Saturday, May 31, 2014

(TV) TV Violence Against Women: Too Much?

Much has been said about the notable proliferation of beatings and rapes committed against female characters across a diverse range of shows from Downton Abbey to Game of Thrones from the intentions of the show’s creators to criticism of the use of rape and gender violence as a plot device but the best observation made about the use of rape came from German director Michael Hanecke’s reaction who wasn’t even talking about rape or gender violence. In reaction to a question posed by The Hollywood Reporter about the dangers of humanizing monsters such as Adolf Hitler, Hanecke replied:

 “I have to say that I argued with Downfall writer-producer Bernd Eichinger about the film. I found it both repulsive and dumb. When you're dealing with a figure of such a deep historical context, what are you doing with him? You're creating melodrama. You're trying to move your spectators, but what emotions are you calling on? Your responsibility entails enabling your audience to remain independent and free of manipulation. The question is, how seriously do I take my viewer and to what extent do I provide him with the opportunity of creating his own opinion? Am I trying to force my opinion on the spectator?”[1]
For me, Hanecke wrapped up the TV violence against women in the quote above as it is hard to imagine that if the writers and directors of the growing number of shows who have indulged in using rape or violence against women in their stories had exercised as much forethought as Hanecke before contemplating writing and shooting a rape scene, we wouldn’t be talking about the proliferation of rapes and beatings against women a growing number of shows.

If writers and directors of these shows had considered  Hanecke’s question of “but what emotions are calling you on”, the use of rape would instantly be obsolete as there is only one emotion you can call on when portraying a rape or beating of a female character, disgust.
Another question posed by Hanecke writers and directors of the shows should ponder is when dealing with such a heinous and trauma inducing crime, what do you plan to do with it? The answer we have gotten from a number of top shows has either been cynical character development and even more cynical plotlines.

Game of Thrones has had its critics for it persistent use of violence, rape and objectification of women in past and this season has been no different especially after the infamous rape scene between Cersei and Jamie Lannister (played by Lena Headley and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). As a regular viewer and fan of the show, the rape scene made no sense and was out of the Jamie’s (the perpetrator of the rape) character given the fact that he had lost a hand saving a female character from a brutal gang rape in season 3.

Game of Thrones is littered with acts of violence against women and violence full stop which is to be expected given that it is a rather accurate portrayal of what happens in war then, and notably, now. However the scene between Jamie and Cersei was different as it took place at their dead son’s wake, not in the numerous city sackings seen on the show.

The scene was bad enough but what made it worse was the episode’s director Alex Graves defence of the scene which revealed that Hanecke’s questions when portraying murderous dictators or the wholesale murder of a people has never crossed his mind exemplified by his reaction to the controversy below:

“Well, it (the rape scene) becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle. Nobody really wanted to talk about what was going on between the two characters, so we had a rehearsal that was a blocking rehearsal. …Nikolaj (Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime) came in and we just went through one physical progression and digression of what they went through, but also how to do it with only one hand, because it was Nikolaj. By the time you do that and you walk through it, the actors feel comfortable going home to think about it. The only other thing I did was that ordinarily, you rehearse the night before, and I wanted to rehearse that scene four days before, so that we could think about everything. And it worked out really well. That’s one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever done.”[2]
Graves is an excellent director but is no rhetorician as no rhetorician worth the title would describe a rape scene as one of the most favourite scene they’ve ever done. The matter of fact manner with which he described the process shows that there isn’t much though process behind portraying an act loaded with explosive themes which in this scene, manage to evade every one due to its abrupt and badly directed nature.

In fact, as Wired’s Laura Hudson rightly pointed out, the awfully directed scene allowed for an interpretation of rape that actually worse than a straightforward rape scene bereft of any room for interpretation as “Whether or not the creators intended this to be a rape scene is irrelevant; they made one anyway. And worse, they made one that encourages the most dangerous thinking about rape imaginable: that when a woman is held down on the ground, screaming for the man to stop, that deep down inside her she might still really want it”[3].

