Game of Thrones: all style and no substance

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Game of Thrones…

WHY?

Why do this to us? We invested so much into the show and have been treated with utter contempt in return.

Let’s start with Daenerys. So many people are spitting mad she is now “the insane queen”.

I’m sorry, but she was always destined to become exactly that. The only problem I have with her burning everything to the ground is that this season was incredibly rushed and we don’t see the progression of her state of mind clearly enough. But it was always on the cards. Dany has consistently shown pride and arrogance, an utter belief in her “right” to rule. She never showed any mercy in the past when she thought people didn’t accept her birth right. She ultimately suffers from that god-awful self-righteousness that affects so many people who see themselves as “good” – they make the best tyrants because they believe that anything is justified when it comes to ridding the world from “bad” people. God knows I’ve seen enough of this in real life in the last 2 years, I’ve been abused and bullied by so many who preach “love, not hate” simply because I disagree with them. That’s not kindness, it’s a horrifying sense of their own moral superiority which drives them. But I digress, revenons à nos moutons.

Jon Snow or Aegon Targaryen…it makes no difference: he knows nothing. I have grown so annoyed with him in the last few episodes. Leaving aside the fact there’s NO chemistry between him and Dany and their relationship has been unbelievable from the start and no more than a convenient plot point, what the hell was he doing indulging a woman who clearly cares more about the throne than their relationship? Also, does it not strike anyone as odd that incest has not been mentioned at all, not at any point since Jon discovered who he really was? Not once. Dany immediately begged him not to tell anyone, he refused at which point she turned frostier than all the combined ice queens throughout history…but he or she never said: oh, hey, we’re family and we’re…you know…having sex…maybe we should think about that…FOR AT LEAST A COUPLE OF SECONDS! But no, clearly incest is fine in this case even though the whole realm was in bits over Cersei and Jaime…okay.

So Jon watched with a stupid expression on his face when Dany started to let loose in the city and her ‘army’ suddenly turned into bloodthirsty savages. The breaker of chains was now a burner of children and Jon was nonplussed, as if he really, REALLY didn’t see that coming.

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I have championed Jon for years, but this last season has led me to think that maybe he doesn’t deserve the throne anymore than that crazy arrogant bitch does. That’s an exaggeration actually, but he better redeem himself by killing her in the last episode – I won’t be satisfied with anything less.

As for Tyrion. He’s meant to be a smart man, he’s been one of my favourite characters because of it…and yet, he betrays Varys and chooses the wrong side …then we have to endure the camera lingering on his shocked and horrified face…what I was doing when that happened was shouting (quietly, it was almost 3am and other reasonable people in my house were sleeping) “what are you looking so shocked about? Is it because you realise you misplaced your brain?? You stupid fuck!”

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The fact he also thought Cersei would “give up” if she thought the city was lost made no sense whatsoever. Does he NOT know his sister by now??

Varys…he deserved better, he really did. Again, if they hadn’t rushed this season we would have seen him think long and hard about whether Dany was fit to rule or not…he might have agonised over it…it would have taken time because, well, these things do and it’s Varys ffs, he isn’t the type to be impatient or make decisions in haste…and yet from one episode to the next he decided the woman he had gone through so much to support wasn’t actually right for the role he had envisioned for her and he went straight to Jon with this…absolutely ridiculously stupid.

Are we REALLY meant to believe Varys would immediately betray Dany and that Tyrion would also immediately betray Varys?? Give us some credit, it flies in the face of everything we know about the characters.

The dragons…last week we lost one in about 20 seconds as a ballista seemed super accurate and destructive. Three shots managed to bring down a powerful moving target…JUST LIKE THAT.

Never mind the fact Dany and her advisers should have been prepared for some kind of attack as they were nearing King’s Landing, NEVER MIND THAT, nobody thinks anymore because the writers wanted to be done with Game of Thrones once and for all…so last week we lost a dragon quickly and effortlessly, there was no strategy in place, no scouts had been sent ahead like they’ve been since the dawn of time in those kind of, you know, WAR situations. Fast forward to last night and a ballista is ALL OF A SUDDEN totally ineffective – like it should have been last week – and the last remaining dragon now has a super duper instinct and is dodging everything aimed at it with NO problem whatsoever. Hmmm, ok.

