Archive for August, 2017


Sandra BullockImage copyright
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Sandra Bullock is known for films like Gravity and Speed

Sandra Bullock, Kevin Hart and other celebrities are lending their weight to the Tropical Storm Harvey relief effort in Texas.

Bullock has donated $1m (£774,000) to the American Red Cross in the wake of the flooding in Houston and beyond.

Hart has called on his famous friends to dig deep, while his own fundraising campaign is near $1m.

Others to have pledged money include The Kardashians, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

  • Beyonce offers aid to Houston victims
  • Flood-hit Houston imposes curfew
  • ‘Everything is gone’

Sandra Bullock – $1m

American Red Cross communications vice president Elizabeth Penniman said: “It’s times like this when we do receive such an incredible amount of support. Especially during times of disaster, people see what’s happening in Texas and our hearts all go out to them.

“Having someone like Sandra Bullock make this kind of commitment, it helps bring people together and open their hearts and be even more generous.”


Kevin Hart – $50,000

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The Ride Along and Get Hard star posted a video pledging $25,000 (£19,400) – which he later doubled – and named a string of other A-listers whom he said should follow his example.

He said: “I think we’ve participated in a lot of challenges on the internet, some meaningful, some meaningless, but we’ve all done it… At this point I’m going to start a real challenge. I’m challenging a lot of my celebrity friends to follow my lead.”


The Kardashians – $50,000

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Kim Kardashian West responded: “@kevinhart My mom, sisters I accept your challenge. We will be donating $500,000 to @redcross and @salvationarmyus today #HoustonStrong”


Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – $25,000

The movie star said: “I want to send a message to the people of Houston – you’ve got to stay strong and you’ve got to hold on to faith.”


Jennifer Lopez and boyfriend Alex Rodriguez – $25,000 each

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Also on Instagram, the actress told fans: “We’ve been watching everything that’s been going on down in Houston and our hearts are just breaking. It’s just devastating.”


Chris Brown – $100,000

“Kevin Hart I accept your challenge,” the singer announced. “We need to come together.”

But he added that he was “sceptical” about the Red Cross, saying “my donation will go to the people” instead. He didn’t explain how that would work though.


  • What is it like to be in Houston?
  • In pictures: Houston battles floods
  • Four key effects of Houston floods
  • Why was Houston not evacuated?

TI – $25,000

The rapper added his donation – but was even more vehement in insisting it wouldn’t go to the Red Cross.


Jensen Ackles – $50,000

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The Texas-based Supernatural actor (above, centre) sent his “thoughts and prayers to everyone getting hit by hurricane Harvey… Including my wife and children”.

With his co-stars, he then started a crowdfunding campaign that has so far raised more than $200,000 (£155,000).

He said: “I wish I was down there and helping people and pulling people off of roofs in a boat right now but I’m not. This is what I can do.”


Chris Young – $100,000

The country singer kicked off his own campaign, which now stands at more than $300,000 (£232,000).

He said: “I have friends and family there and I’m almost certain my house down there may have to be torn down as it was in one of the areas that was hardest hit by winds and flooding… But that’s the least of my concerns.”


Nicki Minaj – $25,000

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She posted: “I’ll donate 25K for Houston. Praying for everyone there. Great work @kevinhart4real”


DJ Khaled – $25,000

The hit-maker added his name to the cause: “Kevin Hart I hear you loud and clear. I just sent $25,000 to Houston, Texas to help all the families in need… All my celebrity friends, let’s go.”


The Chainsmokers – $30,000

The pop duo said: “We didn’t officially get called out by Kevin Hart but we felt really compelled to donate to his Hurricane Harvey fund.”


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41093604

Noel Fielding with baker Tom in The Great British Bake OffImage copyright
Channel 4

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Noel Fielding (right) makes up part of the show’s new line-up

The first episode of Channel 4′s The Great British Bake Off was watched live by an average of 5.8 million viewers.

The audience for the launch show rose to 6.5 million when those watching on +1 were included in the figures.

