I went to see Thor: Ragnarok this weekend with my wife, and I left the theatre sort of disappointed. When my wife asked me if I liked the movie, I sort of shrugged, made some nondescript male grunting noise, and followed that up with, “I thought it was going to be like Guardians of the Galaxy.”
(Quick side note: when you type “gua” into Google search, Guardians of the Galaxy is the first thing that comes up. This is a heresy against guacamole I will not stand for).
My wife’s obvious but poignant comment was, “It’s a Thor movie, not a Guardians of the Galaxy movie.”
… and I guess the truth is I just wanted another Guardians of the Galaxy movie. So why did I go to a Thor movie wanting to see something other than Thor? Why did I expect that? Am I mentally defective?
While that last question can certainly be debated, it stands to reason that something caused me to think Thor: Ragnarok might be styled more like a Guardians movie. My only thought while walking out of the theatre was that the “buzz” had gotten to me. Damn it all, shaking a fist at the sky, I fell prey to one of the classic blunders. Inconceivable.
We’re all aware of the “buzz.” It’s the separate but not equal bastard child of all modern entertainment. It’s the shadow monster hanging over Hawkins, Indiana. It’s what makes people who don’t like high fantasy watch Game of Thrones. It’s the reason I know who Kendrick Lamar is even though I haven’t listened to rap music since I was in middle school. It’s the reason people who can’t even spell the word government think they know exactly who should be elected to each and every public office in our country. I mean can you imagine if we allowed the masses to elect other positions of societal importance like doctors? Or scientists? The species would be dead in a week…
Oh, shit… went off the rails… recalculating...
But the point is that it was the “buzz” around Thor: Ragnarok that had me thinking it would be like a Guardians movie. To be fair, the inclusion of bright cosmic colors in Thor were reminiscent of Guardians, there was a fair amount of comedy in Thor that was not present in the earlier movies, and there were two action sequences that happened while Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” were blaring from the speakers. And in those moments the movie did seem very Guardians-esque. However, if you’re going to the theatre expecting to see a Thor movie that is a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, like me, you will be disappointed.
Yet, the people who run Marvel Studios did this on purpose. This buzz was not organic. It was purposeful and intended. Thor was not as popular or profitable as Guardians of the Galaxy, so the executives used the power of Guardians to propel Thor. And it worked. The amount of money Marvel Studios made this past weekend is embarrassing. Now those executives are one step closer to replacing their souls with liquid cash. (Ah, the American Dream). All while fools like me forked over their money for something less than.
But I’m not complaining. Hell, I’m impressed. Touché, Marvel Studios executives. Because the truth is, we all want to replace our souls with liquid cash.
But seriously, all of us who create—whether it be movies, or books, or any product—we all wish we could generate that kind of buzz to drive people to our work. We all wish we could take something that already has power and use it to convince people to consume our goods. People who create are rarely also good sales people. I mean, trying to convince you to consume my goods sounds so dirty, doesn’t it?
Alas… I really want you to consume my goods (sigh)… so in homage to Marvel and the American Dream, let’s stir up some buzz for my newest series of novels, The Hands of Ruin.
The Hands of Ruin series has a secret family lineage thing, and a mystical force-like power thing just like Star Wars. So if you like Star Wars, you will love The Hands of Ruin!
The Hands of Ruin has two teenage kids being forced to live with a crappy family member, and have all sorts of bad stuff happen to them before they find out they have previously unknown powers, just like in Harry Potter. So if you liked Harry Potter, you will absolutely fall in love with The Hands of Ruin!
The Hands of Ruin has a badass female character both beautiful and strong who is constantly thrown into horrible situations where she has to fight against the establishment, just like The Hunger Games. If you like The Hunger Games than you are doing yourself an obscene and cruel injustice by not reading The Hands of Ruin!
The Hands of Ruin has shocking scenes like Game of Thrones. The Hands of Ruin and Game of Thrones might as well be exactly the same thing except different and not derivative!
Do you remember the fantastical things you loved from your childhood? Jim Henson stuff? Transformers stuff? Pokémon stuff? The Hands of Ruin is just like all of those things! Don’t deprive your inner child any longer!
Phew… there, I did it… and yes, I feel terribly dirty. But now there’s buzz, so go forth and spread the buzz. And I’ll leave you with this one more shameful and completely tangential connection from something you like to my new book series. I assume you came here because this blog post was about Thor: Ragnarok. I’m assuming you like Thor. Well…
The Hands Of Ruin is THOR in acronym. So there!
(insert hand gesture)
(insert fart noise)
(drop mic… walk away… prepare to rule the world after buzz takes hold)
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Dylan Lee Peters is an unstable individual who has written seven novels all of which you should probably be reading. Actually, remove the probably from that sentence. It’s too wishy-washy.
Download book one of The Hands of Ruin series for FREE here.
I didn't come up with this theory, and in no way take credit for it. It’s just something I stumbled upon in bits and pieces as I traversed the inter-webs, and thought I should share. If you are a Game of Thrones fan who is not up to date on the television episodes, or someone who doesn’t want potential spoilers, do not read on. For everyone else, here is a fan theory about GOT that is too perfect not to be true.
Firstly, let’s follow the family tree of House Targaryen, starting with Aerys II, the Mad King. (This is the guy Jamie Lannister kills to earn the nickname "Kingslayer"). The Mad King had three children with his wife, Rhaelle. These children are Daenerys “Mother of Dragons,” Viserys (the d-bag from season one last seen wearing a scalding pot of gold, care of Khal Drogo), and Rhaegar (Died; never on the show).
