January 31, 2019

"Vikings" to End at Season 6


This week, we had the season finale of Season 5 [Part B] and it has also been announced that Season 6 will be the end of the show.

However, since it'll be 20 episodes, expect it to be once again split into 2: Season 6 [Part A] and Season 6 [Part B]. I'm hoping that the final episode of the entire show will be approx 90 minutes, as well as possibly Episode 11 (the first episode of Part B.)

On the ending of the show, creator Michael Hirst has this to say:

"I always knew where I wanted the show to go and more or less where it would end if I was given the opportunity. What I was trying to do was write the saga of Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons. After six seasons and 89 episodes, that’s what I felt — finally — I’d done. We stopped shooting the final episode in November last year and I felt that I’d said all I needed to say about Ragnar and his sons. I told my saga, and I’d been very fortunate to be given that opportunity by MGM and History. I had no reason to want to continue it beyond that. But, there are 20 new episodes to come. We visit three new worlds in those episodes, we go through great tragedies and great heroism, and if you have tears to weep be prepared to weep them as you watch Season 6. I’m very proud of the show. I did what I wanted to do, that’s the truth.


I don’t want people to think the show is ending anytime soon because it’s not. Later this year we’ll see the first part of Season 6. I’m desperate for people to see it because it is the most ambitious and intensely emotional episodes of “Vikings” ever. Each season I set new challenges for production and they always meet them. Each season I up the ante and they always do it — whatever it is I ask them to do. A lot of what we shoot is real, it’s not CGI, and the way production manages to realize what I put on paper is transcendental. It’s incredible, it’s fantastic. So we have new worlds, new landscapes, new characters… and the scope just seems to be bigger. As are a lot of the issues. We’re on a world stage now with the Vikings, so everything is greater and more significant. And I swear to all the fans. It is a truly, deeply, emotional experience so I look forward to people watching it."

January 30, 2019

Some Opinions About Beer


So I wanted to do up a post about beer.

I am fond of craft beer, to be precise. Now, that being said, I'm a fan of traditional styles: ales, amber, stouts, porters, etc. Those types, served in a pint glass.

I'm all for experimenting and trying new things; however within moderation.

Very often, I see what appears to be orange juice served in what appears to be a wine glass. And usually, the name or ingredients of that beer does not sound appealing - as BEER.

For that reason, I'm going to list off some breweries, to give an idea of the types of beers that I do enjoy. I should also add that I like some UK imports, due to the type of beer.

WHITEWATER BREWING CO

78 Hwy 17, Cobden, ON K0J 1K0
Beer Listing: http://whitewaterbeer.ca/our-beer/

Their flagship beer would probably be the Farmer's Daughter Blonde Ale. My overall favourite, though, is the Whistling Paddler English Ale. They are no longer 'up and coming' as their reputation is well-known in the Ottawa region. I remember attending beer-tasting vent that was hosted by the Hintonburg Public House from when they were up and coming.

The brewery (physical location) brewpub and their selection of beers is everything I could want from a craft brewery. They have a nice varied selection. Their food is great. The brewery is nice. Cannot give them enough praise. Oh, and you can get their beer in cans, growlers and grumblers.

HIGHLANDER BREWING CO


309 B HWY 124, South River, ON P0A 1X0
Beer Listing: https://highlanderbrewco.com/product-category/beer/

Their flagship beer would probably be the Scottish Ale. That one is quite good, as is their Blacksmith Smoked Porter. Sadly, I have not had much else by them - nor visited their brewery (which is about 5 hours away from me, twice the distance as Whitewater.)

I was gifted a 500 ml (when their beers came in bottles) for my birthday one year. The name of the brewer and the beer caught my attention, and I couldn't wait to try to it: Highlander Brewing Co.'s Scottish Ale. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have an affinity (and hopefully not an unfair bias!) towards anything Scottish. Let me tell you, that Scottish Ale as delicious. Likewise was their Blacksmith Smoked Porter, once I had it.

Their other beers are of interest to me - no overabundance of IPA's. I love IPA's, but I find them too commonplace in the craft beer industry. Highlander also offers: a rye beer, a lager, and a few others that I can't tell based on their names. Great, traditional beer.

