Re-post- To Watch or Not to Watch: The Conundrum of Season 3 of Game of Thrones

I don’t want to say “I told you so” to fellow Game of Thrones fans who didn’t read the books… But… “I told you so.” Everyone right now is talking about the Red Wedding and how brutal and cruel it was. In this post, I talk about how the event impacted my reading of the series. Honesty, I feel like it created problems with the series that have yet to be fixed.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

Game of Thrones_Season ThreeMassive spoilers are ahead the size of the dragon Drogon for those who have not read the series by George R.R. Martin or watched the HBO series. You’ve been warned.

I am fan of the shadow of Game of Thrones.

What that means is I love the show and books in spirit, but in actual execution it is all a little bit more… well… shadowy. Imagine me as Peter Pan racing up the wall trying to get me hands on my shadow but it is just out of my reach and very dark. But I have to have it! It might complete me!

Now before you judge me, I’ve paid my Westeros dues (in Gold Dragons, of course). I’ve read all the books, I’ve seen the first two seasons of the show. Heck, I even own the first two seasons of the show on Blu-Ray (ordering both before they were actually…

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Easter? Nah. This nerd is watching TV!

A piece of heavenI get why Easter is a big deal.

The change of the season from Winter to Spring (don’t we all feel a little more sane with more sunlight?), and there is the whole religious aspect for many (I was raised Catholic; of course Lent for me growing up was usually giving up something I didn’t care about, like vegetables)… But for me… honestly… this time of the year is all about Cadbury Eggs.

Man, I love Cadbury Eggs!

A piece of heaven trapped in a shell of chocolate.

Does anyone else remember when they had the orange ones out a few years ago? They had an orange filling (as compared to the caramel one that is too sticky for me and the chocolate one that is a little gross) and it was wonderful! This year I can’t find them anywhere. Bring back the orange! So I am stuck with the normal eggs. Now that doesn’t mean I am complaining, it’s just that a little variation in my favorite chocolate egg delicacies is not a bad thing. Like I said, I love Cadbury eggs.

Am I rambling?

Anyway, this year for me the holiday has been pushed aside by the priority of television.

Yes, for you this weekend may mean bunny rabbits, chocolate, and brightly-colored clothes on Sunday morning, for me it means a time-traveling police box and a long sword possibly with a white wolf’s head on the end of it.

Bring on the fantasy! Continue reading

To Watch or Not to Watch: The Conundrum of Season 3 of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones_Season ThreeMassive spoilers are ahead the size of the dragon Drogon for those who have not read the series by George R.R. Martin or watched the HBO series. You’ve been warned.

I am fan of the shadow of Game of Thrones.

What that means is I love the show and books in spirit, but in actual execution it is all a little bit more… well… shadowy. Imagine me as Peter Pan racing up the wall trying to get me hands on my shadow but it is just out of my reach and very dark. But I have to have it! It might complete me!

Now before you judge me, I’ve paid my Westeros dues (in Gold Dragons, of course). I’ve read all the books, I’ve seen the first two seasons of the show. Heck, I even own the first two seasons of the show on Blu-Ray (ordering both before they were actually released)! I am even guilty of driving others to the series. Regretfully, I’ve not only bought my dad the books and Blu-Rays, but also a shirt and calendar.

(Yeah, I said regretfully, and here is why: while I was finishing up book five, my dad was still back in book three and he happily told me that he felt a strong connection to Jon Snow. Considering the end of A Dance With Dragons, I couldn’t help but blush and mumble under my breath, “Sorry.”)

The thing is that all of this, for me, it may be coming to end soon.

I’m actually debating whether I need to say goodbye to my secret direwolf, hang up my sword made of Valyrian steel, and take the first boat out of there like Sansa from King’s Landing. Yes, I may have actually reached my goodbye with the show and the books, because… honestly… it was in the third book (A Storm of Swords) that I felt like everything fell apart. That third book is tragically where the HBO series is at; and two books later George R.R. Martin, in my opinion, has yet to clean up the mess he made at a certain wedding.

He needs a really big mop. Continue reading

Okay, am I a nerd?