Cersei…waiting with a faint smile on her face, confident af and I have to tell you, I was SURE she had some kind of brilliant plan in place. She must have had, right? She’s displayed such cunning in the past, she’s smart, there’s no way she’d just wait for a dragon to come swooping down burning everything to the ground…right?

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WRONG. Turns out there was NO plan, none whatsoever. The wildfire that had been put to such good use in the past may as well not have existed. Oh, it appeared, but as an afterthought, because the dragon ignited it as it was rampaging through the city. Could I have rolled my eyes any harder?? 

I was asked to believe that this brilliant if flawed woman had lost her capacity for thinking too. No, no and no. Come the fuck on.

So I watched as the confident smile turned into a worried frown… then into a face betraying fear…then eventually into tears. Lena Headey is SUCH a brilliant actress, she can convey more with her face than most people with pages of dialogue…she deserved SO much better than this.

Jaime…that fight with Euron (how the fuck did he survive btw, another stupid thing in a long line of them) was contrived and utterly ridiculous…he somehow found his way to Cersei at the end of it…and he died with the woman he loved in his arms. How touching. But wait…THAT Jaime who knighted Brienne and had sex with her? That Jaime who stayed behind in Winterfell until he SUDDENLY decided he had to go and be with the love of his life after all?? Yeah, that one, because the writers yet again wanted to end all this as quickly as possible and destroyed all the character building that had gone on for entire seasons.

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My favourite bit last night was the scene between Tyrion and Jaime btw, it reminded me of a time when GoT actually made sense and could be emotional and didn’t try hard to steamroll my favourite characters.

CleganeBowl was great too but once again it was part of an episode that packed far too much in. It kind of diminished something that had been coming for a LONG time.

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I’m not sure what they were doing with Arya, I think that after she – kind of quickly and easily gave up on her revenge plans – served mainly as a witness to the horrors visited upon King’s Landing’s inhabitants…all the people Dany is supposed to care about, the poor, the powerless, the REAL people.

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I most probably left lots of stuff out, but to conclude: last night’s episode LOOKED great: the dragon unleashing hell, the carnage, the blood, the buildings collapsing, the people screaming, the burning bodies, the ash, the dust…visually, I can’t really fault it. But that’s all it was, style and no substance. Which might satisfy some people but most of us care a great deal more about content.

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I am so, SO disappointed by this last season. I spent the time during the breaks and after the episode messaging with people who all, without any exception, felt as pissed off as I did. We felt CHEATED.

I read this on Twitter and it echoed my own thoughts so much, I’m ending this rant with it:

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For anybody who wants a more measured review, you can check out Tom’s blog: Game of Thrones: The Final Season (NO spoilers)

Stranger Things 2 – Some thoughts.

More Stranger Things, this time via Tom who manages to write about it with NO spoilers much better than I ever could. Which is why he has a (brilliant) novel available in all good bookshops, and I don’t. Please go like on his blog 🙂

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

No spoilers – unless you are unaware of the 1980s taste in peach bathrooms.  

It’s hard to remember a more eagerly anticipated TV series than Stranger Things 2. Even the NME has jumped the bandwagon, where once it would have sneered from the touchline.

There were some new episodes of Peppa Pig recently, but even that pales against ST2, which it isn’t called as it sounds closer to STD than is comfortable. There is always Dr Who of course, the anticipation of which invariably outstrips the actual experience of watching it; viewers are generally lobotomised by incomprehension twenty minutes in. Dr. Who takes its incomprehensibility seriously. If at least one person doesn’t abandon it screaming with frustration at tattered memories of having been once able to coherently understand TV programmes then it’s not doing its job.

With its immaculately 80s synths soundtrack Stranger Things is the Ryan Gosling neo-noir…

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Stranger Things

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I’ve been really excited about Stranger Things coming back, an excitement tinged with apprehension because I LOVED the first season and there is always a (very high) risk “they” won’t get it right the second time round.

Since I’m not watching this alone, I wasn’t allowed to binge watch which is probably a good thing. Two episodes was the limit set by my viewing companion last night and he wasn’t going to be swayed. Ok then, I guess I do need someone to rein me in at times.

