Category Archives: Fantasy

Quick mood-lifter

I know I’m long overdue for a long, think-y post here, but since I don’t have one to hand, I offer you these, instead:

Oh, brother

heymonster’s Liz Lemon

Spencer Salberg of the Hey Monster tumblr has done a series of adorable and perfect miniature portraits of Strong Female Characters. He also sells prints. I don’t know if he takes suggestions, but it’s Tumblr, so maybe send him an ask?

– Nissa


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Filed under Fantasy, Feminerd, Firefly, Movies, Ripley, SciFi, Video

GoT Power Ranking : Valar Dohaeris

Game of Thrones is back! I am atingle with excitement and desperately trying to locate a version of Dany’s badass necklace online. I know I won’t be alone in saying I missed these characters deeply during our break. My eyes were craving dragons and direwolves, and I want to say thank you to HBO for giving me ample helpings of both. Image

Last season ended with an episode entitled Valar Morghulis, “all men must die” in High Valyrian. This third season opens with Valar Dohaeris, the standard reply to that statement of greeting which translates as “all men must serve.”

It was an apt title for an episode that saw most of our characters caught in the daily duties of their stations, serving others or serving their own ambitions, often with reservations. The show opened with Samwell running across a snowy plain, only to be attacked by a white walker, saved by Ghost, and then berated by the Old Bear for not doing his job.

I know I’ve had days like that.

Across the episode we saw various interactions that basically amounted to job performance evaluations and HR decisions. Bron demanded a raise from Tyrion and received it, Tyrion demanded a raise from Tywin and was rebuffed. Dany thought about expanding her workforce by buying eight thousand eunuch-zombie warriors. Barristan the Bold caught up with Dany and asked for a job. Jon Snow got hired by Mance Rayder.

All men must serve. But not all of our characters were rewarded for their service. Let’s recap this week’s winners and losers.


1. Marjory Tyrell- The queen-to-be has wasted little time in winning the affections of her reprehensible fiance or the common folk. We’ve seen a lot of brute force in the Game these past two seasons. It will be a pleasant change to watch Marjory scheme and charm.

2. Bronn the Sellsword- He’s a knight now. A knight with a raise to blow in various pleasure houses.

3. Jon Snow- He learned how to lie, and won a place in the Wilding fold. He may even get a date with Ygritte.

4. Barristan the Bold- He made a great entrance, and it was clear that his words about honor and the Iron Throne touched Dany. He may have finally found a sovereign worthy of his sword.


1. Catelyn- Robb’s totally grounded her.

2. Tyrion- This episode did a lot to remind us that the Lannisters are the worst, and Tyrion got a one-two punch of scorn from his sister and father. Not to mention that nasty scar, or the fact that he’s having to pay for friends.

3. Samwell- Separated from his best friend, plagued by his own cowardice, and fighting his way through the wilderness is definitely not Sam’s comfort zone.

4. Cersei- Drinking her feelings and then over-sharing, Cersei suffered by comparison to shiny and new Marjory.

See you next week for another power rankings recap.

It’s not slander if it’s true,


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Filed under Babes in the Woods, Fantasy, GRRM

Episode 10: Game of Groans

ImageIn an extravagantly long episode we indulge ourselves in a spoilerific discussion of HBO’s adaptation of George RR Martin’s epic book series A Song of Ice and Fire. Warning: SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS. Come wallow with us in an hour plus of fawning fan girl antics, feminist critique, and predictions for the coming season.

Team Brienne,


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Filed under Babes in the Woods, Fantasy, GRRM, Podcast

Look What You’ve Done (**Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoilers**)



This dear readers was the text I received late a couple nights ago. A little background info – I read the first three books from the Song of Ice and Fire series years ago but my roommate wanted to catch up after seeing the first two seasons of Game of Thrones. She loves Robb Stark. A lot. As soon as she started reading Storm of Swords I had been waiting for that moment.

You know what moment I mean.  Below is the reaction I recorded.

This is what true pain sounds like. George RR Martin, look at your life, look at your choices.

–Rachel (aka Flumpy)

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The Mockingjay

Mockingjay with Chair

Surely you’ve been seeing the Capitol Portraits circulating on the interwebs. They are beautifully done, cleverly distributed, and are arguably the perfect promotion for the upcoming Catching Fire release.

