‘Game of Thrones’ Live Concert Experience 2018 : An Exquisite Extravaganza

2018-05-25 22.36.38-1 (640x640)Next to gripping story lines, captivating performances and show-stopping battle scenes, a top highlight in the award-winning HBO epic fantasy series Game of Thrones is its stirring musical scores composed by Ramin Djawadi (Iron Man, Westworld).

The soundtrack for last year’s Season 7 is in particular brilliant in every sense of the word; so much so that Game of Thrones garnered its first Grammy nomination in the Score Soundtrack for Visual Media category, with Djawadi up against four movie  nominees namely Arrival, Dunkirk, Hidden Figures and La La Land (the eventual winner).
2018-05-25 22.34.48 (640x562)So when it was announced that Ramin Djawadi will embark on yet another Game of Thrones live concert tour featuring show music up to Season 7, I knew it was an experience I just have to, er, experience for myself. I chose to fly to Belfast to see the show last month on May 25 ‘cos not only is Northern Ireland “Game of Thrones Territory”, the venue SSE Arena is also just a stone’s throw away from Titanic Studios where most of the interior scenes of the hit series is shot. Add to that, it would give me a chance to tour Belfast – a city I’d yet to visit then – as well as various GOT filming locations throughout the country.

The 2018 Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience in Belfast features a custom stage, full orchestra (Ulster Orchestra), choir (Belfast Philharmonic), soloists, pyrotechnics, lighting effects and specially edited footage from the show.  Before the concert’s actual start, the audience were thrilled when over the intercom, Queen Cersei (voiced by the magnificent Lena Headey) icily informed those who do not silence their phones “will be boiled alive in the blood of their children…” The chilly announcement was understandably greeted with thunderous applause!

2018-05-25 20.26.14 (538x640)The concert kicked off with the unmistakable Game of Thrones theme, which really put everyone in the mood for more. As music scores from the first six seasons played, solo singers and musicians made full use of the extended catwalk stage, of which a major highlight was this violinist who soared almost 40 feet into the air as she performed a haunting House Stark theme.

L1170969 (640x480)There were so much action both on stage and on the big screen that sometimes you are torn between wanting to watch the show’s footage which you have already seen (but will never get tired of) or the soloists doing their bit live.

Djawadi, the talented genius that he is, performed a couple of solos too using either custom-made or unique musical instruments, as did a couple of musicians ranging from percussionists to horn players.

L1170979 (640x358)Most of the goose-bump-raising moments came from several dramatic events such as The Red Wedding, The Battle of the Bastards and Destruction of the Great Sept Of Baelor, the latter complete with green “wildfire” fumes engulfing Djawadi after his solo on a raised stage. Visually stunning, audibly heart-stopping.

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The second act was devoted to music from Season 7 which, if truth be told, I was looking forward to the most. From the poignant ‘Home’ as Arya Stark returns to Winterfell to the heartbreaking ‘Truth’ a.k.a Jon and Dany’s love theme, thanks to the almost flawless performance of the orchestra, one does feel as if transported to the realms of Westeros alongside the show’s characters. The dry ice effect on stage also helped much in making the audience imagined that they were in the miserly cold north too.

L1170986 (640x351)One of the most thrilling Season 7 events was of course Episode 4’s The Loot Train Attack which was presented with loads of fire pyrotechnics as Daenerys and Drogon breathed down on the Lannister army. Actually, there’s always some fire sprouts on stage whenever the dragons popped up on screen, much to anyone’s delight.

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With Game of Thrones Season 7 ending – SPOILER ALERT – with the Night King and a resurrected Viserion bringing down the Wall, one thought the concert would end on that somber note but thankfully that wasn’t the case…

L1170997 (640x466)After making his thank you’s to all and sundry – including Game of Thrones crew members from the nearby Titanic Studios – Djawadi and company ended the over 2-hour-long show with yet another vigorous performance of the totally hummable theme song.

2018-05-25 22.40.12-1 (640x535)The really nice touch at the end, after the performers had taken their bows, was an In Memoriam segment featuring the dearly – and not so dearly – departed characters from Game of Thrones. Needless to say, this was a rather long sequence so most of us sat back down onto our seats. It was fun to hear cheers for favorites such as Ned and Rob Stark, Lady Olenna Tyrell and of course Hodor. The most hisses and boos was given to understandably Ramsey Bolton, while Littlefinger received sarcastic applause.

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All in all, the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience is worth every penny and a must-see if you are a big GOT fan. It’s akin to seven years of show highlights packaged as an extravaganza of live music and visual effects. Utterly exquisite.

The European leg of this year’s tour just ended in London yesterday. It will move on to Canada and America from September to October 2018. You can find more details on gameofthronesconcert.com. If you love classical music, with dramatic imagery to go along with it, you’d definitely enjoy the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience 2018.

Here’s hoping that the concert will come to Asia and also be released on digital/DVD format.


