The Greatest TV Show of All Time – Part II

My Top 10 Greatest TV Shows of All Time (#5 – 1)

Welcome back to Part II of My Top 10 Greatest TV Shows of All Time list. Last week, we explored a wide variety of genres that spanned across many networks. This week you will find more of the same with ranging genres, but four of my top five all fall under the HBO tree. They clearly make exceptional television, and I wouldn’t be surprised if three or four of my top five are also in your top five greatest TV show rankings. Without further ado…

#5 – WestWorld

Greatest TV Show

As another show with only a handful of seasons, Westworld may be a strange pick for some to include in their greatest TV show lists. But even with only three seasons, I think Westworld has done more with its characters and stories than some shows have done with six plus seasons. The show itself is almost indescribable, as not only does it twist your brain into a doughy, uncooked pretzel, but the setting and plot have also changed each season. Its labeled as a “Science-Fiction Western”, but by episode two of the second season you can already tell its much more than that.

Season one was one of the most confusing things I have ever watched, yet I could not peel my eyes off the screen. Season two found us in the same park as season one, yet we now learn there are other parks AND that the hosts (A.K.A. robots) are essentially becoming human. The third season is nearly halfway over, yet now we’ve found ourselves in the real world and our good friend, Dolores, is attempting to wreak havoc on those using technology for unspeakable things. You see, not just a Science-Fiction Western! This show will 1,000,000% lose you (probably multiple times per episode) and will probably make you second guess future technological advancements, but either way you have to give Westworld a shot.

#4 – The Sopranos

The Sopranos is the oldest show on my top ten list, but that in no way hampers its ability to rank highly on my list. The pilot aired wayyyy back in 1999, but even with very (and I mean very) dated language and graphics, I was captivated within minutes. The show follows Tony Soprano, a capo in the DeMeo crime family in New Jersey, throughout his life and daily routine as a mob man. We also learn almost immediately that he is dealing with some psychological issues, yet he doesn’t want anyone to know about them because he thinks it will hurt his image. This eventually falls to the back burner for Tony as his life as a mob boss gets increasingly difficult, but it was a great story piece early on.

The Sopranos ran for six seasons, but the final season was actually two very large “half” seasons due to David Chase asking for an episode extension to tell more story. In my opinion the second half of season six is what pushed this out of my top three, and possibly even my top two. I believe the latter half of season six B was entirely fumbled, and I was one of the people who loathed how HBO ended the show. Even so, The Sopranos had quite the incredible journey from 1999-2007. So, I suggest you go grab your gabagool and pour some extra gravy on your pasta before diving into this roller coaster of death, deceit, and the misery of mob life in New Jersey.

#3 – Succession

Greatest TV Show

Another HBO show that will go down amongst the greats is Succession. This show is extremely different from all the others on my list, but as someone who has work experience in the corporate finance world, the plot and characters of this show just hold an extra special spot in my soul. Succession follows the Roy family through their endeavors within the corporate media conglomerate world whilst the family itself is fighting for control of the company. Between the constant family bickering and the perfectly crafted retorts from the youngest Roy, this show will have you feeling like a disgusting filthy slimeball trapped in the trenches of corporate (and family) warfare, all while clutching your sides in pain from laughing. It is truly one of a handful of shows that I’ve ever watched that has made me feel like an awful person for enjoying while also making me feel like I couldn’t live without another episode (#2 on that list is Amazon’s The Boys). A lot of people are turned off to Succession due to the complexities of the business world, but to those people I say “hold up”. A simple google search can clear up anything that may go over your head, and once you start piecing together a few business terms, this show goes from gold to titanium in more ways than one.

#2 – Game of Thrones

If you’re a recurring guest to DustyPosts I’m sure you already know how large a Game of Thrones fan I am, so this ranking shouldn’t really surprise you. If you don’t know, Game of Thrones is an American Fantasy drama based in the world of Westeros as multiple people are vying to become the ruler of The Seven Kingdoms. Even if you aren’t much of a fantasy fan, I think this show would still have an exceptionally high chance of drawing you in. Most of the characters are extremely captivating and the acting throughout the entire show is world-class. Even though the final season was a massive disappointment in the eyes of most fans (mine included), the show as a whole is magnificent. George R. R. Martin created one of the most fantastic fantasy worlds of all time and it led to seven of the greatest seasons of television ever. This show is a must-watch in my opinion, and I believe everyone should at the very minimum give the first season a watch. Most people who say they didn’t like the show claim that it was because there were too many people, places, and names to remember. I have an easy fix for that though: go listen to a podcast or use the Google machine to help answer questions! Watching this show will 100% change your perspective on any fantasy television, and i’d even go so far to say that it could make a fan of the genre out of you by the time you’re finished watching.

#1 – Breaking Bad

Greatest TV Show

I don’t even know where to begin with Breaking Bad. Whether you’re considering the casting, the writing, the acting, the filming, or the plotting, every detail of this show was pure perfection. And the reason Breaking Bad stands atop the rest and will more than likely forever be my #1 is due to one small thing that 99% of other shows nowadays don’t have: a great ending. When you look at all the shows that have ended on my list, most of them didn’t have a great ending. With Community, Troy (Donald Glover) leaves and the show falls apart. Sopranos ended in an extremely vague fashion and is now either your most loved or most hated endings of all time (I clearly fall towards the latter end of that spectrum). Game of Thrones was rushed by D&B and left fans wishing for more. But Breaking BadBreaking Bad ended in a way that tied up every loose end and perfectly satiated our fix for Walter and Jesse. Granted, it eventually led to an incredibly mediocre movie spin off (El Camino), but that’s beside the point. This show was the epitome of perfect television for five entire seasons, and it even survived (if not thrived) the writers strike of ’07-’08. I can honestly say that I think Breaking Bad will reign over all others for a very, very long time, thus making it my greatest TV show of all time.


