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The Power Of Our Geekdom

2019 marks the end of a variety of different fandoms; some we have followed for a decade or more. We can’t help our excitement as we speed ever closer to the end of these stories, knowing that, for good or evil, they will end.

Game of Thrones
April 15th Winter has come. With only 6 episodes left in the series we will finally know who take the Iron throne. 

Avengers Endgame
April 26th The Avengers will do whatever it takes to defeat Thanos.

Star Wars
December 20, 2019 the force returns with the epic conclusion of their latest trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker.

At face value, this feels as if we are coming to the end of an era. Bittersweet as it is, I would argue that there is no better time to be a geek than right now. We have the power to keep our favorite fantasy worlds alive.
The excitement of seeing the culmination of years of word building and character development, has us racing toward the inevitable. The finish line. We’re desperate to know who will survive the Game of Thrones. How will the Avengers triumph over Thanos? Can the Rebels truly defeat the Empire/First Order?
During our adventures into these fantastical worlds, those questions have birthed thousands of video streams, podcasts, etc… Dedicated fans, the geekiest of the fantasy geeks, have used the downtime between movies, episodes, and/or series to dissect those fantasy worlds we all wish we lived in.
All the speculation feeds into our excitement. We, in turn, have become fans of those fans who have taken to social media to debate their theories. The fandom grows even when we are not actively devouring new content from the original creators. We cheer on the theorist and speculators as they work out what they think will be the answer to our burning questions. This further whets our appetites for what comes next.
As the fandom grows, we celebrate together. Comic Conventions are packed with cosplayers and fan groups. We flock to our favorite actors for autographs. We listen to their interviews, follow press junkets, eager to learn some tiny spoiler before the next episode or movie is released. When the moment comes, we watch en masse, and cheer our favorite characters on. We console each other as we say goodbye to those characters whose time has come to an end.
The end, however, is never truly the end. As long as we are able to come together and share our love for these fantasy worlds, we keep those characters alive. That is our power. That is our voice. And those creating content for our worlds have heard us.
When fantasy worlds develop such a massive following, our love often opens the doors to new creative ways for those series to be reborn. And we get new adventures, often with different characters, existing within our favorite worlds.

It is for this reason that Game of Thrones has been given a new chance, or should I say Westeros.
HBO is working on a prequel series based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire book series that will take place thousands of years before the Game of Thrones story we know.
We will see the Golden Age of Heroes, learn the mysteries of the White Walkers origins, and maybe witness the Wall being built. I for one cannot wait!!

The same applies to the MCU. We may be ending phase 3 of the Avengers story, but we are far from leaving the grander cinematic universe based on the popular comics.  Their stories are far from over, especially now that the Disney–Fox merger means IP’s like the X-Men and Fantastic 4 are fair game again.

And, though Star Wars is ending their Skywalker saga, they are far from done with the universe and all the conflict within.

Fans can get excited about Clone Wars animated TV series, (returning in 2019), The Mandalorian, and the Cassian Andor TV series, just to name a few. These will be available on the Disney TV streaming service. You might remember me mentioning it earlier. They’ve finally announce release dates and pricing, just in time to capture those fans needing their Star Wars fix after the close of the Skywalker saga!

Our Geekdom is our strength, and it will always live on.

Captain Marvel Is A Refreshingly Different Addition To The MCU

A few days late but well worth the wait.

Captain Marvel has been teased for the better part of a year now, and Marvel fans have been wondering how the Cinematic Universe version of the comic book heroine would be presented.

She’s presented in a refreshingly different way.

I’ll do my best here not to reveal spoilers for those who have not had the chance to see the movie yet, but I do want to touch on some key points that made this new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe stand out, for me.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility!

