Hippoi Athanatoi

The -Ismy

Shrill, crazy, laughable. And, at the same time, almost enough to make me sad and ashamed to be a woman. But, I happen to derive much enjoyment and pride from being a woman (which for me includes finding Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels trilogy very hot indeed as well as appreciating it for an interesting story and engaging characters), so I am not about to have that affected by a pathetic creature who clearly suffers from a serious case of twisted panties. Talk about providing an excellent explanation for why the Greeks made a national pastime of misogyny and made all their monstrous mythological creatures female. This particular breed one might call the “-Ismy”. Its sort of like a harpy but it just goes on and on and on about its favourite -isms. Its not really dangerous unless you have issues with your blood pressure, however.

Reading Not Required

So, we have a new interview with a cast member, this time Liam Cunningham who plays Davos. Unfortunately, one part of the written interview stood out in a very bad way… The producers now say that they prefer it if the actors do not read the books? Lovely. I guess it was too good to be true having so many of the actors reading and enjoying the books before and during the first season of Game of Thrones.

If an actor personally feels that reading the books isn’t compatible with how he or she prefers to work, well, that’s one thing. Its their work and I am not going to question how they approach it in the sense that this is just one of many parts in their career. However, I vastly prefer it when an actor says “oh yes, I read the books and I really like them” because I do think it can improve the performance if an actor is a fellow fan who has had a chance to fall in love with the same aspects of the books that fans have fallen in love with. I also feel that if an actor comments on differences from the books it puts those differences in a better light if the actor has read the books and can speak of the how’s and why’s of the changes from a position of knowing what the original story was.

In fact, I believe there were some instances of actors who had read the books pointing out bits and pieces during the first season and I am also reminded of how apparently Christopher Lee did the same during the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Having actors that have read the books adds more people who may have insight on a scene or may be able to point out little slip-ups and unintentional changes. Perhaps they won’t be able to argue against most intentional changes, but I’ll take any little crumbs we can get in terms of getting more of the actual story into the show.

If this truly is what the producers recommend to the actors I am afraid my respect for them and my trust in them has taken a serious plunge. I had really hoped that success for the show wouldn’t mean that it no longer matters to them to stay true to what those who love the books want to see, but its looking pretty bad.


So, we have the first more substantial trailer/teaser for season 2 of Game of Thrones. Still very much liking the look of Melisandre. Conleth Hill’s Varys continues to impress—his voice is perfect and I definitely heard it in my head when I read the last chapter of A Dance with Dragons—and so does Sophie Turner’s Sansa. Do like the use of that particular piece of dialogue from Varys, the riddle has long-term implications. Fake Aegon, anyone?

On the other hand, I am dreading what Margaery will be like and I really hope they’ll leave it up in the air as to whether Renly has bedded her, though it sure didn’t look like it would be left ambiguous from that one shot… But it could still be the case.

I am also, I am afraid, dreading their take on Dany for this season even more after her little bit of shrill, hysterical yelling. That just isn’t Dany in A Clash of Kings.

More Early Thoughts on the Season

While it is true enough that I am a lot less optimistic about season 2 than I was about season 1, I shouldn’t give the impression that there’s nothing I am looking forward to. In terms of casting, I think Melisandre and Brienne have the potential to be really good. If that turns out to be true, that will be very enjoyable as those are two characters I really like. I wasn’t really taken with Brienne until she became a viewpoint character and I downright disliked Melisandre until her chapter in A Dance with Dragons, but now they are definitely among my favourites and what I know about the characters all together will still affect how I see them in the second season. So, I am keeping my fingers crossed for those storylines.

I also have hopes for the Beyond the Wall storyline, though likely it will (once again) be sad to see how little the wolves will be used. That’s one of those unavoidable changes that I can’t fault anyone for, however.

As for the rest…Sophie is a great Sansa, so any scenes with her (but without the trainwreck that is Cersei on the show) should be something to look forward to. Maise is also a great Arya, but Arya is not a character I like to read about at all and it colours my feelings for her on the show. Given the lack of any casting for the Bloody Mummers, I am also left feeling dubious about the final execution of her storyline in general. Robb…well, no. Not happy with this expansion of his story. Again, doing the typical thing. Theon and Bran we’ve not seen or heard much about, nor Asha (except that idiotic name-change), and the same really goes for Renly’s court. We won’t get a huge melee and a spectacular fight between Loras and Brienne, of course, but that’s another of those sad, mostly unavoidable facts.

