Game of Thrones: final episode live blog

I predict that in ten years time we won’t remember, and perhaps won’t care, about the ending of Game of Thrones, but today it’s two am on Sunday and I’m exhausted and excited and full of the maltesers I bought for eating during the episode but scarfed down while I was waiting and HERE WE GO!

  1. Grey Worm’s gone seriously off-piste. But if you were the second man on death row, would you really stay on your knees quietly watching Jon walk away? One “Help us!” and I reckon we’d have SnowWormBowl right here right now.
  2. I’m so sorry but I don’t feel a thing for Tyrion finding Jamie and Cersei under the pile of rocks. I don’t think any actor could have made me care at this point – it just seems such a banal ending for them. Wouldn’t it have been cool if he’d dug up just the golden hand – and neither Jaime nor Cersei was there? An unsolved mystery – were they living happily ever after in Naarth or were they quietly killed off on their way out of the city…
  3. Don’t these people have an administration? How can Tyrion be the “hand” of the queen and not have any staff? When Dany says “take him” and a couple of unsullied march him off, what are they planning on doing with him? Do they even have a cell to put him in? On a more positive note, where is the victory celebration – did they not make a plan for what they would do if they won??? Who is quartermaster in charge of feeding and watering the Dothraki horses, what happens to the bodies after Grey Worm slits people’s throats, who’s taking care of the wounded? Do they not have cholera in Westeros? Their civil service is all very unsatisfactory!
  4. I have to say I’m a l i t t l e bit bored by all this duty/love stuff going on right now. Where’s Sam? What’s happening with Sansa and Brienne? Is Ghost living happily ever after Up North with Tormund?
  5. There’s really no point Tyrion urging Jon to “choose”. He could “choose” to make a try for the Iron Throne, sure, but he’s in the middle of Dany’s troops. She has the Dothraki and the Unsullied and – ooh! Dragons!
  6. There’s still an hour to go: there’s no way she’s going to sit on the Iron Throne and live happily ever after. Come to that, what the hell is she doing wandering around i the snow on her own anyway (yes I know it’s ash and not snow) Maybe I spoke too soon about the dragon? Maybe Drogon will go over to John and she’ll get kebabbed the minute she sits on it?
  7. OH MY GOODNESS HE STABBED HER MID KISS I did not see that coming. For a good guy, he’s got some very strange rules about what is and isn’t permissible. Dragon going to fry his ass next?
  8. Well I suppose that pretty conclusively answers “who’s going to sit on the Iron Throne next”!
  9. WTF???
  10. I mean, seriously, WTF? I didn’t know we had a king, I thought we were an autonomous collective???
  11. Sam! Sam invents democracy! Yay! Stop laughing at him, you bastards!
  12. Robyn Arryn grew up a bit didn’t he? How long have they been making this episode anyway?
  13. Um… why would they need a Night’s Watch again, given the wall is down, the Free Folk are all living happily ever after in the North, and the Night King and all that went with him have gone? Oh Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, they’re not going to turn Undead Jon into the next Night King, are they?
  14. I was hoping she’d turn the page and find Jaime had left a “Ser Brienne of Tarth” page ready for her
  15. GHOST!!!!! Squee the Direwolf. And they all lived happily ever after. The end.


The Odeon cinema in Sheffield City Centre has had a revamp, so that it now has comfortable reclining seats and lots of leg room. Well yes, but the “less seats and extra space” (fewer, dammit) clearly weren’t tested on actual fat people. Because, although the posh new seats look – and are – wider than the previous seats, the extra width is negated by the ridiculous tables that have been added. Somewhere to put the drinks and snacks they want to sell you, yes, but somewhere that you can’t revolve out of the way of the seat while you sit down in it? No – it’s like sitting in a very tight booth in a restaurant. It might look cosy but it actually digs into your belly and reduces the space you have to sit down.

Oh, and the controls that move the footrest up and down are squished into the side rest underneath the table, so that every time you move, your hip pings against the controls and your feet go up or down…


We were there to see a subtitled performance of Tolkien. We began with adverts and bad sound… and no subtitles. But they were only adverts, right, and if the advertisers can’t be arsed to subtitle, well, I can’t be arsed to buy what they’re selling.

Then we had trailers. Trailers “carefully selected for this performance”.

