As we patiently await the PS5 showcase that will now arrive later this month and the release ofThe Last of Us: Part II (June 18th), I’ve found myself in a weird gray area and can’t decide what to play next. As I perused my library I couldn’t help but notice so many of the classic games that drew me into PlayStation in the first place. Do I spend my next two weeks sneaking my through Massachusetts with Joel and Ellie? Should I roam the ancient earth with Kratos and Atreus? Maybe I prepare myself for the next zombie apocalypse with Hideo Kojima’s unique post-apocalyptic Death Stranding? No matter what I choose, I think it’s safe to say that the following games will forever go down as some of the greatest PS4 games of all time.
Starting with one of the most visually pleasing games I have ever played, the PlayStation Original God of War is a must-play for anyone who owns a PS4. If you’re familiar with my site or my book you already know how much I love everything that relates to Norse mythology. So when I first got my hands on a PS4 and God of War, I was in Valhalla. Within minutes, I knew this would be one of my favorite games of all time. You’re immediately immersed into one of the most beautiful, open world forests and begin to explore the world around Kratos. As you progress, the graphics only get better. The story is the perfect balance between the real mythology of the Nordic people and the fantasy of what could have been. On top of that, the fighting system is flawless. Kratos and Atreus are the perfect duo and have loads of awesome attacks that are not only effective, but also stunning graphically. I probably logged close to 200 hours into this game before I finally finished every quest, explored every inch of map, and claimed every PS trophy. I’m not saying all of you need to go to the lengths I did, but you should give God of war a try at the very least if you haven’t already!
As one of the most well renowned survival horror games to have ever been created, The Last of Us will take you on a roller coaster ride through your emotions as you traverse the northeastern United States. During this post apocalyptic thriller, you will play as Joel or Ellie as they attempt to make their way somewhere safe during these trying times. This is an older game, so the graphics were not as on par as some newer games (God of War, Spider-Man, Etc.), but they still hold up to this day. However, if you were lucky enough to play the remastered version (as I was) than the prior statement is completely irrelevant. The undead creatures themselves are nothing short of dreadfully terrifying and will easily cause a few jump scares as you play through the campaign. The story itself is also perfection. The highs and lows have you digging deep into your own emotions, often times wondering if the things you are doing within the game are morally acceptable. Naughty Dog did an excellent job with The Last of Us, and I can’t wait to see what is in store for TLOU:II later this month.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is one of the more recent (Sep. 2018) PS4 exclusives to hit the shelves, but its massive open city concept will surely have it go down as an all-time classic. As you swing through New York as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, you find Peter Parker amidst one of the worst pandemics his universe has ever witnessed. The story and missions jump around quite a bit, but all-in-all, they were put together in a solid fashion that allowed for a quick, fun, and thrilling campaign. Spider-Man is also another game that has incredibly fluid fighting. There are hundreds of moves that Spidey can learn as he progresses through the story and each one is unique in some way. Not to mention, you have the ability to change Spider-Man’s suit throughout the game, and there are so many incredible options! The open-world aspect also allows you to do a ridiculous amount of exploring. Whether fighting crime, searching for backpacks that Spider-Man lost across town, or helping Harry Osborn improve the environment, this game will easily provide 30-45 hours of very enjoyable content.
You may be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3 yet. This game is not a PS exclusive as the first three games have been, but as someone who has played on both Xbox and PlayStation, it might as well have been. The Witcher franchise as a whole is probably second only to the Elder Scrolls franchise when it comes to open world console gaming. The third installment of CD Projekt Red’s hit game dropped in mid 2015 and had a massive resurgence early this year after Netflix dropped their original Witcher series. If I put 200 hours into God of War, I can’t even fathom the hours I put into the Witcher. With hundreds (potentially thousands) of quests ranging across the main story and both DLC’s, this game will have you traversing the exquisitely crafted map over and over again. And, I bet you will find new places of interest, Gwent challengers, and unique monsters each time you do. The Witcher 3 is another game that has a perfect combat system, which actually becomes much more rewarding depending on the level of difficulty you decide to play through. CD Projekt Red, of course, created mesmerizing storylines and graphics as well, and you’ll be sure to stop and take a pic of one of the many sunsets that Geralt will see throughout his journeys.
Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding was one of the strangest games I have ever played, yet I loved every second of it. As the most recently released game in my list, the graphics here were obviously on an entirely different level. Every single detail in this game was perfectly crafted by the developers at Kojima Productions and I probably spent more time roaming the map than I did playing the game itself. Vast mountain ranges covered in snow seamlessly transition into rolling hills full of enemies, and the fact that as you progress you get to build roads, zip lines, and other means of transportation had me constantly looking for the most efficient way to travel the map.
The story itself was out of this world (literally) as you take Norman Reedus’s character, Sam, across a post apocalyptic United States. Where one would typically expect to see zombies or undead creatures in an apocalypse based game, Kojima created an entirely unique monster to spice things up. The BT’s, or Beached Things, are terrifying and add a new flare to the thriller/horror genre that I didn’t even know I needed. It was also quite refreshing to take a step away from the typical hack and slash or First-Person Shooter to play as a man who survived best by allowing others to live. You, of course, can kill people in this game still, but there are dire consequences if you do. Death Stranding was a masterfully crafted game that won countless awards at the end of 2019, and it is a 10 out of 10 must play for anyone who enjoys open world gaming.
The funny thing is though, this list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the incredible games PlayStation has put out over the last few years. Horizon Zero Dawn, GTA, and Bloodborne are also incredible games that nearly made my top list, and there are countless others too. I think its safe to say that PlayStation will be providing us gamers will killer games for many years to come, and I’m happy that I get to tag along for the ride.
Raising Children: Seven Concepts I’d Like to Instill
I’ve always had ideas of what I would like to teach my children once they entered the world. “Golf is the greatest sport of all time” or “Math is so easy” are two examples, but now that my son is finally here I’ve found myself thinking about things I want him to learn that hold so much more relevance and importance to life. I want him and his future siblings to be the very best humans, friends, and all around people that they can be. I’ve learned many lessons throughout my life, but I think the next seven concepts will help in raising my children, and I also think these ideas will help my children traverse this crazy world all that much easier.
Relaxing Without Technology
To me, this is the most important thing that I want to instill while my children are young. I don’t want them to be reliant on a phone, tablet, or computer to relax or settle themselves down. I’m sure there will be a time and a place when my significant other and I will use technology to soothe our children, but I would like those times and places to be very few and far between. There are so many other things that can be used to calm that fussing, and many of those also offer tangible benefits to development and brain activity. I’m sure there are countless individuals right now saying something along the lines of, “But Dusty, introducing children to technology at a young age helps them better understand it as they grow.” I can see your point with that statement, but I also think you can teach your children about technology without allowing them to glue their faces to a screen in order to stay calm.
I want my children to be as unplugged as possible. In fact, I want this to carry over into their adult lives as well. I’ll admit, I’m no saint when it comes to screen time. I’m a huge gamer so if I have any free time away from work you will more than likely find me plopped right in front of my TV grinding away at whatever game I’m currently playing. Clearly, I’m also a blogger (and I happen to be working on a novel as well), so you can see how I have a requirement to use technology there as well. But the thing is, I can distinguish when I need to set my phone or controller down to spend time with those around me. Nothing bothers me more than when I’m surrounded by friends or family and every single person is on their phone. I hope that by raising children to soothe themselves without technology they will also learn the social cues that will help them avoid becoming a nomophobe later in life.
Reading is Awesome
I don’t think there will be any problem instilling this within my children. I love to read, especially if it is anything within the realm of fantasy. Granted, working full time, blogging on the side, and writing a book doesn’t leave much time for me to read much outside of my own work, but that doesn’t mean I love it any less. My significant other is an English and Reading teacher as well, so she constantly has her nose in books too. On top of that, I am a firm believer that reading grows one’s creativity exponentially, and I can say that I wouldn’t be as creative as I am today without the countless books I’ve read throughout my life. Ideally, I’d like to tie this directly into tech-less soothing and have my children remain relaxed via reading. It’s been proven time and time again that reading helps so many people deal with high levels of stress or anxiety, so why can’t it be used to calm down or relax a child?
