Lessons of the Red Wedding: The Uses of Character Death in Fantasy

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***SPOILER ALERT***
This post contains spoilers for the June 2 episode of “Game of Thrones.” If you did not watch the episode, have not read “A Storm of Swords,” and do not want “The Rains of Castamere” spoiled, do not continue. There are NO spoilers posted here for “A Feast for Crows” or “A Dance with Dragons.”

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If you’ve read George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire,” then last night’s “Game of Thrones” was a chance to relive the horror, the pain, and the rage you felt the very first time you read those blood-stained pages chronicling the Red Wedding.

And if you are a “Game of Thrones” fan who never read the books—I’m so sorry. Here—watch this video of a kitten stuck in a hamster ball.


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A “Flight of Dragons” Live Action Film Is In Production!

Once again I have to apologize for my absence from this blog. On top of the usual distractions, I’ve been working on a big new project that goes hand-in-hand with this blog. I cannot wait to show it off, but until it’s ready, I’m afraid it’ll have to remain Top Secret. Just be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss the big debut. 😉

In the meantime, I have exciting news to share! I’ve just learned that “The Flight of Dragons” will soon be a live action movie! Yep, that’s right, I’m talking about the 1982 Rankin/Bass animated film.

All mankind is facing an epic choice:
A world of magic, or a world of science.
Which will it be?

Good luck getting that theme song out of your head now. “Flight of draaaagons…..”

The original Rankin/Bass “The Flight of Dragons” combined Peter Dickinson’s speculative natural history book of the same name with the novel “The Dragon and the George” by Gordon R. Dickson, creating a poignant and delightful tale about a world where the opposing forces of science and magic must work together to defeat an evil wizard.

Apparently, according to Director Jesse Stipek, Warner Brothers no longer holds the rights to the Rankin/Bass movie, so the new filmmakers are free to negotiate a new deal. Yesterday, the team posted a production update to their official Facebook page, saying that Imageworx Atrocity is currently in negotiations with the Peter Dickinson and Gordon R. Dickson estates to acquire the rights.

“Once all legalities and talks are complete and successful with the authors, we are going to announce something pretty cool; we just have to be official before doing so!” they wrote.

The initial shoot date of May 11 has been pushed back into June, when they hope production will be in full swing.

flightofdragons

At this stage, details about the actual film are few and far between. What we do know is that Andrew Tribolini will be playing Carolinus the Green Wizard. Preliminary concept art by artist Jennifer Miller, which you can check out on the project’s defunct Kickstarter page, suggests that the live action film is very much visually inspired by the Rankin/Bass animation.

The film’s official website has been taken down temporarily, presumably in preparation for whatever big announcement they have planned, but here’s a summary of the film’s plot from the Facebook page:

“The Flight of Dragons” unfolds in an age when magic and science coexist uneasily, and humans still walk the earth alongside wizards, unicorns, and dragons.

One of the four most powerful mages on the planet, Carolinus the Green Wizard realizes that magic’s power is slipping in favor of the logic of science — a potential detriment to men, who need such magic to provide regular inspiration for themselves. Carolinus thus summons his three brothers for an emergency gathering, and suggests that they create a separate magical realm for themselves, via which they can send man the magic he needs on a regular basis.

Two of the brothers agree, but the third — the evil wizard Ommadon — not only refuses to be shuttled off to this removed existence but vows to wage full-scale war on humankind with evil feelings and ideas. Because the rules of the universe forbid Carolinus and his other two siblings from going head-to-head with Ommadon, they must seek out a human hero with the power to stop him. Carolinus sends this request to the Fates. They, in turn, select Peter, who is, of all things, a man of science.

I would love to see what Jesse Stipek and his crew make this happen. “The Flight of Dragons,” along with nearly every other Rankin/Bass film, represents some of my fondest memories of childhood. More importantly, though, a tale about whether science and magic can co-exist in the world has never been more apropos than in today’s technological age.

Do you remember watching “The Flight of Dragons” as a kid? Share your favorite animated classics in the comments below!

Dissecting Another “Game of Thrones” Season 3 Trailer

If you haven’t read the books behind “Game of Thrones” and are looking for a spoiler-free preview of Season 3, check out my latest blog post over at “The Sonic Saber.” (There are no spoilers! I promise!)

If you have read the books and are looking for spoiler-tastic breakdown of HBO’s latest Season 3 trailer, then you have come to the right place! Read on and enjoy!

