George RR Martin’s Biggest Twist Yet

Now that the world knows Jon Snow is actually alive, we can start to look ahead at what’s to come from the character that won’t give in. We know that the TV series has caught up with the books. We also know that the creators of the TV series have been speaking closely with the creator of the books, George RR Martin, and what direction he wants the story to go in. But from here on in all anyone can do is speculate.

 

One mystery Martin has confirmed we will have answers for soon is the parentage of Jon Snow. So far it has been said that Ned Stark is the father. That’s been an accepted idea by many fans from day one. But why would Martin say that he’s going to reveal the parentage of Jon Snow if we already know who the father is? Surely all that needs to be revealed is his mother… right?

I’ve been scowling the internet looking for some of the best fan theories out there on what the big reveal could be. There are several popular theories circulating the internet at the moment, the two most popular saying that Jon’s mother is either Lady Ashara Dayne of Starfell, or Wylla, the wet nurse in service to House Dayne. Either way, both theories point to the mother being someone at Starfell. However, there’s a third theory gaining more and more momentum that’s come about through the power of observation.

R+L=J.

This is my favourite theory by far and would provide the huge game changer to the whole series.

 

Everyone knows how fond George RR Martin is of a few twists and game changers, and he’s a very clever man. I think he was well aware of his wording when he said the parentage would be revealed instead of just the mother, meaning that the famously honourable Ned Stark was lying for someone.

Who would Ned Stark tell such a massive lie for, especially for all these years? It would have to be someone he was close to, a family member whose reputation could be ruined with honesty, and it would have to be someone who is no longer around to tell the truth.

It would have to be his dead sister, Lyanna Stark. The woman who was betrothed to Ned’s best friend and future king, Robert Baratheon.

There we have the L and the J in the equation – R + Lyanna = Jon.

Initially I thought the R could be Robert, but then why would Ned need to lie to everyone? Because Robert isn’t the father, and the real R was someone from the family Robert hated most of all.

Rhaegar Targaryen.

If Ned had told Robert Rhaegar was Jon’s father, Rob would have murdered the baby in his sleep without thinking twice, and Ned couldn’t allow that since Jon was his nephew.

 

Here’s a brief account of the theory:

Rhaegar married Elia Martell in a political move, however he never loved truly loved her. In the year of the false spring, Rhaegar and Lyanna met at the Harrenhal tourney. Rhaegar won the jousting contest and, as per tradition, the winner got to crown any woman there the queen of love and beauty. While making his choice, Rhaegar rode straight past where his wife was sat, and instead laid the crown of winter roses down on Lyanna’s lap.

Sometime after this, the pair ran away together to the Tower of Joy in Dorne and Jon Snow was conceived. When war broke out, Rhaegar had to go back to King’s Landing to fight by his brother’s side. No one thought that Lyanna had gone with Rhaegar by choice, and so when Ned learnt where she was, he took some of his trusted men and went to rescue his beloved sister.

In the books it’s explained that Ned got to his sister as she was in her last few minutes of life, and he found her in a room that smelt like a mixture of her favourite flower and blood. The blood would explain the story widely accepted by the people of Westeros, that Lyanna had been held captive by the Targaryen’s and when Ned and his men got close they had her killed.

But why would a hostage be in a room surrounded by her favourite flowers?

Unless she had just given birth.

The book also describes the last conversation between the siblings, where Lyanna asks Ned to promise that her body will be buried in the family crypt in Winterfell, and he does as she wishes. But at various points, years after the war ended, Ned kept recalling making a promise to his sister saying how it was a promise he needed to keep. I don’t believe for one second that he’s on about the promise to have her buried in Winterfell, especially when he had already buried her there. Ned was referring to something much deeper than her burial wishes.

 

The fan site towerofthehand.com is able to provide a complete guide of the theory, including page numbers to back up the various bits of speculation.

http://towerofthehand.com/essays/chrisholden/jon_snows_parents.html

 

I really like the idea that Jon Snow is part Stark and part Targaryen. It could end up meaning that he is the rightful heir to not only Winterfell, but all of Westeros. If it works out, it could be Martin’s biggest twist yet.

