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The Walking Dead season 8 episode 8 review: How It’s Gotta Be
April 1, 2018

There’s rarely a reason for a television show to go longer than its typical running time. If it’s a show like Game Of Thrones, who are making miniature movies and trying to cram a significant amount of material into a shorter amount of time, it makes sense. If you’re a show like The Walking Dead, there’s not a lot of need to go past the usual running time because there’s going to be plenty of opportunities to tell the rest of the story in future episodes. The Walking Dead has been on eight seasons at this point, and isn’t going away any time soon; despite the slipping ratings, it’s still one of the most popular programmes on cable and it has to be a huge money-maker for AMC given the amount of commercials that can be crammed into an episode.

So the extended mid-season finale of The Walking Dead feels longer than it is, thanks in no small part to some very strange decisions to pad out the episode. Specifically, there’s a LOT of staring at nothing from pretty much everyone. The show opens and closes with montages of close-ups of people staring into middle distance at nothing. In the middle of the episode, just in case you haven’t gotten enough, there’s more staring at nothing. It’s all supposed to be moody and evocative, showing off the emotional turmoil of the group and its members, but it just ends up being a guessing-game, a who’s who of characters that may or may not be easily told apart.

Of course, there are a lot of great things scattered in between the shots of staring, if you can see them well enough in the dark to make them out.

That’s another criticism of The Walking Dead as of late. Things are so dark on screen that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to tell what’s going on at certain points. When you add onto the darkness the fact that scenes are obscured by smoke (both from grenades and from explosions), and you get an episode that’s difficult to follow along at times. Enid shoots someone for some reason, but it’s not particularly clear why she’d shot Natania unless you watch Talking Dead and see the freeze-frame shot of Natania holding a spear over Aaron. When the Saviors overtake Maggie’s column of Hilltoppers, Simon shoots one of the people in Maggie’s vehicle. At first glance, it looks like Jesus, but it turns out to be one of the no-names filling in background scenes. In Rick and Negan’s fight, it’s difficult to determine who is who.

When it works, as it does in Carl’s sneaking trip through an exploding, flaming Alexandria, it works very well, but it’s difficult to tell a story when it’s difficult to see just what is going on.

Not helping the confusion is the fact that How It’s Gotta Be jumps between any one of two dozen characters at any point. You have the three savior groups restoring order, or trying to. You have Carl and his father discussing the future because of reasons. You have Maggie trying to run Hilltop. You have Ezekiel squaring off with the Saviors. You have Rosita and Michonne. You have Aaron and Enid trying and failing to reach out to the Oceanside community. Rick’s very quickly abandoned by the Junkyard Gang. That’s easy enough to do when it’s someone recognisable, like Simon or Negan himself, but for a lot of these characters, they just don’t look distinctive enough (or I simply don’t care enough) to keep track of them, and some of the choices made by Michael E. Satrazemis this week aren’t making that easy.

Between offing redshirts and then having a main character randomly show up bitten at the end of this episode, The Walking Dead has a serious lack of teeth when it comes to removing major characters (and most of those seem to die either when they’re finally starting to hit their stride or because the actor wants off the show or both in the case of Chandler Riggs). Anyone can die at any moment in a world like this, and the fact that Negan wants the rebellion leaders captured alive gives them all an extra layer of invulnerability. Yes, Carl being bitten is shocking, but it’s the wrong sort of shock. It feels random, and it feels like the sort of thing that Carl wouldn’t be able to hide—by this point, shouldn’t he be on his deathbed like Gabriel?

Granted, the secret bite is a trope of the zombie genre, and it gives Carl a better reason to offer himself up to Negan as a sacrifice (a nice scene handled very well by Chandler Riggs and well-written by David Leslie Johnson and Angela Kang). Carl knows he’s already dead and this is an easy way out. However, from a show standpoint, a move like this is going to completely rearrange Rick Grimes as a character and scatter most of the comic book arc to the wind. Rick’s only reason to live has been Carl this whole time; Carl is very much still Rick’s driving force and I’m not sure Judith and Michonne are enough to keep Rick sane in this new world.

Perhaps more crucially, Carl has been one of the driving forces behind this new civilisation. He’s got an entire plan to save Alexandria, and people respect him enough to listen to him and carry out his plan. Clearly, he’s become something for his people to rally behind in the absence of Rick, even if the only person who sees that potential and acts on it is Negan. Rick still sees Carl as a little boy. No doubt that colours the perception of Carl by his old friends, too. Only an outsider to the group can look past the bad hair and floppy hat and see that Carl is just as strong a leader as Simon or Rick, if not stronger.

And now, that’s all for naught. Perhaps it’s just as well; I would never deny a person the opportunity to go to college or explore other career opportunities. While Carl has had two or three good episodes this season, for the most part, he’s been ignored or pushed aside in favor of other characters. The Walking Dead is a strangely crowded show for a show about the ravenous, faceless, hungry dead. Being bitten by a zombie is a pretty reasonable way for a character in this world to die, even if it’s treated like a cliffhanger than a legitimate character-altering moment.

Carl won’t be gone after this; there’s a whole second half of a season out there, and Carl can still play an important part in it. He might be dead in weeks or hours; The Walking Dead has never bneen concerned with consistency, particularly where zombie bites are concerned. One thing’s for sure, if they clear this up with a dose of antibiotics only to have Carl meet the fates of Abraham and Glenn, I’m going to be absolutely livid.

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‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8, Episode 10 Review: ‘The Lost And The Plunderers’
April 1, 2018

The Bad

This week’s episode of The Walking Dead was far from perfect. For instance, I’m still unsure why it was chopped up into sections labeled for various characters. Why open to the word MICHONNE and then do a bit with Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) then move on to NEGAN but have a scene with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Simon (Steven Ogg) then move on to ENID but have a scene with Enid (Katelyn Nacon) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) and so on and so forth? It felt a bit likeThe Walking Dead trying to be Pulp Fiction but for no real reason and to no great effect. I don’t mind that we moved from one group to the next like this at all, but I’m not sure why they felt the need to spell it out for us. Once again, The Walking Dead feels like it’s trying to be artsy but it just feels tonally awkward instead.

Sure, they play around with the chronology a bit. We see Rick and Michonne show up at the Garbage People’s base first, then move on to Negan telling Simon to go there, then see Simon slaughter the lot of them. But it’s nothing out of the ordinary for this show to mess around with timelines, and this one didn’t do it in any particularly clever way to justify suddenly changing up the format.

I also still can’t stand Enid and the whole Enid/Aaron subplot is ridiculous. Why does Enid suddenly care so much about Aaron and vice versa? They never had any sort of bond before this and now they’re hugging each other and making one another promise to stay safe (a promise neither makes, by the way.)

Also, what’s the point of recruiting Oceanside’s fierce female fighters if those fighters are A) unwilling to help and B) no longer in possession of guns and ammunition? Why does Aaron stick around to try again when Oceanside flatly refuses to help and only lets them go with their lives because Cyndie isn’t quite as bloodthirsty as her friends?

At this point I find both Enid and Aaron pretty extraneous characters, mostly taking up space (and precious airtime) rather than adding much to the story. Enid did have a couple good things to say this episode—chastising the Oceansiders for their propensity to just shoot any strangers that show up rather than fighting against the bad guys and working with the good guys—but I still have no clue who Enid is as a character and why she matters. I still can’t believe she’s alive and well while Carl is six feet under. Who saw that coming?

The Good

Fortunately, the rest of the episode was actually pretty good. For one thing, the Garbage People are all dead except for Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and she finally dropped the Mad Max act and started talking like a normal person, speaking in a normal voice. Apparently, back before everything went to hell, she was an artist who came to the dump to paint on canvas and metal. That’s…kind of a weird hobby, so I’m inclined to believe that even though the weird speak was probably just an act she and her people put on for outsiders, she’s still mostly nuts.

The slaughter of all her people and Rick’s refusal to help her in her time of need sets her up as a very possible Big Bad down the road a ways. She has reason to exact revenge on both the Saviors and Rick’s people now.

For once, I enjoyed every Jadis scene. When she tells Rick and Michonne about how she started the Garbage People community we see a side of her we haven’t glimpsed before: Her humanity.

Later, when she lures her entire community of undead into the trash grinder, you really feel for her. It’s a brutal scene, one of the more gruesome we’ve encountered so far in this show, which certainly says something. And after she’s done the deed, she has a murderous look on her face. Her role as Queen of the Trash People may be over, but Jadis’s part in this drama is far from over.