The author as Chewbecca... I'm behind Pac Man.Yesterday, the writer Becky Flade mentioned me in a blog post on her site.

The post was called “The Blog that Wasn’t” (which you can find here) and she said this about me and my site:

“When I need a nerd fix, Scott’s my man.”

Nerd?

Nerd!?!

Now, I’ve considered myself many things in my life; but never “nerd.”

Yes, I would say I’m a snob. I can get behind “snob.” I have all the earmarks of a snob! I could have it tattooed on me without a problem. It could be on my arm near where my sweater vest ends (yes, I am wearing a sweater vest), or even above my reading glasses, right on my forehead. Let me give you some examples of my snobbery:

  • I have in my dining room pictures of some of my favorite authors, and many times I have used them as a test for visitors. If, for example, you call Mark Twain “Einstein” well, you might not be invited over again.
  • I have been known to tease my friends who praise Twilight on their Facebook pages. (And they should be teased, especially if they are an adult.)
  • I write novels (while adventurous and surprising) that contain art, music, and literature references.
  • On my desk I have a Shakespeare action figure and an autograph of Woody Allen.
  • Oh, did I mention I have a master’s degree?

You see, I sing snob!

But nerd? Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, January 2013

It's freaking coldI blame my book.

I haven’t done a post like this since October (October!), and really the only big change I can point to, besides my new obsession with Doctor Who (see number 2, below), is Permanent Spring Showers.

But now the online challenge/novel is completed and the poetic/prose epilogue goes up on Friday, so I’ve no excuses. I have got to take this on again, give my monthly insight into my brain, or at least my daily life.

One of the things I have always aimed for in these posts (and most posts) is honesty. Don’t laugh! Seriously, for a fiction author that is hard to do. Do you know how easy it would be for me to create a character of me? My wife points it out to me all the time when my little “exaggerations” enter a real life story. Usually we are at gathering with friends and I start to talk about something that happened (usually around my kids who are a lot more entertaining that I am), and she will do this thing with her eyes and after a few minutes, she will finally have to interrupt, explaining that what I said was not exactly true.

Well, it was true in a way, right? Okay, nevermind, here are my five things for this month: Continue reading

The Top of the Pile: The Found Blog Editorials

Pop culture rules.

I don’t know if that is sad or if it makes logical sense, but whenever I am inspired to write about a current event in the entertainment world, I get numbers that my personal editorials (on parenting or life in general as a thirty-something writing dude) only can dream about… and the fact is social media is a great way to build numbers. Seriously, if I share a piece on Facebook and my numbers find a nice home for the week.

So why does it make me feel all dirty? I mean, it’s not like I am writing about scandals, I wouldn’t even be writing on a topic unless I was inspired to give a unique take, something I didn’t read elsewhere.

The fact is I was raised Catholic so I feel easily guilty about most things. It is my excuse why I can be overwhelmingly overcome by guilt when I forget to even say thank you to someone for the slightest little thing. And here I am writing about something that really doesn’t involve me! And look at all of the people reading my opinion! And what if I write something that might hurt someone’s feelings? Guilt, guilt, guilt.

Here are my top five popular posts. Continue reading

Final Fantasy XIII-2: Why, Why, Why???

Some are haunted by ghosts, others by regret or the past… Me? Well, I am haunted by a video game.

Last week, I finished every bit of Final Fantasy XIII-2. Typically, I don’t play a game for full 100% completion, but this one I did… and I am haunted by it. It has entered my dreams, right there with that embarrassing situation in third grade I don’t want to discuss here.

Final Fantasy games are some of my favorite video games out there. Not because of the role-playing aspect (there is nothing new about roleplaying), no, for me it all about the story. And Final Fantasy, when it is at its best is a torchbearer for Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey (If you don’t know what I mean, I recommend you check out some of his books, here is one, they map out how all great stories and characters follow a “hero” journey and the stages of them. These stages also relate to our own lives when they are lived to their full potential. For my fellow nerds, this is also what inspired Star Wars… No, the good first one).  We grow with the characters, we experience their struggles, their realizations, and when the endings come (after hours and hours and hours of play) they can be emotional.

