Saturday, August 26, 2017

Weasel Words

I have a strong suspicion that our favorite weasel isn't long for this world. Part of me is hoping that Arya figures out how to use Sansa's face & tricks Littlefinger into thinking she's Sansa, then offs him with his own dagger before donning his face.  What better way to secure the loyalty of the Knights of the Vale to Jon? However they kill him, if they do, I hope it's a really gruesome one right up there with what happened to Joffrey. Some people are speculating that he's already dead, but that would be bad writing---people have loved to hate this slimy bastard for years, so they want to see him die on screen.

I've been re-watching Season 1 because, well, there's only so much Hurricane Harvey coverage I can handle, and I about fell off my couch at a throwaway line they gave to LF!! Literally, blink & you miss it, but it tells you so much about him & how he's played the Stark family (& everyone else, btw) this whole time.  In the scene where Ned goes to LF's brothel to find Cat, Ned grabs LF by the throat & threatens him, much like Jon did before he left for Dragonstone. In S7, LF merely smirks & you simply think "well, that's LF trolling Jon." BUT it's what he says immediately after Ned lets him go & runs off to Cat that lets you know what he's thinking "Stark men-quick of temper, slow of thought."

But, unfortunately for LF, he's not dealing with Jon as a Stark, because Jon is a Targaryen, and Bran is, to quote Lesley Jones, high & can barely remember what it was like to be a Stark. (Bran is definitely not quick of temper or slow of thought, although he could start dropping dimes.)

Sidebar: A big FU to Cat Stark for telling Ned to trust LF because "he's like a brother to me." I knew there was a reason I've never liked her character & this one line sealed it for me. She acts all high & mighty about Ned's "bastard" child, when in fact she & Ned *barely* knew each other when they were married---she had been meant to marry his brother Brandon, after all---so there's no reason for her to get (& stay) all snippy to Jon, other than to be petty & cruel.

For all LF's smirking at Sansa about Lyanna being kidnapped & raped, he STILL hasn't put 2 & 2 together on Jon Snow. The only reason I want him to hang around now is to learn just how badly he was played by Ned Stark, who hid the true king of Westeros under everyone's nose with a bullshit cover story THAT NO ONE QUESTIONED. EVER.  They never stop & think "hey, he came back with his sister's body & a baby & we know she was raped by Rhaegar a year ago & this kid is 3 months old...."  So much for this "imagine every possibility" bullshit...I'd love to see that smile wiped off his smug face when he realizes he's been played by people he thinks are beneath him, but I feel his time with us has reached its end & we'll have to make do with him realizing he's been done in by his beloved Catlyn's daughters.

Rewatching S1 with this in mind puts a whole new spin on Ned Stark's actions & motivations, especially his resignation as Hand of the King.

I would love LF to find out he wasn't as smart as he thought he was all this time, & was only surviving because there were bigger targets to take out. Now those targets are gone & it's his turn in the barrel. I don't think he quite realizes this, despite almost all of his machinations since the Battle of the Bastards never quite panning out. He's failed to see that women are emerging as acceptable leaders (he still sees himself as King, not Sansa as Queen for example. He only needs her for the support from the Northern Lords).

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Bed, Bath, & Beyond the Wall

For those of you still scratching your heads over the timing of S7E6, please watch the opening scene again.

It's a fire place & from there we go to an aerial view of Jon's party north of the wall.

There's only one person who views events from above: Bran.

Bran saw they were in trouble & started sending ravens out. We saw him do so earlier in the season, so there's no reason not to believe he didn't do so this time. So by the time Gendry runs all the way back to the Wall (thank God he never skipped leg day!), Dany's already flying north on the dragons.

Friday, August 18, 2017

For the Net is Dark & Full of Spoilers

But not here. There are *no spoilers* in what I post, only my speculations based on what I've read in the books & seen on the shows. 

Here is something that I have been ruminating on for a while: Now that Drogon knows Jon is a Targaryen, do the dragons follow him north & show up at the last moment, like Dragons Ex Machina to save him from the Night's King?  We know they fly around unsupervised for days or months at a time, but show up when Dany is in danger. It would make sense if they somehow "knew" Jon was also in danger.

Am I the only person who thinks that Winterfell servant girl is not long for the world, now that Arya has seen her feeding information to Littlefinger? I hope Bran stops her before she does something stupid like killing Sansa just when she's become interesting.

Oh poor Sam! Giving up his dream job because the Maesters are basically mansplaining the whole Night King & telling him he's nuts. His last look at the library in the Citadel was a really good "Library at Alexandria" moment.

