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Monthly Archives: July 2013
The War in the North is won! Tywin presses them in the south, while the reavers of the Iron Isles (Man, GRRM likes naming things ‘the Iron X’, where X is something boring) press into Winterfell from the north. Robb has no choice but to capitulate to King Joffrey’s military will.
The North submits. Jaime Lannister is released, while Lord Edmure of the Riverlands and Robb Stark of the North are imprisoned.
Indeed, Your Grace. However, there are still decisions to be made, and you are King on the Iron Throne.
It did, once. But this may not be the reality of the Seven Kingdoms any more.
Oh. Oh dear. Is this the old Joffrey back?
That would be a yes. At least he isn’t castrating anyone? He seems to be spending too much time fawning over the canvas material on which the new maps are being printed.
While staring at the print, however, Joffrey is approached by a strange, hooded figure. I cannot hear what words trade between the two…
I’m sure, King Joffrey. In other news, now that peace reigns over most of the Seven Kingdoms – the Siege of Storms End progresses slowly – you need to select new Wardens, starting with the Warden of the North.
Of course, Your Grace. Besides, Brandon Stark is far too young to be –
I’m sorry Your Grace?
*Sigh* Yes, King Joffrey.
You mean Rickon. The tiny little child?
That would make Lady Sansa Lady of the North.
That’s correct. She’s a Stark.
Sure, why not. She’s also the one you blinded and jailed.
I cannot say I understand you, Joffrey. At all.
I don’t know who that is.
Oh. That… explains everything, really.
Unfortunately, the game has become pointless. Stannis is done, and nothing challenges Joffrey’s rule of the Seven Kingdoms. Daenerys is dead, Stannis, Robb and Renly are all dead. There is nothing left to fight.
Also, the game keeps crashing. Such are the dangers of complex mods, I suppose. I think it’s trying to trigger a Daenerys event, but since she is not alive the game simply kicks the bucket. I cannot go two days from my current save without it crashing, and changing characters changes nothing.
With that, I bid you adieu. I certainly had fun, short as the campaign may have been.
King Joffrey? Your Grace? Hello?
There is still a horde of Northmen at the gates of Kings Landing.
With what? What could possibly be more pressing than the imminent fall of the Iron Throne to Northmen!?
Um… Okay, look, if this is how your depression is manifesting itself, have at it. Healthy expression and all that. Glad to see you have a new hobby beyond blinding, beheading and castrating. But, and this is a really big but, our armies have lost, our soldiers driven away, dispersing into the countryside. We are exposed here, Your Grace.
Also, playing with dresses? What will Margery think?
How cosmopolitan of her… The Northmen, by the way, have moved away from Kings Landing to give chase to our weakened armies. They press their advantage to the full, paradoxically giving us time to regroup and prepare for their return, just as soon as you take time out of your busy fabric-sampling schedule to rule the throne.
Okay, now I’m really worried! You don’t even want the throne any more, do you?
Fine. Fuck this shit. Your people are suffering while you diddle about. I’ll do it! With the last of the money in our coffers, I hire a band of mercenaries, who assemble at Kings Landing. With proper leadership, the remaining men of the standing army join them, ready to mount a proper defence of the city and the Red Keep.
With the army ready to march once again, little time can be wasted. The coffers, already nearly devoid of funds, are now totally empty; not a single gold coin remains. The mercs will soon demand payment, then revolt, if this war is not drawn to a close immediately. I order the march, and –
Even attempted assassination cannot rile King Joffrey from his apathetic stupor. Life continues on as normal, I suppose. Security must be raised inside the Keep. Meanwhile, word reaches my ears of a rebellion-within-a-rebellion; the Iron Isles have broken free of the North and have launched a raid on Winterfell.
