Monday 27 November 2017

Review: The King, The Widow and Rick #TWD S8:6 #TheWalkingDead

The Big Scary U
Some Guy 
Daryl Dixon character study 

And so they return... Rick marches/limps along the road like a wounded, worn out soldier, Daryl takes his hissy fit back to Alexandria, Aaron takes baby Gracie back to Hilltop, and the Kingdom mourn their dead.  Rick's not-quite-instant-messaging system lets them all know what's going on, and reminds them that 'our path has led us to who we are'.   If I was him I'd have been pretty pissed at being left out there all alone in Walker/Saviour/Scavenger-strewn Virginia.  Come on, Daryl, this isn't who you are.  We love you best, but we love Rick too. 

Jesus feeds The Saviours
At the Hilltop, Jesus distributes loaves and fishes (and the odd turnip) to the Saviours, while Gregory suggests the gallows might be a better solution for them.  Given that I accidentally saw a picture from the comics of Gregory hanging from one of these contraptions, I cannot help but think his words might come back to haunt him, especially when he gets shoved in with them.  Maggie's a farm girl, remember, and knows all about sheep and wolves and stuff, unlike their 'hippy-dippy, kung-fu fighting friend'.  Which is why she, especially, should be questioning how come she still has a completely flat stomach, four months into her pregnancy.

'If you fight for us, we'll teach you how to speak in complete sentences.  Deal?'

Meanwhile, back at the junkyard, Jadis is doing a spot of naked sculpture when some of her Scavengers turn up with Rick, who tells them of the Saviours' misfortune, and wants to strike a deal with them.  But he talks too much.... incidentally, has anyone else noticed that Kingdom Diane and Junkyard Tamiel are the same person?

Kingdom Diane
Junkyard Tamiel

It's great to see Michonne and Rosita back in action, albeit not at their best, as they discover yet another Saviours' hideaway, but the baddies' plans are foiled by a head on collision with Daryl and Tara in a truck, on their way to the Sanctuary to 'finish it'.  One cannot help but suspect this might not all go as smoothly as planned.  We may have seen the more human side of Negan last week, but let us not forget he is the man who beat Abraham and Glenn's heads in with a baseball bat, and laughed while he did it.  He's still a psychopath.  It's my prediction that Daryl and Tara, who have vowed to kill Dwighty-Boy between them, may themselves be saved by that very victim of Negan's iron.  

Rosita searches for stray RPGs

Back in the woods outside Alexandria, Carl is bored and goes off looking for Walkers to bait.  Just like old times, really, and good to see a bit of casual zombie despatching back in the series, especially for those who don't like the gun fights.  Here he comes across Siddiq, who he met in Episode 1; Carl introduces himself as 'Coral' and they say a load of profound stuff to each other, including Carl saying that his mum told him to always do what was right, even if it was the hardest thing to do.  Lori was nobody's favourite character, least of all mine, but I have to say I found her death scene from Season 3 pretty damn heartbreaking, and I cry real tears every time I see it.

Carl and his new buddy work on honouring Siddiq's mom by killing some Walkers and thus freeing their trapped souls, until it gets out of hand, but at least Carl's indestructable hat remains in place.

More echoes from the past as Carol tells Benjamin's little brother, Henry, what happens when kids play in the woods (they end up in Hershel's barn, fully Walker-fied), but Henry needs to avenge his brother's death.  Hope we get to see him kill the revolting Jared Saviour ~ it's got to be either him or Morgan, hasn't it? (btw, where IS Morgan?)  And I'm not too convinced by the Friendly Saviour, who tells Jesus he was just mindin' his own business, puttin' up a fence, when he got caught up in it all...

Later, there's a stepping up of the chemistry between Carol and Ezekiel, as he tells her that she is the only person who makes him feel real.  But what will we call them?  Cazekiel? Carekiel?  Ezekierol?  I was thinking that Carol would end up leading the Kingdom, because she does, after all, totally rock, but maybe they could be King and Queen?  Except Carol should be the King.  Ezekiel can be the drama queen.....

