Monday, May 11, 2015

Game of Thrones Power Rankings: Season 5, Episode 5

Here are my power rankings for episode 5 of season 5 of Game of Thrones. I ranked based on the character's importance to the episode, as well as their role. One awesome scene could outweigh a few smaller less interesting moments. Obviously it's all my opinion. I capped the list at 10 this week. Enjoy!

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 5, Episode 5

"Kill the Boy"

A recap of episode 5 from season 5 of Game of Thrones

Friday, May 8, 2015

Boxing Preview: Canelo Alvarez vs. James Kirkland

Canelo Alvarez (46-1-1) vs. James Kirkland (32-1) on HBO

Tomorrow night, Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland square off in a junior middleweight battle that promises to provide great action. The potential for an action fight is much needed, after the disappointment many felt after Mayweather-Pacquiao last week, when Floyd Mayweather easily outboxed Manny Pacquiao to earn the unanimous decision victory.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 4 Power Rankings

Here are my first ever Power Rankings for Game of Thrones, something I hope will become a regular thing. I ranked based on the character's importance to the episode, as well as their role. One awesome scene could outweigh a few smaller less interesting moments. Obviously, it's all my opinion. Enjoy!

1. Bronn
I think it speaks to this show’s strengths at creating supporting characters that a relatively unimportant former sellsword (in the grand scheme of things in Westeros) can be the top player in an episode. His adventure with Jaime gets off to a promising start, and he proves his worth already. He saves Jaime from not only a poisonous morning snake, but also a group of Dornish warriors looking to kill them. Bronn has always been one of the show’s most entertaining characters, so a storyline where he may be very prominent is exciting. At the end of last season, with Tyrion on the run, it seemed we may not get much of Bronn, but he looks to be pretty central to Jaime’s story this season. His conversation about wanting a boring death is typical Bronn at his best.

2. Barristan Selmy
What a show, where the two top characters in an episode are Bronn and Barristan Selmy, secondary characters who would not fall in the top 10 overall most prominent characters on the show. At the end of the episode, Barristan’s future is left in the balance after he comes to the aid of Grey Worm in a battle against the Sons of the Harpy. The famous knight, known in Westeros as the perhaps the greatest fighter in the world, finally gets to see some action, but it doesn’t end well for him at all. His intervention in the fight surely saves Grey Worm’s life, but might just cost him his own. Furthermore, his story earlier in the episode to Dany about her brother Rhaegar is one of the episode’s highlights. We learn that some admired him, and that unlike perceptions of him as a warrior, he was first a kind spirit who liked to sing.

3. Cersei
To paraphrase Deangelo Barksdale, the queen stay the queen. Despite her son Tommen being old enough to marry and take his own queen, Cersei has cemented her role in ruling Westeros. Like Tywin before her, she is the one making decisions and trying to outmaneuver the enemies. In this episode, that comes in her alliance with the High Sparrow, and her decision to arm the faith militant. Cersei has proved over time that she understands how to play the game in Westeros, and trying to put a wedge between Margary and Tommen is her way to regain control over him.

4. Stannis
Stannis has become a great character since arriving at the wall. He’s shown to have more heart and emotion than we’ve become used to seeing out him. In this episode, his conversation with his daughter humanizes him in a way we’ve yet to see. We learn that a doll he bought from a merchant when she was a child is what caused her greyscale. We also understand his love for her, as he explains how he did all he could to save her, and stop its spread. In these moments, Stannis has become more complex, and someone we may finally be able to root for in the battle for the throne.

5. Grey Worm
I don’t believe Grey Worm had a single line throughout the episode, but his general badassery in the fight against the Sons of the Harpy earns him this spot on the list. Even after his Unsullied brethren have fallen in battle, Grey Worm continues wielding his spear with success. He was greatly outnumbered, but it didn’t stop him one bit. He may not have survived without the assistance with Barristan the Bold, but Grey Worm shows he earned his position as the leader of the Unsullied.