So, the Mad King has three kids. However, as we have learned time and time again, Westeros is filled with illegitimate children. It’s likely a dude nicknamed the Mad King wasn't the most faithful guy in the world to his wife, and probably wasn't afraid to take whomever and whatever he wanted whenever he felt like it. In a world where you’re seemingly not a cool kid unless you have a bastard of your own, it seems pretty safe to assume the Mad King had at least one illegitimate child.
So that brings us to Tyrion Lannister. You know, the Tyrion whose father, Tywin Lannister, treated him like he wasn't actually his son, the Tyrion who recently displayed an amazing ability to calm caged dragons long enough to pet their necks and take the shackles off of them, the Tyrion who is described in George R. R. Martin’s books as having hair so blonde it almost seemed white. Doesn’t Tyrion almost seem like he isn’t really a Lannister? Maybe he isn’t a Lannister…
Maybe the Mad King had a thing for Tyrion's mother, Joanna Lannister, and maybe the Mad King had a secret affair with her, or maybe he just took what he wanted in the way a tyrant king might. If you believe this possibility, then it means Tyrion is yet another bastard in Westeros, and the half-brother of Daenerys. Does that make Tyrion the “Uncle of Dragons?”
Now let's go back to one of the Mad King's legitimate kids, Rhaegar Targaryen. We never met him, but we do know something about him. Namely, that he kidnapped Ned Stark's sister, Lyanna, and kept her prisoner until Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon started a war over it. Rhaegar dies at the hands of Robert Baratheon during the war, alas Lyanna Stark dies anyway. Oddly, we aren’t told exactly how Lyanna died.
This raises the obvious question: why would Rhaegar kidnap Lyanna? And it is surely to be followed by the obvious answer: to make more bastards. Because, as we have already learned, time and time again, the goal of every man in Westeros is seemingly to make more bastards. It’s as if they think it’s a game. Whoever has the most bastards when winter comes is the winner. (I digress).
It's not a huge logical leap to think that maybe Ned Stark wasn't unfaithful to his wife, Catelyn. He never really seemed like the kind of guy who would cheat. I mean, wasn’t the whole point of Ned Stark’s character to tell the world nice guy’s finish not only last, but also without their heads in the Game of Thrones? Maybe it’s not so hard to believe that Ned Stark didn’t raise his own bastard within the walls of Winterfell, but instead was doing something far nobler. Maybe he decided to raise his sister's orphaned son as his own. Maybe Jon Snow's mother is Lyanna Stark. It would explain why her character is brought up so often, as evidenced by Bran Stark's memory/dream in the most recent GOT episode. Also, this would obviously mean Jon Snow’s father is Rhaegar Targaryen.
This would also make Jon Snow (Targaryen) the nephew of Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion Lannister (Targaryen).
Hmm, aren’t there three dragons?
That is why I say this theory is too perfect not to be true, because let’s be honest, if you’re telling me this show could have Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon Snow riding a trinity of dragons into battle against an army of White Walkers, yet someone said, “nah, I think we can come up with something better,” that person would be wrong. That person would be utterly, tragically, mind-bogglingly incorrect.
Don’t crush our dreams, HBO. Tyrion Lannister needs to ride a fire-breathing dragon.
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Dylan Lee Peters
Author of The Dean Machine and The Everflame Series
Running is a pastime that’s been growing on me lately. I challenged myself to run 500 miles this year, and two months in, I have 379 miles to go. This past weekend my wife and I completed the Excalibur 10 Miler in Viera, Florida. The theme of the race was Medieval; somewhat like a Renaissance Fair. Some runners dressed up accordingly, and much of the race decorum maintained the theme. Before the race began, runners were entertained by a battle between two actors from the Medieval Times dinner show in Orlando. It was somewhat akin to the battle between the Mountain and the Red Viper from Game of Thrones, except no one’s head was crushed like a grape. It was entertaining though, and put a unique twist on the otherwise repetitive exercise of running ten miles. In fact, it was the unique theme of the race that first prompted my wife and I to participate.
My wife was really the impetus for my beginning to run. She was on the Cross Country Team in high school and decided to get back into running a couple years ago. I decided to join her, firstly as support, but secondly because I was looking to kick my own posterior into form. However, I could have chosen a multitude of different activities to become involved in. She gets the credit for making that choice to run. Because we live in Florida, she has been signing up for the RunDisney races that Disney World puts on throughout the year. (You can see some of her blog posts here). She loves getting involved with all things Disney, and the races give her a chance to do something active, while geeking out on her favorite childhood nostalgia. (Leave it to Disney to find great ways to merge events into marketing gold). It’s always amazed me how many people really love getting involved with these races, and especially, how many people like to dress up for them. So many people love the idea of showing off as their favorite characters. This all gave me an idea.
I don’t know how to get something like this started – it would certainly take people with more time and know-how than me – but I thought it would be a great idea to have an author run. The race could be any distance, or distances, and the obvious theme of the race would be literary. Racers could elect to dress as any of their favorite literary characters, (I can easily picture a hundred women dressed as Katniss Everdeen) and the race could serve as a sort of literary festival.
It is common, in these races, to have a festival-style area located at the finish. Vendors set up booths, mostly with food, drink, and products suited for runners. It becomes part of the event, something that makes it more than just a run, and it lends itself to creating a race that has a theme. I think it would be a great idea for an author race to have booths set up where you could meet local authors. They could give books away, talk to prospective readers, and gain exposure. It would be a great way for authors to get out from behind the computer and find fans in a unique way. I know I’d be happy to have a booth at an event like this.
So, help me out event planners and runners, let’s get this event off of the ground. I’m sure someone has some great ideas that could add to the event. Post in the comments. I’m interested to know what you think.