ladyofastolat: (Night gathers)
Some years ago, during a session of our intermittent, ongoing A Game of Thrones roleplaying campaign, our characters had cause to approach village full of suspicious wildings (collectively called Brians, on the grounds that they were all played by Brian Blessed. It turned out to be a bad idea to call them all Brians, since between one year and the next, we got Evil Brian and Good Brian confused, with near-fatal consequences.)

Anyway, our method of easing their suspicions was to disguise ourselves as humble fishermen. For added verissimilitude, we tried to catch some fish. As I wrote at the time, "The fishing did not go well, since none of us knew how to do it, and it turned out that "how hard could it be?" had the answer "very." However, enough fish-like things were caught that we managed to persuade this Brian of our good intentions by heroically waving a diplomatic fish at him, while shouting "We've got fish!" This was the result of One Good Die Roll of the Island of Skagos.

Here is the picture of the heroic moment )

Now, a few weeks ago, there was an episode of the Game of Thrones TV show in which... Spoilers! )
ladyofastolat: (We do not sew)
We spent the long Easter weekend adventuring in Westeros, finally wrapping up the plot that started some six years ago. Despite many of us proving incapable of throwing any number that wasn't a 1, we managed to piece together the evidence and conclude that Balon Greyjoy was about to rebel against King Robert. In our part of the world, this was to take the form of an enormous attack on the Wall by land and sea, done by wildings and the Brians of Skagos, all armed and coordinated by Iron Islanders. We sent out ravens hither and yon, and all the right people were warned and took appropriate action. Westeros was saved. Yay! Go us!

Yeah, so we possibly woke up and enraged the Others along the way, but who how hard can they be? We also broke the skeleton of the legendary hero who might one day rise with his legendary entourage (also broken) and wield his legendary axe (which we kind of, er, stole) against fell enemies that only he can slay, but who believes in such legends nowadays? Oh, and thanks to our warnings, the Lannisters are far more powerful than they would have been had the Greyjoys hammered them, but they're loyal subjects of King Robert - long may he and his descendants reign - so this can only be good, right?

Along the way we learnt:

- That maester training allows maesters to unerringly hit the 140 character limit of a raven message with no rephrasing or crossing out.
- That there is a very fine line between gnomic wisdom and utter nonsense.
- That walking into a wilding camp saying, "Hi! I'm friends with your sworn enemies!" isn't a very sensible idea. However, if you're accompanied by someone who has just finely honed their bluff skills by getting a bun from the kitchen (no, I don't know how this works, either), the seemingly inevitable disaster can be... er... evited?
- That mastiffs are less effective than they're billed. (Alas, poor Gelert!)
- That off-duty Iron Islanders spend an inordinate amount of time ferrying around loaves of bread
- That the hornier the helmet, the tougher the foe
- The true meaning of "slighting" a castle
- That everything is more difficult when you have wet underwear
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Firstly, thanks to everyone who left messages of sympathy about my cat; they were much appreciated. Here are some of the entirely trivial things that have been cheering me up since then:

- There exists a creature called a Sarcastic Fringehead. Unfortunately, they aren't so called because of their habit of making cutting remarks, but because the word "sarcastic" literally means "cutting flesh." According to Wikipedia, "When two fringeheads have a territorial battle, they wrestle by pressing their distended mouths against each other, as if they were kissing. This allows them to determine which is the larger fish, which establishes dominance."

- The artist Turner showed very little concern about the longevity of his paintings, frequently using dodgy paint, or leaving the finished canvases stacked in inappropriate places. One particular picture was used to cover a broken window, and had a cat flap cut into it, for the use of his 6 Manx cats, or his 7 Manx cats, or his housekeeper's 30 Manx cats, depending on which bit of the internet you believe.

- Japanese folklore has a whole class of beings which are ordinary household objects which have come to life on their 100th birthday. These all have special names, and include animated umbrellas and the spirits of ill-treated sandals. Many more interesting legendary creatures can be found here.

- I put up the Christmas tree yesterday, a week earlier than I would normally aim to do it, since I wanted some cheer and colour in the house. Unfortunately, it went all gloomy when I tried to photograph the hand-made decorations, so the end result is not at all great, but here they are, anyway:

A tree of mice and fire )
ladyofastolat: (Boo)
Pellinor and I have been playing Battles of Westeros recently - a rare battley game that can actually be played within an hour or two, although it does take about 45 minutes to set up first. The side that has initiative (i.e. goes first in that round) is denoted by possession of a cardboard... well, I presume it's supposed to be a mace, but it looks to me more like an egg whisk.