Cazekiel getting real

And so Aaron and Enid go back to Alexandria to fight, and Rick sits naked in a big container thing in the Junkyard.  As soon as I saw her feet, I thought, hang on a minute, Jadis is wearing Rick's boots ~ this does not bode well.

Two more to go ~ I have no more predictions but would love to hear anyone else's!

Those boots, long ago, when they still had toes....

Monday 20 November 2017

The Big Scary U ~ Review #TWD #TheWalkingDead S8:5

Review of last week HERE

As soon as I'd watched the super-extended pre-titles bit, I thought, okay, so who dies tonight?  Gabriel or Gregory?  It's looking like Gabriel... but has he been bitten, or does he have Virginia Walker Innards disease?  Is a Virginia Walker anything like a Virginia Creeper?  And, of course, we know that Gregory is now safely back at Barrington House, eating other people's pancakes. ๐Ÿ˜œ
Gabriel ~ bitten, or fulfilled his purpose?

What a terrific episode ~ I've always loved how the TWD writers show us the same time frame again, from the other point of view.  Finally, we see a little bit of the pre-Walker Negan who once had a wife who he treated like the aforementioned Walker innards, and gain insight into why he thinks his methods are justified: he's created order, stopped people like Rapey Davey having their way, identified the fighters and the workers, understood that people can't work for him if they're dead.

Rapey Davey's final moments, S7:15
One can even see why he really thinks that Rick caused the deaths of Glenn and Abraham.  The jury is out on that one, but he says, 'I killed them, but Rick caused their deaths'.  We know that without Rick's leadership, everyone in Alexandria would already have been killed by the Wolves, and probably the Saviours too, but that's another story.

'I wear a leather jacket, I have Lucille, and my nut-sack is made of steel'

Meanwhile, Eugene brings Dwight a gift of pickles for standing up for him in the chaotic, leaderless meeting when all those Negans thought the real Negan was dead, little knowing that Dwighty-Boy is really trying to cover up his own treachery, which it doesn't take him long to suss out ~ will they work together, or will Eugene rat Dwight out?  I'm thinking the former, now that Negan has told him he'll die slowly if he doesn't find a solution to the current siege problem....  Remember Abraham, Eugene! Do the right thing! 

... (but isn't it nice to see Dwight sounding like the half-way decent guy he sort of almost was, back in the burnt forest?)

A further meanwhile, back at the wrecked truck with one dying Saviour, Rick reminds Daryl that they can't explode the Sanctuary because of all the innocent workers, and because that's still who we arr-rrr ... well, he doesn't actually say that, but I betcha it was on the tip of his tongue.  I can see both their POVs.  Daryl ~ end it today.  Rick ~ be the good guy, but risk getting everyone else dead.  They fight, Daryl zooms off in a hissy fit, and Rick travels along the road, like a wounded War of Independence rebel who's had enough.

And then he sees The Helicopter.  Or does he?  Rick is given to hallucinations, both visible and audible, as we all know.  Is this an homage to Episode One, when he really did see a helicopter, and Glenn and the gang inside the department store (sad: all of whom are dead now) told him he was imagining it?  Or this time, will it come back for him?  And who was the guy with the binoculars?

I did see a helicopter, I did, I did ... S1:1 Days Gone Bye

We wait with baited breath....

For an in-depth study of the character of Daryl, please click HERE. 
(Features Merle, Rick, Carol, Dwight, Aaron, Beth...)

Saturday 18 November 2017

Anything But Books ~ fun blog tag thingy from @ShelleyWilson72 and @BrizzleLass

I'm pleased to take part in one of those random questions things, after being tagged by writer pal Shelley Wilson ~ you can read her post HERE.  She in turn was tagged by Claire from BrizzleLass Books ~ I shall tag a few people later, too...

 Q1. Name a cartoon that you love.

There is no finer cartoon than South Park, ever.   I've watched some of them nearly as many times as I've watched The Walking Dead....  I have Eric Cartman on my mantelpiece and keyring!

Q2. What is your favourite song right now? 