They have very nearly reached the walls of that ancient home of the Starks. Undefended walls! This has split the beleaguered remnants of the Northern army already reeling from Tywin Lannister’s victories and my newly mustered mercenaries. A swift strike at the remaining troops in the south should shatter the northern rebellion and bring Robb Stark grovelling at my – er, King Joffrey’s – feet. Then only Stannis remains.
The mercenary Captain Ulther descends upon the army of Lord Morcar of the North, and battle is met at Hayford.
Victory is assured! Sadly, moving our troops north of Kings Landing leaves the way open for Stannis. Then, in the dawn of the new year, Joffrey celebrates his 16th birthday. Normally this would be cause for a huge celebration, with feasts and parties. Instead, Joffrey takes up sewing lessons and gives a terse announcement.
Yes, Your Grace.
It is indeed, Your Grace. Whom shall become Grand Maester in his stead?
You… may want to keep that quiet, Your Grace. Also, he remains a captive of Robb Stark. I’m not sure what you want him to do. So I sense a bit of the old Joffrey returning? Yes? No? Anything at all to say?
Well, it was worth a hope.
In other news, with our northern borders slightly more secure, the army of Captain Ulter moves southward, into the lands held by Stannis Baratheon, marching on Storms End, where he holds his court.
Next Time: Winning the War! (?)
This will not in any way cause conflict.
With Cersei gone, her various children are without guardians and educators. Joffrey’s brother Tommen is tutored by Petyr Baelish, while Joffrey himself learns from Margery. Also, hey, this is interesting:
The NIghts Watch rides Dragons into battle against their foes. So… fuck yeah? Also, some lowborn woman named Shae has been plotting in the castle. Though she has made no hostile moves, she does have ambitions to replace Varys as Master of Whi-
I HATE YOU SO MUCH JOFFREY
That is an image I will never sear from my brain.
BY THE GODS YOU WERE NOT JOKING! AUUUGH!
Not content with underage sex (Joffrey is 13 years old) and getting ladies pregnant, King Joffrey has been making mischief.
While you’ve been making friends, Lady Sansa –
Lady Sansa Stark, Your Grace.
You loved her once.
You imprisoned, blinded, released, then immediately imprisoned her again.
It… sounds exactly like you, Your Grace. Either way, she’s complaining about her treatment within your dungeon.
*Sigh…* Yes Your Grace.
In other news, your armies have secured those rebellious lords nearest to our home, and Robb flees north, terrified of your grandfather, Lord Paramount Tywin Lannister of the Westerlands. This frees your armies to attack Stannis Baratheon, your uncle, who claims the throne as proper heir. He has fought hard and well against the forces of the Peach, and has risen victorious over our allies. However, he is weakened by the weeks of war against his brother and Lord Mace of the Peach, leaving him vulnerable. I suggest we press our advantage before he can recover.
Yes, Your Grace. Also, the Vale seems to be splitting apart.
Yes, Your Grace.
As the day of the birth of Joffrey’s first child nears, everyone in the Seven Kingdoms watches with their hearts full of a whelming passion, a frisson rising in their veins. Many men change the day they become fathers. Would a child calm our reckless king? When Margery took sick, Joffrey was distraught, inconsolable. He turned away even his closest friend Podrick and spent his every moment at Margery’s bedside.
She went into labour early in the night.
I’m sorry Your Grace.
King Joffrey falls into a deep depression, alternately weeping and catatonic.
There is nothing you can do, Your Grace. The Iron Throne calls for you. It needs a strong ruler, and you are the only King. The Iron Throne needs you, Joffrey. The Seven Kingdoms need you.
There have been setbacks, My King.
Stannis crushed our army by clever ambush, but our men gave as good as they got, and the forces of the Peach-
Yes, Your Grace. The forces of the Reach saved our men from worse, and descended upon Stannis as he pursued us northwards from the Stormlands, defeating him.
The Night’s Watch has a new Commander; Bowen Marsh
Your Grace? Have you anything to say about this?