Negan orders Simon to go to the Garbage People, take their guns, remind them of their obligations, and kill just one to drive the point home. “Just one, Simon,” Negan tells his lieutenant.

Simon offers up his own advice: Maybe it’s time for Negan to cut his losses, for the Saviors to wipe the slate clean, kill off all these troublesome survivors and go further out to ‘save’ people. Simon treats his role as a Savior with all the irony you would expect from a thug. But Negan seems to take his job seriously. He really is trying to save people. People, he reminds us time and again, are a resource.

Then a delivery from Hilltop arrives. It’s Maggie’s present for Negan—a zombified Savior from the Satellite base. They learn that Maggie has 38 more hostages. Simon is enraged. Once again, his men have been killed or captured by Rick’s group. Once again Negan can’t seem to control the situation as much as he says he can. But Negan won’t let him retaliate. His mission is still to go reel in the Garbage People.

So it’s with a thinly submerged rage that Simon shows up at the dump. Steven Ogg is really wonderful in this role. You can feel his anger bubbling just below the surface. He’s ready to snap right from the get-go, so even when Jadis gives up the guns and submits, he’s not ready to back down. He wants a real apology and when she won’t give him one, he shoots her second in command. When she still fails to say sorry, he shoots her other lieutenant.

This is too much for Jadis, and she punches Simon right in the face, knocking him to the ground in her fury before realizing what she’s done. “Light ’em up,” Simon says, having finally gotten what he wants. And the slaughter commences.

This is a great scene thanks to both Ogg and McIntosh’s performances. Finally we get Jadis acting human, acting frightened rather than detached and smug. And Simon, beneath the smiles and the thinly veiled threats, is a powder keg ready to ignite.

Later, when he returns to the Sanctuary he lies to Negan, telling him everything went according to plan. He doesn’t even make up a story, hoping that his secret remains just that despite all his men who could very easily talk about what actually happened, and despite the fact that while he left Jadis to die, he had no guarantee she actually would. Oops.

I love Simon as a bad guy. I really enjoy how they’re playing him and Negan against one another, both for the conflict and for the contrast. We actually do get to see some of Negan’s good side, especially in his unwillingness to just kill everyone. But that doesn’t mean he won’t kill Simon. Simon’s days, I fear, are numbered.

Speaking of Negan’s good side, he ends up talking with Rick on the walkie-talkie after Rick discovers that Carl had not just written letters to Rick’s group, but to Negan as well. Carl asks them all to stop fighting, to make peace, but Rick—blustering and stupid as ever—threatens to kill Negan repeatedly, just ignoring whatever his dead son had to say completely.

Negan, on the other hand, speaks hard truths. It’s Rick’s own fault that Carl is dead, he tells Rick. He was so busy waging war he wasn’t around to protect his son, to stop him from making bad choices. It’s Rick’s long series of terrible choices that has caused all this death in the first place. And Negan isn’t wrong. Rick decided to attack the Satellite station based entirely on an agreement with the vapid idiot, Gregory, at Hilltop. He attacked without doing any research on the enemy he was taking on. And he didn’t fight fair, choosing instead to sneak in during the dead of night and kill Negan’s people while they slept.

That isn’t the action of the good guys. It’s the action of villains. The Saviors had done nothing to Rick’s group at this point. In fact, the only encounter the two groups had up to this point was when the Saviors tried to take Daryl, Abraham and Sasha’s stuff and Daryl blew them all up with a rocket. And for all this killing, what does Negan do? He kills just one of their people. Sure, he kills Glenn after that but only because Daryl attacked him like an idiot. So two people was the extent of Negan’s revenge for Rick and his group killing dozens of Saviors, many of them in their sleep, in cold blood.

Negan isn’t a good man, but when you think about it like this he’s hardly any worse than Rick. And, like Rick, we see him grieving the death of Carl.  He’s even worried it was the Saviors’ doing, and is relieved when he learns that’s not the case.

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The Walking Dead season 8 episode 13 review: Do Not Send Us Astray
April 1, 2018

One of the things I find hardest about The Walking Dead is remembering just who some of these people are. I’m always playing a little game with myself. Is this person talking someone I’m supposed to remember? Is it someone getting lines as a guest-star because they’re going to die later in a horrible way? I’m never quite sure. Some people who I assumed would be long-dead by now (Diane) are shaping up to be important. Other characters drop in and the show acts like they’ve been there all along (Hilltop has a doctor who isn’t Siddiq or a Carson brother?) when they’ve literally never been on screen or said anything.

Even if these are just regular characters I’ve missed, it doesn’t really matter. By the end of the episode, pretty much anyone who isn’t a major character is going to be dead. The Saviors are coming, and unlike when Negan was in charge, there won’t be any posturing threats; Simon is coming for blood, and while his people don’t have as many guns as they should, they have a lot of poisoned weapons and a slightly modified plan. Kill if you can, but wound whenever possible. Meanwhile, Maggie has a plan, and she’s going to execute it masterfully.

There’s not a tonne of plot to discuss this week, as the focus is mostly on action. The saviors roll up slowly to Hilltop with an urge for blood. Maggie and her survivors spring a series of traps on them, with lots of people firing automatic weapons into the darkness while various Saviors skulk around and try to get the drop on the waiting fighters. It’s a pretty solid series of fight sequences, and it looks very dramatic on screen; it covers everything from melee weapons to bow and arrows to machine guns and vehicles.

It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before on The Walking Dead. At this point, there are no new battles available, but it’s shot pretty well and is pretty exciting. That the Saviors are beaten back isn’t surprising. They’re not prepared for Simon’s mission, but he’s going to go through with it despite the death toll. It’s a pretty even battle, despite Hilltop being ready and waiting for the attack and Negan’s people being unprepared. Jeffrey E. January does well by the battle sequences, and the performances are fine, but the script is something of a disappointment.

The discussions the characters have outside of the battle scenes are familiar rehashes of things already spoken of. Writers Angela Kang and Matthew Negrete have another discussion between Tara and Daryl about Dwight’s honesty or lack thereof. Simon’s announcement to Dwight that he’d rather beg for forgiveness than ask for permission when asked what he’d do if Negan comes back was also really funny, but there was a strange through-line of side characters (and characters I’ve never seen before) popping up after the fight with the Saviors to praise Maggie’s leadership skills.

I get that they’re all high off of a rousing success, and the praise is to create dramatic irony, but it feels heavy-handed even by The Walking Dead‘s standards. Maggie’s whole plan, which saves the gates of Hilltop from battering and lured the Saviors in for a series of traps, has a lot less to do with keeping her own people alive than it does for her desire to force Negan to look at Glenn’s grave prior to killing him. Meanwhile, Negan’s plan of spreading poison to the Hilltop folks, also works like a charm, as those who were injured during the battle get sick immediately, die overnight, and come back as walkers in a matter of hours.

Knowing Negan’s plan makes the events after the battle a little more effective. We see that several important characters are nursing small injuries. None of them turn (at least, not yet), but Rick’s cut and Tara’s injured, and the only character seen taking medical treatment is Rick (several other characters also get medical treatment, but get infected anyway).

People getting sick and dying have always been present on The Walking Dead, but rarely has it been so prevalent—this was always something that happened to zombies our heroes stumble across, not friends and loved ones. This is the most that sickness has been featured on the show since Carol killing people dying of the flu back at the prison and since Jim died slowly from an infection in the first season. It’s a strange thing for The Walking Dead to come back around on, given that it’s basically half an action movie mashed with half a soap opera.

There’s no attempt at realism; there aren’t a lot of people starving to death in this underfed community (food only recently became an issue), people still have gasoline for generators, and a blind man can shoot a zombie in the head from 20 feet away. To have people dying from infected cuts is just kind of funny, especially considering just how much zombie gore has gotten into eyes/mouths/open wounds over the years. Injured people die and come back as zombies; why isn’t there a quarantine? Where are the guards on the gates, or the guards standing over the prisoner, or just bog standard locked doors?

Do Not Send Us Astray was a solid episode for part of the time. The action sequences, both the beginning gun battle and the ending zombie battle, are very entertaining and well executed. Unfortunately, there is a lot of dumb stuff in the middle. A peak, a slightly lesser summit, and a considerable valley between them. It sums up both this episode, and most of this season of The Walking Dead.

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The Walking Dead’ Season 8, Episode 9 Review: ‘Honor’
April 1, 2018

unday night’s episode of The Walking Dead did something that no episode has done in this show in a very, very long time: It made me feel.

