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Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 9: “The Rains of Castamere” and Episode 10: “Mhysa” Recaps

By Devin Kirby

DTA

Quick disclaimer about these recaps: they’re not going to be as in-depth as the other ones. Why? Because there’s going to be a follow-up article next week called “What’s Going on in Game of Thrones?” that’s going to break down what happened this season and what’s coming up for each and every character in the show.

But before we get to that, let’s make sure everyone’s on the same page as to what exactly went down in the last two episodes of one of the best single seasons of television I’ve ever seen.

TEAM HODOR & JON SNOW & SAM 

Quick disclaimer about these recaps: they’re not going to be as in-depth as the other ones. Why? Because there’s going to be a follow-up article next week called “What’s Going on in Game of Thrones?” that’s going to break down what happened this season and what’s coming up for each and every character in the show.

But before we get to that, let’s make sure everyone’s on the same page as to what exactly went down in the last two episodes of one of the best single seasons of television I’ve ever seen.

Team Hodor is getting into all kinds of crazy shit. After camping in a mill, Team Hodor witnesses the Wildling party catch up with the horse breeder whose house they raided earlier. As yet another loyalty test (like really?) for Jon Snow, Orell commands that he kill the horse breeder. Jon refuses (sigh) and all hell breaks loose. After a lot of prompting by Jojen Reed, Bran finally stops being a pussy and uses his warg powers to control his and Rickon’s direwolves and save Jon, who kills Orell and escapes back to Castle Black.

After the skirmish, Bran realizes how unsafe this adventure is going to be (just now?) and sends Osha to bring Rickon to Last Hearth, the seat of the Stark bannermen House Umber (remember, nobody in Team Hodor has any idea about the Red Wedding or, frankly, anything that’s going on with anybody).

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The remnants of Team Hodor make camp at the Nightfort, where they come across Samwell Tarly and Gilly. Sam gives them his dragonglass arsenal and they depart to find Bran’s mythical raven/spirit animal/Patronus charm thing. This is by far the weakest storyline in these two episodes. Whenever Team Hodor gets on screen, I really only look forward to Hodor’s Hodor of the Week. Everything else is so humorless and mundane that it just seems like an obligatory look at where Team Hodor is—which is pretty boring considering the other stuff going on in Westeros. Hopefully the epic music and cool walkaway scene that ended Team Hodor’s storyline for this season is a precursor for Bran, Jojen, Meera, and Hodor to do something awesome next year.

Or do, ya know, anything…

Later, Ygritte catches up with Jon Snow and they have a standoff that ends with Ygritte weeping and shooting Jon Snow in the back with a couple arrows. I thought this scene was done very well—probably the first piece of acting Kit Harington has done this entire show—and managed to be raw and emotional without being overly cheesy or sappy. Jon later makes his way back to Castle Black, where Sam has just dispatched ravens to every lord in Westeros asking for their assistance against the imminent White Walker threat.

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AT DRAGONSTONE

It’s good to see Davos back. Quickly turning into one of the noblest characters in Westeros, Davos has taken center stage in the supernatural drama unfolding at Dragonstone. And make no mistake about Dragonstone’s importance—despite not being a featured set in episode 9, Stannis and his Red Priestess had a big stake in the Red Wedding. After the blood magic ritual Melisandre performed using leeches filled with Gendry’s boner-blood, Robb Stark, one of the three usurpers named to die by Stannis, winds up dead. This, of course, is the green light to sacrifice Gendry to the Lord of Light—a move that Good Guy Davos strongly opposes. I love the dynamics between Davos, Stannis, and Melisandre when they’re all on screen together. They are three very engaging and diverse characters that make perfect sense together: a man of reason, a woman of faith, and a king torn between the two. There is one shot in episode 10 that I absolutely loved: after hearing both sides of the Gendry argument, Stannis turns his back on his two advisors, and there’s a straightaway shot of Stannis flanked by Davos and Melisandre in a kind of shoulder-angel-shoulder-devil composition, with Davos looking very meek and monk-y and red-dressed Melisandre looking like the perfect seductive devil. In general, episode 10 was remarkably beautiful, but that one shot just floored me.

Later, Davos decides to take manners into his own hands, and frees Gendry. This show loves having stubbornly noble characters that end up dead—the entire Stark family being a prime example. Davos, too, seems to be on the quick path to a fiery execution, before he reveals the message he received from the Night’s Watch calling for the lords of Westeros to mobilize against the coming White Walkers. Melisandre even vouches for Davos, and Stannis allows him to live.

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These three have had increasingly great scenes as the season has gone on, and at this point I would put them as the most entertaining group to watch, maybe second to the Lannisters at King’s Landing. If what Melisandre says is correct, and Stannis is the only man who can save the North, I’m totally fine with it. As long as Good Guy Davos gets to stick around.

And, well, Melisandre getting naked again wouldn’t kill anyone. Right?

AT THE TWINS

The Red Wedding. Aka Holy Shit-fest 2013.

Robb Stark arrives at the Twins to formally apologize to Walder Frey (aka Mr. Filch) and his daughters for marrying Talisa. Frey accepts, after a hilariously inappropriate speech about Talisa’s “firm tits and tight fit” to publically humiliate Robb (it’s too bad we have to hate Walder Frey, because the dude is funny as hell).

Outside of the Twins, Arya and Sandor “the Hound” Clegane encounter a farmer whose cart they steal. The Hound wants to kill him and Arya intervenes. Despite how dark Arya’s character has gotten, it’s sweet to see she still has some basic morals. However, as the Hound is quick to point out, morality is a luxury quickly becoming more costly to possess in Westeros, as Arya’s family has learned time and time again. I didn’t care for this scene, but I understand why it was there. Kind of.

And then there’s the Red Wedding. Holy shit. After a pleasant ceremony (including the welcome surprise that Edmure was to be wed to a relatively attractive Frey girl), the Freys and Boltons massacre the Stark army by surprise, starting with Talisa and her unborn child being repeatedly stabbed and ending in a complete orgy of blood and death as Robb, Catelyn, and their compatriots are systematically cut down.