So what happens to Sam now? I'm still thinking that the whole series is really Sam's version of events. You can go through the whole series & tie them all to someone who met Sam along the way, even those who died without ever meeting him. Someone was around who will tell Sam at some point. But now he & Gilly & Baby Sam (shouldn't that kid be a lot older, btw?) are off to parts unknown--are they going to the Wall? Will they be stopped by the Lannister army or the Dothraki? Are they headed to Sam's home or to Winterfell?

I certainly hope he picked up the right books to take with him, though.

I am also suspecting that they will rediscover how to forge Valerian steel--it may call for a combination of metal, dragon glass, & dragon blood, either from the dragons themselves or the Targaryens.  Not a lot, mind you.  It doesn't take much blood for Dondarian to light up his sword--could it be that all Valerian blades were meant to light up like that?--so it wouldn't take much to add to the mix.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Three Heads of the Dragon

OMG, I just figured out WHO the three heads of the Dragon are, and they are NOT Dany, Jon, & Tyrion!!

Let's face it: there isn't much time left in the entire series to flesh out the whole "Tyrion the Targaryen" storyline (they haven't even done the full reveal of Jon Targaryen yet), so who are the three heads of the dragon?

Dany, Daughter of the Mad King & his wife
Jon, Son of Rhaegar Targaryen, Crown Prince, & his 2nd wife, Lyanna Stark
Gendry, Son of Robert Baratheon aaaaannnnnnnddddddddd

Think about it, folks! Way back in Season 1, Cersei nattered on to Catlyn about her & Robert's little black-haired son, their first-born who supposedly died. 

BUT: What if he didn't die, after all? In a plot line as old as Sophocles, the son that was supposed to die, didn't & has been brought back to the story just in time--that's right, everyone's favorite smithy: Gendry!  His father is already established as Robert Baratheon, there are now no more Baratheons left. Add to this he is about Jon's & Dany's age, perhaps a bit younger.  Lest you think "Well, how can he be a dragon, he's not a Targaryen"--Hold the phone, HE IS! His great-grandmother was Rhaelle Targaryen!  All of this is already established in the TV series, or can easily be added, since Robert's family tree is part of the books.

The Dragon Has Three Heads:  Dany, Jon, & Gendry.

Update: I'm not the first one to figure this out, but it did dawn on me while I was thinking about what to write today.  I also think that "Three Heads of the Dragon" does not refer to "Three Dragon Riders." Time will tell how this all plays out.

Now wouldn't it be sweet if "valonqar" also has been mis-translated & can also mean "child?" So Cersei will be strangled not by Tyrion or Jaime or even Arya, but Gendry.

Despite Internet articles to the contrary, the only person who missed Gilly's wonderful throwaway line about Rhaegar & his second wife was Sam. I sure hope she brought that book with her. I suspect that information is going to come in handy soon. That giant sucking sound you heard at about 50 minutes' in was the millions of fans gasping & then shouting for joy at that little tidbit of information, coming on the heels of Drogon recognizing Jon as a Targaryen (not that he or Dany realize the significance of that yet. OMG, now Gendry has to meet a dragon!!!)

But, it will be just my luck that Gendry bites it in S7E6. That's the way the Game of Thrones goes, sometimes. But I sincerely hope not.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Game of Thrones Musings

I make no apologies for being a huge fan of "Game of Thrones."  Unlike many book readers, I am enjoying what the TV series has done with the plot lines.  I found the most recent books to be in need of editing--too many new characters have been introduced, only to be killed off pages later, the already-established plot lines continue to be dragged out (Dany continually going in the wrong damn direction, for example), and too much space devoted to descriptions of food & world-building. Enough!

I am "Ride or Die" House Stark. Even in the dark days after the Red Wedding, when Starks were dying off at an alarming rate, I still remained true to my House. Others may have drifted off to House Targaryen or House Lannister or even House Bolton, but not me! I know no king but the King in the North whose name is Stark!

So now we're half-way into the penultimate season. We're all eagerly awaiting Bran revealing Jon's true parentage to him (FINALLY) & the repercussions from that disclosure. Does he, as a Targaryen, remain King in the North or do the Northern lords switch allegiances to Sansa? (We all know Bran has repeatedly refused to be called "Lord Stark.")  What happens when he reunites with Arya, the sister who is most like his mother, Lyanna? What happens to the upcoming alliance with Dany, his aunt? 

And what about Episode 4? After 7 years, it was about damn time we started seeing stuff lit up! We've heard for years about how terrifying the Dothraki are, how terrifying dragons in battle are--WE FINALLY GOT TO SEE IT & IT WAS AWESOME! I almost (almost) forgive the production team for spending the CGI budget on the dragons at the expense of the dyrewolves, but really, throw us a bone, dammit, & let us see Ghost this season at least once & not because he dies. Please. I don't care how many humans get lit up like torches, just don't touch the dyrewolves. kthanxbi

Let me just say that so far this season, I have enjoyed each show. The cold opening in Episode 1? OMG, I knew it was Arya 2 seconds in, I knew what she was going to do & I did not care! That retribution has been a season too long in coming, so it was delicious to watch over & over & over. 

