The Best “Game of Thrones” Characters Who Met an Inglorious and Unjust End

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One of the distinguishing features of the HBO show “Game of Thrones” is how often an important character is killed off in the show, sometimes apparently for no reason at all. When it’s a despicable villain – say Joffrey Baratheon, Ramsay Bolton or Walder Frey – it’s easy to brush off. Hey, they had it coming.

However, when it’s a favorite character who is essentially good and pure of heart, that’s when it’s so disturbing. Over the first seven seasons of the show, many “Game of Thrones” characters have met an early demise, but here are the characters who truly met an inglorious and unjust end.

#1: Catelyn Stark

The Lady of Winterfell was one of the strongest-willed female characters on the show, taking efforts again and again to protect the House of Stark from disaster. But eventually even Catelyn Stark was no match for the dastardly plot hatched by the House of Frey (and backed by the Lannisters). She had her throat slit at the Red Wedding, and even worse, was forced to watch Roose Bolton stab her son. She was also forced to bear horrific witness to the fatal stabbing of her pregnant daughter-in-law Talia and her unborn child.

#2: Ned Stark

During Season 1, the one character who seemed to emerge as the lead star of the show was Ned Stark, the Lord of the North who’s asked to become the Hand of the King at King’s Landing. That, of course, is when things take a turn for the worse due to the treachery of the Lannister family. In Season 1, Episode 9, we’re forced to watch his beheading at the request of the boy-king Joffrey. At that point, everything we thought we knew about “Game of Thrones” was challenged: Who exactly are we supposed to root for?

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#3: Ser Rodrik Cassel

Another character, another beheading. In this case, it’s Ser Rodrik Cassel, the master-at-arms at Winterfell. He has already proven himself to be a loyal servant to the House of Stark – and that’s exactly what makes him so expendable when Theon Greyjoy returns to the North to exact his revenge. His beheading is as grisly as it is savage, since it takes young Theon Greyjoy a few whacks of the sword (and a little kick, for good measure) to behead Ser Rodrick.

#4: Ygritte

Remember the Wildling from the North who became the love interest of Jon Snow in Season 4? He met her on a spying mission beyond the wall, and had a few tender scenes with her. We think that maybe – just maybe – there might be a chance that their romance will bloom and we’ll find out that Ygritte is some kind of important character In the future history of Westeros.

Instead, Olly shoots her with an arrow during the Battle of Castle Black. Even worse, the show includes a scene where Jon Snow looks into the eyes of Ygritte as she meets her inglorious and unjust end. (Of course, that makes a perfect pretext for revenge, and we’re happy when Jon Snow finally has his way with Olly).

#5: Jon Snow

Speaking of Jon Snow, he also met an inglorious and unjust end in Season 5, as his fellow brothers-in-arm take turns stabbing and wounding him. Of course, his death turns out to be only temporary, as Season 6 returns with a dramatic resurrection scene featuring the Red Priestess Melisandre.

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#6: Tommen Baratheon

In the battle for the Iron Throne, there have been plenty of contenders. Some of them, such as Joffrey, have shown themselves to be wicked, sadistic and cruel at heart. But Tommen Baratheon, the young boy of royal lineage, seemed to be an exception. Some critics of the show have said that he was just “too good to be king.”

And, indeed, the one time that he stands up to his scheming mother, she practically blows up the Sept of Baelor with magical wildfire. That takes place in Season 6, Episode 10, and by that point, we’ve already resigned ourselves to the fact that the final winner in the Game of Thrones is going to be someone who’s a real schemer. Tommen eventually commits suicide by jumping out of a window.

#7: Oberyn Martell

One of the grisliest deaths that ever took place on “Game of Thrones” involved Oberyn Martell and his battle with The Mountain. The episode called “The Mountain and the Viper” shows the trial by combat set up by Tyrion involving Oberyn Martell and the Mountain. Since Oberyn Martell wants revenge on the House of Lannister, we suspect that things aren’t going to end well.

And, indeed, after a brief moment when we think that Oberyn Martell might actually defeat the Mountain in combat, the Mountain jumps up from the ground and gouges out the eyes of Oberyn. He then proceeds to exert so much pressure on his skull that his head literally explodes. What an inglorious and unjust end!