Admittedly, I have mixed emotions, but at least I didn’t walk away from the midseason premiere just shaking my head at how miserable it all was. ‘Honor’ actually got a few things right, even if I’m still bothered by the fact that this emotional send-off still seems totally unnecessary.

The Life & Times Of Carl Grimes

Throughout much of the episode, I wondered who would be the one to kill Carl (Chandler Riggs) once he turned. It didn’t occur to me that Carl would volunteer himself for the grim task, though it makes perfect sense in retrospect. How could he let Rick (Andrew Lincoln) or Michonne (Danai Gurira) do it? I thought that perhaps Siddiq (Avi Nash) would offer his services since he owes Carl for his life, but a suicide—with Rick and Michonne just outside waiting for it—works better. It was that moment, perhaps more than any other, that really got me. When you hear the gunshot and see Rick and Michonne flinch. I can’t imagine the dread and sorrow and horror of that.

As far as character deaths go, I think the show pulled this one off with just about as much respect and class as any Walking Dead death. I do think we see some last-ditch character development at work, especially with Carl and Judith’s scenes, but those were still great scenes and my only wish is that we’d seen more of this sibling time earlier on. I hate it how The Walking Dead only builds up relationships or character development right before someone is about to die. At the same time, at least this wasn’t just a random bat to the skull, and Glenn’s (Steven Yeun) eyes bulging, after months of waiting to see who would die. At least Carl got to say goodbye to his loved ones, to tell his dad and Michonne he loved them.

Carl, in his last day on earth, was remarkably zen. A sort of calm wisdom came over him. You see it when he stares up at the sun and feels the warmth of it for the last time, or as he pens a stack of letters to his closest companions. The problem, of course, is that the writers never earned this conclusion to young Carl’s life. It wasn’t that long ago that Carl tried to sneak into the Sanctuary to assassinate Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan.) I’m trying to draw a line from that rash, hot-headed young man to this calm, peaceful one talking about how the only thing that really matters is love.

A father’s job is to protect his children, Rick tells him, weeping. But Carl disagrees. It’s just to love. That’s all. 

I like this version of Carl. I like how zen and at peace he is as he slips toward his own death. I just don’t like how they went from point A to point B (or point M, as the case may be, so many character development steps were skipped over.) The same problem occurs over and over again in this TV show.

Suddenly Morgan (Lennie James) goes back to his violence. Suddenly Jesus (Tom Payne) is arguing to not kill the Saviors they’ve captured. Suddenly Carol (Melissa McBride) is suffering from PTSD. All these things are fine, but they’re rarely ever earned. It’s as if the writers have a breaker box and can just flip switches to make characters change however they want without any of the requisite revelations or catharsis or trauma.

I did think it was a little weird how some of the characters down in the sewer didn’t even bother to say goodbye to Carl. Tara just has this awkward look on her face as though this was just some random stranger about to die. I’m not sure if Rosita even said a thing. Daryl’s farewell was in character enough, I suppose. But it’s weird that outside of Michonne and Rick, the most heartfelt and powerful goodbye came from Siddiq—who Carl just met. Surely he’s formed closer relationships with others in the group than he has with this newcomer?

(That being said, I’m quite pleased with Siddiq if only because Avi Nash has already proven he has better acting chops than half the cast. I hope he becomes a much more prominent character going forward.)

In the end, I found the passing of Carl to be quite powerful and emotional. If nothing else, this episode made me feel very sad, both for the characters and their heartbreak, and because Carl really grew on me during the episode and now I’m even more bummed out he’s gone.

Meanwhile, over at the Kingdom, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) is imprisoned but help is on the way. As his Savior overseer rambles on about how he likes Ezekiel and whines about Ezekiel and Rick’s betrayal, Carol and Morgan sneak back into the Kingdom. I’m not sure why Morgan came here first instead of going to Rick, but it doesn’t matter. These are still two of the toughest characters on the show, and they prove it once again here, stealthily taking out Savior after Savior.

I’m much less fond of the final gunfight between the two and the last handful of Saviors. When they hear gunfire, the Saviors take Ezekiel into his throne room and stand around with guns drawn. Our heroes distract them, making the enemy think they’re coming through the door before jumping out onto the stage and firing at them from behind. This bothers me for lots of reasons. First, Carol and Morgan are just standing there on a stage in clear view with no cover. Who just walks onto a stage firing when they could take more defensive positions. There are still more bad guys than good guys at this point.

This is just another example of The Walking Dead really screwing up its action scenes, and in particular any scene involving a shootout.

One of the Saviors jumps Morgan and a struggle ensues. But since Morgan is pretty much totally insane, he reaches into the guys stomach (where he’s been wounded) and grabs his intestine and quite literally pulls it out of his body. I have to say, this might be the best kill sequence since Rick ripped that guy’s throat out with his teeth. Savage!

The lead Savior manages to limp away, but Morgan tracks him down. While the whiny Savior pleads for his life, Morgan deliberates. He’s stuck between his ‘Clear’ persona, obsessed with killing, and his aikido-based persona. I like that he’s struggling, even though I think the show has botched that entire character arc pretty badly.

But whatever moral dilemma he has is cut short when the kid, Henry, sneaks up behind the Savior and stabs him through the neck. This was no surprise. It was obvious that the kid was going to kill this guy ever since we saw him run into the Kingdom (against Carol’s wishes) earlier in the episode. I’m more surprised that he managed to somehow walk up behind the guy without Ezekiel, Carol or Morgan spotting him. I mean, I get how we didn’t spot him because the camera didn’t show him—but how did he sneak up without all three incredibly alert grown-ups standing there spotting him? Magic?

In any case, Morgan is spared the killing and Henry takes an important step toward manhood: Killing an unarmed man who has already surrendered. Good job, Henry! Then Ezekiel and Morgan sing I’ll Make A Man Out Of You from Mulan to him and they all go skipping off into the sunset.

The Visions

Finally we come to the visions that we’ve been getting glimpses of this entire season. Turns out, this is all what Carl’s been imagining or…maybe hallucinating? I’m not really sure. Either way he’s had a vision that includes an older Judith, a long-bearded Rick, and even Eugene who, I’m sorry, no longer deserves a seat at the table.

But the real kicker comes almost at the very end, when Judith runs through the garden toward a man working the soil. And, just as I expected, when he turns around it’s Negan. Nice Negan. Somehow redeemed Negan. Since this is Carl’s vision and not actually the future, it’s hard to say if this will come to pass, but if the show follows the comics then yes, Negan will somehow join the crew even though he’s smashed Glenn’s head in with a bat, and Abraham’s, and all but killed Sasha, and threw people into ovens, and burned peoples’ faces off with an iron, and….well, you get the idea. I have no idea how this show, with its clumsy writing, will pull off this kind of redemptive arc for his character and make it believable that the rest of our crew would accept him (given they barely accept Dwight.)

We shall see.

The episode ends on Rick. We keep getting these close-ups of his teary, red-rimmed eyes and at the end we see him sitting there by a tree, apparently wounded pretty badly. It looks like stained glass squares of some sort are hanging above him. I’m not sure what to make of it, to be honest. But things do not look good for Rick.

All told, this was one of the better episodes of the season. Maybe the best. It wasn’t perfect—nothing in this show is ever truly great anymore—but it did a pretty good job of sending Carl off, even if killing his character was a huge, arrogant blunder in the first place. I know some fans will be sad to see that their fan theories were incorrect—this wasn’t a human bite, it wasn’t the work of the mysterious Whisperers, etc. But I’m glad they followed through with it and just gave him an emotionally poignant farewell.

The B plot was decent action fun and kept the episode from being too weepy. Without it, we’d have far too much of Rick looking sad. Speaking of Rick looking sad, I’m really puzzled by some of the writing decisions for his character. He was incoherent, which I understand might happen when your kid is dying in front of you, but in such a weird way that it was hard to follow at times. I kept thinking that Carl would die without any of them saying “I love you” and was enormously relieved when they said it. It’s not a stretch to think that the writers on this show would forget this basic, human sentiment.

I really hope that the new showrunner brings in some experts who can help to better choreograph shootouts and action scenes in general. Given how many of these we have in this show, it would be nice to see the quality drastically improved. Imagine if the action sequences were as top-notch as the zombie makeup. The same goes for dialogue and plotting, editing and direction. This show needs better people behind the camera pretty much across the board (except for zombie makeup which is absolutely amazing still.)

