Game of Thrones: Then and Now

I begin this post with a grievous tale, one which I’m sure will tear at the very foundations of your full-sized aortic pumps:

I have finally finished the Game of Thrones books. Why is this saddening? Because it means my life is devoid of GoT until at least 2015. The next book (The Winds of Winter) has no alleged release date, with Martin’s publisher stating that the book would “certainly not be published before 2015”. Furthermore the TV Show has just finished its fourth series and the fifth series is unlikely to air until mid 2015.

So, in order to maintain some order in my life before I am driven crazy by this black hole that can only be filled by complicated names, excessive violence and raunchy sex scenes, I thought it would be fun to have a look at what GoT stars were doing before they became the characters that we know and love (and sometimes hate).

Let us start with one of the Starks. Obviously you have Ned Stark, played by the notorious Sean Bean, who needs no introduction except via the word “bastards” or the phrase “One does not simply walk into Mordor“:

However, other relatively less well known actors from the series have had some surprising roles in films in the past.

Take Mark Addy for example, who plays Robert Baratheon in GoT. Did you know that it is highly likely that you have seen him giving you a striptease? Yep, Robert Baratheon was in the Full Monty:

Don’t worry, I am just as scarred as you are.

Next, comes Rory McCann, who plays the strangely lovable Hound in the series. If you are British, then it is almost sinful if you have not seen Hot Fuzz, the second Simon Pegg/Nick Frost comedy duo film. But who does he play in it? None other than the one word giant, Michael Armstrong (or Lurch? I think Frost calls him that at some point):

N’aww, that adorable giggle… “Yarp”.

Any of you remember the comedy Shanghai Knights from 2003 starring Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan? Remember the bad guy in it, Rathbone? Who was a rather unctuous bad-ass? He was played by Aidan Gillen, better known as Peter Baelish, or ‘Littlefinger’.

Some actors never lose their sliminess.

Finally two, then I’ll leave you to re-watch all of Game of Thrones and go “ha, it actually is him!”. Firstly, we have Nikolaj Coster-Waldau who plays the controversial Jaime Lannister, who everyone has a love/hate relationship with. What most people don’t know, is that he featured in Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down, back in 2001, as a selfless sniper who sacrifices himself to save a fellow American, despite the fact that Coster-Waldau is, in fact, from Denmark (oh… spoilers I suppose):

I don’t actually think he has any lines in this film…

Finally, we arrive at the one which every single Game of Thrones fan should know. Cast your mind back to Batman Begins, the first in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy. Now, think of Joffrey Baratheon, the boy King who you just have to hate. He is played by Jack Gleeson, who most people seem to hate because of his role as Joffrey. Well, you’ll be pleased to know that he wasn’t always a spoilt brat with a fixation on pain and suffering; he played the innocent little blonde-haired boy who idolises Batman:

One day you’ll become a murdering psychopath… But not for at least six years.


And there you go! There are more, I’m sure, but these are my favourite actor transitions. Just a few other quick notes: actress who played Osha the Wildling was in Harry Potter; Samwell Tarly was a guest star in an episode of Merlin; Gendry played Chris in the British TV Show Skins; and Peter Dinklage is… Well, Peter Dinklage. Enough said.

One more thing: Lovable, dimwitted Hodor? Yeah, he’s a DJ. Don’t believe me? Here:

How the Tour de France Affected my Family

So, for the few countries that luckily escaped all the carnage, the Tour de France recently passed through Yorkshire, where I live. The whole of Yorkshire literally exploded at the prospect of this. Flags were waved, banners were created, little yellow bicycles can be seen dotted all over the place.

And what did my family do? Well, they did the only reasonable things possible: they purchased wild-flowers of red, white and blue and casually transformed our front garden into the French flag. Furthermore, we made use of our desolate flag pole to wave the French flag to spur the cyclists along – a large chunk of who aren’t even French.

Now, I suppose I was able to cope with this insanity, knowing that it would be a nice thing to do to show that we were getting into the spirit of the cycling… Until I was told the Tour was not, in fact, going to past by our house. Instead, it was going to go round the back and not even see our garden, let alone notice it.