6. Jaime
Jaime Lannister’s beginning of his quest to Dorne to rescue his daughter doesn’t get off to the easiest start. His gold hand saves him in a sword fight, perhaps the only time it would have helped him compared to his real hand. But Jaime’s earlier conversations with Bronn show what make him such an interesting character, who we always seem to root for, despite the fact that the show essentially started with him pushing an 8 year old out a window. He reveals to Bronn that if he sees his brother Tyrion again, he’ll kill him, and that he wants to die in the arms of the woman he loves (his sister…). The Lannisters are weird

7. Tyrion
Speaking of Lannisters! Tyrion hasn’t exactly had much to do for the beginning stretch of this season. He shared a carriage with Varys, and now shares one with Jorah. However, in his one scene in episode 4, Tyrion gives us a glimpse as what makes Varys believe in him so much. Tyrion just might be one of the most intelligent people in Game of Thrones, when he tries to be. With only the simplest of clues, he figures out Jorah’s identity, and even his reasoning for kidnapping him. It gets him knocked out, but it also shows off that he’s not the person half the world thinks him to be.

8. Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes
I’ve put these all together partially because I’m not entirely sure of all the Sand Snakes’ names yet. Also, I think they all fit under one category for the time being. Ellaria has shown to be more than just Oberyn’s paramour, and someone who has an actual sense of authority in Dorne. The Sand Snakes are united in war against the Lannisters, thanks to her work in rallying their cause. As the series goes on, the enemies of the Lannisters grows bigger and bigger.

9. Jon Snow
Redheads love Jon Snow. And he knows nothing.

10. Tommen
How is it possible that King Tommen can be so unlike his brother Joffery? He’s literally the exact opposite. He’s in fact too well intentioned to draw blood against the sparrows in the street. Or is Tommen actually just too smart? When provoked in a crowd, Joffery started a riot that almost got his people killed. Tommen could tell the crowd there was not in his favor. Still, while Tommen’s rule may have started off easier than Joffery’s, we can already see how some of his weaknesses may hurt him down the road. His naivety in questioning Margarey about her getting along with his mother says a whole lot about his trust in the good of people.

11. Littlefinger
Littlefinger is always Littlefingeriing it up. He’s always one step ahead of his enemies. But his enemies are simultaneously everyone, because Littlefinger plays by his own rules. He kisses Sansa goodbye in the tombs of her dead ancestors. He’s so creepy. But half of me expects the entire series to end with Littlefinger on the throne. Or not. Who the hell knows. But his story about Rhaegar, contrasting with what Barristan later has say about him, is quite an interesting moment. Here, Rhaegar’s selfishness started a war. I always enjoy when the show has characters talking about things that happened before the show took place.

12. Melisandre
I think that the actress who plays Melisandre must have a nudity clause, where she’s required to appear nude at least once a season. Jon Snow doesn’t fall for her sexual advances as easily as Stannis, Gendry, and probably others have in the past. It is impossible to question her abilities to perform sorcery. We’ve seen her work dark magic before. There’s no doubt to me that her “You know nothing, Jon Snow” was something she saw in the flames. But why pursue him? What purpose does she have with Jon? There are fan theories out there about the books that might have something to say about this, but I won’t bring that up.

13. Margarey
Queen Margarey has had no problem molding her new king to her liking. Until Cersei’s power play with the High Sparrow, she was showing a great amount of cleverness in trying to minimize Cersei’s control over the realm. When her brother Loras is thrown in prison by the sparrows, she’s quick to get the king to get him out. A different king might have had better success in actually freeing Loras, but Margarey shows that her influence over the young king is still there.

14. Jorah
I always liked Jorah. Even him hitting Tyrion and knocking him out doesn’t make me hate him. But does anyone quite understand his purpose in kidnapping Tyrion? I mean, what would Dany exactly do with the imp? Still, I respect Jorah’s devotion to his queen. I can’t imagine how it will end the way he wants it to, though.

15. Daenerys
The story in Mereen is the most interesting it’s ever been, but Dany herself wasn’t as present in the most recent episode. She learns a little about her brother Rhaegar from Barristan, and we see that she shares a similar inclination toward kindness (according to one side, considering Littlefinger paints a different picture). While Dany sending Barristan off to sing a song to the people of Mereen may have ultimately cost him his life, there’s no way she could have possibly known this. I look forward to Khaleesi’s reactions to the possible death (or severe injury) of two of her strongest and most important people. Will she finally give in to Hizdahr zo Loraq’s pleading to keep old traditions alive in Meereen, despite their affiliation with slavery?

I think the number I rank will depend on the episode and characters/storylines covered. But I hope to do at least a top 10 per episode.