Game of Thrones Season 7 Character Predictions: Part VIII

*READ PART VII OF MY GOT S7 CHARACTER PREDICTIONS HERE*

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for its seventh season on July 16, 2017. The season will be seven episodes long and each episode will have an extra 20-30 minutes of content to meet the usual 10 hours per season. Every Sunday leading up to the season premiere, I will be posting my Season 7 character predictions.

This week, I will make predictions for the dragons and direwolves!

THE DRAGONS

Drogon

Dracarys! -Daenerys Targaryen, Season 2 Episode 10, “Valar Morghulis”

Drogon is the greatest killing machine on the show.

He is the most independent and fiercest of Daenerys Targaryen’s three dragons. When the “Mother of Dragons” imprisoned two of her children, Drogon fled to the wild, where he grew larger than his siblings. When his mother is in danger, he always comes to her aid. He will get stronger and his bond with Dany will continue to grow in Season 7.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

Rhaegal and Viserion

Viserion? Rhaegal? -Daenerys Targaryen, Season 5 Episode 2, “The House of Black and White”

This is where things could get interesting.

After spending the past two seasons locked away in a dungeon beneath Meereen, Rhaegal and Viserion are free and off to Westeros with everyone else. So far, nothing has been able to stop the dragons. But it is worth noting that Rhaegal and Viserion, at best, have provided aerial support for Drogon, who usually takes the lead in dangerous situations. Now, they are large enough to battle, which is not necessarily the greatest thing in the world.

I think Rhaegal and Viserion will get taken down in Season 7.

Showrunners Dave Benioff and D.B. Weiss need to raise the stakes, and killing off two of Dany’s “children” would certainly do that. Not to mention, the show has killed off direwolves at an alarming rate. Why not the dragons?

Granted, dragons are formidable fighting machines, but they’re still mortal. It’s also worth noting that Essos had not seen dragons for hundreds of years since they burned the masters’ fleet last season. Of course they were not ready for such weapons. But it was only a few generations ago that dragons were alive and well in Westeros. Maybe Queen Cersei Lannister could have something up her sleeve that could neutralize them.

But the biggest threat to the dragons in Season 7 will be Euron Greyjoy.

*BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!*

In A Feast for Crows, Euron Greyjoy brings a dragon horn, a.k.a “Dragonbinder”, to the kingsmoot when the ironborn choose a new King of the Isles and the North. Euron wins by promising to conquer Westeros with dragons. In A Dance With Dragons, a red priest named Moqorro says that the Valyrian glyphs on the horn read “I am Dragonbinder … No mortal man should sound me and live … Blood for fire, fire for blood.”

The horn has yet to turn up on the show, but if Euron has it, that could cause all sorts of problems for Dany.

There’s also the possibility that Rhaegal and Viserion are still mad that Dany locked them up in Meereen. Tyrion does say that “dragons do not do well in captivity” and that they are “more intelligent than men, according to some maesters.” Both of them could act up to the point where Dany needs to put them down.

No one on the show knows how dragons will react to long periods of captivity, and that could prove deadly.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 10 percent

DIREWOLVES

Ghost

The runt of the litter. That one’s yours, Snow. -Theon Greyjoy, Season 1 Episode 1, “Winter is Coming”

Now that Wun Wun isn’t around to eat up the CGI budget, Ghost should play a bigger role in Season 7.

If you look back at the other Stark direwolves, all of them died for a reason. Lady had to go to advance Sansa’s storyline, Grey Wind died during the Red Wedding, Shaggydog died as a precaution so the Umbers could hand over Rickon to Ramsay Bolton, and Summer had to sacrifice himself so Bran could escape the giant weirwood tree.

There’s just no reason for Ghost to die at this point in the story. How can one call Jon Snow the “White Wolf” without a direwolf?

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

Let me know what your predictions are for GoT Season 7 in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131

Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor Will Tear America Apart

It’s actually happening.

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. (49-0) will fight UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor (21-3) in a boxing match on August 26 in Las Vegas. According to Yahoo, the fight could take place at either the MGM Grand Garden or T-Mobile Arena.

On paper, this fight seems to make sense. Both men are, in very different ways, “obnoxious” and fight in the 145 to 150 pound range. In addition, both fighters will likely get huge paydays, as McGregor pointed out a few months ago.

However, this fight between a boxer and mixed-martial artist will ultimately end in America tearing each other apart, limb from limb. All you need to do is look at the history of boxing, some of which involves Mayweather.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

America Couldn’t Handle Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries

On July 4, 1910, Jack Johnson, an African-American and then-world heavy weight champion, defeated Jim Jeffires by technical knockout. (White) People were so angry at the result that they started riots across the country. Here’s the story of just one of the riots in New York:

In the “black and tan” and “San Juan hill” negro sections mobs set fire to a negro tenement house, hurled stones at windows, and tried to keep the occupants in by blocking the exits. The fire department routed the mob.

America Couldn’t Handle Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney

On June 11, 1982, Holmes, an African-American and then-WBC heavyweight champion, took on Cooney, who promoter Don King dubbed as the “Great White Hope.” At the time, there had not been a white world heavyweight champion in 22 years, and Cooney was looking to change that.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of racial tension and animosity leading up to the fight. Both white supremacist groups and African-Americans stated that they would have armed supporters at the fight. There was even a story that police put sharpshooters on the roofs of hotels surrounding Caesars Palace for fear of violence.

Holmes picked Cooney apart and eventually knocked him out in the 13th round to keep his title. But perhaps the bigger story was that two judges had Holmes ahead by just two points when the fight ended. If Cooney did not have three points taken away from him during the fight for low blows, Cooney would have been ahead on the judges’ scorecards.

Nothing brings out the worst in people like a boxing match.

Remember When Mayweather Fought Ricky Hatton?

You don’t believe Americans will root for McGregor because he’s not from America? Guess again.

