A couple of weeks ago, I found a random biography of Napoleon III at the thrift store, so of course I bought it. It’s my reading catnip; I love French rulers — they have the messiest personal lives, which makes for excellent reading for someone with my superficial interests. Gossip is always fun, and historical gossip is among the best. Napoleon III and His Carnival Court (John Bierman) is nicely peppered with gossipy bits. The titular emperor — step-grandson and nephew of the great Napoleon — was an interesting character, with an active personal life. Married to the former Eugenie de Montijo, daughter of a Spanish noble and the preeminent fashion plate of her time, Napoleon had dalliances with a bevy of beautiful women from all over the continent. His rule, known as the Second Empire, coincided with a flowering of French culture and style. It also marked the heyday of the grandes horizontales (high class courtesans), whose world was immortalized by Emile Zola in the classic novel Nana — one of my favourite 19th century books, along with Zola’s Pot-Bouille.
Sadly, this biography does not appear to be available on Amazon Prime at this time, so I recommend Zola to you instead (think Balzac, but earthier). Or, if you want to read more about real-life famous French courtesans (including the inspiration for Zola’s Nana), try The Courtesans by Joanna Richardson. I also recommend Napoleon’s Buttons: 17 Molecules That Changed the World, which has nothing to do with Napoleon III and only a little with his namesake ancestor, but is a very entertaining science read.
In other news, I watched The Incredible Jessica James on Netflix and it was really good. A pretty straight-forward rom-com plotline, but with great dialogue and really engaging performances (and a nicely diverse cast). Highly recommend.
And, of course, Game of Thrones.
Mandatory spoiler warning.
I am throwing this extra paragraph in for anyone who needs it to X out of here. It’s not too late. Go. Come back on Monday for more non-GoT, fashiony stuff.
Are we alone now? Onwards.
I really enjoyed last week’s episode. OK, that’s an understatement. I loved it. I still feel like the show is dragging its feet on some of the plotlines — the Stark kids need to hurry up and put that Chekhov’s dagger to good use, for example. I love Littlefinger (he used to be my second fave character on the show, behind Jon — don’t even ask) but his time is over. Similarly, if the show is dead set on having Jon and Dany engage in incest-y shenanigans (it really sounds like a terrible idea when one puts it like that, doesn’t it?) then they might as well just get to it. They still have zero chemistry, but maybe Davos will narrate their hook-up for our benefit and then maybe it will seem somewhat plausible. Davos could sell anything, to anyone.
But none of that matters because the battle between the Lannisters and the Dothraki (and Drogon, of course) was everything we could have wanted it to be. I’m glad that HBO hasn’t burned (haha) through all of its CGI budget prior to this episode, because that was one amazing spectacle. I was on the edge of my seat for the last 15 minutes or so of the episode, even though I knew that neither Dany nor Jamie were going to die — Dany because she hasn’t shagged Jon yet (kidding but not really), and Jamie because he hasn’t killed Cersei yet. I think Drogon was and is equally safe, though I know some people are speculating that the spear was poisoned. I don’t think that’s likely. To be honest, I was afraid that Bronn was going to die. Clearly, his plot armor is as strong as Arya’s last season. I do hope he dumps the Lannisters soon, because they ain’t worth staring down the business end of a dragon as far as I’m concerned.
Other quick thoughts:
– I really struggled to understand some of Sansa’s reactions to her siblings, particularly to Arya’s mock fight with Brienne. I don’t know if that was just a questionable acting choice on Sophie Turner’s part or intended to be foreshadowing of some kind of inter-familial strife. I would love for the Stark kids to pull together — see my comment above regarding Littlefinger, but also in general — so I hope it was the former.
– I am guessing that Jaime is about to become a prisoner YET AGAIN, which is going to be interesting if it means that he and Tyrion are reunited.
– Destroying the grain carts? Maybe not the best move, Dany. Winter is coming and all.
– An Arya-Brienne-Hound reunion? I am THERE!!
Lastly, a confession. After watching the last episode, I caved and ended up tracking down a summary of the season 7 leaks online. I won’t discuss them here because, judging by what we’ve seen so far, they seem to be legit. I will say that while some of (purported) twists served to confirm my own speculations, others came as complete surprises. Oh, and one more thing: I have no idea how they are going to cram everything that is still supposed to happen this season into 3 episodes. It makes me really excited for Sunday night. THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GO DOWN.
Join me in my GoT speculation (or book talk) in the comments. Happy Friday!