8 Unlikely Moments We Want To See In ‘The X-Files’ Season 11


‘The X-Files’ [Credit: Fox]

When The X-Files (1993-2002) made a six-episode return in 2016, ratings were phenomenally good for the 23-year-old franchise, averaging about 16 million viewers per episode. Though the “television event series” wasn’t as perfect as fans hoped it could be, it still didn’t take Fox long to green-light a brand new season comprising of 10 episodes for 2018.

Currently filming in Vancouver, Season 11 of the sci-fi series, which deals with unexplained phenomena, will see David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprising their roles as the world’s most famous FBI special agents, Fox Mulder (“the believer”) and Dana Scully (“the skeptic”). Both stars and series creator Chris Carter have since dropped many hints on what fans can expect in the forthcoming season, from the long-awaited appearance of the agents’ long-lost son William to Easter-eggs referencing The X-Files’ past. Based on what has been revealed so far, here are eight fairly unlikely outcomes that we’d love to be surprised with in Season 11.

1. A Happy Reunion For Mulder, Scully And William


Anderson and Duchovny in ‘The X-Files’ Season 10 [ Credit: Fox]

Giving up William, the son that she shares with Mulder, for adoption 15 years ago is something that agent Scully never quite forgiven herself for. Just as the agents’ close relationship was confirmed in the 2008 movie, The X-Files: Fight the Future (they have since broke up romantically), fans have long hoped that Scully will get closure on how her son is faring. So it was good to learn from Carter that the hunt for William will be a major storyline in the new season.

We want nothing more than a happy family reunion for William and his long-suffering parents, but when a hospitalized Scully tells Mulder to find “him” in the Season 11 teaser trailer – is she referring to William and has he become a dangerous threat to humanity? It’s safe to say that a reunion there will be but it will be anything but blissful. We just have to wait and see if there will be a happy ending for our heroes and their (now) teenage son.

2. A Little Less Miller And Einstein


Amell and Ambrose with Anderson in ‘The X-Files’ Season 10 [ Credit: Fox]

In Season 10, we were introduced to two young FBI special agents, Agent Miller (Robbie Amell) and Agent Einstein (Lauren Ambrose). It seems to be a move by Fox to see if a new generation of The X-Files is possible if these new, younger characters were well received. Well, they weren’t: Miller the “believer” was called bland, while Einstein “the skeptic” was thought to be annoying. Of all the good news about Season 11, that these two agents will be returning isn’t one of them. Here’s hoping that they will be hardly seen, allowing Mulder and Scully to do what they do best without much interference.

3. The Classic “Scully Red”

Sorry folks, Gillian Anderson still wears a wig for the new season. The award-winning actress has dyed her hair so many times she’s afraid that tresses of her crowning glory will drop off soon and that was the main reason why she wore a wig for Season 10. Many fans disliked it, calling it unflattering, haggard, and stated that it wasn’t the right “Scully red”. If it’s any consolation, Anderson promised that the color of the new wig is “redder this time”. Let us be the judge of that.

4. More Comedic Episodes


David Duchovny in the “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-monster” episode of THE X-FILES Season 10 [Credit: Fox]

Last season, the funniest episode among the six installments was by a mile, “Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster”. Opinions were split between die-hard fans who loved it and casual followers, who openly disliked it. Comedic episodes have always been part of the original series’ DNA and both Duchovny and Anderson shine in light-hearted episodes that are filled with funny dialogue and, yes, silly monsters.

With eight episodes devoted to monsters-of-the-week story lines next year, we are not expecting a funny episode every other week (that would be silly). The larger mythology of The X-Files remains the agents’ constant quest in stopping the powers that be from destroying humanity. But at least one funny, out-of-the-box episode is a must. Thankfully, there is and it is written no less by fan-favorite writer and director Darin Morgan, who won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for the 1995 episode “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”. Carter tells Entertainment Weekly that the episode will be something special:

“As you come to expect with a Darin Morgan episode, it’s original, idiosyncratic, very, very funny — it’s a thumb in the eye of the show itself.”

In the same interview, Duchovny elaborated on Morgan’s inputs:

“Darin seems to have a special hatred of Mulder. He’s exorcising some personal demons by attacking the character of Mulder. I love the scripts and I find it very interesting to try to play the same character while deconstructing and self-destructing the character at the same time.”

5. Less Blasts From The Past


Cigarette Smoking Man [Credit: Fox]

For the new season, primarily we would want to know what’s in store in the future for Mulder and Scully, rather than finding out about other characters’ back history. But this is wishful thinking as it is already confirmed that there will be two episodes devoted to two key figures from the past.

The season’s opener will focus on a backstory for the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B Davis), detailing why the chain smoker does the devious things he do and also his apparent family ties to Mulder. It’s been long hinted that Mulder and his main nemesis share a Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker-like relationship.