Do you remember when Las Vegas was Ricky Hatton’s backyard for one night in 2007? Listen to the crowd before Mayweather’s entrance:

If I didn’t tell you the place of the fight, you would have thought it took place in Hatton’s home country of England. Despite the “Born in the USA” entrance, Mayweather was a man without a country that night. The crowd booed him mercilessly before he easily defeated Hatton via TKO in the tenth round.

Americans will have no problem rooting for McGregor.

Remember When Mayweather Fought Oscar De La Hoya?

The fight took place on May 5, 2007, also known as “Cinco de Mayo.” Keep in mind, De La Hoya is of Mexican descent, though he did represent the United States in the Olympics back in 1992. Anyway, here is how Mayweather came out to the ring:

Obviously, wearing the sombrero to the ring was very problematic. But the point is that Mayweather is not going to have many fans backing him in this fight, as shown by the chorus of boos he received on his way to the ring. Even if he were to do something offensive to insult McGregor’s Irish nationality, it really won’t make much of a difference since most of America is already rooting against him.

Remember When Adrien Broner Fought Marcos Maidana?

Broner, an African-American, fought the Argentinian Maidana in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamodome. The 5,000 mile distance between Argentina and Mexico did not seem to matter, as the fans made it clear who they were rooting for that night (from ESPN’s Dan Rafael):

He [Maidana] had Broner in serious trouble as he winged hard shots from all angles. Broner was holding on as the crowd chanted, “Chino! Chino! Chino,” Maidana’s nickname.

Not to mention, Argentina and Mexico do not have a lot in common. But on that night in 2013, they sure received Maidana as one of their own. I can’t imagine how many people will watch this fight wrapped in an Irish flag or in some type of St. Patricks Day apparel.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Remember When Mike Tyson Fought Lennox Lewis?

Most of America will become Irish on Aug. 23. Boxing promoters are very good at getting the public to believe that the underdog can emerge victorious. People don’t even need an emotional attachment to the fighter to believe. They just need a reason.

Back in 2002, Mike Tyson fought then-WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in Memphis. This fight was at the tail-end of Tyson’s career and he was three years removed from biting Evander Holyfield’s ear off. He just wasn’t the same boxer he was in his prime.

Tyson came out in the first round and got picked apart. It was clear he was not going to win that fight. But because he was Mike Tyson, there were people who said, “He’s still got a chance.” When it comes boxing matches, people will convince themselves of something and hold on to that belief for as long as possible.

Don’t trick yourselves into thinking, “It only takes one punch.” Don’t trick yourselves into thinking that McGregor can win this fight.

Mayweather-McGregor Will Not Go Over Well in America’s Current Environment

You have all seen what has happened to America since November’s presidential election. America is more divided than ever along not just political lines, but racial lines.

Mayweather has used race baiting to promote fights in the past. More specifically, he has used those tactics against Latinos (see Oscar de la Hoya). His uncle and former trainer, Roger Mayweather, used to refer to himself as the “Mexican Assassin” due to his many wins over Mexican fighters. In five of the past ten years, Mayweather has fought on Cinco de Mayo weekend. All five of those opponents were of Latin descent.

Unfortunately, McGregor has dabbled in some race baiting as well, though not nearly to the extent of Mayweather. In a press conference last year, he called the little brother of opponent Nate Diaz “a little cholo gangster from the hood.”

From the promotion to the real fight itself, Mayweather-McGregor is nothing but a clown show. McGregor has absolutely no chance of beating Mayweather in a boxing match. Don’t buy the fight. You will not only be wasting your time, but you will be furthering the divide of the United States of America.

Game of Thrones Season 7 Character Predictions: Part VII

*READ PART VI OF MY GOT S7 CHARACTER PREDICTIONS HERE

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for its seventh season on July 16, 2017. The season will be seven episodes long and each episode will have an extra 20-30 minutes of content to meet the usual 10 hours per season. Every Sunday leading up to the season premiere, I will be posting my Season 7 character predictions.

This week, I will make predictions for characters now in Dorne.

DORNE

Ellaria Sand

We are everywhere in Dorne. I have ten thousand brothers and sisters. -Ellaria Sand, Season 4 Episode 2, “The Lion and the Rose”

Whether you like it or not, Dorne is an important site on the show. For one, Daenerys Targaryen will need to appease the people who rule it. If she completes her conquest of Westeros, she will need to install a ruler capable of keeping the peace among the people.

With two seasons left, it would not make sense to introduce more Dornish characters just so Dany can dispose of Ellaria and install someone else. It would be so much easier to just leave Ellaria alive and have her rule the South so we can all forget about Dorne.

Because we all want to forget about Dorne.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 85 percent

The Sand Snakes

The Sand Snakes are with me. They have the love of their people. They will avenge their father while you sit here in your chair doing nothing! -Ellaria Sand, Season 5 Episode 2, “The House of Black and White”

The Sand Snakes are incredibly expendable. They have been on the show for two years and have had little to no character development during that time.

Simply put, no one cares about the Sand Snakes.

Hopefully, we see some semblance of personality from one or two of them in Season 7, but die off they will.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: ZERO percent

Olenna Tyrell

Cersei stole the future from me. She killed my son. She killed my grandson. She killed my granddaughter. Survival is not what I’m after now. -Olenna Tyrell, Season 6 Episode 10, “The Winds of Winter”

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Olenna Tyrell is the “Ric Flair” of Game of Thrones: she is the dirtiest player in the game.

With one flick of her finger, she saved her granddaughter, Margaery, from marriage to the monster known as King Joffrey “Baratheon.” Best of all, Olenna did it before the marriage was consummated, so Margaery was still eligible to marry the next brother down. This eventually led to the deaths of Tywin Lannister, Myrcella “Baratheon”, and King Tommen “Baratheon.”

