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The Female Perspective: Why I Finally Started Watching “Game Of Thrones”

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


If you read this blog every once in awhile you have picked up on the fact that I like to read, I like science fiction, I like the mysterious and all that good stuff. I even wrote last week about the fact that I recommend the Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones) as some good summer reading. The reason it’s in my mind so much right now is because I have finally decided to sit down and “catch up” on the 6 seasons of Game of Thrones and finally find out what all the hoopla is about (mild spoilers ahead).

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Now, you might be wondering, if I am such a huge fan of the books, why would I wait so long to watch the series? It’s a good question so definitely pat yourself on the back for that one! For years now I’ve been totally wishy-washy about the show because I watched the first season when it first aired and was just frankly bored by it. It’s mystified people for years that I would recommend the books as highly as I do and yet never watch the TV show that people are adoring. Well, that time has passed and as Ygritte says to Jon Snow on more than one occasion, “I know nothing.”

As I’ve gotten older I’ve pushed aside my stubbornness and pride and actually listened when people recommend things to me. It’s how I finally ready the Harry Potter series and it’s how I finally decided to watch Game of Thrones. My boyfriend was watching the current season and loving it and he kept saying how he wished he could talk about it with me, and he’s right, at this point, the show is ahead of the books and therefore he can’t really talk to me about it. Not to mention, it’s been years now since I’ve read the books so they are a bit foggy in my mind. I decided that he has good TV taste and therefore I should give it a second chance (it’s how I fell in love with iZombie as well, fantastic show and I had given up on it after the first season!).

Oh Jamie, you disgusting hero-type.
Oh Jamie, you disgusting hero-type.

I have now zipped through the first 3 seasons and I am LOVING this show. I forgot how rich and wonderful the world that George RR Martin created is. I’ve forgotten how violent it is well, but also how strong and powerful the women characters are, how flawed each character is and how you want to hate them, but you also find reasons to love them a tiny bit. Jamie Lannister is an excellent example of this and one I remember from the book. I hated that guy, he is horrible. Pushing kids out of windows and having relations with this sister, gag, yuck, gross! But then…He gets captured, he loses his hand while also being keenly aware of the honor of Brienne of Tarth and coming to her rescue more than once. He is flawed, yes, his sins are the worst kind, but he also…He’s got an honor, a bravery that  mystifies.

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Martin manages characters that are awful but lovable. Flawed but honorable. Characters you enjoy watching every week and you are devastated when they die, because make no mistake, they are all going to die eventually. Martin isn’t sentimental about his characters, he isn’t trying to shock people, he’s proving a point that life was hard back then and life was short. In 2014 he penned an open letter regarding the deaths (beware, profanities abound!) that is worth reading and he makes some good points. The fact is, the death in Game of Thrones is for a reason, they serve a purpose and honestly, as a writer nowhere near close to Martin’s talent, they create a world that leaves you wanting more, that leaves you unsure about the future of your favorite character (Tyrion!) and his writing inspires my own.

Not to mention, he writes some of the strongest women characters I’ve ever read. He has taken male-dominated landscape and turned the tables so that the women are in charge. The Mother of Dragons is forever my hero, and she also makes me want to have dragons at my disposal, so handy for setting ones enemies on fire!

Baby Dragons!
Baby Dragons!

If you haven’t checked out either the show or the books be warned that there is a lot of violence, foul language and brutality, so if that isn’t your cup of tea, this series might not be for you. If you don’t mind bad words and sex, then go for it! It’s well worth your time and effort.

Tell me what you like to read! Sound off in the comments! I’m always looking for more books!

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The Female Perspective: Summer Reading Is Where It’s At!

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


Summer is a great time to dig into some new books, it’s (hopefully) got a slower pace and there are more days spent by the pool, at the beach or just chilling in your backyard while the family plays and barbecues. To that end, I thought I’d give a shout out to some of my personal favorite summer reads.