ASHTON BREWING COMPANY


113-159 Old Mill Road Ashton, Beckwith, ON K0A 1B0
Beer Listing: https://www.ashtonbrewingcompany.com/beer

Their flagship beer would be their Amber. I haven't had much by them, nor have I visited their brewery. Unlike Highlander, (due to where I live) visiting Ashton seems to be more feasible. They offer up a Harvest brown (which is delicious on tap), a Cream Ale (gotta try that one!), an IPA, among others. What attracted me, is that they call their beers 'pub ales' - which is exactly the type of beer I would be after. I may have extremely limited experience with this brewery, but my anticipation is very high because of it.
CAMERON'S BREWING COMPANY

1165 Invicta Dr, Oakville, ON L6H 4M1
Beer Listing: https://www.cameronsbrewing.com/beers/

Unsure what their flagship would be! Now, their brewery is in Oakville....a good 5 hours away from me. However, I've had quite a few of their beers, thanks to the various mixpacks that LCBO carries. They are all very good, though I must admit that the Ambear is pretty good. They offer traditional style beers, with snappy names.


That's pretty much it for the brewers I wanted to showcase, however I also wanted to mention by name (though in less detail) the following: New Ontario Brewing Company, Great Lakes Brewery, Muskoka Brewery, and Black Oak Brewery for Ontario.

In Nova Scotia, I also have a fondness for Big Spruce, and Boxing Rock.

Finally, for imports, I quite enjoy pretty much anything from Wychwood (I make it a point to go for their Hobgoblin, and its variants, such as King Goblin and Hobgoblin Gold), Fuller's, Innis & Gunn and Belhaven.

So the point of this, was to show the types of beers and brewers that this craft beer (and, on occasion, imports) drinker likes.

You keep your tekus, I'll have my pint glass. And I part with this quote:

"...You can drink your fancy ales,
You can drink them by the flagon,
But the only brew for the brave and true...
..Comes from the Green Dragon!
"

January 29, 2019

Robert Jordan's "Warrior of the Altaii" To Be Published


This is most unexpected, indeed!

Robert Jordan's first novel is going to published. This is not connected to The Wheel of Time, and is standalone (unless the manuscript is physically too large to print as one book.)

Tor.com has announced the book here: https://www.tor.com/2019/01/18/robert-jordan-warrior-of-the-altaii-coming-from-tor-books-in-2019/

You can read more about it here: https://dragonmount.com/index/featured-homepage-article/warrior-of-the-altaii/

Draw near and listen, or else time is at an end.

The watering holes of the Plain are drying up, the fearsome fanghorn grow more numerous, and bad omens abound. Wulfgar, a leader of the Altaii people, must contend with twin queens, warlords, prophets and magic in hopes of protecting his people and securing their future. Elspeth, a visitor from another world, holds the answers, but first Wulfgar must learn to ask the right questions.

But what if the knowledge that saves the Altaii will also destroy them?

Publication date: Oct. 8, 2019
Formats: Hardback, Audio, Ebook (Paperback approx a year later)

I look forward to knowing more about the project in the coming months. Namely - the cover art. "don't judge a book by its cover!" however that's one aspect of upcoming books I've always enjoyed being revealed.

January 28, 2019

"A Fire Within the Ways" Excerpt


What follows is TOR's post about the excerpt titled A Fire Within the Ways from the upcoming Unfettered III anthology coming in March:

Tor.com is excited to offer an excerpt from “A Fire Within the Ways,” a deleted novella (!!) from The Wheel of Timeand a fascinating look into the process of A Memory of Light, the final volume in Jordan’s epic, came together.

A Note From Brandon Sanderson

During the editing of every novel, you realize that certain scenes just aren’t working. There are a variety of reasons this happens, and while removing those scenes is always one of the most difficult parts of the creation process, it functions like the proverbial pruning of a tree—providing room for other scenes to grow. In the end, the book is better off.

That said, I’m always looking for places to show off scenes like these. They not only expose something I find very interesting about the process, but they often have gems in them that I am eager to share. (The scene with Gaul and the bridge in this excerpt is a good example.)

The following sequence was pruned from A Memory of Light, the final book of the Wheel of Time. Fair warning up front, it includes a lot of characters in the middle of their arcs, so without a background in the Wheel of Time, you might be a little lost. I’ve done what I can to make it work on its own, but it can’t—by nature of its origins—ever truly be a standalone.

It also is not canon to the Wheel of Time. Though I’m very fond of how the sequence plays out, our eventual decision to delete it necessitated revisions to A Memory of Light, which grew to include some elements of this piece. The final book has no room for these scenes in its chronology; characters would literally have to be in two places at once. In addition, a few arcs of side characters play out differently here, contradicting the published narrative.

This shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for those scenes. More, this is a chance for me to present something that never quite made it to publication. Imagine it as a glimpse of where the story could have gone, but ultimately did not.

The setup is simple: the enemy has been using an alternate dimension known as the Ways to move troops in secret and attack cities unexpectedly. Caemlyn—the capital of the nation of Andor, and one of the most important cities in the series—has recently been invaded using the Ways.