I don't listen to the radio/watch music channels and have no idea what the popular music is these days, because about ten years ago I reached the point when I find chart/pop music mostly abhorrent (if you're younger than forty-five: you'll get there too, I promise!).  In our house we listen to all sorts.  Yesterday it was Rosemary Clooney.  Lately, there's been a fair bit of AC/DC.  Can never have too much.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Film from 1970s of Let There Be Rock, which is one of my all time AC/DC faves... (note a few hours later: just found out that Malcolm Young has died...)

Q3. What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

Watch The Walking Dead.  Can and DO!


Q4. What is something that you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I'm always stumped by questions that ask me to reveal something fascinating about myself.  I am possibly the most unfascinating person I know.  I've done a whole bunch of stuff but nothing I would want to put in a blog questionnaire.  Mostly, I just write.  And read, and watch telly.  Okay.  My husband says that doing the washing is my hobby.  It's true.  I get a little bit excited when, say, I come home from a rare few days away and there are at least four loads to do.  I love having all our clothes and bedding washed and ironed at all times.  There.  Told you it wouldn't be very interesting.  And ps, it's the only domestic chore that I do much of!

Q5. What is your favourite, unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

History.  I read lots of non-fiction history, as well as the sort of historical fiction that teaches you about a time period (not the women in long dresses/castles/period unspecified historical romance type!).  I also watch lots of historical documentaries, read articles, etc.  Wish I'd developed the interest earlier and become a learnรฉd historian, or something.

Q6. What is something unusual you know how to do?

It’s not particularly unusual but (as per Shelley's answer), it's about the only thing I can do well that not everyone can.  I am very good at stuff like logic problems, and games on my tablet that require logic, like backgammon and Plague Inc.

Q7. Name something that you’ve made in the last year.

Made?  I don't make anything, except the bed!  I'm not arty.  I heat food rather than cook.  A friend came to stay for three nights last May, and I was panicking over what the hell I was going to give her to eat.  My sister has just stayed for three nights, too, and it was great, because she has the same attitude as me.  She had fish fingers and broccoli, every night.

Q8. What is your most recent personal project?

I became a vegan a few months ago.  I did so because I don't want to support the animal agriculture industry, which is the responsible for most of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and, thus, a whole other bunch of crap things that are happening to the planet.  


Q9. Tell us something that you think of often.

My dad, who died in September.  Sorry, don't want to bring the mood of the post down, but it was my immediate answer.  And they're often happy thoughts, remembering all the lovely things about him.

Q10. Tell us something that’s your favourite, but make it oddly specific.

I will do as Shelley did, and name my current favourite TV shows.

The Walking Dead - of course!  A link to the many blog posts I've written about it HERE.

The Deuce ~ fabulous series set in early 1970s New York.  James Franco, nuff said. ๐Ÿ˜‹ Read more about it HERE

Currently watching Mindhunter, terrific series set in 1977, in which two FBI agents visit lots of serial killers....

Just finished watching Tin Star with the fabulous Tim Roth playing an alcoholic cop who you loathe more and more as the series unfolds...

I'm tagging....

(Please don't feel obliged to do this, it just means I'm suggesting it to you!) 

My sister, Julia
My friend Andrea, because she has recently started up her blog again.
Book blogger chum Liz
Book blogger chum Abbie
Writer chum Georgia

Thursday 16 November 2017

The many faces of Daryl Dixon ~ a character study. #DarylDixon #TheWalkingDead

I was asked to write this character study some months ago, before Season 8, for another site's proposed 'Daryl Dixon Appreciation Week' that did not, in the end, come to pass, so I thought I'd put it on my own blog for Daryl appreciators everywhere!  It's an in-depth look at our favourite zombie survivor, showing how he's developed from the 'redneck asshole with an even bigger asshole for a brother' (his words!) to the man who everyone would like to have beside them when fighting the Walkers and Negan.

I've looked at him from the point of view of the relationships with other characters in his life; he is or was something different to each of them, and each one has brought out something different in him.