One final, crucial thing I need to point out: I think one reason I enjoyed this episode as much as I did was because what it didn’t do. Particularly, the characters it didn’t include.

There were no Trash People saying stupid things with their bad hair and nonsensical dialect. Eugene was there only briefly in one of Carl’s visions (and even that was too much.) Same with Negan, though his cameo was less intolerable. There was no Gabriel making that one Gabriel facial expression he always makes. No Enid being useless or Aaron fake-crying. No Oceanside women pretending to be psycho Amazon warriors. We didn’t have to endure any debates between Maggie, Jesus and Gregory.

Virtually all of the show’s worst, most-annoying characters were absent. And guess what? It was better because of that.

I think the only other character we didn’t see tonight that I would have liked to see was Simon because you really can never have enough Steven Ogg/Trevor from GTA V.

In any case, I think this says a lot about the state of the show and one very easy, cost-saving way AMC could make it great again (Make The Walking Dead Great Again! #MTWDGA) and that’s cutting the cast back drastically and focusing on a tighter-knit group of characters we actually enjoy. Seriously, just cut the wheat from the chaff, stop paying all these actors to play second-tier characters, pay your stars more and focus on telling their story. 

So many shows suffer from ballooning casts (see, for example The Flash, Arrow or Vikings.) As seasons mount, character rosters do as well. Budgets go increasingly toward these sprawling casts with a bunch of characters we don’t care about sucking up all the screen-time. Now strip all these superfluous characters away and you’re left with an episode that you can actually care about again. Imagine that. Imagine The Walking Dead going back to the basics, focusing on a small band of survivors rather than these massive communities and all-out-war.

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The Walking Dead’ Season 8, Episode 11 Review: ‘Dead Or Alive Or
April 1, 2018

Sunday night’s episode of The Walking Dead was once again not nearly as bad as the first half of Season 8. The bad motivational speeches, weird editing and other follies of that half of the season are all gone. Instead, we had some decent character drama, some tense moments, and a zombie-guts-covered Lucille.

I’m not saying that this is prime Walking Dead television. I’m afraid that ship has sailed. The show’s heyday is long since past, and even this trio of relatively good episodes won’t change that. These are decent in relation to the past two seasons, sure, but compared to The Walking Dead’s best episodes we’re still a long ways off.

Ratings for the midseason premiere were terrible, reflecting audience’s antipathy toward Scott Gimple’s bizarre decision to kill off Carl. In fact, ratings are all the way down to Season 1 levels. Season 1 was fantastic, but it was a new show and had a much smaller audience. It’s quite frankly pathetic to see this show fall so low, and a clear reflection of just how poorly written, directed and produced AMC’s zombie drama has been lately. They desperately need new blood and I’m more worried than ever that simply shuffling the deck of current producers and writers won’t cut it.

Still, I’ve enjoyed this back half of Season 8 way more than the front half. It feels better paced, more contained and less confusing than earlier episodes this season. It’s less melodramatic, too. And unlike Season 7, we haven’t gotten stuck with any solo episodes. Thank goodness, too, because I’m not sure I could stand another Tara episode.

Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist.” ~ The Princess Bride

As the Hilltop runs out of food and Maggie begins planning the torturous starvation death of her prisoners, another huge group of survivors makes their way to Gregory’s mansion. The survivors of Alexandria, replete with a whole bunch of extras we’ve never seen before. I have a nagging suspicion that they’re actually survivors from the island on Lost. I have no idea where else they could have come from. In any case, lots of mouths to feed and very little food.

(Never fear, though, Jesus is out scavenging for food. He’ll steal a whole truck of it from Rick and Daryl and we’ll discover this is actually a time loop.The survivors keep meeting Jesus, who leads them to Gregory, who sicks them on Negan, who kills Glenn and Abraham, and then the entire cycle repeats over and over again.)

Sorry, I got a little carried away there.

In any case, Dwight tells everyone that Negan will have basically every single approach to the Hilltop guarded except for one: The Fire Swamp. (Okay, just the swamp. I’m adding flavor.)

This is the first or second time, but definitely not the last time, that Tara wants to kill Dwight. And gosh does she ever. She wants to kill him so bad she can’t think about anything else. Her and Denise were girlfriends for like seventeen minutes, but her vengeance burns hot, runs deep, wriggles and jiggles and tickles inside her. She simply has to kill Dwight, right now, and she isn’t afraid to tell anyone even when he’s standing right over there. Tara, he’s literally standing right over there. Keep it down.

So when the others go to clear a path through the zombie-filled swamp, Tara stays behind. She takes Dwight with her to go kill some nearby walkers, but it’s obviously a thinly veiled excuse to get him alone where she can kill him. When he tells her he’s sorry and that killing him won’t make her feel better, she tries to anyways, missing at point blank range. He runs and she follows but her execution is cut short by a pack of roving Saviors. They hide and Tara looks like she might still kill him right then and there, nearby enemies be damned. But Dwight ducks out of their hiding place, greeting the Saviors as friends.

When, to no one’s surprise but Tara’s, Dwight doesn’t betray them to the Saviors she has a ‘come to Jesus’ moment. She realizes that maybe, just maybe, she should let a guy who fought on the wrong side for a time, but then risked everything to help the good guys, have his redemption moment.

I mean, for God’s sake Tara you used to be on Team Governor! You were on the bad guys team once, too!

While I do understand her anger—Dwight put a crossbow bolt in Denise’s eye, after all—I found Tara incredibly annoying in this episode. Frankly, I’m not even sure why she’s still on this show. She’s such a boring character and whenever she’s not boring it’s because she’s doing something obnoxious. I’m not necessarily a fan of Dwight, but I like him more than ever after this episode. He fought for his life and still didn’t give up his new allies even after they tried to kill him. Good for Dwight. I like that he’s doing the right thing even if it means he’ll die in the end. It’s brave and selfless.

Speaking of annoying characters, Daryl is just…he’s just ridiculous at this point. When even Tara starts defending Dwight for not double-crossing them, it’s Daryl who fecklessly rages about killing him. He’s so angry he could just…stomp his feet and pout! Why is he angry? It’s not like Dwight got away. He was chased by Tara who was trying to kill him like an idiot, and all Daryl can do is whine and cry about it? Until he notices little Judith looking all cute and decides that maybe he should hold it together.

The best part of this entire segment was the swamp zombies. Let’s call them ‘bobbers.’ They were, as usual, very grotesque and cool, though highly ineffective at their job. You had one job bobbers: Kill all humans. One job. Sheesh.

I really dislike Father Gabriel. I’ve disliked him from the very first moment he showed up on The Walking Dead, and no matter how hard I try I still dislike him. But I didn’t hate his story in ‘Dead Or Alive Or’ (which, by the way, is a very silly name for an episode.)

Gabriel and Dr. Carson have escaped the Sanctuary with the help of The Mullet. They’re hopelessly lost because they’re both just terrible at surviving but still somehow managed to survive this long. Gabriel’s infection has gotten into his eyes and he’s going blind. (I’m still confused by the infection…how exactly did he get infected by putting zombie guts on him when they’ve done this countless times already? Nick in FTWD does this almost every single episode!)

In any case, with a dead car and no sense of where they are, Gabriel and Carson seem stuck, until Gabriel hears a bell off in the distance. God, he assures his scientifically inclined travelling companion, is leading them. So off they go until they find a house in the middle of nowhere. Once there, Gabriel’s faith is bolstered once again. Surely this is god’s hand at work, guiding them to safety.

When Carson finds the previous occupant dead in the back bedroom he doubts Gabriel’s hypothesis. But when they find bottles of antibiotics his own faith wavers. It is a bit miraculous, after all. Gabriel gets his meds and starts talking and gesticulating and accidentally breaks a piggy bank on the counter. Inside it they find a key and a map, leading them to a vehicle. More of god’s beneficence at play, it would seem.

But on the way to the car, Carson steps in a bear trap. Zombies descend, and things look grim for our good doctor. Gabriel, nearly blind, grabs Carson’s gun and takes aim, putting his faith once again in his maker and…perfect shot. Carson’s angle is likely broken, but at least Gabriel saved him. They can get to the car and drive to Hilltop “for Maggie.”

Brief side-note here: This whole “Maggie needs the doctor” thing is so, so, so, so very stupid. Maggie isn’t even showing. Maggie is no longer infected. Maggie is fine. There are many others, including both Gabriel and now Carson, who would be better served by a medical professional. Countless people have been wounded fighting the Saviors. Maggie doesn’t need a doctor. Women literally gave birth for hundreds of thousands of years without a doctor.