Education Over Everything
This also ties into the previous concept since reading is such an integral aspect of education. When I was growing up, school always came first. The second I was home I sat at my desk and pumped out all of my homework before doing anything else. This not only taught me valuable time management skills that I still use to this day, but it also taught me how to prioritize the things that are most important, and to plan for things that are on the horizon. A good education can also bring a child much needed scholarship and grant money if they’re planning on going to college. Some people may argue that education may be important but athletic scholarships are more important. While I don’t completely disagree with that, what happens when your star athlete child is injured and can no longer play? They need that education as a fail-safe for any and all unfortunate occurrences, which is why I will try to instill in my children that their education stands well above anything else.
Be Outside During Daylight Hours
This was something that I wish I would’ve adhered to a little more when I was younger. As I mentioned previously, I am a huge gamer and have been ever since my dad bought me my first Game Boy back in ’98. The second I finished my homework I dove into video games until I went to bed. On Saturday mornings you would find me up at the crack of dawn watching cartoons, and I wouldn’t move from that couch until I was told to. Both of these things led to me being a pretty obese child, which is something I think could have easily been avoided if I had been an outside more.
Other than the clear increase in exercise or activity, there are many other additional benefits that we receive from being outside. The vitamin D our bodies absorb from the sun is a key ingredient in developing strong bones and immune systems. Their creativity and ingenuity levels have a strong chance of developing as they try to keep themselves entertained with new games and activities. It can also teach children important social skills that will help them socialize with other children their age.
Practice Makes Perfect
I know, what a cliché, but it is 100% true. I learned this very early on in life from my father, who believe it or not, bought me a multiplication book that changed how I did math for the rest of my life. That may sound extremely lame, but I am dead serious when I say practice does actually make perfect. I was probably six or seven when he bought me that book and I tore through it once he showed me how to do a few problems. From there I started doing math in my head whenever I had the chance. I was that weird child who would calculate tax out at dinner or figure out the cash back at the grocery store before the teller input the amounts into the computer. I still to this day am the friend in my friend group who everyone looks to when they need any sort of math done.
Now, this obviously doesn’t only apply to math. It can apply to sports, reading, playing an instrument, or even something as simple as riding a bike, and that is what I want my children to know. They will fail at some point, but getting back up, dusting themselves off, and trying again will lead to better results. Along with all of this my children will hopefully realize that all of that practice also instills other key life skills: drive, dedication, a solid work ethic, and how to have fun just to name a few.
You Can be Anything You Want To Be
This is something that most children probably hear from their parents at some point in their lives, but I don’t think many kids realize how true that statement actually is. I want my children to know that they can be anything they want to be, but that sometimes, you won’t actually know what that thing is until later in life. For example, when I was growing up I told everyone I could that I wanted to be an architect. Funny thing is, I got to high school and my architect teacher told me that I would be a better engineer because I was good with math and science. So I went to college to be an engineer… and hated it so much that by my second semester I switched to economics. From there, I changed my mind three more times before settling back into finance which is what I do today. But I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a writer until I was two years removed from college! It’s hard to find something in this world that you are truly passionate about and can enjoy doing for work, so I will urge my children as they age to cast their net wide in the hopes of finding what they truly want to be.
Be Confident in Yourself
As an obese child, confidence was something I severely lacked. As I aged, I gained little chunks of confidence here and there, but nothing ever really helped. However, by my junior year of college I finally became comfortable and confident with myself, and since then I’ve felt like a completely different person. I was no longer afraid to be in large groups of people. I no longer afraid of getting called on during class. That confidence even carried into my career and has helped me become a better analyst. I no longer fear what could happen if I make a wrong assumption with my work. I’m not afraid to ask a tough question if I know the answer will better me or the company. Like I said earlier, sometimes you have to fail in order to succeed, and as someone with little to no confidence you may be afraid to fail. That fear of wondering what may happen if you fail can eat away at you, and that is why I want to be sure my children are confident with everything they do at a young age. I don’t want them to worry about standing in front of people to read, perform, et cetera.
While all the above are important, the one concept we want our children to adhere to day in and day out is to be kind. That goes above simply “treating others the way you want to be treated”. We want our children to know what it means to be a good friend or a good partner. This means our children will be willing to be helpers as well as listeners, they will stand up for what is right even if that means they will stand alone, and they will not pass any judgements on others. Kindness is something this world needs more of and the best place to start in creating more is raising our children with it.
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As I returned home from what is now my annual trip to New Orleans, I couldn’t help but miss everything that I was leaving behind. It’s a place I wish I could visit every day, but my body thanks me for choosing not to. For those of you who have never been, I highly suggest visiting. Whether you’re there to drink, eat, or simply enjoy the company you’re with, the Big Easy has a spot or two for you. If you take any suggestions from one of my prior NOLA posts or follow even one of my suggestions below, I guarantee that you will have an exceptional time while in the Cajun capital.
#1 – Any Big Easy Ghost Tour
When I say any ghost tour, I literally mean any ghost tour. Walking through the dimly lit back streets of the Big Easy while listening to a tour guide story out all of the sadistic things that have happened there over the years makes for quite the spooky experience. You can learn anything from the zombie rumors that surfaced during the plague of the 1700’s to the possibilities of what happened to Delphine LaLaurie after the slave fire of 1834. The history and architecture of New Orleans is absolutely spectacular and it amounts to loads of great ghost stories for your vacation.
Pat O’Brien’s is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, drinking destinations within the Big Easy. They’re known for their Hurricanes yet their cocktail menu is endless. Whether you decide upon a Hurricane, a Cyclone, or a Cat-5 Margarita, you absolutely must try one of their drinks. Besides the taste, all drinks have their own unique, exotic color scheme, and the Rainbow even contains every color of… you guessed it, the rainbow! I highly suggest going on a football Sunday when the Saints are playing at home too. You’ll experience a little of the local flare along with your tasty drink and I doubt you will lack amusement.
#3 – Johnny’s Po-Boys Fried Chicken Biscuits and Gravy
If you’re familiar with any of my other New Orleans pieces, you know how much I love Johnny’s Po-Boys. Every time I’ve eaten there its always been slammed packed full of patrons but it is well worth the wait. This time around while visiting my favorite Big Easy dining establishment I branched out from my typical Surf-n-Turf Po-Boy to try Johnny’s fried chicken biscuit and gravy. If I thought their Po-Boys were good, there wasn’t a word to describe how I felt while eating this masterpiece. It was probably the best fried chicken I’ve had in my entire life. The gravy was loaded with sausage and was the perfect consistency for the warm, buttery biscuit underneath. Plus they give you a massive portion so you know you’ll be full by the time you’re done!
#4 – Willie’s Chicken Shack
Many may disagree, but Willie’s is one of the greatest quick chicken spots to eat at in the Big Easy. They’re sprinkled all over the French Quarter and its surrounding streets, so if one is busy just head to the next one down the block. They also have an entire wall of frozen drinks that are a perfect pairing for that basket of chicken. Be sure to try their special sauces while you’re there as well, they’re very tasty!
Many people associate New Orleans with partying and absurd drunken conduct at all times of the day. While that may be true during Mardi Gras, anytime LSU has a big game coming up, or random weeknights, there is so much more to the city than that. Exquisite cuisine, great historical stories, and beautiful architecture are just a few things that envelop this magnificent city, and those are the real reasons why one should visit the Big Easy.
Thanks again for reading my guide on things to do in New Orleans. As always, please leave some feedback and give my page a follow so you can experience all of my content. I’d love to hear from all of my wonderful readers, so be sure to rate/comment often!
Are you looking into getting a husky? Are you curious about their temperament or what you’d be in for if you found yourself with a cute little husky pup? Well then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide I’ll cover some key topics that many people don’t know about huskies and I’ll even provide some real life examples from my husky, Addison.
