Monday, April 30, 2012

Episode 5 Review

So. This week's episode "The Ghost of Harrenhal", started off with a bang. Right out of the gate we get to see what that shadow baby was all about. For me it was pretty tense scene, just because i knew what would happen. The most surprising thing about this episode, is that by the end, i really wasn't thinking about the big events of the opening. That, I think is telling of how well this episode worked. Oh, and i feel that i should mention, the chick that plays Brienne is Huge. I don't know how they found such a gigantic blonde.

There have been a few really good scenes so far this season. This Episode was packed with them.Not suprisingly, the majority of them involved good ol' Tyrion. His manipulation of Lancel continues to be quite amusing. The rivalry between Tyrion and his sister is fantastic, you can really tell that Cersei just hates him. However, you can't beat Tyrion and Bronn on screen at the same time.

A number of the chunks of the episode were split between Jon and Arya. Jon's scenes were cool because they apparently shot on location in Greenland or somewhere, so the actors really are freezing their balls off. However, this means there's no forest, no biggie, but also the "fist of the first men" isn't a huge, steep hill, but a giant rocky plateau. Just one of those things that is changed from the book and totally contradicts what you had in your head. story-wise, i doubt it will matter. Arya meets up again with Jaqen H'gar, who lets her know she owes the red god 3 deaths, the first of which she totally wastes. Also, she had a really great non-canon scene with lord Tywin, where she utters this seasons catch phrase "anyone can die". This once again reinforces the fact that they really cast some fantastic child actors on this show. So, Props to Maisie Williams for a great job this week.

This Week we also see what Dany's up to in Qarth, where apparently people just hang around in a courtyard all day long. We are introduced to Pyat Pree and Quaith this week, both really well portrayed and sufficiently creepy. Xaro makes his motivations clear to Dany as well. Jorah isnt so happy about the idea, and this leads to another of best scenes of the episode, where Jorah explains his motivations for following Dany, subsequently Dany and Jorah's relationship gets a lot more complicated.

I suppose i can't forget to mention Theon. He takes his first step into being hated again.  He gets thoroughly humiliated by his new crew and terribly ugly sister, and i feel, lets his frustrations override his better judgement and listens to the terrible plan proposed by his first-mate. In the mean-time, Bran happens to have a dream about the sea coming to Winterfell, and recites it in a totally eerie, foreshadowing kinda way. (oh, and i'm totally bummed about jojen not being the one who has that dream)

Another 6 out of 6 stars for this weeks episode.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Episode 4 Review

Things seem to finally be picking up this season in episode three "Garden of Bones". Danny's gotten to Qarth, Arya arrives at Harrenhall, And Stannis begins to make his move on the other kings, starting with Renly. A lot more storylines were being juggled this episode, with less focus on a single one, than we've seen, but i don't feel like it hurt the overall narrative, because there's so much good stuff happening now.

The episode started off with a great scene showing Robb winning a victory over the lannisters in the West, something never really given much time in the books. More than likely they're giving us more Robb stuff in the show so we car a little bit more about him by the time season 3 comes along, just a guess. Speaking of Robb's future in the story, we may have met the woman he falls for out west, tending to lannister wounded after the battle.

We got to spend some time this week with Joffery. Just in case anyone didn't hate his guts already, this episode made sure of that, adding a pretty brutal scene that highlights a totally different side of Joffery's sadistic nature. While he didn't get bitch-slapped, he did at least get a thorough verbal beat down from Tyrion, which will suffice. As he has been doing since he got to Kings landing, Tyrion continues to protect himself against his sister in case the worst should happen.

As i had Mentioned last week, Arya's story was altered slightly to get her to Harrenhall much faster than in the book. Fortunately, here we see most of the important events that happened while they were still on the road in the book. This week served as the introduction to Arya's Prayer, something she learned from Yoren last week, speaking the names of all those you want dead before you go to sleep. It's an ongoing thing in the book and, i imagine, in the show as well. lets just say that you don't want your name on that list.

Finally We get a little more Danny this week, which some might like others not. she seems to be a pretty polarizing character. I like her.  We see her arrive at Qarth, at the edge of the red waste. I love that she mispronounces the name as "Quarth", and has to be corrected, especially because that's how i pronounced it when i read the books. The whole scene, where she refuses to show her dragons (why?) i am guessing was made up cause they couldn't afford to have the dragons on this episode. Who knows, that's just not how it went down in the book and there has to be some reason. As usual, the results are the same, so no sweat.

