Game of Thrones- Did you notice? Monday Morning Update.

Not last night, but last week and the week before – did you notice what the writers did?

They invoked the Writer’s Mantra… Less Is More.

Less can also mean cutting corners.  But for now let’s consider the concept, Less Is More.

Two scenes– one which gives us great insight into two significant characters and their developing relationship, one which… well, let’s take a look at the insightful scene first.


The King Slayer, Jaime Lannister, and Brienne of Tarth share the bath at Harrenhal.  Brienne protests.  She’s shocked at Jaime’s naked intention to share her bath.  But her indignation is all bluff.  It’s phony baloney and Jaime’s possesses the innate ability of the consummate cynic to cut through the crap.  He dismisses her phony indignation for what it is, a play at convention, all the while valiantly attempting to hide his shock, pain, and suffering at the loss of the only thing he values aside from his twin sister Cersei~ his sword hand.

Brienne’s true feelings are exposed by her immediate disregard of any play at modesty when The King Slayer collapses into the water.  We see her terror at his distress, her obvious concern and rapidly growing respect for the man who (spoiler alert) becomes one of the truly heroic players in The Game of Thrones.

Brienne and Jaime

The scene is told in few words and in even fewer, spare, brilliantly choreographed actions/reactions by two vulnerable and honorable people made even more vulnerable by their nakedness.  If the viewer hasn’t already guessed, the bath scene makes it crystal clear– Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth have become a mutual admiration society of two.

Brienne of Tarth is quite possibly the most loyal, trustworthy and yet naive character in the series, even more naive than the dense block of cement, otherwise known as Sansa Stark.

When we meet Brienne she is a bit of a dull lumbering beast of burden, a dumb ox– her loyalty to Renly Baratheon and her image of him as the ideal of chivalry illustrates exactly how her sense of honor has blinded her, not only to reality, but also to the larger stakes.  It is only after prolonged contact with Jaime, a man who understands The Game far too well, that the rose-colored glasses slip down her nose and she begins to see the big picture.  More important, she begins to question where her true allegiance should lie.

Their scene in the bath is terse, laconic, powerful.  There is no fluff, no wasted space.  Every word, every action, has meaning.  It illustrates and illuminates the evolution of a relationship between a cynical man who scoffs at convention and a woman for whom convention is all.  And yet as a woman warrior, Brienne of Tarth already bucks convention.

To be honest, Brienne bored me to tears in the books.  Fortunately she’s quite engaging in the  HBO series.  Jaime, on the other hand, remains true to his original character– he’s a hero.  He may play the role of an anti-hero, but in his own way he’s an honorable man… Not as stubborn and honest and, frankly, suicidal as Neddard Stark– a man who had no clue how to play The Game, but almost as honorable as his brother, Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf.

Which leads me directly to scene two which I’m going to describe as, Less=Less.  It’s a technique writers use when they either haven’t the time or the wherewithal to write a complicated and emotionally-laden scene – open the scene, skip over the meat of it entirely, and merely show the reader or viewer the results.  It’s the equivalent of writing–  “The bullet slammed into his chest and he fell to the ground. Three months later…”


Tyrion Lannister has been ordered by The King’s Hand, his father Tywin Lannister, to marry Sansa Stark and thus keep hold of the North and possibly checkmate Robb Stark, the King of the North.  The move is also intended to undermine the Lannister’s scheming allies, the Tyrells, another family that understands what’s at stake and can play The Game with the big boys.


Tyrion Lannister, the benighted dwarf, is a wonderful complicated character.  He’s a pragmatist, a realist, he’s cunning, he understands the natures of both The Game and his cold calculating family, yet he’s remained an honorable courageous man and a true romantic at heart.  He believes in love.  He doesn’t want to marry Sansa Stark for many reasons, most of which involve his belief she’s suffered enough.  To punish her by forcing her to marry a deformed dwarf more than twice her age is just too cruel.  Besides…


He’s hidden his paramour, Shae, in plain sight, placing her in service as Sansa Stark’s trusted handmaiden.  Thus killing two birds with one stone – keeping his true love alive and protecting Sansa to the best of his somewhat limited ability.