And that’s a wrap. Thank you for checking out my countdown of TV shows as I explored my greatest TV show of all time. As always, be sure to leave comments below and let me know what your top 10 looks like. Also, for more original DustyPosts TV and Movie content, be sure to follow this link!

Game of Thrones Season 8

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!?)
  • Brienne’s Knighting
  • 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

Game of Thrones Season 8

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

Game of Thrones Season 8

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.

My Top Five Books of All Time

My Top Five Books of All Time

While at work the other day I was asked to answer a boatload of questions that described my hobbies for the monthly “About This Employee” newsletter. One of the first things that came to mind was how much I love to read, even if I don’t always have as much time to as I’d like. This, of course, sent me down memory lane and had me reminiscing on all the incredible books I’ve read over the years. This list is nowhere near comprehensive, and there are so many books that truly pain me to leave off, but the top five books below are the ones that I feel stand out the most in my 20+ years of reading.

#5 – A Land Remembered by Patrick D. Smith

Rounding out the bottom of my list is A Land Remembered. This was a book I would’ve probably never read if it hadn’t been a mandatory read when I was in high school. As I made my deeper and deeper into the book, it slowly snuck its way up into my list of favorite books. It’s also a pretty neat little history lesson of sorts for me as the book takes place within the state of Florida, which is where I was born and still live to this day. One of the other things I absolutely loved about this book was its split into three substantially different perspectives. Each detailed a different generation of the MacIveys, and it was a very fun way to tell the story of a family who was trying to make a name for themselves during the 19th and 20th centuries.

#4 – The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques

For those of you who do know this series, I’m sure you will recall that there are about 30 books within or related to the series. I didn’t read all of them, but my elementary years were littered with most of these stories. Redwall, Salamandastron, Martin the Warrior, and Marlfox were just a few of Brian Jacques mesmerizing novels. Each had their similarities, but were also ridiculously unique in their own way. They all completely submerged me into a realm I had never even dreamt of. The fantasy novels all enlist some form of anthropomorphic animal that is undertaking a massive task to save the people of Redwall and its surrounding areas. It is one of few book series of its kind and it is a must-read for anyone who enjoys fantasy based novels. The books were aimed at children, specifically older children, so be weary of this is you decide to indulge yourself within Brain Jacques realm!

#3 – The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

It’s very hard for me to rank this book at #3, but unfortunately it has to be done. Lord of the Rings itself was incredible, but The Hobbit is one of those books that is basically absolute perfection. I can still remember when I picked this book up in fifth grade and didn’t set it down until I was finished with it. I was glued to that book for over a week and enjoyed every single second of it. Since then, I’ve probably only re-read this book twice. But knowing that I have a child on the way I am already anticipating reading it to them countless times once they can understand the story behind this incredible book.

#2 – The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

Now, I won’t waste too much of your time here since I just recently posted a complete breakdown and ranking of the Harry Potter series, but it goes without saying that these books were essentially my entire childhood. From the second I opened my first HP book until my freshman year when The Deathly Hallows was released I always dreamt of the wizarding world. J.K. Rowling’s series was atop my list of favorites for years, but just recently it was toppled by ASOIAF. These books have the most read throughs for me and I know quite a disgusting amount about these books. I actually corrected the librarians answer key when I was in fourth grade too. Super nerd alert haha. Harry Potter and his crew taught me so many things over the years, and if you haven’t read this series yet you’re doing an immense disservice to yourself!

#1 – The A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R. R. Martin

Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. And the #1 book/series of all time goes to… A Song of Ice and Fire! I know I know, this series isn’t even done yet (and it honestly might never be), but there is something about the way GRRM writes that I can’t get enough of. I’ve even bought his children’s book, The Ice Dragon, for when my child is born haha. His writing style was something I was very unfamiliar with but grew to love almost immediately. He actually inspired me to begin my own novel in a similar POV fashion as his ASOIAF books. The first five books of this series are all amazing, however, they’re not all the same caliber to me for one specific reason: I watched the show before I read the books. With that being said, the third, fourth, and fifth books are much more intriguing to read, but that in no way takes anything away from the first two!

The Lord of The Rings Series, The Great Gatsby, To Kill A Mockingbird, these are just a few others that had every right to make this list. Reading just has a way of making us lose track of time while we immerse ourselves in the fantasy worlds of these spectacular authors. I hope one day my books can influence someone the way that some of these have influenced my life. When all is said and done, these books just hit on a different level, and they will forever hold a special place in my heart.


Thanks again for reading the list of my top five books. 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 and comment often!

A Song of Ice and Fire Review

A Song of Ice and Fire Review

Welcome back! It’s so crazy to think were already halfway through our first YEAR of weekly reviews. We’ve covered some awesome subjects over the last 23 weeks, but this week we will dive into one of my favorite authors, George R. R. Martin (AKA G.R.R.M.) and his fantasy series, ASOIAF.

G.R.R.M., as I’ve already mentioned, is one of my favorite authors. His A Song of Ice and Fire series may just end up being my favorite series of all time too. Granted, only five of the seven books have been released, but G.R.R.M. would really need to screw up to taint the series for me. And in all honesty, the way the TV series ended I cant imagine its anywhere but up from there.