Yes, Your Grace. In other news; OH SHIT
The army of Lord Morcar of the North has outmanoeuvred Tywin Lannister and descended upon Kings Landing! The already-battered army of the Iron Throne is weak and under-strength, and cannot defend the castle!
They may not be so kind to your wife, Your Grace.
NEXT TIME: What will it take to get Joffrey back to his former self? And why do I feel dirty just hoping for that?
That might not be the best plan, King Joffrey. You see, we have no money, and the wedding feast will cost you 400 Gold.
I’m not actually sure, Sire. I’m not intimately familiar with the setting.
You do that, Joffrey. Meanwhile, Lord Paramount Tywin Lannister has left Harenhal, and is attacked by King Robb-
– at Castlewood.
Robb Stark has the upper hand –
Fear not, King Joffrey! Look back at that image. Tywin is losing the battle, but he has reinforcements only days away. Battles in CKII are not representing single, decisive engagements. They are instead abstractions of all the manoeuvring and tactical planning undertaken by both sides. ‘Battles’ of this sort will take many days in-game to complete themselves. Besides, our armies are assembled at King’s Landing; should our aid be necessary, they can make it to Robb’s army before he has a chance to escape, even if he succeeds in defeating Tywin Lannister.
Sadly, only one ransom is accepted.
I’d suggest otherwise, King Joffrey. You see, one of them is the son of a lord in the Reach
Uh… Jeyne Pool, daughter of a minor Lord of the North. Perhaps –
Well… Okay then. This leaves you with Horas Redwyne, an Andal and vassal of our new friends in the, uh… Peach. What should we do with him? Lord Paramount Mace I of the Peach doesn’t want him, not for the gold you’re asking.
*Sigh* Yes King Joffrey.
That would be Lady Sansa, Your Grace.
King Joffrey, there *is* a war still on. You do realize this, yes?
So he does. So what’s the plan now, King Joffrey?
Ooooo-kay. In the meantime, we are having money troubles. You keep spending it to buy stuff.
But there is no – fuck it. Never mind. Lord Tywin Lannister has defeated Robb the Young Wolf at Castlewood, and now pursues him northward. He may be overextending, leaving Stannis unopposed, but your allies in the Peach may be all the help you need on that front. Still, Tywin may face ambush from the North if he isn’t careful.
Also, the NIghts Watch is asking for more men to man the Wall. They say it is an emergency.
Of course, Your Grace.
What!? What did you do, Your Grace?
No, I got that far on my own. What.
I… whatever. Moving on. How did you hire the assassin?
Yeah, what gold? We have negative money, and negative cash flow. We already have huge debts. Where did you get the money?
That… is not how it works. You do realize the bank is charging you 25% interest on that loan, yes?
Did… did you just make a pun, Your Grace?
Sure, I’ll give you that one.
I’ve had nightmares that begin this way…
That was you, but go on.
That was still you. Also, she escaped.
Uh… Is Cersei in your prison?
Well there you go.
Next Time: THIS CAN ONLY END WELL
On the whole, Man of Steel was a solid B. Act 1 was a huge problem, with awful pacing issues, as Zack Snyder regularly suffers from in the early scenes of his movies.
The script was a mess of poorly handled exposition. The scenes on Krypton were too short, which paradoxically made them too long; there was no character drama, merely a parade of plot points, which removed any sense of engagement, thus making the scenes far longer than they needed to be – a problem that could have been fixed had they merely taken their time on Krypton. By making the scenes longer, they would have been more interesting, and felt like less of a drag.
Michael Shannon was, of course, a boat-load of fun to watch. Zod, unfortunately, was a wash, a waste of screen time. He enters with ‘kill everyone’ and never leaves that one-note moustache twirl. I saw a glimmer of hope, right near the end – where Zod got his rote ‘villain gets a tiny redeeming quality’ speech. He says something along the lines of “Everything I do, no matter how violent, no matter how cruel, I do for my people.”