The scene opens with Sansa and Shae.  Sansa is glowing with happiness because she believes she is about to marry pretty boy, (and sword-swallower… thank you Lady Olenna Tyrell!), Sir Loris Tyrell.  Thus she’ll be freed from the horror of King’s Landing and married to a man she admires for his great beauty and chivalry.  Sansa is dumb as a post, or nearly so.  Although she’s managed to survive, she never seems to grasp the existence of The Game or realize her value as a piece in The Game.

The reluctant Tyrion is assigned an unpleasant task.  He must destroy Sansa’s dreams, Shae’s dreams, his own dreams.  He knocks on the door to Sansa’s chamber.  He faces both Sansa and Shae.  He says, “I have something to tell you…”

Cut away.


The next thing we see is a stone-faced Shae standing behind a dewy-eyed sniffling Sansa, who watches a ship sail away.  There goes Sansa’s last shred of hope.

What happened behind closed doors?  This viewer wants to know.  I wanted to see the look of dawning horror in Sansa’s eyes, the pain of betrayal in Shae’s.  I wanted to hear Tyrion’s halting words of explanation and apology.

Granted, the scene would have been tough to write.  But I believe the actors could have carried it off.  This was an opportunity to include another stellar character-driven scene, but the writers opted for Less=Less.  

Just something to think about…






How The Walking Dead ‘Killed’ This Passionate Fan’s Passion…

In a hurry, I might add.

It’s the lack of character development, stupid.

1.  Tired, trite plot devices.  Hey, old campy sci fi flicks and cartoons like The Simpsons and Futurama have used ye olde decapitated head floating in a jar trope and used it better because the trope was intended to be tongue in cheek.  Sorry, can’t take it seriously. Makes me giggle.

2.  “Smell the Fart“.  We don’t know Michonne.  Last season’s cliffhanger left us with the impression of a borderline insane, possibly psychopathic, cunning, mysterious kick ass female survivor.  I couldn’t wait to get to know her.  Unfortunately we still don’t know Michonne because she has fallen victim to Joey Tribbiani’s ‘smell the fart‘ syndrome.  Remember when Joey landed a leading role in a soap opera?  Well… Michonne is smelling the fart big time.  And that’s about all she’s doing.

3.  Boring writing = the kiss of death = Andrea = Who?  The one survivor I really cared about from the original group (after Shane’s character-assassination and murder), the woman I had high hopes for, has become a zombie without even trying, uh, I mean… dying.

4.  I don’t need record zombie kills.  Zombies are nothing more than set pieces.  I need flesh and bone– three dimensional characters who move the plot forward.  Please don’t resort to zombie attacks to create plot which leads me to the following:

5.  As my son says, heroes are boring.  Villains are not.  Why?  Because most of the time movies and television portray heroes as reactive rather than proactive.  Villains, on the other hand, are proactive.  In other words, villains have a plan.  They have a vision.  Which is probably why The Governor is more interesting than anyone else, heads in jars notwithstanding.  (I must point out the borrowing here– themes from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.  Pay attention, it’s in there.)

I worried the death of Shane might spell the death of the show for me.  I hoped Andrea and Michonne would fill the void.  Not so far.  Nada.

Thus I’m thrilled to have found Faith on Hulu and I can’t wait for A Game of Thrones because if nothing else Tyrion and Cersei Lannister will fill an entire hour with plots and plans, sorrow and joy, murder and mayhem.

Complexity rules.  It’s the characters, stupid.

Praying for rain and other stuff.

The county pest man told me once we have our first drenching rain I’ll be able to go outdoors again.  Avoiding yellow jackets has become a complicated business.  I can now imagine how awful a peanut allergy is!

Since I’m stuck inside I’m learning the latest group dance – Gangnam Style – it’s fun!