It’s the lowest figure for an opening episode of GBBO since 2013 – when the show attracted 5.6 million viewers to BBC Two.

But the show still won the channel its biggest overnight audience since the Paralympics Opening Ceremony in 2012.

“The Great British Bake Off’s audience last night proves it’s still one of the country’s favourite shows,” tweeted Channel 4′s chief creative officer Jay Hunt.

“I am delighted millions watched the new team put 12 magnificent bakers through their paces.”

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The figures don’t include those who watch the show on the network’s catch-up service All 4.

Last week Hunt said she would consider anything above 3 million viewers a success for the programme.

“If it gets 5, 6, 7 [million] I would be absolutely delighted,” she told the Edinburgh International TV Festival.

“This show breaks even at around 3 million, so anything north of that would be fantastic.”


Bake Off: Launch episode ratings

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The first episode of the last series, won by Candice Brown, attracted 10.4 million viewers

  • 2010: 2 million (BBC Two)
  • 2011: 2.8 million
  • 2012: 3.5 million
  • 2013: 5.6 million
  • 2014: 7.2 million (BBC One)
  • 2015: 9.3 million
  • 2016: 10.4 million
  • 2017: 5.8 million (Channel 4)

BBC One’s highest audience of Wednesday night was for EastEnders, which attracted 5.5 million viewers at 20:00 BST.

Emmerdale was watched by a live audience of 5.4 million viewers, making it ITV’s highest-rated programme of the night.

Read more:

  • How viewers reacted to the new Bake Off
  • Meet the new Bake Off contestants
  • What did the critics make of C4′s GBBO?
  • 33 things to know about the new Bake Off

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Beyonce in TexasImage copyright
Tina Knowles / Instagram

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The star is notoriously proud of her home town

Beyonce has pledged to “help as many” victims of Hurricane Harvey as she can, as her home city of Houston, Texas, braces itself for more rainfall.

“I remain in constant prayer for those affected and for the rescuers who have been so brave and determined to do so much to help,” the star said.

She added that she was working with her charity and her pastor “to implement a plan to help”.

Houston has been hit by unprecedented levels of rain, with more set to come.

Officials estimate that more than 30,000 residents need shelter. At least nine have died in the Houston area.

Media captionDays of destruction: The story so far
  • Flooded Houston braces for yet more rain
  • What is it like to be in Houston?
  • Images of overwhelming floods

Other stars including Kim Kardashian West and Kevin Hart have also vowed to help.

Beyonce, who grew up in the city’s historic Third Ward, is famously proud of her Texan roots, referencing Houston in multiple songs, including Run The World (Girls), Formation and Flawless. She filmed the video for Blow in the city’s Funplex roller skating rink – where she had one of her first dates.

On Monday, she posted an Instagram tribute to Houston, telling residents they were in her prayers, while posing with a Texas flag.

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The star’s BeyGOOD foundation was established in 2013 and partners with global charities to provide housing, food and medical assistance to those in need.

Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian West said she and her sisters and their mother were donating $500,000 (£386,000) to the Red Cross and Salvation Army, writing: “Houston we are praying for you!”

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Country star Chris Young pledged $100,000 (£77,000) to relief efforts, while comedian Kevin Hart donated $25,000 (£19,000) and urged others to follow his lead.

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Other artists including Drake and Travis Scott have sent direct aid and messages of support to Texas since the storm began.

Coldplay, who had to postpone a concert in Houston last week because of the hurricane, have also written a song for those affected by the floods.

They debuted the track in Miami on Monday night, with Chris Martin telling the audience it would only be played once.

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Coldplay said they were inspired by the country music of Texas

“This is because we all grew up loving country music, and of course that’s kind of what we think of when we go to Texas,” Martin said.

“So, if you’ll bear with us, this is a new song and we’ll never play this again. We’re gonna sing it in Miami for everybody here, and we’re gonna send it over there to everyone who missed the show.”