Walter Skinner [Credit: Fox]

The agents’ ex-boss, Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), will also get a backstory, centering on the time when he was a young agent. Why we need this after all these years is a mystery but – at the very least – the episode can finally shed some light on why the Vietnam War veteran suffers from recurring dreams of an old woman.

6. Stellar Guest Stars In The Same Vein As Lily Tomlin and Jodie Foster

During The X-Files’ initial run, many big-name stars made guest appearances on the show. A huge fan, Jodie Foster voiced a talking tattoo in the 1996 “Never Again” episode, while Lily Tomlin starred in one of series’ most funniest episodes in 1998’s “How The Ghosts Stole Christmas”.

Although it is unlikely we will get to see these two marquee stars in the new season, an Emmy-winning actress who will be seen in a recurring role is Barbara Hershey (A Killing in a Small Town) who will play a new character named Erika Price, a powerful figure from a mysterious organization.

Another treat for long-time fans is that actress Karin Konoval (The Planet of the Apes trilogy), who famously played a mutant-breeding amputee kept under a bed in one of The X-Files’ most disturbing episodes, 1996’s “Home”, will make a return as a special guest performer. She will play not one but four characters, including two male roles. Judging by what we seen of her in the Season 11 trailer, expect to be mesmerized by Ms Konoval at every turn!

7. Scully Gets Her Own Desk

It has always been a running joke that Scully never has her own working desk in the FBI offices, not even after 23 years. Alas, it seems the situation will remain the same in Season 11. But as Anderson tells Entertainment Weekly, it’s a simple situation for her character to deal with.

“I think she’s taking over Mulder’s desk.”

8. No More Cliffhangers

The X FIles-Ep 6-My Struggle II

The X-Files Season 10 Finale [Credit: Fox]

Finally, even though Carter hinted that Season 11 may just end on another cliffhanger, we hope he will re-consider it. I mean, most fans were delighted when The X-Files made a comeback last year but most would also have been satisfied if last season’s “event series” tied up all loose ends by the last episode. Of course, that didn’t happen. Instead, there was a finale cliffhanger that sees Mulder possibly dying and Scully seemingly being abducted by aliens again.

Truth be told, another season of The X-Files will make even the most die-hard fan feel that the show, iconic as it is, has almost worn out its welcome. For one, the alien abduction and government conspiracy narratives seem a tad old-school and redundant in today’s climate, no matter how much love we have for them. Even star herself has indicated that Season 11 may be the last run for her and many would rather have her starring and producing another season of The Fall, while  could focus on writing more hilarious novels – particularly because his Holy Cowa New York Times best-seller, is a literary hoot!

It will be a wiser move if Carter and his writing team sew up the much-beloved series with a decent finale that will cover all bases and provide closures in every aspect, rather than leaving some hanging for a Season 12. It is already the longest-running sci-fi series in American network television history, so here’s to The X-Files ending gracefully by its next season.

The X-Files Season 11 returns on Fox on January 3, 2018.

Should The X-Files have a Season 12? Let me know in the comments.

(Source: ew.com)




Artistic Wonders: Animated Prequels That Provide Insightful Back Stories To Shows Such As ‘Blade Runner 2049’ And ‘Train to Busan’


‘Blade Runner Black Out 2022’ [Credit: Warner Bros]

Blade Runner 2049 starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford may not have been the box office hit that its producers and diehard fans hoped for, but it is still a remarkable film in more ways than one. For instance, it is a rare recent film that has not one but three short prequels commissioned to provide back stories to events that happened between Ridley Scott’s 1982 cult classic, which took place in 2019, and Denis Villeneuve’s sequel, set 30 years later.

Directed by Luke Scott (son of Ridley), the first two prequels 2036: Nexus Dawn and 2048: Nowhere to Run provide background stories on the characters Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) and Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista), both of whom featured in Blade Runner 2049. But it’s the third prequel, the animated short titled Blade Runner Black Out 2022, that created the most buzz.

An Animated Prequel: ‘Blade Runner Black Out 2022’

Set in Los Angeles three years after the original Blade Runner, the action-packed short tells of how after mobs of angry humans start killing replicants with natural life-spans. Two Nexus 8 replicants – military combat model Iggy and pleasure model Trixie – decide to fight back by creating a massive power outage that became known as the Great Blackout of 2022, “a darkness the humans have never seen.”

Brilliantly animated, the 15-minute prequel is written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe of Cowboy Bebop fame. The clip also offers a few callbacks to the original Blade Runner, such as Trixie’s acrobatic skills – which is reminiscent of Daryl Hannah’s Pris – while LAPD blade runner Gaff is voiced by the original actor, Edward James Olmos.

However, Blade Runner 2049 is not the first cinematic production to have an animated prequel specifically made to provide a backstory for viewers. If you loved the concept. here are a few other fantastic animated prequels that may be of interest.

1. Snowpiercer (2013) Animated Prequel

Futuristic sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer, directed by The Host’s Bong Joon Ho and starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, focuses on the last remnants of humanity seeking refuge as an apocalyptic earth experiences a new ice age.