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Hush

On the surface, Mike Flanagan’s “Hush” really shouldn’t work as a feature length film, but curiously it does. Comparisons are already being made to the 1967 film “Wait Until Dark” – and for good reason. Both films are home-invasion thrillers in which the protagonist has to overcome her handicap to make it out alive, however that’s where the similarities end. Despite only be 82-minutes long, Flanagan (Oculus, Absentia) was able to build the tension to a heart-stopping level and then leave it to simmer in the audience’s mind, making the film almost feel like it was in real-time. “Hush” doesn’t resort to cheap jump scare tactics like many low-budget horror films tend to do, and there’s no ‘bad guy monologue’ to add a side of cheese to the plate of tension.

 

After suffering from a bacterial infection at the age of 13, Maddie (Kate Siegel – Man Camp, Demon Legacy) was left deaf and mute. While trying to finish her second novel she retreats to her cabin in the woods for some solitude and time to focus, but her focus soon gets forced elsewhere when she is targeted by a nameless killer (John Gallagher Jr. – 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Newsroom). Flanagan doesn’t mess around, and Maddie and the nameless killer come face to face very early on in the runtime. It doesn’t take the nameless killer long to figure out Maddie’s disability, and he tries to take full advantage of that to fulfil his sick, psychotic, and murderous desires.

 

Co-written by Flanagan and Siegel, “Hush” offers a series of twists and surprises which generally work for the most part. With so much tension and the numerous directions the film can go in, it’s definitely a case of the less you know about “Hush” the more enjoyable you will find it. By no means does it reinvent the horror genre, but at the very least it adds a new branch to the tree.

YouTube Talent

Reality TV really likes to push the boundaries of what is classed as ‘talent’ these days. I could give examples for days, but since Britain’s Got Talent is now back on our television screens I don’t think that’s necessary.

Seriously though… a grown man with mime artist style make-up, dressed as a school girl, dancing with a giant, inflatable polar bear?! You can’t make this stuff up! Although apparently you can give it three yes’s and put it through to the next round of a contest where the prize involves performing for the Royal family.

I love a good dance act, and I really appreciate the genuine talent, dedication, and skill it takes to excel in the world of dance. I’ll always have a soft spot for someone with a beautiful singing voice. For some of the best talent, and a real chance to see and hear what they can do, YouTube is the best place to look.

Here are my Top 5 YouTube artists.

 

5.

Red

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtVeGZ-f3XcPvMygh82M0nw

Simply known as Red on YouTube, this young artist has an incredible tone to her voice and a stunning level of control. Her debut single is available on iTunes now along with her covers EP, both of which are worth a listen. But it was her cover of Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ that first brought her to my attention.

 

4.

Chloe and Halle

https://www.youtube.com/user/ddbail2

These sisters from America are starting to make a name for themselves across the Pond, but in the UK they’re fairly unheard of. Both of them have incredibly unique voices that could easily work individually as solo artists, but when they sing together they create a sound unlike anything or anyone else out there.

 

3.

Jasmine Thompson

https://www.youtube.com/user/TantrumJas/featured

From London, Jasmine Thompson has a tone to her voice that I can only describe as hauntingly beautiful. With a slight Ellie Goulding-style touch to her voice, Thompson takes a song a re-works it to make it her own. I’ll never be able to listen to ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman’ the same again.

 

2.

Sonna Rele

https://www.youtube.com/user/SonnaMusic/featured

Another London girl, Sonna Rele gives me shivers whenever I listen to her. There’s something about the editing of her videos so she’s harmonising with herself that I can’t get enough of. She has such a gentle sound to her voice, like a silky waterfall, but when she adds the power to her performance her control would make veteran pop stars jealous. I think I prefer most of her covers to the original songs!

 

1.

