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  1. Yup, but The Witcher Season 1 gave no indication of time jumps and it also went backwards and forwards at random, and never oriented the viewer in the correct time period. You either figured it out from context or casting, or the viewers who'd read the books more or less knew what was going on (although the books move forwards linearly, not bouncing back and forth). With Rings of Power, we'd have been talking about one single time jump somewhere around Season 2 or 3, and it could have been explained pretty well. Hell, the only date given in the LotR movie trilogy is a date for events in the Second Age.
  2. I saw an online discussion about other cyberpunk games and it reminded me of how damn good the original trailer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution was. Some great lines in there ("It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from here,") and some nice material that never made it into the final game. Also highlighting the game's absolute A-tier soundtrack.
  3. I think having as many time jumps as the actual events in the books would be a non-starter, but a good compromise would be condensing into two time periods. The events from c. Second Age 1500 to 1700, starting with Annatar/Sauron teaming up with the elven smiths of Eregion and ending with Sauron's defeat to the elven-Numenorean alliance, are could easily be condensed to a few years or even a few months with no issue. I see this like the condensing of the 17-year time gap in Lord of the Rings, and the original events probably took place over too slow a time anyway. You could also bring up some events so they happen during this first time period, like the Nazgul first showing up (as otherwise they canonically don't until around 2251). You can then jump forwards from 1700 to around 3250 before Pharazon seizes the throne and run from there through taking Sauron captive, being corrupted, the Downfall, the Realms in Exile and the Last Alliance, and thus condense the events from 3250 to 3441 to again a few years. Each of these story arcs provides tremendous amounts of story material for between 2 and 3 seasons apiece, no problem, and introducing a few new characters mid-series will not be a major problem because plenty of major players - Gil-galad, Elrond, Galadriel, Sauron - will exist in both time periods.
  4. Your position is that we should not not look at the history and context of Iran and political protests within the country and the most successful prior example of such events and whether these protests might or might not reach that level (which a lot of people seem to want, rightly or wrongly)?
  5. It is neither lazy nor facile to compare this event to the last successful revolution in the exact same country. It's correct to say there have been a pretty constant stream of protests in the last decade to a decade and a half which this is the natural outgrowth of, but in whether it achieves the critical mass needed for regime change or even just a significant political change of course, examining why the 1979 revolution succeeded and subsequent protest movements have not achieved that same critical mass is very worthwhile.
  6. It looks like the previous big protests were largely driven by young people, students and women, and these protests, although they started with women, are now being picked up by a much broader demographic, more in line with the 1979 revolution, which is why the Revolutionary Guard has been more reluctant to get out there and start knocking heads, or at least not as much as they could. There seems to be widespread anger at the degree to which the "morality police" have overreached, and if their existence is necessary. If the government relaxes those rules and makes some noise about bringing the killers of Mahsa Amini to justice, they should be able to ride it out, but if they double down, things could get much uglier.
  7. It does look like the protests have spread quite far and wide. Also a lot of people noting that the last Iranian revolution was only 43 years ago, so people do have reasonable memories of it, and the revolution was successful when the older, more conservative part of society basically lost patience with the government and agreed to either not get involved or actively supported the mostly younger revolutionaries (most of whom now are in their 50s and 60s, of course). Obviously we've been here before, quite recently, and the regime has reasserted itself even after quite strident demonstrations. Regarding China, I have a friend in Beijing and he thinks the reports are quite baffling. Just an ordinary day in China, despite some reports of drastically reduced air traffic around the capital. Obviously he hasn't personally seen Xi Jinping today, but he sometimes goes days or even weeks without a major public appearance so that's not massively unusual. File under "crazy internet rumour" for now.
  8. I think this only really applies to Crimea, an area with very strong pro-Russian leanings, a very distinct geographic area, was not historically part of the ancient Ukrainian/Kievan Rus region and where, even without an iffy referendum, its people might well want to join Russia. It does not apply to the rest of Ukraine as a whole, not even the Russian-speaking border areas. You also run into that continental problem where you can flood the border area with emigres, claim you are protecting them and then annex and invade, which is how Hitler justified his invasions up to Poland. Kazakhstan was incredibly wise to take major steps to prevent this by preventing mass Russian immigration to the border areas and moving its own people into those regions to prevent that issue from arising (which hasn't stopped quite a few Russians suggesting that Kazakhstan should be next after Ukraine). Rather than, as is more sane, saying that if people in the border area of one country want to be part of the neighbouring country, they can just move. By definition, it's not very far. I agree that the US invasion of Iraq was a huge mistake and badly damaged both the US and the UK's long-term political credibility, but it's also really got nothing to do with the invasion of Ukraine. Raising the issue of Iraq in relation to Ukraine has about as much to do with it as raising the issue of why shouldn't we clone a race of genetically-engineered killer penguins or privatise clouds.
