Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling #16; Psy-Changeling Trinity #1) by Nalini Singh Review

This felt strangely underwhelming. it was okay and that’s about it. Although, moving to a new pack was a good thing.

Valentine: I liked him, he was a pleasant change from the previous alpha-male characters, though he wasn’t quite as interesting as them. I expected more and was left wanting.

Silver: I think the women, especially the Psy, are starting to fall into a pattern. She wasn’t truly silent, even at the beginning of the novel so it was a pleasant surprise to see her turn into a perfectly Silent Psy, it was a good contrast. I also liked that she never let anyone push her over.

The relationship between Valentine and Silver was also well-balanced, where they both grounded each other.

My favourite character was easily Ena Mercant. She was formidable and so badass, easily the most dangerous person in the room

The main problem with Silver Silence are the antagonists. They just aren’t as threatening as the Psy Council. They just feel a little half-baked and that suddenly cuts the tension because I can’t take them seriously, even with the odd-POV chapter thrown in.


Sansa and the Quote

Sansa’s last line in the trailer is “When the snows fall, and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives“   and there is a lot of speculation about it and what it could mean. A lot of people are taking it as confirmation that Sansa will indeed betray Jon. You can read my analyses here and here.

But there is another meaning to the line that has nothing to do with Jon Snow. Another blogpost mentioned that Ned first spoke this line to Arya when they were at King’s Landing and how the Starks love quoting each other (Winter is coming among others) Seen from that point of view, the meaning changes completely.

What the line actually means is that when the conditions get bad, the lone wolf, the one who fights alone, dies, while the pack, that stays together and fights together, survives. It has nothing to do with Jon and everything to do with staying together. How then, can it count as proof that she will betray Jon.

Granted that being a Targaryen, Jon isn’t technically family but he’s never harmed or hurt her, and he offered her sanctuary when she found him at the Wall. And he did so with no strings attached. Even when they were visiting the other Lords of the North to rally support against Ramsay, it never struck him to use Sansa as a bargaining chip. He never once brought up the fact that he could give her away in marriage for said support. I’m not saying that it would have worked but that it never even came up as an idea.

Once Jon committed to protecting her, he stuck to it. Sansa is ambitious and she is pretty savvy. She’s lived through trauma and terror for too long and she’s learned to play the long game, the kind LF and Varis are known for playing and everything suggests that this season will be all about family for her. That means that she’s going to eliminate threats to the Starks, not people who are fighting for them.

Will Sansa betray Jon Snow (post Season 7 trailer 2)

The new trailer for season 7 seems to be setting up Sansa as a big player in the upcoming season. The trailer opens on her, with Littlefinger’s voice in the background, urging her to trust no one and wage a battle on all fronts, in her mind. He’s still trying to mold her, trying to make her more like him. That might, however, be a way for the show to mislead us with regard to Sansa. They’ve been setting her up as an unknown with regard to Jon as KitN ever since the season 6 finale, and they seem to be doing the same in the trailer, especially with the trailer closing once again on Sansa, this time with her voiceover, with someone on a horse riding somewhere, I think we can safely assume that it’s Jon, injured and on his way back to Winterfell, saying, “When the snows fall, and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives” 

Sure, Jon could be the Lone Wolf she’s talking about except that throughout the show, especially season 6 finale, Jon is referred to as the White Wolf. I could be wrong and perhaps Sansa does indeed refer to Jon and only says Lone Wolf because it fits the rest of her statement. Still, I don’t detect malice, it’s also difficult to judge since we only have a VO and therefore no context for the statement or who she says it to. Still, she seems contemplative.

Also note her placement in the trailer, she’s in the Godsgrove, the show is really driving the parallels between Sansa and Catelyn. This scene, however, in my opinion, likely takes place early on the season, perhaps as early as episode 1, minus LF’s voiceover.

In a recent interview, Sophie Turner stated that she is firmly on Team Stark (and not Team Snow), and that this season will be moving away from inter-family problems to focus on the wider picture, with characters meeting and forming alliances. This could possibly refer to the North allying with Daenerys and co. to take down Cersie and then focus on the threat of the White Walkers. We also know that Jon will reach out to Dany and her camp when we have his VO, saying that they need to fight together, like they did before to deal with the real threat, the White Walkers.

