its been a long time since i had a physical altar

Review, Game of Thrones 7.4: The Spoils of War

“I didn’t expect it to smell like that.”

I haven’t come that close to a panic attack during a TV show since Breaking Bad staged a train heist in its nerve-wracking (the lukewarm ending aside) final season. As a genre, horror aims to elicit a physical response from its viewers, and few sights can compete for raw, appalling disgust with the charnel house Drogon and the Dothraki make of the banks of the Blackwater Rush. Add to that the tension of watching virtually half the cast placed in mortal danger and the mouth-drying suspense of seeing Drogon, a creature as achingly beautiful as he is hellish, a living icon of the majesty and cruelty of fantasy that is the show’s beating heart, in the sights of one of Qyburn’s scorpions and the episode’s climactic battle sequence is a physical and emotional ordeal.

Just before hell breaks loose, Bronn and Jaime speak to Dickon Tarly, Sam’s dashing hunk of a brother, about his take on the storming of Highgarden, his first ever battle. Dickon at first pretends to have found it stirring and glorious, but after some prompting his face falls, confusion creeping into his voice as he admits the smell of spilt bowels unsettled him. There’s no glory to be found on the battlefield. There’s no virtue in conquering your enemies. The ruin Drogon unleashes on the Lannister army is a visceral nightmare, a wasteland of boiling smoke, flying cinders, and men transformed into screaming, flailing torches. For all Missandei’s talk of a queen the people chose, Daenerys is as much a butcher as any of her enemies.

The battle sequence is a work of dreadful art. From the ululating charge of the Dothraki, to the panicked screams of two horses stuck in the traces of a burning wagon, to Tyrion’s helpless terror and frustration as he watches his brother charge Daenerys as she tends to the wounded Drogon, the camera places us squarely in the quaking boots of the battle’s participants and observers. Bronn’s flight from a particularly persistent Dothraki screamer, a scene that reads like a flame-wreathed remix of Jon’s immersion in the mud-spattered chaos of the Battle of the Bastards, stands out as a brilliant example of the show’s ability to spin stories in which no possible conflict could leave us feeling good. There’s a thrill, of course, to seeing Drogon loosed on the world, but does anyone really want to see Jaime and Bronn run down or incinerated? In letting us live for so long with each of these characters, in taking such care to let our empathy for them grow, Game of Thrones helps us understand the truth of war as the death of love. No joy can come of it.

No less moving is Daenerys’s first scene. Her journey with Jon into the obsidian mines under Dragonstone is like something out of Fellowship of the Ring’s Moria sequence as Jon reveals by firelight not just the dizzying galleries of stone hidden away under the earth but an ancient chamber decorated with the carvings of the Children of the Forest. His tale of the alliance between the First Men and the Children against the White Walkers is poignant, but behind it hovers the ugly truth that to the Children, the First Men were the same apocalypse the Walkers and their army now represent to Westeros. Even the blood-soaked weight of history, though, can’t stop the chemistry blooming between Harington and Clarke as the slow thaw of last episode’s first impressions gives way to a frisson of lip-biting sexual tension. The lighting, the paradoxical intimacy of the cathedral-vaulted cavern, the wonder Daenerys feels at knowing they stand where the Children once did; it all imbues the scene with a deep, gorgeous heat.

In another season Arya’s return to Winterfell, her thrilling practice duel with Brienne, and her reunion with her siblings would have been an episode’s centerpiece. Here it’s part of a mosaic of wonder, sorrow, and human connection leading into the literally searing climax. It’s a treat to watch the two women square off, Brienne a juggernaut of destruction, Arya a reed in the wind. To Sansa, though, there’s more than a little melancholy in the sight of a sister transformed into a weapon by her experiences during their time apart. The three Starks in Winterfell have been reforged by life’s cruelty, broken down and reassembled as people who in essential ways no longer recognize each other. Sansa a canny and paranoid manipulator, Arya a dyed-in-the-wool killer, Bran no longer even truly Bran. His empty, emotionless farewell to Meera Reed, his tireless companion and a woman for whom he once harbored an embarrassed, boyish affection, is one of the episode’s saddest notes.

Arya should never have had to learn to kill. Bran should never have been forced to break his own mind on the altar of destiny. Sansa may have been groomed for command by her captors, but at what cost to her soul? In their power, as in the furnace hearts of Dany’s dragons, is a reminder of the essential ugliness of the world in which they live and a warning not to let the horrors of the battlefield become our heart’s desire. The spoils of war aren’t glory or freedom; they’re fire and blood.

