go badly.

Mel and Stannis discuss the upcoming march on Winterfell. She asks if she’s being left behind again. Stannis says no, she’s coming. Mel says she only needs to serve her lord, while looking over Jon training.

Meanwhile, Jon and Sam look over who needs to send troops. He gets to Roose Bolton, and wants no one from Roose, because he killed his brother. Sam convinces him to request troops because they are understaffed.

Mellisandre walks in as Sam leaves. Says he should come with them, because he grew up in the place they are invading. Jon says no, because of his oath. Mellisandre says there’s only one war, the fight between life and death.

Mel wants to show him something. It’s her boobs.

Jon resists, she doubles down. She’s about to kiss him, he refuses, and mentions Ygritte, and how he still loves her. Mel leaves, but first. YOU KNOW NOTHING JON SNOW! GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH, SHE KNOWS Ygritte’s catchphrase! Must be a redhead thing.

Meanwhile, Shireen, daughter of Stannis goes to visit Stannis. Shrieen says she actually likes it here and being included rather than stuck out of sight. She asks if Stannis is ashamed of her, due to her skin disease.

Stannis responds with a tale about a doll, that mocked her. And Stannis gave her that doll, and she loved it. But he burned it. Because it infected her with grayscale. People advised him to send her away to a leper colony, he said no. And called forth every healer available, and stopped the disease, because she is his daughter. *Hug*

Meanwhile, on this continuing episode of Sansa’s worst nightmare of the week. Sansa visits her aunt Lyanna’s grave. She was the one betrothed to the not yet fat king, that was abducted by Dany’s brother Rhaegar before the show began, and led to the overthrow of the Targaryen dynasty.

Littlefinger tells the story of how Rhaegar winning the tournament, and giving a garland of flowers not to his wife Elia Martell, but to Lyanna.  Sansa says he then kidnapped and raped her. Littlefinger seems to have more to the story, but not yet.

Littlefinger is leaving Sansa for King’s Landing. Littlefinger mentions that Stannis is going to attack Winterfell, and save her. And then name her Wardeness of the North.

Sansa asks what happens if Stannis fails. Littlefinger says to corrupt the son, her future husband. He then kisses her and says the North will be hers.

Meanwhile, in Dorne. Jamie and Bronn sneak in under cover of night. Jamie doesn’t row because he has one hand.

Jamie awakes and sees Bronn with a knife above him. And Bronn kills a snake they eat. Jamie asks how Bronn would choose to die. Bronn wants a comfy and brong death. Jamie wants to die in the arms of the woman he loves. Bronn asks s if she wants the same thing, knowing it’s Cersei…

Bronn asks Jamie how he knows their captain won’t betray them. Jamie says gold, Bronn says that’s not a lot.

Troops ride up. Bronn gives false names and a story why they’re there. Jamie doesn’t help. They are told to drop their weapons. Bronn fakes out and kills many of them, leaves one for Jamie, who if you recall, has been relearning how to fight. It doesn’t go well for Jamie, untill his gold hand reveals an unexpected benefit.

Bronn likes his new horse. Jamie says they need to bury them, before saying he’s not a great digger with one hand.

Meanwhile, the Sand Snakes (Oberyn’s (Indigo Montoya’s) bastard daughters) meet. Elaria, goes on about avenging Oberyn… and wants to kill Myrcella, daughter of Cersei and Jamie, who is betrothed to the prince. She asks who is with her.

They have a captain who smuggled in Jamie. The girl from Whale Rider is a badass in this version, and kills him.

Meanwhile, Jorah and Tyrion sail. Tyrion annoys him into taking off the gag. Tyrion doesn’t know who Jorah is. Tyrion notes that they are going the wrong way to where Cersei lives. Jorah says he’s heading to Daenarys.

Tyrion laughs, because that’s where he was going anyway. Asks to be unchained. Jorah doesn’t. Tyrion figures out who he is. He also works out why Jorah got exiled. Tyrion continues working this through. Jorah knocks him out.

Meanwhile, Dany overlooks her city. Barristan Selmy chats with her, and tells her a story of her brother Rhaegar. (If you remember from above.) Talks about his delightful singing voice. And his charity.