So, what was it like being immersed in Hawkins again? So freaking good. I was an 80’s kid and this show is the ultimate gift for me: I would happily watch it just for the soundtrack, movie references, bad hairstyles, awful fashion choices and the video games – a mere mention of Atari and I’m quivering, instantly transported back to a time when gaming was new, crude but so much effing fun.

But of course, Stranger Things is so much more than 80’s nostalgia – I’m not going to spoil anything for anyone, let’s just say that I was hooked all over again with episode 1 which felt somewhat like being plunged in one of the early Stephen King stories.

The cast is as good as ever, I bloody love those kids and Dustin is still my favourite: I have shamelessly asked countless people why they were “keeping the curiosity door locked” in the last few months, which is a good way of separating the wheat from the chaff actually. Either people give you a blank look or they just high 5 you without even bothering with any other response and you know you’ve found one of your tribe. Incidentally I have been told that high fiving after the age of 30 is despicable and it probably is, but do I give a fuck? Hell no.

Can I also say that Sheriff Hopper is my favourite Sheriff in the history of both sheriffs and TV (followed closely by Sheriff Romero in Bates Motel) and if he doesn’t get with Joyce at some point, it’s going to be tragic. Yes, I know she is dating Bob right now but there’s no way that’s going to last because it’s just a ridiculous pairing.

I’m also curious as to what’s going to happen with the Nancy/Steve/Jonathan love triangle – I usually have strong opinions in such cases, but not this time as I have equal sympathy for Steve and Jonathan.

We’re getting to know Will who was mainly absent – for obvious reasons – from the first season and we have some interesting additions to the cast in the form of Max and Billy. Well, Max particularly I want to see more of, Billy I’m still ambivalent about.

And of course (of course) there is Eleven, our mysterious flawed gem, who is so far isolated from the other kids, a state of affair that can’t go on for long or I’m going to be very disappointed indeed.

So, I’ve done this: wrote about Stranger Things without mentioning the plot – I cannot be accused of spoiling anything for anyone this time. But I needed to write about it as the viewing companion was unwilling to keep discussing the lone 2 episodes we’ve seen so far. In fact, his actual words were: “enough, Nat, it is JUST a TV show, go and tell people on your blog about it if you must.”
I told him he was a philistine and (in a fit of exaggeration) the worst viewing companion ever – and then wrote this.

Seriously though, if you haven’t given Stranger Things a go yet, please do so. Even if you’re indifferent to the whole 80’s vibe, it is well worth watching.

It’s all over for now

Night King and Dragon

I wrote a little something after every episode this season so I have to add my final thoughts.

The finale was VERY satisfying, despite how they’ve rushed things to get to it.

The fact Arya and Sansa were playing Littlefinger all along was a “thank fuck for that” moment, because the alternative would have made no sense, especially (as I said last week) with Bran being this all-knowing person now. So Littlefinger’s days of plotting and scheming are over – about time.

The whole meeting in the Dragon pit was interesting, stellar acting from Lena Headey (Cersei), as per usual. The fact the meeting didn’t really achieve anything was no surprise, it was a silly idea – it was obvious bringing a wight to Cersei was never going to sway her. That meeting happened for one reason only: so we could get all the main protagonists in one place.

I really enjoyed the scene between Cersei and Tyrion, I was also incredibly relieved Jaime finally called time on his relationship with his demented sister – I knew he would do the right thing in the end. It just made sense, but their parting was nonetheless heartbreaking.

Jon and Dany did the deed. Humph. I found that scene kinda sickly. It’s strange because incest didn’t disturb me when it was Cersei and Jaime – theirs was such a fascinating relationship and it really felt like love, especially in the first few seasons. But Jon and Dany, I can’t get with it.

I know we have been told by different characters that they were “falling for each other”, etc…but I never saw it myself. When did they? They looked at each other a bit, ok, but didn’t really spend that much time together, didn’t really have meaningful talks…it just doesn’t feel right. They have got together because it’s expected, because it adds a twist, but not because they have been swept away by love and lust – I’m just not buying it. I can’t be the only one to see there’s zero chemistry between them two. 

