In defense of chick lit

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Note: I use “chick lit” to refer to female-driven stories which often combine romance and humour. I use this term both for simplicity, and because I refuse to be ashamed of this description.

My first loves were Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. Their beautiful, perfect lives in sunny Sweet Valley were the stuff of fairy tales, and I couldn’t get enough. Growing up, I made weekly library trips where I formed a sky-high stack of Sweet Valley books that I rushed home to devour.

The Sweet Valley universe involved kidnappings, love triangles, stalkers, and betrayals among friends. I learned about writing all kinds of different plots, and the various elements of character development. The books also gave me hope that although I was the polar opposite of the Wakefield twins, with my brown skin and frizzy dark hair, I too could have an active social life, friends, and an attractive boyfriend.

The Babysitter’s Club soon joined my rotation of books. I learned about the power of female friendships, and followed the gang as they solved countless mysteries — sparking an interest in the mystery genre as a whole. Inspired by Claudia, I explored my artsy, creative side; as a soccer player, I delighted in Abby’s love for the sport and threw myself further into it.

In my teens, I read what would become one of my favourite books: Bridget Jones’ Diary. It was my first time reading a book in the comedy genre, which introduced me to a whole new, wonderful side to reading. As I laughed so hard that tears streamed down my face, I realized that books weren’t only meant to be an escape; they could simultaneously be funny too.

I remember also feeling relief at finally seeing myself in a character — a messy, disorganized woman, prone to daydreams and time-blindness. I found comfort in the realism of Bridget, a woman who was constantly on a quest for self-improvement and weight loss, only to repeat her same patterns of behaviour. I reveled in the fact that such an imperfect woman still got the man and job of her dreams, giving me confidence in my own imperfectness.

Bridget Jones then led me to another iconic literary character — Becky Bloomwood, of the Confessions of a Shopaholic series. Her ridiculous, over-the-top nature (which was, at times, unnervingly relatable) provided a familiar, inviting form of storytelling.

Throughout my foray into chick lit, I’ve continued to be amazed by the ability of these female authors’ abilities to create vivid and hysterical escapades, and deftly perfect the balance between realism and escapism.

When I read Something Borrowed and Something Blue, I fell in love with the idea of telling the same story from different perspectives. It’s fascinating to consider how our personal worldviews impact our perceptions of a factual event.

I later read First Comes Love, written by the same author, which explored the complexities of relationships. Long after finishing the book, I reflected on the compromises that are necessary in romantic and platonic relationships, and what it truly means to support a loved one.

I’ve often thought about why chick lit tends to be either overlooked or met with disdain.

Are the storylines simply too unrealistic? But that doesn’t account for the popularity of stories with male protagonists who are, all at once, spies, fighting champions, tech-savvy, attractive, muscled, and fluent in multiple languages. And yet, the Bourne series isn’t dismissed as simply being “bro lit” on account of its non-realism. Why was it then so hard to respect a story involving a clumsy female magazine editor who finds love?

Is the writing in chick lit too elementary? I’m no professional critic (though I sure like to criticize), but I don’t recall John Grisham displaying the pinnacle of impressive writing. Without pitting male and female authors against each other, I haven’t noticed that chick lit authors are (generally) any less adept at writing than their counterparts in other genres.

In fact, in my experience, comedy writing is the toughest form of writing. It’s incredibly difficult to make jokes come to life on paper and to articulate the quirky nuances of a character — much more difficult than, say, writing about a car chase. The fact that so many chick lit authors weave in both comedy and romance is a skill that deserves more respect.

Are chick lit plots too simplistic? I can accept that not a ton happens in these stories; boy meets girl, an obstacle comes between them, the obstacle is overcome.

But… don’t bestsellers and award-winning books often contain equally simple storylines? There isn’t anything particularly complex about a male federal agent tasked with taking down a spy (and falling in love in the process). Nor does it blow me away to read about a male drifter who takes a long road trip. And does anything *truly* happen in The Great Gatsby?

Is chick lit not progressive enough? There is certainly an argument to be made that chick lit promotes outdated concepts: the “need” to be in a relationship, heteronormative romance, and a general lack of diversity. I don’t disagree. But the question here isn’t whether chick lit is problematic in and of itself — rather, why is it that chick lit is dismissed compared to other genres?

There are precious few critically-acclaimed books that have any diversity (though this is starting to change). There are even fewer books that don’t involve a romance of some kind. So why does chick lit get the brunt of the criticism?

It’s also worth noting that the disdain towards chick lit has been around for a while — long before woke culture entered the scene. I’m hard-pressed to believe that this is the true reason for why this genre is looked down on.

(And if we’re being candid, chick lit’s harshest critics tend to be men. I’m not convinced that their concerns are rooted in feminism and equality.)

So where does that leave us? If it’s not the above reasons, why is chick lit the target of so much derision?

It’s difficult to not boil it down to one simple reason: it’s a woman’s realm. It’s the same reason that religion is revered, while witchcraft is dismissed as kooky nonsense (news flash: they are the same thing). It’s the same reason that female-dominated industries, such as hairstyling, administrative work, and cleaning, are among the lowest-paying professions.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, the work, skills, and accomplishments of women are often devalued. Chick lit is no exception.

But rather than pretend it’s any less worthy of respect, I proudly read and support chick lit. I openly peruse the “beach reads” sections of bookstores (albeit, virtually, for the time being). I showcase my beloved pink-jacketed paperbacks on public transit, and unashamedly tell my colleagues that, why yes, I am reading the newest installment of the Shopaholic series.

Chick lit has immeasurably shaped my life and my writing. It has made me laugh in dark times, made me think about the intricacies of relationships, and introduced me to imaginative ways of storytelling. I am in awe of the fearless, talented female authors who have brought these stories to life, and will continue to support their work every chance I get.

Speaking Times, Equality, and Kamala Harris: Why The End Result Doesn’t Matter

Like most women, the Vice-Presidential debate evoked strong feelings for me. Watching Mike Pence repeatedly go over his allotted time and interrupt Kamala Harris enraged me. Watching the moderator allow him to do so enraged me even further. And hearing the moderator unfairly try to get Harris to stick to her time almost made me lose my mind.

The debate ended with me frustrated that Pence got so much more speaking time, and my mind started spinning with the imbalance of it all.

But remarkably, it turned out that the two of them had almost identical speaking time: 

  • 36 minutes and 27 seconds for Pence
  • 36 minutes and 24 seconds for Harris 

This took a bit of time for me to digest – was it possible that Pence didn’t steamroll her as much as I thought? Could I have unfairly focused on his interruptions more so than I did hers? And if the speaking times didn’t lie, why had I initially been so convinced that Harris had spoken less?

Then it dawned on it – she demanded her speaking time; and quite literally at one point, by pointedly saying to the (useless) moderator: “I’d like equal time.” In another instance, she had to point out to the moderator that Pence had interrupted her time, and she therefore wanted an opportunity to finish her response.

This was an all-too-real illustration of what goes on everyday in every workplace – an end result appears to be equal between men and women, and people overlook what it took for that equality to happen. We often don’t consider the behind-the-scenes behaviour, where women are forced to advocate for themselves and demand equality when others, be it a manager or a moderator, are willing to favour men. 

Sure, a woman can become a CEO; but people often forget that in order for that to have happened, she likely had to work longer hours, make more sacrifices in her personal life than the men in her position, and fight for opportunities that would have otherwise defaulted to her male colleagues. And for every Kamala Harris telling Mike Pence that she’s still speaking, there’s another 10 women being interrupted in meetings, with the meeting organizers allowing it to happen. 

The speaking times here serve as a cautionary tale of how anecdotal evidence can be used to dismiss actual inequities: “See, men don’t constantly interrupt women, Mike and Kamala had equal speaking time!”, “How can you say Black women are marginalized? Oprah and Michelle Obama are two of the most powerful figures in the world!”

Yes, all of the above are true. But snippets of anecdotes, which only show the end result, do a disservice to the journey that those women had to take to get to that point. More crucially, such ill-informed arguments do a disservice to the greater segment of women who put in every effort, only to continue to be overlooked. These kinds of arguments effectively say to such women, “If you’re not successful, it’s because of you. You’re not trying hard enough, because [insert the one rare example of a successful woman] proves that you can do it IF YOU SIMPLY PUT YOUR MIND TO IT.” Eye roll.

I’m glad that Harris advocated for herself. I’m glad that she set an example of how women can demand equality without being aggressive or argumentative, and I enjoyed her demonstration of two simple, powerful words: I’m speaking. But perversely, she almost made it look too effortless, too easy. 