Dario stops by. The emmisary of the masters, Hizdar is there. He has a lot of people with him.

We cut to him alone talking to Dany. He asks to reopen the fighting pits again, and gives reasons why they should.

In the background, the Sons of the Harpy march.

Lots of Daenarys’s troops get killed by Harpies. A garrison led by Gray Worm comes across the scene, the crying prostitute sends them into an ambush.

It does not go well for Gray Worm and his men. Barristan Selmy hears the commotion and pulls out his sword.

Gray Worm is stabbed, and it’s not looking good.

More unsullied get killed.

Barristan stops them from murdering Gray Worm. But Baristan is badly wounded, and barely saved by Grey Worm. They both lay on the ground, not looking good for either.

And Credits!

WEEK 3 SEASON 5– High Sparrow

And here we GO(t)!

We start in… I have no idea… establishing character please? The House of Black and White, where Arya is sweeping. Jaaquen offers a desperate guy water. Arya’s getting shaolin training apparently, and doesn’t get point of sweeping. Jaaquen tells her to lose her identity. The place has the gods of all the faiths in there. But there is only one god, the god of death.

Water dude is dead. No one answers Arya.

Meanwhile! Wedding time! Marge and Tommen are getting married. Cersei is not happy at this, since she hates the smirking whore from Highgarden.

Tommen no longer a virgin! Tommen acting like a 15 year old who lost his virginity. Marge slightly in control here. Tommen says he doesn’t feel bad about Joffrey dying. Marge sneakily trying to convince Tommen to show dominance over Momma Cersei.

Tommen and Cersei walking the ramparts. Tommen talks about her going to her childhood home of Casterly Rock. Cersei doesn’t want to go to a retirement home.

Well, Cersei is off to talk to Marge. I expect a shit load of sniping. Marge sniping heavily, Cersei leaving, but Marge calls her back to snipe more, Cersei not seeming happy as she leaves the gigglers.

MEANWHILE the Boltons ride for Winterfell, home of the Starks, which was burned down by Ramsay Bolton after they took it from Theon. It’s rebuilding. Flayed bodies are being hung as Thron Reek watches disturbed.

Ramsay and Roose Bolton enjoying food, Ramsay says he flayed some lords because they wouldn’t pay taxes due to them not being Starks (and traitors).

Roose realizes that maybe his kid isn’t quite fit to rule at the moment. Reveals that since tywin Lannister died, they may be fucked if they don’t be a tad diplomatic. Roose sets up a marraige for his son, with…

Cut to Sansa!

Sansa and Littlefinger ride to Moat Cailan. Which is held by the Boltons. Sansa realizes she’s getting married… to a Bolton. Who betrayed her family. She’s marrying crazy Ramsay.

Will someone get that phone? Because I CALLED IT.

Littlefinger tells that this is the way to avenge the loss of her family. Sansa not happy, but convinced.

Meanwhile, Brienne and Pod look over.

Brienne and Pod talk about how he came to squire for Tyrion.

Pod tells the story of his old master being hung for a ham. But being pardoned for having a good name. Brienne dismisses him, but he stays plucky and says he likes squiring for her. She agrees to teach him to fight and ride.

Now, Brienne’s backstory. She had a ball, people said they’d fight over her, dad smiled at her, but then came the snickering. She had a slight Carrie moment. But, Renly comforted her. Pod hints he was gay, but Brienne not care because he was nice to her. She feels failure for not saving the guy that saved her, and she swears revenge. Because she saw Stannis’s face in the shadow that killed Renly. So now she has a PLOT SEGMENT!

Meanwhile, ol Shadow Face himself Stannis is talking to Jon. Jon refuses his offer to be made legitimate and ruler of the North. Jon wishes to follow his vow to be a Night’s Watch man. Stannis insults his dad for being too honorable. Jon asks if he plans to stay.


Stannis is heading to Winterfell in a fortnight. Leaves the fate of the Wildlings to Jon. Stannis recommends for Jon to get rid of the guy who hates him.