Stannnis arrives in the storm lands all of a sudden in this episode. He has no chance of beating his bro in the field, so we finally  get to see what Melisandre has been plotting, and boy is it pretty twisted! The finale of the episode was something i honestly didn't know how they would translate to TV but it was pretty impressive, and creepy. My only worry is the tension between this episode and the next is lost, so the culmination of Melisandre's scheme won't have as much impact as it would have otherwise. We'll have to see it play out.

Anyway, "Garden of bones" gets a 6 out of 7 stars, just for sheer creepiness.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Horror survivor.

Been enjoying these character design challenges, here's the latest. just a sketch atm.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Episode 3 Review

So, Trying to get these reviews and illustrations out as soon as possible. managed to get this one done today..

Sunday's Episode, "What is Dead may never Die",  focused on one main story line, Tyrion's Attempts to rid the court of all the people he sees as his potential enemies as hand of the king. We got to see plenty other bits this week, Including the reintroduction of Renly and his retinue, See Theon choose his allegiance, and even some actual fighting!

Like i said, This episode really focused a lot on Tyrion. Last week he took Care of Janos Slynt, and this week tries to figure out who on the small council can be trusted. This was played out well and pretty much as it was in the book, but it was strange to see the usual plotters of the story getting played by this newcomer to court. As well as finding his sister's spy, Tyrion also finds that more often than not Varys can be an ally and asset, managing to get Shae a position as Sansa's handmaiden, which offers some interesting interactions.

We also Follow Cat south, Sent to treat with Renly. Through Cat, we are Introduced To Brienne of Tarth, the newest member of Renly's Kings Guard (fortunately not referred to as the "rainbow guard" in the show). We also meet Renly's new Queen, who happens to be his lover's Sister, oh yeah, and she's totally cool with it. This was all just implied in the book but in the show they really wring it for all it's worth. it makes for a very weird but interesting story. I guess they felt they had to give Renly something to do on the show.

The Sequence was Short but we return to Pyke and see the problems between Theon and his Father come to a head. And Theon Makes a surprising choice in loyalty. These couple of scenes were some of the best so far this season. Like i said last week, you really feel bad for Theon and the cards he was dealt. I'm really anxious to see how they turn that around and make us hate him again.

The Finale of the episode was a very condensed version of Arya's last bit of time in the nights watch wagon train. They hit all the important beats and in the end, her, Gendry and hotpie end up in the same mess as in the book. However, I don't get the feeling that there's a war and Raiding parties scouring the countryside as was described in the book. they passed no refugees on the Kingsroad, theres no abandoned villages, no empty castles. Their attackers weren't Cleagane's Men But just some Lannister thugs chasing after Gendry. Just didn't have the same feel for me. But i digress, it was a good way to condense a lot of wandering around in the woods.

This week's Episode gets 5 stars out of 7.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Northern Hunter

 New Character Design. Just a sketch at the moment.


The Great North is a cold and treacherous place where even nature itself is a ruthless killer. Hunting is a task performed by only the most skilled and fearless, one who has perfected their art and memorised the landscape. Northern Hunters train so that any arrow they fire, or spear they throw will hit their mark, not just wounding their target but killing it in a single shot. A missed shot could mean no food for days. This skill makes them the best marksmen bar none, surpassing all others. They are silent and swift, almost assassin-like. They are so well adapted, they can move through their surroundings completely un-noticed, using pelts and scents that allow them to blend is as well as survive the bitter cold.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Episode 2 'The Night Lands'

It didn't seem like it, but a lot of stuff happened this week on 'Game of Thrones'. The show at this point is still keeping the slower pace of the previous episode, but that is only adding to the build of tension towards the inevitable conflicts.We met a few more new characters and started to get into some of the stories that were introduced last week.

What struck me most about this episode is how it diverges more than any episode i remember from the book. Nothing really game changing, but still pretty substantial changes. I wont spoil anything, but a secondary character that's still around in the 5th book got whacked, and a couple minor characters are either eliminated or replaced by familiar faces and they have renamed another. Like i said, nothing big at this point but it will be interesting to see the repercussions of these decisions as G. R. R. Martin Finishes the series.