Its 4-minute animated prequel was produced to explain how the world turned icy cold after a disastrous attempt to end global warming triggers an ice age instead. Violence arose among the human race as they fight each other to get on board the train that runs on a special engine. The feature film picks up years later when a class system has arisen on the Snowpiercer and a revolution is about to erupt between the lower and upper classes.

The stunning short uses 3D animation albeit with static human characters, yet fear and violence is effectively portrayed through the use of light, sound and special effects. Yona (Ko Asung) narrates the short in Korean, but thankfully there are English subtitles. Effective and well-animated, the prequel helps viewers understand the chaotic scenario featured at the start of Snowpiercer.

2. 47 Ronin (2013) – ‘The Way of the Warrior’

If you can accept Keanu Reeves as a half-Japanese, half-Caucasian samurai, 47 Ronin is actually quite straightforward. Still, the producers felt a prequel was necessary to explain the film’s mythical premise. Set in 18th Century feudal Japan, the 4-minute short relates the tale of 47 great samurai whose lives turned topsy turvy when their master was killed by an evil lord. Forced to become wandering ronin (masterless samurai), the band set out to restore their master’s honor by seeking out his killers, while tackling human and mythical dangers along the way.

Employing 2D animation with splashes of bold colors, The Way of the Warrior is like watching Japanese ink paintings come to life. The short film is worth watching for the chief samurai’s fight with a fire-breathing dragon alone.

3. Train to Busan (2016) – ‘Seoul Station’


‘Seoul Station’ [Credit: Finecut]

Train to Busan, 2016’s zombies-on-a-train hit from South Korea, was one of Asia’s biggest success stories in 2016. This even allowed director Yeon Sang-ho, who’s known for his animated works such as The King of Pigs and The Fake, to commercially release another zombie-related film titled Seoul Station.

Unlike other animated prequels mentioned in this article, Seoul Station is a full-length feature. And though it is regarded as a prequel to Train to Busanits plotline is actually quite different from its live-action counterpart, the only similarity being that the zombie uprising starts at the Seoul’s central railway terminus. However, it does give a more concise idea of how the undead pandemic started.

Whether you’ve seen Train to Busan or not (and you should if you haven’t), Seoul Station is worth watching on its own accord. It is a social commentary in the guise of a horror flick, using the premise of a zombie pandemic to highlight contemporary social issues such as misogyny, homelessness and ruthless manhandling tactics by authorities.

4. Game of Thrones: Conquest & Rebellion – An Animated History of the Seven Kingdoms (2017)


‘Games of Thrones: Conquest & Rebellion’ [Credit: HBO]

With Season 7 done and dusted and Season 8 still far on the horizon, HBO is doing all they can to keep Game of Thrones fans occupied in the meantime. Game of Thrones: Conquest & Rebellion is a storybook-style animated history special that tells of turbulent events that took place in and outside Westeros thousands of years before the TV series started.

Part one of the 45-minute special is “Valyria’s Last Scion: House Targaryen”. It tells of the Doom of Valyria, which sees Aegon Targaryen (not Jon Snow, but his ancestor Aegon the Conqueror) sailing across to Westeros with his two sister-wives and conquering all the lands that their three dragons could breathe fire on.

Richly animated and accompanied with the familiar score from TV series, the first chapter is narrated by Harry Lloyd, who played Daenerys Targaryen’s irksome brother Viserys on the show.

The rest of the chapters, which will likely cover events all the way to Robert’s Rebellion, will only be available on exclusive Game of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season DVD & Blu-ray™ sets (that carry the bonus disc) due out on December 12, 2017.

5. The Matrix trilogy (1999-2003) – ‘The Animatrix’


‘The Animatrix’ – “Final Flight of the Osiris” [Credit: Warner Home Video]

One of the earlier film franchises to produce animated prequels was the Wachowski’s ground-breaking Matrix trilogy. They weren’t the first to do so but they were certainly among the most ambitious. The Animatrix, conceived and overseen by the talented siblings, is a compilation of nine animated short films based on the Keanu Reeves-led sci-fi franchise.

The idea for the intensive animated project came about when the brothers were promoting The Matrix film in Japan and met up with anime creators who had influenced their work. The first of these shorts is the 10-minute “Final Flight of the Osiris,” a direct prequel to The Matrix Reloaded. Other shorts, such as “The Second Renaissance Part I and II,” tell of the rise of the machines and their ultimate war with man that led to the creation of the computer-generated virtual reality. Comprising different forms and styles of animation, each short film is a cinematic animated achievement in its own right.

Throughout the years, these animated prequels have served a great purpose for fans, as we eagerly seek out more information on our favorite fandoms.

From Batman: Gotham Knight (2008) – the Animatrix of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy – to Star Wars‘s Forces of Destiny series (2017) and the Transformers franchise’s upcoming animated features, these creative prequels are definitely here to stay.

Which animated prequel do you know of that should be added to the above list? Drop me a note below.