Now, only Queen Cersei Lannister remains. Olenna wants revenge and she may very well get it. Plus, we need more scenes like this in Season 7:

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

Let me know what your predictions are for GoT Season 7 in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131

Game of Thrones Season 7 Character Predictions: Part VI

*READ PART V OF MY GOT S7 CHARACTER PREDICTIONS HERE

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for its seventh season on July 16, 2017. The season will be seven episodes long and each episode will have an extra 20-30 minutes of content to meet the usual 10 hours per season. Every Sunday leading up to the season premiere, I will be posting my Season 7 character predictions.

This week, I will make predictions for characters now in Winterfell.

WINTERFELL

Jon Snow

I don’t care if he’s a bastard; Ned Stark’s blood runs through his veins. He’s my king, from this day until his last day! -Lyanna Mormont, Season 6 Episode 10, “The Winds of Winter”

THE KING IN THE NORTH! THE KING IN THE NORTH! THE KING IN THE NORTH!

Jon Snow became Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch through hard work and bravery. Unfortunately, some people didn’t see it that way. But thanks to Melisandre, Jon rose from the dead and “avenged the Red Wedding” when he defeated Ramsay Bolton last season. He is a hero in every sense of the word.

Jon Snow is not dying again.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

Ser Davos Seaworth

“…there’s no hiding from this. We have to fight. And we need to do it together.” -Ser Davos Seaworth, Season 6 Episode 7, “The Broken Man”

Ser Davos is one of the few characters on the show with little to no blood on his hands. Sure, he fought beside Stannis Baratheon for most of the series, but he played no role in Stannis’ questionable acts, such as killing Renly Baratheon or burning little Shireen Baratheon. Ser Davos combines pragmatism with honor, which is why he will likely serve as Hand to the King in the North. To even have a chance against the dead, Jon will need to recruit a lot more people to his cause. To do that, he will need persuasive people like Ser Davos at his side. Remember what he did at the Iron Bank for Stannis and his speech at Bear Island to Lyanna?

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

Sansa Stark

I did what I had to do to survive, my lady. But I am a Stark, I will always be a Stark. -Sansa Stark, Season 6 Episode 7, “The Broken Man”

HOT TAKE: I think Sansa will die this season.

Right now, she has two options:

1) Support Jon Snow and his fight against the dead, essentially betraying Littlefinger’s “picture” in the process.

2) Side with Littlefinger and continue to play the “game of thrones” all the way to the Iron Throne.

I would place my money on the latter option. But would Sansa do that because she wants to rule? Or does she plan to foil Littlefinger’s plans and eventually kill him? Both are possibilities, but once again, I would go with the latter option. But is that the right option?

Littlefinger is one of the best “game-players” on the show. For one, he started the entire chain of events when he told Lysa Arryn to poison her husband, Jon Arryn. He also knows that the Starks have “quick tempers and slow minds.” Littlefinger will know if Sansa tries to pull something, and I don’t think that it’s entirely out of the question that he will cause her eventual death because of a potential betrayal.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 20 percent

Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish

Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but refuse. They cling to the realm, or love, or the gods… illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is. -Littlefinger, Season 3 Episode 6, “The Climb”

Besides Queen Cersei Lannister (who we’ll get to in a few weeks), Littlefinger is the next-easiest character to predict. He will die in Season 7, and likely at the hands of Sansa. She may not kill him directly – that could be Jon’s job – but she will certainly bring about his downfall.

Once Catelyn Stark died in Season 3, Littlefinger immediately turned his attention to Sansa. Unfortunately, she is unaware that he has brought nothing but destruction and devastation to her family, specifically her father back in Season 1. Littlefinger is out for himself, but with the white walkers on the horizon, there’s not much room left for those kinds of game players.

Not to mention, no one really cares about Littlefinger. On the other hand, Sansa could find out information from former allies that will make sure that she ends Littlefinger’s plan once and for it. There’s a number of potential informants:

1) Her former husband, Tyrion Lannister
2) Varys, one of Littlefinger’s rivals
3) The Hound, who was in the throne room when Littlefinger turned on her father
4) Her brother, Bran, who could learn about it via a vision

Chaos may be a ladder, but Littlefinger fall off that ladder to his death in Season 7.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: ZERO percent

Tormund Giantsbane

Plenty of little men tried to put their swords through my heart. And there’s plenty of little skeletons buried in the woods. -Tormund Giantsbane, Season 3 Episode 1, “Valar Dohaeris”

First off, can we take a moment to appreciate the greatness of this video?

Anyway, no character in Game of Thrones loves life more than Tormund. He’s loyal and a natural-born leader who genuinely cares for his fellow wildlings, as well as close allies like Jon. He survived the Battle for Castle Black, the Massacre at Hardhome, and the Battle of the Bastards. But unfortunately, this is Game of Thrones, and valar morghulis (all men must die). If Tormund keeps putting himself in the line of fire, how much longer does he really have left?

Unlike fairy tales, fan favorites on Game of Thrones get the horrible deaths (i.e. the Starks, Oberyn Martell, etc.). As much as I would hate to see it, Tormund could be next up. Much to his detriment, he is in the important-but-not-too-important character group, so the show won’t lose a lot if they decide to kill him off. I really hope it doesn’t happen, though.

Who else is going to hilariously gawk over Brienne?

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 45 percent

Wyman Manderly, Robett Glover, Cley Cerwyn

THE KING IN THE NORTH! THE KING IN THE NORTH! THE KING IN THE NORTH! -All three of them, Season 6 Episode 10, “The Winds of Winter”

Just to refresh your memory, they are the three main lords who pledged their house to Jon in the Season 6 finale.

All three could play a role in Season 7 and maybe earn a role in Jon’s new cabinet, but they don’t offer much in terms of advancing the plot. We don’t really know them and honestly, we don’t really care about them. If the White Walkers begin their assault later in Season 7, these three lords and their men will likely be at the top of the death list.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 15 percent

Lyanna Mormont

If they [House Mormont] are half as ferocious as their lady, the Boltons are doomed. -Ser Davos Seaworth, Season 6 Episode 7, “The Broken Man”

Have you ever seen a more badass ten-year-old than Lyanna Mormont?