A Husky Can Survive Outside of Cold Weather
Do you know how many times people have asked why I would own a husky in Florida? The answer to that is WAY too many. Just because huskies are typically cold weather dogs doesn’t mean they are struggling to survive in warmer weather. The crazy thing is that they actually adapt when in warmer climates. The same fur coat that keeps them warm during harsh winters is also what cools them down when they are hot! Granted, warmer temperatures require more attention, such as giving plenty of water and always making sure there is some shade nearby, but it is not a life or death situation to have a husky in sunshine. This actually leads me directly into my next point, which is…
You Should Never, and I Mean Never, Give a Husky a Haircut!
This is actually like the worst thing you could ever do for a husky that lives in warmer weather. As I mentioned above, that fur is what keeps them cool, but without that fur your husky could also get sun burnt. Huskies have extremely sensitive skin when it comes to sunlight and can get burnt very easily. So if you’re truly worried about your husky’s body temperature, buy them a kiddie pool and let them soak a little after play time!
Now when I say vocal, I don’t mean they are constantly barking at every dog, squirrel, or human that walks by your house. I mean that when they want something, or sometimes just because, they will make the funniest howling noises directly at you. Of course, this also comes with a lot of whining when they want something you aren’t giving them too. It’s actually pretty entertaining to have such a talkative dog though. I can have entire conversations, full of different whines, growls, and howls with Addison.
They Are Some of the Most Energetic Dogs
This is no joke, huskies will run you under the bridge twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. You should anticipate giving the typical husky at least an hour of exercise a day, but should probably keep that closer to two hours if you ever want to sleep. Our husky will literally run sprints around the inside of house on days when we can’t go outside. She also loves fetch on a ridiculous level and will chase a ball across our back room for hours at a time. Lately, she’s also picked up this strange new habit where she will kangaroo hop around the house while chasing toys. The funny thing is, even if you can’t get them that full hour or two a day, they will find a way to get it themselves.
The Intelligence of Huskies is Underrated
According to canine psychologist Stanley Coren, the typical husky is only of “average” intelligence. In his trials, they landed at 74th of 138 dog breeds. His test, essentially, only factors in the number of attempts to learn a new command, and the success rate that a dog will obey any given command on the first try. Addison could be an outlier, but she has picked up on every command we have given her in much less time than what this experiment shows. For instance, when we got Addy she was only 8 weeks old and one of the first things we taught her was ringing the bell when she needed to use the bathroom. Within five or ten bathroom trips in her first few days with us, she was already religiously ringing that bell. She also picked up on “leave it” and “gentle” with only about a half day’s worth of practice.
But this leads me to a third category that I believe should have been included in Coren’s trials; stubbornness. Huskies are notoriously known for being some of the most stubborn breeds and I can wholeheartedly agree with that statement. I think it’s important to factor this into the intelligence rating though, because 100% of the time, Addison knows if she is or isn’t going to follow our commands. Her mood and our tone can lead to immense stubbornness or little to none. But if removed, I’d bet huskies ranked much higher among those same 138 breeds in Coren’s trials. It goes without saying though that huskies are much more intelligent than they’re given credit for.
Your Husky Will NOT be an Off-Leash Dog
Another thing you should probably know about huskies is that they aren’t the greatest off-leash dogs. They are crazy quick, very agile, and more intelligent than one may think. Those three things combined equal the perfect escape artist. We almost never take Addy off leash when she’s outside purely for precautionary reasons. In the past, She has snuck through multiple people to make it outside and taken off after the first thing that steals her attention. Luckily for us, she was smart enough to realize she needed to come back after about a 100-yard sprint down the street!
So for all of you thinking about bringing a husky into your life, remember the six things I’ve mentioned above. While you may think some of these things are deal breakers or that they make huskies bad pups, just remember this. For all the stubborn sass, intense energy, and vocality your husky will provide, they will bring even more joy, cuddles, and laughter.
Thanks for reading my guide on huskies! I read something similar to this before Addison joined our family. It was such a great help I thought I’d write my own for all of you. If you like this content, be sure to check out the rest here. Thanks again!
I’m only thirteen years late to this show, but wow, what a ride Friday Night Lights turned out to be. From the pilot where the Dillon Panthers lose their star QB all the way to Michael B. Jordan’s character, Vince Howard, winning state, I couldn’t help but sit on the edge of my couch as I rooted for this rag-tag group of kids to be successful. I had no idea when I began this show that I would get so emotionally attached to the characters and their absurd lives, but I did. However, With all the good that came with this show, there was also a good chunk of bad, which leads us to my best (and worst) review for the fictional Friday Night Lights variant of Dillon, Texas.
#1 – Tim Riggins
Even though my boy Timmy Rigs falls into a few of the bad categories below, he hands down led the pack for the good things from Dillon, Texas. Taylor Kitsch was an absolute godsend to this show and that hair of his was just stupid perfect. Tim was a character that had his ups and downs, well actually mostly just alcohol-fueled downs, but the arc he traveled was an amazing one. He started as a star full back who lost his best friend, made a weird journey down a path with that same friend’s girlfriend, ended up in jail for his brother, and finally made his way back into our hearts by the finale of the show. Friday Night Lights wouldn’t have been the same without him and for that, I thank NBC with all of my heart.
#2 – The Transition Between Seasons Two and Three
For me, this was one of the weirdest transitions I had EVER witnessed in a television show. I can’t imagine how furious people were when this happened in real-time and I’m kind of glad that I wasn’t in on the show when it did. For those of you who may not know, or if you didn’t really think that the extremely odd shift was actually odd, it did have a reason behind it. Right around the end of season two was when the Writer’s Strike of 2007 began. The strike lasted from November 2007 to February 2008 and ended Coach Taylor’s chances at a second State Title while also simultaneously injuring Brian “Smash” Williams. I thought the way they picked up in season three was very strange, but I guess it was the only thing they could really do. Luckily for me, this didn’t really ruin anything, but it definitely put a damper on things as I ventured into season three.
#3 – Coach Taylor
I have never seen a man who was more dedicated to the betterment of his players than Coach Eric Taylor. Throughout each and every season he had at least one moment where he could have made a choice to help himself, but instead, he made a choice that bettered the young men he was coaching. Just think of everything he did for Vince in seasons four and five. He took him in and changed his life forever. He kept him off the streets, showed him what it really took to be a man, and ultimately led him to a future that just two short years before seemed extremely unlikely for the young star. Not to mention the way he was with Jason Street after his accident as well, which really showed Coach T’s true colors for his players. He was by no means perfect, but he was damn near close.
#4 – The Inconsistent Character Ages
This is an area that I’m not sure if it was ever explained or not, but it was blatantly obvious that they altered some ages throughout the first three or four seasons of this show. Tim Riggins was 1,000% a junior or a senior in season one, yet when season two rolls around he’s only a junior. They do the exact same thing for Lyla Garrity, who was dating Jason and also ended up being a junior once season two rolled around. One of the other characters whose age seemed inconsistent through the first four seasons was Landry (A.K.A Lance for Coach Taylor). He was a senior in season four, which would have made him a freshman in season one. This isn’t as unbelievable as the Tim and Lyla age gaps, but it also didn’t really make sense. I don’t think they ever clearly state Landry’s age but it just didn’t really make sense for him to be a freshman in season one. Even with all of these confusing age changes though, the show does a great job of immersing these characters into their storylines and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
#5 – The Casting of Michael B. Jordan
When Matt moved away and Coach T was getting moved from West Dillon High, I had no idea what direction this show was heading. I think it’s safe to say though that the addition of Michael B. Jordan was hands down the correct direction. Jordan’s character Vince was everything this show needed that we, as fans, didn’t know we needed. Vince went from a troubled boy in and out of juvie to my second favorite character in the show within a matter of three or four episodes. He had one of the most incredible storylines and character arcs of any show I have ever seen. Not to mention, you could see how much Coach Taylor loved him and looked at Vince of his son almost. Just an incredible feel-good story that capped off the end of a great five seasons of Panther football.