How do I pick summer reads? Well, I pick them like any other book I want to read, does it sound interesting? Does it have a cool cover (I know, I know, don’t judge them that way but a lot of times a cover is what calls me to a book, the synopsis is what keeps me reading)? I don’t think that summer reads have to necessarily be shorter, less intense (as many summer reading lists would suggest), I think summer is a great time to dig into an intense series or a nice, long book so that you have plenty to read at the beach. There’s not much that’s worse than finishing your book with a long day ahead and having no backup!

That being said, here are my Top 5 Summer Reads!

1. The Stand by Stephen King

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Nothing says summertime fun like the end of the world, am I right??? I’ve talked about The Stand a few times because it is hands down one of my top 5, all time favorite books to read and I find myself gravitating to it almost every summer. Maybe because the story starts in the summer? The story itself (if you don’t know) is an engaging one, told in typical Stephen King fashion, that brings us hero, villains and the fight over the soul of the world. It’s a tale that is simply about good and evil, but at over 1,000 pages, it’s much more than that. To me it is King’s finest works and it is worth a read.

2. A Song Of Ice and Fire (aka Game Of Thrones) by George R. R. Martin

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The first time I read this epic series it was during the summer I was laid off from work so I had a lot of time on my hands. It was recommended by a good friend and since I am a huge fan of anything similar to Lord of the Rings I thought it had to be a win-win. I have to say that I was instantly hooked, while also being completely devastated when characters I had fallen in love with were brutally slain. The end of the first book made me realize that Martin isn’t fooling around, your favorite characters will die and no one, literally no one is safe (Red Wedding anyone?), which is why I love these books. I am finally getting around to watching the HBO show and am feeling the urge to re-read these beauties to invest once again in the rich, Tolkien-esque world that Martin has created, while also refreshing myself for when he eventually releases the next volume, The Winds of Winter.

3. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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No list of mine would be complete without some Harry Potter and honestly, it took me a very long time to get into this series. I was finishing up the 6th book when the final book came out so I never had to wait between books like so many others. I cannot say enough good things about these books, it is about friendship, magic, doing what’s right even when it feels wrong and so much more. I cry all the time when some of my favorite characters die because I feel like they are truly alive. The power of Rowling’s work is in her words, she is a master of her craft and one day I hope to be half as good as she is. If you haven’t read Harry Potter yet, get on that, and summer is a perfect time to start enjoying the adventures of Harry Potter, Ron and Hermoine!

4. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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Another one that it took me way too long to read. I admit to not being a huge Gaiman fan (I actually liked the movie version of Stardust better than the book), but this one was a great read. For being as long as it is, it’s a lot of fun. I never really knew where the book was going to go, but I knew I wanted to be along for the ride. The characters are engaging, interesting and some of them are downright annoying, but that’s what makes the book so much fun! That and an upcoming TV adaptation makes this a must-read in my eyes.

5. The Martian by Andy Weir

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This book is AMAZING. Seriously. Check it out. It’s not super-spacey at all (even though the guy is on Mars), it’s this amazing story of survival and science. When I first started reading this it’s because I saw the movie trailer and was instantly intrigued. When I realized it was from the point of view of the guy trapped on Mars alone I was instantly curious, how do we keep a book going that’s one person, alone, on Mars? Well Weir did a fantastic job of that. He crafted a character that is funny, smart and oh yeah, super funny. The quips and jabs that Mark Watney make had me laughing out loud as I read along. But never forget, this guy is trapped on Mars and just as you settle in to enjoy his diatribe about disco music, something explodes and you are reminded just how dangerous his existence is. It’s a great read, perfect for a day at the beach and it will keep you on the edge of your seat. The movie adaptation is also pretty darn good, Matt Damon is a perfect Watney.

There you have it folks! Some of my favorite summer reads, how about you? What are some of your go-to summer reads? Tell me in the comments! I’m always looking for new books!

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The Female Perspective: Lady Armor

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Last week the folks behind the “Star Wars” Facebook page shut down an idiot commentator after they revealed a photo of the armor worn by Captain Phasma (played by Gwendoline Christie).

Any sentence that starts "I'm not a sexist but ..." usually means that the person saying that, is a sexist.
Any sentence that starts “Not to be sexist but …” usually means that the person saying that, is a sexist.