Davos stays behind to talk to Jon. Davos uses the Oath against him, and that a passage says to defend the realm, not just the frozen ice. And plants the seed to get him to engage the Boltons.

Meanwhile. Arya still in the house of not interacting. Someone asks her who she is. Arya responds no one, she gets whipped. Arya reaches for her sword. Jaaquen interupts. Arya says she’s ready, but Jaaquen says Arya has material possessions.

Arya wraps her stuff around a rock and sinks it to the bottom of the canal. But, she hesitates on her sword, and hides it.

Now more sweeping. A door stays open, and Jaaquen grabs her shoulder. Down a walkway they go. There’s a dead body. Jaaquen leaves arya with silent girl. Arya helps prep the body.

Arya asks a question, this remains a dumb idea.

Meanwhile, Littlefinger and Sansa arrives at Winterfell. The Boltons await. Roose knows who she is. Sansa plays courtly with him. Ramsay meets her. Ramsay’s girlfriend watches over with rage (they hunted that one girl last season, with their dogs).

Sana’s maid welcomes her home, and shows she is loyal to Sansa.

Meanwhile, Jon presides over council. Maester Aemon isn’t there. Jon opens up for business. Decides to create a latrine captain, looks at Ser Alister before giving it to someone else.

He names Ser Alister first ranger. Gives Janos Slynt (who betrayed Ned Stark) a fort to fix up. Janos refuses. Jon says it was an order. Janos refuses again, harsher. Jon gives one last chance. Janos gives it even harsher.

Jon gives the order to execute Janos. Janos still refuses to admit this is happening. Jon finishes his drink and heads off to execute the Janos. Stannis looks over. Janos tries to save his skin and begs for mercy. Jon swings the sword. One swing is all it takes.

Stannis approves.

Meanwhile, in the land of nudity. The head of the church (high septon) looks over people playing the gods in a whorehouse. The cult of the seven, sparrows, led by Lancel Lannister who used to bang Cersei, come in to punish him for profaning their gods. They make him walk through the streets naked to be shamed.

The high septon talks to Cersei and the small council. High Septon demands their arrest and imprisonment of their leader, the High Sparrow. Cersei goes to meet with the High Sparrow, leader of the fanatics.

She comes to well known actor Jonathan Pryce, so it’s likely him. It is, and he says it’s a name given by enemies. High Sparrow tells about the faith, and it’s much about giving up desires for the good of others.

High Sparrow justifies their actions. Cersei says the high septon wanted the high sparrow arrested, Cersei threw the septon in the dungeon. They seem to have an understanding..

Cersei meets with Qyburn, who is doing his experiments. A large mass sits under a blanket. Cersei asks how his work goes and tells him to send a Raven to Littlefinger.

The mass twitches.

Meanwhile, Sansa walks through Winterfell and walks past Theon.

Ramsay chats with Littlefinger. Ramsay promises not to hurt her. Littlefinger says he knows little of Ramsay. Ramsay asks for a moment alone with Littlefinger.

Littlefinger justifies the marraige. Roose mentions the consequences if the Lannisters find out she married Ramsay. Littlefinger says the Lannister name is not what it used to be. Littlefinger continues to justify everything.

Roose gives him a note from Cersei. Roose already read it. Littlefinger steps up and talks about his moves. Littlefinger talks treason and requests a raven.

Meanwhile, Tyrion and Varys travel. Tyrion has cabin fever. Tyrion gets out of the box.

Varys goes over the slave markings. They comes across a Red Priestess, like Mellisandre the Red Women. She’s asian. She preaches about the Dragon Queen. The priestess looks at Tyrion. Tyrion retreats to a brothel.

But who is there… could it be? It’s JORAH!

A prostitute cosplays as commando Daenarys.

Tyrion chats to a lady, and wins! Tyrion can’t perform. And heads to pee. JORAH!

And Jorah grabs him. And says he’s taking him to the queen. But which queen!?!?!!??!!??


WEEK TWO, SEASON 5  The House of Black and White


Game of Thrones time, game of thrones time, game of thrones time.