First off, complete and utter hats off to Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark, whose final desperate plea to Walder Frey and her subsequent murder of his young wife and eventual death by horrifyingly graphic throat-cutting drove the entire scene home, as episode 9 ended in cruel silence. Fairley broke out this season as one of the show’s most emotionally intense actors, as she flawlessly chronicled Catelyn’s downward spiral from tortured mother to prisoner to beloved aide and back again. The entire emotional impact of the Red Wedding sequence was, in my opinion, almost singlehandedly due to her final few shots. One of the most vividly brutal and hard-hitting scenes of television ever made. A fantastically well-done twist that by itself made episode 9 the best of the season.

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Arya and the Hound escape the chaos, only to see Robb’s decapitated body paraded around with his direwolf’s head sewn onto its neck.

Which finally unleashes Arya the Killer.

Outside, Arya and the Hound encounter a group of Frey men mocking the deaths of Catelyn and Robb. Hearing this, Arya, at her most disturbingly psychotic, steals the Hound’s knife and brutally murders a man who took credit for attaching the direwolf’s head to Robb’s dead body. The Hound kills the others.

Arya then whispers the phrase valar morgulis to the coin Jaqen H’ghar gave her last season, suggesting that she plans to take up his offer to be trained as an assassin. I can barely contain my excitement. It’s time Arya starts cooking with fire.

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I can only hope she takes the Hound along for the ride. Just be friends, already.

Back at the Twins, with pools of blood still lying around his chambers, Walder Frey discusses the victory with Roose Bolton, who is now Warden of the North. Walder Frey also declares himself Lord of Riverrun, despite Bolton’s reminder that Bryndyn “Blackfish” Tully escaped when he stepped outside to piss. It is also revealed that Robb, when he was alive and heard about the sacking of Winterfell by Theon Greyjoy and his band of Ironborn, offered the Ironborn amnesty for this attack (which Theon did on his own accord, against his father Balon’s orders to only attack small coastal cities) if they brought him Theon. Bolton sent his bastard son Ramsay Snow (which apparently is the surname all bastards from the North have) to deliver the terms, and has had Theon in custody ever since.

Although he’s a complete SOB, Roose Bolton is one badass dude. I’ve really enjoyed watching him this season and hope he lives long enough to have some more darkly awesome (“the Lannisters send their regards”) moments.

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THEON

So, yeah, Theon did have his dick cut off. Tough luck. Still getting tortured by the man we now know is Ramsay Snow, Theon is beaten into answering to the name Reek. Jesus. Enough already.

Theon’s father Balon (one of the other usurpers named by Stannis) and his sister Yara (whose name is Asha in the book and I don’t know why they changed it?) receive Theon’s dick (in a box!) and a letter demanding the removal of the Ironborn from the North, or he threatens to continue torturing and dismembering Theon. Balon refuses, and Yara, fed up with her father’s mistreatment of Theon, takes a ship and the best men she can find to siege the Dreadfort (which, speaking of penises, is totally what I’m calling vaginas from now on).

I’m glad next season promises some more Yara Greyjoy. With what little time we spent with her in season 2, she seemed like a bad bitch. And I think Ramsay Snow dying at her hand would be awesome.

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AT KING’S LANDING

Tyrion and Sansa seem to have bonded from their now-mutual stigma as pariahs, and their marriage seems to finally be warming up—or, in political terms, Tyrion seems to be making headway into Sansa’s Dreadfort (yeah, that works). However, Tyrion is soon called into a Small Council meeting with an overly enthused Joffrey where he learns of the Red Wedding. Joffrey, ecstatic over “his” victory (lol jk Tywin did everything as always), steps first to an increasingly hostile Tyrion and eventually to his grandfather Tywin, who, finally fed up with his grandson’s arrogance, sends him to bed—and orders the Grand Maester to basically drug Joffrey into a coma on top of it. Tywin and Tyrion are then left alone, where they discuss the Red Wedding, its aftermath, and the need for Tyrion to make a child. As always, Tyrion and Tywin’s discussion is fantastically gripping, and after, when Tyrion returns to Sansa to give her the news, there’s a beautifully brief shot of Sansa just being emotionally devastated. One of the few times your heart really goes out to the perpetually-depressed young Stark.

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Good Guy Varys continues being a good guy by trying to bribe Shae into leaving King’s Landing. She refuses. I am afraid for what this will mean for Tyrion. But a good scene for both of these characters.

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Also, Jaime, Brienne, and Qyburn—the unorthodox ex-Maester who took care of Jaime’s hand in Bolton’s camp—finally arrive at King’s Landing. Jaime reunites with Cersei in a perfectly delicate and subtle scene that did a great job in not overstating itself, much like the Ygritte-Jon Snow scene.

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ACROSS THE NARROW SEA

Daario Naharis takes Grey Worm and Jorah Mormont into a back door to Yunkai, where they fight a bunch of slave soldiers in a video-game-style bloodbath in which we see exactly how ridiculously awesome Grey Worm and Daario Naharis are. Jorah Mormont was ok too, I guess, although this was a perfect opportunity for the overhyped Barristan Selmy to see some much-needed action. I would have rather Jorah sit this one out.

They end up taking Yunkai, and Daenerys is championed by a hoard of now-free Yunkai slaves as Mhysa, or mother.

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These two episodes are basically just one giant super-episode, and both of them are beautifully composed and well acted. A glorious ending and simultaneously a hopeful look ahead to what is quickly becoming television’s premiere experience.

Rating: 5 Dreadforts out of 5

Line of the Week: “You really think the crown gives you power” –Tywin Lannister

A special thanks to anyone who read any or all of these. It was a lot of fun and I appreciate the support. Stay tuned next week for a continued recap/preview of season 4 with “What’s Going On In Game of Thrones?” right here on Bucking Aikman.

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Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 8: “Second Sons” Recap

By Devin Kirby

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Ah yes, primogeniture. That old chestnut. The first born son gets everything and all the other siblings get nothing. A fantastically flawed medieval system for a fantastically flawed fantasy medieval world. Imagine, for a second, the strain that must be on the second sons. All of the expected duty to your family, and none of the benefits. Rough deal. It’s understandable, then, that a lot of these second sons wouldn’t really want to get the short end of the proverbial stick and be grateful for it. This is the driving theme of episode 8, a tight and beautiful episode that brings back some of the badassery that made episodes 6 and 7 relatively dry. Episode 8 still bides its time waiting for something bigger (which will probably happen next episode—episode 9 is always the big one in GoT), but at least makes itself look good while doing so. With that, here’s “Second Sons.” Continue reading

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Tony Parker: A Hypothetical Legend

                

Parker is a legend with the ladies, but what about on the court?