The song, called Houston, included the lyrics: “There’s a harmony that bonds down there in Houston/Oh, Houston, you got to keep on keepin’ on.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41082154

Ed SkreinImage copyright
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Film fans have inundated Ed Skrein with love after the British actor turned down the role of Major Ben Daimio in the new Hellboy film because the character is of mixed Asian heritage (and he isn’t).

Skrein’s decision comes after years of controversy about Hollywood whitewashing. The rising star has been praised for his stance, especially since he’s at a crucial point in his career, and won lots of new admirers.

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Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Noel Fielding and Sandi TogsvigImage copyright
Channel 4

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GBBO 2.0: Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig

The Great British Bake Off’s first episode on Channel 4 has gone down well with viewers – although some took time to adjust to the new line-up and advert breaks.

The new series sees Paul Hollywood joined by fellow judge Prue Leith, with Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig on presenting duties.

We’ll find out how many people watched the show on Wednesday morning.

The first episode broadly won over the critics, but it’s the viewers Channel 4 needed to convince.

  • Meet the new Bake Off contestants
  • What did the critics make of C4′s GBBO?
  • 33 things to know about the new Bake Off

“I feel like I’m breaking some kind of law by watching this without Mel, Sue and Mary,” tweeted Kelly as the episode started.

But with other viewers declaring the show “the best thing about being British,” most stuck with it and had been won over by the time it ended.


Presenters

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Channel 4

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Sandi isn’t ridiculously tall – Noel was sitting down for this photo

Toksvig was popular on Twitter, with Mary writing: “Sandi is a natural to give this show coherence and polish.”

Michelle said Sandi’s co-host Noel was “pretty adorable” while Rob said he was “totally on board” with the Mighty Boosh star as a presenter.

Greg wrote that Fielding was going to “single-handedly save this series”.

But Stephanie said: “It’s like Top Gear all over again

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41089946

Taylor Swift takes aim at her critics and pokes fun at herself in the video for Look What You Made Me Do.

The new track had its official premiere at the MTV VMAs in Los Angeles and features her darker side leaving her former self behind her.

The single is thought to be aimed at stars like Kanye West and Katy Perry.

The video begins with Taylor Swift dressed as a zombie climbing out of a grave with a headstone reading “Here lies Taylor Swift’s reputation”.

Taylor Swift's mock headstone
Taylor Swift as a zombie

The 27-year-old is then seen dressed as a biker, a celebrity crashing their sports car, a bank robber wearing a kitty mask and a dominatrix.

But some fans have criticised her for being shown relaxing in a bath of diamonds, claiming it’s a reference to Kim Kardashian’s robbery in Paris.

Other people are saying it’s a reference to a joke she made when she performed Blank Space acoustically at the Grammy Museum last January.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tmd-ClpJxA

Warning: Third party content might contain ads

Taylor Swift in a bath of jewels
Taylor Swift on a throne
Taylor Swift in a car wreck
Taylor Swift in a cage
Taylor Swift dressed as a bank robber with a kitty mask on
Taylor Swift as a bikerTaylor Swift with some models

She appears to poke fun at her relationship with ex-boyfriend Tom Hiddleston with her backing dancers wearing tops with “I (heart) TS” on them.

The British actor was photographed wearing a similar vest last year when the couple were going out.

Taylor Swift backing singers with I love TS on them

The director of Taylor Swift’s new music video, Joseph Kahn, has denied that he’s copied Beyonce’s Formation video.

It’s after fans compared their videos.

https://twitter.com/aly_santiago01/status/901097378698199041

The clip ends in different versions of Taylor Swift, from previous music videos and performances, falling off a slope and into what looks like an abyss.

Taylor Swift's former incarnations

They’re then lined up in front of a plane with the name of her new album, Reputation, spray painted across it.

One version of Taylor Swift says to a crying version of herself: “There she goes, playing the victim – again.”

Taylor Swift from her country music daysTaylor Swift with her previous incarnationsTaylor Swift scrawls Reputation on the side of a jet

The pop star also mocks the moment Kanye West crashed the stage as she gave an acceptance speech during the MTV VMAs in 2009.