We start with Arya sailing into Bravos, where many faced dude told her to go, and her old fencing teacher was from. Arya claims not to be afraid.

This sequence sponsored by the tourism board of Venice.

She comes to the House of Black and White, where she is dropped off by the sea captain.

She is met by silent monk dude, drops Jaquen’s name, silent monk denies him there, annd tells her to go away. So… Arya waits. That evening, she recites her list of people she will kill, many times, she continues this through the night, while coveting the preciouseseses coin.

And off she goes, and chucks the coin in the water.

Meanwhile, Pod and Brienne are at an inn. With Littlefinger and Sansa!

Pod spots Sansa. Brienne, if you remember, is sworn to find Sansa. Littlefinger drops Renly’s name, this may be a mistake. Brienne offers her services.

Littlefinger skeptical of Brienne’s story… Littlefinger speaking harsh truth about her track record. Sansa speaks harsh truth about Brienne bowing to Joffrey.

Brienne and Pod heading out, due to knowing Littlefinger would likely kill someone who spotted Sansa in the wild. They set the pursuer’s horses free. Pod’s stunt double can’t control horse.

Brienne loses the troops, but Pod gets unhorsed. Not looking good for Pod as a troop catches up. Brienne swipes them down.

Pod says maybe, just maybe, Brienne should stop trying to help… Brienne denies his advice.

Meanwhile, in King’s Landing. Cersei gets news from Dorne, where her daughter Myrcella is hanging out waiting to be married eventually, and where Indigo Montoya was from. Jamie tells her not to yell about their incest so loudly, Cersei tells him to shut up cause all their kid’s seem fucked.

Jamie says he’s heading to Dorne to get daughter Myrcella back. Cersei seems skeptical of his chances. Jamie says he’s not going alone, but with who!?!?!?

Cut to Bronn, and his new wife. He seems less than interested in her talking. He likes the castle, his wife says they won’t live there due to her older sister inheriting it. Bronn hints slightly that her sister isn’t long for this world.

Jamie is hanging out in his shrubbery.

Jamie says Bronn’s marraige is off, and when they get back from Dorne, he’s getting a better wife and castle.

Meanwhile, in Dorne. Oberyn’s widow is grieving, and watching Myrcella in the garden with disdain.

She heads over to yell at Prince Martell. She wants vengeance, the Prince tells her it was a trial by combat, so a legal death. Widow stills wants revenge, and to kill the shit out of Myrcella.

Prince tells her mutilating little girls is bad, she threatens him.

Meanwhile, in Mereen. Dario and Grey Worm wander the streets on patrol. Dario finds someone hiding in the walls. He has harpy paraphenalia.

Dany’s council is discussing the new prisoner. Her aristocrat council guy denies a crime, Barristan says to be reasonable with a trial, freed slave wants death. Dany accepts the counsel and… Barristan stays late and wants to talk about the Mad King. Dany apparently believes the stories were propaganda. Barristan delivers harsh truth about the Mad King’s reign. And hints not to become her dad.

Dany agrees not to execute willy nilly.

Meanwhile, on the road to Dany, Tyrion and Varys are having a roadtrip. Varys mentions there is an award for his head, Tyrion has cabin fever.

Turns out they are off to Volantis, which has a road to Dany.

Tyrion admits he didn’t want to leave because he liked power, even though Shae asked him too.

Box metaphor.

Cersei has been brought the head of a dwarf in a brick joke. Wrong dwarf. Her Frankenstein Maester Qyburn wants the head for his experiments.

Cersei hangs out with the council. She sits in the Hand chair, and drops feminism. She’s promoted Qyburn to Varys’s old job. Uncle Kevan Lannister is named Master of War, Kevan wants to hear it from King Tommen, Cersei tells him Tommen is busy.

Kevan tells her she has no right to fill the council with sycophants and has no right to make decisions to rule. Kevan leaves.

Meanwhile, Sam and Gilly hang out at the wall with Stannis’s daughter Shireen, who is teaching Gilly to read.

More said about Greyscale, Shireen’s disease. Apparently the disease really sucks.

Shireen’s mom stops by and tells her not to trust the Wildlings, because Stannis killed their leader last week.