That’s another difference between this incestuous love affair and the Lannister one: Cersei and Jaime, we have seen their relationship grow and evolve over time (all 7 seasons) while Jon and Dany met and pretty much got together instantly – it was rushed, like so many other things in season 7.

Also, Jon has been confirmed as Aegon Targaryen – rightful heir to the throne. We all knew by now, but to have Bran look back and say it was still a satisfying moment. Or it was for me anyway, as I started championing Jon as the Targaryen who was the legitimate heir YEARS ago when most people looked at me rather dubiously when I mentioned it.
Will any of us be able to stop calling him Jon though? I doubt it.

The wall crumbling gave us some breathtaking scenes. That dead dragon is as awesome as I thought it would be. It’s just a shame the plot plunged to ridiculous depths to have the Night King acquire his WMD. I’m sure he could have done so in a much more believable way. But anyway, that ending was epic, the sight of the White Walkers and their army standing underneath the wall before it was breached and they marched ahead was fucking fantastic.

How long will we have to wait for the ending? Some have said it might take 2 years, I bloody hope not but it probably will. Apparently there will only be 6 episodes in the last season, that worries me because we still have to deal with the White Walkers, Jon finding out about who he really is, how it’s going to affect his relationship with Dany, who’s finally going to end on the Iron Throne, etc…I bet they are going to rush the ending, like they rushed this season. I’d rather wait longer and for them to really do things properly, but of course it is not up to me.

In any case, I can’t wait for the ending though I’m going to be distraught when it’s all over. Despite the many flaws this last season, Game of Thrones is incredible TV. After the finale last night, I was so pumped up I couldn’t sleep for ages even though I had stayed up till 2am to watch it – as I have been doing every Sunday since Season 7 started.

On a final note, I must say the soundtrack has been absolutely amazing – I don’t think I had mentioned it up to now.

Winter has come, will it ever end? We must wait to find out.

Lazy plot, amazing visuals

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Who thought sending main characters beyond the wall was a good idea?
It was Jon, wasn’t it, who decided to go, as if bringing Cersei a white walker is going to make any difference.

Anyway, I always thought it was a stupid, IDIOTIC plan but now I know why it happened – so the Night King could acquire a weapon of mass destruction therefore making his army even MORE powerful than it already is.

The latest episode had some good dialogue (the banter really was great) and brilliant visual scenes, but it was let down by the plot.

Our little gang are confronted by hundreds of white walkers…because, what else could possibly have happened??!! I’m going back to the fact going beyond the wall was utterly stupid – what happened was inevitable.

And now, I mention AGAIN fast travel. I’m sorry, but if it has been ridiculous up to now, last night it was just TOO much.

We can assume the guys have gone a fair way beyond the wall by this point and yet…

Gendry goes running back to the wall in record time and…

they send a raven to Dany which must be a magical one that covers hundreds of miles in a few hours…

so Daenerys can come to the rescue with her dragons which presumably also cover hundreds of miles within hours.

So, just in the nick of time, our heroes are all saved, though…

the Night King, for no discernible reason, decides to switch his SITTING target of Daenerys on her dragon to a much more difficult, further away AND moving one: flying Viserion.
Why??

Well, simply because we can’t lose Daenyris and everyone else, and we must have the Night King acquire his WMD – but still, it was badly done.

Then of course Jon gets left behind – for NO good reason – and falls (is dragged) below the ice. Only to come out again to what looks like certain death but…

deus ex machina alert – and that was just too much, too predictable, too easy, too lazy.

The Night King is clearly no fool – as well as being an ace thrower – and he controls those dead things, would he really not have realised the ice was now solid enough to hold them all until the hound started foolishly throwing stones?

This entire beyond the wall section was just so badly done, plot wise.

Then, we have Arya fast becoming annoying even though I usually LOVE her. I can’t stand Sansa, and while I think she may have some vague desire to become queen, I don’t see her betraying Jon. Also, she WAS just a kid when she sent that letter, why couldn’t Arya with her training – which supposedly taught her about the art of lying – see that?
More to the point, why can’t she sense Littlefinger is messing with them both? And why isn’t Bran interfering with his all-seeing mind?
This whole thing between the sisters feels forced, more lazy writing there as well.

