Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen

My favorite female character in A Song of Ice and Fire has to be Daenerys Targaryen.  

I didn’t like her at first.  She irritated me when I started reading A Game of Thronesthe way she always deferred to her brother, how tremulous and frightened she seemed.

She was a sad character.  I thought her whole story was going to be about how terrible her life was -her marriage, her family, her exiled-royalty status.  Those things paired with Viserys mad obsession to reclaim the Iron Throne had me convinced Daenerys’ chapters would be unbearable.

But I quickly came to realize I was wrong.

She took to her new status as Khaleesi, gaining regality and confidence every day, and came to love her husband, Khal Drogo, deeply.  I started to like her more and more as the uncertainty and fear drained out of her like so much blood from a wound.

Daenerys took on a queenly manner, kind and devoted to her subjects yet commanding respect.  She won her people with strength, charisma, and eloquence.

She is revealed to be trilingual, fluent in the Common Tongue, High Valyrian, and proficient in Dothraki, and begins to reiterate, “I do not have a gentle heart.”

Daenerys comes to embody her House words, “Fire and Blood,” becoming Mother of Dragons and determined to her place as rightful queen of Westeros.

She is shown to have become both strategic and cunning, wrecking havoc in Astapor and gaining the undying loyalty of the Unsullied.

Yeah.  She’s pretty much a badass.

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The Dragon Queen

The daughter of Old Valyria

With eyes of purple flame

And starlight in her hair

Targaryen blood

The First, the last

She rides on onyx wings

Queen Across the Water

She covets the Iron Throne

Three dragons at her back

Stormborn, a child of smokey darkness

Born to lead in Light

Fire and Blood in her heart

A maiden, a mother, a widow

She loses all she loves

But lands, and riches, titles

They come,

Rush to meet her face

Bought and sold like cattle

She lives to free the slaves

Naive and young, she may be

But Queen to all she saves

 

In the Heart of the Sea

This book combines my two favorite reading subjects: impossible  survival, and the sea.

In the Heart of the Sea details the incredible true story of 20 Nantucket whalers in 1821.  Nathaniel Philbrick brilliantly marries careful research, psychology, and biology with a heart-wrenching account of human suffering and strength to create a novel of resounding intensity.

The crew of the Essex was sunk in the Pacific by a bull Sperm Whale.  A whale, described by First Mate Owen Chase, as having a very human concern for its slain brethren.  Chase described the attack as deliberately vindictive, a prospect that was beyond terrifying to the whalers.

They drifted on the open Pacific, living on 1.5 ounces of hardtack and half a pint of water  a day for 96 days.  Exposed to sun, raging storms, wind, and rain, sores covered their entire bodies and they lost two-thirds of their body weight.  They resorted to cannibalism, forced to eat their dead shipmates and even came to once drawing lots, shooting a crew member and devouring his corpse.

The story is one of leadership, despair, resilience, ingenuity, and sacrifice.  It is an account of personal strength and a testament to the human spirit.  Do not miss this book!

In 2014, a film adaptation will be released starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, and Ben Wishaw (so…Thor, Scarecrow and Q).

I CAN’T WAAAAIIT!

Doll House

I have terrible nightmares 5/7 days of the week.  Here’s my most recent one.

I was in a house. The halls were washed with ghastly bluish-purple light, the color of a fresh bruise.  The kind of bruise where the blood is mere millimeters from leaking out of the damaged skin.  The walls were covered with photographs in dull black frames. Photographs, with dusty, cracked glass laying spider webs over sallow, sagging faces. All other manner of macabre things hung alongside the photographs. Things… I can’t even describe. Not a centimeter of the walls was visible.  They bulged, distended like sick a stomach, breathing in and out with slow, rasping breaths stirring the musky air.  The decorations breathed with them, watching, waiting, and smiling.

I realized the things on the walls were half eaten, disintegrated beyond the point recognition.  They were shells to an anemone, digested and pushed back out as to create armor for the soft-bodied mouth-stomach.

I found myself, against my will, walking into a room.  The door locked.  And the floor beneath me, the bed beside me everything was inhaling, feverishly trying to pull me in, to get closer.