A simple consideration of Hanecke’s approach to dealing with difficult and explosive subjects such as rape would have illuminated to the show’s creators that a rape scene, whether or not it made sense or had any “ambiguity”, is always a bad idea.

In sum, writers and creators of should be more aware of their artistic choices when dealing with rape and whether they should deal with rape altogether as the tendency of the medium is to make a plot device of an issue that isn’t, or at least shouldn’t, be amenable to the mechanics of visual storytelling

[1] The Hollywood Reporter, 2013, THR’S Writer Roundtable: Osama Bin Laden, why ‘Schindler’s list’ Is Irresponsible and When Judd Apatow Was a Dishwasher,
[2] L.Hudson, 2014, That Game of Thrones Scene wasn’t a “Turn on”, It Was Rape,
[3] Ibid

Saturday, May 24, 2014

(What's Dope) Ta-Nehisa Coates: The Case for Reparations

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole”[1]
I’ve read my fair share of essays from a great deal of writers from William George Orwell to Gore Vidal but Ta-Nehisi Coates “The Case For Reparations” is easily one of the best I’ve read.

For good reason “The Case for Reparations” has been lauded by his peers and beyond as it was powerfully written and argued as it succeeded in portraying the horrors and injustice of slavery and the shockingly racist and debilitating government policies (including the much praised New Deal) that systemically thwarted the economic and social progress of African-Americans for decades.

The power of the piece is profound, thought provoking and, if you have morsel of affinity with human race, horrifying as Coates unapologetically shines a light on a number of sins that are well documented but notably not discussed in the public sphere or even that much among black intellectuals.

While argument for reparations are rarely heard or made in public sphere by black intellectuals, it’s even rarer to read one of the fiercest and convincing cases for the measure yet penned by someone who not too long ago was against it. In his piece “Inverse nationalism”, Coates actually argued against reparations and had scathing but thought provoking remarks regarding Henry Louis Gates, a prominent African American scholar, who was ironically making and argument against reparations by citing the role of Africans in the slave trade[2]

Coates, none too pleased with Gates targeting the role of Africans in the slave trade and others who had “commit the fallacy of judging the sins of the past via the racial tribalism of today”, cited his distaste at Gates’ argument against Africans as he, like others, are guilty of apportioning blame as he wrote:

“Gates is not interested in ending "the blame-game," as much he's interested in fiddling with the foul-count. The vocabulary of blame is key--instead of speciously blaming  white Americans for the crimes of their presumed ancestors, Gates speciously blames Africans. The vocabulary of blame proceeds from a simplistic morality play in which someone, by virtue of simple biology, must play the villain and someone else must play the victim. Gates has no problem with the play, he just wants new actors for the roles”[3] 
Coates went on to address directly the roots of his opposition against reparations by pointing at the element blame attached to the measure that seems almost unavoidable but as we see in “The Case for Reparations”, Coates makes it a point not to point the finger but detail a number of actors, institutions and policies that cumulatively engaged in the systematic degradation of African American promise, clearly a decision he made when writing this piece and stands as one of the many strengths.

Even in “Inverse Nationalism” where he stated his opposition to reparation, the roots to his change of heart is present as he saw the element of blame he stated that the issue of blame forces us to look backwards at past sins rather than address their consequences when he wrote:

 “From my perspective, the most interesting and provocative modern questions around America's racial dilemma, like any societal dilemma, do not necessitate blame. To put it differently, I am not concerned about gender equality because I think I'm to blame thousands of years of sexism, I'm concerned about  gender equality because it matches my moral center. Blame is irrelevant. In the context of race, the question isn't "Who is to blame for the Middle Passage, slavery, and Jim Crow?" it's "What, tangibly, can we do to counter its generational effects?"“[4]

In sum, “The Case for Reparations” is a brilliant piece of journalism and confirms Ta-Nehisi Coates as one of the better writers on the black and indeed the American experience.