Daryl and Merle 
The Little Brother 
Merle was everything to Daryl: his brother, both parents, mentor and best friend.  Daryl respected, feared, relied upon and looked up to him, and moulded himself in his image, to no small extent.  Merle taught him self-sufficiency; remember the conversation with Andrea, when they were looking for Sophia in Season Two, about him getting lost in the forest for nine days when he was a kid?  Merle had shown him how to survive—and not only in the wild.  He taught him how to put on a brave face when he was being beaten by his father, and, after his mother died, how to live on his wits.  Merle shaped the younger Daryl—so what would happen when he was no longer around?

Daryl and Rick 
The Brother Outlaw 
Come the end of civilisation, Merle gets himself handcuffed to a rooftop then disappears, leaving Daryl with the group of survivors that he and Merle had planned to rob.  Although never slow in speaking his mind, it's notable that he accepts Rick as leader of the group immediately and without question, and, for the most part, does as he's told; he's learned from Merle to respect the authority of the stronger man.  When the brothers reunite, Merle mocks Daryl's status as Rick's wingman: 'You used to call people like him sheep'.  But in the new world, Daryl and Rick are not Outlaw vs. Lawman.  Now, they're both outlaws, fighting the Walking Dead and shared foes together.  Free from Dixon Major's shadow, Daryl has discovered values of honour and responsibility that Merle tried to quell, but Rick has brought to the fore.  When Rick says to him, 'You're my brother', late in Season Four, you know those ties go just as deep as any blood. 

Daryl and Carol 
The Family Man 
The pairing that everyone loves—but are they brother-sister, very close friends, or could their love ever become romantic?  Their special bond starts when Carol loses daughter Sophia, and, more than anyone else, Daryl goes the extra mile to find her.  In searching for Sophia, is he trying to save the little boy who was left out in the woods?  To reunite child with mother, as he couldn't be with his own?  His relationship with Carol brings out a side of him that previously had nowhere to go: his instinct to love and protect—the man, not the boy.  Carol herself echoes this sentiment, when they're in Atlanta searching for Beth in Season Five; she tells him 'Back then, you were a boy.  Now you're a man'.  She's the person who sees how insecure he is, too—in Season Two, she reassures him that he's every bit as good as Shane and Rick; only she sees this lack of confidence in him, hidden by his wall of not caring.  Now they're reunited, we must watch and wait...

Daryl and Martinez 
The Competitor 
They had just one scene together, but it was such a good one.  As they competed with each other to kill Walkers in the most daring and artful way, we saw the little boy in Daryl, who wants to run the fastest, jump the highest; growing up in poverty, maybe all he had to show off about was his physical ability.  Afterwards, they bonded over cigarettes instead of train sets and model cars.  Daryl didn't hate the other man, even though they were on different sides; he and the equally loyal and trustworthy Martinez would probably have been comrades if they'd fallen in with the same people.

Daryl and Joe 
Boy to Man
When Daryl is lost and alone and teams up with Joe and his 'Claimed' gang in Season Four, we see (and he realises) how far he has come since his pre-Walker days.  Merle would have fitted right in, but although Joe refers to 'men like us', Daryl knows that all they have in common is being able to survive in the wild new world.  Daryl has changed; the decency brought out by Rick, Carol, Glenn and the rest of our group is here to stay.

Daryl and Beth 
The Protector 
What strange bedfellows, to have ended up on the run together after the fall of the prison.  At first, Beth's optimism, naรฏvetรฉ and girlish behaviour irritates him, but later he becomes her teacher and protector.  He shows her how to survive (one shot with his crossbow and Beth quips 'Soon I won't need you at all!'), and her glass-half-full attitude to life rubs off on him and gives him faith.  She makes him believe that yes, there are still decent people out there.  She's the first person to whom he opens up, albeit when he's full of moonshine, but at last he feels safe to show his vulnerability.  Daryl doesn't trust many people, but he recognises a genuinely good heart, and can see this in Beth.  Would their relationship have developed into something else?  Sadly, we will never know.