Connie Talbot

https://www.youtube.com/user/ConnieTalbotOfficial

I may have started this post with a few negative comments about BGT, but the show really does churn out some good acts and performers of all ages. Never mind SuBo, Connie Talbot is a real testament to this. Anyone that watches the show will remember the 4-year-old girl who stole the nation’s heart with her rendition of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ in the first series in 2007. Well here that little girl is, all grown up and sounding like she’s ready to take on a world tour. I’ve really struggled to chose just one video to leave here. For such a young girl, everything she sings is golden.

 

 

I can’t end this post without saying that one artist people really need to prepare for is Andra Day. She was taken under the wing of none other than Stevie Wonder, and when you hear her voice it’s easy to know why he took her on. Here’s the acoustic version of her debut single ‘Rise Up.’

 

 

Time to resume the game of thrones…

 

Valar Morghulis, all men must die – but not all spoilers must be revealed, so be careful, this article contains information you might not be ready to read.

You were warned!

Fans were welcomed back to Westeros in true Game of Thrones style on Monday night.  After 10 months of waiting, episode one ‘The Red Woman’ picked up almost exactly where season five left off, as a sweeping camera moved low over Castle Black until it found the lifeless body of Jon Snow (Kit Harington).

The shock, disbelief, and complete lack of colour on Ser Davos’ face (Liam Cunningham) when he discovered the Bastard of Winterfell lying in the snow mimicked what viewers everywhere felt.

He couldn’t be dead… could he?

We won’t believe it!

After months of conspiracy theories, all desperate to find a way in which Jon Snow might have survived multiple stabbings and getting left in sub zero conditions, fans finally had to face acceptance – Jon Snow is dead.

Really, who else is qualified to lead the campaign against the White Walkers?! Snow basically led the defence of the Wall from the Wildling attack, has killed several of the mysterious ice zombies, and became the youngest Lord Commander in the history of the Knight’s Watch.

One thing confusing some fans though, is why wasn’t Snow’s body burnt? Given how the White Walkers are able to raise the dead to form their own army, why was his body left lying on the table? Maybe we aren’t quite finished with Jon Snow after all.

At least things promise to get interesting at Castle Black from here on in, what with an obvious division among the ranks and a coo building beneath the wall.

Melisandre’s tone dropped significantly as she spent most of the episode questioning the visions she sees in the flames as the death of Snow saw yet another of her premonitions extinguished. It was the Red Woman herself (Carice van Houten) who left audiences with the biggest shock since the Red Wedding. Removing her clothes and jewellery layer by layer Melisandre transformed from a young, red-haired beauty, to a frail and unrecognisable old lady.

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) survived the jump off of the walls of Winterfell and were running for their lives from the malicious men and hounds of Ramsey Bolton. When the men caught up with the pair, the perfectly timed appearance of Lady Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) left her able to finally fulfil her promise to Catelyn Stark all those seasons ago.

There’s been a distinct tone of disappoint among fans though, who feel there should have been more answers given and less new questions raised. It was a busy episode, but overall it felt slow and uneventful. Perhaps it just felt slow because of the explosive end to season five.

Now that the television series has caught up with George RR Martin’s books, there’s no real way of knowing where the show will take its audience. The writers of the series have said they are working with Martin, and know which direction the books will be going, but all fans are truly in the dark now about what is yet to come.

Better the Daredevil you know from March 18

A blind, Catholic lawyer by day, who can see things better than anyone else, dresses up like the devil and acts as a vigilante by night. Talk about contrasts.

As the first Marvel series aired on Netflix, Daredevil: Season One hit audiences with impact. It received widespread critical acclaim and Marvel renewed the show for season two within a fortnight of season one premiering.

Like the 2003 film, Daredevil follows blind lawyer Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox; Stardust, The Theory of Everything) and his plan to deliver justice in Hell’s Kitchen to those let down by the system. Season one saw Murdoch taking on crime boss, and the future Kingpin, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio; Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Full Metal Jacket), as well as what is arguably one of the best fight scenes to ever appear on film or television. Fans will know the one.

