Monday, June 3, 2019

Game of Thrones - What?

June 3, 2019

Summer is here! Yea! I am jumping for joy as summer is my favorite season. It is a time that I get to spend a great deal with all of my grandchildren at backyard cookouts and swim parties. They love coming over and challenging me to a game of Marco Polo, water volleyball, and chasing after the sonic dive sticks. At sixty-one, I need all of the exercises I can get to stay young, healthy an active; therefore, I asked my grandchildren to make sure that I exercise in the pool with them. Let me tell you, they have held up their end of the bargain and I feel great. I think swimming is one of the best exercises I can do.

When we aren't in the pool, we play chess, marbles, paint, draw and create things. Then it comes time to rest so we search the television and choose one movie to watch together, pop popcorn, and snuggle up on the couch. Yes. After a movie, we grab some books and either read aloud or read a different book. Our first book together for our summer reading fun was BECOMING MISS IZZY by Sue Zook and Mary Lazarski, published by Absolute Author Publishing House. I highly recommend this book for all of your middle school children. The advice on bullying is fantastic and it is told in a creative way. The reviews have been five-star.

Another book on my shelf for my children is WHERE ARE MY CHILDREN by L.A. Davis, also published by Absolute Author Publishing Company. This book opened as the #1 New Release in four categories and is a fantastic read from the voice of Hurricanes.

The third book on our list of summer reading is SCARS OF A MAGICIAN by Robert B Herring Jr. This is a wonderful fantasy tale that I had the honor of editing and publishing with Absolute Author Publishing House last spring. I loved it.


Magic,Werewolves, Spies, Drama. . . Deep in the Old Creek Mountain exists a large village called Seven Moons. It was cloaked by powerful wizards years ago to protect the folks who live there from prying eyes of the world. A young, talented magician named Derrick Blackwell spends a large part of his life with his grandma Sabrina, who is trying to raise him to be respectful and to use better judgment in his everyday life. His parents cared more about work and being undercover spies than being with their own son. Derrick attends school at Seven Moon High, a school for magic and potions. He becomes friends with a girl named Reign Hungry, and soon develops romantic feelings for her. He also befriends Charles Redder, a new transfer student, who’s mysterious at times. A boy named Barrett Bloodstone is always competing against him and sabotaging Derrick’s magic performance from his death-defying and up-close stunts. One day in October, Derrick was walking through the woods and came across an old woman passing through on her carriage. Derrick finds the Mythic Red Wizard Book in the rear of the carriage, which he took without paying for it. From then on, Derrick's decisions would change his life forever.


After their parents take home my grandchildren, it's my time. That means I can do whatever I want. Lately, as weird as this may sound, I been binge watching THE GAME OF THRONES. Okay, that's not the weird part. The fact is, up until last week I had never watched a single episode of THE GAME OF THRONES. It wasn't because I didn't want too, but rather, I didn't subscribe to HBO until this summer. Now I know what I have been missing.

This brings meguest blogger. THE GAME OF THRONES. Having not watched the entire series, I called on a fellow author, Max Hawthorne, whose KRONOS RISING series puts JAWS PG. I had the opportunity to read DIABLO from the series while I was at the beach. As a result, I wouldn't get in the ocean. I kept looking for sharks. However, Max is a huge fan of THE GAME OF THRONES, so I asked him to guest blog today on the controversy of the ending that I know nothing about. Let's see what Max has to say as he is my guest blogger.

Editing with a Sword: How a Few Tweaks Could’ve “Saved” The Final Season of Game of Thrones

by Max Hawthorne

Like most people on the planet, I've seen the petitions that went around on social media about the final episode of Game of Thrones.

Millions of irate fans are upset (some even outraged) about how the final season played out, with many of them demanding a “do-over”. That’s never going to happen, of course, but let’s be frank; we need to give credit where credit is due. The show’s award-winning writers are among the tops in their fields. They’ve successfully brought to life one of the greatest sagas in the history of television. They deserve to have accolades piled at their feet, not to be vilified because they failed to meet everyone’s expectations. 

That said, as a novelist who crafts an ongoing series of books, I’ll be the first to admit that anyone can grow weary of working with the same material, settings, and characters, day in, day out. Repetition is the enemy, and the need to find exciting new visuals, action sequences and even dialogue can be overwhelming. The ongoing need to keep our stories fresh and unpredictable, both for ourselves and our viewers/readers, can become taxing. It sometimes results in a sort of “storytellers’ myopia”, where the artistic vision we regularly rely upon starts to get a bit blurry.