The unfortunate reality is that those without a nuanced understanding of how things played out during the debate may have been left with the impression that Harris was treated just as fairly as her male counterpart. That simply was not the case; if there was any equality, it was only because Harris forced it. 

It’s certainly a starting point, but in a world when women have to demand fairness, even from the very people responsible for ensuring it, we still have a long way to go.

White, Male Privilege Illustrated – Questions And Tea

Rapid-Fire Reviews: Oscars 2020 edition

Expectation when writing movie reviews: write thoughtful, nuanced reviews in a leisurely manner a la Carrie Bradshaw.

Reality: realize that you dropped the ball, the Oscars are imminent and feel an obligation to simply write something

Which brings us to Rapid-Fire Reviews, an assortment of brief reviews about various Oscar-nominated movies, just in time for the 2020 Oscars on February 9. Perfect for those short on reading (and writing) time!

In order of most to least-liked, I present to you my rambling thoughts on Parasite, 1917, The Irishman, Little Women, and Marriage Story.

2020 Best Picture nominees


WOW. Where to begin. 

Truthfully, this was not a movie I planned on seeing, because for some weird reason, I assumed it would be a weird, disturbing horror movie with gore, in the same vein as The Ring or Bird Box. No idea why I thought this. Maybe because of the title? Anyway. Once the Oscars hype started rolling in, I began to feel like maybe I needed to see it. I was also assured that, while creepy, it was not gory-creepy (thank you, MKM), so I felt confident that my delicate heart would be able to handle it. 

The movie starts off on a humorous note, as we watch a poor, but close-knit family, con their way into working for a rich family, who live in a house that I could only dream of. With hilarious deft and a knack for getting into the heads of their employer family, I took delight in their antics and you really can’t help but root for them (though of course, recognizing that the poor driver and housekeeper got pretty screwed over). 

This isn’t so bad. What a nice little comedy about a family working together to make ends meet. Not disturbing at all! I thought to myself as I chuckled along. 

Well. Things took a turn when the housekeeper showed up, revealing a hidden-away secret in the basement bunker – her husband. A series of mishaps result in three families being torn apart. It all ends on a heartbreaking and frustrating note, and I can’t help but blame the mother, who, hypocritically, didn’t just agree to look after the housekeeper’s husband. 

Sooo yeah. Not such a comedy after all. It’s a heavy, beautiful movie that managed to live up to all of the hype. It’s gorgeously shot, disturbing, depressing, funny and infuriating all at once (side note: it also confirms every fear I’ve ever had about hiring help in my home). It’s a strange movie in that I’m not sure what the “takeaway” is – Don’t con people? Be willing to help others? Don’t hire a tutor for your daughter? But regardless, it’s a unique must-see that stays with you long after the credits roll.


How is it possible for a movie to have fantastic acting, truly mind-blowing cinematography, and a gorgeous score… yet still be painfully boring and slow?

Somehow, 1917 manages just that. Kudos?

I’m pretty over war movies in general – I mean, we get it, it was a rough time. And while I understand that it provides for easy Oscars bait, it just feels so overdone (plus, will anything ever truly top Pearl Harbor??). I was curious to see what, if anything, set 1917 apart.

One answer came pretty quickly when I realized that it was shot in a one-scene style. Which is cool, but after Birdman, it now feels a bit derivative. I enjoyed the surprise appearances from Mark Darcy Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch – I imagine it’s now a royal decree that every British movie must feature these two actors. 

It’s hard to make a war movie without amazing cinematography, but 1917 still surpasses expectations with some truly beautiful scenes; notably, the chopped-down cherry orchard scene, and, most impressively, the nighttime sequence featuring a city on fire (this one really took my breath away). And like I said, there was some great acting going on, and a very epic, soaring musical score. If it wasn’t for Joker, I’d have no problem with 1917 winning Best Score. 

If there was one thing that truly struck me, it was the realization that the soldiers in the two world wars were such young kids. It seems obvious in hindsight, but I think I’d always imagined soldiers to have been more “men”-like – older, muscular, rugged men who braved the trenches (or whatever war lingo is). But this movie really put things into perspective – the soldiers were in fact pretty young boys who were tasked with an unbearably heavy mission. So while I didn’t find the story itself to be overly compelling, this movie did move me in an unexpected way. 

That all being said… I think Parasite was the superior movie and it will be a shame if, as predicted, 1917 walks away with the top prize. Despite the flash and showiness of 1917, its storytelling is just not Best Picture-worthy. 

The Irishman

Another one of those “Well it’s gotten a lot of hype so I guess I’ll have to see it even though I don’t enjoy mob movies” types of movies. Mercifully, this one’s on Netflix so it was much easier to commit to the three hours of required viewing.

Honestly? I didn’t hate it. I found myself being pulled into the story pretty quickly (I guess that Robert De Niro guy knows how to tell a story). I didn’t know much about the cast or story, and found myself being drawn in more once I realized that this was based on a true story. Although honestly, it’s now hard for me to believe that a guy can be tough if his last name is Sheeran. 

But it was an interesting story and I generally found it to be a well-done movie – and not only because of the incredible de-aging effects applied. As someone who is put off by the machismo of mob movies, I nonetheless found myself invested in the characters and their hurdles. And it’s an educational film to boot! I now have excellent knowledge of various mobsters and Jimmy Hoffa to bust out at my next cocktail party.

However, I did need to keep reminding myself that De Niro, Pesci and Pacino were all of a sudden not Italian in this movie – a very difficult thing to accept. Also, these three and Scorsese really need to branch out and make some new friends. They might be shocked to learn that they can, in fact, make movies with other people. 

My only gripe? The last hour was incredibly depressing and provided an all-too-real look at how horrible and lonely life is when you’re old. That really could have been all cut out so as to allow me to live in blissful ignorance.   

Little Women

I have a deep-rooted connection to this story. It’s the first “real” book that I read, and like so many other people, it’s truly a classic for me. And as with any other classic, I tend to believe that there’s no real reason to recreate it. The story and characters are already iconic, why mess with it? When I saw the trailer, I was pretty underwhelmed and was comfortable just not seeing it altogether.

But then awards season rolled around. When I saw its slew of nominations, I figured I needed to see what the fuss was about. 

Well… true to my instincts, I was thoroughly underwhelmed by the movie. Not because it was bad – but because it really wasn’t anything special. The problem with already knowing a story inside and out is that you need something truly extraordinary in a remake – and I just didn’t see that in Greta Gerwig’s version of it. The story pretty well played out as in the book. With the exception of the time-hopping (which I concede was a cool touch), everything went as predicted. 

For all the comments I kept hearing about how this was a ‘feminist take’ on the story that ‘made space for Jo’s queerness’ (actual quote from a headline), I just didn’t get it. IT WAS BASICALLY THE BOOK. 

Further underwhelming me was the way the characters were brought to life. I found them all to be tepid, watered-down versions of their book descriptions – Jo didn’t have the raw wildness and hot temper that I expected, and goody-two-shoes Emma Watson didn’t quite persuade me that she was the materialistic Meg March. While Laura Dern is a fantastic actress for certain kinds of roles, the martyr-esque role of Marmee March was just a tad too unbelievable (especially after her more believable, bitchy performances in Big Little Lies and Marriage Story). The actress that played Beth creeped the hell out of me in Sharp Objects, so I simply couldn’t look past that. And Florence Pugh was annoying as Amy… which… okay, I guess that was fairly true to the book. Though is it anti-feminist of me to say that she looked too old to play Amy? Again, not convincing.

Timothee Chalamet was a great casting choice though, so points there. 

But overall, I just didn’t love the movie. Granted, it’s a difficult and detailed book to adapt into a two-hour feature – but as a result, the movie’s pacing was off and felt choppy. I imagine that those who hadn’t read the book would have felt confused by Laurie’s sudden switch from Jo to Amy (and rightly so – that whole storyline is pretty icky when you think about it). 

I’m all for female-led movies, but this one just didn’t make the cut for me. 

Marriage Story

I mean… it was okay. I guess. 

First of all, despite all the comments about how incredibly depressing this movie was and how it provided a nuanced, complex look at marriage, I did not see this. At all. Maybe because I already have a pretty firm grasp on what divorce proceedings entail, and the dirty antics that can come with it, I didn’t really find anything about this movie to be overly depressing. Nor did I feel that their divorce was particularly interesting, complex or unique. 

Second, the reviews made it seem as though I’d be conflicted about which protagonist I sided with – but honestly, I was pretty firmly in the Adam Driver Camp throughout the whole movie, and found ScarJo’s character annoying. 

While not a terrible movie, it really didn’t live up to all the hype. It was an okay movie about divorce proceedings, though with a pretty fantastic performance from Laura Dern who is no doubt finalizing her Oscars acceptance speech.