I've spent quite a lot of time this week writing up descriptions of spells available to the fire mage I'll be playing next week. It's not easy typing on a keyboard that's propped precariously on an open Player's Handbook, and quite a lot of typos have ensued, as well as some rather bizarre mistakes that come from my fingers evidentally mishearing my brain.

Therefore, should I ever GM a role-playing game, the following items will appear:

The Egg Whisk of Initiative
A spell called Magic Circle Against Elephants
A spell that summons an Elemental Swan
A spell called Continual Fame
ladyofastolat: (Night gathers)
DO NOT READ THIS if you haven't finished A Dance with Dragons all the way to the end. Here be serious spoilers. Also, I'd really rather you didn't read this if you have once read A Game of Thrones and didn't much like it, or stopped reading years ago, or want to come and tell me how stupid I am for loving this series so much. You're welcome to your opinion, but I can't face hearing it right now.

Very serious spoilers for A Dance With Dragons right from the very first line )

Madness

May. 12th, 2011 06:42 pm
ladyofastolat: (Winter is coming)
Okay. Making Victorian mouse versions of all the local Morris dance sides is crazy enough. Making Victorian mouse version of all the main characters of A Song of Ice and Fire - including mouse versions of the direwolves and dragons... Please could someone tell me to step away from this madness NOW, before I get the needle out.

EDIT: Or if you think I should continue, how do you think I should convey hair? I'm thinking that I shouldn't try to convey hairstyles, since mice don't have 'em, but should just make the entire mouse in the right hair colour. Not sure yet whether to give them beards...
ladyofastolat: (Winter is coming)
I dreamt last night that was I watching episode 4 of the TV version of A Game of Thrones. When I got half way through, I had to go out dancing (thus reflecting the fact that I will be out dancing tonight when the episode airs) but while I was out, I came across a Ladybird retelling of the episode. I tried very hard to resist it, but ended up picking it up and skimming very briefly through the second half, glancing at the pictures and looking for names to jump out.

While I don't normally think that anyone else is ever going to be interested in hearing about my dreams, my "predictions" for the episode amused me, so I thought I'd write them down.

There are no spoilers in here for the TV series. There are some for the books, but if you hadn't read the books, why would be you clicking on this link? )

Mystery

Apr. 27th, 2011 06:08 pm
ladyofastolat: (Winter is coming)
That's odd. I just went to see the comments on George RR Martin's latest LJ post, to confirm that others thought it meant the same as I did. I didn't (knowingly) click on anything when there, merely read the five comments that were then there, then clicked "back". However, returning to my Friends page, I found that my journal theme (i.e. colour, layout etc.) had changed completely. It hadn't even changed to GRRM's theme or to any sort of default, but to something completely different. How odd.

EDIT: But if GRRM's post really does mean what I think it means, then YAY!
ladyofastolat: (Winter is coming)
The long Easter weekend was spent rampaging around Westeros while eating cheese and rhubarb.

...you're sure of a big surprise )
ladyofastolat: (Winter is coming)
So, April 18th sees the airing of the first episode of A Game of Thrones, and on April 22nd - 24th, we're having another installment of our (spectacularly incompetent) Game of Thrones role-playing campaign. Since I've not reread the series since 2005, I was planning to reread the whole series in April, in honour of the TV series, and in order to remind me if there really are ten thousand Brians living on a small island in the north.

But now we've got a firm date for the next book in the series: July 12th. If I reread the series in April, I will have to spend nearly three months overflowing with impatience and anticipation. I know how my obsessions work, and I wouldn't be able to push the series to one side during this period, and just go off and read something else. I could do that with a wait of a year, but not with three months, especially with new TV episodes to keep it all current. If the TV series didn't exist, there would be no dilemma involved: I'd reread the series in June, ready to go seamlessly into the new book when it arrives.

So Yay! for a firm publication date of ADwD, but Wah! for the fact that it isn't closer to the air date of the TV series.
ladyofastolat: (Winter is coming)
I'd totally forgotten that the first promotional videos for the TV version of A Game of Thrones were coming out this weekend, so thank you, [livejournal.com profile] evilmissbecky, for sending me a link to them yesterday. I've now spent the best part of the last hour poring over various fansites' frame-by-frame commentaries. I know there are quite a few GRRM fans here, so if anyone else, like me, missed the original films, you can see them here. Westeros.org has some very detailed analysis of loads of screencaps from the films, which takes a while to click through. Winter is Coming has a less detailed version, with fewer screencaps, but all on a single page.