We know the line. It’s something that all comic book heroes struggle with. Many are given their powers suddenly and have to learn how to use them properly (e.g. Spiderman, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, etc...) 
With Captain Marvel we are spared a lot of that learning montage. We’re introduced to a kick-ass hero in her own right. Yes, she has her own issues to struggle with, but she is introduced to us in a ready to fight stage of her character growth. This I think is a very important thing for a standalone heroine film. It allows us to accept her for what she is and enjoy the ride.
That is not to say that this movie, being an origin story, does not show us how she got to be the all-powerful superheroine she is. It does, but where it begins engages the audience with a woman who has power, ambition, and is comfortable in her own skin.


Another element of this particular addition to the Cinematic Universe I really enjoyed is the way misdirection was employed. We’re presented with many different angles and viewpoints that keep the audience guessing on who the big bad of the story really is. Unlike other Marvel Cinematic Universe offerings, there is no Thanos, Red Skull, Vulture, Dormamu, etc…
This lack of a clear concrete villain adds an extra layer of interest to Captain Marvel’s story, and keeps the audience engaged through the film.

Reverse Buddy Cop

Probably my favorite aspect of this installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films was the buddy cop partnering of Captain Marvel and Nick Fury. Though even that came with a twist. It’s been teased in the trailers so this is not a spoiler. Captain Marvel is portrayed as a very straight woman type of character. Extremely capable if not a bit in over her head. A role usually employed by the older partner in the buddy cop formula. It’s Nick Fury, the middle-aged Military retiree turn Shield agent who brings the wide-eyed, “what the hell did I get myself into,” comedy to the situation. Their chemistry really worked for me in this movie.

The movie has a lot working for it. It was thoroughly enjoyable to watch. And definitely deserving of a 4/5 stars from me.

Why I didn’t give it a full five stars?

Well, as with many comic book movies that do an excellent job to build up act one and two, by the time we get to act three it feels like a rush to the finish with some less than believable moments. The final battle sees Captain Marvel come into her own 100% and she is stunning, but a bit too overpowered. I lost the ability to suspend belief in a few scenes, and that really pulled me out of the story. Her reason for leaving earth, I know a reason needed to be given so that we can understand why Captain Marvel does not return to the Avengers until Endgame, also felt a little shallow and thrown in at the last minute.

The mid-credit scene is a wonderful teaser for Endgame, so if you have not seen it yet, definitely sit through those credits. You’ll be super excited.

Some honorable mentions.

Goose! They really went too far with the cat, but it’s a cat and we love cats so it’s forgivable. Nick Fury and the cat were ridiculously adorable. I mean seriously. I giggled every time those two were together.

Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). He nailed that role 100% I want to watch a movie all about Talos now. I just adored his character. His quips. His facial expressions. He had such great presence in this movie! Bravo!

Fantasy Inspired by History - Game of Thrones War of the Roses

Game of Thrones – War of the Roses

tl;dr – Decades-long war between prominent houses for control of the kingdom.

War of the Roses Summary:

The royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster (red rose) and the House of York, (white rose). Eventually, the wars eliminated the male lines of both families. The family held the English throne from 1154 – 1485
The House of Lancaster descended from John of Gaunt, third surviving son of Edward III of England. Their name derives from John of Gaunt's primary title of Duke of Lancaster
Edward III (Plantagenet) has plenty of kids. His oldest son dies before Edward III but had kids, so line of succession gives Eldest grandson over Edward III’s other kids. (Too many left over claims to the throne are the main cause of the wars.)
Richard II (First Grandson of Edward III) becomes king, short reign, childless, gets deposed by Henry IV (Lancaster descent) before death.
Throne passes from Henry IV to Henry V and continues to Henry VI (Mad King) where the War of the Roses truly begins.
The House of York descended from Edmund of Langley, the fourth son of Edward III, younger brother of John of Gaunt. Their family name comes from Edmund's title Duke of York.
Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York governed as Lord Protector during the madness of King Henry VI. Conflicts with Henry's wife, Margaret of Anjou, and other members of Henry's court, as well as his competing claim on the throne, created political upheaval. York was killed in the Battle of Wakefield. His son Edward became Duke of York and led several victorious battles to defeat the Lancastrian army and supporters. Edward IV proclaimed himself king in March 1461.
Henry VI’s wife, Queen Margaret fled abroad with the young Prince Edward and many of their leading supporters.
Most of England's leading families had remained loyal to Henry VI or remained uncommitted in the conflict. The new regime, was cemented by the powerful noble, Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (Kingmaker).
Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville, snubbing Warwick who had previously arranged a marriage with a daughter of King Louis XI of France.
 Warwick made a deal with Louis XI and Queen Margaret to restore Henry VI in return for French support for a military invasion of England. This alliance was sealed by the marriage of Warwick's youngest daughter Anne Neville to Prince Edward (Margaret’s son). Henry VI was briefly restored to the throne in 1470. Edward IV returned to England with a relatively small force he took Henry VI prisoner. Edward IV and his brothers then defeated Warwick at the Battle of Barnet. Edward IV did not face any further rebellions after his restoration, as the Lancastrian line had virtually been extinguished.
His twelve-year-old son Edward V of England was to be crowned king upon Edward IV’s death but Richard (Edward IV’s younger brother) claimed it and illegitimized all of Edward IV’s kids.
Richard III of England last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. Short and unpopular reign. He was defeated at the battle of Bosworth by Henry VII (Tudor. Great grandson of Duke of Lancaster raised in exile.) Ending the War of the roses.
Henry VII married Elizabeth of York (Richard IV’s daughter).
Combination of Lancaster and York created the Tudor rose.

WOR - Important houses:
Lancaster – Descended from Third son of King Edward III
Tudor – Illegitimate descendant of the third son of King Edward III
York - Descended from fourth son of King Edward III

Game of Thrones by Comparison:

Robert Baratheon (Henry VI) is installed as king after the death of the mad king (Targaryen). Tywin Lannister (Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick) arranges the marriage of his daughter Cersei (Margaret Anju) to the new king.
Ned Stark (Richard of York) attempts to sort out problems with the country after being installed as Hand of the King. Constant conflicts with Cersei spill over when King Robert Baratheon dies and Ned Stark is subsequently killed by Cersei .
Joffrey briefly ascends to the throne.
Stannis Baratheon (Richard III) attempts to take the crown following Robert Baratheon’s death claiming children born of Robert and Cersei are illegitimate.
Rob Stark (Edward IV) wages war to avenge his father’s death, breaks marriage contract to marry for love, pisses off nobles.
Across the narrow sea Daenerys Targaryen (Henry VII) begins to mature and through her family name and claim to the throne begins to raise an army.

GOT - Important houses:

Characters vs History

Robert Baratheon / Henry VI
Not mentally fit to rule but sits on the throne anyway.
Spent excessive amounts of money on frivolous endeavors, bankrupting their kingdoms.

Cersei Lannister / Margaret d’Anjou
Both were forced into an unhappy marriage for alliances and added family power.
Both used political influences to build support and allegiance to their side.
Both ruled through husband / King when he was incapacitated.

Joffrey Baratheon / Edward of Westminster
Both were the (possibly) illegitimate son of King.
Both favorite pastimes include cutting off enemies’ heads

Tywin Lannister / ‘The Kingmaker’ Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick
Both were the most powerful noblemen in their respective kingdoms.
Both served as advisors to the throne.
Both helped install kings and weave alliances through marriages and wars.

Robb Stark / Edward IV of York
Both men inherited their position at a young age after their fathers were beheaded.
Both ignored pressure to marry to form a political alliance. Married for love. Alienated allies.

Ned Stark / Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York
Both were career soldiers / protectors of the realm.
Both went south in an attempt to stop a meddling Queen corrupting the royal bureaucracy.
Both were loved by the common folk and generally disliked by the aristocracy.

Daenerys / Henry VII
Both lived a majority of their lives outside of the country they had claim to throne.
Both grew an army on their own with little money.
Both use their family name to inspire support.

While this is not the complete Game of Thrones plot, you can clearly see where the inspiration comes from and how the characters line up between the two stories. What will be interesting to see is if the end of Game of Thrones truly ends in the same fashion: combining of the warring households and the creation of a completely new house name.