#8: Shireen Baratheon

It’s hard to decide if the Starks or the Baratheons are more doomed to suffer terrible and misfortunate deaths. Shireen Baratheon seems to be relatively pure of heart, and we’ve already seen her good side plenty of times. That’s why it was so disturbing to see her final demise near the end of Season 5. She’s burned alive by the Red Priestess Melisandre as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light. Sadly, her tragic sacrifice never seems to bear the results hoped for by Melisandre and Stannis, so her death seems to be as pointless as it is tragic.

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To paraphrase Thomas Hobbes, life in Westeros can be “nasty, brutish and short.” That’s fair enough when it leads to violent deaths, inexplicable demises and cruel tortures for the “bad guys.” But when it means a sad and inglorious end for someone we’ve been rooting for, season after season, there’s something bittersweet about it all. But maybe that’s what keeps us watching – “Game of Thrones” seems to have an unmatched ability to pull us in and keep us watching, long after we know that one of our beloved characters has met a horrible fate.

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Why “American Assassin” Will Be Thrilling

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Forget Jason Bourne, there’s a new heartthrob action hero who’s taking down the bad guys around the world and his name is Mitch Rapp (played by Dylan O’Brien). The move “American Assassin,” based on the #1 New York Times bestseller of the same name, is a non-stop, action-driven, take-out-the-terrorists movie that doesn’t stop until the final credits. It’s easy to say that “American Assassin” will be a thrilling movie experience.

“American Assassin” features a super-assassin who’s young and lethal

The movie “American Assassin” has all the signs of being a major thriller-action franchise. The book series featured super-assassin Mitch Rapp in 16 different books, so you can pretty much bet that Hollywood has a good idea of what to do next. So think of this first film as an introduction to the youngest, hunkiest post-9/11 action hero that we’ve ever seen.

The core part of Mitch Rapp’s back story is that his beautiful girlfriend and fiancée (played by the incredibly lovely Charlotte Vega) has been gunned down in a terrorist incident at a beach resort in Tunisia, and now Mitch Rapp will stop at nothing to get his revenge on the Islamic terrorists. That includes becoming a lethal killing machine – he can handle a gun, of course. But he’s also trained in MMA and can handle throwing stars with the best of them. Just like Jason Bourne, he’s very much damaged – but at least he knows why. In a head-to-head cage match with Jason Bourne, Mitch Rapp would probably leave Matt Damon choking in the dust.

You see, Mitch Rapp doesn’t come with all the moral baggage of more traditional, pre-9/11 heroes. His job is to kill the bad guys, and he doesn’t really care how it’s done. That emphasis on the non-stop killing, while exciting for action fans (really, who doesn’t dream of massacring the terrorists?), has raised some questions in the liberal media, which has accused the filmmaker (Michael Cuesta) of taking an over-the-top “America first” approach to wiping out the bad guys.

But so be it. We’re in a new era now, and if the terrorists are going to be brutal and amoral when wiping out women and children in Paris, Brussels, and London, then they have it coming to them. And that revenge motif is something that the movie really delivers.

“American Assassin” is a global whirlwind that will leave you breathless

Just like in the “Bourne” film franchise, the action is a whirlwind of scenes, encounters and fight sequences all over the world. In the course of the film, we’re taken to destinations like Malta, Ibiza, Istanbul, Tripoli, Romania and Rome. And the action never lets up. You can be cynical and say that “American Assassin” is derivative in this regard, but you can’t ignore the fact that the scenes in places like Rome and Istanbul are just breathtaking.

“American Assassin” has a save-the-world plot you won’t believe

It seems like any great action film has to feature a rogue villain these days, and that’s exactly what “American Assassin” delivers. In this case, the rogue villain is “Ghost” (played by Taylor Kitsch) who may or may not have come up with a way to destroy the world. (Hint: it involves nukes)

At some point, in fact, this plotline might remind you of the last “Fast and the Furious” film, in which Vin Diesel briefly flirts with the idea of going over to the dark side to rescue his family. That film featured stunning CGI sequences of ships, nukes and cars. Who can forget the nuclear-armed submarine emerging from under the ice?