Our characters have decided that it’s vital to interrupt the enemy’s ability to use the Ways. They can’t allow continued resupply and reinforcement of armies behind their front lines, and so a desperate plan is hatched. Perrin, with a team of elite troops and channelers (users of arcane power in the Wheel of Time), will travel through the Ways and destroy some of the paths the enemy is using.

Hopefully you will enjoy this for the fun bit of behind-the-scenes material that it is!


A Fire Within the Ways

Chapter 1: The Gate


Perrin stepped through the gateway into Cairhien, gripping his hammer, and looked right and then left down the narrow, cobbled alley. It was night, and the alley was dark—though lantern light shining through the gateway painted the cobbles golden at his feet.

The city was rank with the smells of men: smoke from nearby chimneys, the lingering aroma of powders and perfumes, even the scent of paint on the wooden boards of the alley—long dried and gone stale. Missing was the scent of rotting food so commonly associated with cities. Not even the smallest scraps were left to rot in Cairhien these days.

Part of him fixated on the smoke first, then tucked its presence into the back of his mind. Fire was the simplest and often the first way for a wolf to know that men were near.
Perrin prowled down the empty alley, waving for his group to follow. The still air was strange—for wolves, noise was the other sign of humankind. People were often oblivious to how much noise they made. A man in the woods was usually a thunderous, crunching, snorting, grumbling affair. That cacophony should have been magnified many times, here in the city.

And yet, it was still. Unnaturally still. Cairhien should not have been a quiet place, even at night.

Perrin reached the mouth of the alley and scouted the larger thoroughfare that it intersected, his eyes piercing the darkness. To his left, across the street, a building flew the Lion of Andor beside the Rising Sun of Cairhien. A few people passed by out here, smelling of wine and unwashed bodies.

“Where is everyone?” Arganda asked, slipping up beside him, holding a shielded lantern. First Captain of Alliandre’s guard in Ghealdan, Arganda was a compact man, like a lean and powerful jackrabbit. He was a good one to have along on a hunt.

“Elayne has pressed most of them into one military division or another,” Perrin said softly.
“Farmboys with kitchen knives and hay rakes,” Gallenne said, coming up on Perrin’s other side in his well-polished breastplate and helmet with three plumes, his single eye peering down the street. He could be a useful man too, if he could be kept in check. “They’ll be cut to pieces by the first Trolloc they see.”

“I think you’ll find, Gallenne,” Arganda said, “that some farmboys can be dangerous. Particularly if cornered.”

“Quiet, you two,” Perrin growled.

“I mean no offense, Arganda,” Gallenne whispered. “This is not a matter of class, but of training. A well-trained soldier is of equal value to me in battle, farmboy or lord, but pressed armies have no training at all. Queen Elayne should not rely upon them.”

“I don’t think she’s going to,” Perrin said. “But what would you have them do, Gallenne? Sit and hide in their houses? This is the Last Battle. The Shadow will hurl everything it has at us. Better that the people should be armed and ready, if the soldiers fail.”

The man quieted as, behind, the rest of Perrin’s force moved through the gateway. Perrin wished he could still the clanking of armor and the fall of boots; if the Dark One discovered what they were up to, they’d find a force of Trollocs waiting for them in the Ways. And yet, to go without at least some troops would have been foolhardy.

It was a careful balance. Enough men to take care of trouble, if encountered, but not so many as to draw their own trouble. He’d settled on fifty. Was that the right number? He’d stayed up nights, carefully going over this plan a hundred times, and was confident in it—but this mission still had him constantly second-guessing his decisions.

The Ways were no careless jaunt through the forest. He suspected he knew that better than anyone.

Last through the gateway, crowding the alleyway, were six pack mules laden with supplies. In addition, each soldier carried a kit with extra water and food. Gallenne had questioned the need for so many supplies, but Perrin had been firm. Yes, the pathway they’d planned looked like it would take only a few days, but he was taking no chances. While he couldn’t plan for everything, he’d not have the mission fail because of something as simple as supply problems.

That said, other than the pack animals, he’d brought no horses. Bridges in the Ways could be narrow, particularly when broken or worn. It was better to rely on feet.

That suited the Aiel just fine. Perrin had brought ten of them, including Sulin and Gaul. Ten Ghealdanin including Arganda, ten Mayeners including Gallenne, ten Whitecloaks including Galad, and ten Two Rivers men including Tam put him at exactly fifty soldiers. On top of that, he’d added Grady, Neald, Saerin, Edarra, and Seonid and her two Warders.

Five channelers. Light send he wouldn’t need to rely on them much.