Despite all evidence to the contrary, I’ve put down Parasite as my office pool pick to take home Best Picture. Wishful thinking perhaps, but it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out tonight!


Is it weird to describe a movie as beautiful? More specifically, is it weird to describe Joker as beautiful? For such a grimy movie set in the 80’s, and starring the ever-creepy Joaquin Phoenix no less, it was executed in a surprisingly romantic and gorgeous fashion. 

Naturally, I imagined that this movie would serve as the Joker’s origin story. But I wasn’t sure how such an origin story could be pulled off; after all, isn’t the point of the character that we don’t know exactly what made him so deranged? 

There was also a part of me that didn’t want a definitive backstory for this character, as the mystery added to his mystique. I felt conflicted between wanting to know the details of the Joker’s life and wanting them to remain a question mark.

We open with Gotham City in pretty dire straits; businesses are closing, people are mad at the fat cats, and there is general unpleasantness in the air (why are the 80s always depicted as such a miserable time?). Clowns are outside various storefronts holding up clearance signs. Weird sales strategy but ok. 

A bunch of no-good teenagers steal the sign of one clown (who we learn is Joaquin Phoenix), and he runs after them to get it back. This futile chase ends with him getting beaten up pretty badly, reinforcing my belief that teenagers are the absolute worst. It’s a pretty depressing, grim scene, and sets audiences up to have immediate sympathy for the character.

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Why so serious? Wait, wrong movie

The next scene isn’t much more jolly; we cut to Joaquin Phoenix uncontrollably laughing, yet simultaneously looking like he’s going to cry. It’s a weird, uncomfortable scene and all I wanted was for him to stop laughing. When he finally does, we see that he’s in a meeting with a government therapist/social worker-type person asking him how he’s feeling lately (short answer: not good). She refers to him as Arthur, which is just plain weird to hear. Admittedly not knowing the nitty gritty about the Joker, I have no idea whether his name has always been Arthur, or whether it was made up for this movie. In any case, it’s jarring to hear.

During this scene with his social worker, we don’t see a villain but rather, a lonely man with undeniable depression. It’s uncomfortable seeing depression that up close , and hearing him say what so many struggling people know to be true: he has negative thoughts all. the. time. This scene sets the stage for what would turn out to be a much-needed commentary on life with mental illness, and the consequences of a society that turns its back on the marginalized. 

Writing in his journal in one scene, Arthur delivers arguably the most profound statement of the movie: “The worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.” Beautiful, poetic, accurate, yet heartbreaking. 

This admittedly feels a little bit too on the nose in our current mental health-focused climate; back in the 80s, I’m not entirely sure that the phrase “mental illness” was even used. But I enjoyed the focus on this topic nonetheless, and the movie does a decent job of depicting what it’s like to live with mental illness in a society that cuts social service funding.

Throughout the movie, we see a surprisingly childlike, innocent side to Arthur; a gentle soul who helps his ailing mother, has aspirations of becoming a comedian and dreams of meeting his talk-show host idol (played fabulously by Robert DeNiro, a surprise treat in this movie). This side of Arthur caused me to feel almost maternally protective of him when learning that his uncontrollable laughter is actually a medical condition caused by damage to his brain (and what a laugh it is — creepy, sad and unsettling to listen to. Well done, Joaquin).

Unlike most origin stories, there isn’t a defined moment, or even a clear series of moments, that truly explain the Joker’s downward spiral. Sure, he has bad luck. But one fateful night on the subway, while dressed up in his clown outfit, he’s harassed by three Wall Street-type bros, causing him to snap. He shoots them without getting caught, and what happens next is one of the most beautiful scenes in the movie: with a dramatic score playing, he begins to dance. Effortlessly (if not slightly awkwardly), he moves his body to a stunning piece of music that has since been on repeat on my Spotify playlist. It’s totally unexpected but somehow, it just works. 

Image result for joker stills
dance monkey, dance

The dance sequences continue throughout the movie as Arthur morphs into his alter ego and incites protests by the ordinary folks of Gotham. Unintentionally, Arthur’s killings highlighted the rich-poor gap, and his clown getup, spotted by a witness to the murders, quickly becomes an iconic symbol throughout the city. Soon enough, protesters are donning their own clown masks and outfits as they rally against the rich , including the Thomas Wayne. 

The movie ends with Arthur, now having fully leaned into his Joker side, killing his talk show idol while on air, being embraced as a saviour by the protesters, and ultimately getting locked away in an asylum (the Arkham State Hospital, which interestingly enough, has not become the Arkham Asylum yet). To close out the movie, we’re left with the impression that he killed the psychologist with him in the final scene , as indicated by his bloody footprints as he walks out to a nice, old-timey song.

“Bloody footprints and an old-timey song” is a good summary of the entire movie — dark but comedic; heavy subject matter against an innocent protagonist. The music switches between a beautiful, orchestral score and light-hearted music from the 1950’s. It’s this juxtaposition that elevates Joker from a mere movie into a gorgeous work of art. 

The acting? Incredible. Joaquin Phoenix delivers an amazing performance that has all but guaranteed him the top acting award this year (though truly, I’m not sure that he had to do much “acting”, but that’s neither here nor there). The cinematography and score were equally impressive.

Batman fans will also enjoy the glimpse of a young Bruce Wayne, and the classic murder scene with his parents featuring that iconic pearl necklace. Though was I the only one surprised by the age gap between the Joker and Bruce Wayne/Batman?

However, I concede that plot itself did leave something to be desired, with not much actually happening in the movie. It also left sprinkles of unanswered questions – did Arthur kill his lady friend neighbor, Sophie? (The sirens in the next scene certainly implied as much)*. Did Arthur actually kill the psychologist in the final scene? (His bloody footprints afterwards also implied as much). What exactly happened to him throughout his life to cause the downwards spiral? Beyond a brief reference to his abusive stepdad and being tied to a radiator (sheesh), we simply don’t know very much. 

Image result for joker final scene hospital
Just some bloody footprints, nothing to see here

And that may have been the point of the whole movie – while we have flashes of information, glimpses into his past, and assumptions that we can make, we don’t know anything for sure. Who knows whether these gaps were intentional or simply due to sloppy writing; nonetheless, the end result leaves viewers with little more information than they walked in with, ensuring that the Joker continues to remain an enigma.

If you’re looking for a movie with a rich plot and a definitive backstory about the Joker, this won’t be it. But if you’re looking for the beautiful love child between an artsy indie movie and a comic book character, Joker is the movie for you. 

*Note: After researching the matter, I see that the director confirmed that Sophie was indeed alive at the end of the movie. He also confirmed that the entire relationship between Sophie and Arthur was a delusion in Arthur’s head, something that I missed entirely when watching the movie.

A Bump Along The Way

I don’t know how in good faith I can call myself a movie lover if I’ve never been to TIFF up until now. Every summer, I vow to carefully research the upcoming movies, consider which ones are generating awards season buzz and diligently get in the line for a ticket well in advance of the on-sale time.

Reality: in early September, I suddenly see an ad for TIFF, remember that it’s happening and haphazardly check what’s available on the horrendously counter-intuitive website (seriously TIFF, it’s 2019 – your website should not be this terrible). Seeing as how I am tragically not an industry insider, any popular movies are sold out long before people like me can buy tickets (looking at you, Joker).

But I committed to finally going this year and conveniently have a friend who, unlike me, had actually done her research. She sent me her list of movies and I randomly picked A Bump Along The Way. All I knew was that it was an Irish movie about a mother/daughter relationship and that a pregnancy was part of the storyline. Good enough.

The bold and funny opening scene introduces us to the main character, the fun-loving Pamela, celebrating her 44th birthday in the company of a much younger gentleman, Barry — in his work truck no less (you go girl). We next see Pamela nursing her hangover while her uptight, vegan daughter Allegra gets ready for school, scolding her mother about her dysfunctional state.

What first struck me about this movie was that everyone looked refreshingly… normal. Pamela had the body type of the average mom, wasn’t conventional-Hollywood attractive and even (gasp) had wrinkles. Allegra and her classmates all looked fresh-faced and natural, without the elaborate hairstyles and makeup so commonly seen on actors who play high school students.

I’m not sure if this is simply how Irish movies are done, or whether this is a byproduct of having a female director who understands what real women look like; but nonetheless, I appreciated the casting.

We learn that Pamela, against all odds, has become pregnant by Barry, sparking a journey for both Pamela and Allegra as they come to terms with this new change in circumstance. As the movie unfolds, we learn that while being outwardly polar opposites, they each grapple with an inability to stand up for themselves.