#6 – Jason Street’s Storyline
Now before I dive into this, I want to mention this only refers to Jason’s storyline AFTER season one. I actually thoroughly enjoyed J in season one, but I’m not exactly sure what the producers and writers were thinking after that. This whole story turned into a massive joke it seemed and I really wish they would’ve taken Jason’s character a different direction. The whole trip to Mexico for experimental surgery wasn’t awful, but the fact that they had J attempt to commit suicide, then change his mind, and then somehow magically swim a few hundred yards into shore and be completely fine was a little farfetched for me. Not to mention it was just generally dark for a show that typically was trying to inspire. From here they then send him down a weird path with the whole father storyline, which wasn’t as bad as the Mexico story but it still wasn’t good either. It almost seemed as if they had no idea how to get him out of the show, so they just went with the first thing they could think of, which was to have him get a random girl pregnant and then move off to New York to try to provide for said family. It just got really weird really fast and I think Jason deserved a better story!
#7 – Matt Saracen
Matt is just another one of those Tim Riggins type of characters that could do no wrong in my eyes. He was the man of his house from a very young age, was an all-around incredible human being, and was certainly deserving of that QB1 role he earned in season one. His one flaw may have been his love for Julie Taylor (who is another all-time awful character) because I know my boy Matty could have done so much better. And don’t even get me started on the episode where Matt’s dad passes away either. I bawled my eyes out when that happened. Zach Gilford (the man who played Matt) could not have acted better for this episode. It was absolute perfection and it hit so hard how we responded to everything that transpired his father’s death. If it weren’t for Tim Riggins, Matt would have been the front-runner for the most spectacular character on Friday Night Lights by a long shot.
#8 – Landry and Tyra’s Murder Storyline
This somewhat ties into the Writer Strike from #2 above, but also like, what in the world were the writers for this show thinking here? Another one of those extremely dark storylines that made no sense, plus I felt like Landry and Tyra’s love story could have still happened with something way less dramatic and depressing. Plus, this was clearly self-defense and Landry’s father was a cop so… like, why did they freak out and decide to hide the body? However, I think my main concern with this story was that it ultimately never had any sort of impact in the later seasons and I don’t even think was ever brought back up again. It was such a huge piece of Landry and Tyra and once the show picked back up after the Writers Strike, it was just shrugged off as if it never happened. Even a little clarity here would’ve gone a long way for both of their characters.
After all is said and done, the pads are taken off, and the dust settles on the football field, Friday Night Lights will go down as one of the best television shows of all time. I learned many things from this show and was taught countless life lessons by a lot of the characters, but there’s one thing that stands out the most. As Coach T always said, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”
Thanks for checking out my Best and Worst of Friday Night Lights post! For more of my original content, be sure to check out DustyPosts.
In today’s day and age, binging TV has become a regular occurrence in our everyday lives. According to a Morning Consult survey from late 2018, nearly 60% of viewers watch two or more episodes of their favorite shows at least once a week. Of that 60%, roughly 15% claimed to binge daily, 28% several times per week, and the remaining 17% about once per week. All of that binging leads to many a discussion on which shows make the “Greatest TV Shows” of all time list, and I, of course, have my own take on said list. Since I ventured off to college and got my own Netflix way back in 2011, I’ve probably watched thousands, if not tens of thousands, of hours of television. But, of all of that time spent lounging on my couch, bed, or some random spot I’ve found myself when my body can no longer be comfortable in the aforementioned spots, these are the shows that stand out the most.
#10 – The Witcher
I know, I know, this may be a little premature, but that’s also why I have it at #10. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t have this show somewhere on this list. This franchise has been one of my favorites since I discovered the Witcher 2 back in high school and Netflix dropping the first season in December was the greatest Christmas gift anyone could’ve asked for.
Everything about this franchise is amazing, but the show took it to an entirely different level for me. Starting with the opening scene, we’re submersed into a creepy bog of some sort where Geralt and a Kikamora are fighting for their lives. Throughout the season we get our fair share of vile creatures, villains, and fantasy perfection, all of which led to what I believe was the greatest season of ANY show in 2019. By the end of the season, I was utterly blown away by this show and I think it has a ton of potential to be the next Game of Thrones in regard to size, fan base, and overall success. Season two will be the true test to this franchise and the direction it could head, but I can easily see this show clawing its way to #1 if the future seasons are anywhere near as incredible as the first.
#9 – Dark
Speaking of shows without a massive collection of episodes, the Netflix original Dark has managed to become one of the most well put together series of the last few years with only two short seasons. Even with only eighteen episodes though, it managed to find its way at number nine of my greatest TV shows list.
The science fiction thriller takes your brain on a journey that will confuse, amaze, and shock you all at the same time. The show follows four families after the disappearance of a young boy exposes many secrets in a small, German town. This, in turn, leads to the unraveling of a time travel conspiracy that spans three generations. Dark not only left me wondering what was going to happen with these families, but also left my mind twisted in all sorts of pretzels as the time travel aspect becomes evident. One of the things that sets this show apart from all the other science fiction, time travel thrillers is that Dark does an amazing job of explaining the things that typically don’t make sense. On top of that, it is littered with easter eggs, hints, and puzzles that leave you wanting more.
#8 – Community
Time for a throwback, and one of the greatest TV show comedies of all time. Community first aired in September 2009 and ran for six seasons, when it ended in mid 2015. What originally drew me into this show was the fact that Donald Glover, AKA Childish Gambino, was one of the main characters. But after the first season I was hooked, and I found myself attached to each one of the seven study group members.
For those of you who don’t know, Community follows Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) after he is suspended from being a lawyer. He lied about having a law degree, thus leading him to enroll at the local community college to obtain said degree and continue his life as a lawyer. While attending Greendale he will meet six of his best friends, and this will lead to pure comedic gold for all of us as viewers. Whether it was the paintball scenes, the absurdities enacted by Dean Pelton, or Troy and Abed rapping in Spanish, this show will 100% have you clutching your sides as you gasp for air from laughing throughout each episode.
#7 – Supernatural
Supernatural is one of my all-time favorite sci-fi/fantasy TV shows, and it’s also one of the longest running TV shows ever. Coming in at fifteen seasons, all of which are 20+ episodes long, its no minor undertaking to watch. But, I would recommend this show ten times out of ten to anyone who loves any type of supernatural related fields. It can range from angels and demons to horsemen of the apocalypse, and every now and then, a Wendigo or a Poltergeist will get mixed in as well. This brother-duo has grown so much over the years and it is truly incredible to see what Jensen Ackles (Dean) and Jared Padalecki (Sam) have turned this show into. As each season progresses it gets better and better, and this is one of very few shows that I’ve watched that has reintroduced villains multiple times. Yet, of all the times they have brought back a big bad, it’s never been in a way that makes you cringe at how they are brought back into the fold. It’s definitely quite the show to tackle if you’re starting from the beginning, but it’s a show you must watch at some point nonetheless.
#6 – Friday Night Lights
Rounding out the first half of my greatest TV shows of all time list is Friday Night Lights. FNL debuted in October 2006, but I didn’t watch the show until just recently. I’d started it a few other times, but I would always get distracted by a new season of Game of Thrones, Supernatural, or some other show I was watching. As I’ve said in my Best and Worst of Friday Night Lights post though, I deeply regret waiting so long to sit down and fully watch through this classic. This show had just about everything you could ask for too. Inspirational father figure who is always making you emotional, check. Annoying daughter who you hate but can’t get enough of, check. Badass with luscious flow and a hankering to slug beers at any and all times… check. Even though the first two seasons were very, and I mean very, different from the rest due to the writers strike of 2007, this show never ceased to disappoint.
Thanks for stopping by DustyPosts to check out my greatest TV shows of all time list! Be on the lookout for Part II of the list soon and find out what all falls into the top five.
Do you have a hard time waking up early to cook breakfast before heading in to work? Is that cup of coffee you’re clutching the only thing making your morning tolerable? What if I told you that there was a way to enjoy a breakfast and that lifesaving coffee at the same time… all while only drinking between 250-450 calories? That’s right, I’m talking about a healthy breakfast smoothie that will satiate that morning hunger and get you that much-needed caffeine your body has become reliant on. Not to mention, you only need three to five minutes to prep the entire thing! If that sounds like a savior to your morning, then continue down the page for a simple healthy breakfast smoothie recipe that will change your life forever.
