Eclipse

One day the moon kissed the sun
And their embrace, despite its brevity
Was blinding
        And beautiful.
The sun and moon kiss but once a year,
        Or once a decade,
                Or once a lifetime.
And their embrace, despite its brevity
Is blinding
        And beautiful.
And in that moment, when light meets dark
        And fire meets ice,
Two worlds brush past each other so briefly and lightly
        That you can hardly say for certain if they really touched
And there is magic.
And the sight of it, the memory
The shadowy intensity
Is blinding
        And beautiful.

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Take your time George R. R. Martin

This started out as a facebook post in reaction to this but quickly grew into a rambling mess which I spent the next half hour editing into something coherent.

***Spoilers below for the all five books and all five seasons ***

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I started watching Game of Thrones before I even knew there was a book series it was based on. I caught up to the second season and when that ended I knew that I needed more. So I went out and bought the first two books having read online that each season of the books corresponds with the show. I loved reading the books as much as I loved watching the show, the narrative in GRRM’s novels filled in the gaps for me as I went along. Some of the major events that rocked my world on the screen hit me just as hard when I absorbed George’s prose and I eagerly awaited what was to come. Due to time constraints, a student’s budget and the enjoyment I got from watching the show with friends I decided to adopt a “watch a season – read a book routine” so that I would keep pace with (and not annoy) my friends who weren’t reading the books.

Then season 3 happened and we were left hanging after the Red Wedding.

Waiting for season four was agony. I found myself spending what little money I had on the next three books in the series and I took them home completely ready to devour them over a week. I’m not sure what stopped me (probably school obligations) but I found myself waiting for the next season of the show with more anticipation than I thought I could ever contain. I watched all of the promotional material over and over again but at the same time I avoided dreaded spoilers like a plague. I formed my own theories in my head. I was obsessed.

The fourth season began and I was not disappointed. The action and the intrigue were just as good as they had ever been but for some reason it wasn’t enough. I needed more. I turned back to the books and read them at a pace that I hadn’t been able to reach since the Harry Potter series. Reading A Feast For Crows in tandem with watching the fourth season of ‘Game of Thrones’ was an interesting experience. The level of detail in the novels far surpasses what we receive on the television screen (which is really saying something because HBO spares almost no expense in Game of Thrones‘ production values) but the basic plot is the same. So when a character was introduced in the novels but never appeared in the show, or when two characters were combined together or one character or event was never seen or mentioned you didn’t so much get the sense that something is being left out or that this is an alternate universe (as I have seen some fans use to explain the differences between the media) but rather you are truly getting an adaptation from a loving fan. Similarly, Tolkien’s novels and Jackson’s films are vastly different but tell the same story and all are excellent (I’m not counting The Hobbit ‘trilogy’).

I finished reading A Dance With Dragons well ahead of season five of Game of Thrones. Now that I was all caught up I poured myself into fan theories and speculation. I read through the lore on the Game of Thrones Wiki and I would have tracked down Martin’s other works such as The Hedge Knight and A World of Ice and Fire if I had the extra time or money. With the knowledge of the plot from all five novels and some extra background info on the world of the story I finally watched the show from the perspective of someone who knew what was coming.

And to be honest, the books are better. The foreknowledge in some ways ruined what was coming for me. Not to say that Game of Thrones is not worth watching. ‘Hardhome’ (Season Five, Episode Eight) had me holding my breath for its entirety and that was completely different from anything the novels presented. I couldn’t watch the death of Shireen Baratheon and I couldn’t even listen to it. I had to turn the volume down lest I be sick. Cersei’s walk played out on the screen exactly as I saw it in my head. The actors and showrunners continue to deserve every Emmy that they win.

game-thrones-season-5But some things were not handled particularly well. Dorne was a mess. The Greyjoys have not been heard from in almost a whole season. Why is Jaime Lannister not in the Riverlands where his redemptive arc is more satisfying and makes more sense? (although he and Bronn work almost as well together as Bronn and Tyrion. Actually everybody works well with Bronn. We need more Bronn).

This is definitely the result of the show’s budget and the minor changes which were introduced earlier in the series. And that’s okay. GRRM has said before that the show and the novel are different animals and I could not agree more. The novels were not perfect either (what was the point of sending Doran Martell to Dorne other than to fuck up, release Dany’s dragons and die?) but they are consistently good, daresay, incredible. Watching Game of Thrones and reading ‘A Song of Ice and
Fire’ are two very different yet very enjoyable experiences that complement one another.

Now George is saying that the next book, The Winds of Winter, is not going to be finished in time for Season Six. To me that’s a little disappointing but also a little exciting. Now I’m practically back to where I was when I startedmy adventure through Westeros and Essos; I know nothing about what’s next but I cannot wait to find out. And when this season has ended and I have gotten a good taste I will go back for my second portion of this feast and truly appreciate the nuances of each flavor and texture which GRRM is using to tell his story.

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Furthermore, as an aspiring author I truly understand and appreciate when GRRM says “sometimes the writing goes well and sometimes it doesn’t.” Writing is hard. Writing a good story is really hard. Writing a cohesive story incorporating hundreds of characters, spanning two continents and hundreds (or even thousands) of years of backstory and making it a best-selling page-turner is hard as shit.