If one were to project the NBA Finals match up this season, the most logical choice would be the Miami Heat versus the San Antonio Spurs.  And since the Heat have won at a 90% clip over the last several months, one would imagine they would be the odds on favorite to win a second championship in as many years.  Let’s look at the facts: they have the arguably the most talented player the game has ever seen, a former Finals MVP and top 10 player in Dwyane Wade, a legitimate All-Star big man in Chris Bosh, and the best collection of role players (though their shooters have struggled recently) this side of…well, San Antonio.  If I were a betting man (well, I’d probably be poor, destitute, and running an underground sports blog…wait what? I’m already those three things? I might as well start putting my limited chips on the table), I would have no other option but to choose the team that doesn’t lose (they’ve lost 5 games since January 30th, but this Pacers team is no joke. The Heat are in serious trouble in this series.).  But I’m not a betting man, and I believe that the San Antonio Spurs are destined to win the NBA Finals this year.

The Spurs have been the victims of some bad luck in the past few postseasons (Ginobili’s elbow, and the Perkins/Ibaka “I think hell froze over” game), and quite frankly should probably be playing in their third consecutive Finals against this very same Miami team.  And as our muse Bill Simmons vehemently argues, Tim Duncan, not Kobe Bryant is the best player of his generation, but Kobe has the extra ring that Timmy lacks.   This title would give Timmy five rings, tied with Kobe, therefore Hasheem Thabeeting the ring argument, and cementing Duncan as the best player since Jordan.  (Hasheem Thabeeting = rendering something irrelevant, unless of course Scott Brooks is your coach.)  But in my opinion, this Finals has as much to do with the legacy of another under-appreciated member of the Spurs as it does Big Timmy’s.   Here is my question: if the Spurs win the 2013 NBA Finals, where will Tony Parker rank in the discussion for best point guard of not just today, but all-time? Continue reading

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TBT: King James, Save the Date

By Will Weir

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Being a local Bostonian, I used to relish those moments when the Celtics would take out the helpless Cavs.  Those teams might as well have been LeBron and the present day Jackson Five.  His motley crew that he was forced to call his “team” was a disgrace.  Nonetheless, playing the Bad Boys Pistons to his Jordan was a fun ride.  However, we all know that story has since flipped now that his talents reside in South Beach.  While I love making futile attempts to dethrone “The King” just as much as the next guy, I’m here to laud his performance this time around.  Exactly four years from the date of his only other playoff buzzer beater, LeBron did it again last night.  Until his championship last year, the clip above could’ve been considered his signature moment.  That one clip that you can imagine over and over, well beyond his playing days.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a Craig Ehlo shot that clinched a series but merely a footnote in what was practically a sweep conducted by the Magic on their way to what was supposed to be LeBron’s showdown versus Kobe in the Finals.  Fast forward to four years later and LeBron has won 2 more MVP’s, a Finals Championship, and a Finals MVP.  Now that LeBron has achieved the ultimate prize, all of his legacy is beginning to fall in place and his shot against the Magic will no longer be his only clutch moment.  Merely another clip in what seems like it will be a long line of championship series moments that will live in highlight reels for decades.  Heaping this much praise on LeBron is starting to give me a hernia and it’s only been like 4 sentences.  I guess it’s time to start relish these new set of LeBron moments.  Damnit Frank!  Leave Roy in the Damn Game!

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The Eastern Conference Finals

Paul George must hold his own against PG6

For those of you who didn’t know before Game 1, the Indiana Pacers are a legitimate threat to the Miami Heat.  They have most of the requisite components necessary to beat the Heatles: a gargantuan rim protector who can post up (Roy Hibbert) and a bruising Power Forward (David West) who can step out to 18 feet and hit the midrange jump shot; a Small Forward (Paul George) with the length to complicate matters for Lebron James; a bullheaded Shooting Guard (Lance Stephenson) who can guard Dwyane Wade; and a consistent Point Guard (George Hill) who can hit open 3s. Their defense is one of the best in the league because they play a slow pace, rebound on both ends of the floor, and have five defense-first players in their starting lineup.  In the playoffs, you want your team to have an identity and the Pacers know exactly who they are. As a result, you won’t see the Pacers out of many games – they are just too consistent in their approach to the game. Continue reading

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Is Tweeting Bad For You? A Retrospective on the Inane

By Mark McDonough

I think it’s time we put Twitter in Twitter Jail

My Twitter account, @TheMarkKnight recently passed 2000 tweets. For those readers above the age of 70, a tweet gives you 140 characters to express any thought you want to. I don’t mean that figuratively, I mean actually any thought you want as long as it fits in the limitations of the space. I like to try and convince myself I’m an intelligent person, but even I would admit the vast majority of my 2104 tweets are absolute nonsense.   Some are funny, some are not, but most are just pointless. This means I thought something was good enough to share with as many other people as I could over 2000 times, and more often than not it wasn’t. Continue reading

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Keys to the West

The Western Conference Finals

Spurs versus Grizzlies. Just like we all predicted

For some inexplicable scheduling reason, the Spurs and Grizz will have played Game 2 before the Eastern Conference Finals begins, so I’ll start with this series first.  Game 1 was played yesterday afternoon with the Spurs holding serve on their home-court through 48 minutes of basketball.  The end result was not a surprise – home teams win roughly 70% of all opening games – but the manner in which this victory was fashioned certainly raised a few brows. The Spurs dismantled the vaunted Grizzlies’ defense using their well-balanced, unselfish offensive system to provide a steady stream of open looks.  But the heart of Coach Pop’s high screen-and-roll, drive-and-kick system is water bug Point Guard Tony Parker.  When he is healthy there is no better lead guard in the entire league (he easily could have been an MVP this season had he not been injured and had there not been that Lebron guy in South Beach), and right now he looks healthy. So yeah, there’s that.   He was the best player on the floor and as the theory goes, the team with the best player usually wins the game.  (Tony Parker = best player = Spurs victory. Even I can figure that one out).  Tony Allen and Mike Conley simply could not contain Parker who had 20 points on 9-14 shooting to go along with 9 assists.  Parker’s penetration led to a franchise record 14 3-pointers, which by the way was the most 3s the Grizzlies allowed all season, and more astoundingly, every single 3 was assisted (per ESPN.com).   Furthermore, Zach Randolph was held to 1 field goal and looked lost throughout the game, and there is no way the Grizzlies can win when their identity (defense and post-game) is nowhere to be found. Statistics would call this game an aberration.  I am inclined to believe it.  So after Game 1, here are my keys to the series: Continue reading

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Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 7: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” Recap

brienne

By Devin Kirby

As my good buddy Steve eloquently described this episode: “They continue to finger their buttholes and not progress the plot at all.” It’s hard to argue.