“Do you sense anything, Goldeneyes?” Seonid asked. Fair-skinned and dark-haired, the Cairhienin woman reminded him of Moiraine—but she was more severe. Though… he’d thought of Moiraine as severe too, when he’d traveled with her. Odd that he’d look back now and imagine her smelling of fondness when she spoke to him. Perhaps he was just remembering the past as he wanted to, like old Cenn Buie claiming the pies at Bel Tine had tasted better when he was young.

Either way, of the Aes Sedai who had traveled with him in the south, Perrin trusted Seonid most. At least she hadn’t gone to meet with Masema behind his back.

Perrin peered at the street, smelling scents on the air and listening for anything out of place. Finally, he shook his head in answer to Seonid’s question. He placed two men as scouts at the mouth of the street and alleyway, then joined Seonid to walk back through the alley, her two Warders following.

Their goal wasn’t the street, but the dead end of the alley where it intersected a large wall surrounding what had once been the palace of Lord Barthanes Damodred—a Darkfriend, and coincidentally a cousin to Moiraine.

His palace was now Rand’s school. Perrin had never been there, but he found the back gate into the grounds just where it had been described. He knocked softly, and a stocky gray-haired woman pulled the gate open.

“Idrien Tarsin?” Perrin asked.

The woman nodded, smelling of worry as she ushered them in. She was headmistress of the school, and had been told to expect their arrival. Perrin waited as the others entered, counting off his men and women—one more time, for good measure.

Finally, when all were accounted for, he pulled the gate closed behind him, then hurried along the line of soldiers to the front. Here Idrien hissed at them to be quiet, then glanced at the sky and pulled open the back door to the school proper.

Perrin stepped through it and into a place full of odd scents. Something acrid he couldn’t place mixed with the aroma of flowers that had been crushed. Odd scents that he associated with baking—the sodas and yeasts—but none of the comfortable smells, like those of baking bread, that should accompany them.

As the others of his group entered, he stepped forward, sniffing at a room that reeked of a tannery. What was happening in this strange place, and why did he smell old bones from that room across the hall?

He would have expected the scholars to be sleeping, but as the headmistress led them down the broad hall, Perrin passed several rooms with lights burning. In one, an extremely tall man with long hair and fingers worked beside a… well, a contraption of some sort. It had wires and coils and pieces growing out of the floor like some kind of metal tree. Lights burned on the table in front of the scholar, inside of little glass globes. They were steady lights that didn’t flicker at all.

“Is that an Asha’man?” Galad asked, stepping up beside Perrin.

“I see no weaves,” Grady whispered, joining them as Arganda moved his troops through the hall behind.

“Then… he’s figured out how to harness the One Power using only metal and coils?” Galad asked, smelling troubled. He seemed to consider the idea to be very disturbing.

Perrin shook his head and ushered the other two forward, worried about drawing the scholar’s attention. The man didn’t even look up, however, as if oblivious to the footfalls and hushed conversations in the hall.

Perrin hurried onward, passing underneath a model hanging from the ceiling—it looked like a wooden man with wings attached to his arms, as if they were intended to make him fly. Another room smelled of old dust and was filled entirely with bones—but from no animal Perrin recognized.

Eventually, Idrien led them through a very small door—perhaps a servants’ door—out into the mansion’s gardens. Perrin knew what to expect, as Loial had explained—at length, of course—about his trip here with Rand. The Waygate was in its own walled enclosure within the gardens. Sitting on the ground there was a balding fellow with a heap of star charts, staring up at the sky. What he expected to see through the cloud cover was beyond Perrin.
“I thought you were told to keep everyone away,” Perrin said, hurrying up to the headmistress.

“Oh, don’t mind Gavil,” she said. She had a musical voice. “He’s not right in the head. He… well, we let him study the Ways, you see…”

“You let someone in?” Perrin demanded.

“We are here to study and learn,” she replied, voice hardening. “He knew the risks. And he… well, he only stuck his head in for a brief moment. That was enough. When we pulled him back out, he was staring and mumbling. Now he rants about a sky with no stars and draws star charts all day. But they’re nonsense—at least, he charts a sky that I’ve never seen.”
She glanced at Perrin, then—smelling of shame—looked away. “We’ve never opened it again, not since that Ogier showed up and chastised us for what we’d done. Of course, we couldn’t have opened it on our own anyway, as he took the key with him when he left.”

Perrin said nothing. He led his group into the small enclosure, and there was the Waygate, a portal of stone worked with incredibly intricate vine and leaf patterns. Perrin hadn’t done much work in stone—the closest had been a fanciful attempt at molds for casting silver, at which Master Luhhan had laughed. As if there would ever be enough silver in the Two Rivers to waste on an apprentice’s practice molds.