Read the brilliant "The Case for Reparations" here.

connect with The Carnage Report on Twitter @TCRblogspot.

[1] T.Coates, 2014, The Case For Reparations,
[2] T. Coates, 2010, Inverse Nationalism,
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid

Monday, May 19, 2014

(TV) Game of Thrones Trailer Season 4: Episode #8 Preview (HBO)

(TV) Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 7 "Mockingbird" TV Review

In tonight's Game of Thrones episode, "Mockingbird", we learned a great deal of things but what stuck out during this episode was that in a world “built by killers” Littlefinger might be the most terrifying of them all and Tyrion might still have one friend in the world. We know the official theme song of the Lannister clan is the Rains of Castamere but it easily could have been Gil Scott Heron’s classic “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” as with our scenes with the shows unofficial hero reveals just how deep the hatred runs in house Lannister.

The show began with Jamie Lannister, super pissed, berating his baby brother for taking a dump on the deal struck with their father which would have sent Tyrion to the wall and made Jamie heir and lord of Casterly Rock. Both fully aware that their father was getting his way if Tyrion would have stuck to the plan, both seem pretty pleased that they managed to screw their father who has in many ways screw them up beyond counting.

Tyrion’s next visit was from Bronn, dress uncharacteristically smart and well bathed. Only one conclusion could be deduced from his apparent station: he sold Tyrion. Sure enough we learn that the sellsword had married into money thanks to Cersei epic push to see her brother die from anything but natural causes. While Tyrion was disappointed by Bronn’s actions, Bronn, reminded him that he is a sellsword which Tyrion understood as Bronn declines Tyrion call to go up against The Mountain.

In our last scene with young lion, Peter Dinklage once again shows why many are already pulling for him to win another Emmy as his scene with Pedro Pascal's Oberyn Martell was a zinger. The great people behind this great show do a great job across the board but for casting they deserve special praise as barring a few minor missteps, the casting has been excellent.

Pedro Pascal has been a brilliant addition to the cast as he has been menacing and unpredictable but thanks to his great acting, we understand all this cloaks a deep sadness caused by a wrong he's determined to atone for. 

The Mountain, as many have referred during the course of this show’s has a fearsome reputation and we get gruesome glimpse at how he earned as he slicies and dices his way through a gang of King Landing’s prisoners. Cersei has a very very short conversation with the beast of a man which he barely says anything besides grunting “who do I fight” and shaking his head when Cersei ask him does he care if who going up against and if you were him, you wouldn’t either.

The show has run through the gamut trying to cast The Mountain but it looks like they struck gold as this one more than fits the bill as he looks like world strongest man champion and the tallest man rolled into one gruesome ensemble of brutality and brute strength.

Scenes with Arya and the hound have often been among the best bit of a shoe full of them and “Mockingbird” continued the trend. Were with Arya and The Hound riding through the war besotted countryside where the Hobbesian nightmare War against all has taken place and life has become nasty brutish and short.

The duo happen across a man with a nasty gut wound laying against a stonewall apparently waiting for death to take him away from his troubles. After a brief chat about nothingness and hard work involed with death, The Hound puts the stricken man out of his misery and jams a blade into his heart ejecting from he hell that become a whole continent.

However, it not too long after the hound is pounced on and bitten by an attacker which he deals with swift brutality. Another attacker, a familiar face from season two, mainly for his threat to Arya to “fuck her bloody” which comes back to haunt him as Arya, expertly, plunges needle into his heart.

Scenes at the nightswatch have been among the weakest of Game of Thrones and this week’s installemt was no different. We learn nothing beyond what we already know such as the wildings are coming, the nightswatch are preparing and Ser Alister Thorne unbridled hate for Jon Snow is endless as well as unjustified.