Game of Thrones (2012) Episode Title: Blackwater Season 2, Episode 9 Air Date: May 27, 2012 Jerome Flynn as Bronn

These first two books were masterfully crafted yet they didn’t really do much for me. I had already watched the first few seasons of Game of Thrones so everything was already pretty redundant. That is in no way G.R.R.M.’s fault though, as I just didn’t know the books were there until it was too late. Plus HBO essentially copied the books word for word. Book three was where this series really began standing out for me. As little details that had been left out of the show began surfacing in the book, my mind immediately started thinking of all the potential theories arising (ahem, reddit). Little did I know, these books had been out for ages by the time I got to them in 2018, and there was an unimaginable amount of theories for me to sift through.

Books four and five of ASOIAF then began to drastically change. New characters, new places traveled, and new story lines that are so much more interesting than the ones HBO went with (no shade at HBO, just think the mastermind’s story was better lol). These books are also extremely interesting because they were originally one book. G.R.R.M. actually had these two books as one but had to split it due to size. This pushed his six book series to seven, and led to another six years of waiting for his beloved fans. He really descends into the other areas of his realm in these two books as well.

These books will easily go down as some of the greatest fantasy books of all time. They’re even a pretty big piece of the reason I began writing my own book. I wanted to immerse myself in my own Seven Kingdoms, and G.R.R.M. 100% opened that door for me. I don’t think I, or the countless others, could ever thank him enough.

My Dream Dinner – Remixed

My Dream Dinner – Remixed

“If you could have dinner with any three people (whether dead, alive, or fictional) who would you choose and why?”

So I’ve been seeing this question around a lot lately and decided that I wanted to go ahead and answer it myself. I figured I would add my own spin to this though, so I will also include what I want my meal at said party to be as well as the location I want the meal to be eaten. On top of that, I would also like to take a stab at what I think each of my guests would want to eat while we are dining in said location of choice, so with that let’s jump right in!

The Dream Dinner

In my mind steak is the pinnacle of dinner meats, so it goes without saying that I will be using that as my source of protein for this meal. I’d prefer it to be an extremely expensive cut of Japanese Wagyu, mainly for the fact that I am still a young adult who has no idea if/when I’ll be able to afford such an exorbitant slab of meat. Along with the Wagyu, I think I’d like some truffle mac n’ cheese from Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. in Maine. I don’t remember where or when I stumbled across the article I read, but what I do remember was this lobster mac basically being described as heaven on earth. I’d love to add some thick cut chunks of bacon into the mac as well, simply because bacon makes everything better. Add some pan-seared green beans to pair with the steak and mac and now my plate is complete. But I will need something to wash my meal down with so I would probably want a glass of scotch (preferably a double of Glenmorangie Bacalta).

The Ideal Location

Greece is number one on my traveling bucket list, so that is where my three guests and I will be heading for the evening. I can just picture us sitting on a cliffside balcony in Santorini or Mykonos overlooking the deep blues of the Aegean Sea as the sun sets out over the water. That view would be breathtaking, and I think my guests would love it just as much as I would.

Guest #1 – LeBron James

LeBron has been redefining the game of basketball since I was in fifth or sixth grade, which is essentially when I really started getting into sports. He is easily one of the most talented athletes of my generation, so why wouldn’t I want to enjoy a meal with him!? He also seems like he would be an absolute electric dinner guest. I would have to get all the details on coming back from that 3-1 deficit to beat the Warriors in 2016 too. And who knows, maybe he likes me so much that he gives me a spot working for his show or something.

For food, LeBron is definitely going Surf and Turf. Maybe a cedar plank salmon paired with one of his favorite cuts of meat. He will most likely avoid the deliciously unhealthy mac n cheese that I will be consuming, which means he will probably pair his meal with some sort of mixed greens or salad. I know for a fact he will be washing down his meal with wine… everyone knows how much of a wine guy LeBron is!

Guest #2 – Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd is probably the greatest actor (and all around human being) of all time, so it would be hard for me to not include him in a hypothetical dinner party. One of my favorite movies of his is I Love You, Man so you already know without a doubt we will be slapping da bass before dinner. He actually seems like the nicest guy of all time too, so I think I would get along great with him.

For Paul, I see him going with some type of Italian dish. I’m mainly making this decision off another article I read a while back where Paul claimed how much he loved chicken Parmesan. His favorite spot was back in his hometown, I think, and he and his mom used to go all the time when he was growing up. He even still takes her every year if i’m not mistaken! So I could see him ordering some sort of veal or chicken parm dish and pairing it with some sort of IPA. Not sure why, but he definitely looks like a beer guy (when he isn’t filming for Ant-Man of course).

Guest #3 – Tyrion Lannister

For those of you who haven’t read any of my prior work, I am a massive Game of Thrones fan. So yes, I said Tyrion Lannister, and no I do not mean Peter Dinklage! I’m in no way saying Peter wouldn’t be a fantastic dinner guest, but I would just prefer Tyrion to be the one who shows up in my hypothetical Greek feast. The witty banter he provides would have LeBron, Paul, and I rolling on the floor clutching our stomachs in pain from laughter. Not to mention, he and Paul Rudd’s dynamic would probably be to die for. Maybe I would even finally get to hear Tyrion’s “honeycomb and jackass” joke! And while Tyrion tells it Paul can goofily act out everything he says. That would be something I would pay to watch! 

Tyrion is 100% going to order some sort of fresh game hot off the spit for dinner. I’m sure he will start with some appetizers too, maybe some grapes or a fresh loaf of bread with some assortment of cheeses from across the lands. He obviously will have a glass, or twelve, of the finest vintage of Arbor Gold that is available. Maybe he will even save a taste of Westeros’s sweet and delicious wine for LeBron, or maybe he will just give us all a cask to take home!

Unfortunately this something I will more than likely never get to experience, but it is nice to think how crazy it would be if it did. I hope you all enjoyed my take on this question and if you have an idea of who you would want at your dream dinner party I’d love to hear. Be sure to go check out the rest of my posts and explore my site a little too, I’d greatly appreciate some feedback!

