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Review: Star Trek Beyond (Part 1 of 2)

Star Trek Beyond is a sequel to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, but it takes greater effort than either of those two films to root itself in the spirit of The Original Series. Beyond is first and foremost an action film, yet it’s not afraid to slow down and allow the characters to interact. … *** SPOILER WARNING: I will discuss some major spoilers, so it is ...

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Middle-earth Menu: “Brandy Hall Beef Stew”

  By Astrid Tuttle Winegar After his parents died and before being formally adopted by Bilbo, Frodo Baggins temporarily lived in the spacious home owned by the Brandybuck family. Brandy Hall was a large smial (which is Tolkien’s word for a large residential tunnel, where rather wealthy hobbits would live—Bilbo’s home Bag-End was also a smial) located beneath Buck Hill ...

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Middle-earth Menu: “Frodo’s Favorite Mushrooms” 

By Astrid Tuttle Winegar I’m pretty sure Frodo Baggins, like all hobbits, loves a broad spectrum of foods and drinks. However, he does admit a weakness for mushrooms. My original cookbook gathered 11 mushroom-centric recipes in one chapter entitled “Frodo’s Favorites.” But for Legendarium, I’ll break this up with a couple of Narnia recipes. After Frodo, Sam, and Pippin leave ...

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Review: Game of Thrones, “The Winds of Winter” (Season 6, Episode 10)

With only 13 episodes left for the show, Game of Thrones needed to wrap a lot of subplots in order to have enough time to deal with the impending White Walker invasion. “The Winds of Winter” did that, and then some. The episode killed off most supporting characters in a few dramatic scenes. As I’ve argued elsewhere, this downsizing was ...

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Review: Game of Thrones, “Battle of the Bastards” (Season 6, Episode 9)

Game of Thrones has become infamous for its unpredictability. Beheading Ned Stark in Season 1 shocked viewers because it defied everything we thought we knew about fantasy stories (namely, that the hero always wins). Over the past season, the plot of Game of Thrones has become increasingly predictable; the show is no longer willing or able to subvert audience expectations ...

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Narnia Menu: “The Dufflepuds’ Mushroom Soup”

Image source: http://narnia.wikia.com/wiki/Dufflepud By Astrid Tuttle Winegar Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace share a meal prepared and served by the Dufflepuds. It was… well, interesting, to put it mildly. It was also particularly messy, since their invisible hosts “progressed up the long dining-hall in a series of bounds or jumps. […] When the dish contained anything like soup or stew the ...

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Review: Game of Thrones, “No One” (Season 6, Episode 8)

Season 6 of Game of Thrones has been an improvement over the previous season in all ways but one: Meereen. To be fair, Meereen is far from becoming the new Dorne, but the plot thread isn’t quite working as effectively as I’d hoped. Tyrion’s time in Meereen had the potential to be a fascinating story about political compromise, but the ...

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Review: Game of Thrones, “The Broken Man” (Season 6, Episode 7)

Before Season 6 aired, I talked with friends about my predictions for the story.  As Game of Thrones fans are wont to do, I focused on who would die and which characters might return after a long hiatus. I thought my friend’s prediction that Sandor Clegane (a.k.a., “The Hound”) would return was absolutely inane. As much as I’d enjoyed the ...

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Middle-earth Menu: “The Ivy Bush Eleventy-First Birthday Cake”

By Astrid Tuttle Winegar To finish a grand party like this one, you need a show-stopping cake. Bilbo would have this specially made at The Ivy Bush, a small inn frequented by Sam’s father, the Gaffer. Make this impressive cake the night before you want to serve it. “The Ivy Bush Eleventy-First Birthday Cake” 1½ pounds fresh strawberries 8 ounces ...

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Review: Game of Thrones, “Blood of My Blood” (Season 6, Episode 6)

For fans of George R.R. Martin’s novels, the biggest revelation in “Blood of My Blood” concerns the identity of a certain “Coldhands.” In the books, the mysterious Coldhands helps Bran and Meera reach the cave of the thee-eyed raven. His identity was never revealed, but fans had long speculated that it was Bran’s uncle Benjen, who in the first book ...

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