It was hate at first sight for Thorne from the moment Jon Snow arrived at castle and showed off his superior combat skills. This week, he continued sustained but so far fruitless campaign to undermine Jon’s rise among the nightswatch ranks even to the point of shutting down ideas of defence which make perfect sense given the crows are heavily outnumbered and are under serious of being overrun on both sides of the wall.

While short scene wasn’t a bad scene it was largely pointless as we know Thorne hates Jon Snow’s guts and we largely didn’t learn anything other than Jon Snow had come back from his excursion after taking care of the mutineers in “First 0f His Name”.

"My sweet silly wife, I have only loved one woman, only one my entire life," he told her. But just as she took this as a declaration of love, he clarified, "Your sister [Catelyn Stark]," 

If Game of Thrones season 4 belonged to any character it would be hard to argue against Littlefinger as while we always knew he was a dangerous schemer but in “Mockingbird”, we saw the true depth of murderous ambition. This season we’ve learned in Baelish’s role in starting the war of five kings, the ensuing mayhem and finally of his major role in the poisoning of king Joffrey as we saw this master chess player move pieces around to his liking. However in this episode we see him for the time ever literally move piece off the with his own as  he kills Lysa Arryn by making her “fly” out the moonroof.

I’m no master storyteller but the way they moved so quickly to establish once again that Lysa and Rob Arryn aren’t exactly the most stable people in the seven kingdoms mad it quite obvious from my standpoint that Lysa Arryn and son her were dead as fried chicken the moment we laid eyes on them.

Save Theon/Reek, the gods ( otherwise known as David Benioff and D.B Weiss) and have been ridiculously cruel to Sansa who has suffered hell and much worse at the hands of the Lannisters and without Littlefinger’s “intervention”, would had have more of the same physical and mental torture she endured at King’s Landing. While no one will cry for mad Lysa, it’s another loss of a family member, a family member who largely responsible for misery of a whole continent and much of her own, but a family member nonetheless.

Then again, with family like that, who really needs enemies?

All in all, a pretty solid episode. Till next week!!!

Episode Rating:


Connect with The Carnage Report @tcrblogspot


(TV) Net Neutrality: The end of the internet as we know it?

There has been much said about net neutrality and the consequences of its disappearance or death but one thing is for sure, it could spell the end of the internet as you know it.

Net Neutrality, a rather simple principle that would see all internet traffic, regardless of size or type, to be treated equally without discrimination is now in doubt as the FCC recently announced rules that would in practice allow internet service providers (ISP's) to charge internet companies for traffic they use

However, for all the furore over the end of net neutrality and the consequences of it's doom, the real story is the burgeoning war between ISP's and giant internet companies  that has been brewing for nearly a decade and now with the impending doom of net neutrality has already been won by ISP giants such as Comcast and Verizon.

ISP's have always resented the idea of net neutrality as they thought it made a etho-political issue out of what, according to them, was a simple traffic management issue. Sick of sites like Netflix and YouTube profiting while making up most of their traffic and being unable to charge for their extra use of their networks, ISP's have been looking for a remedy against net neutrality for years and now may just have found it.  

Caught between playing ball with cable giants such as Comcast and Verizon and fighting back against the new rules, internet giants such as Netflix and Google are looking to make use of the public outrage generated by doom of Net Neutrality and it's consequences for the internet by launching an almighty PR campaign rivaling the outcry that beat back SOPA. While Google and Netflix have a stake preserving net neutrality,  so does everybody else as the one of the main concerns of its loss means a handful of ISP's, thanks to the notable lack of competition in the broadband market, will have a terrifying amount of control over the cost and speed of access to the internet.

The loss of net neutrality would screw a lot of people from large internet companies to consumers but among all these parties new internet companies looking to become the next Google, YouTube, or Netflix stand to get screwed the hardest. 