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***SPOILER ALERT***
This post contains spoilers for Season 3 of “Game of Thrones.” If you have not read “A Storm of Swords” and do not want the plot spoiled, do not continue. There are NO spoilers posted here for “A Feast for Crows” or “A Dance with Dragons.”

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About a month ago, HBO released its first full-length trailer for Season 3 of “Game of Thrones,” scheduled to premier on March 31. I had so much fun analyzing each scene in that trailer that I’ve decided to perform another dissection on the new trailer just released Sunday.

Now, of course, much of this is mere speculation, and I could be wrong about everything. Take a look at the scenes I’ve identified, and let me know if you think I’ve guessed correctly.

Here we go!

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Let’s break it down now, shall we?
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The Best of Fantasy Music

Of all the nerd debates, perhaps none is so cherished as the sacred tradition of the “book vs. movie” debate. What scenes were left out? What memorable quotes were altered? How well do the actors resemble the characters we’d pictured in our minds?

Anyone who’s engaged in such a debate knows, it can get bloody—especially when a die-hard fan of the books goes head-to-head with a movie fan who’s never read them.

But amidst the carnage, there’s one truth we can all agree on: Only a truly masterful composer can breathe life into the fantasy worlds we love, capturing their beauty, tragedy, and badassery.

Today, I want to showcase the very best of fantasy-inspired music. These are the tracks I come back to again and again, to relax at the end of a long day or find inspiration when writer’s block kicks in.

Although these are my personal favorites, they’re certainly not the only examples of awesome fantasy music out there. If you like my list, I recommend checking out Radio Rivendell, a commercial-free online radio playing fantasy music ’round the clock. It’s perfect if you need some background music while you’re plowing through homework.

Top 15 Fantasy Music Tracks

(in no particular order)

1. “Finale”
Album: Game of Thrones – Music From The HBO Series
Composer: Ramin Djawadi
Kailey’s Note: This theme gives me shivers every goddamn time. It is eerily subtle and entrancing, without question the perfect accompaniment for the epic finale of “Game of Thrones” Season 1. The rising crescendo really drives home the massive scale of the world George R. R. Martin created. Every aspiring fantasy author hopes to write a novel worthy of this music. I know I do.

2. “Dragonborn”
Album: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Original Game Soundtrack
Composer: Jeremy Soule
Kailey’s Note: FUS RO DAH!!!


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Dissecting the New “Game of Thrones” Season 3 Trailer

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***SPOILER ALERT***
This post contains spoilers for Season 3 of “Game of Thrones.” If you have not read “A Storm of Swords” and do not want the plot spoiled, do not continue. There are NO spoilers posted here for “A Feast for Crows” or “A Dance with Dragons.”

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There’s no question: HBO knows marketing.

Just last week, I wrote about the brilliant promotional site, mywatchbegins.com, where you can record yourself taking the Night’s Watch oath.

Today I get to write about another spot-on marketing campaign for “Game of Thrones,” this time in the form of a jaw-dropping ad in The New York Times:

GoT Season 3 Ad

Photo by “greywatercrannog” on Tumblr.

That’s right—Drogon’s silhouette dominates an entire page of The New York Times. Whoa! I didn’t even know you could DO that!

The ad appears only days after the premier on Jimmy Kimmel Live of the new Season 3 trailer, which finally gives fans a tantalizing glimpse at some actual footage.
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Let’s break this footage down into some scenes that fans of the books are sure to recognize:

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The George R. R. Martin Complex—or, Why Fans Have Entitlement Issues

Hello there, ladies and gents! Sorry for the shortage of updates recently. I got hit with a pretty severe cold and was laid up in bed for a couple of days. Just when I started feeling better, Winter Storm Nemo buried us in two feet of snow and knocked out our internet, phones and cable for about three days. We were fortunate not to lose power.

Now that order has been restored, I want to jump back into blogging with a few words about fan entitlement.

But first!

I just had to mention this incredible site, http://mywatchbegins.com. Developed by HBO as a promotion for “Game of Thrones,” this site lets you record yourself swearing the Night’s Watch oath, led by the Bastard of Winterfell, Jon Snow himself. Your voice is then mixed with the voices of hundreds of others who’ve visited the site and recorded their own oaths.

The result—one truly epic sound bite. George R. R. Martin even recorded his own version for YouTube.