Still, the masterwork sculpting on the Waygates had always struck Perrin. The creators had made this stonework look almost as if it were alive.

“Thank you, Mistress Tarsin,” Perrin said. “This will get me to the Two Rivers quietly, without anyone knowing where we’ve gone.”

Perrin glanced at Galad—who blessedly didn’t say anything. The man could be perniciously honest at times, and hadn’t liked the idea of lying about their destination. But Perrin figured he should do anything he could to point the Shadow in the wrong direction—even starting deliberately false rumors.

“You may go,” Perrin told the headmistress. “But forbid anyone from even entering this garden—barricade the doors. And don’t worry about us. Remember the warning you got earlier. The Shadow might very well be planning to send troops here through this portal. It might feel quiet in this city, but you’re actually sitting right on the front lines of the war.”
She nodded, though she didn’t smell as concerned as she probably should have. Well, perhaps she was just good at controlling her fear of the Waygates—they’d long known that the Shadow was using them, and Rand had stationed guards here during most of the school’s existence.

A few guards wouldn’t do much more than a locked door, unfortunately. This Waygate needed channelers who could Travel watching it permanently—whom Rand would send once he could spare them.

Or… well, if he could spare them.

Mistress Tarsin retreated out the door, locking it behind her. Not that a lock would do much to stop Trollocs—indeed, far stronger precautions had proven useless. The Waygate in Caemlyn had been locked tight like this one, behind the wall of stone that protected the entrance.

Perrin moved his soldiers back, leaving only the channelers and his attendants near the Waygate itself. Then he nodded to Grady. “All right, Grady,” he said. “Bring it down.”
Saerin folded her arms, and Perrin braced himself for another objection. The Aes Sedai—and Saerin in particular—hadn’t liked this part of the plan. The fierce Brown sister had objected to the destruction of such an ancient relic.

Fortunately, she said nothing as Grady stepped up and adopted a look of concentration. Apparently Perrin’s explanations had satisfied her: The barrier had meant nothing to the enemy in Caemlyn. It might as well not have existed, for all the good it had done the people there.

Right now, the only chance this city—and Caemlyn itself—had was for Perrin to find a method of shutting these Waygates permanently, from the inside.

“All right, my Lord,” Grady said. “Brace yourself.”

With that, the Asha’man blasted open the Waygate’s stone covering.

The explosion ripped the barrier into several pieces, though the resulting pop was muted, as if it had come from many paces away. The chunks, rather than spraying chips of stone across the soldiers, hung in the air, then floated down and settled onto the path right in front of the Waygate.

Perrin felt a pang at the destruction, more so because he had ordered it. But no smith could be so attached to a piece that he couldn’t see the need to melt it down when its time came.
Now that the stone covering was gone, Perrin’s breath caught, and he took one of the lanterns and raised it high.

The opening exposed a glassy surface like a mirror—but one that reflected poorly. A shadowy version of Perrin, holding aloft the lantern, confronted him. Loial had said that once, the Way-gates had shone like bright mirrors—back when they’d had light of their own within.

The ancient portal rested peacefully as Grady dusted off his hands. Perrin stepped up, listening, looking. The last time Rand had tried to use this Waygate, something had been waiting for him on the other side. The Black Wind.

Today, however, Perrin heard no calls for blood or death, felt no assault on his mind. He saw nothing but the shadowy version of himself, golden eyes seeming to glow in the lantern light as he searched for hints of danger. He could spot none. It seemed that Machin Shin was not lurking in wait for them this time.

He released his held breath as, behind him, Seonid spoke thoughtfully to Grady. “That was well done, with the explosion, Asha’man. Did you use Air to muffle the sound somehow?”
Grady nodded, wiping his brow with a handkerchief. “Been practicing how to do that, lately. Explosions can be handy, but we can’t be shattering everyone’s eardrums with each one, now can we?”

“The noise of the channeling is the one we must fear more,” Saerin said briskly. “We should be quick, just in case.”

“Agreed,” Perrin said. He turned back to the troops, who had watched the display with stoic faces. This lot was as used to channeling as common men ever could be, he supposed. “Arganda and Gallenne?”

“Yes, Lord Goldeneyes?” Gallenne said, alongside a simple “Yes?” from Arganda. Both smelled eager.

“You may enter. Together.”