Image result for a bump along the way movie

Pamela works at an adorable bakery and gets along with everyone – almost to a fault. In her conversations with Barry about the pregnancy and Allegra’s dad about paying his share of child support, both men respond with aggressive dismissiveness and Pamela chooses to take the ‘high road’ by not engaging in an argument. In a conversation with her friend Sinead (you obviously can’t have an Irish movie without someone being named Sinead), Pamela says it’s not in her to take Allegra’s dad to court for the payment.

Unbeknownst to Pamela, Allegra has inherited her mother’s pushover ways and is grappling with bullying by her classmates. On paper, Allegra’s storyline in this movie sounds incredibly cliché: bullying, a crush on a boy who chooses her friend instead; ignoring her lifelong friend to hang out with the ‘cool kids’; constant bickering with her mother and a misplaced high regard for her dad.

But this movie explores these normal teenager issues with a thoughtfulness and nuance that leaves viewers both frustrated with and sympathetic to Allegra. Who hasn’t felt like an outsider at school and snapped up the first opportunity for social acceptance? Who among us hasn’t snapped at our mom and said regrettable things? It feels incredibly true to life and I again feel that this is reflective of a female director who has experienced these moments firsthand.

The movie also cleverly incorporates the realities of social media without being overly contrived; in one scene, an unflattering photo of Allegra is sent around to Allegra’s classmates. But it never feels like a cheesy after-school special and the movie doesn’t fall into the trap of blaming social media for all the problems of today. There’s nothing that makes me cringe more than a forced scene with someone talking about Facebook in an effort to make the movie seem modern.

It’s this fateful photo that causes Allegra’s teacher to call Pamela and advise her about Allegra being bullied. It then dawns on Pamela that Allegra has witnessed Pamela’s passivity all her life, causing her to react in the same way towards her own problems. Pamela realizes that to set a better example, she needs to be more assertive and develops a newfound confidence. It’s one thing to decide that you won’t be assertive for yourself, but I suppose it’s quite another to realize that your behaviour is impacting how your children cope with their problems.

A Bump Along The Way is a breath of fresh air that makes you think, yet doesn’t take itself too seriously as a movie.  With its Lady Bird-esque feel, it’s relatable for all viewers, regardless of gender, age or parental status (though if the person you most relate to is Barry, you may need to have a talk with yourself). It’s the mark of good storytelling that I, despite being neither a teenager, nor a mother, nor in my 40’s, was able to relate to so many elements of the movie and the characters’ challenges.

Gorgeously shot in Northern Ireland, the movie perfectly highlights the complexity of the relationships we have with one another and how we eventually make our way back to those who love us most. With positive reviews and a round of applause from the TIFF audience, Shelly Love has a lot to be proud of in her directorial debut.


Game of Thrones: S8E6 Reactions

  1. Sigh this season has been a horrendous letdown. There’s really no way they can wrap this up in a satisfying way, but hopefully they can salvage some of the storylines.
  2. We start with a casual stroll among the death and destruction caused by Daenerys. All these idiots look so shocked but honestly — you were warned!! You saw how irrational and ruthless Daenerys was. Ugh, honestly, men.
  3. Is that … snow? I’m confused. I first thought it was ash in the previous episode but it’s really coming down. And looks like it’s coming from the sky. Weird. (*It has been confirmed through subsequent research (ie Buzzfeed) that it was indeed ash. But I mean, really, it seemed like a tad too much. Though I’m not sure what is realistic when an entire city is torched, so maybe that’s the right amount?)
  4. Ooo where’s Tyrion off to?? Perhaps off to kill Daenerys??
  5. Hmm Tyrion walking past the bells got me thinking… who actually rang the bells? Jaime? It’s neither here nor there really, but I’m curious.
  6. Vigilante Grey Worm is still at it and killing the last remaining Lannister peeps.
  7. Hmm where is Tyrion going??
  8. Ooo I get it. Oh dear, this scene will be hard to watch.
  9. There’s still a tiny part of me that is hoping Cersei and Jaime made it out.
  10. Oh. That golden hand is pretty definitive.
  11. Ahh poor Tyrion 😦 This scene is quite sad.
  12. Alright moving on to Jon broodily walking through Daenerys’ army.
  13. How did Grey Worm get there before Jon did??
  14. Heeere’s Dany!
  15. DAMN that shot with the dragon wings behind her is incredible.

    Image result for game of thrones series finale wings
    Very Maleficent of her
  16. She has become quite a good speaker over the years.
  17. It is WILD that she still sees herself as some kind of liberator.
  18. As Dany goes on about all the other places she wants to liberate, it occurs to me that I don’t understand the GOT world geography at all. Was Westeros not all there was? What are these other places?
  19. Finally Tyrion is stepping up! I feel like he will be burned on the spot for throwing that pin down.
  20. Hmm surprisingly not. Just taken prisoner.
  21. This episode isn’t bad so far. Maybe it will end on a decent note. (spoiler alert: I was wrong)
  22. Jon is now visiting Tyrion. Now that Tyrion has finally seen the light, maybe he can help Jon see it too.
  23. Or not, because Jon seems to think the war is over.
  24. Why is he saying Cersei left Dany no choice and that Dany just saw her friend beheaded?!
  25. I feel like we’re all really dancing around the fact that Daenerys burned the city AFTER THEY SURRENDERED.
  26. But maybe Tyrion is getting through to Jon finally.
  27. “That’s her decision. She’s the queen”. Or not.
  28. Daenerys certainly seems enamoured with the Iron Throne. How convenient that amongst all the rubble, this thing is still standing.
  29. As much as I like her outfit, I’m tired of antiheroes always wearing black leather.

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    Black? For a villain? Groundbreaking.
  30. LOLZ at Daenerys trying to be all casual as she talks about being a little girl who couldn’t count to 20. And Jon just being like, ya anyway why are you killing everyone?
  31. Finally, someone is confronting her!
  32. Though like a true politician, she’s just avoiding the issue and going back to how Cersei left her no choice.
  33. And Jon isn’t really pushing back too much either.
  34. Like have we forgotten what the bells were supposed to do??
  35. Jon’s beard is looking super low budget and gross here.
  36. Anyway.
  37. Daenerys is really off her rocker as she talks about a “good world”.
  38. “You’re my queen, now and always”. WHAT IS THIS HORRENDOUS SCRIPT?!
  39. OMG.
  40. What?!
  41. Damn Jon, you actually did it! Though that was a bit too quick and unceremonious. I would have liked far more arguments and rage over what Daenerys did.

    Image result for game of thrones series finale
    If Nicholas Sparks wrote fantasy romance novels, I imagine this is the book cover he would use.
  42. Oh man, this dragon is not happy. But it’s also weirdly sad to see him so torn up over Daenerys.
  43. How poetic and wise of him to burn down the iron throne.
  44. Hmm… the CGI in this scene is pretty ghetto. I’d have expected better.
  45. Also, I realize I’m talking about a dragon here, but I find it unrealistic that he wouldn’t have just burned Jon alive.
  46. I’m excited to see the fallout from this!!
  47. Damn Tyrion is looking much worse than before. It’s only been a day, why does he suddenly look so awful?
  48. What, and it’s sunny now?? What is happening?
  49. Okay, there’s some kind of meeting with everyone else, and we learn that Jon has been taken prisoner.
  50. That’s a letdown (yet again). I would have liked to see the immediate reactions to Jon killing Daenerys. I hate all the fast forwarding they’ve done this season.
  51. I would have expected better from Yara than to defend the Daenerys.
  52. I find this all a bit unrealistic – the Unsullied and Dothraki are no stranger to killing people, and they discovered that Jon killed their beloved queen. I don’t buy that they would simply just keep Tyrion and Jon as prisoners and let these rando privileged Westeros families decide their fate. Pretty sure they would have killed both on the spot – especially Grey Worm. Yet another weak plot point in this season.
  53. Oh god, Edmure Tully nominating himself to be king is just all sorts of cringe.
  54. Also who is this Aladdin-looking fellow? (*My academic research has informed me that this is Robyn Arryn from seasons past – and damn what a glow up he has had)
  55. Aw poor Sam, being shot down for his suggestion of democracy. Don’t worry big guy, you’re just ahead of your time.
  56. Ah okay, so we now learn that it’s been a few weeks. That explains Tyrion’s appearance.
  57. How hilarious (and again, unrealistic) that Tyrion, as a prisoner, is able to dictate who the king should be.
  58. Though I don’t understand his weird fixation with stories and how they’re integral to being a good ruler.