She’s fiercely loyal to Jon and possesses the leadership skills of her late uncle Jeor Mormont, the late Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Combine that with her ability to call out northern lords, and you have one of the most likable characters on the show.

Like most northern forces, House Mormont took a major hit at the Red Wedding, leaving them with a 10-year-old leader and only 62 men to offer the Starks in their time of need. But as shown by Ser Jorah Mormont, Lyanna’s cousin, the Mormonts are a tough out.

As enemies gather in the south, White Walkers march in the north, and winter freezes everything solid, Lyanna’s massive heart and fortitude will undoubtedly lift the spirits of everyone around her. Game of Thrones needs a character who can offer lightness in an ever-increasing dark world.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

“Bronze” Yohn Royce

The beauty of the Vale is matched only by the nobility of its great families. Lady Arryn often told me that you were her rock, Lord Royce. -Littlefinger, Season 4 Episode 8, “The Mountain and the Viper”

Ever since Littlefinger pushed Lysa out the Moon Door, “Bronze” Yohn Royce has been the face of the Vale. He commanded the Knights of the Vale when they helped Jon and his troops at the “Battle of the Bastards.” In the Season 6 finale, he was the one upset about “wildling invaders.”

If the Knights of the Vale stay at Winterfell, Royce will likely be on the front line of the war with the White Walkers, which doesn’t bode well for his survival. Not to mention, he is not that politically savvy, which could be a problem if he picks a fight with Littlefinger again.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 10 percent

Let me know what your predictions are for GoT Season 7 in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131

Game of Thrones Season 7 Character Predictions: Part V

*READ PART IV OF MY GOT S7 CHARACTER PREDICTIONS HERE*

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for its seventh season on July 16, 2017. The season will be seven episodes long and each episode will have an extra 20-30 minutes of content to meet the usual 10 hours per season. Every Sunday leading up to the season premiere, I will be posting my Season 7 character predictions.

This week, I will make predictions for characters now in Oldtown and Horn Hill.

OLDTOWN

Samwell Tarly

“I saw it with my own eyes on our way down to Castle Black. He drove a dagger into the walker’s heart. He risked his own life to save mine more than once. He’s a greater warrior than either of you will ever be.” -Gilly, Season 6 Episode 6, “Blood of My Blood”

There is a compelling case for Samwell as the most knowledgable character on Game of Thrones. As the former steward of Maester Aemon Targaryen, Sam knows all the great houses of Westeros and even penned responses to some of them. Now at the Citadel, he will only expand his knowledge on the history of the realm.

When it’s all said and done, I think Samwell will be the Grand Maester to the new ruler of the Seven Kingdoms (which is a topic for another day). I mean – someone has to write a book about all of this, right?

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

Gilly and Little Sam

The thing about Gilly that’s so interesting… is after all that Craster’s done to her, she’s still got hope that life might get better.” -Samwell Tarly, Season 2 Episode 10, “Valar Morghulis”

Gilly has certainly come a long way from Craster’s Keep. Since then, Gilly and Samwell have fallen in love and formed one of the sweetest romances in the Seven Kingdoms.

Now at the Citadel in Oldtown, it’s safe to assume that Samwell will discover something pivotal as it relates to the looming war with the White Walkers. How long that will take, though, is unknown. That being said, it’s likely that Samwell and Gilly will stay at the Citadel for most of Season 7, which bodes well for Gilly and Little Sam’s survival chances. Not that anyone would want to kill a baby – thank goodness Janos Slynt is dead.

Granted, there could some threats lurking around Oldtown, similar to the A Song of Ice and Fire books. But barring something unforeseen, Gilly and Little Sam should make it through to the last season.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

HORN HILL

Randyll Tarly

I thought the Night’s Watch might make a man of you – something resembling a man at least. You managed to stay soft and fat, your nose buried in books, spending your life reading about the achievements of better men. I’ll wager you still can’t sit a horse or wield a sword… -Randyll Tarly, Season 6 Episode 6, “Blood of My Blood”

This guy is a first-class asshole. What kind of father threatens their son with death?

Not to mention, Lord Randyll is a loser. He fought with the Targaryens in Robert’s Rebellion and initially supported Renly Baratheon back in Season 2. As a vassal family to House Tyrell of Highgarden, Horn Hill’s forces will likely support Olenna Tyrell and Daenerys Targaryen. The Mother of Dragons is certainly no loser, but who knows what will happen in Season 7.

Randyll is not likely to show up that often in Season 7. If he does, expect him to exact revenge on Samwell for stealing the family’s valyrian steel sword and fleeing to the Citadel. With the support of Dany and her dragons, Randyll will likely make it to Season 8.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 75 percent

Let me know what your predictions are for GoT Season 7 in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131

Game of Thrones Season 7 Character Predictions: Part IV

*READ PART III OF MY GOT S7 CHARACTER PREDICTIONS HERE*

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for their seventh season on July 16, 2017. The season will be seven episodes long and each episode will have an extra 20-30 minutes of content to meet the usual 10 hours per season. Every Sunday leading up to the season premiere, I will be posting my Season 7 character predictions.

This week, I will cover characters now located beyond The Wall.

BEYOND THE WALL

Prince Bran Stark

My dreams are different. -Prince Bran Stark, Season 2 Episode 4, “Garden of Bones”

Bran is now the Three-Eyed Raven, which means he has the power to see into both the past and future. He has some very important information to relay to Jon Snow and will likely uncover even more nuggets in Season 7. Bran has not yet learned how to control his power, which makes killing him off pointless.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 precent

Meera Reed

Some people will always need help. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth helping. -Meera Reed, Season 3 Episode 2, “Dark Wings, Dark Woods”

Meera is one of the few characters in Game of Thrones that is truly a good person. She may have lost her brother, Jojen, to the undead, but that has not affected her duties as Bran’s bodyguard, a role of paramount importance after Hodor held the door.

Considering the high mortality rate of all those who have tried to protect Bran, Meera’s survival chances don’t look so good. However, someone needs to carry him, protect him and march through the cold winter to get him where he needs to go. Why not Meera?