They didn’t seem to like that, but both stepped up to the dull glassy surface, as if approaching versions of themselves from the shadowy realm beyond. With the entire rock face removed, the opening was wide enough for two men, barely. Arganda reached up and tapped the surface, his finger seeming to meld with that of his dim reflection. He shuddered visibly as his finger stuck into it, rather than meeting something solid. He looked at Gallenne, and the other man nodded, his slotted helmet under his arm.

Together they stepped forward, their faces meeting those of their mirror images as they merged with the reflective surface, stepping into the Ways. A moment later, Arganda turned back, his torso breaking from the surface—causing no ripples—and leaning out.

“There is a modestly sized stone field on this side as described, Lord Goldeneyes. We see no signs of the Shadow, or of this… wind you mentioned.”

“All right,” Perrin said to the others. “In you go. One at a time, and go slowly, understand. I’ll go last.”

Galad stepped up to him as the soldiers began to file through. He watched the Waygate with troubled eyes. “I’ve been trying to convince the Children that we need not walk in dark paths in order to follow the Light.”

“Sometimes you must walk a dark path,” Perrin said, “because there is no other way forward. That doesn’t mean you need to let it get inside you. That’s something the Children never seem to be able to figure out.”

“I am not a fool, Perrin,” Galad said. “I realize that distinction. But if we intend to resist the Shadow without embracing evil methods, how can we justify using this… place?”

“The Ways aren’t evil,” Perrin said. “The fact that the Shadow has corrupted them doesn’t change that they were made for a good purpose. The real corruption is Shadowspawn using it to attack us.”

Galad thought for a time, then nodded. “I will accept that argument. You have a good logic about you, Perrin Aybara.” He stepped up next and—without breaking stride or smelling the least bit worried—passed through the gate.

“Complimented by a Whitecloak,” Seonid said to Perrin, waiting as her Warders passed through. “How does that feel?”

“Odd,” Perrin admitted. “Go on in. And remember not to channel once inside.”

“You keep saying this,” Edarra said as she stepped up. The Aiel Wise One had pale yellow hair and seemed young—though of course, that was deceptive when Wise Ones were concerned. She inspected her shadowy reflection with a critical eye. “Why bring five people who can channel, then tell us not to use the One Power?”

“Never swing an axe carelessly, Edarra,” Perrin said. “The Power will be corrupted inside, almost like the taint that was upon saidin. We will probably have to use the Power to pull off this plan, but let’s not be foolhardy about it.”

Edarra finally entered, and though the Wise One didn’t bow her head or betray an anxious step, she did smell distinctly of nervousness.

Seonid, in turn, smelled of… a strange mix of emotions. Something had happened between the two Aes Sedai and the Wise Ones. Perrin didn’t know exactly what it had been, but it seemed to be over now. And strangely, Seonid seemed more respectful of the Aiel than she had of Egwene or the other senior Aes Sedai.

“Keep that Whitecloak at arm’s length, Lord Aybara,” Seonid said after Edarra passed. “His type turns on a man quickly, once he finds fault. I’ve seen it a dozen times.” She strode into the Way-gate, followed by the last of the Aiel—all save Gaul, who waited with Perrin.

“We have a saying in the Three-fold Land,” Gaul noted. “The gango lizard will happily feed on your arm while the asp bites your leg. I think that one’s advice could be applied to herself.”

“I trust them both,” Perrin said. “Seonid can be brusque, but she acts with honesty. And Galad… Galad is straightforward. If he does turn on me, I don’t doubt he’ll explain his reasons completely beforehand. I’d rather have that than a dozen attendants who tell me what I want to hear and scheme behind my back.” Perrin scratched at his beard. “Odd. Rand would always talk like that too, and he ended up with a bunch of scheming toadies anyway.”
Gaul laughed. “I would not call it odd, Perrin Aybara. Not odd at all.”

After Gaul had passed through, Perrin stepped up, as if confronting himself in the reflective surface. He had entered the Ways only twice. First, so long ago with Moiraine. Then again when he’d returned with Loial to the Two Rivers.

It felt like an eternity had passed since either of those events. Indeed, it seemed a completely different person looked back at him from inside the Waygate. A hard man, with a weathered beard—thick like the fur of a wolf whose instincts knew to anticipate a particularly harsh winter. But Perrin could look that man in his golden eyes and feel at peace with him.

Both man and reflection slid their hammers into the loops at their sides. And both knew that this time, though wary, they would not smell of fear. He stepped forward and touched the surface of the gate, which felt icy, like water washing across him. The moment stretched—indeed, Perrin almost felt as if he were stretching, like a thick piece of tar.

Finally, though, he slid through and stepped firmly on the other side, entering the infinite blackness.