What he should have said was “Everything I do, no matter how violent, no matter how cruel… I fail my people.”
And if he entered not with ‘MUDERDEATHKILL’, but with an argument with Jor’El, he would have been far more potent an antagonist. “Our people are dying, our species facing its end. We can start over. We can rebuild our race to the best of our ability. We can take the best of us and start over.” This introduces his eugenics viewpoint without making him a hilarious cliche of a villain. He’s a desperate man who eventually turns to violence, rather than starting out with it.
But that would mean Snyder would have to wait before he gives us the shiny brightsplosions, and I don’t think he’d make it work.
On the other hand, I loved this version of Superman. I know a lot of people are hating it – Superman doesn’t do violence and he doesn’t kill people – I feel they are missing the point. Superman isn’t Superman yet. He’s learning to be the iconic superhero. MovieBob, in his ‘Big Picture’ talk on the movie (also check out his review, in which he nails the overexplained-but-still-nonsensical nature of the plot) talks about how there is no where to go once Superman has proven willing to kill. This, to me, is exactly the opposite of where the movie is going.
Superman did kill Zod. He gave in. He sank to that level. And it disgusts him. Now, he will never ever ever do it again, no matter the stakes. His careless, wanton destruction of the city will force him, in the future, to be more careful, letting ‘weaker’ villains like Lex Luthor take advantage of his growing idealism. This makes Luthor a legitimate villain with the potential to outdo Supes, even without the use of kryptonite.
I’ve never been a Superman fan, but this is an arc to the character I am excited to see. It may turn out well, it may crash and burn. But I want to watch it happen.
It’s time to start another Let’s Play. This time, I’m tackling another Paradox Interactive game; Crusader Kings II! For those not in the know, Crusader Kings II is a medieval assassination simulator (there is also politicking and war, but those pale in comparison to the fun to be had murdering everyone stealthy-like). Unlike most other Paradox grand strategy games, CKII has you play a dynasty, rather than a nation. In other words, you pick a character, and when his time runs out, you play his heir – whomever that might be – and move on from there, taking up your late fathers titles and ruling as king/duke/chief/whatever, and so on until the games end date.
For a clearer picture as to how the game plays, exactly, imagine Game of Thrones, but with a cast of ten thousand spanning four centuries (six if you have The Old Gods). The scheming and killing would actually make the perfect Game of Thrones videoga-
There’s a Mod for That.
This can only end well!
Yes, folks, I am playing the exceedingly wonderful GoT mod for Crusader Kings II. There are plenty of scenarios to choose from, but I will be taking the scenario central to the early books; the Clash of Kings (so yeah, major spoilers for the early books).
But who should I play as? Really, there is only one choice, only one sane man in the whole of Westeros. Only one King who can guide the Seven Kingdoms with a steady hand and noble heart.
Joffrey Baratheon (Lannister) shall reunite the Kingdoms of Westeros under the flag of the Iron Throne. The heads of Robb, Renly and Stannis will lay at my feet within a month! In the meantime, let’s take a look at the new map of our great continent. Joffrey needs to know where he stands.
As Joffrey is too young to rule on his own, his mother Queen Cersei Lannister rules as regent (not that this is going to help). In the south, Stannis Baratheon, Joffrey’s uncle, lays siege to his brother in Storms End. The border with Robb’s kingdom is secured by Joffrey’s grandfather, Lord Tywin Lannister, who holds fast with twenty thousand men in Harrenhal. Before Robb can build his armies up, Joffrey should raise his own vassals. One must be ready for anything, and with enemies all around, Joffrey is in a dangerous position.
Calm down, Joffrey!
I’m sorry, what?
Who will you choose? What’s the plan, Joffrey?
And what about Sansa?
That might not be the best plan.
I’m more worried about the geek rage as we stray off canon.
Watch the hilarity unfold.
I’m not sure you can just imprison people willy-nilly. There’s a whole process to –