Wearing the same outfit, Taylor Swift repeats words used in a statement given last year in response to a feud with the rapper: “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative.”

Taylor Swift with her MTV VMA

Hours after the music video aired, it’s had more than 13 million streams online.

Taylor Swift’s new album Reputation, will be released in November.

The release of the track and video came after Taylor Swift wiped her social media channels last week before sharing cryptic videos of snakes on her pages.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/articles/41072262

Ed SkreinImage copyright
Getty Images

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The rapper and actor is known for roles in Deadpool and Game of Thrones

British actor Ed Skrein has pulled out of a role in the upcoming Hellboy reboot after a backlash because he was cast as a character of Asian heritage.

The Deadpool star, 34, said he did not know the race of Major Ben Daimio when he accepted the part in the comic book adaptation.

He said he was stepping down “so the role can be cast appropriately”.

The initial casting prompted accusations of Hollywood “whitewashing” following other recent rows.

Skrein noted in a statement posted to his 34,000 Twitter followers that there had been “intense conversation and understandable upset” since he was cast in the film as the Japanese-American character.

“It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the arts,” he said.

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The move won immediate praise from many on social media, including from people who were not previously fans.

“Thank you for doing this. You just gained a follower and I’ll definitely check out the next thing you work on,” one person said.


Who is Ed Skrein?

Before becoming the only actor to be more famous for turning down a role than accepting one, the Londoner was best-known for his movie breakthrough as the villain Ajax in Deadpool.

He also played the original Daario Naharis in season three of Game of Thrones.

His other films include The Transporter Refueled, replacing Jason Statham in the franchise, plus Ill Manors and Kill Your Friends.


There have been several recent controversies over actors being cast as characters of different races in film adaptations.

But Skrein’s decision marks the first time a white actor has left a high-profile film project after receiving criticism, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film’s producers – Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Millennium and Lionsgate – said in a statement that they supported his decision.

“Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision,” the statement, as quoted by The Hollywood Reporter, said.

“It was not our intent to be insensitive to issues of authenticity and ethnicity, and we will look to recast the part with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material.”

Hellboy is due to be released next year.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41077054

Diana wreaths

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Diana’s death in August 1997 was a defining moment in both royal history and modern media

What did Princess Diana’s death mean to ordinary people? That’s the question Diana and I, a new BBC Two drama, attempts to answer.

Twenty years on from her death, she remains what Tony Blair called her: The People’s Princess.

Yet it is the princess’s people who are the focus of Diana and I, a 90-minute drama that explores how her death affected members of the public.

“The idea was to write a film about Diana’s death, not from the point of view of the Royal Family or politicians, but of ordinary people,” says writer Jeremy Brock.

“I wanted to tell stories that resonated legitimately with how I remember what happened, and how we deal with being human.”

Alongside 9/11, anyone who is old enough knows where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about Diana’s fatal car crash.

“I was at home, switched the TV on and saw Judy Finnigan weeping,” says actress Gemma Jones, one member of the film’s large, multi-racial cast.

“My elderly father was living with me at the time, so we sat and watched the television all morning.”

Actor Neil Morrissey was also at home, in his north London flat. The former Men Behaving Badly star describes what followed as “a tidal wave” of rolling news and raw emotion.

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Morrissey was at home in London when he learned of Diana’s car accident in Paris

“I wasn’t particularly a royalist, so I didn’t quite get why the nation was in such a furore,” he recalls.

“But you couldn’t help being affected by how everyone was being affected. It was extraordinary the impact it had on the nation, and the world.”

Newly married at the time, Tamsin Greig says she was blissfully unaware of what was unfolding in Paris on that fateful Sunday morning.

Until, that is, the actress and her husband bumped into an elderly neighbour.

“She was weeping and saying ‘they’ve killed her – they’ve killed the princess,’” she remembers. “I felt amazed we didn’t know.”

Brock, meanwhile, says he found out while holding his baby son in his kitchen.