Some Thoughts on the Narnia Netflix Project(s)


There have been some new developments in some things I am interested in I wish to address on my blog, despite how outdated the news may be. I don't get to write (in general) nearly as much as I'd like.

Now, I'd like to share my thoughts and opinions on Netflix's forthcoming Narnia project(s). Before I do, please note that this appears to be a total reboot / remake, unlike Amazon's Middle-earth series - they're not 'retelling' The Lord of the Rings (Hobbiton - Mordor etc). 

Here are the important parts, first up:

- "The streaming service has revealed that they have signed a multi-year deal with The C.S. Lewis Company which will see multiple films and a TV series based on C.S. Lewis's iconic book series being released."

That means, it appears to be a combination of films and TV series (or multiple series). The question, though, is will all 7 be films, or will the film + series apply to various books? Also, there is word that this may include spinoffs - so some original content in addition to the 7 books, possibly. 

- "The Netflix deal marks the first time one company has had the rights to all seven of the Narnia books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle."

I am unsure of the details, but Disney had planned to do all 7 way-back-when. However, with the Caspian incident (as I like to refer to it) they handed the series off to 20th Century Fox (which Disney now owns!) to do The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as well as 'finish' the series. However due to Dawn Treader not faring well, we are now in this boat. But this is good news that Netflix is 'all in' in regards to the 7 books - and more.

- "Wait, I thought they were doing The Silver Chair?" Well, they were....not sure what is going to happen with that project. Is it still a go, but will integrated into the Netflix deal? Or is it off the table?

- "When will it come out?" How much you want to bet around the same as Amazon's Middle-earth (or possibly Wheel of Time) projects?? I'm betting October 2020 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. And you can get there will new editions of the books then - including tie-in covers. 



The Narnia stories are more episodic in nature than other fantasy works. Because of this, it will be interesting to see how Netflix's treatment turns out. There is also the nature of which order will the stories follow - written or published? The order that the books originally came out was: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle. The chronological order is: The Magician's Nephew, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle. Not only that, but depending on the angle Netflix takes, could we get The Horse and His Boy intercut / simultaenous with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe? Plus, there's the possibility to see events mentioned in the books that occurred off-page, and have them elaborated on. Could we see what the Telmarines were up to prior to Prince Caspian? Finally, because of the fact that this is an adaptation, could changes occur? The Seven Swords from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader film come to mind. (I was fine with that change, by the way. It wasn't 'jarring' to the film. If one never read the book, one would never know that it was a change.) I'm not sure how well monkey rulers or 'fake' donkey Aslans will work as adaptations, so we'll see..... 

The answers to the above points just require further time. I look forward to learning more as things develop, and we get updates, posters, trailers, etc. More fantasy is always a good thing. It looks to be hot and happening again, as we have: The Fantastic Beasts 5-film series, Amazon's Middle-earth series, Amazon's Wheel of Time series, Netflix's Narnia, and BBC's His Dark Materials.

It feels like 15-ish years again....here's hoping these projects turn out well: that they are able to see completion, they are of good quality, and that they are good adaptations. My comments are not limited to Netflix's Narnia.

If you've never read the Narnia books before, I recommend this set out of all the editions that are currently in print. Search using the ISBN below:



The Chronicles Of Narnia Box Set: 7 Books In 1 Box Set by C. S. Lewis

(paperback) ISBN: 9780064405379
(hardback) ISBN:
9780060244880

January 22, 2019

Some Thoughts on the Middle-earth Amazon Series




Since the announcement of the Amazon Middle-earth series I’ve been mulling things over.

First off, all the major news announcements etc have said “Lord of the Rings”. In terms of plot, that is simply not true – we are not going from Hobbiton to Mount Doom with Frodo etc. HOWEVER, the material in which the Amazon series will be based on is found within the pages of the book known as The Lord of the Rings, or to be more precise, The Return of the King. It will be based on what is found within the Appendices, most likely.

“Now…where to begin?”

It would be great if the Amazon series strove for the same aesthetic as the Jackson films. Moreso Rings than Hobbit (due to CGI, mostly). The series doesn’t need to be ‘mature’ (there’s no explicit or graphic nudity and / or violence in Tolkien. It’s there but it’s not a focus.). Because of that, I can see the show being violence-heavy. Say, a late-night prime-time network show, or ‘tame’ for HBO /AMC / Starz type of premium cable. My point is, it doesn’t need to be graphic in any sense of the word, but if it were to be, it would most likely be due to the violence.

Now with that out of the way, let’s have a look at specifically what the show can be about.