AND, Sansa said yesterday: I haven’t heard from Jon in weeks. Ok, that makes sense, ravens are flying from the wall to Dany in the blink of an eye but Jon hasn’t managed to send a raven to his sister in weeks, to, you know, let her know he’s ok!

In other news, Jon finally bent the knee – not literally, but he did. While the entire world wants him and Dany to get together, I don’t. All I can think of is: you can do better Jon.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see what they come up with for the season finale, and I am SO excited about the Night King having his own dragon – that should make for some truly amazing visuals and epic scenes in the very last season. Just another year to wait.

The mad arrogant hypocritical queen

Daenerys: I will help you fight the army of the dead…if you bend the knee

Jon looks away…

Daenerys: Are you going to let your pride get in the way of helping/saving your people?

Ok, here’s the thing: the White Walkers aren’t just Jon’s problem, they’re her problem too, they’re everybody’s problem! The arrogant, hypocritical bitch is letting HER pride get in the way of helping/saving her people and ALL the people.

She’s stuck on her stupid birthright (not even worth anything since, hello, Jon, but never mind) while he, totally ignorant of who he really is only cares about saving the WORLD.

I think it’s quite clear here who DESERVES to rule.

And that dragon scene may have been epic but it just highlighted that Daenerys is as much a villain as everyone else playing the game of thrones.

I felt exactly like Tyrion did when he watched his countrymen get burnt to a crisp with a desolate expression on his face. I could hardly believe it because – I LOVE dragons – but I wanted that one to get shot down.

What did Jon say to her earlier on in the episode? “If you go burning everything, you’re just more of the same” – I’m paraphrasing here like I did above, BUT she showed that she is indeed just more of the same. And there’s no way I believe Jaime is gone.

Any little remaining sympathy I may have had for Daenerys is now gone after the latest episode: arrogant and hypocritical is what she has proved herself to be and totally unfit to rule.

More than ever I believe in Jon: the true AND deserving heir – nobody else should sit on the Iron Throne. Certainly not a prideful bitch.

*This is my 5 minutes rant written on the train*

Wit always wins

 

Khaleesi and Jon

This is probably going to be a very unpopular post but what the fuck, things have to be said.

Khaleesi is losing it: she’s become arrogant as hell and if I hear her go on about her “birthright” one more time, I’m going to do something real bad.

To be clear, I used to love this girl in the beginning. As recently as last year I wrote a post dedicated to her – I even got half naked to recreate THAT moment when she came out of the burning hut unscathed: Queen 

But, too much stuff has happened and she now just irritates the hell out of me.

Yes, she has united a bunch of people to fight for her, but let’s remember:

1. She’s hot (always helps, I’m sorry but it’s a fact)

2. She has DRAGONS

3. She’s a Targaryien

Then we have Jon Snow who’s also managed to unite people and he:

Has no dragons

Is a bastard

This was perfectly highlighted in last night’s episode when Khaleesi was introduced to Jon with a list of titles as long as my arm and Jon was just…”Jon Snow”.

Then she expected him to bend the knee…

What can I say…I was muttering darkly in front of the screen:

“Don’t do it, Jon…don’t do it…DON’T YOU DARE!”

I have never loved him as much as when he declined to bend that fucking knee. Because, WHY the fuck should he? He has demonstrated leadership skills far beyond what she has. As he said, he owes her NOTHING.
I have complained in the past that dragon girl is too much of a liberal but that’s exactly what she is.

Cersei got it right when she said Khaleesi is a revolutionary, not a ruler. She wants to free all the slaves and for everyone to be safe and happy, she’s basically Jeremy Corbyn with no sense of the economical or political repercussions her actions might have.

A deluded liberal who went on about what she has been through: she was sold and raped, etc…awful, yes.

But Jon was raised as a bastard, basically an undesirable, ended up on the bloody wall, had to face a dead army, had to give up the love of his life, was actually murdered…and you didn’t see him going on about his misery in that episode, did you? No, it was left to Davos to tell Dany that, actually, Jon has been through shit as well. And he got on with it and he doesn’t even want to rule! I bet if you asked him what he wishes for the most, it would be for Ygritte to be alive and to live for the rest of his days in that cave with her – that cave where they made sweet, sweet love.