Protein powder of your choice (Vanilla, Banana, or Snicker doodle tastes best!)
Add ice, your choice of water or cold brew, and protein powder to your blender
Blend for 15-20 seconds and remove the lid
Add two tablespoons of peanut butter and a splash of milk or your favorite creamer
Place the lid back on the blender and blend for another 20-30 seconds (This can be done longer if you do not have a great blender or crushed ice. The last thing you want is chunks of ice in your smoothie!)
Remove lid once again, pour, and enjoy as you head off to work, practice, or whatever you may have going on that day!
NOTE: If you want to make enough for the entire week and freeze it, all you need to do is multiply the ingredients by however many days of smoothie you need. Then, pour an even amount into whatever drinking containers you own that can be place din the freezer. Simply pull out and thaw when needed!
There you have it, an easy and healthy breakfast smoothie recipe that will satisfy and simplify your daily breakfast routine. One of my favorite things about this smoothie is that it can be made so many ways too. If you don’t want that milkshake type smoothie for breakfast, remove the ice and simply shake in a protein shaker. Want some additional coffee flavoring… use a mocha flavored protein powder. Not a fan of peanut butter? Replace with any other form of nut butter that you enjoy! Looking for a fruity flavor? Switch the cold brew to a refrigerated blonde coffee and add fresh fruit. This healthy breakfast smoothie recipe is extremely versatile and will 100% change your breakfast game for the better. So change that alarm from 6:00 AM to 5:55 AM and test out this awesome smoothie for yourself!
Five “Milestones” I Can’t Wait for My Son to Reach
Before you read any further, I just want you to know what type of post this will be. I’m sure you noticed that I have the word milestones in quotations, so this will not be an ordinary dad blog factoid milestone post. My child “milestones” will be much less developmental and will mainly just be things I want to see my son do. I’m obviously still excited for his first words and all of that other stuff, but these upcoming items are things that I rank much, much higher in the grand scheme of things.
1 – The First Time He Swings a Golf Club
It’s an understatement to say that I love golf. My friends and I have been playing together since freshman year of college and I have been playing since I was in elementary school. My grandfather got me into golf when I was about eight years old so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I played up until my sophomore year of high school, which was when baseball began taking up every waking second of each and every day. Looking back, I wish I would have stuck with golf rather than baseball, but you live and you learn.
I’ve always known that I wanted kids, and on top of that, I’ve always known that I wanted to be able to share the game of golf with them at a young age. So, when my son Jack was born, I started planning it all out in my head. The second he could stand and start to put steps together, he was getting clubs. When we’re bored with whatever is on TV, the swing tip and trick shot videos are getting busted out. I would build a putting green in my backyard so the two of us could challenge each other to putt and chip-offs whenever we want. All of this will be followed by a full ride to Stanford too if you were wondering (LOL). And the funny thing, my friends have the same mindset. My best friend’s fiancé told me that she had to remove a set of toddler clubs from their Amazon cart before they came to visit us in the hospital!
Golf clearly runs deep in our veins, and the mere thought of my little boy wrapping his hands around those cute little baby clubs and taking his first hack gives me butterflies. I know it may sound like I am doing this to make my son become the greatest golfer to ever play the game (which isn’t an awful idea), but it’s truly not my goal. Golfing with my buddies is one of my favorite hobbies and the joy, memories, and endless loops of laughs will always be remembered. But I imagine having all of those same memories with my son and I can think of nothing better. It’s something we will always have too. I will play until my back breaks, my legs give out, or a doctor tells me my body can no longer take the strain of the greatest game ever played. I know that first swing is going to melt my heart like an ice cream cone taken outside on a warm Florida afternoon, and I can wholeheartedly say that I can’t wait for that day to arrive.
2 – His First Bite of Ice Cream
This is a weird one, but if my son is anything like me, I think this will be quite the sight to see. If I had to pick one food item that I would eat no matter what time of the day, how full I was, or where I happened to be… I would choose ice cream. More specifically, Publix’s very own Moose Tracks ice cream. I’m not sure why, but eating it makes me so happy. It’s probably because it’s one of those things my dad would always have for me when I went to visit him growing up, or it could be because I’m just a tub of lard (LOL), but either way it always puts a smile on my face. So, now I just sit here imagining that same ridiculous smile spreading across my son’s face when that delicious vanilla ice cream filled with peanut butter cups, chocolate chunks, and fudge swirl graces his taste buds for the first time. It will be pure bliss for both of us, and I can guarantee you that I’ll capture it on video.
3 – When He Finishes His First Harry Potter
If you’re familiar with any of my content, you know that Harry Potter was a cornerstone of my childhood. I’ve read each book many, many times, I’ve seen all the movies and played all the games, I own an array of HP blankets, and have even dedicated an entire shelf to the Harry Potter aesthetic on the book case in my home. Granted, the latter part is mostly because my son’s mother is an even bigger Harry Potter fan than I am, but you get the point. We’re both super nerds when it comes to Harry Potter (which makes sense as we’re both Ravenclaws) and we’re itching to see our boy dive into one of the greatest novel series of all time.
Along with answering all the questions he will have as he speed reads through each book, I will have a permeant excuse to binge all the movies whenever “he” wants to watch them, tell the story of how I once corrected a few mistakes on a librarian’s Prisoner of Azkaban test after she told me I didn’t get a 100%, and seeing the joy on his face when he also finds out that he’s a Ravenclaw (otherwise we’re disowning him LOL). Sounds like a win-win-win in my book.
4 – His First Steps
I know I said I wasn’t talking anything “developmental”, but I lied. This is probably the thing I am most excited for over the next year of my son’s life. The first steps mark an incredible monument for any child, but it also means he can stand… which means steps to begin developing numero uno can finally be put into action. I’m pretty sure my boy will be walking very early since he has the strongest neck and legs of any two month old I have EVER seen, but even if it happens around the usual mark, I know that means the other milestones I’m itching to see are around the corner.
5 – That First T-Ball Game
You may be wondering why this isn’t “his first swing of a baseball bat”, but I can explain. As excited as I am for my son to follow in my footsteps and play baseball, I am probably more excited to watch his mother’s face when he begins to play baseball. Earlier I mentioned that golf was the greatest game ever played. However, if you asked my son’s mother what the greatest game ever played was, she would simply respond by claiming that it was on a Wednesday in Cleveland. She is a die-hard Cubs fan and has already assured me that our son will be too. She’s one of those people who will watch every single game that’s televised, and if she can’t watch, you damn well know she is checking the box-score on her phone. When we first met, she actually paid more attention to the Cubs game that was on the TV at the bar than she did to me! Her love for baseball makes me so happy, so you have to imagine how important his first game will be for me. I’ll get to stand by her side as she coaches our son, and the second he does anything, whether good or bad, I will get to watch her fill with joy knowing that our son is finally a baseball player.
After all is said and done, if my boy ends up hating golf, if he tells me that Moose Tracks is the worst flavor of ice cream he has ever tasted, or even if he ends up being a Slytherin, I will always be proud of him. I know he will grow up to be an incredible man who will accomplish whatever he sets his mind to. I can’t believe how quickly time is flying by with him, and before I know it, all of these “milestones” will have come and gone. So as much as I can’t wait for everything mentioned above, I’m also completely content with waiting for them. I’m going to enjoy every single waking second with this handsome young man, and I can’t wait to see what unfolds in our next chapter together.
What I’ve Learned Through My First Year of Blogging
It’s hard to believe that its already been a year since I started blogging. Originally, I started out more or less blogging to promote the book I am working on. However, that quickly changed when I realized how much I loved informing everyone and then getting feedback on what I was doing. I did have a somewhat rough beginning with another website that I will not name, but I’m thankful for that experience as it taught me many valuable lessons as a newbie blogger. Then, in June of last year, I officially made the switch to WordPress and haven’t looked back. I’ve uploaded over 70 original posts and re-SEO’d everything from my prior site for my new site. I’ve had weeks were I had hundreds of views and weeks were I had 3 views. There’s been countless late nights and insane amounts of research on topics I never thought I’d know, but in the end, I wouldn’t change a single piece of my blogging journey. Along the way I’ve learned quite a bit, and it only seemed right to share what blogging has taught me with anyone who may be playing with the idea of becoming a blogger.