I'm really excited about this TV series now. I'm often rather wary when they film a book that I love, but with this one, all the signs have been really good from the start.
ladyofastolat: (Winter is coming)
This weekend, a doughty band of heroic adventurers set off to rid the eastern Westerosi coast of pirates and slavers. Departure was delayed for a while since, to paraphrase Spinal Tap, no-one knew who they were or what they were doing, but eventually everyone managed to find themselves in a vat of Lego men. The ensuing epic voyage was one that bards will sing for years to come, distinguished by many deeds of startling competence and heroism. However, since I am nothing if not modest, I will record a few tiny little lessons that need to be learnt:

Epic adventuring )
ladyofastolat: (Hear me roar)
Grr! George RR Martin (who - *sigh* - has just missed his latest deadline for finishing the book he promised to finish about a hundred years ago, and is now off on a long holiday) has taught me to try to avoid unfinished series. Thus it was that when I found an intriguing-looking fantasy novel in Waterstones just before going to Scotland, I studied it hard for evidence of seriesness. Nothing on the blurb. A quick looking-while-not-looking glance at the last page revealed no "to be continued" and no afterword telling us to await the next book. I turned to the front page, and saw just the title, with no "book one of series X" subtitle. Yes! I thought. A self-contained fantasy novel! So I bought it on spec, not pausing to check Amazon reviews first.

In Scotland, I started to read it, and I liked it. I liked it a lot. I found it quite hard to put down, in fact. However, as the book went on, it became apparent that the pace was moving far too slowly for a self-contained book. Yes, you've guessed it. It is, in fact, part one of a series, in which book two isn't published until next year. (To be fair to the book, it does, in fact, admit this, but only on an additional title page. It's not shown on the most obvious title page.)

Grr! This is why I don't buy books unless I can read Amazon reviews first. (Though even then, I can make mistakes. I was careless when I bought Inda, and failed to realise it was part of a series, which is why I'm impatiently awaiting book three right now.)

Oh. The book, by the way, was The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss - probably rather longer than it should be, but I loved the slow pace and level of detail. Nearly a year before book two, though. *sigh.*

Ah well. At least I was able to spend my day repeatedly watching something that doesn't exist yet, but I will say no more than that. ;-)
ladyofastolat: (Library lady)
From a website of children's work done in libraries:

What will librarians be like in 2150?
- Dead
- They will all be really old and not able to walk
- Robots (this is a very popular answer)
- There will be a hotel next to the library. The librarians will do the night-time entertainment for people in the hotel
- They will wear purple skirts and peach blouses
- They will all be skating around on rollerblades
- They will be like giant jelly babies. When they get hungry, they will eat each other, but they will grow back later
- They will have 7 arms (to carry the books)
- Big, hairy and scary

Well, lunch time is almost over, so back to my training course (which, as you can guess, is on how to use this subscription-only website for children's book reviews and creative writing.)

EDIT (and irrelevant): GRRM fans who aren't members of the relevant GRRM communities might be interested to see this. No, it is not news of the new book, so don't get your hopes up...
ladyofastolat: (Winter is coming)
I dreamt last night that I was wandering through Ottakars, when a book caught my eye. "A Dance with Dragons," the cover said, "by George RR Martin." I paused, shocked. Could it be? I'd not seen anything on his website. I wasn't expecting it for at least six months, if not longer. But I picked it up, glanced at the blurb, flicked gingerly through the first few pages... And it was! It was!

I bought it, and carried it home, stroking it gleefully, with cackles of "Mine! My preciousss!" At home, I poured a glass of wine, and - pausing only to gloat on LJ about my find - I settled down to read the first chapter. (It was from the viewpoint or Ser Arys Oakheart, by the way, which, really, should have raised my suspicions, but made perfect sense at the time.) I then stopped reading, resolving to be firm with myself and eke the book out for a few weeks. "I will read a few more chapters tomorrow," I told myself. "The book will still be here in the morning."

But it isn't! *wails and woe* It isn't! It was all a dream.

Curse you, GRRM. Why do you toy with our hearts like this?

Woo-hoo!

Jun. 30th, 2006 04:48 pm
ladyofastolat: (Fantasy)
For the surprisingly large number of people on my Friends list who will be as excited by this as I am:

From George RR Martin's blog: "Yes, I am still working on A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, and yes, I still hope to deliver it this fall, or by the end of the year at the latest."
ladyofastolat: (Default)
For a year, our Sunday evening role-playing group played Ars Magica. Now, Ars Magica is a wonderful system, but it's pretty intense. (Or, at least, it is the way we played it.) It's not about dungeon crawling, but about laying long-term plans for your character, that will take decades of game-time to fulfil. All our characters had their own agendas, and none trusted each other. Sometimes, a gaming session would consist of a four hour Council meeting, with agenda, long argument, exercise of people management skills, politics, and voting. It could be as hard work as work.