You could say that “American Assassin” goes one step further – it features the U.S. Navy, nukes, and a tsunami wave scene that has to be seen to be believed. This is a huge spectacle, and a save-the-world plot you won’t soon forget.

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“American Assassin” oozes machismo and testosterone

Did we mention that Mitch Rapp loves to sneer at people, that he won’t listen to authority, and that he enjoys bad boy sports (like drag racing and parkour). Oh, and he can really handle a gun. Some movie critics have suggested that the young protagonist could be a way to hook female viewers on this film franchise – these viewers might not like all the corpses piling up in the movie, but boy oh boy, does that kid have swagger. (One of his throwaway lines is, “If you’re not busy living, you’re dying.”)

Perhaps the only person who can tame this super-smart, super-badass kid is the character of Stan Hurley, an ex-Navy SEAL instructor played by Michael Keaton. It seems like it’s been awhile since we’ve seen Keaton do any blockbuster summer action films (he’s been too busy doing Oscar fare like “Birdman” and “Spotlight”), but he simply excels as the crusty mentor who teaches Mitch Rapp how to channel some of his instincts and reactions.

In one scene – perhaps the highlight of the whole trailer that the studio released before the film – Keaton’s character challenges Mitch Rapp to a duel of sorts. “Kill me,” he challenges the young newcomer. Well, you can imagine the ending to that. Mitch Rapp might think he’s a badass, but he’s on his back within seconds. Before he’s been fully trained, he’s no match for Stan Hurley.

Despite all the machismo in the film, it should be pointed out that two excellent female actresses (Sanna Lathan and Shiva Negar) also appear in the film in strong supporting roles. Negar, for example, plays a deadly and intriguing Turkish agent, while Lathan plays a no-nonsense U.S. intelligence chief.

“American Assassin” lives up to its #1 bestseller origins

The first weekend box office numbers are almost in, and it looks like “American Assassin” is going to be a hit with U.S. movie audiences. Most likely, the film will be a hit with global audiences as well. So (dramatic pause) get ready for what comes next; the preparation for the sequel to “American Assassin.”

Now that Matt Damon has appeared in his final “Bourne” film, it’s time to anoint the next great American super-spy and his name is Dylan O’Brien. If you’re looking for a thrill-a-minute Hollywood film experience, then “American Assassin” will not disappoint. It’s thrilling, action-packed and filled with plenty of action scenes you’ll enjoy re-watching once this film becomes available for streaming.

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What To Expect From Season 4 of “Transparent”

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Season 4 of “Transparent,” available exclusively via Amazon Prime Now starting on September 22, already has all the makings of being one of the most-anticipated shows of the new fall TV season. “Transparent” is already an award-winning Amazon Original, and now it looks like the show’s creator, Jill Soloway, is going to take “Transparent” in some wonderful new directions. Here’s what to expect from Season 4 of “Transparent.”

“Transparent” will be more political than ever before

When Amazon Studios released the trailer for Season 4 on July 28, it caused a firestorm of controversy and debate on the Internet. The release of the trailer was timed to coincide with the announcement by the Trump administration of a total ban of transgender soldiers in the U.S. military. Since the thematic content of “Transparent” is inextricably linked to the concerns of the LGBTQ community, you can just imagine how the show’s creator and cast reacted to the latest Trump decision!

It wasn’t just enough to release the trailer and let it speak for itself. No, not at all. Show creator Jill Soloway had already hinted that the 10 episodes from Season 4 would be “more political than they’ve ever been.” And so she convinced the cast to release a joint statement along with the trailer, proclaiming that the release of the trailer was actually an “act of resistance.” Not only that, but the statement specifically called out “Trump’s continued assault on the transgender community.” Jill Soloway and the cast then signed off on the statement, saying that they were “all trans or allies to the trans community.”

So get ready for a big political hubbub when the show premieres on September 22. Although the trailer for Season 4 didn’t appear to have any overt Trump references in it, you can expect that plenty of people will be buzzing about the show online. GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has also spoken out, saying that it will continue to monitor any and all anti-LGBTQ actions taken by the Trump administration.