Fan Theory: Will Jon Snow Use Dawn To Slay The Night King In ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 8?


Jon Snow (played by Kit Harrington) with Longclaw in ‘Game of Thrones’ [Credit: HBO]

From ‘Battle of the Bastards’ to the ‘Loot Train Attack’, Game of Thrones has never failed to up their ante when providing viewers with arguably the finest medieval battle scenes ever seen on television. And one of the key battles in the HBO fantasy series’ upcoming and final season will be without question The Great War, the long-anticipated all-out war between the living and the dead. As seen in Game of Thrones Season 7’s finale, the 8-millenia-old Wall came tumbling down no thanks to The Night King and his newly reanimated, blue fire-breathing dragon (RIP Viserion), allowing his legions of White Walkers and army of the dead to enter Westeros.

Though Jon Snow managed to round up the lords of the north, the Free Folk, the Night’s Watch, the Vale and Daenerys Targaryen to fight the Long Night alongside him, there are many who feel that the Great War’s endgame will ultimately come down to a one-to-one face-off between the King in the North and The Night King.

Jon Snow Needs More Than Dragonfire and Dragonglass To Take Down The Night King

Yes, Jon and his merry men now have weapons made of dragonglass, possess a handful of Valyrian steel weapons and even have Daenerys and her dragons. But for an epic duel to take place, it will take more than these to defeat the Night King, especially when it appears that neither fire nor dragonfire actually affect The Night King.

Ever since Jon Snow demolished a White Walker and its ice blade with his trusty Valyrian Steel sword, Longclaw, at the massacre at Hardhome, the Night King has been fixated on the Stark lad, judging by their epic stare-down at the harbor. Before they met eye-to-eye again in the episode “Beyond the Wall”, Jon and his suicide squad discover that killing a White Walker will also kill off the wights that it turned.


Jon Snow kills a White Walker with Longclaw at Hardhome [Credit: HBO]

Later, when surrounded by the dead on an ice lake, Beric Dondarrion points out to Jon that killing the Night King would kill the entire army of the dead as “he turned them all”. The Lord of Light devotee also attests that considering Jon and him have been brought back to life – in Beric’s case, six times – killing the Night King might just be their primary purpose in this lifetime. Jon seems inclined to believe that he, and only he, can take on the Night King.

In addition, now that it has been revealed that he is the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryan and Lyanna Stark, one of the most popular fan theories is that Jon (a.k.a Aegon Targaryen) IS the reincarnation of Azor Ahai (even though Aunt Daenerys technically ticks more boxes, but that’s a debate for another article).

Thousands of years ago, the legendary hero is said to have defeated the darkness of the Great Other after forging the sword, Lightbringer. The feat was, however, only achieved after he plunged the sword into the heart of his loving wife, Nissa Nissa, to unleash its full fiery powers. If Jon is indeed the new Azor Ahai, or The Prince That Was Promised, his Lightbringer may need to be something more special than Longclaw (and hopefully one that doesn’t need to be plunged into the bosom of a loved one).


‘Game of Thrones’ Animated History – Dance of the Dragons [Credit: HBO]

Considering he’s part Targaryen, we might just get to see him ride a dragon to tackle the Night King mid-air whilst wielding a formidable sword! It will be cool to see a dragon Vs. dragon duel scene a la Prince Daemon Targaryen who – during the civil war Dance of the Dragons in the Battle Above the Gods Eye – fatally stabbed his nephew, Prince Aemond. He did so by leaping from the back of his dragon and plunging Dark Sister, the famous Valyrian steel sword of Aegon the Conqueror’s sister-queen Visenya into the prince’s only good eye.

So, Which Sword Is Jon likely To Use As Lightbringer?

A couple of notable Valyrian Steel swords are making their way to Winterfell, and one of these might just be what Jon needs to wield to defeat the archenemy of all humanity. Let’s take a look at each candidate:



Jon Snow’s Longclaw sword [Credit: HBO]

Jon’s current sword was, for five centuries, the ancestral weapon of House Mormont. It was given to him by Jeor Mormont (albeit with a direwolf hilt) after Jon saved the old Lord Commander from a wight. When they went beyond the wall, Jon then tries to return it to Ser Jorah, who told Jon to keep it as “it serves you well… and your children after you.”

However, as effective as it is, it’s likely that Jon will be wielding another sword for the final conflict.



Samwell Tarly with the family ancestral sword Heartsbane [Credit: HBO]

Samwell Tarly took the family’s ancestral Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane, under his father’s nose, so it’s now at Winterfell. This two-handed greatsword has been with House Tarly for 500 years and it’s posible that Sam will hand Heartsbane to Jon to strike into the “heart of winter,” just as the sword’s name suggests.

Some, however, feel that he might even use it to protect his family. Then again, it could also be loaned to a good swordsman (such as The Hound) for better use at the frontline.