Sansa betraying Jon is a red-herring in my opinion simply because the show is driving that narrative a wee-bit too hard. Sansa knows Littlefinger and she knows what he wants, she also doesn’t trust him, all that’s left for her to find out is that he had a hand in her father’s death. She does however trust Jon, she trusts that he won’t betray her and won’t hurt her. It doesn’t make sense for her to betray him. Not when he’s the one the North supported, killing him puts her at a disadvantage and actually results in her losing power.

The statement about Sansa being on Team Stark, also puts a bit of dampener on the whole Jon x Sansa ship, she really is only concerned with consolidating her family’s hold on Winterfell and the North. That’s not something she will give up ever, and right now Jon is her best bet of making sure of that.

We know, by the trailer that Jon leaves Winterfell at some point in the season, leaving a vacuum, something a sniveling coward like LF won’t hesitate to exploit to his advantage, likely whispering into Sansa’s ear, trying to manipulate her. I actually think Sansa will play Littlefinger and lead him into a trap that ends with him losing his head, either at Arya or Jon’s hands (I’d be happy with either)

Her final line in the trailer could be something she says to Brienne, Arya or some other ally when Jon and the Wildlings venture into the blizzard, likely to head-off the White Walkers. The trailer is well-cut in that it gives us no context.

Game of Thrones Season 7 – Sansa, Jon and Daenerys

Now, there have been a number of leaks ever since they started working on the 7th season.  Most of them have led a lot of people to think that Jon and Daenerys will end up either together or certainly get into a relationship this season. I don’t think that will happen. I’m going to touch upon a couple of things in this post.
1. Jon as King in the North vs Sansa as Queen in the North
2. Jon and Daenerys vs Jon and Sansa vs Sansa and Winterfell
3. Daenerys killing Cersie vs Sansa killing Cersie

1. Jon as King in the North vs Sansa in Queen of the North:

For one, we, the audience know that Jon is a Targaryen and not a Stark. The North is famous for not trusting outsiders and weren’t fond of the Targaryens, considering that they rallied behind Robert Baratheon. Jon’s hold over the North is tenuous at best. He will soon find out that he is in fact a Targaryen and not a Stark at all. What could that mean for his kingship? A whole lot of problems especially with people like Littlefinger around, just waiting to stir up trouble. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First things first, I genuinely believe that Sansa is and should be Queen in the North. For starters, Jon wasn’t interested in heading back to Winterfell, he only decided to come back because of Sansa because she realised that so long as they didn’t have Winterfell, they would always be vulnerable. Ramsay signed his own death-warrant when he mocked Jon and Sansa and revealed that he held Rickon. It was the catalyst Sansa needed to nudge him to see her point-of-view. I don’t see this as manipulation on her part since what she was saying made perfect sense, and Jon was just being dense. Jon is also driven by his emotions while Sansa has had to slowly change her way of thinking to anticipate what her enemies might do. She even warns Jon that they don’t have the numbers, to not fall for Ramsay’s tricks and Jon disregards her words again and again only to do exactly what she warned him against. If the riders of the Vale hadn’t ridden in, Ramsay would have won. They only won because of Sansa, something everyone conveniently forgot when they proclaimed Jon as King in the North.

For Sansa, Winterfell is home and so much more. It’s her safe place, a place where things were good and they were happy and could go back to some semblance of those long-past times. She is going to fight tooth and nail for Winterfell.

Of course, either Bran or Arya could be king or queen but I don’t see that happening. Bran is the Three-Eyed Raven and I think that will keep him from being the king, he can serve as an adviser but that’s about it. Arya is driven by one thing only, vengeance on those who betrayed their family and as such holds no interest in ruling the North. I see her serve as Hand to Sansa’s Queen. One of the things I’m most looking forward in the new season is the interaction between Arya and Sansa.

2. Jon and Daenerys vs Jon and Sansa vs Sansa and Winterfell:

There are a lot of people who think that Jon and Daenerys will get together and, again, I don’t see it happening. Jon has a lot on his plate as does Dany. She is more focused on winning the Iron Throne and has no time for men. The only way she would consider a relationship with Jon is if it brought her more men or aide in winning the IT. She would have to marry Jon and the Notherners would never accept a Targaryen as a king or queen. Add to that, Jon himself is a Targaryen and I think he’ll find out his true parentage in the first few episodes. When his own position as KitN is tenuous, he isn’t going to be much help as far as a diplomatic marriages go and Dany doesn’t have time for any more dalliances, considering that she even left Daario behind. They’re also far too similar, easily swayed by their emotions, they each need someone who’s more grounded.