And I very much fear that, once again, we will be cheated out of most dreams, visions, etc. However, I’d forgive a lot of things if it turns out they’ve secretly brought back Harry Lloyd to play Rhaegar for the scene in the House of the Undying.

More MU* Writing

With a bit of time on my hands following the end of my literature class and the submission of my application for the doctoral program, I’ve really been diving into writing more material for the MUSH. We have a fabulous core group of roleplayers but we are also getting a lot of newbies who love A Song of Ice and Fire but aren’t used to MUSH roleplay or even roleplay at all. Hence the new Style Guide.

First Rant of the Season?

Having just finished listening to the interview with Nonso Anozie who is playing Xaro Xhoan Daxos in the second season of Game of Thrones, I feel as if all my worst fears for the season have been at least halfway confirmed. Of course, one shouldn’t go entirely by what an actor says, we’ve had some odd reports in the past that way, but it really sounds as if HBO has decided to change Daenerys’s storyline quite considerably.

Oh, and beware of spoilers.


I really don’t care that there are groups of whiners out there who dislike how Elio and I run our websites, our game or anything along those lines. Are there things we could do better? Always. But I sincerely doubt any of the things we consider “better” would please any of the whiners. So, they’re irrelevant.

What does bug me from time to time, however, is the way people lump different parts of the site together. For example, saying that “westeros.org hates characters X, Y and Z”. Really? Because, the way I see it, “westeros.org” is myself and Elio and refers to the main site, westeros.org/www.westeros.org.  Nothing is posted on that site that we didn’t write or directly approve, except for the Facebook comments. Good luck finding any posts from us ranting about Daenerys (my favourite character) or Catelyn (Elio’s favourite character).

Of course, it is absolutely true that there are two subdomains on westeros.org that contain a lot of material that we did not write or indeed directly approve. There’s the wiki, awoiaf.westeros.org, and there’s the forum, asoiaf.westeros.org. The wiki is facts, not opinions, so good luck finding any rants there. So, it all comes down to the forum, which has over 30,000 total members. You’ll find a lot of opinions there. We don’t control those opinions, except when they cross certain lines (and disallowing people from saying they hate a character would be a touch draconian). But neither are those opinions “westeros.org”. They are the opinions of some members of “asoiaf.westeros.org” or “the westeros forums”.

Some opinions are widely supported, some not so widely. Some we agree with, some not. The forum isn’t a monolith with the sole purpose of advocating certain opinions. There’s no agenda, hidden or otherwise.

MU* Renovations

A day or two ago, one of our staff told me that he couldn’t quite believe how long he has actually played on Blood of Dragons, because he still thinks of it as his “new MU*”. I can only agree, it does not feel as if we had our beta opening in 2006 and our full opening in 2007.

But, its true enough. It also shows in some aspects of the game which have become a little worn down over the years. Not to mention the grand plans that were never fully realized… So, with the second season of “Game of Thrones” coming up, we’re focusing on a lot of improvements and additions over the next few months. The problem is just deciding what to do; our todo list is a few miles long and its not easy to pick the things that will benefit players the most.

We have settled on a few things, however. We are getting more articles up, such as Can I Play A… which tries to help prospective players by outlining available, difficult and unavailable concepts. The other key area we’ll focus on is establishing a better framework for political roleplay. We have some interesting ideas that we hope players will find very helpful.

Work is definitely never completed with a MUSH. But, that is part of the fun. Sometimes it is just a bit overwhelming.

On Fan Fiction

The topic of the week appears to be fan fiction and there are a lot of strong feelings on both sides. For my own part, I find it difficult to write in detail about my opinions because I see it as a very clear-cut issue: if the copyright holder doesn’t permit it, you don’t do it. I am of the opinion that it is both legally and morally wrong to do so.

But, the issue does perhaps deserve a bit more time and thought than that. As an initial caveat, let me add that any opinions stated here concern fan fiction that is distributed more or less widely, primarily on the Internet. If someone writes fan fiction for themselves, there’s clearly no harm done.

Why Full Consent?

I’ve previously posted about how one of the common complaints raised against Blood of Dragons is our applications process, or rather the fact that we have one at all, even with all the streamlining we’ve done over the years. The other common complaint we get from people who either never check the game out at all or log off as soon as they find this out, is that we’re a full consent game.

Now, many players simply prefer one to the other and spend all their time on either full consent or non-consent games. That’s a reasonable preference, either way. But when some players insist that a setting like A Song of Ice and Fire cannot be used for a full consent MUSH or that we’re ruining the opportunity given to us by having GRRM’s approval for the MUSH, then it goes beyond a matter of preference.