Many people, even in this day and age, use midwives instead of doctors. Actually, at the dawn of modern medicine, doctors were probably the worst thing a woman in childbirth could have near her. They used all sorts of barbaric instruments to drag children into the world, refusing to use older, more tested means of midwifery. Maggie can bring this baby to term and give birth just fine without a doctor, assuming she survives both the war with Negan and contract negotiations with AMC.

And that’s good, because Carson dies. Literally fourteen seconds after Gabriel fires off the gun and they get to the jeep, the Saviors show up. Apparently there are still so many Saviors that they’re just everywhere at once. They just pop up randomly when they hear a gun shot miles off, seconds later, like magic.

In any case, it continues with our theme of elation and crushing defeat. But even as they’re dragged into the bed of the Saviors’ magical truck, Gabriel is chill about it. We’re still on god’s path, he tells Carson. And Carson, probably delirious with pain, decides that yes, he agrees, and he knows what to do! He’ll grab the Savior’s gun and take on all of them single-handedly! Poor doc. They put him down like a dog, though one Savior points out that they were trying to capture the doctor, not kill him.

Eugene is an idiot. He becomes more and more of an idiot with every passing episode. He’s a true traitor, not just to his old friends, but to any sense of decency inside himself. As his fear and alcoholism further consume him, he sinks deeper into his role as a Savior boss.

He’s at once terrified of Negan discovering his treachery and so full of himself that when one of the Savior women comes over to offer her assistance in bullet making, he treats her like garbage. Honestly, this really rubbed me the wrong way. He’s just such a complete jerk to her for no reason. It just compounds how much I absolutely loathe Eugene.

Let’s just stop calling him that. From now on he’s The Mullet. Mullet the bullet-maker. That’s the task Negan has set out for him, and he brings the captured Father Gabriel (who refuses to give up Eugene) to help sort bullet casings. But Eugene can’t make bullets fast enough, so he suggests using zombie parts as siege weapons. They can toss zombie heads and guts and entire walkers over the Hilltop walls (burning said walls, which are made of wood, might be faster and easier, but whatever.)

This gives Negan an idea. Which leads us to….

I guess if you put zombie bits into an open wound, you become infected. So if you cover your spiky bat with zombie guts and blood and then thwack somebody with it, it’ll do 1d8+3 damage instead of just 1d8 damage. Or maybe it’s still 1d8 damage, but now you need to roll a saving throw against poison to survive it or you take an extra 1d8 poison damage and then turn into a walker.

Now imagine coating your arrows and machetes and very small rocks with zombie innards and using this entire arsenal against your enemies, turning each and every one of them into a walker in the process. Pretty gruesome. Kind of bizarre nobody’s thought of it before now, though. Especially a sadist like Negan.

Oh well, whatever the case here we have one of the comic book’s big moments happening on screen. Seems a tad drastic to me, if Negan truly doesn’t want to kill everyone and thinks “people are a resource, Simon!” This kind of approach feels more genocidal than anything. As soon as you start turning people, they’ll all start turning on one another until everyone is dead. Maybe Negan is just full of it.

Back at the Hilltop, everyone is running out of food. People are 1/3 rations. This has always been the story of Hilltop. They can’t fight. They had the worst leader ever in Gregory. They farmed but never had full stomachs. It’s the most useless community in the entire show, but at least they have hostages and it’s basically the only safe place remaining since, during the midseason finale, Simon failed to go back there with Maggie to make sure they didn’t have any more guns.

In any case, Maggie tells the prisoners they can’t leave their pen even for exercise and also they won’t get any more food.

There’s a touching moment when Daryl and his crew arrive at the Hilltop and Daryl tells Carol and Maggie about Carl. We don’t hear any of it and frankly I think it probably works better that way. We see the reactions of the Hilltop crew as Enid breaks down and Carol faces yet another loss of young life. Carol, whose daughter was lost in season 2, who had to kill that one crazy little girl who killed her sister, who tried to push away that creepy kid in Alexandria that ended up dying anyways.

Meanwhile, Morgan tells young Henry that Gavin (who Henry recently murdered) killed his older brother, perhaps indicating that he’s once again souring on all the killing. I’m all for Henry turning into a total badass. Morgan, for his part, seems fed up with everything. Maybe he’s off to join Fear The Walking Dead. (Note: I incorrectly stated that Morgan told Henry the name of the real killer; I was mistaken, or got the names mixed up. Fixed now. Thanks.)

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Essay About MySelf, My name is Suleha Review
March 31, 2018


My name is Sulekha; I read in class 9th standard in Delhi. I am a self-driven and self motivated student. I like to motivate my friends of the school always and help them in their difficult times. I am a bright student of my school and do well in the academic and sports activities. I am capable to do well under any stressful condition. I am very skilled and knowledgeable student in my school. I do very hard study for long hours around the clock at home. I never left my home works and class works incomplete and like to complete all before bed time. My teachers like me very much because of my goodness and punctuality. I never become tired and continuously do hard work because my parents take care of me always. They always become conscious for my health and diet.

Because of my academic tenure, I always get good marks and grades. I am a merit scholarship holder in my school. I learn computer very well in my school and know everything about computer. I do everything according to my organized schedule of work. I never avoid my any of the works whether at home or at school. I always respect my parents and help my mom in her house works and my father in his office projects. I share my mom’s laundries and washing dishes works. I always keep my room clean and decorate attractively every Sunday. I understand my all responsibilities toward myself and my family very well. I always try to make my friends and classmates happy through my interesting jokes and nice talks. I always become ready to give them advises and suggestions to get them out of their difficulties. I am very sympathetic girl and try to support old people and children in my colony or on the way.

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game of thrones is the game brake
March 28, 2018

Game of Thrones is an American television series created by  and It is an adaptation of’s series of fantasy novels, the first of which is  It is filmed in and elsewhere in the and the United States. The series premiered on in the United States on April 17, 2011, and its seventh season ended on August 27, 2017. The series will conclude with its premiering in 2019.

Set on the fictional continents of  Game of Thrones has several plot lines and a large but centers on three primary. The first story arc centers on the of the  and follows a web of alliances and conflicts among the dynastic noble families either vying to claim the throne or fighting for independence from the throne. The second story arc focuses on the last descendant of the realm’s deposed ruling dynasty, exiled and plotting a return to the throne. The third story arc centers on the longstanding brotherhood charged with defending the realm against the ancient threats of the fierce peoples and legendary creatures that lie far north, and an impending winter that threatens the realm.

Game of Thrones has attracted record viewership on HBO and has a broad, active, international It has been acclaimed by critics, particularly for its acting, complex characters, story, scope, and production values, although its frequent use of nudity and violence (including sexual violence) has been criticized. The series has received 38 , including in 2015 and 2016, more than any other primetime scripted television series. Its  include three (2012–2014), a 2011  and four nominations for the  (2012 and 2015–2017).

Weapons in the series

Power and violence are central themes of Game of Thrones, and the number of weapons made for the series (some of which are shown here) reflects this.


Game of Thrones is roughly based on the storylines of A Song of Ice and Fire, set in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the continent of Essos. The series chronicles the violent dynastic struggles among the realm’s noble families for the Iron Throne, while other families fight for independence from it. It opens with additional threats in the icy North and Essos in the east.

” as Game of Thrones referring to its intrigue-filled plot and dark tone in a fantasy setting of magic and dragons. In a 2012 study of deaths per episode, it ranked second out of 40 recent U.S. TV drama series (with an average of 14).


The series is generally praised for what is perceived as a sort of medieval realism. George R.R. Martin set out to make the story feel more like historical fiction than contemporary fantasy, with less emphasis on magic and sorcery and more on battles, political intrigue, and the characters, believing that magic should be used moderately in the epic fantasy genre.Martin has stated that “the true horrors of human history derive not from  and Dark Lords, but from ourselves.”

A common theme in the fantasy genre is the battle between , which Martin says does not mirror the real world.Just like people’s capacity for good and for evil in real life, Martin explores the questions of redemption and character change.The show allows the audience to view different characters from their perspective, unlike in many other fantasies, and thus the supposed villains can provide their side of the story.Benioff said, “George brought a measure of harsh realism to high fantasy. He introduced gray tones into a black-and-white universe.”