Always Do Your Research
As I mentioned above, I had some rough goings with the site who must not be named early on in my blogging career. When I decided I wanted to start writing my book, I figured blogging would be a great way to easily brand myself and the book, as well as post periodic update son said book. However, I kind of just dove into the first site I found and didn’t do much research outside of cost. Little did I know, the site I chose had almost no customization aspects and it was very hard to update anything aesthetically outside of blog posts. This, along with a poor name choice for my first site, led me to very quickly regret the decision I made for which site to use. I took the next week to really research a ton of different blog-hosting sites, and eventually landed on WordPress. If only I had done all that research from the beginning.
It Will Take Time to Find Your Niche
If you’re familiar with my site, then you should 1,000% know this as true facts. My blog is labeled as a “Lifestyle Blog”, but in all honesty, that’s because “Lifestyle” is the only term broad enough to capture everything I blog about. There’s been a few instances where I thought I found my niche, but things didn’t end up working out in the long run. The first was sports writing, and after that came movie reviewing. I landed Internships/jobs with both, but as time went on I decided I still wasn’t ready to settle into just one content area. It’s very similar to our careers: sometimes it takes time to truly know what you want to do.
Coding is More Useful Than You Think While Blogging
Now, I’m no expert coder (hell, I’m probably not even regarded as a novice coder), but the bit of coding I have picked up over the last year has gone an extremely long way. If you peruse my site, you’ll notice a lot of matching colors and texts that vary depending on what page you land on. Almost all of that variation is due to CSS coding. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets and it allows you to store style information (such as colors, fonts, and layouts) separate form your HTML code. Without this coding, my site would look identical to the theme that I, and millions of others, have chosen from the basic WordPress theme bank. CSS does a lot more than just adjust colors though. I’ve used it to hide areas of my site I don’t want to be visible. It’s very useful for enlarging images and boxes that an image may be sitting in. You can even use it to add in things such as sticky menu’s, return to top buttons, and much more. Of course, WordPress also has an amazing team of CSS coders that are almost always readily available to assist with any questions too, which is a total lifesaver!
SEO is Critical to Driving Traffic
As I mentioned in my intro, when I switched over to WordPress I had to go back and completely re-SEO all of my old sites articles. When I first started blogging, I had no clue what SEO was (if you don’t, check these articles out). I was just coming up with super crafty titles for my articles that didn’t have any keywords that matched my writing and throwing headers into my content willy-nilly when I saw fit. That wasn’t good for traffic though because my articles weren’t being pulled up in searches. I had no relevant keywords, links, or content in all honesty. I was lucky if I had 5 clicks a week! But once I figured out what SEO was and how I could effectively implement it into my blog, those numbers began growing exponentially. I’m still not pulling in massive numbers weekly, but what I pull now makes my old site look like it was built (and written) by a child.
Quality over Quantity
When I first began blogging, I had a post work routine to write “x” amount of words for my blog and “x” amounts of words for my book before I went to bed later that night. At first, this was the exact thing I needed to get the site up and running with some quality content. However, over time, this became unfeasible… yet I was still doing it anyways. This led to what I thought was a great idea at the time, a short weekly review of whatever I was stanning in any particular week. However, writing only 100-200 words for a post is not great for a site and leads to sub par work – not to mention it kills any shot of solid SEO. This idea eventually led to all of my articles becoming smaller, and I quickly realized my desire to push out “x” amount of posts per week was resulting in a decline in my quality as well as my site’s traffic. Since then, I’ve really pushed myself away from word/post counts and more towards posting articles once I feel like they’re ready. This leads to weeks without posts sometimes, which probably isn’t great, but I’d rather have a smaller inventory of great products than a massive inventory of crappy products.
Social Media Can Drive Massive Traffic
This is probably pretty self-explanatory. If you have another platform where you can promote your blog, do it. Social media gets more eyes and clicks to your blog, especially in times like these. Almost everyone is stuck at home and glued to their phones due to COVID-19, and a few well-placed grams, tweets, or even Facebook posts can go a long way. Plus, all three of these have options for you to promote your work, which can get your blog content out to thousands of people who may not typically be looking for what you may be offering. I started with only a Facebook page a year ago, but now I have an IG for each section of my site (due to the fact that a good chunk of my site is also relating to my novel series), a twitter, and two Facebook pages that relate to separate areas of my site. I draw in a good chunk of my traffic from these three mediums, especially as my following grows day by day.
You Won’t Always Meet Your Blogging Goals
This was a tough pill for me to swallow right around the time when I started not meeting daily word and weekly post goals. I wanted so badly to have a consistent routine that allowed me to pump as much content out to my followers as possible, but life doesn’t always let you do what you’d like. Some layoffs at work led to me working longer hours and having less time to write, then I moved into a new house and spent weeks getting everything situated and livable. And on top of all that, my significant other and I found out we were having a baby boy! This mixture of things led to an extreme lack of content from me between mid September to Late December. The key here though is to just remember you can’t always do it all. You need to stay positive and take whatever you can get sometimes. Instead of having a word limit goal, have an idea or concept goal. Then, once your hiatus ends, you will have a backlog of ideas and started projects that you can dive into to reach whatever new goals you may want to set!
Sometimes You Just Need a Break
This somewhat ties into the above lesson, but since I’ve started blogging I’ve released you sometimes just need a break. I’ve taken two two-week breaks over the last six months. The first was in November. Among the things mentioned previously, I was also in the process of rebuilding my blog. It was near impossible to teach myself CSS, write my book, and blog. So I nixed blogging for a bit to focus on the site, and then came back with all cylinders firing in December. The second break was for the birth of my son. To me, the two weeks I was allowed to take off from work felt like they needed to be spent solely on my son. I did a little idea jotting here and there, but my handsome boy (and the lack of sleep that he brought with him) took up most of my time in late February. A lot of people may be within the mindset that you constantly have to be grinding, but for others, that can lead down a spiraling staircase of lost content quality. So remember to do what’s best for you in the long run, you will have plenty of time to figure out what’s best for your blog after.
I honestly can say that a year ago I knew I would have grown and learned quite a bit, but I never thought I would be where I am today. Within that incredibly short 365 day span I’ve closed in on 100 blog posts, 1,500 views, and over 700 unique visitors. I had no idea that I, as a full time worker and parent, would be able to reach and influence 700 people! I hope that the things I have learned can help you on your journey, and I hope we both grow our blogs and brands exponentially over the coming years. Be sure to check out the rest of my content at DustyPosts, and let me know what you’ve learned early in your blogging lives as well!
Game of Thrones Season 8: A One-Year Anniversary Tribute
As we near the one-year anniversary of Game of Thrones Season 8 and my mind longs for Winds of Winter, I found myself contemplating how I truly felt about the final season of what could potentially end up as the greatest show of all time. So, I turned my TV on, sat down, and binged the entire season in one sitting. Granted, this was actually a long time coming, as I did re-watch the entire series up until that point in my COVID-19 quarantined state, but that’s besides the point. I noticed there were a lot of things I liked early on… then a lot of things I didn’t like as the season progressed, and I also noticed how some lesser characters ended up with much better endings than some of our main heroes after having almost no screen time whatsoever. So, the second I finished I sat down at my computer and began putting this small novel of a review together. Sorry (but really I’m not) in advance.
Re-Watch of the Final Season
After watching the final season for the third time (Second re-watch was about 48 hours after the final episode aired), it’s safe to say that I am very salty about how a show of this caliber could end in the manner it did. My first two watches left a bitter taste in my mouth, but at least I could kind of wrap my head around the way things were done. This time, I was befuddled, and I think it finally set in that this was the ending we were stuck with for the rest of eternity. There was just so much left unanswered and so much that, in my personal opinion, could’ve been done better. Which leads us to my first breakdown analysis categories that I have so cleverly named “Things I Liked” and “Things I Disliked”.