  9. According to the NYT (paywalled), Putin angrily rejected a plan from his generals to shorten the Russian lines by withdrawing from Kherson, pulling back behind the Dnipro and focusing overwhelmingly on taking Donetsk Oblast. Instead, he ordered reinforcements into the Kherson salient, drawing down forces elsewhere. Or, in other words, Putin himself is directly, personally responsible for the Kharkiv losses.
  10. The US invasion of Iraq was hugely opposed within the United States and even moreso amongst its allies. France's very strong opposition to the war severely damaged French-American relations for many years. The political fallout from the invasion shaped years of British politics, and ended the honeymoon people enjoyed with the Labour government. The invasion was widely condemned. However, both the UK and US political establishments more or less fell squarely behind it (a few honourable exceptions aside, like Robin Cook in the UK), which was and remains disgraceful, and Labour's instigation of the UK's involvement in the conflict to the extent of blatantly falsifying evidence remains a major problem for Labour's reputation (the fact the Tories even more full-throttle supported the invasion of course never comes up). On the other side of the coin, Saddam Hussein had killed more than a million people, Iraq had started multiple major wars with its neighbours, it had tried to build a nuclear bomb (even if that had been stopped by the Israelis) and it was a brutal, inhuman regime. The invasion was also not designed to annex the country to the United States, destroy or deny Iraqi statehood or sovereignty or engage in the mass slaughter of civilians. The USA and UK were wrong to invade, their reasons for doing so at that time were nonsense and the consequences which they claim they could not foresee were, funnily enough, foreseen by almost everybody else. But the two situations are not really comparable beyond both being an insane idea. And amusingly some of the most prophetic analysis of how fucked up the invasion could get came from the Russians.
  11. Some reporting that NATO and the United States have been informing Russia for months that there will be "severe" consequences to Russia using a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. What that entails is unclear, but one retired American general believes the use of a tactical nuclear weapon on the territory of Ukraine would automatically require the United States to directly respond, for fear or emboldening North Korea or Iran or China in the future. Probably not a nuclear response but a cruise missile attack against Russian (or - maybe more likely - DPR/LPR) targets operating in Ukraine. This would not be the United States entering the war directly, but a single attack designed to show the consequences of further escalation. Obviously a thin line and a dangerous moment if that came to pass. But them standing up and telling Putin, directly, that he risks even just a conventional conflict with NATO if he uses nuclear weapons has to be a sobering moment, if they make it clear they are not bluffing either.
  12. Massive queue at the border between Buryatia and Mongolia. Looks like the Buryats have gotten fed up of being cannon fodder.
  13. I actually don't think this is true, at least any more. Hardcore Star Wars fans are mostly adults, increasingly middle-aged adults who have been around for a while and are huge long-term fans from way back in the day. Each successive generation of Star Wars has brought in new fans, but they've also been nowhere near as virulent at the OG 1977 crowd. Recall the hype over The Phantom Menace but, whilst it was solidly successful, it was not as successful as anyone thought it would be (the confident predictions of it smashing past Titanic's box office but it didn't come close; the vast over-orders on the toys which then did not sell anything like in the expected quantities, incidentally destroying the company I worked for at the time). The new fans who came on board at that time were certainly not nonexistent, but they were certainly not as numerous as the 1977 crowd. And Pokemon came out of nowhere to completely obliterate Star Wars in popularity in 1999. With the Disney era of Star Wars, there has certainly been younger kids getting involved and enjoying the franchise, the little girls dressing up as Rey to watch The Force Awakens (and even that was seven years ago), the Baby Yoda toys flying off the shelves and so forth, but modern kids are not as en masse into it. It's their parents thing, or even their grandparents thing (urgh). Their thing was Marvel, but I'm now regularly seeing young kids who think Marvel is old hat and not interesting any more.
  14. The maps seemed pretty straightforward. They show Limlight, the river that flows out of north Fangorn eastwards to the Great River, and you can see Nen Hithoel and the (later dead) Marshes. They then seem to move east through Ithilien into the foothills of the Mountains of Shadow, looking for a pass presumably into the Southlands. So the protagonists are all heading towards meeting up. This wasn't a great episode. In particular, tying mithril to the Silmarils could be a clever idea except that mithril existing during the War of the Jewels, long before the Silmarils were lost. That also feels like an example of the well-known writing axiom of Chekov's Balrog.
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