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Bracket Madness 2021. It's Selection Sunday! After a year off, one of the most popular tournaments in sports officially returns tonight with the announcements of which NCAA teams have made the cut. Then it's up to us to pick our favorites to win (and maybe regret the upsets we knew we should have picked). If you're interested in filling out a bracket and squaring off against fellow Tower of the Hand members, please join us in the 6th Scorchiebeanie Memorial Bracket Clash.

Everyone is invited to participate. There's no money involved -- just bragging rights. If you'd like to join, send an email to [email protected] with your email address and your TotH username, and our league commissioner pharout will email you an invite. Brackets must be completed before the opening tip-off of the first game later this week. If you have any other questions or problems, feel free to leave a comment here.

Consider this the official thread for this year's NCAA Tournament. Feel free to discuss your brackets, the games, and all things March Madness here.


Super Bowl LV Open Thread. It's Super Bowl Weeknd! This year, the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Who has the advantage? The Chiefs are the favorites and the defending champs, but the Bucs have the home field edge and Tom Brady. And yes, the Weeknd will be headlining the halftime festivities.

This is an open thread to discuss all things Super Bowl related. Let us know what you're doing this year for the big game, who you think is going to win, and which commercials left a mark, for better or worse.


WandaVision Open Thread. By request (albeit a little late), here's an open thread for WandaVision, the latest Disney+ show and the first on the streamer to be directly connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany star as the title characters, Wanda Maximoff and Vision, reprising their roles from the MCU.

But what exactly is the show about? That's the mystery. Feel free to use this thread to speculate wildly and to discuss all episodes of this unusual show. New episodes drop on Friday.


The Mandalorian Season 2 Open Thread. The first season of The Mandalorian proved that it's still possible to go back to a galaxy far, far away, and somehow avoid polarizing the fanbase. Perhaps that's too low a bar for the first live-action Star Wars TV show, but as it turns out, Baby Yoda would have been enough to clear most thresholds for success, no matter how high. Plus it stars Oberyn Martell! (Some unsolicited advice for the show: please stop hiding your most charismatic actor behind a helmet.)

The second season of The Mandalorian debuts on Disney+ tomorrow, October 30. Feel free to let us know what you think of the new episodes, your hopes for the future, and whether or not we should be worried about another Star Wars Holiday Special.


Be a Poll Worker. I've served as a poll worker for every election, big and small, in the last fifteen years, from the crazy busy presidential contests to the dreadfully dull library board elections. I've been assigned to polling places that I could walk to, and I've been sent to polls that were an hour drive away. I've been crammed into a school gym with dozens of other workers, and I've been in a church loft where there were only three of us to handle an entire day's worth of voters. I've endured equipment breaking down and occasionally voters breaking down, too. I've listened politely as people tell me they vote because otherwise the country would fall apart. I've cheered when someone tells me they're voting for the very first time; it happens way too rarely. I've thanked each and every voter for performing their civic duty, and it's nice when they thank me for performing mine. At the end of the day -- as long and chaotic as it may be -- I'm always convinced it was worth it.

Today is National Poll Worker Recruitment Day. We have a critical shortage of poll workers, perhaps more so now than ever. We've been asked to reach out to anyone who might be willing and able: you can help America vote during this upcoming election by signing up as a poll worker in your community. It's important. It's worth it. We've also been asked to tell our friends and family to vote early if possible. Don't wait. Check your voter registration and voting options now. Every early voter is one less person a poll worker like me has contact with on election day. In any case, please remember: every vote counts, every vote matters.


Super Bowl LIV Open Thread. The NFL crown is up for grabs again tonight as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. It seems like a good match up, pitting two surprising teams, neither of which have won the championship in a while. While the 49ers have five Super Bowls victories to date, the last one came in 1995. The Chiefs on the other hand have but a single Super Bowl trophy and that was won way back in 1970. The Chiefs are the slight favorites this year. Who are you rooting for?

This will also be the first Super Bowl to be broadcast in glorious 4K (or so they claim). What better way to enjoy a J. Lo halftime show and commercials memorializing a fictitious peanut? This is your open thread to discuss all things Super Bowl related.


Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker Open Thread. The Skywalker Saga comes to an end with Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker. Will it be more like Return of the Jedi, an okay film that concludes the otherwise brilliant original trilogy? Or more like Revenge of the Sith, a fairly dark installment that caps the otherwise disappointing prequel trilogy? In any case, it's being marketed as another franchise that's reached its natural conclusion, only we know it's not really the end of Star Wars, as there are plenty of offshoots and Baby Yoda memes to come.

Tell us what you thought of The Rise of Skywalker. Did it match your expectations? Was it a fitting end and/or a good place to let the past go so we can see what else we can explore in future movies and TV shows? This is Tower of the Hand's official open thread for The Rise of Skywalker; feel free to discuss the movie in every spoilery detail.


His Dark Materials Open Thread. His Dark Materials, a brand new original series based on Philip Pullman's award-winning trilogy of the same name, debuts on HBO tonight. It continues HBO's attempts to find its next Game of Thrones, this time adapting a young adult fantasy that was published in 1995 (a year before George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones) and originally brought to the big screen as The Golden Compass in 2007. The film was not a success, but HBO is hoping for better fortunes from this reboot by writer Jack Thorne. It stars Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Game of Thrones' James Cosmo. HBO has already ordered a second season of the show.

Here's HBO on the new show:

The series follows Lyra (Dafne Keen), a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world. Her search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children and becomes a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. Other series regulars include: Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby, James McAvoy as Lord Asriel, Clarke Peters as The Master of Jordan College, Lewin Lloyd as Roger Parslow, James Cosmo as Farder Coram and Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa, with Will Keen as Father MacPhail and Ariyon Bakare as Lord Boreal.

The first of eight episodes of His Dark Materials debuts tonight at 9 PM ET on HBO. BBC One also airs the show in some markets. Have you read the books? Are you looking forward to this adaptation? Do you think His Dark Materials will appeal more to Game of Thrones' fans than, say, Watchmen?


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Tower of the Hand is an unofficial companion to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and HBO's Game of Thrones, featuring chapter and episode guides, character profiles, family trees, and much more.

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