I felt I needed to give HBO credit for thinking up this brilliant marketing strategy, and for making me feel like a badass when I listened to my voice right alongside Jon Snow’s. To hear my recording and to record your own Night’s Watch oath, clicky the pic below!

mywatchbegins.com


The George R. R. Martin Complex

Last week, I wrote an article over at my friend Dave’s site, The Sonic Saber, about the deal George R. R. Martin signed with HBO, and fan reaction to this news.

It got me thinking about fans (of books, television shows, musicians, etc.) and what makes them feel entitled to a constant stream of new content from the writers/actors/musicians they claim to adore—content, by the way, that they dictate.

I have dubbed this phenomenon “The George R. R. Martin Complex.”
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My Top 100 Favorite Movies

My Top 100 Favorite Movies

Well, I had planned to write a little something about my in-the-works novel for today’s post, but when I stumbled upon Nathan Bransford’s “Best 100 Movies Challenge,” I decided I had to give it a shot.

This was really, really hard. I enjoy watching movies, but I don’t actually sit down to watch them very often, and when I do it’s usually to rewatch something I’ve already seen. It was tough for me to come up with 100 movies I’ve seen, let alone 100 movies I liked.

Now, before you get all riled up about some iconic movie I left out, please note that I did not include any movie that I haven’t actually seen myself. That means you won’t find certain classics like “Gone With The Wind,” “Fight Club,” and “The Godfather.” It’s not that I don’t appreciate these movies, it’s just that I’ve never seen them.

Here’s my List, in no particular order:

  1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  2. Boondock Saints
  3. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  4. The Hobbit (Rankin/Bass 1977 animated version)
  5. Joyeux Noel
  6. All the President’s Men
  7. Holes
  8. How To Train Your Dragon
  9. Slumdog Millionaire
  10. Charlotte’s Web
  11. Mona Lisa Smile
  12. The Land Before Time
  13. Lawrence of Arabia
  14. Titanic
  15. The Prince of Egypt
  16. Freedom Writers
  17. Speak
  18. V for Vendetta
  19. The Sandlot
  20. The Return of the Pink Panther
  21. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
  22. A Christmas Story
  23. Spirited Away
  24. Star Wars
  25. Watchmen
  26. I, Robot
  27. Finding Nemo
  28. Lord of War
  29. Shrek
  30. Legally Blonde
  31. Dogma
  32. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  33. Iron Man
  34. Serenity
  35. Jumanji
  36. Pay It Forward
  37. Men In Black
  38. The Princess Bride
  39. Matilda
  40. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  41. Lost In Translation
  42. The King’s Speech
  43. Old Yeller
  44. Big Fish
  45. The Last Unicorn
  46. The Lion King
  47. Ip Man
  48. Balto
  49. Amadeus
  50. Excalibur
  51. Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit
  52. The Dark Knight
  53. Chocolat
  54. Master and Commander
  55. Schindler’s List
  56. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  57. The Sound of Music
  58. Reds
  59. Let the Bullets Fly 《让子弹飞》
  60. Mary Poppins
  61. Jurassic Park
  62. Spy Game
  63. The Fox and the Hound
  64. Down Periscope
  65. He’s Just Not That Into You
  66. The Iron Giant
  67. The Year Without a Santa Claus
  68. Lean On Me
  69. Ever After
  70. The Neverending Story
  71. Mrs. Doubtfire
  72. Annie (1982)
  73. The Devil Wears Prada
  74. The Wizard of Oz
  75. Back to the Future trilogy
  76. Fiddler on the Roof
  77. Forrest Gump
  78. Law Abiding Citizen
  79. Hook
  80. The Secret of NIMH
  81. Fifty First Dates
  82. All Dogs Go to Heaven
  83. Julie and Julia
  84. Moulin Rouge
  85. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
  86. The Last Emperor
  87. A Knight’s Tale
  88. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  89. Pete’s Dragon
  90. Homeward Bound
  91. Harry Potter series
  92. The Jungle Book (Disney)
  93. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  94. Ratatouille
  95. Drunken Master

The last five on my list are not movies at all, but television shows. (Yes, I know, I’m cheating!) I’m not including these because I couldn’t think of five more movies—I definitely could—but because I’d rather list these five TV shows that I love than five mediocre movies that didn’t quite make the cut. Besides, isn’t a TV series just like a reeeeeally long movie?

So here they are, my top five favorite TV series.

  1. Game of Thrones
  2. The West Wing
  3. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  4. Firefly
  5. Price and Prejudice (1995 mini-series)

What movies would YOU include on your top 100 list? Share your favorite movies with me in the comments!