In early seasons, under the influence of the A Song of Ice and Fire books, main characters were regularly killed off, and this was credited with developing tension among viewersLater seasons, however, critics pointed out that certain characters had developed “plot armor”, attributing this to the show’s deviating from the books and becoming more of a traditional television series. The series also reflects the substantial death rates in war

Inspirations and derivations

Although the first season closely follows the events of the first novel, later seasons have made significant changes. According to David Benioff, the show is “about adapting the series as a whole and following the map George laid out for us and hitting the major milestones, but not necessarily each of the stops along the way”.

Tom Holland ofbelieves that the novels and their adaptations base aspects of their settings, characters, and plot on events in European history. Most of Westeros is reminiscent of  Europe, from lands and cultures, to the palace intrigue, castles, and knightly tournaments. A principal inspiration for the novels is the English of  and . The scheming  evokes , the “she-wolf of France” (1295–1358);Isabella and her family (particularly as portrayed in ‘s historical-novel series, were also a main inspiration for Martin.

Holland further proposes that other historical antecedents of series elements include  (which becomes Martin’s Wall), the legend of  Byzantine  (“wildfire”), Icelandic of the  (c. 1400–1500)The series’ popularity has been attributed, in part, to Martin’s skill at fusing these elements into a seamless, credible version of Martin acknowledges, “I take [history] and I file off the serial numbers and I

Cast and characters

Peter Dinklage

) has led the principal cast since season two

Game of Thrones has an  estimated to be the largest on television; during its third season, 257 cast names were recorded. In 2014, several actor contracts were renegotiated to include a seventh-season option, with raises which reportedly made them among the highest-paid performers on  In 2016, several actor contracts were again renegotiated, reportedly increasing the salary of five of the main cast members to £2 million per episode for the last two seasons, which would make them the The main cast is listed below.

Lord  is the head of House Stark, whose members are involved in plot lines throughout most of the series. He and his wife, ), the youngest. Ned’s son  and his friend, , serve in the  under Lord Commander . The Wildlings living north of the Wall include young  and warriors and 

Others associated with House Stark include Ned’s ward and Bolton’s bastard son, . Robb falls in love with the healer and Arya befriends the blacksmith’s apprentice  and the assassin  The tall warrior ) serves Catelyn and, later, Sansa.

In King’s Landing, the capital, Ned’s friend King ) shares a loveless marriage with , who has taken her twin brother, the “Kingslayer” Ser ), as her lover. She loathes her younger brother, the dwarf , who is attended by his mistress and the Cersei’s father is Lord  Cersei also has two young sons: and . Joffrey is guarded by the scar-faced warrior, 

The king’s Small Council of advisors includes the crafty Master of Coin Lord s advised by foreign priestess and former smuggler Ser . The wealthy Tyrell family is represented at court by  is the capital’s religious leader. In the southern principality of Dorne,  seeks vengeance against the Lannisters.

Across the Narrow Sea, siblings – the exiled children of the last king of the original ruling dynasty, who was overthrown by Robert Baratheon – are running for their lives and trying to win back the throne. Daenerys has been married to, the leader of the nomadic Dothraki. Her retinue includes the exiled knight


Conception and development

D. B. Weiss and David Benioff

Showrunners D. B. Weiss and David Benioff created the series, wrote most of its episodes and directed several.

In January 2006, David Benioff had a phone conversation with George R. R. Martin’s literary agent about the books he represented, and became interested in as he had been a fan of fantasy fiction when young but had not read the books before. The literary agent then sent the first four books of A Song of Ice and Fire to Benioff.Benioff read a few hundred pages of the first novel, A Game of Thrones, shared his enthusiasm with D. B. Weiss and suggested that they adapt Martin’s novels into a television series; Weiss finished the first novel in “maybe 36 hours”.They  the series to HBO after a five-hour meeting with Martin (a veteran screenwriter) in a restaurant on  According to Benioff, they won Martin over with their answer to his question, “

I had worked in Hollywood myself for about 10 years, from the late ’80s to the ’90s. I’d been on the staff of and . All of my first drafts tended to be too big or too expensive. I always hated the process of having to cut. I said, ‘I’m sick of this, I’m going to write something that’s as big as I want it to be, and it’s going to have a cast of characters that go into the thousands, and I’m going to have huge castles, and battles, and dragons.

—George R. R. Martin, author

Before being approached by Benioff and Weiss, Martin had had other meetings with other scriptwriters, most of them wanting to turn it into a feature film. Martin, however, deemed it “unfilmable” and impossible to be done as a feature film, stating that the size of one of his novels is as long as , which had been adapted as three feature films.Similarly, Benioff also said that it would be impossible to turn the novels into a feature film as the scale of the novels is too big for a feature film and dozens of characters would have to be discarded. Benioff added, “a fantasy movie of this scope, financed by a major studio, would almost certainly need a PG-13 rating. That means no sex, no blood, no profanity. Fuck that.” Martin himself was pleased with the suggestion that they adapt it as an HBO series, saying that he “never imagined it anywhere else”.“I knew it couldn’t be done as a network television series. It’s too adult. The level of sex and violence would never have gone through.”The series began development in January 2007. HBO acquired the TV rights to the novels, with Benioff and Weiss as its executive producers, and Martin as a co-executive producer. The intention was for each novel to yield a season’s worth of episodes.Initially, Martin would write one episode per season while Benioff and Weiss would write the rest of the episodes. and Bryan Cogman were later added to write one episode apiece the first season.

The first and second drafts of the  script by Benioff and Weiss were submitted in August 2007and June 2008, respectively. Although HBO liked both drafts, a pilot was not ordered until November 2008; the fter a poor reception in a private viewing, HBO demanded an extensive re-shoot (about 90 percent of the episode, with cast and directorial changes)

The pilot reportedly cost HBO $5–10 million to produce,while the first season’s budget was estimated at $50–60 million.In the second season, the show received a 15-percent budget increase for the climactic battle in ” (which had an $8 million budget). Between 2012 and 2015, the average budget per episode increased from $6 million to “at least” $8 million. The sixth-season budget was over $10 million per episode, for a season total of over $100 million and a series record.


and Robert Sterne are the series’ primary casting directors. Through a process of auditions and readings, the main cast was assembled. The only exceptions were  and , whom the writers wanted from the start; they were announced as joining the  in 2009.Other actors signed for the pilot wereAddy was, according to showrunners Benioff and Weiss, the easiest actor to cast for the show, being that his audition was on point. Some of the characters in the pilot were recast for the first season: was initially played by , but the role was recast with  was also recast, with  replacing  The rest of the first season’s cast was filled in the second half of 2009.

Although many of the cast returned after the first season, the producers had many new characters to cast for each of the following seasons. Due to the large number of new characters, Benioff and Weiss postponed the introduction of several key characters in the  and merged several characters into one or assigned plot functions to different characters. Some recurring characters were recast over the years; for example, was played by three different actors, while who played  also played a minor Lannister character.


George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin, author of A Song of Ice and Fire, is a series co and wrote one episode for each of the first four seasons.

Game of Thrones used seven writers in six seasons. Series creators, the showrunners, write most of the episodes each season.

 author wrote one episode in each of the first four seasons. Martin did not write an episode for the later seasons, since he wanted to focus on completing the sixth novel  co-wrote one first-season episode as a

initially a script coordinator for the series, was promoted to producer for the fifth season. Cogman, who wrote at least one episode for the first five seasons, is the only other writer in the writers’ room with Benioff and Weiss. Before his promotion, (a writer during the second and third seasons) worked closely with Benioff and Weiss.joined the writing staff for the fifth season after working as an assistant to Benioff and Weiss. Although Martin is not in the writers’ room, he reads the script outlines and makes comments.

Benioff and Weiss sometimes assign characters to particular writers; for example, Cogman was assigned to Arya Stark for the fourth season. The writers spend several weeks writing a character outline, including what material from the novels to use and the overarching themes. After these individual outlines are complete, they spend another two to three weeks discussing each main character’s individual arc and arranging them episode by episode. A detailed outline is created, with each of the writers working on a portion to create a script for each episode. Cogman, who wrote two episodes for the fifth season, took a month and a half to complete both scripts. They are then read by Benioff and Weiss, who make notes, and parts of the script are rewritten. All ten episodes are written before filming begins, since they are filmed out of order with twoin different countries.

Benioff and Weiss write each of their episodes together, with one of them writing the first half of the script and the other the second half. After that they begin with passing the drafts back and forth to make notes and rewrite parts of it.