The End of It All (5/20/19)

[Originally published on 5/20/19 on my previous site, Bright-blood.com]

The End of It All

It’s official, Game of Thrones is over. After staying positive the entire season, I finally cracked last night during the finale. The episode as a whole was underwhelming in my eyes. With that being said, there were some parts that I thought were executed flawlessly… but most of the episode was dull and what wasn’t dull was just plain bad.

Around 44 minutes in is where my initial issue was. After Jon kills Dany, Drogon grabs her lifeless body with his back talons and flies away with her. I was not a fan of this at all, but here I can also see why they did it at least. Once Dany was dead, the only options for Drogon were to 1) fly away, 2) be killed, or 3) be fine with the fact that his mother was just murdered and bow down to the murderer. Number 2 seemed incredibly unlikely figuring that all of the scorpions had just been destroyed. I thought maybe Bronn would come back into the story here but wasn’t quite sure how he would take Drogon down without some sort of massive weapon. Number 3 just didn’t make sense, and Drogon was too connected to Dany to ever allow Jon to mount him after he kills her. That leaves us number 1, which makes sense, I merely didn’t enjoy the fact that he scooped our Khaleesi up and took her with him.

This brings me to my subsequent issue with the episode, which was the absolute nonsense that Jon is now put through for the remainder of the epi. First off, the fact that the Unsullied and Dothraki did not kill Jon after he stabbed their queen makes zero sense. Plus, knowing Jon, he for sure went out and did the “honorable” thing and just told them. And since we’re talking about Jon, I also hated that they sent him back to the Night’s Watch as punishment. I get that he couldn’t stay in King’s Landing and that Grey Worm probably wanted him dead. But the fact that you dispatched a man who already DIED for the Night’s Watch back to Castle Black blows my mind. Plus like, didn’t all of the crows die? We know the Lord Commander died protecting Sam in the battle of Winterfell. We know the wall by Eastwatch is rubble. We know the wildlings are no longer enemies AND that the White Walkers are dead, so why send him to the wall? I did love the fact that he just peaced out once he got there. And maybe he and Ghost were meant to be north of the wall anyways. I’m just saying though, why couldn’t he go back to the Winterfell and help Sansa rule or head west of Westeros with Arya? Overall just a tragic episode for one of my favorite characters.

Next up, the dragon pit scene, which seemed to take place quite some time after the battle judging by Tyrion’s dope beard he had grown. This group had gathered to decide his fate and decide who would rule the six kingdoms next. The part that bugged me here (besides the water bottle) was the fact that Bran was decided as the best fit for King. Yet two episodes ago he desired nothing and could be nothing because he was the three-eyed raven. What changed Bran? And then the line where he basically says he knew and that why he was there… like wtf haha. There was also the unknown Dornish prince or whatever in attendance. I’ve been seeing many people say it has to be Quentyn Martell, but he died at the end of A Dance with Dragons so that makes no sense whatsoever. I think the thing that I am most salty about here is the fact that Bran ends up being our guy. And to touch on the water bottle, HOW in the absolute hell did they miss this?! This was not the first time this season, nor the last, that we would see something that didn’t belong in the show. I just can’t wrap my mind around it. How do we end up with three mishaps after so much money was dumped into the creation and review of our favorite show? It’s utterly unacceptable for a series of this caliber.

All things considered, I probably would have rated this episode a 5/10. I did thoroughly enjoy the Tyrion scenes. His dialogue was killer and so much was looped back around to older episodes and quotes. I also kind of enjoyed the fact that Bran selected him to be his Hand as well. And of course, how could I forget about the incredible shot of Dany when Drogon spread his wings and she looked like she transformed into a dragon herself. The cinematography this season was incredible, so shouts to everyone who worked in that area. If only we could have gotten some of that talent on the writing side of things haha. But, no matter how upset I am with the finale, GoT will forever be one of my favorite shows of all time. The way this all ended may have pushed Breaking Bad up into the #1 spot for me in all honesty. But, I’m sure when I do my rewatch in a few years (or maybe a few months) I’ll remember just how special this show truly was. It sucks that it concluded the way it did, and the fact that it’s over is heartbreaking. At least we all got 8 good years out of it though, right? Thanks for all the memories Game of Thrones!

P.S. GRRM, release the sixth book, pretty please with a cherry on top. I need more information on this incredible world you’ve built ASAP!

The End of It All – Game of Thrones Tribute

The End of It All – A Game of Thrones Tribute

It’s official, Game of Thrones is over. After staying positive the entire season, I finally cracked last night during the finale. The episode as a whole was underwhelming in my eyes. With that being said, there were some parts that I thought were executed flawlessly… but most of the episode was dull and what wasn’t dull was just plain bad.

Around 44 minutes in is where my initial issue was. After Jon kills Dany, Drogon grabs her lifeless body with his back talons and flies away with her. I was not a fan of this at all, but I can also see why they did it at least. Once Dany was dead, the only options for Drogon were to 1) fly away, 2) be killed, or 3) be fine with the fact that his mother was just murdered and bow down to the murderer. Number 2 seemed incredibly unlikely figuring that all of the scorpions had just been destroyed. I thought maybe Bronn would come back into the story here but wasn’t quite sure how he would take Drogon down without some sort of massive weapon. Number 3 just didn’t make sense, and Drogon was too connected to Dany to ever allow Jon to mount him after he kills her. That leaves us number 1, which makes sense, I merely didn’t enjoy the fact that he scooped our Khaleesi up and took her with him.