I CANNOT wait for Khaleesi “I was born to rule” to learn that actually, there might be another Targaryien left with a claim to the throne that precedes hers. I really cannot wait for that moment.

Also: khaleesi brought back dragons that everybody thought were gone forever and yet she doesn’t believe in the White Walkers? Er…

All that said, the episode belonged to the Lannisters. It’s no secret I love them, because they are fascinating characters and because they always have all the best lines. Wit always wins with me and Tyrion and Cersei are just gifts, so it was good to see the family get plenty of screen time last night. Tyrion was absolutely brilliant, as ever – I’ve wanted him as my best friend since I started watching the show because, that man drinks and knows things! That’s enough, nothing else is needed – he’s perfect.

And Cersei totally stole the show. Yes she’s a bitch and yes she won’t rule for long, but man has she got style! I have to say it: if someone had murdered my daughter, I would also lie awake at night thinking of intricate ways to get revenge. And what Cersei came up with was fucking perfect: devilishly cruel – I cheered that kiss of death – yes, I fucking did, I loved it. There is none of that “don’t look back in anger” with Cersei, she does what I would do and hits her enemies a hundred times harder than they’ve hit her – my kind of woman.

Have to say quickly that Euron Greyjoy is a joke: they might have dressed him as some kind of incongruous rockstar but he’s hammy as fuck and frankly annoying. I’m surprised Jaime has managed to refrain from sticking his head on a spike. And Jaime is the bomb btw, I love this character so, so much.

Episode 3 was easily the best of the season so far. I have resigned myself to the utter RIDICULOUSNESS of the relationship between travel and time this season. It started on the previous season actually but it’s totally out of control now and makes NO sense, but whatever. So I’ve accepted that people get to wherever they’re going – next door or across the seas – seemingly in a day.

I don’t mind suspending disbelief because this is after all, fantasy, but there are limits to what I’m willing to ignore. How can a guy who had the entire fleet on his island stolen come back that quickly with a THOUSAND ships?

“Build me a thousand ships!” he roared at the end of the previous season – and they did! On an island made of rocks where there are no trees. Not to mention the extensive labour and time needed to build just ONE SHIP, let alone a thousand.

And HOW can he somehow land on the one ship his niece and nephew are on in the freaking middle of the night? While conveniently interrupting the girl on girl action that was just about to get underway? How can he destroy their fleet without any damage to his own?

Don’t even get me started on Sam curing Jorah by just following “the instructions in a book” while experienced maesters have tried and failed, often losing their lives in the process. Who knew the cure to Greyscale was that straightforward? Just remove the affected skin and apply ointment afterwards…er…REALLY???? Give me a break.

Sansa is now a ruler, she knows how to organise food supplies, plan for the winter, she knows EXACTLY what the blacksmiths should be doing, just like THAT.

Oh man, I wish they hadn’t rushed filming this season because it really shows.

I must end on Lady Olenna though because she managed to have the (devastating) last word after swallowing her poison. To die while totally gut punching your killer? Respect. She’ll be missed.

Higher plane

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A love dark and twisted,

based on crossing—fully aware—the gates of Dante’s Hell

plunging in and emerging out of each other’s minds

finding parallels, like in no one else

different, but the same—on a higher plane

finding its equal in the echoes of Giotto frescoes

a few stark and mournful piano notes

conjured up by a virtuoso more than two centuries ago 

mutual admiration coupled with manipulation

adding to a need—greed—burning and consuming

leads to an operatic and Gothic blood fest in lieu of sex

this elitist love is a nightmare painted with sanguine shades

a baroque moon, of its pale light bled

intense as an hypnotic belly dance performed in a pit filled with poisonous snakes

beautiful, pathological, impossible

only death

can reconcile the irreconcilable

*I have now finished the last season of Hannibal. I did the whole binge watching thing with the first 2 seasons but tried to make the third one last because I just didn’t want it to end. I do (really, truly, madly) hope the show gets picked up again, but if it doesn’t, the Season 3 finale was just perfect—just how I would have ended it if I’d been in charge. It was – the word is overused and devalued but it’s the only one fitting here – beautiful. And now, I shall hopefully stop boring everyone with my obsession with the fascinating psychopath and maybe also quit acting like such a fangirl (no chance) *

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