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 90 percent

Benjen Stark

The great war is coming, and I still fight for the living. I’ll do what I can… as long as I can. -Benjen Stark, Season 6 Episode 10, “The Winds of Winter”

Like Jaqen H’ghar and Daario Naharis, I’m torn on whether we will see Benjen Stark in Season 7.

Notice how I said “Season 7.”

Before rescuing Bran and Meera last season, Benjen had not appeared since Season 1. In other words, last season was a cameo appearance. Cameos don’t come back each season. Otherwise, they stop being cameo appearances.

So I do believe Benjen will return at some point – just not in Season 7. He’s more likely to come back in Season 8 once the “great war” has begun.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

The Night King

The true enemy won’t wait out the storm. He brings the storm. -Jon Snow, Season 6 Episode 10, “The Winds of Winter”

That’s an understatement.

The Night King is the most powerful character on the show. Not only does he command a large army of undead, but he can turn the recently deceased with a mere raise of his arms. His army only grows larger with each battle.

So how in the world can anyone defeat the Night King?

Well, it’s worth stating that the Night King was created by the Children of the Forest as a way to defend themselves from the invading First Men, who were cutting down their sacred Weirwood trees and slaughtering fellow “Children.”

The Night King and his fellow White Walkers have two known weaknesses – obsidian (a.k.a. dragonglass) and Valyrian steel. But even if every living person in Westeros possessed these weapons, it would be extremely difficult to kill the army and Night King’s lieutenants, let alone the leader himself.

The Night King is heading south towards the Wall and – let’s be honest – will likely succeed in invading the lands of men. As for defeating the living, that may have to wait until Season 8 after everyone in the South stops fighting over a stupid iron chair.

In the end, I do believe the Night King and his army will defeat the living and ultimately return to the Lands of Always Winter, but that’s a theory for a different day.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

Let me know what your predictions are for GoT Season 7 in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131

Game of Thrones Season 7 Character Predictions: Part III

*READ PART II OF MY GOT S7 CHARACTER PREDICTIONS HERE*

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for their seventh season on July 16, 2017. The season will be seven episodes long and each episode will have an extra 20-30 minutes of content to meet the usual 10 hours per season. Every Sunday leading up to the season premiere, I will be posting my Season 7 character predictions.

This week, I will cover characters now in unknown locations.

UNKNOWN LOCATIONS

Melisandre

The night is dark and full of terrors, old man, but the fire burns them all away. -Melisandre, Season 2 Episode 1, “The North Remembers”

I hate Melisandre. I mean… how can you not?

Thank goodness Jon Snow sent her packing from Winterfell.

Melisandre has headed south, so it would make sense for her to run into someone heading in the opposite direction – like the Brotherhood Without Banners. For one, she can reunite with a fellow red priest, Thoros of Myr. That would certainly make for some very insightful conversations about the Lord of Light.

Granted, if she does head back north with the Brotherhood and they end up at Winterfell, things could get ugly. Ser Davos Seaworth promised to execute her if she came back and I don’t see any reason he should go back on his word.

But the fact is that Melisandre is too interesting to kill off now. Will anyone find out about her true age? How did she develop her powers? What other abilities does she own? As much as it pains me to type this, there’s just too many unanswered questions.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 90 percent

Ser Jorah Mormont

I love you. I’ll always love you. -Ser Jorah Mormont, Season 6 Episode 5, “The Door”

Remember when Ser Jaime Lannister said, The things I do for love, before pushing Bran out of the tower window?

Now think about all that Ser Jorah Mormont has done out of love for Daenerys Targaryen – ignoring his multiple banishments from Meereen, capturing Tyrion Lannister, fighting off the Stone Men in Valyria, contracting grayscale, getting captured by slavers, spending time in Meereen’s fighting pits, saving Dany in the ambush by the Sons of the Harpy, and saving Dany again at Vaes Dothrak.

Jorah just won’t go away.

Sure, Jorah has done some not-so-cool things in his life such as selling slaves and spying on Dany for Varys. But he’s never been a bad person. He is a brave man who, again, has saved Dany’s life on multiple occasions.

But unfortunately, he had to go away when he revealed to Dany that he contracted grayscale.

So where will Jorah find this cure? It’s certainly out there, as Stannis Baratheon pointed out in Season 5. But will he find it in time? That is the big question.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 50 percent

Gendry

You wouldn’t be my family. You’d be my lady. -Gendry, Season 3 Episode 5, “Kissed by Fire”

Well, it’s about time Gendry showed up.

Last time we saw him, Davos freed him from Dragonstone and told him to head back to King’s Landing, specifically Flea Bottom, where he was born. But wouldn’t make sense for him to somehow return to the Riverlands and reunite with the Brotherhood Without Banners? This would also make for a potential reunion with Arya Stark, his lady, as well.

In terms of the big picture, Gendry could certainly play a role in the battle against the White Walkers. His experience as a blacksmith would go a long way in terms of potentially crafting Valyrian steel swords. As of now, only Jaime, Jon, Samwell Tarly and Brienne of Tarth have a Valyrian steel sword. Other ancestral swords, such as the Tarly’s “Heartsbane”, will likely show up over the next two seasons.

Gendry is also the bastard son of King Robert Baratheon. This will come up at some point, though maybe not in Season 7. It would be awesome to see him survive the war against the White Walkers and revive House Baratheon, with Arya as his lady.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 95 percent

Let me know what your predictions are for GoT Season 7 in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131

Colin Kaepernick *May* Be Getting Blackballed from the NFL

It’s been almost two weeks since the NFL Draft, and Colin Kaepernick still does not have a job in the National Football League.

Keeping in mind that he underwent offseason shoulder surgery before the 2016 season, Kaepernick played in twelve games. He ended the season with 2,241 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, four interceptions, 468 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. According to NFL analyst Cian Fahey, Kaepernick is one of the more accurate passers in the NFL and the wide receivers on last year’s 2-win San Francisco 49ers squad dropped a lot of catchable passes.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

So why doesn’t Kaepernick have a job in the NFL? Well, the popular theory is that he is getting “blackballed” from the NFL for not standing during the playing of the national anthem before each game. There is certainly evidence that this is the case.