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    Yet another mediocre white man wins
  60. God Tyrion you’ve really become all sorts of stupid this season.
  61. Anddd the Westeros Knights of the Round Table are somehow agreeing to this ridiculous idea.
  62. What a fucking SNAKE move of Sansa to suddenly say that the North wants to be independent, after everyone else has already voted.
  63. Also isn’t it a major conflict of interest to have someone from an independent kingdom rule Westeros? You can’t have it both ways, Starks.
  64. What does Grey Worm mean, it’s not enough?
  65. Really?? Even with a Stark being king, they’re forced to send Jon to the Night’s Watch? Can’t Bran just have Grey Worm killed for being annoying?
  66. Looks like the Dothraki/Unsullied are off to a new place as well.
  67. Wait a minute, so why can’t they just let those guys leave and have Jon stealthily stay behind? What’s the point of having your brother be king if he can’t pull a few strings here and there?
  68. This episode has very quickly spiraled to being boring. Gotta match the rest of the season I guess.
  69. Aw the goodbye scene with the Starks is quite sad.

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    The end of an era.
  70. Except for when Bran makes his trademark creepy line and tells Jon “You were exactly where you were supposed to be”. God could you imagine having to go to this guy on the regular for king-ly advice? The worst.
  71. Omg Brienne filling in Jaime’s accomplishments is adorable. A classy lady to the end.
  72. This scene with Tyrion fixing the chairs, only to have them messed up again seems silly. The things the writers have chosen to fill screen time with….
  73. Bran is already proving to be an annoying ruler, popping into the meeting for 4 seconds only to bow out to search for the dragon…
  74. And poor Podrick, relegated to wheeling him around!
  75. It’s cute having the gang back together and bickering again (and I love seeing the return of sexy Bronn) — but it’s pretty unnecessary. Irreverent scenes are great when you’ve fleshed out all the storylines, but that definitely hasn’t been the case this season. So much screen time wasted with random filler scenes, which could have been far better spent actually explaining things and moving the story at a decent pace.
  76. This end bit with the overlapping shots of the Starks is quite beautifully done, I’ll give them that (and I love that the producers had the good sense to not include Bran, knowing that no one cares about him).
  77. Though I don’t really understand the purpose of the Night’s Watch at this stage. Is Jon just gonna hang with wildlings, Tormund and Ghost every day? (Actually, that’s not such a bad deal).
  78. I also hate that Sansa won the most out of everyone. I never really warmed to her.
  79. God this MUSIC. Chills, seriously. Easily the best part of this episode/season.
  80. What a disappointing ending. SO MANY LOOSE ENDS!!!! What was the need for that white horse last episode? Why did Varys take off his rings? Why did we suffer through that dreadfully boring plot with Arya learning to change faces? And most importantly, why did they bother redoing the opening credits this season?
  81. The only upside to this overly simplistic ending is I never QUITE understood the more intricate and detailed storylines (ie, the children of the forest, the night king’s origins, exactly how Bran became the three-eyed raven, the random prophecies). So in a way I’m kind of glad I didn’t waste valuable mental energy trying to understand concepts that ultimately had no relevance.
  82. But still. Why include them at all?
  83. My final thoughts on this finale/season are best summed up below:Image result for game of thrones who has a better story

Image result for better story than bran

Image result for better story than bran

I suppose 7 out of 8 good seasons isn’t bad. And with that, we leave Westeros with epic music and an unsatisfying ending. Can’t win em all.

Game of Thrones: S8E05 Reactions

    1. Like everyone else, I have very high hopes for this episode. Last week’s was more than a little dull, and while I’ve been patient with this season, this is the where the writers really need to bring out the big guns.
    2. And the penultimate episode has gained a reputation for being a nail-biter, so this one will surely not disappoint, right??
    3. Opening shot with Varys writing a letter announcing who Jon really is. I’m really impressed by his even-keeled clarity about the situation (unlike certain other people *cough* Tyrion cough*)
    4. We learn that Daenerys hasn’t been eating. Fair enough I suppose, she did just watch her best/only friend get beheaded.
    5. Jon’s now rolling into wherever they are (I’ve always been horrible with the geography of this show), and Varys is continuing to plead Daenerys is a cray — to no avail sadly.
    6. “We both know what she’s about to do”. “That’s her decision to make, she’s our queen”. Jon is, and has always been, an idiot.
    7. Seriously Tyrion?? Whyyy are you snitching on Varys? Your time together on the boat clearly meant nothing to you.
    8. For all her hotheadedness, Daenerys is pretty astute about how the truth about Jon got out, being able to trace back the entire chain of blabbers.
    9. Varys taking off his rings as he waits for the guards to get him feels very sad and poignant.
    10. Oh jesus that dragon popping out from behind Daenerys is frightening.

      Image result for got s8e05 cersei the hound
      Seriously, the stuff of nightmares
    11. This reminds me of when Ned Stark said “the one who gives the sentence must wield the sword” or whatever the wording was. Seems like Dany is kind of copping out on that by always getting her dragons to do her dirty work.
    12. Cut to a private conversation between Jon and Dany. Jon doesn’t seem as apologetic as he should be by the fact that Sansa told Tyrion The Secret.
    13. Daenerys, are you really asking “Is that all I am to you? Your queen?”?!?!
    14. Never has someone saying “Alright then” sounded so ominous. Sleep with one eye open Jon.
    15. Tyrion is once again trying to convince Daenerys not to obliterate everyone. I feel like if this is a regular conversation you find yourself having with your queen, it may be time to reevaluate the team you’re supporting.
    16. While I appreciate his unwavering faith that Cersei will surrender, his judgment has been woefully off lately.
    17. “The next time you fail me will be the last time you fail me”. I mean honestly, fair enough – Tyrion hasn’t exactly been the Adviser of the Year.
    18. Uh oh, we learn that Jaime was captured trying to get to Cersei (but surprisingly, not killed??).
    19. Aw and now Tyrion is going to rescue his big bro.
    20. “Cersei once called me the stupidest Lannister” LOL.
    21. Jaime casually saying he never cared for the people, “innocent or otherwise” is such a throwback to his cocky season 1 self.
    22. Jaime makes a good point about why Cersei’s odds aren’t quite as bad as Tyrion thinks they are – Daenerys’ army is depleted, two fewer dragons. I feel it’s anyone’s game really.
    23. Aww I’m really touched that Tyrion has set out a whole plan for Jaime and Cersei to escape. That’d be a nice little happy ending wouldn’t it? Just two twins, banging each other in bliss on a remote island, away from pesky judgmental eyes.
    24. “If it wasn’t for you, I’d never have survived my childhood… you were the only one who didn’t treat me like a monster.” Must…not … cry. This is a lovely scene between the two, it really is.
    25. Alright, it’s the D-Day of Westeros. Preparations are in full force, while ordinary folks are scooching inside for safety.
    26. Arya and the Hound are inexplicably just strolling around among the King’s Landing folks…. okay then. I will let this slide.
    27. As is Jaime, looking suuuper sketchy in his hood.
    28. I don’t know why this goofy looking guy has been chosen to lead the Lannister army.

      Image result for got s8e05 daenerys
      I truly feel safer already
    29. Yasss and there’s the Queen herself strutting up to the window, so full of hope and optimism.
    30. Oh dear, the Red Keep has reached full capacity, leaving all these poor folks stuck outside right as they were about to get in. Sigh, I can relate, having been blocked from entry during one dramatic New Year’s Eve event. Bastards.
    31. The slight breeze indicating Daenery’s dragon arrival is pretty cool.
    32. Though how these guys cannot get one good arrow shot at her is infuriating. Even for a show about dragons, this seems a tad unrealistic.
    33. Man those are some powerful flames.
    34. The scene of the fire blowing down the door and burning all the soldiers is quite gorgeous (is that weird to say?).
    35. Cersei is looking a tad less optimistic as she watches the dragon incinerate everything. Man I’m excited for a showdown between her and Daenerys.
    36. I appreciate her faith in her army’s willingness to fight for her.
    37. Greyworm is looking especially murderous these days.
    38. Cersei’s army is seems shifty and nervous. I’m not quite sure they’re going to fight the way she anticipated.
    39. Annddd they’ve dropped their swords.
    40. Daenerys is still perched on her dragon. Gah the suspense is quite good as people beg for the bells to be rung.
    41. Phew there go the bells!
    42. Uh oh that dragon is still roaring away. Ooo wouldn’t it be amazing if Daenerys went full on crazy and just torched everyone? I kind of want her to, I hate her and need everyone else to as well.
    43. There she goes flying. I would love it if she just swooped into Cersei’s room for an epic throwdown.
    44. AHHH FIRE. She actually did it!!!!

      Related image
      What was I supposed to do if the bells rang? Hmm can’t remember. Ah well, back to lighting shit up
    45. The Lannister army is probably like, SERIOUSLY?!
    46. Jesus Greyworm wtf.
    47. Now it’s an all out shitshow with Jon not believing what he’s seeing (though I have no sympathy for this dummy).
    48. I hope we’re not going to have too many slow-mo shots of Jon looking shocked and breathing heavily. We get it, you’re surprised.