As someone who’s followed Game of Thrones from start to finish…

I must concede that I see some of the fans’ points. And, to a certain extent, I agree with them. When compared to the previous seven seasons, overall, the final season and, most notably the final episode, felt very rushed. It was like they were trying to cram three seasons worth of stories into one. As a novelist, I saw many set pieces/scenes/character arcs that could have been handled differently. The writers had the opportunity to add so much more punch to them. The following are a few examples of scenes that, if I had been part of the writing team, I would have handled differently. Feel free to hit me up on Facebook; I’d love to hear your opinion.

My take on the Final Episode of Game of Thrones.

I would not have had Dani "turn to the dark side" the way she did.

Based on the previous seven seasons, her character was too strong to go down that path so easily. I would have pushed her hard, perhaps driven her over the edge, similar to the way she was (but stretched out over a bit more time), but then had her pull back. I would have given her the opportunity to redeem herself, to prove she wasn't a "mad queen", but then die in the attempt. I would’ve had her attack the Red Keep first, demolishing much of it, and then perhaps, in the heat of battle, staying her hand against some helpless enemy or enemies (perhaps some ground troops), only to have them turn on her, perhaps hit her with an arrow that would eventually kill her. I would’ve had some of the Gold Cloaks involved, cheering, mocking, then had her see Missandei’s head on a spike. This combination would have pushed her over the edge. It would’ve justified her unleashing her full fury on the city. With her so impassioned, her sacrificing herself and Drogon to save Jon (maybe from a collapsing tower, with the dragon bearing the brunt of it), would've had much more impact. It would’ve served to absolve her from her momentary descent into madness. She could’ve revealed Jon’s heritage to her people as she lay dying and went out a heroine. She could've gone out a legend, with the last dragon dying with her, cradling her. Or, even better, the two of them could’ve flown off with Drogon on fire, like a meteor preparing to burn up in the atmosphere. Immune to the flames, Dani would die atop Drogon’s back, with him spiraling down to crash into the same ocean as Rhaegal. It would be a glorious reunion and a fitting end – a shooting star falling into the sea.   

Clegane Bowl was awesome, but even it could've had a better climax.

I would've changed the story where, when Sandor tackles his zombie brother and knocks him through the wall, I would've had Drogon (obviously, earlier in the episode) catch and eat the Mountain as he fell. It would've had more impact. He may have survived sword thrusts and the like, but being eaten by a dragon is harder to bounce back from. I also would've not killed off the Hound. I would have had him catch hold of the crumbling edge and end up hanging there, holding on for dear life, with an inferno raging below him. He would've had one arm so badly wounded that he couldn't pull himself up. Then, I would've had Arya show up and make a comment about his advice being appreciated, but that one must be true to one's self (kind of an, "I'm a scorpion, it's my nature" thing). I would've had her grab his wrist and pull, then shake her head, realizing he’s too heavy. He would've seen the resignation on her face and misinterpreted things, replying, "So, you're gonna leave me after all." She would've pulled back out of sight. He'd have hung there for a moment, probably grinning and contemplating the irony of his fate, only to have Brienne, of all people, show up and pull him to safety. This would've settled things between them, resolving their past conflict and not sacrificing the character. Then, Brienne would've looked around for Arya and been surprised that she's gone. This would’ve told the viewers that the two were together and that Arya had a hand in saving Clegane after all. 

The battle between Jamie Lannister and Euron Greyjoy was a bit of a disappointment.

Sure, the revelation that Jaime is the baby's father would've been a bit cliche', but it still would've packed a lot of oomph and given fans the payback they wanted directed at Euron. He's an arrogant douchebag, and many people would've cheered to see him get his just desserts. The expression his face as he lay there dying, happy that he’d killed Jamie Lannister, would’ve faded fast if Jamie yelled back from the background, “Maybe so, but Cersei is carrying my child, not yours. My name will carry on, while yours . . .”

The deaths of Queen Cersei and Jamie Lannister should've been handled differently.