Old Fashioned Kinda Guy

Steve Rogers, Peggy Carter

Steve struggles with the current level of physical intimacy in his relationship with Peggy, like the giant dork he is.  Natasha and Clint are, as usual, absolutely no help.

“Is this really what you want?” Peggy asked, and Steve paused, considering. It wasn’t really a matter of want, but the right thing to do.

“I think it’s for the best,” he told her carefully. “You’ll see.”

“Well, I doubt that,” she sighed. “But since you clearly won’t be moved, I suppose I’ll just have to learn to live with it. You just couldn’t be like the other soldiers, could you?”

“Sorry, Peg,” he murmured, squeezing her hand.

“It’s fine,” she said, pulling her hand away to wave it vaguely in the air. “I’ll manage. Somehow. Although the winter may get chilly, that big bed all to myself–”

“Ah, we’re not going to have to deal with a breakup are we?”

Steve turned around to see Nat and Clint standing at the door, the latter looking uncomfortable while the former just looked annoyed.

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Darkiplier in 2017: An In-Depth Look (Part 3)

Beyond Markiplier TV, there hasn’t been a confirmed appearance of the real Dark. Though, like the previous months, His presence on the channel has been teased to a great degree. Witness Mark’s slowed-down and deepened declaration of “I am the avatar of Death here” three minutes into the Let’s Play of Shotgun Farmers, the series of art pieces focusing on the Red Man in Passpartout (which, if you’ll recall, one of Dark’s visual alternates when His shell cracks is red), the decidedly creepy thumbnails for “Greetings” and “I Found You” (which are not subtitled with the name of their respective games, and together potentially spell out a chilling message from Dark Himself), the description for Going Home (“Home Sweet Home! But is there something lurking in the darkness?”), and the entire damn premise for the interactive oddity Dinner With An Owl.

“Dinner With An Owl,” particularly, has a weirdly specific plot: It’s a game where you’re locked in an endless loop as a dinner guest to a cultured, well-mannered monster who wants to make a deal with you… and who will take possession of you… and you can never hope to leave… because you’ll be there, with him, forever…

Doesn’t ring any bells for you? I’m not surprised. After all, it’s not like we’ve been down that road before, right?

Originally posted by lum1natrix

Oh wait. Yes, we have.

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anonymous asked:

Why do you think Sam was angry at the mum at the begining of the episode ? (apart for the obvious reason of leaving a child to die without care) Do you think it's about Mary,him finally explaining his disapointment in God or him being angry that she does thing in the name of God (you know since Chuck i his friend) ? I really liked that moment it's one of my favorite but I don't know what pushed him to that limit of blaming the mother out loud like that.( before knowing her psycho ) <3 your blog.

Your guess is as good as mine, Anon! The show didn’t make it clear, but the episode was so rife with parallels to Sam’s childhood and experiences with being psychic that I can’t help but hope that it had to do with that.

I made this post on that exact topic last night, but short story long: I wonder if Sam didn’t see himself in Magda, even before he recognized how much like him she really was.

Here we have a rigidly traditional family, two children. The brother adapted to sudden alterations, and, despite some misgivings and great love for his sister, fell in line and did what he was supposed to. Dean saw this side of the family and said he thought they were all right.

But that son wasn’t their only child. There was another. And their credo (much like John Winchester’s) overpowered their will to care properly for their daughter and do right by her. They’d rather she die than do something that didn’t line up with their beliefs. Effectively, the Peterson family sacrificed Magda on the altar of their faith… which isn’t terribly different from what happened to Sam, whose family disowned him when he wanted an education. Sam, “more than anything,” didn’t want to be a part of the family business; he admitted as much to his English teacher in After School Special. He didn’t want to hunt.

But the family business mattered more than Sam’s wellbeing. (And… later, like Magda, his “humanity” mattered more than his life.)

Well… I suppose I should clarify. Sam’s physical wellbeing was ensured when he was younger—as well as it could have been in such a dangerous environment. But his mental wellbeing and his happiness were neglected.

Then we ended up with John being willing to kill his youngest because of the possibility that he might go darkside, and entrusting his eldest with the responsibility. We have Sam on demon blood and Dean asserting that it’s better that he “dies human.”

Sam’s happiness was sacrificed on the altar of the family business.