Fans burned his jersey.

Former NFL quarterbacks referred to his actions as “an embarrassment.”

Anonymous NFL executives have called him “a traitor.”

He got blamed for the NFL’s drop in ratings. Guess who?

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

He’s also received death threats, for what that is worth.

So Kaepernick is getting blackballed… right?

A few weeks ago, Tim Kawakami of the San José Mercury News said that his line of blackball demarcation was Kaepernick’s former teammate – quarterback Blaine Gabbert. In other words, if Gabbert got an NFL job before Kaepernick, then we need to start asking some serious questions about whether the NFL is blackballing Kaepernick.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Well, Gabbert just got a job with the Arizona Cardinals. Keep in mind that Gabbert lost his starting quarterback job last season to Kaepernick after five games and finished the season with five touchdowns and six interceptions.

This prompted Kawakami, as well as Yahoo’s Charles Robinson, to write a column on the “disinformation” surrounding Kaepernick.

“Kaepernick is not in football shape.”

Apparently, he’s back up to “2013 playing weight” of 230 pounds. So clearly, his vegan diet is affecting his muscle mass, right?

“Kaepernick wants too much money.”

This is false because he has not even had one meeting with an NFL team. He’s not demanding $9 to $10 million per season, which is popular theory among NFL circles. Yesterday on ESPN’s The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, The Nation‘s Dave Zirin said this about Kaepernick’s “demands”:

None of that is true. I spoke to Kaepernick and what he said was that he was training every day. He’s in the best shape of his life, he loves football, he wants to play, and then I spoke to people around Kaepernick… and they said to me that they have gotten no calls… You’re talking about a total ghosting of Colin Kaepernick… He’s asking for an invite to [training] camp and he’s asking for a sit-down and a meeting. We’re talking the most barebones level. He’s asking for some kind of engagement with the National Football League and the chance to play quarterback in the National Football League and that is not being offered to him.

So NFL executives are willing to call and see what Gabbert wants as opposed to Kaepernick? Interesting.

So… blackballed?

Well, let’s pump the brakes for a second.

Based on the evidence above, it is certainly fair to question whether Kaepernick is being blackballed. However, it’s hard to say that in a definitive statement because the concept of “blackball” is very difficult to prove.

Here is the more important question:

Why are people so confident that Kaepernick is not getting blackballed?

It’s important to point out that “quarterback” is the scarcest position in all of sports. It’s very difficult to find a decent quarterback, let alone a good to great quarterback. It’s crazy to think that an NFL team won’t even have a meeting with a quarterback who has played in the Super Bowl and has won multiple playoff games.

“Kaepernick is not good anymore. He doesn’t fit in many NFL offenses.”

How many systems does Gabbert fit?

More importantly, how many systems did Michael Vick fit? From 2009 to 2015, three different NFL teams signed Vick to back up their current starting quarterback. So a team wouldn’t have to change their system to accommodate Vick, a mobile quarterback who was on the verge of getting run out of the NFL before getting sent to prison?

Even if there is no concerted effort by the NFL to keep Kaepernick out of the league, how can anyone say that the issue is not related to the national anthem or the work he does to advance the cause of marginalized people in the United States?

“Signing Kaepernick would be bad public relations.”

So is this bad PR?

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Community first !! 100suits & Colin Kaepernick @ Queens parole

A post shared by Kevin Element Livingston (@100suits) on Apr 30, 2017 at 5:28am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Wouldn’t our country be a lot better if people who got out jail could find jobs? If those people do not have jobs, what do you think is most likely to happen?

The work that Kaepernick is doing is worthy of the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Is this the bad public relations?

Or what about this:

There was zero distraction. He met with the team immediately after [his first protest]. He met with the other team leaders. He explained his position and where he was coming from. And literally, that was it. Colin was focused on football. He was all about the team and trying to help us win.

This is a direct quote from then-49ers head coach Chip Kelly, who was once questioned for his ability to get along with independently minded black players.

It seems like there were not any problems with Kaepernick.

So what is the “bad PR?”

Here’s another important question – do you think Kaepernick provides bad PR for black people?

The point being, this bad PR is another way of saying that, “We are scared that white people will not tolerate Kapernick’s presence.”

White fans in Philadelphia sure got over Vick and his dogfighting scandal. The Cincinnati Bengals sure got over Joe Mixon punching a woman back in the 2014.

It seemed like fans in San Francisco were tolerant of Kaepernick. Granted, the Bay Area is a bit more liberal than other places, but it’s not like the population isn’t majority-white.

This “intolerance” of Kapernick is not bad PR. It is fear that people are too racist to deal with Kaepernick and his views, which is likely not true. There is no way that all the charity work he has done is bad PR.

BOTTOM LINE

Again, it is difficult to definitely say that the NFL is blackballing Colin Kaepernick. On the other hand, no one can definitively say that he is not getting blackballed either.

Game of Thrones Season 7 Character Predictions: Part II

*READ PART I OF MY GOT S7 CHARACTER PREDICTIONS HERE*

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for their seventh season on July 16, 2017. The season will be seven episodes long and each episode will have an extra 20-30 minutes of content to meet the usual 10 hours per season. Every Sunday leading up to the season premiere, I will be posting my Season 7 character predictions.

This week, I will cover characters now in the Iron Islands, Meereen and Castle Black (a.k.a The Wall).

IRON ISLANDS

Euron Greyjoy

I am the Drowned God. From Oldtown to Qarth, when men see my sails, they pray. -Euron Greyjoy, Season 6 Episode 2, “Home”

Sea battle, anyone?

There will be a lot of praying when Daenerys Targaryen and company go head-to-head with Euron and his 1,000 ships. I mean, why else would anyone build 1,000 ships? For a cruise?