We have now committed about 8 hours to watching this season of GoT, and don’t have a ton to show for it. There’s been some great character development, sure, and some big plot twists—Jaime’s hand getting cut off and Sansa’s marriage to Tyrion being my favorites—but overall this season has felt like a massive commercial for season 4, which would make sense considering seasons 3 and 4 are two halves of the same book, A Storm of Swords. This season has a bunch of journeys, but not a lot of arrivals. Don’t get wrong, I’ve loved the ride—I consider it some of the best television I’ve ever watched—but my patience is wearing thin. Episodes 4 and 5 were outstanding, but 6 and 7 have been rather pedestrian. That being said, this show is always back-end heavy—Ned Stark’s execution wasn’t until the 9th episode of the first season, and the Battle of Blackwater Bay (one of the few saving graces of the sophomoric second season) also didn’t come until 9 episodes in. So with that, here’s “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.”

 

IN THE NORTH

Jon Snow has a girlfriend

Jon SnowYgritteOrellTormund Giantsbane, and the other Wildlings continue to trek south after last episode’s insane Wall climb. There are a couple moments of Ygritte being adorable and her and Jon eyebanging (apparently Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie, who play the two, are actually dating in real life). Orell, who cut the two from his line during a moment of panic while climbing the Wall, gets a little jealous at this, and says mean things to Jon Snow before trying to talk Ygritte into leaving him. This scene bugs me due to the sole fact that I don’t like Orell’s character and don’t quite understand why he has such a big role. I think a lot of the things he does and says could be given to someone like Tormund, who’s already a more interesting character than Orell with half the lines. Tormund does compare a vagina to a seal though, which makes for the fact he kind of gets shafted otherwise. Oh Tormund. The other thing I hated about these scenes was that there’s supposed to be this tension between Snow and his Wildling girlfriend’s different ways of living, but I don’t really feel it. They’re south of the Wall now, in Snow’s territory, and in a land that governs itself by the same rules he does. So why would Ygritte’s different way of life even be a factor? The Wildling’s are supposed to be animalistic, and animals adapt. Their outlooks on life are an interesting juxtaposition, and a big part of why they have such great chemistry, but the show just beats you over the head with this point so much it just kind of gets tedious.

However, Jon Snow does kind of save this plot in this episode when he tells Ygritte he has absolutely no faith in the Wildlings successfully sieging anything. Ygritte tries to tell him that he knows nothing, as she always does, but Snow insists. This is a great little reoccurring bit of writing: every time Ygritte says that he knows nothing, Snow proves her wrong (starting with her teasing him about being a virgin before he goes down on her like a champ). Hopefully, this will be the one time that Snow is actually mistaken. Ygritte is very ready to die for the Wildling cause, but you get the feeling Snow might not be ready to throw away his life, especially by trying to attack the land he was sworn to protect.

 

 

Team Hodor

 

 

Alright, I’m so over watching Hodor make camp and Osha bitch at a girl half her age. She tells Bran she hates magic after seeing her partner (do Wildlings get married?) Bruni come back as a White Walker, which kind of explains the hatred she feels towards Jojen and Meera Reed. To make things worse, Jojen has convinced Bran that they not only need to go find Jon Snow at Castle Black, but then need to go beyond the Wall and find Bran’s spirit raven. Wait. What? That’s so dumb I can’t even stand it. I know they’re children or whatever, but Jojen and Bran have to realize on some level with a colossally stupid undertaking that is. The Starks and their stupid decisions man. It’s unbelievable.

This week’s Hodor moment is one for the ages though, so. I guess there’s that.

 

Theon and his ugly face

Two chicks come take care of Theon and eventually it turns into one of them dry humping him (ok?) before Theon’s torturer performs the most epic cockblock of all time and then goes to cut Theon’s penis off. Well, that escalated quickly.

 

 

I still think that this is all a giant test for Theon by his father, who was not a fan at all of Theon’s infamous promiscuity—which was last demonstrated by Theon trying to fingerblast his sister before he found out it was his sister. Regardless of the motive, this was the first time I actually felt for Theon. No one deserves to get their junk cut off. Having been dumped before in my life (believe it or not), one sympathizes.

 

IN THE RIVERLANDS

The increasingly poor decisions of Robb Stark

 

 

On the road to the Frey stronghold the Twins to marry off Edmure Tully in exchange for Walder Frey’s continued support, some heavy rain delays Robb Stark (awesome picture of Robb, by the way) and his company. Catelyn Stark seems to be the only one concerned by this: she is worried that the already-upset Walder Frey will take the delay as an insult. Walder Frey is a antagonistic old man, who has faced ridicule for years for himself arriving late to a battle during Robert Baratheon’s rebellion against Aerys Targaryen. So Catelyn has a point. But, as always, Robb Stark doesn’t really care. He’s too occupied porking the (admittedly pretty hot) Talisa, who, after they have sex and she starts writing a letter to her mom (isn’t that nice), reveals she’s pregnant. Uh oh. Red flag. Robb Stark’s inability to think big picture this season has put him in a precarious situation where he’s going to have to start kissing some ass to not wind up dead—a very un-Stark characteristic (see also: Ned Stark). And now there’s a baby that would make his demise that much more tragic? I see these things as leading up to one big conclusion. Stupid Robb Stark. Couldn’t keep it in his pants until the war is done. And I’m scared for him. Real scared.