This certainly isn’t the first time Sam has identified strongly with children whose families (in one way or another) don’t treat them well. All the way back in season 1, Matt (in “Bugs”) ended up stirring some of that in Sam, too.

Obviously, this is all speculation, but it’s my best guess about why it hit Sam so hard. To me, his anger seemed personal, and the content of the episode only strengthened that belief. The Petersons were not demons, but they believed too hard in something that alienated and hurt their daughter and (as we found out later) treated her as demonic, unworthy, and less than human.

Sam, more than anyone, can identify with that. Even when they thought that she just died of pneumonia, the parallels were clear enough.

i tell myself the same thing i would tell a patient - make your vulnerability a place of strength not shame. on my 10th birthday i heard someone proselytize that my mother should have considered aborting me. i was unsure of what abortion meant and in lieu of google, i asked a cousin who explained it in rather rigorous detail. part of me was angry with my mother for not doing so. for not ending me. my stepfather beat me to flattened tin since i was 8 and if my mother had aborted me, i would not have experienced any of it. at 31 the saddest thing i can think of is how a 10 year old can perceive her own death in such a vivid and happy way. 

no end is enough. that is my repeated lesson. i have been angry frequently at the scheme of whatever universes that strum my fate. silently angry. an interior hell, held in interim. anger beyond pain is invertebrate and quite like an amoeba, it keeps splitting into multiples to perpetuate itself. the interstice of time we inhabit somehow fosters a social climate that encourages reaction instead of response. i opt out of being an automaton. i opted out of being helpless when my stepfather was breaking my bones.

once i had a festering wound on my calf (which can now be attributed to being diabetic) that went untreated for a long time because my mother was unwell and my stepfather would not take me to a doctor. after a tremendous effort at gathering courage, i asked him to give me money so i could take myself to the doctor. i was 11. in impotent anger, he pressed his thumb into the wound as hard as he could and as a neuroscience student now i know the brain has its own voodoo to shut down the pain when it climbs an unspeakable zenith. when i look back, it is not the physical torture but the the fact that anyone could submit a child to such depths of psychic injury is something i still am unequipped to fathom.

the sounds i can’t stand are children and animal crying. i love both. i love animals like they are children. i love children. i don’t know if i will have any of my own. probably not. that said, i feel most alive in the company of kids. there is something incredibly fearless and kind in almost every child. for some inexplicable reason, children like me too. a common sight at any airport is a toddler thumb wrestling with me, nibbling my nose or trying to make a meal of my hair. every time i look at a  happy child, i remember what i could not be or have and then i see their face to confirm that happiness is always a plural image. i am happy in believing this. i am happy about the collective inevitability of all our childhoods eventually winning the battle of survival. 

i didn’t expect to survive this long and this is more contemplation than declaration. i want to state this without the glibness of self-mythologizing. i descend into lower atria of serrated, circumstantial defeats frequently. part of it is chemistry, the remaining is history. this, however, is not my defining moment. this will never be my defining moment. depression leaves such devastating earthquakes collapsing the manger of my ribs. depression also forces me into a clear, fragrant patience. for myself, for others like me. honestly, there is no map for resurrection. you have the gprs but no network coverage because you are in a dense expanse. you have to steer yourself out of that murky breadth and restart the device.

you have to practice compassion. you have to articulate it daily. you have to make your own altars, summon your own invocations. the years are strung to each other like a glass rosary. all this faith is transparent accepting of light. 

i have forgiven the past. i have fed the future. i am unfolding into the present.

this week is my father’s death anniversary. there is no algorithm to process grief. it is viral sometimes. a dormant, invisible thing that can be hauled in the pith of our hearts for days, decades. the moment our immunity lowers its defense, it abandons its inertia and pollutes us with its action. while studying for my master’s in psychology, i spent so much time debating the usefulness of gestalt. the one thing i am at peace with is that death does not destroy love. in my case, i miss something i never had. a father. ironically, the book is called “father, husband”. guilt is the most stubborn of ghosts. 

when my mother had a cancer threat, i realised that there was a possibility of both my parents being dead before i turned 30. you never really consider the mortality of those who gave birth to you. they always seem so invincible, so timeless. 

sometimes i feel so utterly insufficient as a person. as a woman. as anything that is something in this rapidly changing disguise of life. 

today, i love a boy. there is something beautiful about his existence. he makes me happy. i hope i make him happy too. that is all i understand of love.

i want to say one kind thing to myself before i go to bed every night.