This Episode focused on two storylines for most of the Episode, Tyrion getting to work as Hand of the King, and Theon Greyjoy's homecoming. As i said a week ago, all the tyrion scenes are great, and we even got to see a more serious side of him on a couple of occasions which is nice. Theon's homecoming, while altered slightly, still plays as i had imagined from the books. The residents of the iron islands are portrayed perfectly. And Balon Greyjoy's complete lack of compassion for Theon really makes you care about somone who is generally a douchbag the rest of the time. This is one of the great strengths of this story, how from scene to scene, you can love or loath any particular character, well, except Joffery. He has no redeeming qualities. This aspect really comes into play later with Jamie Lannister, ya know, the guy who tried to kill a little kid. Yeah, he becomes a likeable guy.

Elsewhere in westeros, we  got to meet Arry and more of his unsavory companions,  find out more about Craster and his twisted ways, and hear Stannis express some of his concerns about fighting this war. I really enjoyed Arya's scenes. The interactions between the characters were great and didn't feel like they were shoehorned in like other dialogue heavy sequences (Ros+Littlefinger). The Night's watch scenes worked well too, and diehard fans will be happy to hear the new CG Ghost is as silent as the one in the book. I'm still not too keen on the look of the white walkers though.

It's possible that because i know what's coming, I'm getting more excited than i should about this season so far. As illustrated on Stannis' map-like Council table, the pieces are moving into place and everyone is simply getting ready for the Fight. That makes all the scheming and plotting feel a little more important in these early episodes.

I give "The Night Lands" 5 out of 7 stars. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Dragon and it's Rider

Something I've been playing around with this week.
Inspired by a conceptart character design. I've learned it's REALLY hard to come up with an original Dragon . Also, i've never drawn one before. I just thought it would be an interesting idea if there were flightless dragons. This dragon was based on a flightless bird, the osterich, but the colors come from exotic parrots and whatnot.Threw in some Iguana features for good measure. I'd be a big fat liar if i said 'How to train your dragon' wasn't in the back of my mind as well. So I'm thinking he'll be a fast runner, to make up for the flying. I don't know. I'm making this up as i go.

The Rider design was inspired by a number of games, films and shows which I've seen a lot of lately. The Brief on conceptart implied that the rider was some sort of warrior, who used the dragon's scales' for armor. I went in a bit of a different direction. I wanted to capture a sort of a sci-fi//western vibe so she's got a gun on her hip and spurs, but 'armor' just didn't fit what i had in mind, I've had enough of that in Skyrim.

will have a more polished piece hopefully by tuesday.

Midnight Drive final logo design

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Game of Thrones is Back!

So, finally getting around to posting about Episode 1 of the second season, which aired last night. In all honesty, overall, the episode was pretty underwhelming. But i can accept the pace as the show simply getting back into the swing of things.

There are going to be a lot of new characters this season, and i think the producers are trying to pace us. We got to meet Stannis and some of  his entourage this week, most importantly the red Priestess Meslisandre. Also on display was some of the grim architecture of Dragonstone, which looks as creepy as it sounded in the books. We also got to meet Craster and his wives/daughters. that's right, his wives/daughters...eew.

Other than that, there was just a lot of talking this week. Some verbal sparring between Robb and Jamie, between Cercei and Littlefinger, just extra scenes that kinda fell flat for me. Although i did quite enjoy the Tyrion scenes, Dinklage plays him so well he could be in every scene. Oh, we can't forget Joffery getting bitch-slapped again, that never gets old.

The Climax of the episode was the Hunting down of all Roberts bastards. I don't remember if this was explicitly described in the book, as it involved no pov characters directly. This was pretty brutal, and makes you hate Janos Slynt even more, as if we needed a reason. It sets up nicely the inevitable confrontation between the goldcloaks and Yoren and the recruits. Speaking of, i hope we get to meet jaquen h'gar next week. Valar Morghulis

So, This weeks episode was great because it marks the beginning of a new season. We got to see new places and meet new characters and they were all great additions. However, for me it got bogged down in a few places with unnecessary, slow conversation scenes. They're having to juggle a lot of locations and story lines and putting in extra scenes just cuts out stuff from the book i want to see.

I give this week four out of seven stars.

Anyway, hoping to have a new review and Illustration or two to go along with it every week. Stay tuned