“Transparent” will have new twists on LGBTQ sexuality

Get ready for more plot lines involving LGBTQ sexuality, especially those involving the star of “Transparent,” Jeffrey Tambor, who plays an older divorced man who reveals that he’s transgender. Once known as Mort Pfefferman, he’s now known as Maura Pfefferman. That, of course, has been the subject of much debate, speculation and heartbreak during the first 3 seasons of the show, as each of his three children – not to mention his ex-wife – struggle to come to grips with what that all means.

Well, it looks like things are going to get a big dramatic twist in Season 4. The trailer hints that Maura Pfefferman is going to start dating again – but this time, she/he will be dating a man! We don’t actually see a glimpse of what Maura’s boyfriend looks like, but it’s sure to be a focal point of Season 4.

“Transparent” will take the Pfeffermans to Israel

If there’s one thing that’s an absolute certainty about Season 4 of “Transparent,” it’s that much of the action will take place in Israel. People who have seen advance clips from the show say that it will focus on the “spiritual and political journey” of the Pfeffermans. One of the plot lines of Season 4 will involve Maura Pfefferman being invited to Israel for a major conference, where she will make a “startling” discovery.

Of course, there will be scenes featuring all the classic Israeli tourist experiences – the visit to the Western Wall, a trip to the Dead Sea and even a camel ride in the desert. The whole time, the Pfefferman family will be coming to grips not only with Mort Pfefferman’s gender transformation, but also their identity as a Jewish family.

And there looks to be plenty of humor here, as well, including some self-deprecating humor about what it means to be Jewish. At one point, one of the family members describes Israel as an Orthodox Jewish Disneyland. And there’s a funny scene where the Pfeffermans kneel down to kiss the holy ground, and they are promptly plowed into by two Orthodox Jews. It all looks to be very humorous.

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“Transparent” will continue to explore themes of love and family

Part of why “Transparent” has become such an award-winning show over the first 3 season is because it has taken an unflinching look at themes of love and family – and it looks like Season 4 isn’t about to slow down on the brakes.

The key to the success of the show, of course, is the brilliant ensemble cast that includes Amy Landecker (Sarah Pfefferman), Jay Duplass (Josh Pfefferman) and Gaby Hoffman (“Ali” Pfefferman) as the three 3 Pfefferman children. The family obviously is very close and loving – but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be dysfunctional!

There are so many interlocking plot lines that make “Transparent” so much fun to watch each new season. The one that is perhaps most talked about is the decision by Sarah Pfefferman to leave her husband for a woman (Tammy). That also raises all kinds of questions about identity and sexuality.

Season 4 of “Transparent” could push the show into the cultural mainstream

While “Transparent” is an Amazon Original, past seasons of the show are now airing on the Sundance Channel. That opens up the show to a vast new audience that might not have watched it before. On top of that, the show’s creators have already said that they will take a much more political approach to the show in 2017, potentially turning it into a huge controversial hit.

The combination of all those factors – the show’s award-winning cast, the amped up political message from creator Jill Soloway about the show during a point in time when everything is politicized, and the brand new Sundance audience – could be the perfect storm that finally tips “Transparent” into the cultural mainstream. The LGBTQ community has never been more relevant than it is today, and this amazing Amazon show could be the perfect way to shine an even bigger spotlight on their role within today’s very diverse America.

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What Fans Think of Marvel’s “The Defenders”

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The build-up to Marvel’s “The Defenders” has been going on for three years, and as of August 18, it’s finally available to watch on Netflix as a brilliant 8-part series. Judging from early fan reaction online, “The Defenders” seems to have done the impossible: it has brought together the story lines and plot lines for each of the four main characters (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist) in a way that’s fun to watch.

“The Defenders” unites the strands of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

For three years, Netflix and Marvel have partnered on shows for each of the four main heroes (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist). In some cases – as with “Iron Fist” – there was the sinking feeling that Netflix and Marvel were simply going through the motions, just to make sure all the pieces fit together when it was time to create “The Defenders.”

The basic premise of “The Defenders,” of course, is that four different characters are leading four different lives in New York City, each one of them individually focused on saving the city from villains. And, at some point, they decide that their powers are best used together, as part of a group called The Defenders.