But did this deter my family? No, it did not. They continued to be insane. In fact, things got even worse. Firstly, a mysterious yellow cyclist appeared upon our railings (pictured below).

This was a surprise, as even my family claimed to have not put it up. I couldn’t decide whether if I was happier that some random person had violated are railings (which I actually quite like, despite feeling severely exposed when sitting in the garden) than if my parents had felt the necessity to decorate them. I don’t think I ever found out who actually constructed the yellow cyclists…

Either way, my parents did not take it down. And things then got even worse; for my step-dad took it upon himself to offer up our garden for the local Scout and Guides to build a replica of the Eiffel Tower. And so it was built. I happened to arrive back from my crazy holiday in Spain on the same day it was “unveiled” which led to a very tired (yes, and hungover) me to be woken up during my afternoon doze by about 100 people milling around the garden, gazing up at the Tower with love and admiration. Then you had me, staring with utter loathing at the 7.5m high monstrosity. Here, now you can all look upon it with love as well:

Please note: if you are looking upon it and your eyes are doing that worrying thing where they twinkle with delight, then I officially hate you. Then again, if you actually took the time to get this far down to the picture, then I also love you…

And that is how the Tour de France affected by family. And not all for the good. Oh, I forgot to mention about what happened when the Tour actually passed the hundreds of people who had lined up to watch them. People were standing and sitting for nigh on two hours. When the cyclists finally did pass, they cheered, for a grand total of five seconds, then dispersed when the cyclists moved on. How can people enjoy that?!

Yes, I am Scrooge. Bah! Humbug!

A Week of Spanish Mayhem

Well, in case any of you actually noticed I’ve been inactive for a week, you will be pleased to know that I have been on holiday in Spain with several groups of friends! Yes, it was messy, and it was crazy. Both good crazy and bad crazy, unfortunately. I shall give you a run down of each day.

Okay, so, arrived in Lloret De Mar (the lovely town in Spain where we stayed) at around 1 last Monday, where we spent at least 2 hours trying to find our very ambiguous apartment. Once we arrived, we basically dumped our stuff and headed to the beach, where the rest of the afternoon was given over to sunbathing. And then the evening was upon us. And we did was every young adult wants to do on holiday: drink excessively. There was a fantastic cocktail bar right next to the beach which did the largest cocktails ever known to man. So we got extremely drunk there, then we ventured to a club called the Beach Club where we got even more drunk (as you do). So basically ended our first day.

Tuesday started off as you’d expect: sleep deprived, hungover and ready to sunbathe. We found a bar which quickly became our regular – a Dutch one, in fact, called De Hof (the fact that there was free WiFi obviously wasn’t one of the reasons we liked it so much) – and we found out that the smoothies that they made there were the perfect hangover cure; I’m fairly certain it was a morning ritual for the entirety of the week to cure our hangovers at that place. After that, it was beach time again as usual. In the evening, we once again hit the bars. This time we found a very nice German bar called Bar Pirata. The main attraction? €1 shots my friends. Nothing can beat alcoholic shots worth less than a British pound. That may have gotten us slightly drunk. Then, as we had bought a rugby ball earlier in the day, we thought that the best thing to do would be to engage in a game of drunk rugby… yeah, that didn’t go particularly well, as you can imagine. At about 12, we headed back to our apartment to gather more money and drop off the rugby ball, before going clubbing. And this is where the bad crazy occurs.

As it turns out, our apartment had been broken into and the majority of our valuables had been stolen. Being possibly slightly intoxicated when we got back, we didn’t immediately register the fact that we had been broken into. I was the one who opened the door, and I just thought that my friend (Callum) had forgotten to lock the door. It was not until I was using the toilet (as you have to after drinking lots) that I heard Callum say “why is the content of our suitcase all over the floor?”, then things unraveled and it turns out people had kicked the door open and broken the lock, looted our apartment, and run off at some point. All things considered, I don’t think we took it too badly. I mean, yes, we had our angry spells (I tell you, never before have I used the word ‘fuck’ so much in one night), but by the morning – after no sleep as we had to “guard the apartment” – we were quite calm. Melancholy even.