Godspeed George R. R. Martin, your fans eagerly await what’s coming next. For now we will be happy with HBO’s excellent adaptation of your work.

But please, can you write just a little bit faster?

New Year’s Song

It’s time for another of Earth’s revolutions
And so it is time for my next resolution
In hopes that this new year I will find the solution
And clean up some of my personal pollution.

This year I resolve to let go of my fear
This year I want my path to be clear
This year I will not scowl, nor will I sneer
This year my goal will be that much near’r.

May love surround you on your New Year’s night
And may the fireworks and your future be ever so bright.
May you hold fast to your pledges and keep your priorities in sight
And may, a year from now, we friends reunite.

Marble

blue-wood-balls-focus-depth-of-field-deck-reflections-marble_preview_9f58Flick.

The orb danced through the air, spinning, in a parabolic arc. Each rotation caused a twinkle which reflected in the eyes surrounding the ring. For a breathless lifetime it hung there until gravity won out and it descended, landing with a clack and a thud. Then the world was silent and small and only contained the two young bodies who were extended over the ring. The bodies relaxed and contracted as the electricity left the air. One relaxed in triumph, the other in defeat.

The clack seemed to hang in the air for an eternity. It echoed off the nearby walls, once, twice and then all as quiet.

“No,” the boy said breaking the silence. He repeated himself without making a sound and then kept on repeating himself growing louder and louder until he was almost shouting. He thought of some bad words to say but he could not remember what they were exactly, the R-Rated movie his brother watched with him had been so long ago. He reached back into his memory, trying to capture the image of the theater they had snuck into, desperately grasping at the smell of the popcorn, the pimples of the teenager checking tickets and the blood on the screen as the monster chased down its victims. The boy reached far back into his memory for the words he had repeated that night in front of his mother which earned him a mouth washing and a spanking, and he grasped at the worst one he thought he could remember.

“You’re a forking cheater!”

“Nuh-uh!” the girl yelled. She snatched the orb which had brought her victory with lightning speed and then she pounced on the others. A blue one filled with gold stars, an orange one that looked like it would taste like his favourite popsicle, a clear one that turned tiny things behind it into giants and a black one that was pockmarked from overuse and darker than coal, they all disappeared into her rough leather satchel.

As she continued collecting marbles the boy fought back tears.

“I’m telling! You cheated! You stole my marbles!” he screamed. His voice was more than loud enough to carry across the playground but it was drowned out in the shouts and yells of the other children.

“Nuh-uh!” the girl said again as she stood up. Then she turned on her heel and ran off with her black locks whipping behind her head.

The boy clenched his fists and tried his best not to cry. He could not cry again. They would all laugh like they had the last time. But he could not hold himself together and soon he was under a tree far away from the others and sobbing. It did not matter so much that he had lost the game; he rarely won anyways. It did not matter that he had lost to a girl; the other boys already teased him mercilessly for being the shortest and slowest and fattest kid in class. The worst part was that he had lost the black marble. Cam’s marble. He cried for a while and hoped that nobody would see him all by himself watering the tree with his grief.

Then minutes later he heard footsteps. They were running towards him over the soft grass but they weren’t the heavy steps of a grownup, they were the quick strides of a kid like him.

“Go away,” he said to the footsteps as they got closer but they did not stop and they did not turn around.

Then, when the footsteps were right in front of him they stopped and the boy looked up through red eyes to find the girl looking down at him. She pushed her hair out of her face and smiled with big a toothy grin and big brown eyes.

“What do you want?” the boy asked, wiping his eyes. The orbs in his head felt raw as he wiped away the tears with his sleeve.

It seemed to take her forever to answer the question. Time hung still. A breeze sent autumn leaves tumbling from the tree. For a moment they were trapped in a shower of colours and for a moment the boy saw the girl not as the one who stole his most prized possession but as… he could not quite say. It was a shower of feelings. He wanted to cry again. He wanted to scream. He wanted to push her down and take all of the marbles and run far away where nobody could ever find him. But he also wanted to smile because he remembered in class when her hair would keep falling over her eyes and she would have to brush it off and he remembered her arguing with her mom about the head band and how she hated it because it was yellow and her mom made her take it but she just hid it in her locker before they went into the classroom.

The girl’s grin widened and she dug into her pocket. Then she stretched out her arm and opened her hand to reveal the black marble.

“Do you wanna play again?”

Insurmountable

I said I’d move mountains.

But that was easier said than done.
What do you do with the rubble?
And keep in mind you have to carry it all away,
Every pebble and every boulder.
Do you know how much mountains weigh?
Enough that the earth shakes when they fall.

I said I’d move mountains.

The stubborn rock has deep roots,
And these ranges have treacherous passes,
Haunted by ghosts and stories and memories.
They have sun-shy caverns where monsters lurk.
They touch heaven
And hide doorways to hell.

I said I’d move mountains.

And I’ve been trying.
Day by day. Stone by stone. It’s exhausting.
And now I’ve hiked every nook and every cranny,
And I want to give up and wait
For time to crumble this titan
So that I don’t have to.

But I said I’d move mountains.

Not climb them, not tunnel through them, not go around them,
Not look at the skyline and pretend they’re not there.
I did not promise to plant a flag.
I did not say I would die on their peaks.
I did not forget my oath.
I will not cheapen my word.

I said I’d move mountains. And that is exactly what I am going to do.