So we decided to take a break, and play some brainless, monster-slaying D&D for a few months... and now we've even taken a break from that to play a Star Wars RPG for a few weeks. I think the character names say it all. We have a Wookiee called Fred, a Jawa called Hibdibwibnibiblibgibfibjibtib, a human called Tuc (because the culprit was eating TUC biscuits at the time) and Shadrak the Zabrak )

I'm wondering what will come next. In a few weeks, will we be taking a quick break from Star Wars in order to do some Teletubby role-playing?

But talking of RPGs: Vague musings on playing A Game of Thrones RPG one day )
ladyofastolat: (Default)
After nearly seven years, I have changed my desktop wallpaper. For all of that time, I've had a publicity photo of Obi-Wan and Darth Maul posing in mortal combat, all faint silhouettes and muted shades of sunset. I downloaded it in those heady days after the teaser trailer for episode one had come out, and we all still thought the film would be wonderful. I've kept it so long because icons showed up well on it, and it had become part of the scenery. Anything else looked wrong.

But yesterday I changed it, to a George RR Martin wallpaper from this site. I know it's a totally trivial thing, really, but it feels really strange for my computer to look so different. It really does feel as if I've changed the wallpaper in my house. It feels like the end of an era.


Anyway... I'm off to Warwick in a few hours for part two of the Training Course With Excellent Food (oh, and some interesting training sessions, too.) Annoyingly, the course starts too early tomorrow for me to get there in time, so I have to travel up today and spend a night in a normal boring hotel, before moving tomorrow to the super-amazing conference accommodation with internet access in each room, and three course meals at every turn.
ladyofastolat: (Winter is coming)
I've finished the Feast! I'd hoped for three weeks, but in the end it was only two. Oh well…

Lengthy and very spoiler-filled stuff about A Feast For Crows )

EDIT: I've spent the entire evening reading the forums. I'm now kicking myself for failing to notice some very obvious things. All those fans out there have noticed lots of hints and foreshadowings that I failed to see, so now I'm about ten times more desperate for the rest of this series than I was a few hours ago. Cursed forums.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Well, we went to GRRM's book signing yesterday, braving wind and rain and bouncy ferries. I did my usual "let's leave lots of margins for error, for things to be late," so we ended up arriving really early. We'd intended a quick meal in Pizza Hut, but ended up having to eat deliberately slowly. We still ended up with 40 minutes to kill in a pub.

Then the signing. He talked for a while first, talking about the reasons for this book taking so long. It was all familiar stuff to anyone who follows his website, or the various fan sites and forums. Then he took questions. )

Anyway, I must rush now to get to work, so it'll have to be quick. After questions, he signed some books, and we went home, and now I've got to go out into the pouring rain and do my half-term storytimes, and - I hope - swap this borrowed car for our own car. The garage was supposed to have our car for two days, but have had it for nearly six. Grr!
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Another entirely free weekend! Better still, I have Monday off, too, ostensibly to go and see "Jar-Jar" in Portsmouth. His signing doesn't actually start until 7, but I've still got 8 days' leave to take, and it's looking less and less likely that I will be able to take them all, so I have to grab days when I can.

Pellinor's away all weekend, drinking and singing and drinking some more at Morris 18-30. (Yes, I know he's too old, but they let him in anyway.) So I have two solitary days to fill.

Being in the throes of obsession, all I want to do is to read A Feast for Crows, then A Dance of Dragons, then The Winds of Winter, then A Time for Wolves. However, there is a slight snag in that two and a half of those books haven't been written yet. Also, much as I would love to devour Feast this weekend, I also actively don't want to. It's a whole lot nicer to be an obsessed person with 400 unread pages sitting there by the bed, than to be an obsessed person who has to wait at least a year for the next fix.

So what to do? I would normally write a lot when Pellinor's away, but I can never write in one fandom while I'm obsessed with another, so that's out. I don't want to play Guild Wars without Pellinor. My new Game of Thrones card game packs turned up today, but that's not much use, since the cats aren't a very good opponent in a two-or-more player card game. Digression and snarling about game )

Well, to cut a long story short(ish), I had a brainwave earlier, when I remembered that Neverwinter Nights has some Song of Ice and Fire mods. One is set in the Riverlands, but one is set at the Wall - my favourite! So I can spend the weekend doing something relaxing, absorbing, totally within the world of my obsession... but still end the weekend with a lot of Feast still unread.