Large internet companies such as Google and Netflix may fight against the nasty bump in their monthly broadband bills they will experience with the death of net neutrality but inadvertently may benefit from it's death as it may kill off potential competitors in their cribs. new internet start-ups, lacking both Google's and Netflix's brand recognition and cash,  will have to bend the knee and fork up large amounts of cash to large ISP's just to do business and compete just because large ISP's are looking to get paid twice.

Needless to say, this scenario can and will stifle innovation all because large ISP's  are engaging in what has to be one of the most blatant cases of industrial level rent seeking this side of twenty first century.  However, what's scary about this all is not that net neutrality maybe dead and its soon to be felt consequences but the entrenched power a ridiculously few cable companies have amassed and will continue to amass thanks to a number of strategic mergers and acquisitions that will only become more concentrated should Comcast complete their merger with Time Warner.

In sum, the death of net neutrality is a major loss for established internet companies and consumers and may bring the end of the internet as we know it but the real story at the heart of this travesty is the concentrated power a handful of ISP's have which can and almost certainly will be bad news for all involved. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

(TV) Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 6 Promo "The Laws of Gods and Men"

(TV) Game of Thrones: Season 4 Episode 5 "First of His Name" TV Review

After two episodes of steady build up for future events, finally we get an episode with some punch.

The Lannisters

Things move pretty quickly in King's Landing as we open to the sight of Tommen's crowning ceremony. The tears and mourning over the late boy king have clearly subsided and everything's business as usual or at least as close to usual things can get in Westeros. After catching Margaery and Tommen exchange a glance Cersei and Margaery have a rare conservation with each other. It was a suspringly frank and rather courteous conservation which revealed Cersei  untapped ability to be a human being. many of the exchanges we have seen Cersei have with others has been poisonous as she has issued threats ( including to Margaery), orders or subjected other to her own brand of free floating hostility 

Despit being the only person who loved Joffrey in the seven kingdom, she knew full well what a nasty little shit her firs born was when she cut through Margaery mourning wife act reminding her that being married to the late boy king would be a "nightmare". So far, the show has gone out of its way to show us that Cersei was as unforgiving and crule as her son was in "first of his name revealed that what her son was capable of even got to her.

Margaery, not exactly Cersei's BFF, couldn't resist throwing a thinly veiled jab at Cersei and the Lannister in general when she makes a subtle reference to the chaos of the "war of the five kings" a war Cersei and indeed the Lannisters clan had a key role in starting.  Cersei, not missing the veiled jab at her family role starting the war for a minute, breaks a series long habit of quite hostility and asks Margaery to watch over the last son she has. Margaery, a game player to the end, feigns her disinterest in being queen despite all of us, including Cersei, knowing that being is all she's interested in punctuate by Queen Regent priceless "who do you think you're kidding" look while she was mid stream of her BS about "giving it on thought"

"First of His Name" was a Cersei heavy episode as we saw Cersei follow up her chat with Margaery with her father and Oberyn. While her son's and her own wedding plans. Tywin gets onto the subject money and the Lannisters quickly running out of it. Sucked dry by Robert Baratheon's wars and their mines dry of gold, The Lannister face a real dilemma of facing up a to a debt they can't pay and telling from Tywin's concern, who they have to pony up to. The Iron Bank of Braavos has been referred to in a number of episodes and what we have learned is that they are just as well known collecting debts as the Lannisters are known for paying them.

It's pretty amusing to see Tywin, a rather unflappable patriarch, knows about the Wildlings marching south, is aware of a certain teenage girl with three dragons and an 10,000 strong army but what's keeping up at night is a raven from his bank manager asking for this month's payment. However his concern is genuine as he is convinced that the bank has nobody that they can bribe or kill to cancel or ease their money problems.

Her chat with Oberyn was other scene proving that Cersei can hold a conversation without threats, orders or put downs. We know her intentions is influence the court's decisions on which her father and Dornish prince sits. However she again reveals her human side as she reveals how much she misses her daughter. This show loves redeeming characters but as we're concerned, one reprehensible Lannister is enough for us.