Fortunately for Dany and company, Euron has no chance of coming out on top in any sort of battle. The main purpose of his character is to serve as an obstacle for Dany and her fleet on her way to Westeros. He’ll do his damage and die, probably early on in Season 7 as well.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: ZERO percent

MEEREEN

Daario Naharis

All rulers are either butcher or meat. -Daario Naharis, Season 5 Episode 7, “The Gift”

Like Jaqen H’ghar in Part I, I’m torn on whether we will see Daario again.

Last time we saw him, he was parting ways with Dany, who told him to stay in Meereen to enforce her peace. Technically, as the main commander of a big city, Daario is an important character. Then again, he’s not really all that important when it comes to future storylines in Westeros.

Then again, this quote from an interview with Entertainment Tonight back in September says otherwise:

Yes I do [plan to return], and I’m not supposed to spoil that.

So with that in mind, what could be in store for Daario in Season 7? Well, here are three potential storylines:

1) Ser Jorah Mormont somehow cures his greyscale and returns to Meereen, looking for Dany. Daario tells him to follow her to Westeros. Goodbye forever, Daario?

2) Slaver’s Bay (a.k.a the Bay of Dragons) is still in a bit of chaos, and with Dany’s dragons gone, the slave masters could potentially rise up again. In the end, Daario would end up biting the dust via one of the slave masters.

3) Combine 1 + 2 – Jorah returns to Meereen and finds it in chaos. He finds Daario and asks him to go with him on another road trip, this time across the Narrow Sea. Hopefully, the two of them won’t kill each other battling for Dany’s love on the way there.

Again, I’m not sure about Daario. We will have to wait and see.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 50 percent

CASTLE BLACK

Eddison Tollett

I always imagined I would end up doing much worse. -Eddison Tollett, Season 2 Episode 8, “The Prince of Winterfell”

“Delorous Edd” has been through it all… the first white walker attack, the mutiny at Craster’s Keep, the Battle of Castle Black, and the Massacre at Hardhome. He also proved his loyalty by defending Jon Snow’s body from Ser Alliser Thorne and his followers.

Unfortunately, I think Edd will be the last Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Winter is here and the White Walkers are coming. Edd and his brothers are the first line of defense against the Night King and his army, who are capable of breaching the Wall. The brothers of the Night’s Watch will likely be nothing more than a speed bump for the Night King as he continues to make his way south.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 10 percent

Let me know what your predictions are for GoT Season 7 in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. Album Review

BACKGROUND INFO

ARTIST: Kendrick Lamar
ALBUM: DAMN.
RELEASE DATE: 14 April 2017
LABEL: Top Dawg Entertainment
GENRE: Hip Hop

CONTEXT

This is the fourth full-length album from American rapper and Compton, CA. native, Kendrick Lamar. He has a very solid discography and is known for his versatility. On his first album, Section.80, his style was a bit more raw, but still delivered in terms of content. His second album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, told the story of his upbringing while blending in some skits. But perhaps his best project to date is his third album, To Pimp a Butterfly, which combined elements of jazz and hip-hop with socially aware and, frankly, pro-black content. Since the release of that album, more and more artists have begun to release more socially conscious music. In that respect, Kendrick is one of the few trend setters in the music industry.

SO HOW WAS THIS ALBUM? LET’S GO TRACK-BY-TRACK!

WARNING: The lyrics do contain explicit language which may be offensive to some viewers. I only include the lines I feel are most important to the overall message of the album.

1. BLOOD.

Kendrick goes to help a blind lady cross the street, but then… he gets shot.

Yeah.

After that, we hear this clip from FOX News where Giraldo Rivera and the other clowns critique Kendrick’s lyrics for being too “anti-police.”

Obviously, there is a very serious lack of understanding…

2. DNA.

…which carries into the bridge of this song. When Kendrick says, I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA, we also hear Rivera, from that same FOX News clip, state, “This is why I say that hip hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years.”

That’s just a stupid thing to say, and obviously, Kendrick knows that.

Tell me somethin’ / you mothafuckas can’t tell me nothin’ / I’d rather die than listen to you

Mike WiLL Made-It’s production is out of this world, from the sitar-like sound in the first verse to the bass rolls in the second verse. This was a very aggressive way to kick off the album.

3. YAH.

I can do without this song. I’ll leave it at that.

4. ELEMENT.

This track sounded very Drake-esque because of the percussion style and scattered piano keys. Like DNA., Kendrick is addressing his critics, more specifically the rappers throwing “shade” at him.

Most of ya’ll throw rocks and try to hide your hand / Just say his name and I promise that you’ll see Candyman

Just say Kendrick’s name. What, you scared?

He also throws it back to 1998 in the beginning of the third verse, replicating the flow of Juvenile’s 1998 hit song “Ha“. As a Juvenile fan, I enjoyed this reference very much.

If I gotta slap a pussy-ass nigga, I’ma make it look sexy / If I gotta go hard on a bitch, I’ma make it look sexy

The hook sounded a bit silly on the first few listens, but it is quite catchy. Not to mention, the lyrics make sense in the context of the song. If Kendrick does have to take one of these beefs to the next level, he is going to make it look sexy.

5. FEEL.

There’s not really much to this track. Kendrick is just rapping about the negative feelings that his worldwide stardom has elicited such as depression and self-hate, hence the blues-y production.

6. LOYALTY. FEAT. RIHANNA.

Again, there’s not really much content to this track. I just see this as a summertime jam that’s good for long road trips.

7. PRIDE.

I wonder what this song is about…

I can’t fake humble just ’cause your ass is insecure

Which sets up the next song, titled…

8. HUMBLE.

This is easily Kendrick’s most mainstream song. Once again, Mike WiLL Made-It comes through with an amazing beat filled with West Coast piano riffs and in-and-out synth hits. I really enjoyed the simplicity of this song because it’s a nice change of pace from some of his deeper and more complex tracks on To Pimp a Butterfly. This is more out of the book of “i” or “Alright.”