Brienne of Tarth with Oathkeeper [Credit: HBO]

This Valyrian steel longsword was one of two made from Ice, House Stark’s ancestral greatsword last used by Ned Stark. It was initially given to Jaime Lannister by his father Lord Tywin but the Kingslayer never really took to it. After a series of adventures together, Jaime gave it to Brienne of Tarth. Christened “Oathkeeper” by Brienne, the lady knight used it to beat the Hound and execute Stannis Baratheon, prior to rescuing Sansa from the Boltons. Which brings us to Oathkeeper’s sister blade, Widow’s Wail.

Widow’s Wail


Olenna Tyrell asks Jaime Lannister about Widow’s Wail [ Credit: HBO]

The second Valyrian steel longsword made from Ice was given as a wedding gift by Lord Tywin to his grandson, King Joffrey, who sarcastically named it Widow’s Wail. After Joffrey died, we learnt from “The Queen’s Justice” that Jaime Lannister has taken it on after Olenna Tyrell asks if Jaime will use “his son’s sword” to kill her.

As we know, Jamie left Cersei and is on his way to Winterfell to keep his oath to fight alongside the North, so Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail will come together at some point. Some fans believed that Gendry will be called upon to reforge Ice from the two swords as Robert Baratheon’s bastard is a blacksmith who knows how to work with Valyrian steel. Many would like to see Jon bringing Ice back to its old glory, but considering that the North will need as many Valyrian steel swords as possible, melding two swords into one just doesn’t sound like a wise idea.

Dark Sister


Could that be the Targaryen sword, Dark Sister, by the tree? [Credit: HBO]

As one of the two Valyrian steel ancestral longswords of House Targaryen – the other being Blackfyre – Dark Sister is famously used by Queen Visenya Targaryen, who conquered Westeros alongside her brother Aegon and sister Rhaenys. The sword is said to be last used by Lord Brynden Rivers, a Targaryen bastard who became the Three-Eyed Raven whom Bran and Meera Reed met in the cave beyond the Wall. This is why some fans believed that the sword picked up by Meera at the cave entrance as she and the Children of the Forest attempt to escape from the Night King and his cronies could be Dark Sister.

If Meera and her family (including Howland Reed, who was at the Tower of Joy with Ned Stark) were to join Jon and fight against the Long Night, then Dark Sister may also make its way to Winterfell. However, Jon is unlikely to use it as the sword is believed to be forged for a woman’s hand. Being a true blue Targaryen, Dany should be the recipient.

If truth be told, the best person to inherit Dark Sister would be Arya Stark. The baby-faced assassin has indicated her fascination with Queen Visenya during her tete-a-tete with Lord Tywin in Season 2, and being the Stark sister with a dark side, no Valyrian steel sword would be more apt for Arya (bar the Catspaw dagger).

Last but not least, another sword (albeit not made of Valyrian steel) comes into play as well.

“Only The Prince Who Was Promised Can Bring The Dawn” – Melisandre



Ser Arthur Dayne with greatsword Dawn [Credit: HBO]

This famous ancestral greatsword of House Dayne was first seen in one of Bran’s visions, held by Ser Arthur Dayne, one of the Kingsguard of Aerys II Targaryen, at the Tower of Joy where Jon Snow was born.

According to legend, Dawn is regarded as a magical sword as it was forged from the heart of a fallen star (possibly a meteorite) and has been with House Dayne for 10,000 years. Its blade is as pale as milkglass and just as strong and sharp as Valyrian steel.

Also in the same vision, after killing Arthur Dayne with his own sword, the young Ned brought Dawn up to the room where he finds his sister Lyanna and strategically placed the sword at the front of the bed. Some fan communities believe that as Jon is “The Prince Who Was Promised”, then he would be the one to bring forth “the dawn” as the darkness of winter arrives.

Using Dawn may be very literal but many feel that it is significant as, in order to protect the North from the Others, Jon would be using the same sword that protected him and his mother at the Tower of Joy.


Ned Stark places Dawn at the foot of Lyanna’s bed where Jon was born [Credit: HBO]

Considering that it was never indicated on the TV show that Ned actually returned the sword to House Dayne, some fans believe Dawn is hidden in the Winterfell crypts, along with Rhaegar’s silver-stringed harp, which will help prove Jon’s true lineage.

Even though some fans counter argued that only a knight of House Dayne deemed worthy can wield Dawn, a few also pointed out that as a Targaryen, Jon – and even Daenerys, for that matter – is genetically related to House Dayne via their ancestor Maekar Targaryen, who was married to a Dyanna Dayne. As such, Jon is more than qualified to lay claim to Dawn since no other Dayne has done so.

“Only The Prince That Was Promised will bring the dawn”, as Melisandre keeps saying. If Jon is indeed the Prince That Was Promised, could “Promise me, Ned” be another literal coincidence? If so, then Dawn could be the Lightbringer, which will bring down the Night King.

Do you think Dawn will be Jon’s weapon of choice? Leave me a comment below!