Daenerys and Slavers Bay

Finally! we get a scene with the Mother of Dragons not in full epic mode Yippiee!! Don't get me wrong, the scenes of Dany taking over the slave cities are epic and brilliantly done but they were getting repetitive and gave the sense that writers of this great didn't know what to do with Mother of Dragons other than show her lay the smackdown on every slave city she could get her hands on. Finally it seems the show creators (also writers of this week's episode) have found an answer: transforming the Mother of Dragons from a conqueror to a ruler.

Having gotten used to Dany kicking butt across the far side of the world, we find out that Dany has the resources to bring her successful ass kicking tour of the far side of the world to Westeros, King 's Landing in particular. However Jorah informs her that all is not well as Yunkai and Astapor have fallen in to the hands of slavers and a "butcher" which makes Dany realize that must first learn to rule as we have seen that she's one hell of a conqueror.

We didn't spend time with Dany this week but "First of His Name" was a welcome reprieve from the excellent but repetitive city sackings as this week we saw the Mother of Dragons contemplate what's next rather than who's next. 

Baelish, Sansa, and Lisa Arryn

In tonight's episode, we learned a great many things but what we learned most is more of what we already know, Petyr Baelish knows how this game is played and is proved Varys right that he just may be one of the most dangerous men in Westeros, 

Poor Sansa can't catch as she has swapped the viper's nest that was King's Landing for the Vale which thanks to a cray cray aunt and a just as disturbed son, looks like it might be a more dangerous a place to be. Her first hint came from her cousin more than morbid fascination with the "moonbeam" we came acquainted with in season one as she witnessed the boy throw Baelish's coming home present down it. The last four seasons have been an unmitigated nightmare for Sansa and with an aunt and cousin who are both unstable, which makes them even more dangerous than the Lannisters, the nightmare looks set to continue. 

However Sansa's crazy aunt and cousin are the least of her problems as we learn how much of a hand Littlefinger has had on the events that have led up to almost the events that have taken place from season one onward. Through Lysa Arryn getting up close and personal with Baelish, we learn that it was Baelish who conspired with lady Arryn to kill John Arryn and write the letter accusing the Lannisters for his death setting into motion the bloody events of the next four seasons.

Varys has often talked about how dangerous Petyr Baelish is and in this short exchange we found out just how much. Despite having a reputation of untrustworthy and ruthless SOB, this shocked the hell out of us as we found that Baelish more powerful than we thought. the man has gone from a connected pimp to a lord of a famous a house in a short space of time adding credence to his disconcerting credo of "chaos is a ladder". 

Arya and The Hound

There have been a bumber of odd couples in the game of thrones but Arya and The Hound have been the best. however the relationship bettween the two has taken the turn for the worst as Arya runs down her kill list, she makes a point to mention The Hound's name at the end which makes the one of the most hostile and battle hardened men in the whole of Westeros sit up and pay attention. While we have been lulled into thinking that Arya and The Hound may end up being partners in crime, this week's episode showed us that their relationship is based on convenience as Arya remains with the Hound for protection and The Hound protects Arya for potential riches sown the line.

Things reach boiling point as The Hound wakes the next morning and finds Arya practicing the "waterdance" taught to her by Sylvio Forel. The Hound, a true skeptic if ever there was one, makes fun of Arya's dance and Sylvio's status as the first sword of Braavos due to his death at the hands of Merryn Trant to the her point Arya stabs The Hound with needle only to hit metal rather pierce flesh. Neither Arya nor The Hound seem to notice it but Thse Hound might be Arya best teacher about the dark art of war as he brutally beats away her pretensions about the skill of battle by pointing a simple truth that Ser Merryn is alive and Slyvio isn't because he had armor "and a big fucking sword". In sum, the The Hound gave the lesson Jamie received  from Bronn, forget winning pretty, just win. 