That’s why the action in the first 2 episodes of “The Defenders” sometimes seems a little slow and clunky according to fans – the show is still setting up all the exposition and background to tie together all the strands in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In other words, there has to be a very good reason why all four of these individuals decide to meet up and fight crime together in New York.

“The Defenders” does a great job of mixing and matching the styles of the four superheroes

A lot of thought went into the creation of “The Defenders.” What the show’s producers wanted was a very seamless transition between all 4 of the shows, but also something that felt very new and different.

Take, for example, the fight scenes. We all know that each of the superheroes has a different fighting style. Daredevil (played by Charlie Cox) is trained as a boxer. Jessica Jones (played by Krysten Ritter) takes no interest in fighting, and simply wants each fight to be over as soon as possible. And Iron Fist (played by Finn Jones) can be somewhat hot-headed. Each of them has different fighting styles, and so the natural question of fans everywhere became: How would they all fight together as one unit?

The results, according to fans, have been breathtaking. “The Defenders” easily has the best fight scenes of any of the four Marvel/Netflix shows that preceded it. There’s an exuberance and energy on screen that’s a joy to watch. That’s one big lesson that the Marvel team took away from shows like “Jessica Jones” – they learned that fans wanted very tight, very streamlined fight scenes rather than ones that dragged on for a long period of time.

And the meshing of styles goes beyond just fight scenes. “The Defenders” also does a great job of capturing the right look for New York City, bringing us into the lives of our favorite superheroes. In some cases, it’s the result of re-creating the noir feel of “Jessica Jones,” in other cases, it’s capturing the type of music that would appear on the soundtrack of “Luke Cage” (which happens to be a big fan favorite).

Sigourney Weaver underwhelms as the villain in “The Defenders”

If there’s one thing that fans complained about, it’s the role of Sigourney Weaver, who plays the role of the evil and enigmatic Alexandra – the woman who may be trying to bring New York City to its knees. The show develops her as a particularly refined type of villain who enjoys classical music and Italian sculpture – but not as someone who’s “The Big Bad.” In short, fans found her to be “bland” rather than “menacing.”

In part, though, that’s a conscious choice made by the show’s producers. In many ways, they were threading a needle. They didn’t want to create the sort of over-the-top villain like you might expect from “The Avengers.” And they wanted a way to tie together the story of The Hand, which had already been developed in previous Marvel/Netflix shows. Finally, they needed a villain who was distinctly New York.

So, in many ways, Sigourney Weaver was the perfect choice. You could completely imagine her going for a stroll through the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue to check out some new Italian artwork from the Renaissance period before heading over to her high-powered corporate office near Central Park to cause evil and mayhem.

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“The Avengers” vs. “The Defenders”

It’s hard not to be impressed by the number of superheroes that Marvel has created. The only problem, according to fans, is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to make sense of which superheroes belong to which superhero unit. Moreover, which superheroes are from Marvel and which ones are from DC Comics? A common type of question that you’ll find online is something like, “Is Wolverine part of the Defenders?” (The answer is NO)

Right now, there’s the Defenders, the Avengers, the New Avengers, the X-Men, the Justice League, and the list continues to build. What makes things confusing is that Luke Cage was once part of The Avengers, and now he’s part of The Defenders. Moreover, the new trendy plot development technique by Marvel and DC Comics is to create all sorts of tension between the superheroes, such that they engage in feuds and wars with each other.

That’s why fans have been dying to hear from the show’s creators at events like Comic-Con to understand how the Defenders fit into the broader Marvel vision. The answer is a little confusing, but it seems to be that the Defenders are meant to be “street level heroes.” They are the type of hero who help the “everyday man” and are more like street vigilantes willing to take justice into their own hands. In contrast, the Avengers are more global, and tend to take on world-ending events – like a spectacular alien invasion, or a terrorist threat made by gods from another planet.

If you think of “The Defenders” as just a “war for New York” (as the trailer for the show suggests), it will help to make everything clear. These are distinctly New York City crime fighters with a bit of edge and grit to them. We’ve been waiting a long time for “The Defenders” to save New York City, and it’s a real joy to watch Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones all on the screen at one time.

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