Daryl and Aaron 
The Fellow Outsider 
... and Aaron points out that Daryl can tell the difference between a good and a bad guy, too.  This is another strange pairing, and an oddly touching one: the gay, educated, middle-class aid worker and the redneck with the crossbow who, pre-zombie apocalypse, had never been outside Georgia.  Aaron makes the point that the rest of the community is wary of both of them for different reasons, but what they also have in common is the need to go off on their own, away from the safe haven.  Daryl mentions how stifled he feels in Alexandria, when they're Walker-trapped inside the car in the Wolves' territory.  As with Beth, Daryl trusts Aaron enough to talk about his feelings.  Aaron's warmth, acceptance and invitation to become his co-recruiter gives him confidence; once they've become tentative friends, Daryl decides that living in the รผber-straight-laced and middle-class Alexandria might be okay, after all.

Daryl and Dwight 
The Role Model 
A complex relationship indeed.  By the time Dwight meets Daryl in Season Six, there is little left of the young terror that was Merle's apprentice.  He's grown in strength and wisdom, and is confident enough to give a second chance to someone who held a gun to his head.  Then, when Dwight does the dirty on him and, later, kills Denise, all Daryl feels is hatred and desire for revenge.  Few people have brought out such ferocity of emotion in him, but even at the darkest hour, when he is filthy, eating dog food, and at absolute rock bottom with Dwight as his captor, Daryl is still the bigger man - and Dwight knows this.  Later, Daryl is given more insight into his adversary's motivations, and there is a split second of commonality between them.  Still, though, when the tables are turned and it's Dwight in the cell, Daryl wants to kill him.  Rick stops him, but would he have gone through with it?  I suspect their relationship will change yet again.  Sherry said in her goodbye letter to Dwight that he saw in Daryl the man he used to be.  I think he sees in him the man he wants to be; the new world has made Daryl grow from wastrel sidekick, to a man respected by all who meet him—even Negan.  As he said to Aaron when they were trying to catch Buttons the horse, 'When you've been out here a while, you become who you really are'.  

And what is Daryl? A man of truth and honour who doesn't waste words, and will do anything to protect those he loves.  And if he ever fancies jumping in the shower, there are ten million women who will offer to scrub his back ๐Ÿ˜œ

Wednesday 15 November 2017

What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Here are my answers :)

I'm currently reading Jonah by Carl Rackman (which is BRILLIANT, definitely one of the best books I've read this year!) 

I've recently finished reading All The Tomorrows by Nillu Nasser: a very well written, highly emotional family drama set in Bombay.

I think next I will read For the Love of a Child : a short story collection by Jenny Twist.


Tuesday 14 November 2017

PATIENT ZERO: Out Now! #PostApocalyptic #ShortStories #Survival #Dystopian

Patient Zero
 FREE on Sunday 19 November only!
Stand alone post apocalyptic short stories 

And the first book in the series, Tipping Point
is just 99p/99c from Nov 19-23


Patient Zero blurb:

The year is 2024.

A mysterious virus rages around the UK.

Within days, 'bat fever' is out of control.

Patient Zero is a collection of nine 'stand-alone' short stories featuring minor characters from Tipping Point and Lindisfarne, the first two novels in the Project Renova series.  Please click the titles of the books to see the reviews on Amazon.

1.  Jared: The Spare Vial
Jared has two vaccinations against the deadly virus: one for him, one for a friend...

2.  Flora: Princess Snowflake
The girl with the perfect life, who believes in her father, the government, Christian charity and happy endings.

3. Jeff: The Prepper
What does a doomsday 'prepper' do when there is nothing left to prepare for?

4. Karen: Atonement
She ruined her sister's last day on earth, and for this she must do penance.

5. Aaron: #NewWorldProblems
Aaron can't believe his luck; he appears to be immune.  But his problems are far from over.

6. Meg: The Prison Guard's Wife
Meg waits for her husband to arrive home from work.  And waits...

7. Ruby: Money To Burn
Eager to escape from her drug dealer boyfriend's lifestyle, Ruby sets off with a bag filled with cash.

8.  Evie: Patient Zero
Boyfriend Nick neglects her.  This Sunday will be the last time she puts up with it.  The very last time.

9. Martin: This Life
Life after life has taught the sixty year old journalist to see the bigger picture.

The next novel in the series, UK2, will be available around late spring/early summer 2018.