And then the dolls came.

They marched and crawled and slid and rolled out of the walls with their button eyes dangling, ogling, bouncing madly from their heads on invisible tethers.  Their red, smiling mouths dripped with viscous blackness, filth bubbling forth from lips like rotting sausages.

They reached for me, groaning and laughing with their hollow, putrid, sweet voices echoing terribly around the room.

All the while the house tried to suck me down, somewhere dank and foul, into its roiling stomach.

It wanted to me…  To devour me and digest, to make me part of the decorated walls.  To use my bones as armor and garnish its halls with my skin until it decayed into a mass of putrescence too fetid and melting to drape across the picture frames.

I don’t believe in God. But when they first emerged and started toward me I fell to my knees and begged God or something -anything to save me.

And of course, nothing came.  As I knew it wouldn’t.  There is no God.  And nothing will ever save me but myself.

I burst through the door, the wood of the door frame too weak to hold the rusting lock. The dolls chased me, coming slowly, but steadily with their jerking, broken movements, and the floor rolling and pitching and trying to throw me back into their rotting fabric arms.

Now they were corpses and dolls at together. Flesh melting off their stuffed fabric bones, the smell of rot and mothballs and decaying silk filling the air, their stringy hair writing and hissing like snakes.

The bruise-light made their white, white skin look monstrous… Thickened, oxygen-less blood sloughed like pig slop behind their papery skin.  There was a gruesome, delighted gleam in their black button eyes.  One that promised a gristly embrace when they caught me.  And there was no doubt that they would… No doubt at all…

Peppermint

I’ve a great, and unquenchable love for peppermint.

As a kid, I’d always grab the green and black swirly dinner mints at restaurants, a classmate having told me the red and white ones would make my eyes bleed.

But one fateful night, I accidentally ate one and thus, I was introduced to the wonderful world that is peppermint.

It became quite a problem around Christmas.

My mom would always buy twelve or twenty-four packs of candy canes to hang on the tree.

I believe my sisters were rather peeved when I ate most of them before we could decorate each year.

When I was seven, I got a candy cane corn snake.

And guess what I named her…

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Soccer

Football, or as we Americans call it, soccer.

Yes, I’m aware that the above is not a complete sentence.  However, the winter sports season is my favorite, as I get to play soccer.

Now, I hate running.  Even though I do cross-country in the fall and track in the spring, I am really not a runner.  I wish I was, but I’m not and that’s just how it is.

That aside, I love running in soccer.  I love the sprinting, and the distance.  My friend Ally and I run at least two additional miles after practice every day.

Here’s the other thing: I’m terrible at soccer.

I played as a kid in one of those coed AYSO leagues.  The only thing I remember from that was when a kid named Peter fell off the monkey bars near our practice field and got a concussion.  I was sad because he was never the same when he came back, and I had a crush on him.

I played again in seventh and eighth grade on the school team, and wanted to play my freshman year of high school.  But, I popped out my knee during cross-country and skipped a year, joining back up as a sophomore as left wing.

I’m currently the only left-footed player on my team, so I guess that’s something.

But back to the point, I’m awful.

I just can’t seem to get my kicks right and I don’t know why.  But that’s ok; I don’t mind.

Who needs aim when you can just smash?

That’s what I do.  I just barrel into whoever is in my way and pass it to the players on my team who actually have all that fancy ball-handling down.  It’s a party, and I like it.

I love the physicality of soccer, the movement, the heat.

There’s something incredibly fierce about the pace and the nature of the game.  It’s like an unexpected dance, the opposing team always has you guessing.  You have to figure out how to move with them, anticipate their actions and take your queues.

Of course…I’m a horrendous dancer, but that’s mostly irrelevant.

Universe

We came from darkness

In a flash, the universe was created

Molten rock, frozen metal and fiery space dust crashed and collided across the galaxy 

Stars were born from clouds of gas, nebulae

The sun exploded in the vast blackness

Casting its newborn brilliance into the universe

Misshapen rocks were sucked into its gravitational pull

The third rock cooled just enough to create water

Tiny organisms evolved

With each passing millennium, they changed…