(Source: Talking Thrones)




Questions Raised From ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 SDCC Trailer


‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 [Credit: AMC]

After months of waiting, fans of TV’s most popular zombie series were relieved when AMC finally debuted the first trailer of The Walking Dead‘s latest season at last month’s San Diego Comic-Con, before it was simultaneously released online.

At the end of the Season 7 finale, we saw Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes leading the Alexandrians, The Kingdom and Hilltop colonies, taking on Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan head-on. Hence it was expected that Season 8 will feature much of the “All Out War” storyline as depicted in the comic book series.

And true enough, the action-packed Season 8 trailer gives an indication that there will be many intense confrontations and battles between the communities and key characters up ahead.

Check out the trailer below:

Questions from ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 Comic-Con Trailer

It’s just five minutes long but the  trailer already provided much fodder for fans to chew on, not to mention tons of questions that need to be answered. These include:

(Note: Possible spoilers from the comics ahead; then again, the TV show doesn’t always adhere fiercely to the comics in terms of certain characters or incidents. Either way, you’ve been warned…)

1. Will Father Gabriel be the first to die?


‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 [Credit: AMC]

Being asked by big bad Negan himself whether he has “shittin’ pants” can’t be a good thing. Being alone in a room with Negan surrounded by walkers on the outside doesn’t make it much better. Will Father Gabriel make it out of that situation alive? In The Walking Dead comics, the character did eventually die but it doesn’t happened till long after the “all out war” with The Saviors. Last season, Father Gabriel has redeemed himself somewhat by giving support to Rick whenever the Alexandrian leader needed it and even advising Rosita when she was hell-bent on going on a suicide mission. It would be thus a shame to see him go so soon.

2. Who gave the “tomorrow” note to Dwight? Is he still on Team Rick?

the-walking-dead-negan-dwight-eugene-season 8

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 [Credit: AMC]

To take on Negan’s men at The Sanctuary, Team Rick definitely needs an inside man and Dwight could still be that man. There were two other scenes that show Dwight hanging around the walker compound at The Saviors’ hangout. Maybe the plan is for him to let the unchained walkers out by “tomorrow”, the time the “all out war” will kick off? Let’s hope so. In the comics, Dwight did go on to become the new leader of the Saviors.

3. Why is Morgan fighting with Jesus?

the-walking-dead-morgan-with-stick-season 8

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 [Credit: AMC]

In The Walking Dead‘s earlier seasons, Morgan was a fan favorite and it was easy to understand why ‘cos the man who doesn’t believe in killing was fascinating. In the world of the walking dead, his philosophy may be unrealistic yet nonetheless it has kept him alive thus far. In Season 7 however, his behavior has been highly illogical and fast became a character who has long worn out his welcome. Though part of The Kingdom unit – see his red wristband – the scenes of Morgan fighting with Jesus from the Hilltop seem to indicate that he may have finally lost his marbles more than the fact that he is teaching the Hilltop man new fencing moves. If so, that won’t bode well for Rick and gang.

4. Will Morgan’s “I don’t die” remark comes back to haunt him?

Which bring us to “famous last words”: will Morgan’s “I don’t die” statement issues a warning that his character will have to eat his words sooner or later? In the comics, Morgan is long gone. For the TV show, it seems his passing is already written on the wall…

5. A silver-haired, bearded Rick Grimes awaking from sleep. Will there be a time jump or is it all a dream?


‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 [Credit: AMC]

There is a fan theory bouncing around that Rick has been dreaming the entire zombie apocalypse all this while, even though creator Robert Kirkman has long denied it to be so. Well, The Walking Dead producing team better not give us a Dallas‘ Bobby Ewing moment and expect us to buy a dream sequence premise because that is really highly unbelievable. What is expected is that, just like in the comics, there will be a time jump of about 2-3 years after the “all out war” ends. Rick is expected to survive but is not as mobile as before having badly injured his leg in the fight against Negan (hence the shot of a walking stick in the trailer). Whether this scene will appear at the start of the Season 8 premiere – which is also the series’ 100th episode – or in the mid-season finale remains to be seen.

the-walking-dead-michonne-carol-maggie-tara-season 8

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 [Credit: AMC]

There are many other questions that we love to ask from the Season 8 trailer but I guessed we just have to wait till October to find out. Whatever is happening, expect an “all out war” on the new season of The Walking Dead!

The Walking Dead will return with its Season 8 on October 22, 2017 in the US on AMC (and possibly within 24 hours later in the rest of the world).

For more of my Pop Culture stories, please click on the link below:

The link to my original article on “Questions raised from The Walking Dead Season 8 trailer:
– https://creators.co/@margueritatan/4315296




2 Treats in 2017 for ‘Frozen’ Fans

frozen-cast                                               Till Frozen 2 comes along… (Credit: Disney)

Since its launch in 2013, Disney’s Frozen has become the highest-grossing animated feature of all-time, grossing more than $1.27 billion in box office sales worldwide. Yet, its much-anticipated sequel is seemingly still on ice (pun intended).