As for the content, let me say this…

– No, he’s not mocking Big Sean on the chorus (hol’ up, lil bitch)
– No, he’s not mocking Lil Uzi Vert in the second verse (ayy)

People need to stop reaching and trying to start something that is not there. Besides, don’t you think Kendrick would actually… you know… say their names? Have you heard his “Control” verse?

But the lyric that has most people up in arms?

I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop / Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor / Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks

Seriously… what is wrong with this? He’s just saying his preferences, which does not automatically mean that he thinks everything else is worse. Just stop.

9. LUST.

Unfortunately, this track failed to grow on me after a few listens.

In the second verse, he raps about waking up to the results of the 2016 Presidential Election and not wanting to believe it. But as upset as people were about the election, most people just returned to their cycles. Sure, there were protests, but eventually, everyone returns to doing what they want to do.

That’s what lust can do people. It makes people either do things that they should probably think about or just get them caught in those repetitive cycles.

10. LOVE. FEAT. ZACARRI.

This is the best instrumental that Drake has never rapped over.

The hollow, almost watery synths combined with Zacari’s singing make a for nice, laid-back track. Other then that, there’s not much else noteworthy about this song.

11. XXX. FEAT. U2.

The U2 feature threw a lot of people off in terms of their expectations for this song. However, lead singer Bono only has two very short singing parts, so he didn’t really make that big of an impact on the song.

Based on Mike WiLL Made-It and Sounwave’s production, this song can essentially be divided into two parts.

The menacing and chaotic beat combined with the stray, deep piano keys and sirens really set the tone for the first verse. Here, Kendrick tells the story of “Johnny” getting caught up in his surroundings, a situation that is all too familiar for some young African-Americans in this country.

Johnny don’t wanna go to school no mo’, no mo’ / Johnny said books ain’t cool no mo’ (no mo’) / Johnny wanna be a rapper like his big cousin / Johnny caught a body yesterday out hustlin’

But what stood out to me was his phone conversation with his friend, who just lost his son due to insufficient funds. In other words, he probably got caught up in some criminal activity and didn’t have enough money for a drug or arms dealer.

Anyway, his friend asks Kendrick for some nice, spiritual advice on how to overcome this tragic event. But after thinking about, Kendrick says:

I can’t sugarcoat the answer for you, this is how I feel / If somebody kill my son, that mean somebody gettin’ killed.

All the pro-black and anti-violence rhetoric could all go out the window pretty quick when said violence involves a family member. In other words, ain’t no Black Power when your baby killed by a coward.

The second verse of this song flips into more a jazzy beat as Kendrick explores the shady side of business and politics. Essentially, the United States of America has a well-documented history of setting up African-Americans for failure.

It’s nasty when you set us up / Then roll the dice, then bet us up / You overnight the big rifles, then tell Fox to be scared of us / Gang members or terrorists, et cetera, et cetera

In Kendrick’s mind, America is basically saying, “Despite the history, why can’t you guys just get it together? What’s wrong with you guys?” That is just messed up.

12. FEAR.

Here, Kendrick raps about the different things he has feared at different stages in his life. So in the first verse, he is a young child who fears his strict mother for repeatedly “beating his ass” to keep him out of trouble.

The second verse covers Kendrick’s life as a teenager and his fear of getting caught up with the wrong crowd. He fears dying for a number of reasons, from wearing the wrong colors to stepping foot in the wrong neighborhood. It just goes to show how difficult life was for Kendrick growing up in Compton.

The last verse revisits the fears of his newfound fortune, specifically losing his creativity. Obviously, that would be the biggest thing for an artist to lose because he wouldn’t really have anything to say.

Like FEEL., this was another very deep track that dives deep into Kendrick’s mind.

13. GOD.

While this track does sound a bit mainstream, it is completely different sound from what Kendrick normally does. Not to mention, the main producer, Cardo, is known for his very wavy beats (ex: Kendrick’s “untitled 07 | levitate”, ScHoolboy Q’s “THat Part”).

Laughin’ to the bank like, “A-ha!”

Man, that’s still stuck in my head.

As for the content, Kendrick is asking not to be judged for stuff he did back in the day like getting caught with a strap or fuckin’ all the rats. He’s also asking not be judged for making it and succeeding. Now my home got a Valley peak. It’s a really cool way of saying that people are always going to judge you. Even if you’re doing good at the moment, people will try to find dirt on you. That’s just life.

14. DUCKWORTH.

Personally, I was not a big fan of this track, but I can see why others have praised it. The storytelling is just unbelievable.

Producer 9th Wonder comes through with multiple soul sample flips such as Ted Taylor’s “Be Ever Wonderful.” Kendrick tells the story of his father and his connections with “Top Dawg”, the founder of Kendrick’s current label. There was even a point where Kendrick’s father was almost killed by “Top Dawg” at his KFC job. But of course, chicken and biscuits saved the day.

They robbed the manager and shot a customer last year / He figured he’d get on these niggas’ good sides / Free chicken every time Anthony posted in line / Two extra biscuits, Anthony liked him / And then let him slide; they didn’t kill him / In fact, it look like they’re the last to survive

The last part of the song was especially cool as well. Twenty years later, “Top Dawg” and Kendrick’s father met again at a recording studio. Like Kendrick said, it’s amazing to think about what could have happened had “Top Dawg” went through with his original plan.

Because if Anthony killed Ducky / Top Dawg could be servin’ life / While I grew up without a father and die in a gunfight

FINAL THOUGHTS

While there are a few low points, the highs on DAMN. are really, really high. There’s crazy rhyme schemes, content and lots of interesting concepts. Once again, Kendrick’s versatility shines through on this album. As for his best album, I would still give the edge to To Pimp a Butterfly, but that’s just me.

FAVORITE TRACKS

DNA., FEAR., GOD.

RATING: 4/5

Again, I’m still fairly new to reviewing music, so feedback on this would definitely be appreciated. Let me know what you think in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131