“House of the Dragon” Premieres on HBO Max

By Hannah Yale

Created by George R. R. Martin and Ryan Condal, “House of the Dragon” is a prequel to “Game of Thrones” airing on HBO Max. The new series is based on material from Martin’s book “Fire & Blood.”

Now, I must admit, I have not watched “Game of Thrones” in its entirety. In fact, I used to be staunchly anti-” Game of Thrones.” When I was in high school, I watched the first three episodes of the show but was so appalled by the sexual violence that was depicted on-screen that I refused to continue watching it. Even so, I know that over the years, “Game of Thrones” became a significant piece of media in Western pop-culture. When the finale came out, everyone I knew was talking about it. They had become so invested in the characters and this complicated dramatical storyline that the fanbase was furious about the ending, but it did not  stop their interest in the world of “Game of Thrones.” 

Fast forward to now, and I am obsessively watching the new “House of the Dragon” episodes every Sunday night. Even with my limited knowledge of the complex magical world George R. R. Martin created, I am hooked on this show. As of Sunday, Sept. 11, four episodes have been released. 

The drama of the storyline is very compelling, with the plot focusing on the Targaryen dynasty roughly two centuries before the events in “Game of Thrones” take place. Our protagonist, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (who has thus far been played by Milly Alcock), is the eldest child of King Viserys Targarayen (Paddy Considine). The show begins with the premise that King Viserys has tried and failed during his reign to produce a male heir to the Iron Throne. Rhaenyra and her father have a very complex relationship, as Viserys has spent Rhaenyra’s entire life trying to replace her with a son while she has continued to seek his approval and attempt to prove herself as a worthy heir. 

The Point News asked student Sophie Thompson what she thinks about “House of the Dragon.” “So far I’m really enjoying it,” she said. “I think with all the spin-off ideas they were considering this was a very interesting time from the book to pick. You hear about the dance of dragons in game of thrones so it’s really cool to tie things back and see the set from a different era. It’s very deliberate that everything from carriages to dresses looks a little different because it’s 200 years earlier.”

After Rhaenyra’s mother is killed during an involuntary medieval c-section, tensions between Rhaenrya and Viserys reach a boiling point. Political tensions are also running high, as the kingdom of Westeros mourns its Queen and continues to wait for the political security of a strong heir. The premiere episode ends with Viserys appointing Rhaenyra heir to the Iron Throne, despite his council’s efforts to convince him that a woman cannot rule. 

When it is announced that Rhaenyra shall be heir to the throne, this sparks an outrage from Viserys’ brother Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), who saw himself as a more worthy heir than Rhaenyra. The dynamic between Daemon and Rhaenyra is incredibly tense from the beginning in a flirtatious dance for power. The “Doctor Who” fan in me hates that Matt Smith plays Rhaenyra’s creepy uncle, but he does a damn good job at making me despise Daemon’s character. 

The show, so far, has stayed pretty true to the nature of “Game of Thrones” but with its own flair– packed with elaborate maps of Westeros, dragons, nudity, convoluted family drama, gruesome violence and unfortunately a little bit of incest (but we saw that one coming). Thompson commented, “It’s interesting they decided to continue the theme of incestuous nonsense. In this show it seems like they are trying to show how women within a patriarchy are manipulated by those around them, but at a certain point it’s hard not to associate these shows with really weird uncomfortable relationships.”

 In divergence from the style of the original series, “House of the Dragon” writer and executive producer Sara Hess has assured media outlets that the new show will not depict any on-screen sexual violence. “I think what our show does, and what I’m proud of, is that we choose to focus on the violence against women that is inherent in a patriarchal system,” Hess said in a statement to Vanity Fair. Hopefully the series will stay true to this theme as the plot continues to unfold.

Iconic Moments in “Stranger Things Four”

By Bridget Norton 

From “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush to Tik Tok parodies of One’s monologue and Eleven’s  constant cry of “Papa!”, season four of “Stranger Things” was a large part of the pop culture of this past summer. If you still have not seen the newest season, there will be spoilers ahead, but my recommendation would be to get caught up. This new season is seriously amazing. 

In this season we see the storyline split into three main groups that converge in the final episodes. Beth Mlinek, a student at SMCM, had commented that she “liked following the Russian crew,” but she thought that “they stayed in Russia too long”. She “enjoyed following the Hawkins crew” but thought “the California crew was kind of lame”. The California crew, composed of Mike, Will, Jonathan, Argyle, and Eleven,  was rarely on screen and the most memorable points of their storyline were when they visited Suzie and once they reunited with Eleven. 

Through this all, the plot is mainly pushed forward by the Hawkins group. This is where we see the danger that season four’s villain, Vecna, truly poses and the efforts the protagonists make to defeat him. The character dynamics within this group were particularly enticing, as well as the absolutely stellar performance given by Sadie Sink as Max.  

It would be remiss if I did not go over the new characters we see this season. Of course there is Eddie Munson, a connoisseur of Dungeons and Dragons, rock and roll and drugs. There is also Chrissy Cuningham, the Cheerleader Queen who is dating the star of the basketball team. Finally, there is Argyle, the stoner Surfer Boy Pizza employee who has become friends with Jonathan in California.  

One thing that “Stranger Things” has also been good at is taking your typical TV character stereotype and flipping them to create enticing characters with depth. We have had Nancy, the sweet and dedicated student, shown to be an absolute badass, and Steve, the pompous, popular douche, who turns out to be the mom of this group of children. 