Jon, Bran, and the Mutineers

Jon's and the Nightswatch storyline has often been a weak link in a very strong chain but in "First of His Name" the nightwatch's charge on the mutineers at Craster's Keep was stellar television. First we're with Locke scouting the keep and ever the hunter spots bran and co held up in a hut.

Jojeen has one of his visions as the made one of its few dips into full fantasy which seemed out of place as while the show is populated with dragons, cruel interventionist gods and whitewalkers, the show has done its best to depict fictional world with as much realism as possible. 

Locke return to the small band of crows and reports to Jon the number of men at the keep but conveniently tells Jon not to enter the same hut he found bran and co in. We return back to the hut as Karl and his fellow mutineers enter the hut and string up Meera to be raped and maybe worse. Jojeen, seeing what about to go down, interjects and tell Karl about his ability to see the future and informs the gin alley assassin that he will die a fiery death.

Before Karl can say or do something despicable, we hear then see the charge and bear down on aCraster slicing and dicing their way through the mutineers. back in the hut, Locke 
makes his way to the hut and cuts Bran loose but reveals himself when he asks Bran who he is then slices his thigh then threatens to slice his friends throat.

Outside, Jon and his brothers continue slicing their way through the mutineers, Locke meanwhile, with Bran other his shoulder, makes a run for it. However,  the vicious House Bolton enforcer is stopped by a warg induced Hodor who knocks Locke over and picks him up by his neck then snaps it in two. We thought it was a premature death but one that was on the cards given that while bad guys can win in the Game of Thrones, they often lose and lose in the bloodiest fashion possible.

Bran, now on the floor, orders Hodor to free Jojeen and Meera then calls out to Jon who in the midst of battle can't hear. Jojeen and Meera catches up with him and force him to make a choice between his destiny and a long awaited family reunion, he chooses the former.  Jon, finished slicing his way through  mutineers outside the keep, enters the keep and finds the king rat of them all, Karl, armed and ready to fight with two daggers.  

Karl made a point of professing his murderous past in Gin Alley and in his fight scene with Jon we see he wasn't lying as he inflicted a painful lesson of what fighting with honor can get you reminiscent of the lessons issued by the Hound and Bronn to Arya and Jamie.  Having injured Jon, disarmed him and knocked him to the floor, Karl makes the mistake every TV and movie villain makes, talk too much. Before Karl can finish Jon off, one of Craster's abused daughters stabs Karl in the back   Karl, shocked and in pain turns round and walks towards her knife in hand before Jon buries his sword in the back of his head and through his mouth.

Were back outside and Jon and Craster's numerous daughters make an appearance as John's brother make light work of the few mutineers left. we're then with Rast, as he escapes the onslaught only to be mauled by a vengeful Ghost. we're back with Jon, the brothers and Craster's daughters where Jon finds ghost walking into the keep. tasked with question with what to do with Craster's daughters, Jon implores them to come with them  to Castle Back in light of the Wildlings bearing down on both sides of the wall but one of Craster's daughters reminded Jon that they had just endured rape and torture at the hands of his late brothers of the nightswatch. He also neglected the fact that while the mutineers were no prize, a good number of nightswatch at Castle Black are just as bad as the late mutineers.  

When asked by Jon if they were planning to stay at Craster's Keep, one of his daughters spits on the ground and requests for it to be burned to the ground, a fitting end to their torture and endless bad memories.

in sum, while "first in his name" had its faults, it was the most entertaining episodes in sometime in lieu of two episodes that moved the pieces on GOT's expansive board.

Episode Rating:


Connect with us via Twitter @TCRblogspot. Also check our review of last week's episode

(Books) Mike Wells: Why I'm Not Publishing Books on Paper

At present, I only publish my work in digital format—ebooks and audiobooks. Since many of you are also authors or seriously thinking of writing a book, I thought I would explain my reasoning on this, as it might be helpful to you in making your own decisions. The main reason that I'm a digital-only author is that if I publish my books on paper, I can't get them onto the shelves of physical bookstores.  It's virtually impossible.

