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Darren

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  1. Didn't bother with Return of the Jedi then?
  2. Anyway, apart from the fact that virtually nothing in the episode made sense based on events in previous series, previous episodes in this series, or earlier scenes in this episode, I think that was about as good an ending as we could get, and better than I was expecting. As ever talky > fighty when it comes to GoT. It's a real pity it couldn't maintain the quality of the first few series, which would have made it near perfect, but even with the drop off in quality it was still way above average entertainment. And they've set it up nicely for the next series:
  3. Oh! And Tyrion's whole "what's better than stories? Nothing!" monologue was clearly the author's voice. Never mind people with magic swords, dragons, the ability to withstand fire or come back from the dead - if people didn't write those things down they'd be lost to future generations (let's ignore oral history for this bit). So doesn't that make the pen pushers back at City Hall the Citadel GRRM's shed the HBO writer's room the real heroes?
  4. I didn't get my "GRRM as Sam" ending but at least we got Sam as GRRM taking credit for the title.
  5. Darren

    The Watchtower - A thread for all comics

    Doctor Aphra is indeed excellent. If you like her then I recommend the entire saga starting from Darth Vader (2015) #1. She was only a supporting character in that, but is so good it's no surprise they gave her a series of her own to continue her story (which has now run for longer than the Vader series she started in).
  6. Darren

    Star Wars - the new canon

    I love Doctor Aphra despite her stories being the least Star Wars-y of all the comics. This has all the usual hallmarks: elaborate cons, out-of-the-frying-pan escapes, everybody double-crossing everybody else, and a cast of recurring characters (including multiple psycho-killer-droids and Darth Vader himself) constantly trying to murder one another. It's all great fun and often very funny, and brilliantly illustrated too. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the main Star Wars storyline despite running vaguely in parallel with the actual Star Wars comic, but as a slightly more tongue-in-cheek take on what's going on elsewhere in the universe it just works. Without the Star Wars wrapper this could easily be a classic series in 2000AD, which is probably why I love it so much, and long may it continue.
  7. Darren

    The Watchtower - A thread for all comics

    I ordered these last week, and when I did found out that Rebellion had given all subscribers a one-use 50% off voucher that applies to any full price items. So I ordered Brink volume 3 too, plus the complete Lawless saga so far (Insurrection vols 1&2 followed by Lawless 1&2). They arrived this morning, delivered by Yodel. I've been in all day but didn't hear them knock or ring the bell, instead they just put a card through the door saying the package was at the side of the house. I found it propped up by the bins, open at one end, with one of the books missing. Not happy. I suspect the reason the driver didn't knock was because they didn't want to have the conversation about why they were delivering an already opened package. I've sent a message explaining what's happened and asking them to send me a replacement. In my experience Rebellion are very good at re-sending individual Progs when they occasionally get lost in the post, so I hope they don't try to fob me off and point me back to the courier.
  8. Final scene prediction: long shot from behind of Sam hunched over a desk in that big library, writing in a huge leather bound book. As the camera closes in we see that his hands, old and liver-spotted, are shaking as he writes the final words: something profound like “and they all lived happily ever after.” He sits back as if a huge weight has been lifted from his shoulders. After a moment he closes the book, gets up and carries it over to a nearby shelf where he adds it to the end of a long row of similar looking tomes. He pauses to contemplate the completion of this, his life’s work and the greatest, not to mention the longest, piece of literature his civilisation has ever known. Then as he turns away, stopping only to pick up a dark blue hat from his desk and putting it at a very slightly jaunty angle on his grey-haired head, we finally see his old, bearded but still extremely chubby face - the face of George RR Martin. He looks directly into the camera, smiles awkwardly and says, “Well, I’m glad that’s over!”
  9. Darren

    The Watchtower - A thread for all comics

    Volumes 1 and 2 of the utterly brilliant Brink are half price on the 2000AD online shop today, to celebrate volume 3 coming out.
  10. Darren