Yeah, they make me cry, so what? Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, April 2012

I feel like over the last month, I have been doing nothing but battle a cold that will. not. stop.

It has gone from my body into my soul.

Was there a time when I was able to complete a sentence without a cough? Did I ever not sneeze? I can honestly say I don’t know. So as you can imagine, my list this month involves a lot of things I can sit down and enjoy… Right now I like sitting.

Mad Men

It’s fascinating how this show has adapted over the years.  What began as somewhat a mystery around the identity of Don Draper (and who would find out and then what???), has now become almost nothing more than a character study as we watch time pass in their lives. (Dare I call it a soap opera?)  I’m not sure if the lack of suspense or overall plot development is related to some larger vision the creator has for the season that he hasn’t shared yet, or a repercussion of the series being picked up for more seasons; in other words he has to pull his punches because he has to drag it out (The same problem you see every week with How I Met Your Mother– those poor kids listening to that non-ending story! I love a good yarn, but I would have even walked out on the story by now).

Still I am really glad the show is back on the air and it is fun visiting the characters again. I just wish something big would drive it forward. Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, March 2012

It’s March in Michigan and you can feel the shackles of winter breaking all around us… To be replaced, of course, by the wet shackles of non-stop rainstorms. February and March are always such dreary months in the state of the mitten. Glen Phillips has a song that says “winter pays for spring.” Nah, in Michigan I can point to two overly depressing months as being the cost.

So usually, around this time of the year, I am drawn to lighter entertainment. This is not the time for a serious novel for me.  You won’t see one on the list. I’m looking for fun and comfort here. For example, just check out the first on my list:

Complete Peanuts by Charles M. Schultz (1979-1980)

It’s become a tradition for me and my mom. Every year, I get the box set for Christmas of the next two installments in the Complete Peanuts series. And each year around this time, these collections save me from the natural funk around me… Which is hilarious to consider since the world of Mr. Charles Brown is not exactly a nice place to live.

It’s cruel, it’s full of sarcasm, and your friends have no problem pulling a football from you, letting you land right on your back. Ouch. Continue reading

Talking About Some Deaths in Literature

Death is kind of on my mind a lot recently. My grandfather (who I wrote about here), died on February 9 and the loss of him and how it has impacted my every day thoughts had really made me think about death in relation to a lot of things around me. In my author-esq head, it’s not surprising that literature found its way into the mental ramblings (or should we just be honest and call them distractions from reality?).

It seems many times we don’t take “dead” very seriously in literature. Unless it is gruesome (Hi, George R.R. Martin!), or the other characters are seriously changed because of it for the worse (Seriously, why did Little Nell have to snuff it?), many times it seems to float past us as a plot device. Is it because we have a long history of people returning to life in books so it doesn’t feel as final? (Aslan, Gandalf, every comic book character, and most religious stories, etc.) The corpse is rarely there in a story, unless it has just happened; that could be part of it as well.

Death in writing is a plot device. It is a tool both sharp as a knife and as a blunt as a sledgehammer.  We cheer when bad guys die. We look at a death sacrifice as heroic, not thinking of the final end that just happened to a character.

Is it simply because we don’t see characters as “human?” So maybe it is more a fault of us writers that a readers feels, or doesn’t feel, the loss. There might be something to it. I wrote a book, MEGAN, that is built around a death and I tried to show a character from being told of the death of another with all the initial stages of acceptance over the course of a day. Hmmm… Probably why the work isn’t as popular on amazon.com than my time-traveling adventure, My Problem With Doors. So clearly, death is not a selling point.

There is a lesson there  I learned that you will not need to now. You can thank me later.

Sometimes a death can slip right by, almost as an afterthought. My favorite example of this is the first Harry Potter book. One thing I love to point out to people is that Harry Potter begins with a double homicide. Yes, we see the scene later in the series (We get a little description in the first book, just a taste). And while JK Rowling does her best to take a light approach to that first chapter (Vernon in all his heavy-set foolishness), it doesn’t change the fact the story really started the evening before when Voldemort went into the home of the Potters and slaughtered them gleefully. Continue reading