OK… the first one was for an Andre Rieu live streamed concert. It didn’t have subtitles. Nor did the other three, for Yesterday or for Rocketman (the other was for Downton Abbey and didn’t have dialogue so we’ll let that one off). Dear Odeon, if you “carefully selected” three musicals, without subtitles, for a deaf and hard of hearing audience, you’re probably doing it wrong.

The movie itself, I have to report, had excellent sound quality and I could probably have made sense of it without subtitles, but the subtitles were a lovely experience; clear, timely and, as far as I could tell, accurate (and, thank all the gods, actually synchronised with the performance rather than lagging behind like the Two Ronnies’ “answering the question before last” sketch as they often are on tv.)

I query the “cellar door” conversation which, for me, would have benefited from the first usage being spelled “Celador” or “Sellador” in the subtitles so that you understood Tolkien was talking about the sound rather than a literal door but that was perhaps angels on a pinhead. Otherwise, this was my first subtitled movie (I use subtitles on the tv all the time) and I predict it won’t be my last.

The film itself? I have to say it wasn’t helped by my being in the middle of re-reading Testament of Youth at the moment.  Both have a quartet of doomed public schoolboys wasting their youth and losing their lives in the chaos and mud of the trenches of first World War France. Tolkien’s “fellowship” and the fantastic elements of the film – flamethrowers to dragons, smoke to demons – stand up neither to the realistic nor the fantastic. I found my mind wandering: did WWI troops really use flamethrowers into enemy trenches (how did they get them across no man’s land? Why didn’t the people in the trenches just shoot the operators?) Were the pools of water in no man’s land really the lurid red of blood? (Weren’t they less heroically brown with filth?) And did Tolkien himself really have a batman called Sam Hodges/Gamgee?

If the whole of his life was shaped by his love for his wife/elven queen, why were the women in his work so…

Actually, the trouble with this film was that it made me want a really good biography of Tolkien and a re-read of Lord of the Rings instead.



The 2014 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

I had a day out in London on Friday and went to the Summer Exhibition.  Now, you should understand that this is a long-standing tradition with me: I love being a Friend of the Royal Academy, and I love going to the Summer Exhibition, and I particularly love going to the preview of the Summer Exhibition, because you can swan around looking at the paintings with a glass of Pimms in your hand feeling like it’s the first day of summer.

(And it was, by the way – I had a perfectly glorious day for a quick trip down to London.  Went for a meeting at the OTS in the morning and then strolled through St James and Green Parks and nearly got sunburned!  Then had a bit of a twitter spat with the RA because there wasn’t a catering outlet in the building that had anything vegetarian that wasn’t an egg sandwich or required an hour of queueing grrr!  I wouldn’t mind, but the LAST time I was in the RA building was to try out the new restaurant in the Keeper’s House which – allegedly – has a vegetarian tasting menu on Tuesdays.  It was a Tuesday, but the staff reaction was all a bit “we do a tasting menu?  For vegetarians??  Seriously???”)

Anyway, the notes I made on my phone at the time tell me that Hughie O’Donoghue’s main room is a delight, the print rooms are stuffed with covetable things (two Michael Craig-Martin screenprints, “Violin (Chatsworth)” and “Spotlight: NT at 50”, were particularly covetable – £1440 and £1140 respectively, if you’re shopping for my birthday present) but that I loathed everything (and the hanging) of the large AND small Weston rooms.  I drifted fairly quickly through the architecture rooms and was briefly fascinated by the table sculptures.  There’s something about wandering around with your programme and imagining you had money – what would you buy?  We agreed that, if it turned out either of us had won the £80+m on the eurolottery, we could probably come back and spend a quarter of a million or so quite easily.  On the other hand there were large numbers of works that I wouldn’t have had if they were given away free with a packet of tea (the portrait of the woman with the vile three dimensional neon green breasts, for example).  I still can’t believe, however, that I missed Una Stubbs’ portraits of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman – I’m *definitely* going to have to go again now!

The best part, I think, was the black and white room which was full of an angry energy, mostly directed at Michael Gove.  There was one work outside the room which consisted of a placard which read “all schools should be art schools” which is so true you wish someone would pick it up and whack Gove round the head with it.

The one that will linger with me, though, is the black and white placard (also by Bob and Roberta Smith) which simply reads “IN 2013 14% LESS CHILDREN CHOSE ART AT GCSE THAN DID IN 2010”.  Do you think they’d arrest me if I went back with a red marker pen and replaced “less” with “fewer“?