    Star Wars - the new canon

    But this, the fourth and final volume in the "Dark Lord of the Sith" series, is brilliant. We're still in the relatively early days of Vader's reign of terror, and after a particularly destructive jaunt through downtown Coruscant, he and the Emperor come to a mutual understanding that "this planet ain't big enough for the both of us." So with his master's blessing he sets out to create his own domain on the planet where his former life as Anakin came to an end. His reason for choosing that place is the driver of this story, and it pays off quite wonderfully in the frankly (IMHO, obviously) perfect last chapter of this book. I've said in reviews of the previous volumes how much I liked their representation of Vader's inner life, and this comes to amazing fruition in the final issue of this series. I'd go so far as to say not only is it the crowning achievement of what was already an excellent series, but it's probably the best single issue of any Star Wars comic ever, and a fantastic illustration (no pun intended) of how the "sequential art" medium can use its unique characteristics to deliver something wonderful. Before we get to that perfect conclusion there are plenty of lightsaber battles, explorations of the Sith and the nature of the Force, and it's even properly funny in places (don't worry, there are no Vader wisecracks) which is not what I was expecting from the story of a tortured soul's quest for [spoilers! - read it and find out], but somehow it all works. Yes, I really like this one. Read the whole series, and if you don't want to just read this volume, and if you still don't want to, just read Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith #25. You won't regret it.
  11. Darren

    Star Wars - the new canon

    I finally got round to reading the next few Marvel collections. First up... Apologies for the poor image but I couldn't find a decent one, and we're back to rubbish covers again anyway. This is Volume 10 in the main Star Wars series, and the fourth of @KieronGillen's hitherto excellent run, but it's a bit of a curiosity really. This is effectively a side-story in which the three main goodies and the two droids get stranded on a planet run by former mercenaries who are now isolationists with a policy of almost no contact with the rest of the galaxy. They deal with this enforced absence from their war in different ways: while Han throws himself into the chance to kick back and forget about the universe's problems, Luke is desperate to find a way to get back to the fight, and is frustrated that Leia appears not to be. The characterisation is perfect as usual but the story seems very slight, and although it does push forward the main narrative very slightly towards the end, it's a weird change of pace and feels more like padding, as if Gillen realised he was going to get to the end of his story a few issues short of his contracted run and so stuck this in to fill it out. It's not bad by any means, but just not up to Gillen's usual standard.
  12. Darren

    What books did you read in 2019?

    7. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews This is the sequel to Daughters of the Dragon which I read and enjoyed last year - both bought for 99p in Kindle sales, bargain! The first book was about Anna, a Korean-American teenage girl learning for the first time about her heritage, particularly her grandmother's horrific experiences as a "comfort woman" in WW2. In that story, Anna learned that her grandmother and herself are descended from Queen Min, who ruled Korea in the late 19th century. Although Anna and her grandmother are fictional characters, the grandmother's story was based on historical events and real accounts from those who survived them. The framing narrative for this book is set about ten years after the first, and now Anna is a junior diplomat working at the US Embassy in Seoul, and this time it's her turn to tell a story - that of her ancestor, Queen Min. It's never explained how Anna knows this tale, and in fact the whole framing device is pretty implausible, but the historical story that forms the bulk of the book is much better. This is a fictionalised account of a real person, and of events that shaped modern Korea. It's not harrowing in the way the first book was, but it's a good read, and an easy one too - like the first book this is written in a YA style so you can rattle through it without worrying you might be missing some subtle nuance. Incidentally I should say I love Kindle sales for tempting me to buy books like this which are nothing like the things I'd normally read, but look interesting enough to be worth a punt for a quid. Although I'm building up quite a virtual pile of shame...
  13. Darren

    This is the end... Good and bad TV endings

    If we're doing good endings then The Leftovers wins for having not one but two perfect endings. The penultimate episode had a brilliant ending and the whole series could have stopped there and it would have been perfectly fitting. Then the final episode was a kind of epilogue that was even more brilliant and included a scene (Nora's story of where she'd been) that was one of the highlights of the entire run.
  14. Darren

    What books did you read in 2019?

    6. The Dead Zone - Stephen King My chronological King read-through continues with the first of his books that I'd neither read before nor knew anything about, which turns out to be a great story with the usual King qualities. It's the story of a man, set over about 25 years from the early 50s to the late 70s (it was published in 1979), who suffers a head injury and realises he has psychic abilities - whether caused, amplified or unlocked by the injury, he has no way of knowing. And being a King novel, it's then straight into high-concept territory, a what-if story of the fantastical in small-town America. I really enjoyed it and I really must get round to watching the film, which must be due a modern remake.
  15. Talky episodes >>> fighty episodes. Yes it’s becoming increasingly silly and rushed but that was the closest in style to a series 1 episode we’ve had for ages. No supernatural threat, just lots of powerful people scheming and plotting. Arya is going to end up in charge.
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