Which makes me wonder, who controls the Twins now? Perhaps the Tullys? That would be poetic justice, even if Catlyn's brother Edmure is completely worthless.  

I'm not sure how deep they are going to go into the Lyanna/Rhaegar storyline from the books, but there has already been mention (at least one time this season) of the tournament where they met.  I find it interesting that Varys & anyone else who knew Rhaegar's face has not commented on how much Jon looks like him---folks, Ned Stark was a lousy liar with a bullshit cover story & even a reputation for being "honorable" isn't enough to overcome just how ludicrous that story was. Ned didn't just show up to Winterfell with a baby in his arms, he was bringing with him his sister's body. Everyone knew she was betrothed to Robert Baratheon (unwillingly), & was supposedly "kidnapped & raped" by Rhaegar.  Ned goes off to find her, & comes home with a baby & her body. It kills me that only smug Littlefinger seems to have figured it out (see his scene in the crypt with Sansa from Season 6), but his partner-in-crime Varys hasn't said squat.  For further evidence that Jon is a dead ringer for Rhaegar is the fact that when Robert came to Winterfell, they essentially hid Jon away & did not let him attend any festivities where he could be seen. WHY? Because he looks like his father, Rhaegar!

By the same token, Jon cannot be a Baratheon. Lyanna was Robert's betrothed, he loved her (actually I think he just idolized & romanticized her memory as the years went by) & he wasn't married to Cersei at the time. Here comes his best friend in the whole world with good news & bad news & not only does Westeros have a new king, it has a new heir. There would be no need to hide Jon from Robert if Robert was his father. The only reason to hide Jon is that Rhaegar was.

More clues to Jon being a Targaryen: The Tower of Joy was guarded by Kingsguard. Since when do they guard bastards? IJS

We're just a couple of hours away from the next episode. Feel free to join in with any of your pet theories & we'll see which ones pan out as the series unfolds. 

Winter Is Here.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Making Richard's Cookies

I've become interested lately in historic recipes & a friend of mine frequently posts her adventures in antique recipes on Facebook.  Some of these are beyond my pay grade--either too time-consuming or requiring utensils that I don't have--but I recently stumbled across one that is right up my alley: Bosworth Jumbles.

According to a news article in the Hinkley Times, the recipe for these cookies originated with Richard III's own chef. And of course legend has it that the recipe was ripped from the dead chef's hands after the Battle of Bosworth in 1485--perhaps by Margaret Beaufort herself? I'm sure the Ricardian fans who blame her for everything else will begin swearing up & down she did.  

The recipe presented in the article, however, had some discrepancies.  The list of ingredients was simple: Eggs, flour, sugar, butter.  No BFD. The instructions, however, mentioned lemon zest.  Uh, whut?

It's not a big deal, lemon zest. Take a lemon & rub it against a cheese grater--Voila, lemon zest.  But since it wasn't in the rather short list of ingredients, I was concerned that the author had left out other, possibly more important, ingredients &/or instructions.

What I found in a Google search was a wide array of recipes all claiming to be "authentic" Bosworth Jumble recipes.  They had the same ingredients but varied widely in the amounts (one called for a POUND of sugar & a cup of flour, for example. What the....?)  I ended up having to "read between the lines."  This picture is the recipe I used:

I decided after looking through several recipes to just go with the one that was closest to a sugar cookie.  Since I'm from Texas, I am required by law to add pecans. 

Everything mixed together just fine.  I didn't think the lemon zest was enough, so I squeezed the lemon to add the juice to the dough.  However, I had serious trouble getting the dough to form the required "S" shape.  I even chilled the dough for 30 minutes & while that trick worked for the first few cookies in the 2nd batch, the dough quickly melted again in my hands. I ended up grabbing a couple of spoons & making drop cookies instead.

The end result was 2 batches of crispy, sweet cookies with a lemony flavor and scent.  When I do these again, I will definitely chill or freeze the dough for a lot longer amount of time, perhaps overnight.  And even though the cookies don't look "done" in the pictures, they were crispy throughout. The middles just didn't brown like the edges (something I intend to work on as well).

I am also toying with adding chopped dried fruit, such as cherries or cranberries, and maybe adding a mint or vanilla flavoring. We'll see how it goes.  

I suspected the cookies would quickly disappear at the party, & I was right. Good thing I took a picture! (And yes, those are bluebonnets decorating the plate.)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Big Surprises In Small Packages

Nellie Serena Pallady

or so the saying goes.  And so it is with the various genealogical DNA tests offered by several different companies.  I should know--I've tried most of them.  With the exception of one, all the tests involved spitting into a small tube, mailing the tube to the company, & then stalking your email waiting for the notification that your results are in. 