I’ve 125 photos of Wales uploaded, waiting to be sized and edited.  Yikes!  You really do not want to see 125 photos  (and that’s not including the shots my husband took with his camera).  It would be like watching the neighbor’s slide show from hell.  Here’s a picture my husband snapped at one of my historic hero’s ruined castles–

The first day – hiked nine miles along a Roman Road (still in use) and reached Llewellyn ap Gruffydd’s Castle Dolwyddelan.  So yeah, that’s my eye… I think I look cross-eyed but hubby likes the photo.  Damn the English king, Edward I!

At the door of Dolwyddelan Castle. Windy.

Oh, I almost forgot what I originally intended to blog about… The Walking Dead begins, when?  October 14th?  Although I cannot imagine it without Shane.  Oh my poor Shane, you was robbed!  I can’t wait to see what happens with Andrea, but Laurie and Rick can eat dirt for all I care.  And Daryl better quit with the Rick’s little buddy crap.  Regardless, I need my zombie fix.

I’m also looking forward to the season premiers of NCIS (character-driven plots), Person of Interest (Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson), and of course, The Big Bang Theory (satisfies the Geek in me).  I can’t remember a time when the small screen actually enticed me far more than the big screen.  For many years I didn’t even watch television, aside from The Simpsons.  Of course we have to wait until Spring, 2013, for A Game of Thrones.  It’s kind of like reading the books if, like me, you bought them as they were actually released.  By the time you got to the next book you weren’t sure you even cared anymore.  Ah well.  It’s a big cast, a difficult set, so I can’t expect miracles.

Most important – The San Francisco Giants have clinched the West and will be playing in the post-season.  Dare we hope for another World Series appearance?  That would be too cool for words!  I never imagined I’d have an opportunity to attend one World Series let alone considered the possibility of two.

All right, back to editing my photos.

Oh, books?  Stay is out.  I’m working on a print copy of all three books in The Souls Series – Incorporeal, In the Flesh and Stay, and I’m doing final edits for the Daughters of Persephone science fiction series.  Coming soon!




My birthday weekend is over.  There was some good, some better, some best.  I’m both gratified and grateful that readers seem to be reading Beauty and the Feast.  This is a story I loved telling, a book I worked night and day to get just right.  So did Jaye Manus, my editor-producer/director, and Lex at Winterheart Design who put up with my cover-fussing.

This contemporary romantic comedy is free for two more days.

A Game of Thrones was much better this week.  The show works when the focus remains on a few characters at a time, rather than trying to somehow integrate all the primary characters at once.  I was prepared to bail if this episode was nothing more than gratuitous nudity and feigned sex.  I mean, that’s all well and good, but I need more substance.  Tyrion Lannister and Arya Stark rock big time.

This promises to be a hectic week as I’m heading to Boston and then onto Maine on Friday.  But, I will be right here tomorrow.

Thanks, all, for the birthday wishes and poems and jokes and pictures.  You are the best.



Good news! Your sex toys are good to go!

According the the San Francisco Chronicle…you know, the newspaper in the city of kink, your sex toys are safe in your carry-on luggage.

“The Transportation Safety Administration, whose job it is to fully consider such matters, has decreed that vibrators are OK.  The TSA says whips, chains, leashes, restraints and manacles are OK too.”

Hmmmm.  A vibrator?  I worry enough as it is about the size of my shampoo bottles and toothpaste tube.  “TSA spokesman Nico Melendez says inspectors are doing their jobs.  They are trained professionals and they know a vibrator when they see one.  They will not confiscate a vibrator.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m very relieved to hear the TSA has fully considered such matters.  The notion that my vibrator might not pass airport security was keeping me up at night.

***In other news:  Megan Fox, of Transformers fame, is channeling Ross Geller and Special Agent Timothy McGee with those fluorescent teeth of hers.  Yeah, I know, I’m behind the times.  Just now watching the first Transformers movie.

And by the way, if you’re not watching A Game of Thrones, you are missing the most amazing show ever made for the small screen.  The season finale nearly did me in.

Tomorrow – The Immortality Illusion.