Things I Liked
The New Intro sequence absolutely slaps: I loved seeing the kingdoms of Westeros in more depth
Bran’s transition from creepy and weird to awkward and hilarious
Theon’s redemption arc
The Battle of Winterfell
Tormund and his drinking shenanigans (But for real, which coward s*** Tormund’s pants!?)
Lady Mormont’s general presence
Lady Mormont’s sacrificial death
Pod’s singing (oh… my… god…)
When Melisandre ignited the Dothraki arakhs (the trench lighting was pretty dope as well)
The shot with Dany and Jon eclipsing the clouds on Drogon and Rhaegal
When Arya and Melisandre tie together her “brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes” quote from back in season three
Each and every short joke directed at Jon Snow
Post Missandei Grey Worm
The Dany and Drogon Wing scene from the finale
Things I Disliked
The almost immediate hatred between Dany and Sansa
The Jaime/Brienne storyline: This seemed so forced… I believe it wasted time and resources that could’ve been spent on more important things
Speaking of wasting resources… Everything involving the Golden Company seems pretty pointless right about now
The lack of detail surrounding Cersei’s pregnancy
Our favorite dire wolf, Ghost, having about 180 seconds of screen time
How quick Dany’s personality changes… I know it’s been hinted out for eight seasons, but even five more minutes of crazy before episode five would’ve helped (*cough, cough* Jaime and Brienne storyline)
Lack of Arya using her face swapping talent (ESPECIALLY since this could’ve completely avoided the slaughter of innocents and armies)
The Vale warriors disappearance in the Battle of Winterfell
The Stark Crypts coming to life… most of those bodies would have been 1,000% deteriorated. And the ones that weren’t should have had no chance in hell of clawing through STONE to escape
Dany/Jon’s plan to send the Dothraki out to their obvious deaths. They both knew how many wights the Night King had under his control (à la episode six of season seven), yet they still sent what appeared to be 99% of them towards the monstrous wave of undead
The Night Kings loss of accuracy with his ice spear. Like, this guy hit Viserion from a country mile, yet misses Dany and Drogon from thirty yards?
The fact that there were still so many Dothraki alive in episodes five and six was also pretty confusing
Bran’s constant denial of “wanting” the throne, yet acknowledging that he “played” everyone to get the throne (“why do you think I traveled all this way” -.-)
John leaving Ghost. I get that the massive dire wolf doesn’t really have any place in the siege of a city, but John didn’t need to act as if he hated Ghost and never wanted to see him again (especially without a real goodbye)
Cersei not killing Drogon… or Dany… or any of the Khaleesi’s army when they were, oh I don’t know, 100 yards away from the walls of Kings Landing. It makes ZERO sense for Cersei to not take full advantage of this apparent weakness and grab an instant win. Dany is going to attack the city either way, why not shoot a few scorpion bolts and attempt to make the ransacking of the city a little harder?
The entire scene with Jaime and Euron… once again, could’ve spent that 10 minutes of episode on something more important
Jaime and Cersei’s death was underwhelming to say the least
The fact that Tyrion finds Jaime and Cersei so easily. Plus the fact that he only moves three bricks before finding them… pretty sure the Lannister lovers could’ve survived that “cave in” within Maegor’s Holdfast
The pure DISRESPECT thrown at the Reed family… how can you not even mention them in the final season (LOL)
The lack of Ellaria and Tyene. Could’ve had a great scene with Cersei and Ellaria that would’ve taken 45 seconds just to verify the gruesome death they set up for the two of them in season seven
If I’m being honest, there was a lot more on that dislike list, but I decided enough was enough. Let’s jump into the season eight power rankings.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Power Rankings
#6 – Bronn
Even with almost no screen time in season 8, this man ended up as one of the most powerful people in all of Westeros. As the new Master of Coin, Bronn is now the Lord of Highgarden and has the power of handling all the seven kingdoms coin, which is a pretty big deal for someone who started the show as a cutthroat sell sword. Especially when you think that he probably had nothing to his name besides a small bag of coin, the clothes on his back, and his trusty sword when Tyrion first met him. Not too shabby for a character who had maybe 7 minutes of screen time in the most important season of Game of Thrones.
#5 – Brienne of Tarth
Brienne had much more time in comparison to Bronn, yet she also ended up quite a winner when all was said and done. She survived the Battle of Winterfell, fulfilled all of her promises, hooked up with the love of her life (which unfortunately was NOT Tormund Giantsbane), and landed herself as Lord Commander of the Kingsgaurd. The latter portion of her new accolades is very impressive, and it also makes Brienne one of the most influential people in all of Westeros. She will, hands down, push the seven kingdoms in the direction they need to be pushed, and I truly wish we could watch the rest of her story unfold.
#4 – Sansa Stark
Sansa was such an integral piece to the final season and got every single thing that she deserved… besides the crown! I full-heartedly believe Sansa should have been named queen, but I also don’t hate that she rules the North as its own independent kingdom. Let’s be real, ruling over one kingdom by itself is probably much more lax than ruling over seven anyways, right? She also “got rid of” Dany, which was probably an exceptionally incredible feeling for the newly crowned Queen of the North. All in all, a pretty solid ending for Sansa.
#3 – Drogon
Out of every single power ranking I’ve read for season eight, not one has mentioned Drogon anywhere. Think of all the things he did within Game of Thrones Season 8: He was the only dragon to survive, evaded an insane amount of scorpion bolts (and one poorly thrown ice spear by the Night King), finally was used to his full potential, completely merked Kings Landing, and is now living on his own in complete freedom somewhere unknown to everyone. How can all that not classify him as a top-tier power player in season 8?
#2 – Bran Stark
As much as it pains me to place Bran in my power rankings, he absolutely has to be placed here. He one million percent played every single person in this entire show for the last two plus seasons. I cannot stand the fact that he was crowned ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. It’s probably the biggest flaw to the end of this series in my opinion, but he did outmaneuver everyone (including the Night King) which makes this whole season a pretty powerful case for him to be ranked so high. Everything he did, every statement he made, every piece of advice he gave, was all to make sure he ended up as the ruler of the seven kingdoms. On top of all this, his character did a complete 180 from the other seasons. He moved from the weird, creepy brother to the funny, witty brother, and that was a massive leap for the character.
#1 – Arya Stark
To me, it’s a no-brainer that Arya is the ultimate power player from season eight. Without her sneaky, faceless-man, dagger drop and stab, Winterfell falls. If Winterfell falls, The Night King and his undead army move south and, most likely, take Kings Landing pretty easily. This holds especially true if both Drogon and Rhaegal fall during the battle of Winterfell, since Dany ends up taking the capital with only Drogon. That alone pushed her to the top for me, but we also see that she still very much cares about the safety of others in the latter half of the season, and that her story is just beginning, which is just extra icing on the GOT cake.
Three Key Players I left Off my Power Rankings
Tyrion Lannister: The reason I left Tyrion off is that I didn’t really see him as a winner at any point in this season (besides for the fact that he wasn’t killed). A lot of people see him as the “ruler” since Bran “never wanted to be king”, but that then takes away from the entire sneaky storyline of Bran “coming all that way.” Tyrion is still one of the best characters of ANY show of all time, but I just don’t see him as a winner in season eight.
Jon Snow: Similar to Tyrion, Jon didn’t win anything. Yeah, he’s technically free to do whatever he wants in the north with Tormund now, but other than that his season mostly sucked. He found out he was the rightful heir to the throne, even though he wanted nothing to do with ruling. He was then convinced to kill the second love of his life (R.I.P. Ygritte, still too soon) before becoming a prisoner. I wanted so much more for Jon, but I guess now he will just be known as the wildling traitor who abandoned the Nights Watch… twice.
Samwell Tarly: Sam ended up as Grand Maester (still not really sure how LOL) and gets to write A Song of Ice and Fire (which, by the way, is probably the dopest tie in to a show of all time). I’m assuming he was also pardoned from his abandoning of nights watch, even though there’s probably just no nights watch left at this point. I love Samwell to death, but his season just didn’t amount to as much as the others even with this massive accomplishments. Another character that had so much potential that was left in the background for most of the season.