Which brings me to Jon and Sansa. Jon ending up with Sansa is more likely in my opinion, than Jon with Dany. For one, if he’s to have any chance of cementing his position as KitN, he needs a Stark by his side. Even if it isn’t love between him and Sansa, it’s the only alternative that makes sense. He can’t marry Arya because he always treated her like his little sister and he can’t very well marry Bran. Which leaves Sansa, someone with whom he barely had any interaction when they were younger. Also, their interactions in season 6, didn’t read like siblings, more like near-strangers who were trying to find their footing around each other. Then there were the scenes where Jon basically just stares at her, as if unsure about how to respond to her, trying to figure who she is or just staring at her because she’s beautiful. He clearly cares for her, but she isn’t the girl he remembers. She’s older and harder, her dreams of knights and love all but shattered. He doesn’t immediately see that hard side, but she is unmovable where her decisions are concerned. She asks for his help but lets him know in no uncertain terms, that she would fight for Winterfell alone if she has to. She doesn’t take bullshit from him and doesn’t let him push her aside. Plus, she has the diplomatic knowledge, something that Jon is sorely lacking in. He isn’t fit to be king and he never wanted to be one. Sansa, meanwhile has dreamed of being a queen for as long as we can remember. If Sansa does get together with some character, I’d rather it be Jon, she deserves to be treated better and we know that Jon would do that.

Also, the show keeps drawing parallels between Jon and Ned and Sansa and Catelyn, that’s not an accident. There are multiple instances where Jon is likened to Ned and Sansa reminds people of her mother, not just in her looks, but also in her demeanor and personality.  Even LF’s obsession with Sansa and wanting to sabotage Jon is another parallel. The show is setting them up as a couple although the makers/writers are being somewhat subtle about it.

But, in an idea world, I see Sansa as the Queen in the North with Arya as her Hand and Bran as an adviser. Sansa too, doesn’t really have time for men. Considering her past, it’s not surprising. She’s consolidating her power in the North so she never has to depend on a man to protect her. She doesn’t want to need a Jon to protect her. It’s why she hasn’t had Littlefinger killed. And let’s not kid ourselves, she could have had Jon execute Littlefinger for all the shit he’s pulled over their family. She’s not blind and she sees LF’s weakness in his desire for her, it’s something she can use and fully intends to. She’s done being the plaything, she’s the one who’s going to pull the strings. With Arya by her side, they will make an even more formidable pair. I think we can all agree that one way or another, LF will meet his end this season, either at Arya or Jon’s hands (I’m betting on Arya) but with Sansa laying the groundwork. Because it will have to be handled with care so the Starks don’t lose the support of the Vale.

Sansa has been dreaming of going back to Winterfell ever since season 2, it’s been her one constant and I don’t see a desire for a man derailing that. She’s starting to come into her own, she’s back in Winterfell and now it’s all about making sure that no one can take it away from her and her family. This season will be all about Sansa and Arya, presenting a unified front. the sisters have more in common now than they did in the past. Arya needs Sansa, just as Jon does, for her knowledge of the inner workings of a court, while Sansa needs Arya because she has the skills necessary for carrying out Sansa’s schemes.

She won’t be averse to marriage but this time it’s going to be on her terms. She might agree to marry Jon as a diplomatic move, consolidating both their positions.

3. Daenerys killing Cersie vs Sansa killing Cersie

At this point, we can all agree that Cersie has gone well and truly insane and I personally think Jamie will actually kill Cersie, thus completing the prophecy. As for the showdown, for now it seems like it will be between Cersie and Daenerys and that doesn’t quite sit right. Dany has no history with Cersie outside of the fact that she wants the Iron Throne. If there is a showdown between them, it doesn’t really have the emotional impact that a one between Sansa and Cersie will. Cersie made Sansa’s life a living hell while she lived in King’s Landing and Cersie thinks that Sansa is responsible for killing Joffrey along with Tyrion.

These two have so much history that any interaction between them is sure to be powder-keg of a situation. Plus it makes for far more interesting television. If anything, Dany should ideally go after Jamie since he’s the one who killed her father, Aerys, the Mad King.

Wynonna Earp Season 2 Episode 2

This show is so good!!! I can’t believe more people don’t watch it. Season 2 so far is turning out to be just as good as the first season.