 

Arya Stark is my favorite character in the show

Arya, still stuck at the hideout of the Brotherhood Without Banners, gets her return to her family delayed after the Brotherhood decides to hunt a Lannister scouting party—presumably to rob them—instead of bringing her to Riverrun. Arya, angry at the Brotherhood’s lies to her and the recently-sold Gendry, runs away, only to be captured outside by Sandor “the Hound” Clegane. It’s a pretty short and self-explanatory scene, but there is one awesome moment: when asked who she worships as her god, Arya responds with simply: “Death.” In the religion of the Lord of Light, Death is the only other deity besides the Lord. Yeah monotheism!

Oh, and so ready for the Hound and Arya to fight together. Please let that be a thing. Dear (Red) God yes. They both hate the Lannisters. They both hate the Brotherhood. They both hate, well, everybody. Why not?

 

 

AT YUNKAI

Dragons!

 

 

Dany and her giant sans-testicle army arrive at the golden city of Yunkai, which Jorah Mormont insists they don’t need strategically. Dany, who has risen from Dothraki slave wife to powerful political force, disagrees. Yunkai has 200,000 slaves in it, and 200,000 potential followers who will be awful grateful for their freedom. And Dany, now the BREAKER OF CHAINS (AWESOME OVERLOAD) wants to lend them a hand. She meets Yunkai’s ambassador, something daz gran something gaz, and demands their surrender. The ambassador, although trying to play it cool, is scared shitless of the dragons, and apparently so is Yunkai: they offer Dany two giant chests of gold and as many ships as she needs to get to Westeros in exchange for peace. Dany demands the liberation of all Yunkai’s slaves, which of course he denies, and she lets her dragons bully the guy a bit before letting him leave. What. A. Bad. Bitch.

And speaking of wanting to watch people fight, I want Grey Worm/Little Obama to wreck some fools.

But, the ambassador does mention that Yunkai that has some powerful friends—a cryptic threat that may or may not give Dany some problems. A complete shot in the dark, but here’s my take: Yunkai is somehow economically affiliated with Braavos, whose Iron Bank is internationally famous—and also the main lender to the Iron Throne, who, as Tyrion discovers when he becomes Master of Coin, is in deep debt. If that’s the case, then, well…it’d certainly be interesting.

 

AT KING’S LANDING

Tyrion being awesome while Sansa is being sad

(couldn’t find a video for this one. Sorry)

Yet another storyline I’ve completely lost interest in. The Sansa Stark soap opera continues, as she weeps to Margaery Tyrell about how much she wanted to be wed to Loras and boohoo wah wah. Margaery hints that Sansa use sex to her advantage, especially given Tyrion’s lecherous reputation (look at that picture. You should be doing that anyways. C’mon.), but of course Sansa is too naïve to understand (facepalm). Meanwhile, Tyrion laments his own state with Bronn, who tells him to just shut up and have sex with both Sansa and Shae. Oh look, a parallel between Margaery and Bronn and Sansa and Tyrion. Yawn. Shae’s mad that Tyrion is going to have to marry Sansa. Wider yawn. Moving on.

Charles Dance is Tywin Lannister and had sex with Sigourney Weaver in Alien 3 so he can do whatever he wants

(no video for this either. WEAK SAUCE YOUTUBE)

Tywin briefs stupid Joffrey on the Small Council meetings, being an awesome old bastard and showing Joffrey just how completely out of touch with everything he is. Tywin does basically rule the Seven Kingdoms, and has no qualms about flexing his nuts to prove so. Boss. Tywin also decides (without anyone else’s input) that the reports about Dany and her dragons shouldn’t occupy the Lannister’s attention, which makes sense. Tywin is a practical man, and it stands to reason for his character to be concerned with more pressing issues at their doorstep instead of half-baked stories about a lone Targaryen and her dragons. Hah. Eat that, Joffrey. Eat that right out of Ros’s sultry sex mouth that YOU KILLED YOU SON OF AN INCESTUOUS BITCH.

In related news, being Jack Gleeson (who plays Joffrey) must suck. Everyone he meets probably knee-jerk hates him. I would. He’s probably a nice kid.

Edit: just found out he’s 20. So I don’t feel that bad. I’d feel worse if he was an actual kid like Sophie Turner (Sansa), who’s only 17?! Well. Now I feel dirty.

 

Gendry?

On a ship sailing to Dragonstone with the priestess Melisandre, Gendry discovers that he is, in fact, Robert Baratheon’s bastard child. Ok, but that’s been a fact since season 1. Ned Stark figures it out. So.

 

AT HARRENHAL

 The Brienne and the Jaime fair

 

 

Jaime rescues Brienne from Locke after learning that she is going to be left alone with him after Lord Bolton leaves for Edmure Tully’s wedding—Locke, of course, being the guy who tried to rape Brienne and cut off Jaime’s hand. For entertainment, the Bolton men have Brienne fight a bear with a wooden sword (oh, like the title, get it?). Jaime heroically saves her. Like the rest of the episode, there’s not much else going on under the surface of this scene. In fact, I think it’s kind of a regression. Jaime was supposed to learn from his whole ordeal to not, as Bolton puts it, overstep his position. Jaime was supposed to get a little more humble and worldly. But instead, we see the smooth-talking and smugly self-assured Jaime we’ve seen before, instead of the complex, tortured man we got in episodes 4-6. But regardless, I’m glad Jaime and Brienne are still together. Maybe some of the magic they had in earlier episodes will bring some spark back into their scenes.

Sigh.

 

 

Rating: 2.5 wet shits out of 5

Line of the week“I’m not afraid of wet shits” –Talisa

Fanboy gift of the week: I’m going to be generous this week because this was, I think, the worst episode of the season to date.

Here’s The Hold Steady covering the Westerosi pub song “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” after which the episode was obviously named. It’s about vaginas.

Here’s Sandor Clegane doing an ad for the Scottish Green Party.

Here’s Khal Drogo’s audition tape, which is just Jason Momoa doing the haka.

Here’s Aiden Gillen’s (Littlefinger’s) profile picture on IMDB. Seriously.

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Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 6: “The Climb” Recap

The Climb

By Devin Kirby

Now officially more than halfway done (I know, right?), this season of GoT has been pretty awesome. This show has really flexed its writing chops—something not that hard to do with such a talented writer like George R.R. Martin to go off of—and the seemingly-limitless production value of this show made memorably badass scenes like this episode’s intense Wall climb and Daenerys’ previous sacking of Astapor possible. But with all this great character development and set-up, when will GoT give us the huge payoff the first half of the season has been promising? “The Climb” draws us ever nearer to the light at the end of the tunnel, but still falls a little short.

