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Tormund, the Hero We Deserve

And now, our watch is ending.

And yes, we’re all in a tizzy about it. Many words of anguish have been spilled over this final season of Game of Thrones, most of which boil down to three well-worn threads of rage:

  1. This isn’t how George R.R.R.R.R.R.R.R. Martin wants his books to end (Though he may end before the books do, ergo, this might be the end we get. Seriously, dude, eat a salad. Take some statins. Write a little faster).
  2. Dany’s not crazy. Yes she is. No she isn’t. Yes she is. No she’s not.
  3. Jon Snow Targaryen is about the dumbest leader and worst military tactician ever. (Not going to debate you on that one, but his hair sure is luscious).

Most of this anguish stems from the sunk-cost fallacy: The more you invest in something, like say, an epic television show, the harder it is to abandon it even after it has jumped the fire-breathing shark.

We’ve spent eight years with these characters (and yeah, we get it, some of you read the books starting back in 1996 – AND THEY’RE STILL NOT FINISHED, but, as a non-reader, that ain’t my problem) and just when we think we’re going to be paid off with an Avengers: Endgame-like spectacle, we get Jar-Jar Binks, or as I like to call him, Euron Greyjoy.

Before we go any further, I will offer the obligatory defense of the fact that I haven’t read the books: It doesn’t matter. We’re not debating the books. We’re debating the TV show, and I know from good television. After all, I am a veteran of seven special guest-star turns on a Daytime Emmy Award-winning cooking show. Don’t believe me? Check out my IMDb page.

As I was saying: There’s a point at which we should have abandoned the show, and followed its true protagonist to the exit, stage left: When Tormund walked away with Ghost and said a hearty eff-you to Jon Snow and his Aunty-Queen, we should have walked right along with him.

You see, Tormund is the true hero of Game of Thrones.

I know, I know: When you first started watching this show (not reading the books), you probably thought that the protagonist was Ned Stark – good guy fighting against a rigged system… then he died. Then if you’re anything like me, you thought, well, maybe it’s Robb Stark’s story – avenging his Dad’s death, earning the respect of his countrymen, being voted “King in the North” by his senior class… then he died. You might have given a passing nod to the idea that Bran was actually the true hero of this story… then Hodor died, and we wished that Bran and his three-eyed batshit-crazy bullshit would’ve died along with him.

And then you thought, well, maybe it’s Dany’s story… or maybe it’s Jon’s story.. or maybe it’s Jon and Aunty Dany’s… or maybe it’s Tyrion’s story… or maybe Sansa’s… or Arya’s (until she ended up in the slog that was the House of Black and White).

By this point it’s Season Whatever, and you’re too entwined with the story to give up, because HBO gives you just enough character development and gratuitous bloodshed to carry you over for another production year… because you are so face-down in sunk-cost fallacy and so knee-deep in FOMO that you can’t resist because you have to see how it ends (and then talk about it with your friends).

Truth is, Game of Thrones was over two episodes ago. Really, it was over after the Battle of (Darkness Fell at) Winterfell, but we just needed our hero Tormund to tell us it was over, right after Brienne tossed him over because the producers thought they needed to throw an anti-feminist bone to the Brienne-Jaime ‘shippers… because, why not? Who cares if it’s out of character, we only have three episodes left!

Heading into the finale, Tormund is really the only character who has had a complete arc: He starts out living free beyond the wall when this whiny little bitch Jon Snow and his Night’s Watch Crows come along and try to enlist Tormund and freefolk in their little war. Tormund resists: He wants to be free; he ain’t bending no knee to no one. Then Tormund fights an epic battle against the undead and realizes the whole “Live Alone, Die Together” moral of the story and joins up with Team Crow to battle the Night King whose only motivation seemed to be to stand ENTIRELY TOO LONG IN FRONT OF BRAN TO GIVE ARYA TIME TO GET FROM THE GREAT HALL TO THE FREAKY TREE TO KILL HIM.

Then, in the smoldering aftermath of a battle that seemed spectacularly short and incredibly lame for THE EXISTENTIAL BATTLE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH THAT CLAIMED TO BE, Jon tries to get Tormund to enlist in one final fight and Big T says, “Peace out, Crow. This ain’t my battle. You go bend that knee, bruh. Imma take your fine direwolf and ease on back north of the wall and be a free man… and maybe that sweet Brienne will see the light and come with.”

If I had turned Game of Thrones off when Tormund left the building, I could have abandoned the sunk-cost fallacy and fled the (dragon) Fyre Festival that was the penultimate episode (I also would have avoided watching the producers turn Ser Brienne the Brave into a mewling wench which was more of a dagger in the heart than anything Arya ever delivered).

Instead I will watch tonight, not so I can revel in the glory of Walter White’s demise, or laugh hysterically at Bob Newhart’s pillow talk, or weep with Alan Alda on the helicopter, but so I can bitch and moan with the rest of us as we decry our drowning moments in the sunk-cost fallacy, while my homie Tormund laughs and laughs and gives Ghost a belly rub.