Stannis scolds Jon for showing mercy during Mance’s execution. Jon drops harsh truth about them never following him.

Stannis shows him something from Jorah’s sister denying his right to rule.

Now they discuss who the new leader will be, since the Jorah’s dad, the old commander died. Stannis offers Jon the North if he bends the knee, because Stannis would legitimize him.

Jon says he won’t do it because of his Night’s Watch vows.

Maester Aemon asks for speeches before the votes are cast. Janos Slynt speaks in Allister’s qualifications, someone else speaks for Ser Denis Mallister. Sam speaks up, Janos mocks him, Sam mocks him right back. Ouch.

Sam speaks for Jon. The crowd really likes this speaking. Allister counterpoints.

Voting. It’s close. It’s a tie. Aemon makes the deciding vote, for Jon. Jon leads the Night’s Watch now.

Meanwhile, Arya is killing pigeons. Some street types ask what she’s up to. They draw. The Black Monk from the house has her back. He throws her coin back. HOLY SHIT it was Jaquen. He tells her she must become no one, and invites her into the black and white house.

Meanwhile, in Danyburg. The freed slave member of Dany’s council goes to the prisoner’s cell. The prisoner says she has no right to rule. The prisoner ends up dead with the “Kill the Masters” slogan.

He says he killed the prisoner because Dany’s hands were tied. And because he doesn’t want to return to the slave system.

Dany orders him taken away. The crowd chants Myhssa, “Mother.” She brings out the prisoner. The crowd calls him brother. She sentences him to death, the crowd calls for mercy. Dario executes him. And the crowd goes silent, then starts hissing. Someone throws a rock.

The old masters are being attacked and Dany is avoiding rocks via testudo. Dany asks to be alone and heads out to her balcony. Oh hi Drogon. She reaches out to touch him and he flies off reminding us how no one cares about the damn Iraq War metaphor, just gives us Dragons in Westeros, damn it.

And we are complete. Caw.

WEEK ONE, SEASON 5  — The Wars To Come

We come in on young Cersei and her friend meeting a wish. Witch prophecises her kids will die and she’ll be replaced by a younger/prettier queen.

Cut to modern Cersei at a funeral for her dad. Jamie is there, and worried of what will happen once people see dad is dead. Cersei still wants Tyrion dead.

Now we meet up with Tyrion in a box, in the free city of Pentos. AKA, Danaerys’s continent, in the city where we first met her. Varys lets him out of the box, he’s been in there for a while. Varys admits he tried to set up Dany and her brother’s return to overthrow Robert Baratheon the fat king from season 1.

Meanwhile Dany’s people are tearing down the idols of the city she conquered, obvious Saddam Hussein overthrowing allegory incoming.

An unsullied is visiting a whore, this is odd as he lacks genitals. Guess he just wants to cuddle. But he is assassinated by the followers of the idol he tore down.

Dany meanwhile, continues to be an idealist. Daenarys W. Targaryen wants the killers dead.

Meanwhile, Dany’s lady Missandei meets with the leader of the unsullied, Grey Worm. They like each other. She asks why they go to brothels despite lacking genitals.

Meanwhile in the North. Jon Snow training the Night’s Watch. Is sparring with the kid who shot Ygritte. Sam and Gilly are chatting. Commander is wary. Mellisandre, the red woman summons Jon to Stannis.

Mellisandre seems really interested in Jon. Has temperature. Mellisandre seems glad Jon isn’t a virgin.

Stannis and Davos are at the top of the wall talk to Jon about who runs his old home now.  They ask why he took Ygritte North. Stannis wants use of the wildlings to retake the North. Stannis just requires their king to swear fealty, needs Jon to convince him, or the wildling king will be burned.

Meanwhile, in The Vale. Littlefinger is teaching Robin Arynn how to fight, and is hanging out with Sansa. Robin is obviously bad due to over coddling by his mum.

Meanwhile, Brienne and Podrick and figuring out what to do now. Brienne’s a bit emo and lashing out at Pod. But, what’s this? Sansa and Littlefinger on the road!