Now we have Eddie, who is supposed to be a stantic anarchist but is actually a bit caring and funny, and Chrissy, the popular girl at school, who is extremely sweet, but troubled, something Vecna takes advantage of. Seeing the connection between these two characters, supposedly absolute opposites, was so comforting and a relationship I would have loved to see develop further. 

Another relationship, though a different type, was commented on by Kate Pass, a freshman at SMCM, who stated she “liked seeing Max and Lucas rekindle their relationship”. The building of trust between them throughout the season, and the fact that it was not immediate, was perfectly realistic. 

Yung Gravy Dating TikTok Star’s Mom

Catherine Wasilko

Last year, then 25-year-old Yung Gravy came to our college and put on a concert for SMCM students. He visited the Maryland Dove and Enso’s Kitchen, and even practiced his set hours before the concert began. Numerous students were thrilled to have had a celebrity at our school, and even want him to come back for round two.

Yung Gravy, 26, made his first public appearance at the VMA’s on Aug. 28, 2022. Although he was not nominated in any category, his appearance brought more awareness to his newly released single, “Betty.” He wore coordinating lavender outfits with a surprising plus-one,  rumored girlfriend Sheri Easterling, 42. Easterling is mother to TikTok star Addison Rae, who skipped the award ceremony this year. Yung Gravy and Sheri Easterling’s romance has been public since early August. Their romance began after they started to exchange flirty messages via TikTok. Easterling’s daughter, Addison Rae, unfollowed her mother on social media around this time, leading to speculations about her disapproval of the relationship with Yung Gravy.

But what about Easterling’s estranged husband, Monty Lopez? In July, rumors began swirling about how he had an affair with another woman, which may have led to his divorce with  Easterling. On July 6, a model named Ash posted many instagram stories explaining how she and Lopez had an affair. She has spoken publicly about this saying, “He told me a story of his marriage that convinced me that they were apart and in the process of getting a divorce.” Lopez has not commented on the affair.

A day later, Easterling made a statement, but it did not discuss the alleged affair. According to E! News, she had released her statement through Instagram stories. “Personal matters being brought public are always challenging and overwhelming for anyone involved,” she wrote. “I will be okay. My biggest concern is—and always will be—my children and their fragile hearts and minds. I will always do my best to try to protect them.” E! News also reported that Easterling had changed her Instagram bio to “single mom” a few days later, speculating about her and Lopez’s relationship status.

While Yung Gravy seems to be enchanted by his new romance, another man feels differently about his relationship with Easterling. About a month later, on August 7, Lopez posted a TikTok inviting Yung Gravy to a boxing match and misspelling his name. In a stitched video a few days later, Yung Gravy commented on his invitation, saying, “I’m a grown man, I’m not going to fight you over TikTok drama.” Although one side of this relationship is messy, it appears this couple is happily in love. As they shared their first public display of affection at the VMA’s, it is only a matter of time before we see Yung Gravy spend more time with his new girlfriend. Perhaps in the future, he will write a song about her or include East

Netflix Cancels “First Kill” After One Season

By Kephely Igoni

has once again taken a huge L with the cancellation of the sapphic lesbian vampire show “First Kill.” The show tells the story of Julliette, a vampire, and Calliope, a vampire hunter, and how they both need to make their first kill. Instead, hey end up falling in love. This “Romeo and Juliet” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” crossover is one of a kind. This show being canceled is a prime example of another show filled with minority roles that was taken away with no explanation. This show includes an interracial lesbian relationship, and although it had its flaws, this was a groundbreaking Netflix series.

SMCM Freshman Joyce Oruitemeka shared her opinion about the show, stating, “It was cringy and gave 2016 vibes, but it was the first view of an interracial lesbian show that I’ve seen and it had room to grow.” Another freshman, Riley Sandoval, said, “It is a classic enemies to lovers trope, and those are good even though they are cringy sometimes.” Subpar, majority white cast Netflix shows like “Fate” and “Outer Banks” are shows in which viewers got to see growth in writing and acting with multiple seasons. How many shows do you recommend to your friends and add the disclaimer, “The first season is bad though?” The first seasons of several Netflix shows are a bit questionable, but they usually get time to develop the plot and characters in the second, and sometimes a third, season. Unfortunately, “First Kill” will not have this opportunity. Sandoval expressed her disappointment, saying, “I would’ve liked to see the growth of this show like [in ‘The] Vampire Diaries.’” Some other viewers took more extreme views like Elise Moorman, a freshman at Michigan State University who said, “I think canceling ‘First Kill’ was Net-
flix actively discriminating against the LGBTQ community.” All three interviewees said that even though the graphics were questionable and the show was kind of cringy, the plot and idea were there, Netflix just needed to nurture it.

A common thought between the three was that the Netflix budget did not look like it covered “First Kill.” Oruitemeka said that this might be due to the rising popularity of the show “Heartstopper,” a live-action adaptation of a webcomic that follows two boys in a coming-of-age romance. The webcomic was released in 2019 and the “Heartstopper” tv show aired in 2022.
“Heartstopper” and “First Kill” were pitted against each other and Netflix had to choose which LGBTQ show they wanted, and unfortunately “First Kill” was not the one they wanted.