On the one hand, I couldn’t wait to start watching the new season, on the other, I now have to wait till next week for episode 3 and I have no idea how I’m going to survive so long!! What the hell am i gonna do.

In other news, my favourite character on the show is Wynonna and she just can’t seem to catch a break. She needs more support and this episode, she tried to reach out to Doc and then with Waverly and got shut down both times. If things don’t ease up, she’ll soon hit tipping point which would not be ideal.

Also, Melanie Scrofano’s performance in these past 2 episodes was amazing. I can’t wait for more Wynonna Earp!!

P.S. – Doc Holliday seems to have gotten more attractive 🤔

Wonder Woman (2017) Review

This film was everything I expected it to be. Now, so far I haven’t been a DCEU fan, I hated Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman. In their quest to be different from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DCEU took on a gloomy and dull visual palette and were also dull in terms of the overall tone of the films. While that approach may have worked for Batman, they didn’t quite fit with Superman.

Wonder Woman is the antithesis to those films and to everyone who said that superheroes, in the current climate can’t be optimistic. One of the best aspects of the film was the overwhelming optimism, the kind I felt at the end of The Force Awakens, the certainty, that come what may, good will prevail over evil. I loved that distinct lack of cynicism, it was so wonderfully refreshing.

In terms of the two halves of the film, the first half definitely works better while the second half drags a bit but not for long. And those moments of quiet were used well, to establish emotional connect with characters beyond the immediate protagonists.

Patty Jenkins deserves heaps of praise especially in light of all the fake negative reviews that strove to derail the film. When I went to watch BvS, I went in with zero expectations, but with Wonder Woman, I went with expectations, I expected the film to be amazing and for Wonder Woman to be an absolutely badass and Jenkins delivered on both counts. It really does bring to mind Christopher Reeve’s Superman, its charm, optimism and hope.

The world of Themiscyra was beautifully crafted, it was beautiful and every bit the paradise that it was meant to be. The Amazons were fierce and it was a joy to see different ethnicities among them. I only wish we spent more time with them.

The film is also beautifully shot, the cinematography was stunning. And I was thrilled to learn that it was shot on film, 35mm. There is something about film, that digital just can’t replicate or replace. The fight scenes were also beautifully shot and choreographed. They were thrilling and really pulled the audience inside with a mixture of tight close-ups and wider establishing shots. They were coherent in a way that so many fight scenes aren’t.

I loved Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright as Queen Hippolyta and General Antiope respectively. Such beautiful strong women, it was easy to see them taking on enemies and emerging victorious. Wright as Antiope especially a joy to watch, so fierce and formidable.

I loved Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy and feel slightly bummed that in all probability we won’t see any more of her considering that she’s probably ancient by now. She was hilarious without being a caricature. The motley crew that Trevor puts together to get behind enemy lines, was also fun. They were diverse without that diversity being overtly stated. Again, I wish we had spent more time with them.

I am not a huge fan of Chris Pine but I loved him here. He was excellent as the slightly jaded pilot/spy Steve Trevor who slowly rediscovers hope and optimism. But Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana was the real star of the film. She owned the role of Wonder Woman and shut up all the people who doubted the choice to cast her. She was charming and her optimism and naïveté were believable. She really invested in this role and it paid off. Her chemistry with Pine was also amazing and served to make their relationship believable even though they had only known each other very briefly. Their interactions were a joy to watch and their camaraderie was one of the high points of the film.

Of the villains, Danny Huston’s General Ludendorf along with Elena Anaya’s Dr Maru were suitably sinister and even had a mad scientist-evil mastermind laughter moment. One of my only complaints of the film is that the villains felt somewhat underwhelming. I wish the script had fleshed them out more. I also feel that the marketing should not have revealed who Ares was (I won’t mention it here in case there are those who are as yet unaware of that tidbit) Knowing about that reveal undercut its effect.

Wonder Woman is the film we and this character deserve. It is fun, funny, charming, full of hope and optimism without ever being cheesy. It is a joy to watch and I hope we see a sequel soon with Jenkins once again at the helm. People need to watch this film and make sure that it is a hit, we need this film to make money, to tell the studios that female-lead films and blockbuster films directed by women can be both critically acclaimed and box-office successes. That female directors aren’t a gamble.

P.S. – would it be too much to ask for a film about the Amazons on Themiscyra? I would pay to watch that film.