Of course, one could just settle for saying that we’ve definitely proven that its wrong to claim full consent doesn’t work for an A Song of Ice and Fire game—Blood of Dragons has been running since 2006 and while we have had some slow periods, we’ve done very well this year. Could the game be better? Of course, and we’re always working on it. But our consent policy is not a weakness, its a strength. So, in the hopes of scaring off less prospective players as soon as they see the words “full consent” we’ve updated our FAQ entry on this issue. Perhaps it might help players see that the policy is something we’ve carefully considered and which has a proven track-record on the game.

My Casting Concerns

I split this off from a post mostly about our MUSH, but some of the discussion of the facts from the books remain in that post.

I have said this before, but I’ll make the point again before going on to the meat of the post. I am a purist when it comes to seeing these books translated to another medium. If it was possible (and yes, I know it isn’t), I wouldn’t want a single change. Actually, that is my opinion for other books too, but these books are obviously special to me. I didn’t like the changes in Lord of the Rings either, but I don’t run a site devoted to those books. I don’t discuss those books every day. Its very, very hard for me to just shrug my shoulders and forget about anything that relates to ASoIaF because it is a constant presence in my life.

Race in Westeros, Part II

As so often happens when I write something longer, it changes shape along the way. Given some of the feedback (thoughtful feedback too, much appreciated), I have split off my comments on the casting and focused this piece on the MUSH. That said, the casting piece does depend a bit on the book facts presented in this piece.

Not surprisingly, the first post on this subject led to accusations of racism (and misogyny). The really fun ones even decided to go “OMG, she said purity. That’s what Hitler said too.” Never mind that I was talking about setting purity, not racial purity… However, given that the same group of people have also said that they thought Xaro Xhoan Daxos was supposed to be black in the books and didn’t realize that the Lyseni were uniformly described as blonde and blue-eyed, I don’t give a lot for their reading comprehension.

From Myth to Reality

I haven’t horseblogged in ages, but I am currently having a major procrastination phase (my Master’s thesis may turn into my dissertation proposal or I may switch my basic idea for the dissertation from horses in Greek myth and religion to Roman horse racing or possibly even defixiones) so I am finding all sorts of things to do, bouncing from one to the other like I’ve had too much coffee. Except, I don’t drink coffee at all.

We Have a Winner!

For funniest comment from a Guest in a long, long time, that is:

<Guest> Dragon Guest using mushclient telnet prompt_newlines has connected.
<Guest> (Admin) Nymeria says, “Hi, Dragon Guest. You can use +g

to speak on this channel, and please let me know if you have any questions at all. :)”
<Guest> Dragon Guest says, “wtf”
<Guest> Dragon Guest says, “where is the graphics all i see is black screen”
<Guest> Dragon Guest has disconnected.

I guess it confirms that some (many?) of the Guest connections that end in a disconnect only seconds later are people thinking that the text-based game will have graphics once they log in.

The next mystery I want to solve is whether those who finish their character setup and promptly disconnect, never to return, also expected graphics to magically materialize at that point.

Community Spirit?

Internet communities, sometimes the ultimate in us vs them. From WORA to “Is Winter Coming?” to ONTD and its tumblr cliques, the similarities are interesting. Some of these communities are more directly aimed at ranting about something and/or making fun of something. Some do it more as a hobby on the side. In fact, there’s even an example of it on the ASoIaF forums in the long-running thread of Goodkind jokes.

I don’t get this, myself. Yes, there are things I will laugh at and point fingers at. But its usually jokes I share with someone in RL, not something I post on the Internet where, eventually, it may get back to the person (or other community) being singled out. Doing that sort of thing as part of a group is inexcusable. What I will do on the Internet, on the other hand, is to happily and with much enjoyment say FUCK YOU to anyone who thinks I make a good target.

Most people just put up with it, but I’ve never put up with bullying and that is exactly what it is. I just love seeing how it always follows the same patterns with these groups. If you fire back when you’re being laughed at or vilified, you’re quickly turned into Group Enemy #1 and the group acts like sharks when there’s blood in the water. They go all out to try and prove that its not worth it to try and interfere with their fun or make the point that they are the ones in the wrong. Effectively, they try to silence you, because the group is always right. Most of the time, they no doubt succeed. Not with me, though.

Ah well. Internet-anonymity has some legitimate uses, I won’t deny that, but for the most part people just treat it as a license to be assholes and turn into lynch mobs.