There weren't too many surprises in the results that I got back. Probably the biggest one was finding out I was more British & French than Irish & that my mother's haplogroup originated in the Basque region of Spain.

Each company has its own method of linking your results up with other people who share the same genetic history, with varying degrees of success.  I have had some success in finding new relatives & connections on, but the absolute biggest success for me came from the way 23&Me connects users.  Because of this method, I was able to blast through a previously-thought impenetrable brick wall just 3 generations back: my paternal great-great grandparents, James Stillman Pallady & his wife, Sarah Elizabeth Spencer.

The information that my mother & great uncle had put together for this couple amounted to little more than their names & when & where they were born.  And my great uncle even got my great-great grandfather's name wrong! It's a pattern that's seen again & again--youngest child of a parent who dies when said child is still very young leads to not very much information about the parents for the child to pass on to his or her own children.

Sarah Elizabeth Spencer
And so it was with poor Nellie Serena Pallady.  Until recently, we thought she was an only child born of parents who seemingly appeared out of nowhere & vanished without leaving a trace.  Try as I might, I could find no information about James Stillman Pallady, other than where he was born in upstate New York.  I found a reference to his marriage to Sarah Elizabeth Spencer at a church in Malone, New York around the time that Almanzo Wilder was living there (brush with greatness #1).  That same announcement listed some of the guests, including the bride's father, James C. Spencer, but not her mother's name. The 1840 Federal Census indicates the mother was alive, but that census was only a tally of people in each household.  By the 1850 Census, the mother had obviously died, as James C. appears in that census as a widower living with a few of his children, who thankfully, are named.  This was the extent of the information I had discovered about this little family group until I got the results of my 23&Me test.
James Stillman Pallady

Since Pallady was a name that I am on constant alert for, I tried out my first filter with it, and struck pay dirt.  I found a close DNA match & sent out a request to share information.  What I got back blew my mind.  This person's own great-great grandparents were the older brother & sister of my own Pallady/Spencer couple!  Double cousins!  Not only that, she sent along a couple of links to some local history articles that included names, dates, and locations of the Pallady & Spencer families!  

Now armed with this information, I kept plugging away.  I discovered that my g-g grandfather's brother attended the Franklin Academy that a future vice president of the United States (William Wheeler) & Almanzo Wilder's older siblings did.  (In the book "Farmer Boy," Almanzo watches his mother weave the cloth she would use to make Royal's academy uniform.  Although the name of the school is never stated, the author wrote that it was in Malone.)  I also found mention in a census that James Stillman worked with leather, making boots, saddles, & harnesses at a business in Atlanta, Illinois.  "Oh!" said my newly-found cousin. "That explains my family oral tradition that someone in our family made the boots worn by Abraham Lincoln at his inauguration!" (brush with greatness #2) I wondered why Lincoln would go all the way to Atlanta, Illinois to get his boots, but later discovered that the Pallady brothers owned several boot & saddle making businesses, with James actually starting the business in Springfield in the 1850's.  Their reputation was such they were able to expand to other cities, such as Atlanta, in the 1860's.

Not all the information I found about them has been happy, however.  I knew that at some point, James Pallady died and his widow remarried and moved to Kansas.  In looking at various federal censuses, I found mention of two sons, Charley & Bertie.   Having narrowed down when James could have died by looking at federal censuses, I decided to roll the dice and find his gravestone on  Paydirt again: He was listed as "J S Pallady," buried in Atlanta, Illinois in 1879.  Even more surprising was that on the reverse side of his tombstone was a list of the couple's children who had already died.  None of these children had lived more than a year or two.  Interesting note: In the 1900 Federal Census, Sarah E. Spencer is listed as a widow, living with her younger sister.  She told the census taker that she had had seven children, only 2 of whom were still living. (Shortly after this, I discovered that Charley had died in 1897.)  Sarah does not appear in any other federal census, so it is likely that she died before 1910.  I have not yet traced when and where, however.  As for Nellie, she died at home suddenly and only a neighbor was nearby to give the coroner any information.  All she had to give the coroner was the surname of Nellie's father & a possible name of her mother (which was incorrect.) Until this year, all the information my family had on this couple was based on this death certificate. How wonderful it has been that something as simple as a small tube of saliva could turn these ancestors into actual people who lived instead of just names and dates on a genealogical chart!

Of course, as more and more people get their DNA tested, more and more connections are being made.  Who knows what new discoveries await for family historians! Just today, I got hints that might help break down another brick wall in my family tree, this time from, so it does pay to test with more than one service. I have been quite satisfied with the results I have received & feel that what I have been able to uncover has been worth the cost of the tests.  (All photographs in this entry belong to me.)