This brings me to my subsequent issue with the episode, which was the absolute nonsense Jon Snow was put through for the remainder of the episode. First off, the fact that the Unsullied and Dothraki did not kill Jon after he stabbed their queen makes zero sense. Plus, knowing Jon, he for sure went out and did the “honorable” thing and just told them. And since we’re talking about Jon, I also hated that they sent him back to the Night’s Watch as punishment. I get that he couldn’t stay in King’s Landing and that Grey Worm probably wanted him dead. But the fact that you dispatched a man who already DIED for the Night’s Watch back to Castle Black blows my mind. Plus like, didn’t all of the crows die? We know the Lord Commander died protecting Sam in the battle of Winterfell. And We know the wall by Eastwatch is absolute rubble. Not to mention the wildlings are no longer enemies AND the White Walkers are all dead, so why send John to the wall? I did love the fact that he just peaced out once he got there. And maybe he and Ghost were just meant to be north of the wall. I’m just saying though, why couldn’t he go back to the Winterfell and help Sansa rule or head west of Westeros with Arya? Overall just a tragic episode for one of my favorite characters.

Next up, the dragon pit scene, which seemed to take place quite some time after the battle judging by Tyrion’s dope beard he had grown. This group had gathered to decide his fate and decide who would rule the six kingdoms next. The thing that bugged me here (besides the water bottle) was that Bran was decided as the “best fit” to rule Westeros. Yet two episodes ago he desired nothing and could be nothing because he was the three-eyed raven. What changed Bran? And then the line where he basically says he knew and that why he was there… like wtf haha. There was also the unknown Dornish prince or whatever in attendance. I’ve been seeing many people say it has to be Quentyn Martell, but he died at the end of A Dance with Dragons so that makes no sense whatsoever. I think the thing that I am most salty about here is the fact that Bran ends up being our guy. And to touch on the water bottle, HOW in the absolute hell did they miss this?! This was not the first time this season, nor the last, that we would see something that didn’t belong in the show. I just can’t wrap my mind around it. How do we end up with three mishaps after so much money was dumped into the creation/review of this show? It’s utterly unacceptable for a series of this caliber.

All things considered, I probably would have rated this episode a 5/10. I did thoroughly enjoy the Tyrion scenes,and his dialogue was killer throughout the episode. Not to mention, they had so much loop back around to older episodes and quotes too. I also kind of enjoyed the fact that Bran selected him to be his Hand as well. And of course, how could I forget about the incredible shot of Dany when Drogon spread his wings and she looked like she transformed into a dragon herself. The cinematography this season was incredible, so shouts to everyone who worked in that area. If only we could have gotten some of that talent on the writing side of things… haha. But, no matter how upset I am with the finale, Game of Thrones will forever be one of my favorite shows of all time. The way this all ended may have pushed Breaking Bad up into the #1 spot for me in all honesty. But, I’m sure when I do my re-watch in a few years (or maybe a few months) I’ll remember just how special this show truly was. It sucks that it concluded the way it did, and the fact that it’s over is heartbreaking. At least we all got 8 good years out of it though, right? Thanks for all the memories Game of Thrones!

P.S. GRRM, release the sixth book, pretty please with a cherry on top. I need more information on this incredible world you’ve built ASAP!

A Tribute to Game of thrones (5/13/19)

[Originally published on 5/13/19 on my previous site, Bright-blood.com]

A Tribute to Game of Thrones

Warning: this post will contain spoilers for HBO’s tv series Game of Thrones. Proceed at your own risk!

I’ve been a massive fan of the fiction/fantasy genre for as long as I can remember. Whether it be video games, books, movies, tv shows, I’ve just always been drawn to it. I’m not sure if it’s the countless hours spent with my dad watching these types of movies as a child or if it’s actually just in my genetics, but I can’t say enough how much I love all the different realms, lands, worlds, and universes that we can lose ourselves in every day. Of all these options though, I’d have to say that Game of Thrones is, hands down, the pinnacle of the fantasy genre. Whether it be the detailed descriptions found within GRRM’s novels or the spectacular cinematography found in HBO’s show, this story never ceases to amaze me.

I still remember the day I started Game of Thrones almost 6 years ago. All of my roommates had moved home for the summer, but I decided to stay and take the six-week physics course so I didn’t have to suffer through twelve weeks of it when Fall semester began. I had just finished binging the first few seasons of Breaking Bad and was in dire need of something to watch in between all of my studying. After doing some research, I noticed that there had been a lot of buzz around Game of Thrones. This was June 2013 after all and The Red Wedding had just aired. Thankfully I avoided the spoilers, but after seeing the drama that season caused I knew I had to get into this show. So later that night I put the first episode on, and I kid you not, I was up until almost 4 A.M… I couldn’t stop watching no matter how tired I got! Over the next week or two, I watched the hell out of Game of Thrones and was completely caught up. When my roommates moved back up in early August, I made them watch. They got hooked as well, and it was all history from there. Since then, I’ve probably watched every episode prior to season eight at least five times, have done more research on theories than I could ever keep track of, started listening to a podcast that breaks down every aspect of each episode (big shouts to Ross and Barrett on Oysters, Clams, and Cockles), and read all five of the books cover to cover. I think it’s safe to say that I’m a bit of a super fan of this series haha. It was even a huge part of the inspiration behind starting my own book, Brightblood. If you’ve read my blog post A Blog About Writing, you know that I was joking with my girlfriend about how sad I would be when GoT ends, and I told her I was going to create a fantasy world to make up for the lack I would be facing starting on May 20th. Two months later I’m four chapters deep, have a website and a blog, and loving every second of this new venture I am on. However, that also means that five of the last GoT episodes have already passed, and it is about time I paid tribute to this amazing show.