A Super Day without a Stupid Bowl

Today, we are boycotting the so-called (and trademarked) “Big Game” because we are fans of the egregiously wronged New Orleans Saints. If you were watching the previous two weeks of Stupid Bowl hype (we weren’t), you’d think there’d be nothing to do on Sunday, February 3… but you’d be wrong. Here’s what we’re doing to pass the day without offering Goodelldermort one thin household rating point:

  • I’m going bra shopping. These girls can’t support themselves, and they sure as hell aren’t supporting Tom Shady, Bill Belicheater and the New England Hatriots or extremely handsome Sean McVey and his Los Angeles Scrams. I might look for something in black and gold.
  • We’re going to eat Chinese food in a restaurant without a television. In Scottsdale, Flo’s is having happy hour ALL. DAY. LONG. Look for us during our re-appropriated FOUR HOURS OF SADNESS AND ANGER as we drown our bitterness in extra spicy red curry, crab puffs and larb.
  • Speaking of eating, like true Louisianans, we are stuffing our rage down our food holes. We started this morning with waffles, bacon (natch) and mimosas (THANK GOD THE STUPID BOWL IS NO LONGER IN DRY JANUARY). Yesterday, Pat went to the store for provisions, which included two scratchers, a Powerball quickpick (net $24 profit!) a sack of gummy LifeSavers, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup, a dozen wings, a frozen meat-lovers pizza and vodka. We also have two gallons of gumbo that we made and froze last weekend. And three more bottles of Champagne: Dry January is over, bitches.
  • I might do my taxes… and while doing so, I’ll contemplate the fact that up until just five years ago, the NFHell was a nonprofit organization.
  • I will definitely do laundry… and even fold and put it away.
  • We would go outside and play, but it’s raining in Scottsdale, so going to the deserted Waste Management Phoenix Open to Xerox the most glorious Stupid Bowl of our lives is outta the question, but I think our odds for a repeat would be excellent if we wanted to brave the rain.
  • We will likely binge-watch The Punisher and imagine the Lombardi Trophy at the end of that sledgehammer.
  • We will wear our unofficial Saints logo gear ALL. DAY. LONG. (Once we change out of our pajamas… It’s 1:12 PM MST – 3 hours, 18 minutes to kickoff, as I’m writing this).
  • The good news is, YOU DON’T HAVE TO WATCH THE GAME. Goodelldermort doesn’t care who wins as long as your eyeballs are weeping the sweet nectar of TV ratings points (Los Angeles, #2 television market in America… Hmm). So if you’re conflicted and you can’t figure out whom to hate, REMEMBER: WHEN YOU WATCH, GOODELL WINS. So how does a Fixer Upper marathon sound, America?

YOU’RE INVITED: KREWE OF HELIOS-AZ MARDI GRAS PARTY & PARADE, PART 7

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LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULEZ! It’s Mardi Gras time!
Come one, come all to the Seventh Annual Krewe of Helios-Arizona Mardi Gras Parade and Party!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
4PM – 11PM
Pat and Stacy World Headquarters
24952 N. 74th Place
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
View Larger Map“>(Google Map)
Now most of you have been to one of our six previous adventures and already have the hang of how to celebrate Mardi Gras with the professionals from Louisiana. (Rule 1: don’t take off your clothes. SERIOUSLY. Do NOT take off your clothes.) But since many of you are NOT from the Pelican State and only have drunken recollections from college friends and “Girls Gone Wild-New Orleans” videos to go by, we’ve included the following handy guidelines for how to celebrate Mardi Gras the Krewe of Helios-Arizona way, aka – how you can get fed, fill up on hurricanes, avoid choking on plastic babies, score lots of beads and survive with your liver intact (though slightly compromised). Please read on for the wholesome goodness, aka What can you bring?

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SAVE THE DATE: Krewe of Helios-AZ Mardi Gras Parade & Party – February 21, 2009

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If today is the Epiphany, then Carnival Season is upon us… and that can only mean one thing:
1) You have no idea what I’m talking about (so you can go ahead and skip this entry)
2) You’re not Catholic (and neither are we)
3) You’ve had a hankering for a hurricane for the last three days, which means…
THE 7th ANNUAL KREWE OF HELIOS-ARIZONA MARDI GRAS PARADE AND PARTY IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!
Yes, it’s already been a year, so your livers and taste buds should be back in working order in time for the onslaught of olfactory pain known as Pat and Stacy’s Krewe of Helios-Arizona Gumbo, our authentic Louisiana red beans and rice, real Pat O’Brien’s Hurricanes (limit 2), true Sicilian muffalettas, and new this year, the redneck rampage known as Gene’s Garlic Cheese Grits (with jalapenos and bacon)… and who can forget the legendary Mardi Gras king cake shipped direct from New Orleans to hop your kids up on so much sugar you could have just as easily given them Red Bull with espresso chasers.
Come one, come all, come get as close as you can to the Big Easy without having to disrobe on public streets while little old ladies elbow you to grab trinkets worth less than a penny a piece. We’ll have advice on how to celebrate Mardi Gras in a later posting – for now, we just want to get on your dance card:
WHAT: KREWE OF HELIOS-ARIZONA MARDI GRAS PARADE AND PARTY
WHEN: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2009 from 4 PM* to 11 PM
WHERE: PAT AND STACY WORLD HEADQUARTERS ~ 24952 N. 74th PLACE, SCOTTSDALE, 85255
WHY: Because you need to celebrate Mardi Gras with the professionals.
*The parade will step off at 4; if you miss it, you likely won’t get fed and won’t catch any beads.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Stacy and Patrick Bertinelli
Krewe of Helios-Arizona
Captains and Co-Founders

Gratitude

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (aside from December 9, which is National Day of Celebration for the Birth of Stacy Feducia – mark your calendars). And on this Thanksgiving morning, I awoke to the sound of raindrops at my window – football weather in the desert – and I realized that I have so much to be thankful for on this grateful day…

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