So, Wednesday began. Despite the attraction of the beach, we had to break that tradition and ended up spending 3 hours in a Spanish Police Station explaining and writing declaration forms of what had occurred. This was also over the lunch period, which left us all feeling quite hungry. But then we were free, and decided that we would forget about the robbery until the end of the holiday.

Luckily, the other group of our friends happened to arrive that afternoon, so we were able to drown our sorrows with them in spectacular fashion. The aim was to go to a UV Rave Party, but sadly our group were too tired and the other group wanted a more calm night. So we just had very cheap shots and played drunk rugby (again… are you seeing a pattern emerging?).

Thursday dawned bright and early (as, you know, days have a habit of doing) and we went for our traditional smoothie at De Hof, this time accompanied by a few more members from other groups. My memory may be hazy, but I do seem to recall that we ended up rainbathing at the beach. Being British, we fully embraced the rain when it started at the beach, whilst everybody else ran away from it. No amount of rain can scare us Brits. The night though, was one of the scariest yet greatest nights of my life.

Obviously we hit the Bar Pirata for shots, before heading off… to a Foam Party. This was the craziest thing we did all week. We may have got there a little bit early, but by about 1, it was fully packed and just utter madness everywhere. But the madness truly peaked at about 3:30, when the foam started. It was shot out of a cannon, spraying the entire dance floor. The reason it was so scary, was that the foam actually blinded you, as well as simultaneously choking you. Even whilst I was dying was inhaling excessive chemical foam, I still danced like a mad man.

I will admit, I paid for it in the morning of the Friday when I had no voice. This was truly distressful, as the intention was to go to a Karaoke Bar that night but alas, my throat was not up for more rigorous exercise. So actually we had one of the quietest nights of the week; obviously we still got drunk, but we did all head back to our apartments at about 1.

Now, Saturday night, I can’t actually remember if we did anything special. I think it was more or less just a simple day: smoothie, beach, drinking, but I could be wrong. I do recall spending €36 on three drinks in order to get a t-shirt though… I promise I will treasure that t-shirt forever now. That was a late night though – we got in at around the time of 3 in the morning.

Sunday was my groups last proper day. So, naturally, we sunbathed for the majority of the day. Luckily the weather peaked that day and we were sunbathing in 28°C heat (which is 82°F to you Americans). We also decided to have a big group meal in the evening to celebrate our leaving (thinking about it, that was quite a mean thing to do), which had a strange turn of events when we got caught in the middle of a thunderstorm, whilst sat outside. Luckily we had cover over us, but there were a few holes in it so we spent quite a lot of the time avoiding the water. But in some ways, that just made the meal even better!

Then we hit the Bar Pirata for the last time. And I’ll tell you, I think that Sunday was the best night of our holidays. We ended up having a sing-off/along with a large group of German girls, so in some ways, we did have our Karaoke Night in the end! Once again, my voice paid for it. Even so, this singing went on for at least 2 hours, before everyone from the bar went to the beach where we slowly eroded away the language barrier of English and German (luckily they could speak passable English). Then we hit the Beach Club for the last time, before my group of five departed at about 2 to get some sleep.

Yet I, ever being the fool, decided it would be a good idea to stay up all night and just nap on the plane and coach the next day/same morning. Truth be told, I didn’t manage it; I fell asleep whilst reading (which I expect looked rather comical). But even so, that sleep was only 30 minutes long, before we had to get up at the brutal hour of 4:30 to catch our coach to the airport.

Now, my problem, is that I cannot sleep whilst traveling. So naturally I felt utterly exhausted when I eventually got home at the English time of 2 in the afternoon. And a full day later, I still feel like I haven’t caught up on my sleep properly.

So I just need to sort out my insurance and try claim back some money, then all the nuisances of holiday shall be behind me!


There is also the slight problem that my Weekly Word Challenge shall not making an appearance on my blog, as the Dictionary app I used was on my iPod, which was sadly stolen. So any of you who actually enjoy attempting the Writing Challenge, you shall have to wait until I get a new iPod – apologies!

See you soon guys, hope you had as good a week as I did!