For the rest of this article, I would like to briefly touch on my top three seasons, episodes, and scenes, and then I’ll end with what I’ve liked/disliked about season 8 so far and my prediction for how the season ends. So jumping right into it, here are my favorite seasons.

  1. My third favorite season of Game of Thrones is season five. There were so many incredible moments in this season, whether we were watching John battle the wights/White Walkers at Hardhome, Cersei’s walk of shame after “atoning” for her sins, or Drogon and Dany’s first flight together after the mayhem breaks out within the Fighting Pits. A few of my favorite episodes of all time fell into this season, so there was no doubt in my mind that I had to rank it number three.
  2. In Second place, we have season eight. This may catch some flack, but I honestly do not care one bit. I went into this season with an open mind, knowing that it was the last season and that I would probably not get to see everything I wanted and that a lot of things may not have the time they truly needed to develop. With that being said, I think this season has been almost perfect and a true work of art. I think HBO has absolutely crushed it out of the park, but I’ll dive a little deeper into this later on in my post.
  3. Finally, coming in at number one, we have season three. I’m not sure if anyone could ever argue that this isn’t the greatest season of television history. Not to mention the buzz around the penultimate episode was what got me into this show in the first place. If season five had a lot of incredible moments, this season, in general, was one amazing, incredible moment. We had all of those fantastic Jon/Ygritte scenes, we had Dany persuading The Second Sons to fight for her and not the Yunkishmen, and we had the beginning of the end for the Night’s watch once Joer Mormont was slain. In all honesty, there hasn’t been a season I’ve disliked in this entire series, but these three definitely stand out in my eyes as the defining areas of Game of Thrones.

Next up are my favorite episodes.

  1. In third place falls the Mountain and the Viper. This episode was unbelieveable and extremely gut-wrenching, cough cough Oberyn’s eyes popping out of his head and the thought of losing Tyrion forever. Not to mention we also see the first attack on Castle Black, the initial spark of love between Grey Worm and Missandei (RIP), and our first glimpse into the new and improved Sansa.
  2. Next up in the number two spot is Hardhome. There were a lot of good things that happened in this episode, but in all honesty I just love it for the fight. Seeing Tormund kill the Lord of Bones and defend Jon’s honor by explaining why he killed Mance, he cemented himself as one of Jon’s trusted allies right before Hardhome was bombarded by wights. Then we get the epic fight between Jon and one of the White Walkers. The face the White Walker makes when Longclaw doesn’t break was priceless, and then Jon just absolutely manhandles him before shattering the White Walker into a million tiny pieces. Not to mention the chills from the Night King bringing everyone back to life after the battle… it was such a heartbreaking yet fantastic scene and I will never forget that moment the tides turned in favor of the dead.
  3. Finally coming in at number one is The Battle of the Bastards. This battle made every other battle we had seen so far look like child’s play. And even though we had Rickon not running zig zags and Jon falling victim to what was clearly a Ramsey trap, we got see Sansa come through with the Knights of the Vale to save the day. Her character arc over the seasons before led to this exact moment and it was so awesome to finally see her settling into her role as a badass. Plus, using Ramsey’s own hounds to kill him after he bragged about not feeding them was just a total savage move by Sansa.

Now I will dive into my favorite scenes.

  1. Rounding out the top three is the battle between The Mountain and Oberyn. This will forever be one of the most insane fights and deaths of this show. Oberyn was absolutely destroying Gregor, and then he started getting reckless. This was when I got that feeling that something terrible was about to happen, which of course it did, and Oberyn got his eyes crushed right out of his skull before exacting the revenge he was so close to getting.
  2. Sliding in right before this battle is Arya killing the Night King. I know that a lot of people did not like The Battle of Winterfell episode from season eight, but to me this scene was amazing. I actually have a lot of takes on this scene and episode three in general, but once again I’ll hold those until my review of the last season.
  3. My favorite scene of all time is The Red Wedding. This may sound crazy since this episode was such a tear-jerker, but that to me is what makes it so great. The fact that a show that killed its main character at the end of the first season could surprise its audience (or at least everyone who hadn’t read the books yet) by unexpectedly killing so many of its main characters was incredible. I can honestly say I had not even the slightest clue that this was going to happen, and once Catelyn noticed Roose clad in his chainmail my heart sunk.