IN THE NORTH

Theon Greyjoy and his Ugly Face

But, like, why are we even seeing Theon at this point? I’m so done with him. Theon continues to get tortured by the still-anonymous kid at a still-unknown location. Whatever. The kid plays a little mind-game with Theon, having him guess who he is and why he’s getting tortured. Theon eventually arrives to the conclusion that the kid is on of Rickard Karstark’s sons, who is avenging Theon’s betrayal of Robb Stark (hah, irony). The kid then “lol jks” Theon, cutting off his fingernail and telling him that he’s just getting tortured because the kid likes torturing people.

It’s tough to watch these scenes for me, because I don’t really care whether Theon lives or dies. He sucks. Screw Theon. Whiny little bastard. I hope this plot moves along, and quickly, because with so much other cool stuff going on, I’m starting to get a little agitated about how much screen time is wasted watching Theon get mutilated. That being said, if this kid is a Karstark, then he and Theon have a common enemy: Robb Stark. That would be an interesting development indeed. But I’m just grasping at straws to somehow justify why Theon’s ugly face keeps popping up on my screen.

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Team Hodor

Osha and Meera Reed have a little standoff, which Bran has to diffuse. Meera’s brother Jojen, who has magical powers of sight like Bran, has a dream where he sees Jon Snow and the Wildlings. Hodor has a hilariously-timed Hodor moment. Just get to the Wall already. Jesus.

IN THE RIVERLANDS

The increasingly poor decisions of Robb Stark

Two of Walder Frey’s sons, Lame Lothar and Black Walder (do I smell a spinoff sitcom?) visit Robb at Riverrun to present their father’s new terms for the Frey-Stark alliance after Robb broke the original arrangement by marrying Talisa. Frey seems cool with the whole thing, asking only for a formal apology, the fortress of Harrenhal (which was promised to Littlefinger Baelish by King Joffrey for his role in uniting the Tyrells and Lannisters, a union that saved King’s Landing from the siege of Stannis Baratheon) and for Catelyn’s brother (Robb’s uncle) Edmure to marry one of his daughters—pretty reasonable terms considering that House Frey is basically Robb’s only hope of winning this war at this point. Edmure, of course, whines about the arrangement and eventually consents. I cannot begin to comprehend what genetic dumbassery runs through this family. Catelyn freed Jaime Lannister, Robb married Talisa, and now Edmure. Shut up.

Also, I know I haven’t given Brynden “Blackfish” Tully enough love up to this point—he’s crazy awesome and is one of the few members of Robb’s court that seems actually ruthless. But when a guy says something like, “My fists are about to compel the laws of your teeth,” you got to blog about it.

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When are Jaime and Brienne going to team up?

Jaime and Brienne are both very uncomfortable as they dine with Lord Bolton. Jaime fails at cutting his own dinner one-handed, and Brienne wears a colorful dress—a fate worse than death for someone who has been trying to subvert stereotypes about her gender her entire life (Brienne has had to face her femininity a lot recently, particularly when she has to be naked in front of Jaime in the bathhouse last episode). But they have each other, and it’s adorable.

Lord Bolton gives Jaime the terms of his release: Jaime will be allowed to go to King’s Landing and return to his father, in exchange for Jaime vouching to Tywin that Bolton had nothing to do with his hand getting cut off, effectively giving Bolton amnesty for whatever inevitable revenge Tywin decides to inflict. It wasn’t until the second of third time I saw this scene that I finally realized what Bolton was saying: Hey Jaime, your father is such a big dog that I’ll take whatever lumps Robb Stark gives just to be sure that he won’t come kick my shit in. Awesome. I don’t know if there’s a special guy who writes for Jaime and Brienne, but it seems like their scenes always shine, and this one is no exception. However, there is one little point of contention: Jaime wants to bring Brienne with him, which Bolton won’t allow. Bad enough he’s letting Jaime walk, but coupling that with also letting Brienne go too (who is technically a traitor like her lady Catelyn Star) would be a one-way ticket to whatever hell Rickard Karstark is in. Obviously these two can’t get split up…right?!

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Arya Stark is my favorite character in this show

But goddammit if her story isn’t getting a little dark. Before the Brotherhood Without Banners can release her, they are visited by an unexpected guest: Melisandre, the Red Woman who has become Stannis Baratheon’s advisor and spiritual confidant. It turns out that her and Thoros of Myr go way back, Thoros being a disgraced priest of the same order as Melisandre. It seems as if the Lord of Light’s powers to resurrect people aren’t a really common thing, as Melisandre is shocked at Beric Dondarrion’s stories (you go, Thoros). She tells them that she is taking Gendry for a special mission, telling him that he will become an influential figure in the growing civil war in Westeros (oh, okay). Arya confronts her about taking her friend (crush?), and Melisandre gives another cryptic prophecy before riding off: she sees eyes in the darkness of Arya’s soul, belonging to those who Arya is destined to kill. Arya, an already-skilled archer who just got some pro tips by Anguy/Cool Legolas, just went from sweet little girl to death-dealer. Oh, and she also has an open invitation from Jaqen H’ghar to get trained as a badass faceless assassin. So, is Arya the coolest? Yeah.

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BEYOND THE WALL

Since Jon Snow got laid, now it’s Sam’s turn

Sam and Gilly, one of Craster’s daughter-concubines that escaped with Sam after the scuffle at Craster’s Keep, are talking by a fire. This moment has no real relevance whatsoever, but it’s nice to see someone actually be nice to Sam. Little pudgeball deserves it. And Sam still has the dragonglass spearhead-thing he found at the Fist of the First Men. For whatever that’s worth.

Jon Snow has a girlfriend

Jon Snow and Ygritte are preparing to climb the Wall. Yeah, they’re just going to climb it. With snowshoes and ice picks. The 700-foot-high Wall made of solid ice. They’re going to climb it.

How nobody had a better idea of how to get over the Wall astounds me. But nonetheless, Snow, Ygritte, Orell the Wildling sorcerer, and Tormund Giantsbane go climb the wall.