This Cody Paul fellow reminds us that there is some confusion about how women are to be portrayed in battle. The fact is, “Star Wars” is 100% right, “It’s armor. On a woman. It doesn’t have to look feminine.” You know why? Because when a woman goes into BATTLE she’s fighting for survival, she’s not trying to win “America’s Next Top Model.” Who the heck cares if you are being attacked by a  women or a man? Oh wait, that’s right, sexist people care about that. Hmmm.

The fact is, if armor was made to look “feminine” (a thought that makes me gag a bit) it would most like have “boob plates” which, when you science it all out, would actually most likely KILL YOU. Thus defeating the point of armor. Here’s the science-y part to make it all make sense.

Let’s begin by stating the simple purpose of plate armor—to deflect blows from weaponry. Assuming that you are avoiding the blow of a sword, your armor should be designed so that the blade glances off your body, away from your chest. If your armor is breast-shaped, you are in fact increasing the likelihood that a blade blow will slide inward, toward the center of your chest, the very place you are trying to keep safe.

But that’s not all! Let’s say you even fall onto your boob-conscious armor. The divet separating each breast will dig into your chest, doing you injury. It might even break your breastbone. With a strong enough blow to the chest, it could fracture your sternum entirely, destroying your heart and lungs, instantly killing you. It is literally a death trap—you are wearing armor that acts as a perpetual spear directed at some of your most vulnerable body parts. It’s just not smart. ~Tor.Com

Makes sense right? Boob plate armor, besides sounding ridiculous, IS ridiculous. When you are dressing for battle in armor, you wear all sorts of padding underneath. By the time all that padding is applied, you are rendered sexless (not to mention, well insulated) and therefore, special boob plates are completely unnecessary for armor. Women’s armor and men’s armor should have differences, sure, but the differences shouldn’t be in whether or not it has boob plates.

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To put this in a context relevant to today, let’s talk about the uniforms worn by the brave men and women in service in the military. Until recent years, uniforms were made for the male form only (which makes some sense until women began to enter the mix) and now that women are a part of the military force, they should be wearing uniforms that suit their frames. Typically women are shorter in the shoulder t0 waist and smaller in other areas. An ill-fitting uniform can actually put a woman in danger if her pants are too long or too bulky, causing her to have a less range of movement and/or trip, fall or otherwise have her movements restricted when she needs to be at her most agile.

An example would be something like a flight suit. Items such as flight suits are fine for men to wear for long periods of time because they can stand up to urinate, women, however, have to almost completely disrobe in order to urinate because, you know, that pesky anatomy makes it so we can’t stand up to pee.

According to an article I found from 2011, the Army was working on making uniforms for both men and women.

The Army is well under way in developing a woman’s combat uniform that would replace the “unisex” one designed primarily for a man’s body. It is similar to combat uniforms in women’s sizes offered by the Air Force and Marines.

The goal is to give the approximately 70,000 women in the Army a better-fitting and more professional looking uniform that doesn’t stand out when they are in formation, said Maj. Sequana Robinson, assistant product manager for clothing at the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier at Fort Belvoir, Va. ~USA Today

The simple fact is that a woman needs armor that FITS her properly so that she can fight alongside her male counterparts. And seriously, there have got to be some fella’s with smaller statures that would appreciate some of these smaller-sized uniforms too. As I said before, it would seem like wearing a uniform that doesn’t fit properly can actually cause harm for the solider wearing it. There has to be some allowances made for the female form, just not in the line of boob plates.

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Ummm … Let’s add more metal and get rid of the boob plates! Seriously, who thought having bare legs in battle was a good idea?

Going back to my first paragraph, kudos to “Star Wars” for reminding us that women in armor are no different than men in armor. We would never complain that a man in his armor doesn’t look masculine enough without a penis plate or that he looks too feminine without more metal muscle. Nope, such arguments would sound ridiculous. As does the comment on the “Star Wars” Facebook page. Why do you need to know if it’s a woman underneath that armor unless you are a sexist?

For the record, all I see when I look at Captain Phasma is awesome.

Captain Phasma
Captain Phasma = Awesome

What do you think? Have you ever worn body armor? Are you a lady? Tell me about it! Sound off in the comments brave warriors and readers!