Adaptation schedule

Benioff and Weiss originally intended to adapt the entire, still-incomplete A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels for television. After Game of Thronesbegan outpacing the published novels in the sixth season, the series was based on a plot outline of the future novels provided by Martin and original content. In April 2016, the showrunners’ plan was to shoot 13 more episodes after the sixth season: seven episodes in the seventh season and six episodes in the eighth.Later that month, the series was renewed for a seventh season with a seven-episode order.As of 2017, seven seasons have been ordered and filmed, adapting the novels at a rate of about 48 seconds per page for the first three seasons.


The Azure Window at Ras-id-Dwerja

The  at Ras-id-Dwerja, on Gozo, was the site of the Dothraki wedding in season one.

Principal photography for the first season was scheduled to begin on July 26, 2010,and the primary location was the  in , Northern Ireland Exterior scenes in Northern Ireland were filmed at Sandy Brae in th (standing in for Vaes Dothrak),  (Winterfell), Saintfield Estates (the Winterfell godswood),  (outdoor scenes),(the execution site), the  quarry (Castle Black) and  (the tourney grounds) Scotland, was also used in the original pilot episode for scenes at WinterfellThe producers initially considered filming the whole series in Scotland, but decided on Northern Ireland because of the availability of studio space.

The first season’s southern scenes were filmed in Malta, a change in location from the pilot episode’s Moroccan sets. The city of  was used for King’s Landing. Filming was also done a(representing the Sept of Baelor), at the on the island of  (the Dothraki wedding site) and at   and St. Dominic monastery (all used for scenes in the Red Keep).

The walled city of Dubrovnik

The walled city of Dubrovnik became King’s Landing in season two.

Filming of the second season’s southern scenes shifted from Malta to Croatia, where the city of and nearby locations allowed exterior shots of a walled, coastal medieval city. The and  were used for scenes in King’s Landing and the Red Keep. The island of  the St. Dominic monastery in the coastal town o, the in Dubrovnik, and the Dubac quarry (a few kilometers east) were used for scenes set in Qarth. Scenes set north of the Wall, in the Frostfangs and at the Fist of the First Men, were filmed in November 2011 in Iceland: on the  glacier near Smyrlabjörg, the Svínafellsjökull glacier nea and the glacier near  on Höfðabrekkuheiði

Third-season production returned to Dubrovnik, with the Walls of Dubrovnik, Fort Lovrijenac and nearby locations again used for scenes in King’s Landing and the Red Keep.  a new location, is the garden of the Tyrells in King’s Landing. The third season also returned to Morocco (including the city of to film Daenerys’ scenes in Essos.and the cave in Iceland were used as welOne scene, with , was filmed inThe production used three units (Dragon, Wolf and Raven) filming in parallel, six directing teams, 257 cast members and 703 crew members.

Ballintoy Harbour

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China’s lust for jaguar fangs imperils big cats
February 25, 2018

The jaguar was found floating in a drainage canal in Belize City, Belize, on the day after Christmas last year. Its body was mostly intact, but the head was missing its fangs. On 10 January, a second cat — this time, an ocelot that may have been mistaken for a young jaguar — turned up headless in the same channel.

The killings point to a growing illicit trade in jaguars (Panthera onca) that disturbs wildlife experts. The cats’ fangs, skulls and hides have long been trophies for Latin American collectors who flout international prohibitions against trading in jaguar parts. But in recent years, a trafficking route has emerged to China, where the market for jaguars could be increasing because of crackdowns on the smuggling of tiger parts used in Chinese traditional medicine.

Wildlife trafficking often follows Chinese construction projects in other countries, because Chinese workers can send or take objects home, says ecologist Vincent Nijman of Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, UK. “If there’s a demand [in China] for large-cat parts, and that demand can be fulfilled by people living in parts of Africa, other parts of Asia or South America, then someone will step in to fill that demand,” he says. “It’s often Chinese-to-Chinese trade, but it’s turning global.”

Fang mail

That seems to be the case in Bolivia, where eight packages containing a total of 186 jaguar fangs were confiscated between August 2014 and February 2015 before they could reach China. Seven had been sent by Chinese citizens living in Bolivia. Eight more were reportedly intercepted in 2016, and a package of 120 fangs was seized in China, says Angela Núñez, a Bolivian biologist who is researching the trade.

Those packages could represent the deaths of more than 100 jaguars, although it’s impossible to be sure, Núñez says. In northern Bolivia, where several Chinese companies are working, radio advertisements and flyers have offered US$120 to $150 per fang — more than a month’s income for many local people. Two Chinese men have been arrested for trading in jaguar parts. One, detained in 2014, received a three-year suspended sentence. The other, arrested in 2016, is awaiting sentencing but failed to appear for two recent court hearings; Bolivian officials fear that he may have left the country.

That’s a problem with wildlife trafficking worldwide, says Nijman, who adds that very few wildlife trafficking cases lead to criminal sentences. “The deterrent is when somebody ends up in jail,” he says — but that rarely happens “because society as a whole in most countries is not interested”.

Fangs and skulls seized in Bolivia, as well as 38 fangs confiscated in Lima, Peru, in 2015, could have come from jaguars that were killed recently, or years ago. Because the cats have large territories, Núñez says that genetic studies could determine whether poached animals came from populations in Bolivia or a neighbouring country.

That also interests Brazilian biologist Thais Morcatty, who is doing her PhD research with Nijman. There is a domestic market in Brazil for jaguar skins as home decoration, but parts of the animals have also been shipped abroad from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, she says.

Halved habitat

More than a century ago, jaguars roamed forests, savannahs and scrub land from the southwestern United States to Paraguay. Deforestation and other disturbances caused by people — especially the expansion of agriculture — have cut the cats’ habitat in half, says wildlife ecologist John Polisar, who coordinates the jaguar programme at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York City.

That has depleted the jaguars’ prey, and in some areas has forced the big cats into contact with people and livestock, says Polisar, who works across parts of Central and South America. Estimates of the remaining jaguar population range from about 60,000 animals to nearly three times that number.

A farmer who loses a cow or calf to a predator might kill a jaguar in retaliation, even though that animal may not have been the culprit. After habitat loss, such killings are the second-biggest threat to jaguars, says Esteban Payán, director of the northern South America jaguar programme at Panthera, a global wild-cat conservation organization. The retaliatory killings also provide a sporadic supply of animal parts to the wildlife trade, but sparse data make it difficult to know whether the incidents are isolated cases or whether they feed organized crime rings, researchers say.

Measures designed to help people coexist with jaguars could reduce such killings, Payán says. In some cases, electric fences have discouraged jaguars from crossing from forests into pastures1, and solar panels that power the fences can also run some light bulbs or a small refrigerator for the farmer’s family. That can revolutionize life for them, he says.

Other tactics that have shown promise include putting bells on cows, installing flashing lights around pastures to help keep predators at bay and placing water tanks in pastures to head off chance encounters at a creek. Sheds for calves keep the most vulnerable animals out of reach. Introducing guard animals to a herd, such as burros (a type of donkey), or hardy San Martinero cattle descended from Spanish bullfighting stock can also discourage predators, he says.

Cash cows

Governments could help by providing incentives, says biologist Ricardo Moreno, director of the non-profit group Yaguará Panama. Right now, a farmer who buys a cow on credit must repay even if he loses an animal, says Moreno, who mixes scientific studies and work with communities and policymakers to protect jaguars. But making loans contingent on better livestock management would benefit farmers, lenders and jaguars, he says.

Meanwhile, researchers and some government officials in Latin America are watching the wildlife trade warily. Belize’s environment ministry is offering a US$5,000 reward for information about the jaguars killed there, and Polisar’s group is collecting data from around the region.

Although the links to international trafficking in Bolivia are clear, Payán worries this is “just the tip of the iceberg” of a broader trading network because there are anecdotal reports of trafficking in other countries, too. Conservation organizations are no match for “the violence, the money and the scale” of wildlife traffickers’ organized crime rings, he says. “The potential threat is huge.”