Just a quick tangent: so this scene was actually filmed on a 50-foot plastic section of the Wall that the actors actually used ice picks and crampons to climb up—an awesome idea as it made the fear and physical stress of the climb super organic and realistic. Of course, everyone in the brief HBO interview about the scene was freaked out by it: Mackenzie Crook (Orell) said he was scared, and (my future wife) Rose Leslie (Ygritte) talked about how physically intensive the whole process was. But, there was one guy who thoroughly enjoyed the whole scene, whose eyes lit up at remembering how fun it was to smash a big thing of faux-ice with a pick: Kristopher Hivju, or Tormund Giantsbane. God that guy is awesome.

But before they head out, Ygritte and Jon Snow share a really nice moment together. She tells Jon that she is his woman, through thick and thin, and that their alliance should be to each other instead of to their respective armies. Ygritte begs-slash-threatens Snow to not betray her, and she promises to return the favor. This is great scene. In a show ripe with loveless partnerships, sexual deviancy, and arranged marriages, it’s refreshing to see actual love between two characters (that aren’t related like Jaime and Cersei). After almost getting avalanched to their deaths while climbing the Wall (a situation that wasn’t helped by Orell cutting Snow and Ygritte loose to save his own butt), they share a passionate kiss on top of the Wall, overlooking a really awesomely-rendered view of Westeros. Despite Orell’s attempt on their lives, despite their brush with death on the climb up, despite the wars and the strife raging in the country below them, Ygritte and Jon Snow are focused on only one thing: each other.

Aw.

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IN KING’S LANDING

Tywin Lannister is Charles Dance and had sex with Sigourney Weaver in Alien 3 so he can do whatever he wants

He and the phenomenally entertaining Lady Olenna finally get to trade verbal punches as they sit down to discuss arranging the marriage of Cersei and Loras Tyrell. I was excited at the idea of two of the most entertainingly-written characters on the show finally get into it, but this scene just fell flat. I don’t really know what it was. Olenna seemed more meandering and less blunt than usual (her bluntness being a big aspect of her charm), and Tywin Lannister didn’t seem as forceful or as menacing as he usually does. I don’t usually dislike the writing in GoT—I think the scenes range from good to unbelievably good—but this exchange was a little mediocre for me. They trade insults about Loras’s homosexuality and Cersei and Jaime’s rumored incest (which is equally true), and Olenna at first denies the marriage on the grounds that she worries about Cersei’s age and consequent ability to bear children. In response, Tywin threatens to appoint Loras to the Kingsguard if he is not wed to Cersei, which would cause Loras to never marry (and therefore grudgingly procreate) and lose his land and titles—including the Tyrell headquarters at Highgarden. Faced with a lose-lose situation, Olenna agrees to the marriage.

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Tyrion is awesome/Sansa is sad

What? Two of the subplots finally coming together?! (dammit, now I have to think of a new clever title…or whatever these subplot titles are. Maybe clever was the wrong term. Immature? Hm.)

Sansa and Loras try to get to know each other a little bit (Sansa still thinks that she is promised to Loras by Margaery), which is basically one giant gay joke about Loras, who basically spends the whole time going: ew a girl but omg I’m so excited to plan a wedding! It’s going to be FAAAAAABULOUS! Poor, sheltered Sansa. I don’t think she knows that homosexuality is a thing, let alone that Loras is a homosexual. Sigh.

Watching this unfold from afar, Cersei and Tyrion discuss the crappy lot that Tywin gave them. Beyond that, Tyrion is still on the hunt for who tried to have him murdered at the Battle of Blackwater Bay and why. He long assumed it was Cersei, but after talking to her deduces it was Joffrey. Joffrey has a long-standing dislike of Tyrion, he being the only Lannister who stands up to him (if you have HBO Go, watch for the interactive slideshow feature in this episode that goes over all the times these two have butt heads. Or Google it). Later, Tyrion tells Sansa of their impending marriage—a situation made that much more awkward by Shae, Tyrion’s undercover lover, being literally feet away from them. Poor Sansa. Stark luck, I guess.

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Littlefinger creeps me the hell out

Since season 1, the epic power struggle of Westeros has been largely shaped by two pivotal figures that operate subtly and discreetly: Lord Varys the Spider and Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish. These two’s almost playful rivalry for control of the Seven Kingdoms has turned into an epic power struggle for the future of the continent: Littlefinger would see the whole country in ruins if it means he could finally have the power he so desperately desires, whereas Varys acts in the vague name of the realm. In this season, Varys has had his time to shine with a memorable monologue and overall fantastic performance in episode 4. Since then, Littlefinger has become an increasingly important and frightening individual. He gets his moment to shine in this episode, with a really great monologue in which he expresses his nihilistic views: chaos is a ladder to be climbed to success, and everything else is just a distraction or an illusion. Unbridled ambition is the characteristic of the strong in Littlefinger’s ideology, a trait which he has in spades.

With Harrenhal under his belt and a political marriage to the neutral House Arryn in his future, Littlefinger appears to be slowly building up a formidable force at his command. Littlefinger also wanted (sexually or otherwise) Sansa Stark, thereby giving him the next heir to the huge army of the North (in Westeros, the North is roughly half the size of the entire continent) should Robb Stark die. Varys actively worked to prevent this, resulting in Margaery’s promising of Sansa to Loras after she becomes queen. After Littlefinger’s spy Olyvar discovered this plot by sleeping with Loras, Littlefinger relayed the information to Cersei, prompting Tywin’s arranging of the Loras-Cersei and Tyrion-Sansa marriages. Also, in personal retaliation against Varys, Littlefinger (who made a large portion of his wealth monopolizing the prostitution trade of King’s Landing) sells his handmaiden Ros, a spy in the employ of Varys, to a certain costumer who had a certain fetish he wanted to try out. This person was Joffrey, who had used a tied-up Ros as target practice for his new crossbow. Joffrey has always had undertones of sadism in him, frequently getting turned on by watching other people get hurt. Now, it seems that he’s fully explored his budding sexual urge—as he stands up from staring at a dead and bloodied rose, the first thing he does is re-tighten his belt.

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Sick little prick. I look forward to when somebody (my pick would be Arya) kills his ass dead. RIP Ros’s sultry sex face.