There was a video game that came out a few years ago called War in the North. The plot was that it occurred during The Lord of the Rings, but it wasn’t a re-telling of the books. In fact, the story somewhat “supplements” The Lord of the Rings, because of the fact it takes during the same time, but in other areas of Middle-earth, and focusing on other aspects of the lore. It would be neat if the series wasn’t based on the game exactly, per se, but taking a similar approach – showing us events and locations that have only been mentioned in passing, and showing us other locations and how they connect to the main story and the overall picture.

I would also like to see something done with Arnor and Angmar. Perhaps factor in some characters that we haven't met in the films but we did in the books? The Sons of Elrond, Isildur's brother  - if we go back far enough. There's lots of different angles they can take the story.

Another interesting aspect to consider, is to take a look at the map of Middle-earth. Look at all the names of the places...especially those we haven't visited as readers or as readers.

Either way, we will have to see closer to its release. Synopsis, trailer, etc have yet to be revealed and that will give us a better understanding of what to expect.  

I look forward to following this project as it develops: when the first trailer gets released, who the cast will be, etc.

January 18, 2019

A Long-Expected Return


Image result for bag end david wyatt

Well, it’s been a while…things have been busy lately. Nothing in particular, but not enough time in a day. Not enough days in a week. Not enough weeks in a month. Not enough months in a year…you know how it is.

Firstly, things are good!

Secondly, what’s new?

Not a whole lot…or rather, not enough to mention here. I suppose the quickest, best and easiest way is for me to break down this post into what areas I enjoy. I should also add that for quick brief updates, and to see what interests me on a somewhat daily basis, to visit my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/insurrbution/

BOOKS

I’m nearly ready to ‘retire’ from Tolkien Book Buying! Of what currently exists, there isn’t a whole lot that I want to get that I do not already have. I’m also curious to see what publications may come out in relation to the Amazon Middle-earth series. Poster images on the covers of The Lord of the Rings is expected, but who knows what else may come out?

I’m currently reading The Tombs of Atuan, which is book 2 of 6 of the Earthsea Cycle. Before beginning that series, I had read The Dagger and the Coin series by Daniel Abraham. There are some other books I wish to read, however, the day after the final episode of Game of Thrones I’m going to re-read the books from the very beginning. It is my hope that by the time I finish A Dance With Dragons of that reread; that The Winds of Winter will be out – or at least announced. Other books I own that I’m interested in rereading is the Harry Potter series, and His Dark Materials. I also look forward to delving into some of the myths and legends books that I own. That is what is essentially new with books.

TV

As of his writing, I have two episodes remaining of The White Princess, the sequel miniseries to The White Queen mini series. I don’t recall mentioning it, but I have also watched Black Sails in its entirety. I’ve been watching Vikings Season 5 [Part B] as the episodes have been coming out. What follows are the series on my list to watch:

Netflix:

- catch up on Peaky Blinders
- The Last Kingdom (once I've read all the books, and once the show finishes)
- awaiting the next season of The Crown- catching up on Suits- catching up on Ozark- Altered Carbon- The Frankenstein Chronicles- awaiting next season of Into the Badlands

Crave:

- The Kennedys + After Camelot
- Succession
- continue with Silicon Valley- Star Trek: Discovery (after the seasons end)
- Billions- The Young Pope- House of Lies- continue with Arrow- Counterpart- continue with Homeland- The Wire
Other:

- The Americans
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
(Season 7)
- Star Wars: Resistance (once the season is done)

MOVIES

There’s only a few movies I’m looking forward to this year:

- How to Train Your Dragon 3
- Captain Marvel
- Infinity War 2
- Spider-Man 2

That’s all I can think of, really. There are others I’m interested in seeing, but those ones will be at the cinema.

BEER

Got a few good brews for Christmas. I will keep an eye out on the beer market to see what's coming out. Next up on my brewery visit list is Ashton Brewing Company. Next month is Beau's feBREWary. there's a few that look interesting to me - namely that Irish Stout.

WHISKY

I have quite the 'to try' list. I'm expecting Highland Park's Valknut to arrive in LCBOs any time name. This is second of the Legends trilogy that began with Valkyrie, and will finish with Valfather. I also look forward to trying various whiskies by Balvenie, Tomatin, Kilchoman, Ardbeg, and Dalmore.

VINYL

I've obtained a few more vinyl records, and am hoping to steadily increase the music library. I am hoping that Echoes by Pink Floyd gets remastered and reissued. Aside from that, I am only missing Pulse to complete my Pink Floyd vinyl collection. There are a few others here and there I want to get, though nothing too substantive.

So that's what is pretty much new with me, and what is on the horizon in the next little while ; as far as my interests are concerned.

Stay tuned, hope to write and past more.

* image at top is by David Wyatt