But what can we expect from season two?

Information about villains and storylines for season two is limited. Fisk is behind bars, so he won’t be a central character in this season but that’s not to say he won’t make the occasional appearance. Plus, he’s still yet to become the Kingpin, so he’ll definitely be back.

It’s been known since Marvel announced season two in April last year that Elektra (Elodie Yung: G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) will be making an appearance, but the new character on the roster getting fans excited is Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher (Jon Bernthal: The Walking Dead, Fury). It’s thought that The Punisher will be Daredevil’s main adversary, what with their different work methods and outlooks on killing the bad guys, but who knows.

Season one favourites Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, Stick, and Claire Temple will also be returning for season 2, and if fans weren’t excited enough already, Cox has teased a fight scene that could rival the stunning hallway scene from season one.

All episodes of season 2 will be available on Netflix from Friday March 18.

Before ‘Warm Bodies’ there was ‘Colin’

Dare a director to create a film with a unique idea, or at the very least a unique spin on a common idea, and it’s a fair wager that only one in a million will live up to the challenge. The zombie film has been done to death and back (excuse the pun), so in 2013 director Jonathan Levine must have thought he was onto a winner with ‘Warm Bodies’ – the story of a zombie (Nicholas Hoult) who saves the still-living Julie (Teresa Palmer), and the pair build a relationship that could transform their undead world. But in 2008, indie director Marc Price of ‘Nowhere Fast Productions’ got there first with his film ‘Colin,’ filmed entirely from the zombie’s perspective

Modern Hollywood blockbusters have budgets of millions of dollars to go on all sorts of sound and visual effects to really make the film convincing, but Price has proved that all you need is fifty pounds, a little elbow grease and the determination to get the job done. Although it may not be as visually stunning as many other zombie films, such as the 2004 remake of the classic ‘Dawn of the Dead’ or the previously mentioned ‘Warm Bodies’, the cinematography, editing and originality certainly give ‘Colin’ the extra kick that’s missing in many high budget smashes. Price questioned many of the things that take up large proportions of a film’s budget, and came up with some very clever alternatives; why spend money on a set when the actual world is out there for free? When bonfire night is around the time of filming, why spend money on the sound of fake gunfire when the sound of fireworks will do the job?

‘Colin’ was shot in and around the area of London where Price and the people helping him had lived for many years, so they knew exactly when and where would be quiet enough to shoot, and the film never shows any direct gunfire (it is only ever hinted at in the background) so using Adobe Premier software he was able to edit firework sounds into the background, leaving the audience none the wiser. I was lucky enough to meet and interview Price when the film was released. “The main thing we had to splash out on,” Price explains, “was tea and biscuits for the crew. But we ended up buying the really cheap value biscuits, which were absolutely horrible and hardly anyone ate, so they lasted for quite a while. We also had to buy things like food colouring and syrup for blood.”

A major perk to having an extraordinarily low budget is that most people will not hold high expectations of what they are about to see, so it is much easier for them to walk away surprised and liking the film. I did exactly the same; walking into the cinema at a special screening in Farnham, I was dubious about watching ‘Colin’, but with a little patience it didn’t take long for me to really start to enjoy the film. There are literally only about two dozen words spoken throughout the entire thing, and any emotional link felt towards the protagonist is developed through the way he moves and the camera work. Contrary to the popular style of zombie films, the humans are actually portrayed as being the ‘baddies’ and I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Colin at points, even though he’s shown killing someone. The whole film is very cleverly shot with subtle hints being dropped throughout as to what Colin was like as a human, and the audience is made to think and wonder from start to finish about what is really happening.

The common attitude that the first attempt of a new sub-genre should be below par certainly does not apply here – as the first ever film based entirely from the zombie’s perspective I think it works extremely well. Despite the low budget, limited cast and resources, and the near-outdated equipment ‘Colin’ is definitely on the list of “Recommend to a Friend” ‘and is available on DVD nationwide, or to stream on the Nowhere Fast Productions website.