For starters, interspersed with the earlier battle, I would've prefaced their untimely demise with a few scattered shots of portions of the interior of the Red Keep collapsing, including the dungeons. There would’ve been soldiers and jailers running for their lives, some prisoners escaping, being crushed by falling rocks, etc. Later, I would've had Jamie and Cersei in the lower levels as took place, trying to escape, I would’ve had Arya (disguised as Qybrun – it’s easy enough to take a man's face when he's already dead and have “him” pretend he was only wounded) guiding them out, only to reveal herself just before they could make their escape. As is his character, a badly wounded Jaime would have valiantly tried to defend Cersei, only to be defeated handily by Arya. I would've had Arya announce that she’s decided to add Jaime to her "list", but then have Brienne arrive and stop her in mid-strike. (The Hound would've accompanied her but – now torn, loyalty-wise, between the two – wisely stayed neutral)

This would've set up for some intense and hateful vibes between the Queen and the "great cow" she despises, especially when she realized Jaime and Brienne have been intimate. The irony that a woman she despises, her romantic rival, was the only person keeping her alive, would’ve been particularly poignant. Arya and Brienne would've fought, with Arya eventually getting the upper hand and then stalking Cersei with murder in her eyes. Arya would've ignored a wounded Brienne's pleading and advanced on Cersei, reciting a list of all her crimes against the Stark family, her brother and mother’s murder, watching her father be executed, and more. Then, just as she was about to plunge her knife into Cersei's heart, Jaime would shout out that she's pregnant and plead for mercy for the innocent baby. This would stay Arya's hand after she exchanges glances with Jamie, Brienne, and the Hound. She would start to back away, perhaps making a comment that the Many-Faced Gods would deal with her himself. Cersei would smile, only to gasp in horror as a spear blade appears from her stomach. We'd see Ellaria Sand revealed behind her as Cersei collapses, escaped from the shattered dungeons and avenging the death of her daughter. Jamie would scream in anguish and crawl to a dying Cersei's side, only to stay with her to die as the place collapses and Arya and the Hound drag a distraught Brienne to safety.  

I thought the whole Bran notion of becoming King was a bit forced.

With his previous claims of not having any interests or desires, he formally eliminated himself as a potential candidate for king. Yet his statement, “Why do you think I came all this way”, implies that he knew everything would play out the way it did, so he becomes an almost “Sith-like”, and potentially malevolent, character. With his Three-Eyed Raven abilities, Bran would’ve served best as Hand of the king, with Jon on the throne and Tyrion as master of Coin or wine or some such. As happened. Brienne would’ve been given command of the King’s Guard, and the Hound could’ve ridden off with Arya, to watch her back as she explored what lay “West of Westeros”. This would’ve worked out better from a variety of angles. As King of the Six Kingdoms, Jon, or rather, Aegon Targaryen, would’ve agreed to free the North, yet still had an easy alliance with his sister, Sansa Stark. The Wildlings would’ve settled down, becoming far less warlike and troublesome, yet they would’ve also remained valuable allies, especially with them being beholden to Jon, not to mention his relationship with Tormund Giantsbane.

There are many other plot points that could be discussed but, at the risk of coming across as arrogant and presumptuous, there are the major ones that I would’ve addressed for that final episode. The series was fantastic and that last episode impressive, but I think viewers would’ve done a lot more cheering and less jeering if something along the line of these tweaks had taken place. But then again, I’m just a humble novelist and not the writer for one of the most watched series of all time. What could I possibly know?    


Max was born in Brooklyn and attended school in Philadelphia, where he graduated from the University of the Arts. Nowadays, he lives in Buck’s County, PA. He loves the water. Besides being a passionate angler, he is also a dedicated conservationist and likes to stay active. His hobbies include fishing, boating, boxing, and the collection of fossils and antiquities. At home, he shares his office with his daughter’s cat, Mace, an outsized Lynx Point Siberian Forest Cat with a particularly wry sense of humor. When he’s not lying in wait for Max underneath some piece of furniture, the “Minister of Fluff” sleeps on his desk as he writes.



As an author and senior editor with Absolute Author Publishing House, I am well aware that once you have finished writing and editing your book, the work to promote still lingers. If you are like most authors, the chore of marketing your book drives you crazy. Why can't I just write it, and people buy it? The fact is there are millions of books and novels for readers to choose and if they don't know about yours, they won't find it. There are many things that go into generating sells for your book besides having a fabulous book cover and a well-written manuscript. In fact, you have to brand yourself as an author and market, market, market, and re-market your book until you're blue and out of breath. I tried to take the hassle out of marketing for authors when I wrote my book HOW TO LAUNCH AND MARKET A BOOK: SIXTH MONTH COUNTDOWN. As I write this blog, the book is rated as #1, #2, and #6 in three different categories (see picture). And, the best part, for the next three days it will be free. That is my author's tip for today's blog. Get your copy today! It is my gift as a way to support authors.

Taken off of Amazon at 11:52 a.m. June 3, 2019