For a great piece of analyzing the portraits, head over to our friends at

May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor,


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March 6, 2013 · 10:33 am

Dorkness Rising

It’s Friday afternoon, the time of clock-watching and absolutely no productivity. Always here to help you maintain that grueling standard, the Babes present to you a window into the gateway drug of the tabletop world, Dungeons and Dragons! This film is by Dead Gentlemen, and has been the breaking point for many DnD holdouts. And yes, I have a) been this girl, b) played with all these guys (thank God not all at once), and c) still enjoy DnD. Without further ado, I give you Dorkness Rising:


– Nissa


Filed under Fantasy, Games, Movies, Tabletop, Video

A Public Domain of Mars

Among other things, for me 2012 was a window into the early days of science fiction. A trailer for Disney’s very expensive box-office blunder John Carter set me looking for source material: it was clear there was more the audience was supposed to recognize! As I have always been a read-the-book-before-the-movie type, I was pleased to discover that John Carter and his eleven documented adventures upon Barsoom were not only fairly simply to find, but also public domain works! I managed to find a way to read A Princess of Mars for free, and became fascinated with the fantastical retro-future Edgar Rice Burroughs developed a hundred years ago (literally – the first serial in what became the first book was released in February 1912). The book was clearly an early form of pulp novel, and deeply problematic to the modern reader on many thematic levels. But it was so outlandish I couldn’t help but love it.

My experience with A Princess of Mars (and subsequently The Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars) brought Burroughs himself further onto my radar. Before John Carter, I had mostly dismissed Burroughs as the creator of Tarzan, many of whose books had gotten my mother into trouble at school. Upon finishing the first Barsoom novel (so called for the native Martians’ (single) word (across many races) for their home planet), I did some digging and found out what many older SF/F fans (especially the men, I suspect) will already know: Burroughs has an extensive bibliography of scifi novels, beginning with A Princess of Mars and not letting up until his death (and with the Tarzan series, not even then). I had never really classified Tarzan as scifi, rather lumping it generally under pulp/adventure, but looking at the other series Burroughs created (including Pellucidar, a hollow-earth series reminiscent of Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth (which is also in the public domain)) it’s clear that science fiction (or science fantasy, or even the dreaded “speculative fiction”) was his definite M.O..

Basically, the trainwreck effect has caused me to become the only fan I personally know of a slightly terrible hundred-year-old series of pulp novels. What it also has done is made me think about public domain. Disney was obviously interested in exploiting the centennial of Barsoom with the film (of which I attended my local midnight showing, of course), and in response Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc (did you know he was the first writer to incorporate himself?) trademarked phrases like “A Princess of Mars,” “John Carter of Mars,” etc, despite their being public domain and thus not trademark-able under the USSC’s Dastar Corp v Twentieth Century Fox Corp decision. This couldn’t and didn’t stop Disney from making their film (and, for modern sensibilities, improving the source materials substantially) and using precisely whatever terms they wanted, which, as it turned out, eschewed the word “princess” as is now Disney’s habit.

Obviously a more famous example of public domain exploitation is the sudden explosion of Sherlock Holmes all over everyone. We’ve got movies, we’ve got TV series, we’ve got different TV series, and people coming out of the woodwork claiming they’ve been fans all along (some of them probably even have). The idea that anyone can do whatever they like with Sherlock Holmes simultaneously makes the property extremely tempting and oversaturated, especially with something as iconic as the Holmes stories – the ultimate “safe bet.”

Disney has been playing public domain both ends against the middle since the 1930’s, banking on adaptations of public domain properties while also seeking to prevent any of their adaptations or other properties ever entering the public domain. As we reach the point of semantic overload and the term “public domain” ceases to mean anything when we see it, my point is that this year, mostly due to John Carter, I have found it interesting to condsider the uses, abuses, and exploitations of public domain works, famous and obscure, by all kinds of media. Sometimes it’s as simple as counting the commercials this fall and winter using Little Red Riding Hood imagery. Sometimes it’s like what happened to me with John Carter. It also makes me think a lot about copyright and its implications for adaptive and transformative works that would be perfectly legal were works in the public domain, but aren’t yet. Having a time limit on when a work becomes art sits funny with me, but there has also been quite a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in the past few years about fanfiction and fan works generally as the posterchild for this sort of thing. Even authors and artists are divided – popular and iconic examples include Marion Zimmer Bradley’s famously pro-fanfic stance (minus her legal need to step away from helping with it) and George RR Martin’s equating fanfic to one’s children being raped (to be fair, I don’t accurately remember if the quote was his or if he was simply agreeing with someone else who had said that).

These next couple of decades are going to be fascinating as we try to legislate the ever-changing face of information and consumption. There must be thousands if not millions of public domain works I didn’t mention – are there any you want to see adapted? Are there any you hope no one ever finds? Let us know in the comments!

– Nissa

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Filed under Fantasy, Movies, SciFi, YA