      Image result for got s8e05
      Man if only someone had warned me
    49. Do Euron and Jaime not realize how unnecessary it is to fight right now? There are slightly bigger fish to fry in King’s Landing right now.
    50. Qyburn trying to get Cersei out of the Red Keep is weirdly sweet. I enjoy his loyalty to her– one of the few times there hasn’t been any romantic interest between two aligned characters.
    51. Yess Jaime, kill that creepy Euron (though I don’t know why we’re still wasting time on this fight).
    52. Back to Arya and the Hound, in that map room. I remember when that floor map was being done – such a simpler time.
    53. Now Cersei is being whisked away down the stairs by her army when lo and behold, the Hound arrives.
    54. Oh man, the Mountain didn’t need to do Qyburn like that.
    55. LOLOL to Cersei just being like, this seems like a family matter, I’ll give you guys some privacy.
    56. Aww the scene with Jaime and Cersei finding each other is quite sweet (yes yes, I know they’ve done terrible things, blah blah).
    57. Back to the Clegane brothers duking it out.
    58. The Mountain 2.0 is not as scary looking as I pictured. He kind of looks like an angry fat kid.
    59. Wait a minute… you’re telling me that in a measly six-episode season, where the first four have already been a disappointment and time is now exceedingly precious, we are wasting time on a fight between THE HOUND AND THE MOUNTAIN?! A tier-4 plotline at best?! Like, their rivalry is of no interest to me, nor has it really been a part of the show overall, besides passing references. It baffles me why they’re getting such prime airtime in this episode. Gah.

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Gorgeous scene, poor use of screen time

  1. On a similar note, there’s a lot of Arya just stumbling around and seeing destruction. I feel like one scene would have sufficed. It’s not a hard concept to grasp.
  2. Though I do get nervous watching her on the ground like that. Eek get up!
  3. Oh good more Clegane fighting -_-
  4. I’m bored.
  5. Ew the Mountain is pulling his gross eye blood move a la Prince Oberyn.
  6. Well there go the brothers.
  7. More fires being lit up by Daenerys, more Jon staring in disbelief.

    Image result for got s8e05 fire
    For those who missed the episode, it was 45 minutes of this
  8. The word ‘repetitive’ is coming to mind.
  9. Could Jon not send some kind of signal to Dany to maybe press pause on the killing for a bit?
  10. Arya’s coughing through all the dust feels incredibly real. I feel like I need a glass of water myself.
  11. More Arya running.
  12. Yay Jaime and Cersei have made it to that dungeon place!
  13. Oh my god. Seeing it literally stonewalled made my heart sink.
  14. For maybe the first time, we see Cersei totally break down as she begs not to die.
  15. I really love Jaime’s response – “Nothing else matters, only us”. He didn’t try to convince her they won’t die; they both know what’s coming and went peacefully together, without fighting it.
  16. Cut to a pretty beautiful shot of Arya standing among floating dust, fire and wreckage. Image result for got s8e05
  17. And a … horse?
  18. Ugh but this shot really is stunning.
  19. Maybe a little overly long if I’m being honest.
  20. Off she gallops!
  21. Wait what? That’s it????
  22. -_-

Final thoughts:

  1. Ummm that was disappointing.
  2. By my calculation, that were FORTY-FIVE MINUTES of ‘battle’ from the time the bells rang, which is way too long given that not a whole really happened. The fights between the Clegane brothers and Euron/Jaime were unnecessary, and all the shots with Arya and Jon were overkill.
  3. Had all that been cut out, the writers could have fit much more substance into the episode and fleshed out issues more thoroughly. It really dragged and was repetitive. Just an hour of nothing really, besides the obvious twist that Dany is crazy – and even that was overly drawn out. Sure the cinematography was amazing, but who cares when the plot barely advances?
  4. I was hoping for a much more exciting showdown between Cersei and Daenerys. It’s a bummer that they never met; the whole thing felt anticlimactic.
  5. And for such an iconic character, there was a disappointing lack of Cersei this season. Her character deserved better.
  6. I do like that Jaime and Cersei died together though.
  7. I have no idea how they’ll wrap up the whole show in a satisfying way with one episode left.
  8. Prediction: I think Dany will ultimately take the throne and set off another cycle of events similar to when her father ruled. But honestly, there have been so many twists that it’s hard to predict with any certainty. It’s also conceivable to me that Arya will take the throne (and rightfully so imo).
  9. Side note: dear god I wish I was a GOT writer this season. They barely had to write anything.

Game of Thrones: S8E4 Reactions

  1. After last week’s epic battle, I’m excited to keep this train going and see what will happen to Cersei. There has been an TREASONOUS lack of her character this season.
  2. I still can’t get over how much I’m into these new opening credits.
  3. Alfie Allen is still listed? Oo will Theon come back from the dead??
  4. They’ve really set the tone with this opening scene eh? Just a straight panning of Jorah’s dead body.
  5. Ah there’s Theon too. That explains the credits.
  6. Panning out to all the dead bodies is quite a sight.
  7. It’s pretty cool how the smoke covers the entire screen as they’re all burning.
  8. Cue a dinner feast and Daenerys staring off into space. Weirdo.
  9. Sansa is getting a bit too dramatic with her reactions to Daenerys; we get it, you don’t like her.
  10. Bran telling Tyrion “I don’t really want anymore” reminds me of that emo kid in high school who stays in his room all day and goes on a hunger strike to prove a point.
  11. Time for the Westeros version of Never Have I Ever.

    Image result for got season 8 episode 4
    The drinking buddies I never knew I needed.
  12. Oh god Tyrion’s gonna ask if she’s a virgin isn’t she? Which will in turn set the backdrop for Jaime later deflowering her. (spoiler alert: that is indeed what happened. For shame producers, at being so predictable, for shame).
  13. Drunk Tormund would be an absolute treat at a party.
  14. Seeing Daenerys so isolated and alone at this dinner really takes me back to my high school days  is not relatable for me at all.
  15. This dinner scene has been quite long hasn’t it? Getting a bit drawn out.
  16. LOL at Podrick taking a drink when Tyrion says Brienne is a virgin. He does not get nearly the amount of screen time that he deserves.
  17. Tormund drunk crying over Jaime and Brienne really takes me back to my university days is not relatable for me at all.
  18. Though Tormund seems to move on rather quickly. Typical man.
  19. Arya not being at the dinner is pretty disappointing tbh. I would have liked to see everyone’s reaction to her being the mf-ing badass of Winterfell. How shocking that the achievement of a woman is going unrecognized -_-
  20. Whoa Gendry! Did not see that proposal coming. Though he should really know better than to think Arya would have simply settled down with him.

    Image result for got season 8 episode 4 gendry
    If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of a blacksmith’s heart breaking.
  21. Anddd we are brought to the cliche scene with Jaime and Brienne. See point #12.
  22. I like that they’re not hiding the fact that Brienne is taller than Jaime.
  23. “It’s bloody hot in here” is going to be the new “let’s Netflix and chill”.
  24. Sooo it’s been about half an hour and nothing has actually happened yet. Just sayin.
  25. Daenerys has gone to Jon’s room to…. make out? Da fuq?? Did she not realize the implication of Jon’s bombshell last week? Does Jon need to draw a family tree for her?
  26. This conversation feels very disjointed. First Daenerys was all over Jon and now she is overly focused about Jon’s popularity.
  27. Daenerys is pretty naive if she thinks Jon will actually not tell Sansa and Arya about his lineage.
  28. Though in fairness to her, I’m not really sure why Jon *needs* to tell anyone. Liiike, if he allegedly doesn’t want the throne, what will it achieve to tell people who he really is? That’s some Ned Stark-level self-righteousness.
  29. Finally! We have moved on to some actual strategy about Cersei.
  30. Dany is really not mincing words about what she wants to do – “rip her out root and stem”.
  31. Sansa makes a good point about letting people rest before fighting again. Daenerys may not have realized this while she was flying on her dragon, but those wights were a bit of a challenge.
  32. Ouch. Jon Snow effectively shut Sansa down.
  33. It’s cute to see the Stark kids hanging out in the Godswood – just like old times.
  34. “I need to tell you something”. Ughhhh Jon!!!!! Idiot.
  35. Making them promise not to tell anyone means nothing Jon. Clearly you have never been to middle school.
  36. LOL at him making Bran break the news to Sansa and Arya. As if Bran doesn’t have enough troubles of his own.
  37. Ah, Tyrion and Jaime, just two bros having drinks and talking about the ladies.
  38. BRONN! Yassss! (The love I have for him is truly inexplicable)
  39. This chat between the boys getting boring. We don’t even have music to build up some suspense. Unlike last week’s episode.
  40. That Ramin Djawadi is a musical genius. “The Night King” has been on perma-rotation all week.
  41. Maybe I will look up Ramin’s bio. Was he basically just born with a conductor’s baton?
  42. He’s German-Iranian?!?! How did I not know this?!
  43. Oh right. Back to this episode.
  44. I’m getting a bit restless. Might have something to do with the fact that we are over halfway through and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.
  45. Wait what, Arya just told the Hound she’s not planning on coming back to Winterfell?? That’s cold. I hope she said a proper goodbye to everyone.
  46. Cut to a brooding Sansa staring at Daenerys’ dragons.
  47. Tyrion: “You seem determined to dislike her”. He makes a good point. I mean, we, as the viewers, know why Daenerys is bad news. But objectively, given how little Sansa knows about her, she shouldn’t be as put off by Daenerys as she is. It’s a bit irrational – though I suppose it serves the plot.
  48. Anddd in no time flat, Sansa has spilled the beans about Jon.
  49. We now bid adieu to the wildlings. Goodbye Tormund, you sexy beast.
  50. Ah ha! I knew Gilly was preggers!
  51. Samwell telling Jon that he’s the best friend he ever had is the most adorable …. just the sweetest…. sorry I need a minute.
  52. Cut to Grey Worm and Missandei, the purest and most innocent love story ever told.
  53. Tyrion, you told Varys?! The people of Westeros cannot keep a secret.
  54. Varys is really the sole voice of reason here, promptly shutting down Tyrion’s suggestion that Jon and Daenerys could rule together. Even he can see that Daenerys has no interest in sharing the throne.