Littlefinger continues to be tricky, and they are off to someplace mysterious.

Meanwhile, Cersei drinks and talks to Loras, the Knight of the Flowers, who she is engaged to. Cersei cares not. Master Pycelle tries to talk, Cersei uninterested. Her cousin Lancel who she used to bang stops by, now a religious devotee. Her uncle makes an appearance. Believe his name is Kevan.

Lancel the religious comes by seeking forgiveness for having sex with her, and for getting the king drunk during his boar hunt which killed him. Lancel wans her to join his religious order. Cersei continues to drink.

Meanwhile, Loras the Knight of the Flowers is having bed talk with some dude. Apparently Loras has map worth of scars. His sister, Margaery, the queen to be, walks in on them.

Marge wants dinner, damnit.And for him to be a little less obvious about such things. They talk over his engagement to Cersei, Marge is devious.

Meanwhile, Tyrion and Varys chat in Pentos. Varys talks about why he freed him. Wants to put Dany on the throne.

Meanwhile, in Mereen. All continues to be not well. Head of the nobles is chatting with her. Wants the fighting pits reopened. Dany’s boy toy Dario hangs out. Dany shuts down the fighting pit request.

Dany has pillow talk with Dario. Emilia Clarke, the actress showing off her new contract stipulation against nudity. Dario tells her the benefits of gladiator pits. Her unchained dragon is still flying around wild.

Dany goes to visit her chained dragons. They’ve grown a bit. They’re not happy. Dany runs away, and continues to be a waste of plot.

Meanwhile, in the north. Jon chants with Mance, the wildling king. Jon trying to convince him to join Stannis. Mance not into it. Jon says they’ll burn him. Mance still not into it.

And now, Mance being called forth, asked to bend the knee. Mance not into it. And now, the burning, everyone watches. Mellisandre, the red hag of a plot device says some words. And we have Isis! Mance making eyes with his lieutenant. Jon leaves. Jon shoots him to end his pain.

Aaaand credits!


Nyah, Nyah, Nyah Mr. Kasper*


They were calling my name, but it didn’t register; I just sat there at the banquet table picking on my pan-fried- chicken-with-spring-vegetables (I’m sorry, but carrots and zucchini are not “spring vegetables,”) and wondering why all my dinner mates were poking me and hissing “You won! Get up there!”

It turns out the Independent Book Publishers Association had seen fit to give “Chomp” the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Memoir/Autobiography of 2014—and I’d not even known it was nominated! I knew the book had already won silver for the “Best Inspirational” (which rather puzzled me, as being mauled by a bear doesn’t strike one as being particularly inspiring,) but that award was further down the program and at that moment my mind was a thousand miles away wondering what Jax and Daisy might be tearing apart on my lawn back at the ranch.

The MC was reading the next category when it hit me that I was “Allena Hansen,” and I’d come all the way here to IBPA’s PubU in Austin, TX for just such an eventuality, so I’m told I rose from the table, shouted “Wait! Wait! That’s me!” and sprinted to the podium on adrenalin and high heels to accept the award (accompanied by a great deal of laughter and applause from the audience.)

Emboldened by their reaction, I thanked the board for the award and blessed the amazing gals at WiseInk who’d shepherded the project. Then I thanked The Bear for helping me to finally find my writer’s voice. I told it I hoped its effing eye still hurt, shook hands with the presenter, and floated back to my table in a daze.

“What just happened?” I asked my dinner companion, the charming Lynn Boughey, who later won for his wonderful teen nonfiction “Harry Potter and the Art of Spying.” (Lynn is co-owner of the Spy Museum in Washington, DC and had flown in that afternoon having just argued a gay rights case before the North Dakota Supreme Court that morning.) “They loved you,” said Lynn, “and now you can put that pretty gold sticker on all of your books. Have a bite of cheesecake.”

So I did. AtheistGod help me, I ate the whole damned thing.


*Fifty years ago my high school honors English teacher informed me that my writing was “as unconvincing and overwrought as your classroom chatter.” He was right, of course, but it’s nonetheless gratifying to be validated in my assessment, then as now, that the man was . . . shortsighted.