But a #Frozen2 there will be, as #Disney has officially confirmed it in early 2015, just that we are unlikely to see it before *gulp* 2019, as it was not included in the House of Mouse’s theatrical schedules for 2017 and 2018.

Of course, there was the 2015 short film, Frozen Fever, but let’s face it: That was just an appetizer (plus we were rather distracted by Queen Elsa’s bad cold and her mischievous snots, cute as they may be.)

frozen-2-elsa-snots                                                 Elsa’s snots in ‘Frozen Fever’ (Credit: Disney)

There was also the LEGO Frozen Northern Lights series of shorts on the Disney Channel, which featured building block versions of key characters Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven on a quest to restore the Northern Lights before they disappear from the kingdom of Arendelle’s sight. It’s a cute (and extremely corny) series, meant for very young kids, but it’s not quite like the real thing.

frozen_northern-lights                                               LEGO Frozen Northern Lights (Credit: Disney)

Till the eagerly-awaited sequel comes along, here are two things Frozen fans can look forward to in 2017:


frozen-olaf                           Olaf the adorable snowman gets his own special (Credit: Disney)

This Christmas, a Frozen TV special, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, is set to air on the ABC network in the US of A. Focus will be on the lovable snowman, with Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Sven also set to return, including the original voice cast of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel and Josh Gad. New songs can be expected too, woo-hoo!

2. ‘Frozen’ Goes to Broadway

frozen-broadway-musical-logo                                                                    (Credit: Disney)

There’s already Disney on Ice Presents Frozen, now meet Frozen — The Broadway Musical. The stage musical adaptation of the hit movie will take its bow at the St. James Theater in New York in Spring 2018. Prior to that, a two-month test run will take place at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in August 2017.

Much is expected from the musical, as it is written by the same Oscar-winning team behind the 2013 film — book by Jennifer Lee, screenwriter and director (with Chris Buck), and music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, responsible for the film’s brilliant songs including the stirring “Let It Go.”

The cast has yet to be confirmed, but just for the fun of it, which current pop star do you think is best to play either Elsa or Anna? For instance, Dove Cameron, who was impressive playing Amber in Hairspray Live!, could make a nice Elsa. Let me know in a comment below!

For what we can expect to see in Frozen 2, check out my original article, “7 Things Frozen Fans can look forward to in 2017 and Beyond” at this link: https://creators.co/@margueritatan/4180312

For my other pop culture features on movies (eg King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) and TV shows (eg, The Young Pope), click this link:

Obi-Wan Kenobi returns in ‘Star Wars Rebels’ Mid-Season Trailer

Fans of #StarWarsRebels were already elated when no less than 4 Easter Eggs that made references to the #Disney animated series appeared in the blockbuster, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

And now, with the release of Season 3’s mid-season trailer, more joy is in store as it is officially certain that Master Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi will be (re)appearing in the series to take on his adversary from Star Wars Episode 1: the Phantom Menace (1999), Darth Maul (or just Maul, as the ex-Sith is known on Rebels).

Watch the trailer here:

Cool, aint it? Complete with Obi-wan’s trademark opening strike stance at that (pictured below). Till now, Anakin Skywalker’s mentor was mainly seen as a hologram on a holocron, sounding a warning to any member of the Rebellion who would listen.

Obi-wan Kenobi is ready for Maul (Credit: Disney)

Other than the fact that it is arguably the most exciting trailer for an animated series to come along for some time, here are 5 other exciting tidbits – just to name a few – of what we can expect from the rest of Season 3:

1. Loads of #RogueOne connections such as Death Troopers 
Grand Admiral Thrawn flanked by Death Troopers (Credit: Disney)

2. Rebellion leader Mon Mothma’s first appearance on Rebels – and could that be Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna in Rogue One) sitting behind on her right?

3. Sabine meeting her Mandalorian warrior mother with the darksaber (previously owned by one Darth Maul) in hand
Sabine with the darksaber (Credit: Disney)

4. Grand Admiral Thrawn exhibiting some serious kung-fu moves. Not as stoic and rigid as we thought he was…

5. Freedom fighter Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Whitaker in Rogue One) making his much-anticipated appearance. The character previously appeared in The Clone Wars.
Saw Gerrera will be voiced by Forest Whitaker in ‘Star Wars Rebels’  (Credit: Disney)

For every Rebels fan, these are great stuff to look forward to. Especially it is a clear indication that Rebels will soon be leading into Rogue One territory, tying up loose ends hopefully, which would only make the Star Wars Extended Universe that much more enjoyable.

See also my other Star Wars-related articles below:
* Princess Leia’s 10 Most Iconic Quotes from Star Wars
* 4 Star Wars Rebels Easter Eggs in Rogue One
* 7 Great and Not-So-Great Surprises from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
* Star Wars Rebels 3: Bring On The Empire

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 returns on Disney  X D on January 7.