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The interviewee who hated me
January 7, 2018

Six years ago a guy looked at me face to face, and boldly told me; “I don’t like you!”
I immediately fired a response, I asked him that day; “Thank you for the honest feedback, but those that you like, how has it made their life better? How does your liking people pay their bills or take a bank loan? My brother keep your like, I need God’s like And that’s what guarantees my future.
Today I joined a CEO friend of mine in an interview Panel to recruit some new staff, it was a long session, as we returned from a coffee break to continue the hectic interview session, here was this same guy. He walked in with his grey jacket and CV coming for the interview.
Our eyes kissed by fluke, we immediately recognised each other; “the world is indeed spherical”, I soliloquized.
He felt very uncomfortable throughout the interview, one could clearly see the volcanic eruption ongoing in his whole nervous system, he even mistook his date of birth for his last date of employment. It wasn’t yet my turn to ask him questions so I allowed everyone to take their turns with him and deliberately opted to interview him last.
When it got to my turn, the first thing I said was, “I LIKE YOU so much, you look to me like a brilliant and intelligent person, but it seems you are not doing well now because something bothers you, true?”
“That’s very correct Sir!” He responded.
“Ok look at me straight in the eye, I was never offended that day, it is very normal that sometimes as humans you just don’t like certain people, but I wasn’t bothered either, because whether you liked me or not, it was inconsequential to my life and my success path – as you can see, fate has brought you to my lair”
I stood up and beckoned him to come and embrace me, everyone on the panel at this point were at sea – wondering if we had expeditiously recast an interview session to a Hollywood movie scene.
He hugged me so long and deeply that I felt it. Then I told him, “now get your confidence back bro and answer the questions like a Pro Shark that you are, we all burst into laughter, everyone suddenly liked him and the room became livelier – the interview became more like a discussion, well to cut the long story short, he got the job!
1. Be careful how you treat people when they appear to be in their vulnerable state, your next level may be hanging in their balance; somewhere in the future.
2. If you dislike someone, it is not their fault, it is YOUR FAULT, work on yourself to find good in people and reinvent your Mind to see everyone as likeable.
3. Don’t spew hatred vocally just because it came into your heart, you may say it to someone who will keep it forever and use it against you when you find yourself in your own low moments and need them.
4. Learn to forgive, overlook people’s dislike and hatred for you, dont punish people just because you have the position and privilege to do so, bless them rather – that’s how you court God’s blessings, favour and protection.
5. Share this post, someone needs it to heal from their past burdens of unforgiveness they have been carrying which has been hindering their promotions and inhibiting God’s blessings flowing their way.

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13 Signs That Someone Is A High-Functioning Alcoholic
November 21, 2017
It’s often difficult to recognize an alcoholic, as most of them can, at least superficially, carry out their everyday responsibilities. Maybe they’re even members of our families. The high-functioning alcoholics are very adept at concealing their alcoholism from others, even from themselves. However, the signs are there. You just have to search for them.So what exactly is a high-functioning alcoholic?

To function is to be able to carry out specific actions or activities, to operate or to work. High-functioning alcoholics, then, can convincingly deal with their prescribed roles and carry out their daily duties – yet they are addicted to alcohol. They can maintain their relationships with their family, friends, and coworkers, keep up with their jobs and hobbies. In essence, they live a double life: they are outwardly the successful, capable husbands, wives, siblings, sons, daughters, friends, or coworkers, while inside they are suffering from alcoholism.

High-functioning alcoholics have the same disease with skid-row drunks, but they follow a different progression. With their unique high level of denial, the first often find it extremely difficult to admit that they even drink too much. Through years of success and achievement – in spite of their drinking issue – the HFA isn’t defined as an alcoholic by others.

Also, due to the stigma and shame that’s still associated with alcoholism, the HFA would hate to admit to others, let alone themselves, that they have a problem with alcohol. Their personal denial makes others unable to realize that this person is indeed alcoholic.

Since they can’t admit that they are alcoholics, HFAs are likely to remain undiagnosed. Also, they are often the last to look for treatment for their disease.

Here are 13 warning signs and symptoms of HFAs:

1) The HFAs usually surround themselves with others who like to drink.

This assimilation makes it hard to pick out the HFA from the rest drinkers. Besides, the HFA actually enjoys drinking and being around other drinkers.

2) They are obsessed with alcohol.

The thought of alcohol is always on the mind of the HFA. They are always counting hours until the next drink and calculating how much alcohol can be consumed without any outward signs of drunkenness.

3) One drink is never enough.

Their lure is too strong; the craving consumes the HFA until they can have their next drink – and then the next, and the next. Soon the HFA will lose control over total alcohol intake – although they still might appear outwardly in control. After all, they are masters of concealment.

4) Alcohol is part of their lives.

The HFA would rather give up their identity than alcohol. Alcohol is so much a part of their lives that they can’t imagine a life without alcohol.

5) They usually finish drinks of others.

If someone leaves a drink on the bar or the table, the HFA might pick it up and finish it, “so that it doesn’t go to waste.” If a family member or friend doesn’t touch their drink, the HFA usually drinks it along with their own.

6) They experience shame over drunken behavior.

The HFA does often feel remorse and/or shame over situations where their behavior became sloppy after drinking. Such behavior is not part of their carefully crafted image and they consequently try even harder to avoid such mistakes in the future. However, they won’t quit drinking.

7) They are self-deluding.

Some HFAs only drink expensive wine or liquor fooling themselves that this means they’re not alcoholics. It’s a self-delusion that lets them continue to drink with impunity.

8) They fit life into compartments.

Another familiar sign of HFAs is that they’re able to conveniently separate their drinking issue from the rest of their existence. Who they are at home, on their jobs, or to casual acquaintances is entirely different from their drinking routine.

9) They’ve tried to quit, and they’ve failed.

At some point, the HFA might have tried to quit drinking but failed. This pattern might often be repeated, but still, the HFA refuses to seek medical treatment. It’s part of their personality makeup and their self-constructed identity that they believe they can handle their drinking problem on their own. Such refusal to get help is hard to overcome.

10) They find excuses to reward themselves with a drink.

An HFA feels they work hard and deserves a drink as a reward. Drinking, to them, is both an excuse and a reward. The HFA might even use those words in defense of their actions – to themselves and to others.

11) They try to hide and sneak.

When others are going to be around, the HFA might sneak a drink early, drink before going out, or drink on their own. Such secrecy is part of their concealment of their true problem. They have to get in the drinking but won’t risk of others finding out or suspecting their real problem.

12) Emotional and physical consequences don’t matter to the HFA.

Whether minor or severe, the consequences of drinking don’t make a difference to the HFA. They will continue to drink, regardless. It’s only when things get really out of control that the HFA might seek help for the problem.

13) They suffer from blackouts, memory losses, or worse.

At the end of the HFA’s downward spiral, blackouts, memory losses, and other physical, emotional, psychological, social and even legal problems intensify. It is at this point that the HFA either gets treatment or keeps on deteriorating.

Risk Factors for Becoming an HFA

Research studies have shown several risk factors that contribute to a person becoming an alcoholic, HFA or otherwise. Those include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

1) Drinking at an early age, for example before the age of 15

2) History of trauma

3) Family history of alcoholism

4) Impulsive personality

5) Presence of any underlying mental health disorder or condition (for instance, anxiety, depression, post-partum depression, etc.)

6) Peer pressure

7) Other substance abuse (such as cigarettes, street or prescription drugs)

How to Approach an HFA about Treatment

Family members or close friends might try to convince the HFA that treatment is essential, but they first have to overcome the HFA’s obstinate denial and resistance. Remember, the HFA has been able to conceal their alcoholism for years. It won’t be easy for them to admit they have a problem they can’t resolve themselves.

If you recognize the signs and symptoms, you’ve gotten past your own denial. It’s often tough for those closest to the HFAs to see the signs of alcoholism – even when they have been present for years.

Addiction experts say it’s crucial to let the HFA know how much their drinking behavior hurts you. Never approach them when they’ve been drinking or when they are suffering from the aftereffects of drinking. Wait until they are completely sober. It is also essential that the conversation is not defensive. Start by stating how you’d like things to be and emphasize your emotions and concerns. Expect the HFA to deny the issue. You could then talk about how many people can function at home or work and still be alcoholics. Denial might still – and probably will – occur. But be prepared to show tangible evidence of alcohol-related issues. Such documentation is possibly the only proof that will convince the HFA that there could be a problem with their drinking that needs addressing. However, avoid confrontation and conflict, as this won’t solve the problem.

You will also need resources to do this. Check out the assessment tools, tips on cutting back, treatment referrals and services at the NIAAA site. For instance, at-risk or heavy drinking involves consumption of more than four drinks per day or fourteen per week for men and three drinks per day or seven per week for women. Look through the FAQs for answers to the most common questions about alcoholism. Professional help to quit drinking might involve medications, alcohol counseling, or specialized intensive treatment programs. Also, on the NIAAA site you can download the NIAAA booklet Rethinking Drinking: Alcohol and Your Health.

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