    Image result for got season 8 episode 4 varys and tyrion
    “Seriously Tyrion? I did not travel all this fucking way only for you to make idiotic suggestions. Get your head out of your ass.”
  55. I don’t know why Tyrion, who’s normally astute, is so flippant when it comes to Daenerys and her state of mind.
  56. Another scene of Daenerys riding her dragon.
  57. This episode is moving painfully slowly. When is it going to pic-
  58. OMG.
  60. Noo, more arrows!!!!
  61. Watching that dragon fall into the water is heartbreaking.
  62. Seems a bit unrealistic that all of a sudden, no one is able to shoot down Daenerys and her dragon but ok.
  63. Finally, some much needed action to this episode.
  64. Omg it’s hard to watch Grey Worm frantically look for Missandei.
  65. Cersei has finally made an appearance. You have to hand it to her, she plays her cards very well.

    Image result for got season 8 episode 4
    Note to self: purchase a velvet burgundy dress at once
  66. Cersei looks less than enthused as she tells Euron about “their child”. Hmm wonder why that is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  67. “So much for the breaker of chains”. DAMN that is cold Cersei, kidnapping Missandei like that.
  68. People are not going to be happy that the one black girl on the show was captured and put in chains. I can see the headlines now.
  69. How ironic given Varys’… condition….. that he is the only one with the erm ….. guts…. to stand up to Daenerys and tell her that she is making a mistake if she attacks King’s Landing.
  70. “I’m here to free the world from tyrants”. Pot, kettle, black.
  71. Okay, Varys and Tyrion are having another private huddle. Maybe Varys will be more successful this time in explaining why Jon is the better ruler.
  72. “He’s a man, which makes him more appealing to the lords of Westeros”. Varys, you have no idea how true those words are across all realms.
  73. Seriously, why does Tyrion keep bringing up his ridiculous idea for Daenerys and Jon to rule together? Whyyy does Tyrion have so much faith in her?
  74. Ooo maybe he’s secretly planning a coup and needs to throw everyone off his scent.
  75. For all his slippery ways over the years, I’m really respecting Varys right now.
  76. Back to the gloomy world of Winterfell, where Jaime gets the news about what Cersei has done. It’s weird how surprised he is though — did he think Cersei was incapable of doing bad things? I don’t even think this breaks her top 10 of Mean Deeds.
  77. Brienne, don’t cry and beg Jaime to stay! You are better than this!
    Image result for auntie rae of castamere brienne
  78. And now we are at what is sure to be a calm, cool and collected meeting between Team Daenerys and Team Cersei.
  79. Tyrion: “Qyburn, you’re a rational man”. Not exactly how I’d describe Dr. Frankenstein, but if there was ever a time for flattery…
  80. Oh god,  Tyrion’s walking up to Cersei. Her heavy breathing sounds angry.
  81. Oh god, she’s raising her hand to the guards. They are more than ready to kill.
  82. Cersei’s eyes really shoot daggers don’t they?
  83. Phew she puts her hand back down. Reminds me of her iconic “power is power” scene with Littlefinger.
  84. Tyrion is making quite an impassioned speech.
  85. Ooh smart move, bringing up her love for her children. It has literally brought tears to Cersei’s eyes. Maybe he’s getting through to her.
  86. “If you have any last words, now’s the time”. Nope, he did not.
  87. Poor Missandei 😦 I quite liked her character. Though she always made me feel fat. And unattractive. Maybe her death isn’t such a bad thing actually.
  88. Although Daenerys seems to disagree.
    Image result for auntie rae of castamere brienne
    Ready to fuck shit up
  89. Ah there’s that Cersei sneer as she stares down Tyrion. It is amazing how much she expressed in this scene despite only saying one sentence.
  90. Well, at least this episode picked up in the end.
    Image result for got season 8 episode 4 varys
    Game on.


Final thoughts:

I know the show will get flack for killing off Missandei (the optics of her being the only major black character are admittedly not great). But honestly, Missandei is only one of two people that Daenerys truly cares about right now (the other being Jon — but even that’s questionable). Cersei needed to get Daenerys nice and riled up and Missandei’s death was the best way to achieve that.

While I am not overly impressed with this episode, I have faith that the writers know what they’re doing. There is often a mid-season slump in every show; with this season being only 6 episodes, I think we’re right in the middle of that slump but I assume the last two episode will be fabulous. After 7 glorious seasons, I am optimistic that the show wouldn’t drop the ball now.









Game of Thrones: S8E3 Reactions

  1. Alrighty, Battle of Winterfell, let’s make this fight nice and quick and go back to real humans fighting for the Iron Throne. I’ve had enough of these White Walkers. I also steadfastly believe that this episode won’t be as much of a bloodbath as has been predicted. I think they will be more original with this one.
  2. Oh jeez, Sam looks terrified. I mean, I can’t blame him, but at least try to be cool about it. Even little Lyanna in the background is all take-charge and fierce, pull it together Sam!
  3. I’m getting cold just watching this.
  4. There go those dragons. A bit sad with only two of them, isn’t it?
  5. This music is super suspenseful I must say. I normally don’t care for battle scenes but even I’m getting goosebumps now.