“From that moment on, all I can remember is wall-to-wall news,” he says. “The other thing was that you talked to people.

“You shared your shock and surprise, whether you were a royalist or not.”

Four fictional stories interweave in Diana and I, each one of them having parallels to how Diana lived her life or was perceived.

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Tamsin Greig plays Mary, a florist who sees an opportunity

In one, a Glaswegian florist (Greig) leaves her ageing mother (Jones) and travels to London to exploit the sudden demand for bouquets that Diana’s death generated.

“Mary, my character, has a Eureka moment, realising the news can be used to get herself out of a hole,” says Greig, who studied flower arranging in preparation for her part.

“‘Death is death,’ says Mary, ‘but a royal death is a hell of a lot of blooms.’ She sees it as a means to an end.”

In another plot thread, a young man loses his mother at the same time the nation is gripped with communal grief. His estranged father, played by Neil Morrissey, is too preoccupied to offer much support.

“My new girlfriend is unsympathetic about his mother dying but is all over the death of Diana,” says the actor. “So I’m dealing with her, instead of my son.”

Additional plot strands deal with ambitious journalists covering the story in Paris and a young Asian woman who leaves her husband in Bradford to see Kensington Palace’s iconic “sea of flowers”.

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Kiran Sonia Sawar plays Yasmin, who travels from Bradford to pay her respects

The latter was recreated at Sefton Park in Liverpool, with a little CGI assistance.

“I wanted to tell stories that I felt would ring with truth and authenticity,” says Brock, whose previous work includes films Mrs Brown and The Last King of Scotland.

“As a writer, you’re always looking for something with an innate structure. Here was a story set over seven days, where everyone had a relationship to the central idea.”

Brock accepts that both he and director Peter Cattaneo – of The Full Monty fame – could be accused of exploiting what is a poignant and painful anniversary for many.

Yet he prefers to say he is “celebrating” it with a drama that is less about Diana herself and more about “what her death meant” to the man and woman on the street.

“I don’t think there’s anything they would find exploitative about it,” he says when asked what he thinks Princes William and Harry might make of his efforts.

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PA

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William and Harry, pictured at their mother’s funeral, were 15 and 12 when Diana died

“I have no idea if they’ll watch it, but I’d like them to. I would love the idea it might feel like a fitting tribute to their mum.”

The last word goes to Jones, the only member of the Diana and I ensemble to have met the princess herself.

“I did meet Diana a couple of times at theatrical events,” recalls the 74-year-old. “She was always very charming, very easy to talk to, friendly and sort of coltish.

“I think there was an Evening Standard Film Awards where we were all backstage in a room together – and I don’t remember curtseying.”

Diana and I is on BBC Two on Monday 4 September at 21:00 BST.


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Russell Watson and James HornerImage copyright
BBC/AFP/Getty

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Russell Watson and James Horner take the top three album slots

The Titanic soundtrack has moved people for decades – and now the score has come top of a list of the best-selling classical albums of the past 25 years.

James Horner, who died in 2015, composed the soundtrack, which has sold more than a million copies in the UK.

It was named top of the Ultimate Classic FM Chart, the biggest countdown of classical music sales.

British singer Russell Watson claimed the second and third slots on the list with albums The Voice and Encore.

He’s also the most popular male artist, with almost 2.5 million album sales.

Overall, Welsh Mezzo-Soprano Katherine Jenkins is the number one classical music artist of the past 25 years – selling more than 2.7 million albums on the Classic FM chart.

Her albums Living a Dream and Second Nature both feature in the top 10, at six and seven respectively.

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Jenkins has two albums in the top 10

She said: “I was 12 when Classic FM was launched and I feel like we have grown up together.

“I listened as a child, so it was a huge moment for me when they first played my song on the radio – and when they announced my first number one, I remember bursting into tears.”

Jenkins said being the number one artist is “something I will treasure always”, adding: “I hope you can hear the cheering all the way from Neath!”

She is not the only Welsh success on the list.