Finally, I want to discuss season eight. As I mentioned earlier, I think HBO has absolutely nailed this season give or take a few things. In every show, there will be people who hate, especially when it comes down to the last few episodes. Yet it is astonishing to me how many people are completely furious with this season and picking apart every single improbable or unlikely scenario. Yes, we had the Starbucks blunder (which for $2.3B in revenue may just have been intentional), and the send off for Ghost may have been just a touch lazy (even though I don’t think we have seen the last of him or Tormund), and I would have really liked to see Cersei die differently (preferably by Arya, wearing Jaime’s face after Euron killed him and she stumbled across his body somewhere in the Red Keep), but all in all this season has been quite spectacular. The cinematography has been to die for and I am loving the extended episodes. For everyone who was upset with the lighting in episode three, adjust your screen or stop watching the greatest show of all time on trash tvs. I don’t own an expensive TV, and I had no problem seeing every single thing in this episode. For those of you complaining about Arya sneaking by all the White Walkers, SHE HAS BEEN TRAINING AS A SUPER STEALTHY, WATER DANCING, FACELESS MAN ASSASSIN FOR THE ENTIRE SHOW! It makes complete sense that she is dead silent and can sneak past some wights. In fact just 10 minutes earlier we had the scene where she did the exact same thing, and she was slightly concussed there it seemed. Arya has always been my favorite character, so I was ecstatic when she pulled that dope knife drop hand switch and ended the Night King. She also clearly was not one of the White Walkers, as they explode when they die and there would be no way for her to get a face to use. And last night’s episode… oh my god. I’ve firmly been on the “Dany will come to her senses and not end up going full Mad queen” train since the beginning of this season, but boy was I wrong. Apparently, everyone should have listened to Varys after all haha. Speaking of Varys, how sick was that scene with Drogon coming out of the shadows!?Then we have Clegane Bowl. I loved how The Hound’s story ended, and Qyburn may have had the craziest death of all time right before this battle even began. I’m also extremely grateful that Sandor convinced Arya to leave because I don’t know how I would’ve handled her death. With all of that being said however, I think GoT has been an extremely cyclical show and that we will somehow see one of the remaining characters become a night king or queen. There is no there was all of that hype over the White Walkers, and not to mention the prequel is going to be based on their origin, just for them to be 100% eliminated in the blink of an eye. Plus, they kept showing that symbol, which is definitely some sort of hint at repeating cycles or repeating history. Before this season, my prediction had always been that the last thing we would see would be bran waking up from his fall and starting everything all over again because he somehow three-eyed raven’d himself backward in time. Even though that now seems extremely improbable, I wouldn’t be surprised to have some sort of insane twist like that rip my heart out next week in the finale.One of the best lines this show has ever used came from one of the most, if not the most, evil characters; Ramsey Bolton. “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” I think that I will pay attention to Ramsey heading into this last episode and expect the worst since you know we truly have no idea what the showrunners are planning. No matter what happens on Sunday, I’m happy that I’ve had this show for the past six years. It will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I cannot thank GRRM enough for creating this magnificent world that we can all lose ourselves within.

Game of Thrones: A Tribute

A Tribute to Game of Thrones

Warning: this post will contain spoilers for HBO’s TV series Game of Thrones. Proceed at your own risk!

I’ve been a massive fan of the fiction/fantasy genre for as long as I can remember. Whether it be video games, books, movies, TV shows, I’ve just always been drawn to it. I’m not sure if it’s the countless hours spent with my dad watching these types of movies as a child or if it’s actually just in my genetics, but I can’t say enough how much I love all the different realms, lands, worlds, and universes that we can lose ourselves in every day. Of all these options though, I’d have to say that Game of Thrones is, hands down, the pinnacle of the fantasy genre. Whether it be the detailed descriptions found within GRRM’s novels or the spectacular cinematography found in HBO’s show, this story never ceases to amaze me.

I still remember the day I started Game of Thrones almost 6 years ago. All of my roommates had moved home for the summer, but I decided to stay and take the six-week physics course so I didn’t have to suffer through twelve weeks of it when Fall semester began. I had just finished binging the first few seasons of Breaking Bad and was in dire need of something to watch in between all of my studying. After doing some research, I noticed that there had been a lot of buzz around Game of Thrones. This was June 2013 after all and The Red Wedding had just aired. Thankfully I avoided the spoilers, but after seeing the drama that season caused I knew I had to get into this show. So later that night I put the first episode on, and I kid you not, I was up until almost 4 A.M… I couldn’t stop watching no matter how tired I got! Over the next week or two, I watched the hell out of Game of Thrones and was completely caught up. When my roommates moved back up in early August, I made them watch. They got hooked as well, and it was all history from there. Since then, I’ve probably watched every episode prior to season eight at least five times, have done more research on theories than I could ever keep track of, started listening to a podcast that breaks down every aspect of each episode (big shouts to Ross and Barrett on Oysters, Clams, and Cockles), and read all five of the books cover to cover. I think it’s safe to say that I’m a bit of a super fan of this series haha. It was even a huge part of the inspiration behind starting my own book, Brightblood. If you’ve read my blog post A Blog About Writing, you know that I was joking with my girlfriend about how sad I would be when GoT ends, and I told her I was going to create a fantasy world to make up for the lack I would be facing starting on May 20th. Two months later I’m four chapters deep, have a website and a blog, and loving every second of this new venture I am on. However, that also means that five of the last GoT episodes have already passed, and it is about time I paid tribute to this amazing show.

For the rest of this article, I would like to briefly touch on my top three seasons, episodes, and scenes, and then I’ll end with what I’ve liked/disliked about season 8 so far and my prediction for how the season ends.

So jumping right into it, here are my favorite seasons of Game of Thrones.

  1. My third favorite season of Game of Thrones is season five. There were so many incredible moments in this season, whether we were watching John battle the wights/White Walkers at Hardhome, Cersei’s walk of shame after “atoning” for her sins, or Drogon and Dany’s first flight together after the mayhem breaks out within the Fighting Pits. A few of my favorite episodes of all time fell into this season, so there was no doubt in my mind that I had to rank it number three.
  2. In Second place, we have season eight. This may catch some flack, but I honestly do not care one bit. I went into this season with an open mind, knowing that it was the last season and that I would probably not get to see everything I wanted and that a lot of things may not have the time they truly needed to develop. With that being said, I think this season has been almost perfect and a true work of art. I think HBO has absolutely crushed it out of the park, but I’ll dive a little deeper into this later on in my post.
  3. Finally, coming in at number one, we have season three. I’m not sure if anyone could ever argue that this isn’t the greatest season of television history. Not to mention the buzz around the penultimate episode was what got me into this show in the first place. If season five had a lot of incredible moments, this season, in general, was one amazing, incredible moment. We had all of those fantastic Jon/Ygritte scenes, we had Dany persuading The Second Sons to fight for her and not the Yunkishmen, and we had the beginning of the end for the Night’s watch once Joer Mormont was slain. In all honesty, there hasn’t been a season I’ve disliked in this entire series, but these three definitely stand out in my eyes as the defining areas of Game of Thrones.

Next up, my favorite episodes.