Favorite Characters Throughout ALL Seasons
With all of that being said about season eight, Game of Thrones will still always hold an extremely special place in my heart. I had so many incredible years with this show, and even though the ending wasn’t what I’d hoped for, the show itself is still a GOAT contender. It defined the new era for fantasy television and led us to the discovery of so many amazing actors, battle scenes, and inside jokes. So without further ado, let my All-time character list commence.
#8: Ramsay Snow/Bolton
This may be controversial, since he was one of the most evil, villainous characters in the show, but Ramsay Bolton was one of my all-time favorites. He brought so much excitement, horror, and nervousness to the show: all of which makes for excellent television. We witnessed him completely eradicate Theon’s cocky persona over the middle seasons, then he kills his father and makes himself Lord of Winterfell, and then we get the epic conclusion to his story when he fights Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards. Ramsay is easily one of the most hateable characters from the show, yet I can’t stop myself from loving every single second his face was on my screen.
#7: Tormund Giantsbane
What’s not to love about this Wildling mountain man who was touched by fire? Constant witty banter with legitimately every single character in the show? Check. Facial expressions that can make you laugh without any volume to his words? Check. A character arc that goes from funny bad guy to hero that you love? Triple Check! Kristofer Hivju absolutely slayed his role as Tormund. He was #2 on my season eight list of “No way, they can’t do this to us… they can’t kill (favorite character’s name here).” Not to mention, of all the stories to end the series, he probably lucked out with the best one. He gets to live out the rest of his days with his best bud, Jon Snow, as they do whatever they want out beyond the wall. Talk about a solid end, am I right?
#6: Ser Davos Seaworth
I’ll be honest, Ser Davos was a teen tiny bit annoying and dull towards the beginning of the series, but right about when he learns to read was when the switch flipped on him for me. After that moment, it seemed like he always had such great comments to everything everyone asked of him. Not to mention, once Stannis dies and Davos makes the transition over to Jon, he becomes the coolest grandparent-figure, trusty advisor, and friend to the newly crowned King in the North. Davos is hands down one of the wiser men in the show as well, and maybe even the second oldest person we ever see on screen. I mean, even he knows that after all he’s done, he’s only “live to a ripe old age.”
#5: Jon Snow
I’ve always thought of Jon as one of my favorite characters, but as the series progressed, his brooding intensified, and his story played out, I found him right here, stuck at #5 on my list. Don’t get me wrong, Jon is an absolute badass, I just think his character spiraled downwards for me in the last two seasons. Obviously, I realize that this is in no way the character’s fault (or Kit Harrington’s for that matter), but it doesn’t mean that how D&B portrayed him towards the end didn’t drop him in my rankings. He was hyped up so much and basically ended up being a dud. A criminal banished to the Nights Watch, which more than likely doesn’t (and will never) exist anymore, who then abandons that post to live north of the wall with the wildlings. Hopefully GRRM’s version of Jon in the final two books has a better story. Maybe then he will make his way back towards his rightful spot within the Mount Rushmore of GOT characters.
#4: Ser Bronn of the Blackwater
Do you remember my list of “No way, they can’t do this to us… they can’t kill (favorite character’s name here)” from above? Well Bronn was #1 on that same list in season seven. The reason Bronn falls so high n the rankings for me is because he’s an OG that goes all the way back to season one. Plus, he’s given us many more laughs than most, including the Wildling be’ar-do-well, Tormund Giantsbane. He ended up with one of the most impressive character arc’s – Sell sword to knight, knight to Lord, Lord to Master of Coin – even with the complete dud of a season eight that he was given. And how could I forget all the buddy cop scenes between him and Tyrion throughout the first four seasons of the show. I would pay so much money a month to get a spin off of Game of Thrones that just followed those two around Westeros (get on it HBO).
#3: Arya Stark
Arya has always been towards the top of my favorite characters list for the sole purpose that she was a little badass lady, but she somehow managed to only become more badass as the show progressed. She’s another character that I think will have even more backstory in GRRM’s upcoming books as well, hopefully with a solid chunk of that giving us much more depth within The House of Black and White. She is one of few characters that I think needed little to no tweaks (and that D&B didn’t screw up). Her story was borderline perfect, and the only thing that maybe could’ve topped it off would’ve been crossing that final name off her list before sailing west of Westeros. FYI, I would watch an Arya spin off in a heartbeat if HBO were to make one… but I don’t think we will ever get that lucky.
#2: Oberyn Martell
I know, I know, Oberyn was only in seven episodes within one season, but could you imagine what could have been if he didn’t get his skull exploded!? Within those seven episodes, Oberyn low-key made King’s Landing his b****. Plus, he almost defended the innocent Tyrion Lannister while avenging his sister’s death. If only he didn’t get so cocky with the literal mountain of a man that is Gregor Clegane. Oberyn left a massive mark on the show in just seven short episodes, I could not imagine how differently the story turns out if he survives and saves Tyrion. Well… actually I can. Myrcella lives, Tyrion (probably) never helps Dany, Oberyn exacts justice on Tywin, John is named rightful ruler well before Dany makes her way to Westeros, Cersei never rises to the same level of power (and maybe doesn’t rise to power at all), etcetera, etcetera. Even without all of those possibilities, Oberyn finds himself at #2 in my greatest characters list.
#1: Tyrion Lannister
I think this goes without saying, but how can Tyrion Lannister NOT be your favorite character? Not only did he have the most screen time throughout all 73 episodes of the show, but he also started season eight off with the most incredible ball joke to Varys. Tyrion, without a doubt, has the greatest everything throughout all eight seasons of Game of Thrones. Final few seasons equals the greatest hair and beard. In all seasons he has the greatest comments, retorts, and jokes (if only we got to hear that one about the jackass and the honeycomb). Tyrion also has some of the greatest strategies (give or take a few from season seven) and ideas that the realm has ever seen. He’s a godsend to the realm, and even after everything he does, bran still wants him as his hand of the king. Hopefully he lives a long, full life in the new Westeros, and one day gets to die how he’s always wanted.
My Least Favorite Characters
I know I’ve already written about 47,638 words on this article, so I’ll go ahead and keep my least favorite character list as short as humanly possible.
Cersei Lannister: I dislike Cersei so much I am not even going to go into detail on why I dislike her. I think it’s pretty obvious that she is the worst human of all time and I wish she would’ve had a better on-screen death.
Littlefinger: He was a solid character… until he helped capture (and essentially kill) Ned Stark. Plus, his voice got deeper and raspier as the show progressed, and that honestly made listening to him the most annoying thing EVER.
Joffery: Nuff’ said.
Melisandre: Melisandre had an incredible character arc, but she did so many awful things that pushed her right off the cliff into the pit of dislike. Like, she sacrificed a little girl… that’s just plain wrong on so many levels.
The Mountain: Gregor Clegane was the perfect POS human being for Game of Thrones. I hate that Sandor had to die in order to kill his big brother, but it was a death that was much deserved for everything The Mountain has done throughout his eight season tenure.
The Sand Snakes: This applies to both Ellaria Sand and her three daughters. They were all just annoying, and the storyline with Ellaria and Tyene gets wiped under the rug in season eight. I feel like D&B should’ve at least given us a glimpse of these two in the final season.
Now, we will discuss my favorite secondary characters in alphabetical order… Just kidding, you’re finally at the end! And so am I, at least for quite some time. Game of Thrones was a massive piece of my life over the last few years, and even though I’ll always love this show, this re-watch showed me that it’s time for a break. At this point, even though my watch has not ended, I’m for sure pulling a Jon and heading north of the wall with Tormund for a few years. Poor decisions made by D&B led to an extremely underperforming final season, and even though it sucks, I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that’s the ending that I’m stuck with. Point-blank, period. One day, GRRM will release his ending, and hopefully that ties up more of the questions that are still etched in my brain after season 8, but if not… oh well. It was a wild ride, Game of Thrones. Until next time.