Seven out of the top 20 albums are by Welsh artists and six out of the top 20 best-selling artists are from the country.

Joining Jenkins on that list are Charlotte Church, the Fron Male Voice Choir, Bryn Terfel, Aled Jones and Sir Karl Jenkins.

‘Fulfilling his destiny’

The chart was compiled by the Official Charts Company, based on UK music sales data.

It covers the top 300 albums released since 7 September 1992 – the day Classic FM launched.

Sarah Horner, widow of the Titanic composer who died in a 2015 plane crash, told the radio station: “Touching the inner world of the audience was what most composers wish to do, and when he was successful at doing that, I think James felt like he had fulfilled his destiny.”

The soundtrack won Oscars for best original dramatic score for Horner and also best original song, along with lyricist Will Jennings, for Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On.

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic

Andre Rieu was named the biggest international classical artist, with nearly 2.3 million album sales – and 11 albums in the chart in total, the most of any artist.

He said: “Ever since Forever Vienna became my first UK number one album eight years ago, the support from the British public has been incredible. I could not ask for more enthusiastic and loyal fans.”


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Cersei and Jamie LannisterImage copyright
HBO

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What happens between Cersei and Jamie Lannister?

Spoiler warning: This article contains plot details

The seventh series of Game of Thrones has come to a dramatic conclusion.

Fans are torn between being stunned by the major plot developments and heartbroken that the episode could be the last one on our screens until 2019.

That’s when the fantasy epic, based on George RR Martin’s books, is rumoured to be coming back one last time.

The finale was shown in the US on Sunday, and broadcast in the UK on Monday. So what have critics said?

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HBO

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Revelations were made about Daenerys Targaryen’s links to Jon Snow in the episode

The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg said The Dragon and the Wolf episode had “action, twists and just a little incest”. Which all sounds pretty standard for Game of Thrones.

In a series that has often been “dumb”, it was a “satisfying as heck” conclusion, with the storylines between Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington, and Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, coming to a climax – if you can excuse the pun.

“The finale worked better than most of the rest of the season for me because while it lacked not for dragons, it also delivered one great two-person chamber scene after another,” wrote Fienberg.

‘Dark and slow-burning’

Ed Power, writing in the Daily Telegraph, was a fan of the “solid 80 minutes of betrayal, nudity and skulduggery in dimly-lit rooms”.

“It was good to welcome the old, happy-stabby Game of Thrones back with a vengeful gleam in its eyes,” he mused, describing it as a “dark and slow-burning instalment”.

But he noted that the revelation about Jon Snow’s parentage was “presented as an interesting nugget rather than continent-quaking pivot”.

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HBO

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Fans found out who Jon Snow’s parents are – and what his real name is

On that note – in the New York Times, Jeremy Egner had some good and bad news for Snow.

“The good news is, you’re not actually a bastard… The bad news? Say hi to your aunt.”

Ouch.

Egner noted, though, that the finale “didn’t offer much in the way of surprise” and “largely checked off boxes that have been broadly telegraphed throughout the season”.

‘Jaw-dropping action’

Sean T Collins, of Rolling Stone, said there were “moments of happiness and horror straight out of the biggest GoT nerd’s dreams”, and that it was quite right that “the lion’s share of screentime” went to Cersei Lannister.

He said the storyline had been “hurtling to a point of no return”, adding: “The lies, betrayals, power plays, and murders we’ve witnessed for seven years, and which still continue in this episode – they are all a distraction. We’re all in this together, and we’d better realize it ASAP.”

Christopher Hooten complained that the seventh series has become “bonkers and Top Trumps-esque”, but wrote in the Independent: “When it looks this gorgeous, the dialogue exchanges are this pithy and the action is this jaw-dropping and enthralling, it’s hard to be mad about it.

“At some point in season eight, a living dragon is going to fight a dead dragon, jets of blue and red flame meeting in the middle like in a Manga, while dead giants and dead horses do battle with multiple races of men. And I will be there.”


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41073818