Why?  Because I'm an "indie author," meaning that I self-publish my work outside of the realm of the traditional publishing industry.  Like  it or not, traditional publishing largely controls what's on the shelves of brick-and-mortar bookstores. (Self-publishing my own work is a personal choice—for more about traditional versus self-publishing, see this post).
Also, I am an internationally-oriented author, and I have a large number of readers all over the world—in Australia, the UK, Europe, South Africa, Malaysia, Russia, India, the Middle East, etc.  This compounds the distribution problem tenfold.  Even the biggest U.S. publishers have trouble getting their titles onto the bookstore shelves in every corner of the globe.

Thanks to digital retailer/distributors like Smashwords, ebooks provide an instant and elegant solution to the problem.  It's a great feeling to know that any reader, virtually anywhere in the world, has equal access to all my books at the touch of a button. That said, I admit that it sometimes bothers me that I can't pick up a paper copy of my book and hold it in my hands, and that I can't send readers who want my books in paper format to a physical bookstore.  Some people enjoy collecting paper books and building a home library, and I can certainly appreciate that as well. While it's true that I could arrange to publish all of my 20+ titles on paper through a company like Lulu or Createspace, this does not fully solve the problem, neither in the USA or abroad.  Readers will still have to order the books online or through their local bookstores—copies will still not actually be sitting on bookstore shelves. 

My experience is that people who want paper books generally expect to walk into a physical bookstore, find the books they want on the shelves, and then take the books the cash register and pay for them.  Having to order and wait for a paper book is a "speed bump" that greatly lowers interest.  Today, most readers, when given the choice of ordering a physical book and waiting a week or two for it to arrive, or downloading the book instantly, in ebook or audiobook format, choose the latter.  Not all, but most.

Despite how easy companies like Lulu and Createspace make it sound, publishing on paper is still a lot of work and takes significant time.  I only have so many hours in the day.  When I ask readers, "Which would you rather I do—produce more new ebooks and audiobooks or slow down and offer everything I write in both digital and paper format?" the answer is always a resounding "More new books please!"  The vast majority of my readers are willing to read or listen to my books in digital format, even the ones who prefer paper. Of course, there are some people who refuse to read anything but paper books.  I admire their tenacity, but I have to draw the line somewhere.  I believe that there will always be paper books, but I also believe that the number of people who refuse to read anything except paper books will steadily diminish, so that eventually I will reach 99% of the folks who are interested in my work.

But there is another larger, overarching factor in my decision to stay digital.  I struggled for fifteen years in the paper book industry—burned through four literary agents—and made very little progress.  It was the advent of ebooks and digital publishing that allowed me to take full control of my career and caused my book sales to take off.  While I'm sure it would be a wonderful feeling to hold all my novels in my hands and see them lined up in a neat row along my desk, I'm confident that the feeling I have from making a living as a novelist and being able to write full time is far more satisfying.

Perhaps things will change in the future and I will decide to publish on paper.  For example, maybe someday there will be a printing and binding machine sitting in every physical bookstore that can produce a high-quality paper copy of any ebook in a matter of minutes.  There have been attempts at this, but nothing has caught on big yet.  Or, maybe a traditional publisher will come along and offer to print my books as they are, without insisting on fiddling around with the titles and content, and they won't have a problem with me continuing to publish my ebooks and audiobooks independently.  Who knows? Never say never. In summary, that's the logic behind my decision to keep my books in digital format only for the present, and it may or may not apply to your own situation.

Your comments are welcome!

By Mike Wells

This article was republished on The Carnage Report courtesy of Mike Wells. View the original article here

Connect with Mike on Twitter @MikeWellsAuthor. Also you can pre-order his latest release, Picasso Chase:Book 1, at iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.


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