GoT Recap: To Catch a Wight

Our small band of heroes trudges through the snow-capped mountains beyond the wall. The Brotherhood Without Banners is represented, as is Winterfell and the Wildlings. Even the South has a delegate, in the form of Gendry. There isn’t a person of colour in sight, and yet, diversity!

Talk turns to how anyone could keep warm this far north, and Tormund Giantsbane extols the virtues of exercise: walking, fighting, or screwing your brains out.

“There are no women around,” says Gendry.

“Then we have make do with what we’ve got,” replies the wildling with a leer. Good old Tormund. Always up for anything.

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This is Great

Who knew I’d be on team Jess?

Never was a big Milo Ventimiglia fan. Because I’d never seen Gilmore Girls until 2016, I knew him first as Peter Petrelli from Heroes, and he was always this emo kid with issues who cared. Then I watched Gilmore Girls and realized he really hadn’t changed, he just got superpowers.

And now Netflix finally has This is Us, a show that generated a decent amount of buzz this year, and Milo Ventimiglia is no longer an emo kid with issues who cares. He’s an adult. With issues. Who cares. Mainly about Mandy Moore and his three little kids.

I can see where the buzz is coming from because This is Us has me hooked. It’s pilot episode ranks very close to GoT’s maiden outing in terms of unexpected surprises that have you sitting up and wanting more. But if Game of Thrones is a river with rapids that churn and foam as it carves through rock on its way to the sea, This is Us is like a babbling brook that flows, gently maneuvering its way past stones and meadows on its way to the big blue yonder.

The hook of this show is that they’re normal people, with normal problems. And it is such a relief. They’re not cooking meth in a Winnebago, or fighting for the right to sit on a chair made of a thousand melted swords, or battling the re-animated dead for a shot at a can of beans.

After a series of what I now realize are emotionally harrowing shows, This is Us is like soul food. It’s comforting to watch a bunch of thirty-six year old adults just trying to figure out how to live their lives without an unnecessary amount of angst or an overly large vocabulary. It feels… kind. It feels… sincere, without necessarily being preachy.

I enjoy This is Us because of its focus on real, drama-free lives where people are for the most part kind, value family ties, and love each other. Their issues are relatable – issues with being overweight and food, with parenthood, with career choices, with feelings of abandonment, with questioning ourselves and all the other little crises we all deal with. There are no overt moral themes about the genderless movement or the new satellite family, or gritty urban realities. It isn’t preachy, and it just takes life with a lot of common sense and heart, not to mention a little bit of humour. It’s how I grew up, and how I was trained to deal with life and living.

It’s a simplistic way of looking at things, but it beats the convoluted mine-field of today, where every topic is a hot button issue and everyone seems to just want to yell at each other and have angry conflict. If I enjoyed Downton Abbey for its focus on good manners and right conduct, I enjoy This is Us for it’s focus on common sense and good, old-fashioned values. It can’t hurt that it’s mostly a show about struggling adults in their mid-thirties who no longer have other people to pay rent for them and yes, I realize I am totally projecting, so I’ll stop now.

Image via NBC

GoT Recap: Enough with the Clever Plans

Still stewing over Olenna Tyrell’s big reveal, the Kingslayer is busily, if not grumpily, getting down to the business of paying off Lannister debts with Highgarden gold. Wanting more than a saddlebag of gold coins (“it’s not a castle”), Ser Bronn makes a play for the home of the now extinct Tyrells, but is rebuffed with a terse “we’re at war.” They never let Ser Bronn rest. Will Ser Bronn ever get any rest?

We’re going to have to see.

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