Overall, this was a good, not great, episode. It had its moments of being shocking or touching—Jon and Ygritte’s kiss was a particular highlight, and Littlefinger’s monologue coupled with Joffrey’s murder of Ros was a deeply disturbing scene—but it also had its moments of almost sigh-inducing slow pace. I’m very much looking forward to next episode though, because George R.R. Martin is writing the script himself. Catch that on HBO Sunday at 9, and look out for its recap next Saturday.

Rating: 3 Theon Greyjoy’s fingernails out of 5

Line of the Week: “The climb is all that matters” –Littlefinger

Fanboy gift of the week: Hot Pie, Sansa, Sam, Ros, Cersei, Catelyn, Bran, Ygritte, and Melisandre sing the GoT theme song

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The Future of the Boston Celtics

Should the Celtics play the odds in 2014 lottery?

It has been a week since the Celtics season ended (huge sigh of relief).  Things looked pretty bleak this year as everything went wrong (Sully, Rondo, Barbosa – injuries AND Terry, Lee, Wilcox, Bass, Crawford – ineptitude) during a year in which everything had to go perfectly right for the Celtics to end up in the Eastern Conference Finals (see 2011-2012).  Consequently, the Celtics got swept(it was over after game 3, anyone who held out hope after games 4&5 is delusional)  out of the playoffs by the overrated, front-running team from New York who might not even get by the Pacers in round two.  I am actually relieved the Celtics did not beat the Knicks because I don’t think I could have handled watching Paul Pierce’s rapid deterioration against another elite wing defender in Paul George.  Iman Shumpert eviscerated Paul from the series and made it quite clear that there are in fact plenty of players out there capable of handling The Truth.  In fact, the Knicks had multiple defenders with this ability in Shumpert, Felton, and Kidd.  If Pierce can’t take advantage of apparent mismatches against smaller players like Felton and Kidd, against whom can he? (I actually think Felton and Kidd are solid defenders and matchup decently well against Pierce due to their strength, but Pierce couldn’t do anything against either of them. Like nothing.) It is clear that despite his very good regular season, Paul’s best days are behind him. Further complicating matters is KG’s impending retirement and Rondo’s return from the ACL.  This leaves the Celtics in a bit of a bind because the role players who were signed (and underachieved) to compliment the Big Three would need to be more than role players if the Celtics were to contend, but alas, a washed-up vet is a washed-up vet is a washed-up vet (coughJasonTerrycough).  Now the Celtics enter the offseason with only a few contracts coming off the books, so unfortunately we may see a lot of the same, impotent faces at the start of 2013-2014. Lee and Crawford are all under contract for next year, and Terry and Bass are under contract through the 2014-2015 season.  Chris Wilcox and DJ White will probably be gone, but you can expect other late season acquisitions, Terrence Williams and Shavlik Randolph, to start the season in the Celtics’ training camp.  So if all things remain constant the Celtics will enter next season with a roster of:

G Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley,  Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jordan Crawford, and Terrence Williams

F Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, and Shavlik Randolph

C Kevin Garnett, Fab Melo

16th overall pick

That is not a championship squad. So now, what do the Celtics do? There are a few options.  We could rebuild this off season by amnestying Pierce, seeing KG retire, trading Jason Terry to some woe begotten franchise that thinks he is still a serviceable basketball player (it could happen! Believe and you can achieve!), and enter next season with a starting lineup of Rondo, Bradley, Green, Bass, and first round draft pick Gorgui Dieng (that’d be a nice pickup – he is 6 10, can block shots above the rim, and has a nice 17 foot jump shot that was on display during the NCAA tournament).

This draft class is expected to be one of the weaker drafts in memory, but there are some good value picks once you get out of the lottery, and Dieng is one of those guys.  The Celtics could even package Rondo in a deal with someone like Brandon Bass to clear even more cap space while acquiring future assets in preparation for the loaded 2014 draft and free agent classes.  Now trading Rondo might hurt the team’s ability to sell the city to marquee free agent, but the likelihood of inking one is already rather low – no one wants to come play basketball in Boston during the winter. Therefore, the Celtics might as well use the 2013 season to develop young players such as Bradley, Green, Sullinger, and a player like Dieng and hope they can strike gold in the 2014 draft.  A rebuilding year would likely mean the end of the Doc Rivers era in Boston, but I honestly don’t think it will cause an uproar amongst fans.  We were treated to some great basketball during the KG era, but the window is closed, locked, seal, and reinforced with titanium plates.  It is time to move on, and this plan could work.

The other option the Celtics have is to bring back the current roster with a few minor changes (trading a Terry, Lee, Crawford, or Bass or some combination of two of those players), while hoping to get lucky with a veteran free agent on the cheap like a JJ Redick or Andrei Kirilenko.  This way you keep the fans invested in the KG-Paul “this is our last hurrah” storyline while not-so-secretly waiting until the trading deadline to package them to a contender for young assets, or if some massive injury to Lebron James occurs, making another run at a title if fortune falls on the C’s side.  This is wishful thinking, but hey, stranger things have happened and Lebron’s superhuman machinebody is bound to experience some malfunctioning at some point in his career.

Personally, I am ready to move on from this team and look towards the future.  I have been a lifelong Celtics fan and have endured a lot of poor basketball (I can’t believe I turned out to be a good basketball player believing Dana Barros was the best basketball player in the world) just to get to the Big Three, so I understand the value of watching a legitimately fun team to root for.  We got a championship in year 1, a hard fought title defense in year 2 without KG, a return to the title in year 3, a battle with the Heatles in year 4 (which we would have won if Rondo hadn’t injured his elbow), an all out war with the same Heat team in year 5, and then finally had a bad luck year 6 to which all teams are subject. This is what this team provided us and we should all be appreciative of that fact. But I don’t want to go into next season falling back in love with this squad only to be reminded of youth and beauty’s ephemeral nature and that “grit and balls” can only take you so far in a quickly-evolving league requiring athletes that the Celtics sorely lack.

So let’s not wipe the slate clean this summer, as we should always remember the indelible memories with which this team provided us, but turn the page in this epic history of the Boston Celtics. Tomorrow begins a new chapter, just don’t expect it to be as fulfilling as the last.

 
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