    Image result for game of throne s8e3 stills
    Everything the light touches is our kingdom. Wait, wrong reference.
  6. Also is it just me or is everything a tad…dark? Hmm maybe I’ll turn off one set of lights.
  7. That did not help at all. Maybe all the lights then.
  8. That’s …. a smidge better. Oh well, it’ll do.
  9. Ooh, who’s this lone figure on the horse? Pretty gutsy to just saunter down in the middle of all this.
  10. The Red Woman! I’d forgotten all about her. Wonder where she’s been.
  11. OOO fire!! That domino effect of fiery swords is pretty stunning.
  12. And off the Dothraki go. I wonder how they got stuck being the first line of defence. You’d think Daenerys would have looked out for them a bit better.
  13. Watching all those torches burn out is pretty…. depressing.
  14. Jaime and Brienne fighting is very nerve-wracking I must say. I am very invested in both of their survival.
  15. Yasss Daenerys with the dragon fire!!!
  16. It is adorable that Sansa first says she isn’t abandoning her people to go to the crypt, and then immediately thereafter says she doesn’t know how to use a knife. Sigh. I know people are warming to her now, but I just haven’t quite gotten there.
  17. Aww, as if Sam is saved by his friend, only for the friend to be killed two seconds later.
  18. This crypt is really not much of a party. I wonder how Varys feels about being there with the women and children.
  19. More running and fighting. Zzzz. Time for a snack.
  20. It would’ve been pretty sweet to be a writer for this particular episode. All that money for writing a total of seven words.
  21. Okay Melisandre, time for you to work your magic.
  22. Erm… any time now.
  23. …Whenever you’re ready….
  24. Oh thank goodness.
  25. That fire scene is quite gorgeous. And more importantly, I can briefly catch a glimpse of what’s happening on screen.
  26. Though this does make me wonder how much more help Melisandre could have offered earlier on, before it all got to this point.
  27. Back down in the crypt.
  28. “Without the dragon queen, there’d be no problem at all. We’d all be dead already”. Interesting time for Missandei’s sassy side to come out. Though you have to admire her unwavering loyalty to Daenerys. I do wonder what she secretly thinks of Daenerys — is she really that blind to her faults?
  29. Aw this scene with Theon and Bran is sweet.
  30. “I’m going to go now”. “Go where?”. Theon is much more polite and restrained in his response than I would have been. How no one has slapped Bran upside the head for all his weird remarks is beyond me.
  31. More fighting. Snack time.
  32. The scenes with Arya fighting are wonderful to watch. Such agility! That weirdo guy who trained her would be proud.
  33. The Hound is choosing an incredibly inopportune moment to have an existential crisis.
  34. Ahhh Lyanna!!! Sigh, going out like the legend she always was.
  35. The scene with the two dragons flying above the clouds with the moon is gorgeous. If this were the 90s, that would definitely be my computer background when I was going for a ~mystical~ vibe.
    Image result for game of throne s8e3 moon clouds
    I would probably also have a mysterious ICQ screen name to go with this sweet background
  36. Arya in the library is giving me chills.
  37. Stupid blood drops!
  38. Yess, you show em! And the Hound is back in action! Horrible end with Beric, though I suppose it was long past his time. He had a good run.
  39. “What do we say to the god of death?” That line has really stood the test of time.
  40.  Daenerys staring down the Night King and using her Dracarys line feels way too neat and tidy. Anddd… yep. Not a scratch on him.
  41. Oh god his smile is so creepy. Forever seared into my memory now.
  42. Jon Snow and the Night King. Dun Dun Dun.
  43. Oh dear, he’s doing his creepy “Rise” hand gesture again. Something tells me Jon can’t outrun all these people. Good effort though.
  44. More fighting.
  45. Shit, Theon did not allocate himself the right number of arrows.
  46. The wights bursting into the crypt is the stuff of nightmares. Must they make the screams so damn realistic? That screeching will stay with me for a while.
  47. Why is Sansa pulling out that knife? She’s not going to off herself is she??
  48. This piano music is STUNNING. Note to self: listen to the soundtrack later.
  49. Noooo Jorah!!!! Get up!!!!
  50. Theon put up one incredible fight all on his own.
  51. Oh Bran, nice of you to rejoin us now that you’re done being a bird -_-
  52. Theon and the Night King staring at each other just gave me chills.
  53. “You’re a good man. Thank you”. Weird, my vision’s gone all blurry all of a sudden. Definitely not tears. RIP Theon.
  54. I am normally all for a nice sharp script. But the combination of music and the Night King walking towards Bran in silence is incredible.
  55. Arya!!!!!!
  56. AAHHHHH.
  59. Oh my god. That was amazing.
  60. Aww Daenerys is so sad about Jorah. I feel like we haven’t seen a reaction this genuine from her since Khal Drogo.
  61. Melisandre’s watch has now come to an end. But what a way to go.
  62. What a fabulous display of girl power in this episode. Me likey.

Image result for game of throne s8e3 stills
Yasss kween

Game of Thrones: S8E2 Reactions

In preparation for episode 3 tonight, I thought I’d refresh my memory on last week’s events. For your reading pleasure, I have reproduced my sharp, eagle-eyed observations below.

  1. Oh damn, this episode is not wasting any time – getting right into Daenerys scolding Jaime. I wonder if he’s regretting his decision to leave King’s Landing right about now.
  2. And I mean, Daenerys is right to be less than hospitable towards him right now.
  3. “I see one man, with one hand” — ouch.
  4. Ugh Danerys is just not having any of it today, criticising Tyrion now too.
  5. “The things we do for love” – who would have thought that Bran was capable of a witty one liner?
  6. Bran is so creepy. Which I feel like could be the summary of every episode in the past 4 seasons.
  7. Awww Brienne stepping in!! I’m so torn between wanting her to end up with Jaime and Tormund. Sigh, the true debacle of this show if you ask me.
  8. Oh Gendry. He is definitely that blue-collar boy next door in every romantic comedy who works on his dad’s farm and is inexplicably ripped.
  9. Love Arya’s sass at Gendry describing the White Walkers as “really bad” – “even a smith’s apprentice can do better”
  10. Oh dear, Jaime and Bran in the Godswood. Bracing myself for all the cringe. Fabulous scenery though.
  11. “What about afterwards?” “How do you know there will be an afterwards?” Jesus Bran, either be helpful or keep your grim comments to yourself.
  12. Typical, two men discussing battle and Jaime’s attention is just focused on a woman.
  13. Gotta say, it’s pretty big of Jorah to defend Tyrion.
  14. A private conversation with Daenerys and Sansa? *Busts out the popcorn*
  15. “Families are complicated” — ohh,  maybe we’re getting somewhere! A new girl gang perhaps?? Maybe after all this White Walker nonsense, these two will get manis together at the local Westeros Nail and Spa.
  16. “Someone taller” — amazing.
  17. “What about the North?” Ah, well. That friendship was nice while it lasted. Back to frosty frenemies.

    Image result for got season 8 episode 2
    Every girl on the planet can relate to this dynamic
  18. Is Gilly pregnant? Or perhaps the actress is.
  19. I am here for the bromance between Jon, Tormund and the Night’s Watch.
  20. They only have until sunup?? That’s much quicker than I expected. I assumed the the battle would be the last episode . As someone who is quickly bored of battle scenes, I’m hoping they will just wrap up the little fight in episode 3 and we can get back to the business of humans fighting for the iron throne. This White Walkers storyline has bored me.
  21. “His mark is on me, he always knows where I am”. I mean, Bran, that would have been helpful information to pass on a little bit earlier.
  22. Pretty big of Theon to offer to babysit Bran.
  23. “We’re all going to die, but at least we’ll die together” — nudge nudge, wink wink Brienne. I love Tormund.
  24. I love that without it being spelled out, Missandei and Grey Worm are clearly the only black people that the folks of Winterfell have ever seen. The Westeros version of racist hicks.
  25. Gotta love that in recounting all of his accomplishments, Sam included stealing books from the citadel in the same sentence as killing a White Walker.
  26. “Samwell Tarly, slayer of White Walkers, lover of ladies. As if we need any more signs the world was ending”. The writers are on fire with this episode.
  27. What a fun cozy fireside chat with the men and Brienne.
  28. Tormund would have his own flask and explain why he’s called Giantsbane. Tormund is definitely *that guy* at a frat party.
  29. Davos: “Maybe I will have that drink.” Can’t blame him.
  30. Arya and Gendry, aw how sweet, we can have a nice little final chat between friends.
  31. Typical girl– he explains he was tied up, had slugs suck his blood and that he’s Baratheon’s bastard. And all she wants to know is how many women he’s been with.
  32. “I didn’t keep count”. “Yes you did”. Arya truly knows men.
  33. Wait… wha… what is going on?!
  34. Arya nooo, you’re 12!! Ahhh. My eyes!!!
  35. Well that was deeply uncomfortable. I am expecting the good folks of To Catch a Predator at my door any moment now.
  36. Back to the fireside chat.
  37. Brienne pretending she didn’t want to be a knight is reminiscent of that girl who says she doesn’t even want to be married after being with her deadbeat boyfriend for 7 years.
  38. It’s adorable that Brienne is being knighted, it really is. But I am finding this scene a little too overwrought.
  39. Aww that look on her face though.
  40. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
  41. “Does anyone know any songs?”. Oh god. Please please don’t tell me we’re going to do that thing where someone sings a solemn Celtic-style song, with the camera panning to various somber scenes of people prepping for battle.
  42. Yup that’s exactly what we’re doing. Shame, Game of Throne, shame. I expected less cheese.
  43. Sansa and Theon?? What? That’s just weird.
  44. Jon wouldn’t possibly choose to tell Daenerys NOW about his real parents, would he? I mean, Jon has been hella stupid since season 1, but surely he has learned by now.
  45. Nope. He has not.
  46. Perfect timing Jon, get the scary Dragon Lady pissed off with you right before the battle of your life. I can’t. I just can’t.
  47. Image result for got season 8 episode 2
    You truly know nothing Jon Snow
  48. Hmmm interesting, why did Jon say Bran told him?
  49. Daenerys seems a tad focused on the wrong thing right now. I would personally be more upset that I’d been hooking up with my nephew, but hey that’s just me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  50. Well there goes the horn. These White Walkers sure are speedy in their quest to wipe out the population.
  51. Well that was a lovely episode overall. Much lightheartedness and jokes. I am certain that the rest of the season will continue in the same fashion 🙂