Tonight, though, I plan to drink cider and wheat beer and watch QI, and other Friday night comedy things. It feels rather bad to drink by myself, but I know Pellinor will spend the evening singing long ballads while slowly collapsing under the table, and I don't want to entirely miss out on my usual Friday night over-indulgence.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Ooh! When Pellinor popped into the games shop near his work, and failed to find the new edition of Game of Thrones card game (thus occasioning my earlier post) he did find The art of "A song of ice and fire". I'm always fascinated by seeing artists' views of book characters, even if half of them end up making me cry, "He doesn't look like that!" I was especially delighted to see the inclusion of my favourite fan artist. Back when I'd read the prologue of A Game of Thrones, and not been grabbed by it, I stumbled on her work and really liked it, and that was what gave me the incentive to return to the series. It always gives me warm, fuzzy feelings when "proper" books acknowledge fan art or fan fiction like this.
ladyofastolat: (Killer Kitten)
Grr! This should not be hard! All I want to do is order two packs of the new edition of the Game of Thrones card game, one for me, one for Pellinor. But can I do it?

Firstly, most sites don't even sell the packs individually, but only sell display boxes that contain a dozen packs. Fine if I'm a shop, but I'm not a shop. I'm just me. I don't want or need a dozen.

Secondly, those few that do sell individual packs don't offer you any chance to specify which pack you want. Starter decks come in six different types, because you can choose to play the game as one of six different warring families. If I can't specify on ordering, presumably I'll get a random pack, which means that there's only a one in six chance that it will contain cards I can actually use.

Grr! Do these people actually want my money?

Obsession

Oct. 17th, 2005 07:41 am
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I read 80 pages of A Feast for Crows yesterday, and I won't breathe a word of spoilers about them. However, it was enough to throw me so deeply back into this world that I barely had a moment's sleep last night for thinking about the books. But since I normally lie awake at night worrying about work, I'm not really complaining, since this was definitely an improvement.

Now, a request to those others who will be reading this book this week: Although I acquired this book early, I hope to read it slowly. I normally devour books in one sitting, but I love these books so much that I want them to last. I hope to eke it out over a couple of weeks, or even longer, like I did with the first three. So please don't assume that I'm ahead of you, when it comes to spoilers.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I have A Feast for Crows!
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I had a day off yesterday, to make up for working last weekend, and I spent the entire day re-reading George RR Martin (also known to us as "Jar-Jar Martin") I'm now very fired up with anticipation for A Feast for Crows. (Oops. I wrote that as "A feast for cows", which puts a whole new perspective on things.)

I noticed that Amazon now say that the book came out on October 10th, and is already shipping. I dashed into town earlier ("en route" between a school and library - the kind of "en route" that requires a six mile detour) but it wasn't there. Oh well... Only four days to go before the real publication date, October 17th.

I was going to hold off buying it until I go to the book signing on the 24th, but now I've started re-reading, I can't wait that long. If the shop takes issue with me turning up with a pre-bought copy (bought from another branch of the same shop, too), then I'll just buy a second one.

Last night we played the Game of Thrones card game. The sssneaky Lannisters used guile and treachery to totally wipe out all my heroic Starks... but then, rising from the ashes, came lots of vengeful and loyal Stark liegemen, who avenged the death of their overlords with bloody slaughter. So that was fun. There's nothing like wreaking bloody slaughter on your husband to brighten up an evening.

Not fair!

Sep. 8th, 2005 08:55 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Aaargh! Empire Online is giving away tickets to a mystery advance screening of a film that sounds suspiciously like the Firefly movie. One of the cinemas showing it is just across the water from here. The trouble is, I'll be in Warwick on a three day course that day. Grrr!!!

And while we're grr-ing... the aptly-named GRR Martin still has "TBC" on his website, regarding his UK signing tour that starts in not much over a month.

I think there's a conspiracy to keep me from my obsessions.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I spent the weekend in London, meeting up with some old friends from a somewhat silly historical-themed student society. It was a somewhat depleted group, since two people inexplicably didn't turn up, but we had a good time, anyway.

Don’t touch the actors! )

My life as an uncultured lout )

Showing restraint in the face of overwhelming temptation )

Finally getting the point )

Toto, we’re not in Vectis any more )

Portals into other dimensions )

Woo-hoo!

Jul. 1st, 2005 08:03 am
ladyofastolat: (Default)
A Feast for Crows now has an offically confirmed UK release date of October 17th! Woo-hoo! This is only ten days after the UK release of the Firefly movie, so I will have my most-anticipated book and my most-anticipated film both arriving in the same month. How exciting!

Now I have to work out exactly when to start re-reading the other books, so I finish them on October 16th, not one day earlier, and not one day later. Life as an obsessional fan can be very complicated.

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