  1. In third place falls the Mountain and the Viper. This episode was unbelievable and extremely gut-wrenching, cough cough Oberyn’s eyes popping out of his head and the thought of losing Tyrion forever. Not to mention we also see the first attack on Castle Black, the initial spark of love between Grey Worm and Missandei (RIP), and our first glimpse into the new and improved Sansa.
  2. Next up in the number two spot is Hardhome. There were a lot of good things that happened in this episode, but in all honesty I just love it for the fight. Seeing Tormund kill the Lord of Bones and defend Jon’s honor by explaining why he killed Mance, he cemented himself as one of Jon’s trusted allies right before Hardhome was bombarded by wights. Then we get the epic fight between Jon and one of the White Walkers. The face the White Walker makes when Longclaw doesn’t break was priceless, and then Jon just absolutely manhandles him before shattering the White Walker into a million tiny pieces. Not to mention the chills from the Night King bringing everyone back to life after the battle… it was such a heartbreaking yet fantastic scene and I will never forget that moment the tides turned in favor of the dead.
  3. Finally coming in at number one is The Battle of the Bastards. This battle made every other battle we had seen so far look like child’s play. And even though we had Rickon not running zig zags and Jon falling victim to what was clearly a Ramsey trap, we got see Sansa come through with the Knights of the Vale to save the day. Her character arc over the seasons before led to this exact moment and it was so awesome to finally see her settling into her role as a bad ass. Plus, using Ramsey’s own hounds to kill him after he bragged about not feeding them was just a total savage move by Sansa.

Now I will dive into my favorite scenes.

  1. Rounding out the top three is the battle between The Mountain and Oberyn. This will forever be one of the most insane fights and deaths of this show. Oberyn was absolutely destroying Gregor, and then he started getting reckless. This was when I got that feeling that something terrible was about to happen, which of course it did, and Oberyn got his eyes crushed right out of his skull before exacting the revenge he was so close to getting.
  2. Sliding in right before this battle is Arya killing the Night King. I know that a lot of people did not like The Battle of Winterfell episode from season eight, but to me this scene was amazing. I actually have a lot of takes on this scene and episode three in general, but once again I’ll hold those until my review of the last season.
  3. My favorite scene of all time is The Red Wedding. This may sound crazy since this episode was such a tear-jerker, but that to me is what makes it so great. The fact that a show that killed its main character at the end of the first season could surprise its audience (or at least everyone who hadn’t read the books yet) by unexpectedly killing so many of its main characters was incredible. I can honestly say I had not even the slightest clue that this was going to happen, and once Catelyn noticed Roose clad in his chainmail my heart sunk.

Finally, I want to discuss season eight of Game of Thrones.

As I mentioned earlier, I think HBO has absolutely nailed this season give or take a few things. In every show, there will be people who hate, especially when it comes down to the last few episodes. Yet it is astonishing to me how many people are completely furious with this season and picking apart every single improbable or unlikely scenario. Yes, we had the Starbucks blunder (which for $2.3B in revenue may just have been intentional), and the send off for Ghost may have been just a touch lazy (even though I don’t think we have seen the last of him or Tormund), and I would have really liked to see Cersei die differently (preferably by Arya, wearing Jaime’s face after Euron killed him and she stumbled across his body somewhere in the Red Keep), but all in all this season has been quite spectacular. The cinematography has been to die for and I am loving the extended episodes. For everyone who was upset with the lighting in episode three, adjust your screen or stop watching the greatest show of all time on such trash TV’s. I don’t own an expensive TV, and I had no problem seeing every single thing in this episode. For those of you complaining about Arya sneaking by all the White Walkers, SHE HAS BEEN TRAINING AS A SUPER STEALTHY, WATER DANCING, FACELESS MAN ASSASSIN FOR THE ENTIRE SHOW! It makes complete sense that she is dead silent and can sneak past some wights. In fact just 10 minutes earlier we had the scene where she did the exact same thing, and she was slightly concussed there it seemed. Arya has always been my favorite character, so I was ecstatic when she pulled that dope knife drop hand switch and ended the Night King. She also clearly was not one of the White Walkers, as they explode when they die and there would be no way for her to get a face to use. And last night’s episode… oh my god. I’ve firmly been on the “Dany will come to her senses and not end up going full Mad queen” train since the beginning of this season, but boy was I wrong. Apparently, everyone should have listened to Varys after all haha. Speaking of Varys, how sick was that scene with Drogon coming out of the shadows!?Then we have Clegane Bowl. I loved how The Hound’s story ended, and Qyburn may have had the craziest death of all time right before this battle even began. I’m also extremely grateful that Sandor convinced Arya to leave because I don’t know how I would’ve handled her death. With all of that being said however, I think Game of Thrones has been an extremely cyclical show and that we will somehow see one of the remaining characters become a night king or queen. There is no way we got all of that hype over the White Walkers, not to mention the prequel could be based on their origin, just for them to be 100% eliminated in the blink of an eye. Plus, they kept showing that symbol, which is definitely some sort of hint at repeating cycles or repeating history. Before this season, my prediction had always been that the last thing we would see would be bran waking up from his fall and starting everything all over again because he somehow three-eyed raven’d himself backward in time. Even though that now seems extremely improbable, I wouldn’t be surprised to have some sort of insane twist like that rip my heart out next week in the finale.

One of the best lines this show has ever used came from one of the most, if not the most, evil characters; Ramsey Bolton. “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” I think that I will pay attention to Ramsey heading into this last episode and expect the worst since you know we truly have no idea what the show runners are planning. No matter what happens on Sunday, I’m happy that I’ve had this show for the past six years. It will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I cannot thank GRRM enough for creating this magnificent world that we can all lose ourselves within.

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