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10 Things We Learned From This Week's Torturous Episode Of "Game Of Thrones": Spoiler Whore and Book Reader Edition

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | May 8, 2013 | Comments ()


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Author's Note: Hey folks! We're back with a book spoiler-heavy "Game Of Thrones" rundown. If you're looking for eloquent or sophisticated analysis, I suggest you head on over to TK's superlative Monday recap. This post serves mainly as an outlet for all your pent-up frustrations at having to tip-toe around your book knowledge lest you spoil a "Game Of Thrones" newbie. So, in case it isn't clear, IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED BY BOOK KNOWLEDGE OR SOME INSIDER SHOW INFO, GET OUT OF HERE. SERIOUSLY, WHAT IN THE SEVEN 'ELLS ARE YOU DOING HERE? LEAVE LEST I SIC MY DRAGON ON YOU!

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Are they gone? Phew. Anything goes in the comments, folks. We're hoping this will help curb some of your urges to spoil in the regular recap. Have at it!--JR

1. Dragonglass...FINALLY: So the Show Watchers finally got another look at the knife Samwell found last season. As I've said before, I'm disappointed that they excised Sam's "slayer" moment from earlier in the season. Even if they revisit it later with Gilly and the baby in the frozen woods, the damage is done. A lot of Show Watchers are bored with Sam and think of his character as useless. I wish his bit of badassery had come sooner. That being said, as a book reader, I loved John Bradley's performance and the bashful lullaby he sang. Also, hey, Dareon shout out!
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2. "Raisin Bran": Another problem (in both the book and show) are the neverending Bran dream chapters. I don't know, your mileage may vary, but I found the wolf dreams sequences to be, uh, boringasf*ck. It's not surprising that they're difficult to translate to the screen. So here we got a little ginned up conflict between Osha and Meera. Bran's "you're both pretty" moment was a tiny bright spot.
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It's also interesting that they've basically given Jojen epilepsy. I don't remember that from the book but Meera's comment of "the visions take their toll" certainly rings true.
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3. Well...Something's Certainly Rising: So here's the confirmation we've been waiting for that Gendry will be taking the place of Edric Storm in the show. I love love love this substitution because, as I mentioned, it will give us more Joe Dempsie. Never a bad thing. It's also tidier storytelling.
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Also, Melisandre visiting the Brotherhood Of The Traveling Pants (h/t Court's husband) was fantastic. Loved her scene with Thoros and the theological discussion that followed. Paul Kaye is fantastic. So what do we think will happen to Gendry at Dragonstone? I know many have speculated that he'll be leached but given the way he was looking at the Red Priestess, I suspect they're in for some shadow babymaking times. Establishing his attraction to her (can he blame him?) will help put the sensual in consensual. The question is what will their shadowbaby get up to? I'd watch my back, Balon Greyjoy.
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4. There's No Joy At The Dreadfort: This here is one of the hardest plot lines for Show Watchers to swallow. Plenty of folks have guessed the identity of the torturer and for Book Readers the answer seems easy. ("Look at the Bolton banners!" they say. "He flays Theon's pinky! Which House likes flaying?!" they cry. "He's blowing that damn horn from Season 2 and Roose Bolton who was not a main character at all last year casually mentioned he would send his bastard to Winterfell!! IT'S SO OBVIOUS!") It's not though, guys. It's not if you haven't read the books and don't know what to look for and didn't pay any attention to Roose Bolton last year because why would you? Anyway, the show got all meta this week and had Theon guess along with the Show Watchers. That was a little too cutesy for my taste. But Iwan Rheon is kill-ing-it. I understand not revealing Ramsay's identity until after the Red Wedding but I think the whole Theon plot would be a bit stronger if they had waited until later in the season to start these shenanigans.
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5. They've Completely Changed Roose Bolton From The Books: And now he's like my favorite character. Between this scene and the way he broke the news of Cersei to Jaime, I think he's pretty much the funniest character on the show. I love.
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6. The White Washing Of Queen Cersei: Are we meant to believe her when she says she didn't send Ser Mandy Moore to kill Tyrion? Should we have believed her last year when she said it was on Joff's order that all the bastards were killed? If so, then the show is majorly white washing her and painting Joffrey even blacker than the books did. I'm not sure I like that. If, however, it comes out that she was lying. Well, that'll be interesting, won't it?
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7. Is Loras Maybe A Little Too Stereotypically Gay?: One of the Cast Of Kings listeners mentioned their distaste for the way Loras is being portrayed on the show and it started to give me doubts. I was a staunch defender of the more explicit sexual relationship between Loras and Renly but it's true that in the book Loras is a bit more of a badass fighter. That's something they conveyed in seasons 1 and 2 but this year he seems to be all brocades and fringed sleeves. Wouldn't it be more interesting to have a gay character who's not such a stereotype? Just a thought.
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8. Rose Leslie Is The Only Thing Keeping Me From Actively Hating The Jon Snow Plot Line: Kit Harrington is not delivering, but Rose Leslie's show Ygritte is even better than book Ygritte. It was an interesting twist to have Orell cut their climbing line. It added even more drama to the climb, highlighted Ygritte's point about how she's the only one who cares of Jon Snow lives or dies and was close enough to the Orell bird attack from the books to make it all work. But the sappy smooch-y ending? I was not a fan.
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9. What Do We Make Of This?: Melisandre says to Arya: "Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you'll shut forever. We will meet again." "SPOILER!!" book readers cried out hypocritically. "Now we know Melisandre and Arya will meet in the book!" Well, first of all, whatever. We don't know that for certain. The show is diverging from the book in a lot of ways. Secondly, that was a super creepy foreshadowing of Arya's future career as a Faceless Man and dovetails quite nicely into...
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10. The Massively Upsetting Parallel Between Joff And Arya: The show runners gave us some nasty visual bookends to the episode with Arya's straw man and Ros's grisly end. I know a lot of Book Readers hated Ros, but I don't think anyone was standing up and cheering this bit of nastiness. Maybe it was necessary to highlight both the dangerously dark path Arya may be on and the brutality of Littlefinger, but it left a really bad taste in my mouth.
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New Character Rundown:

1. Black Walder Frey and Lothar Frey: Not a lot to say about these two. They looked suitably grimy and Frey-like. Big ups to Tobias Menzies, however, for Edmure's hilarious reaction.
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Best Line: "A sword swallower, through and through."
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Worst Line: This whole idiotic speech. "Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, given a chance to climb, they cling to the realm, or the gods or love. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is." Stupid.
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I also don't like how absolutely evil they're making Lord Baelish. Where are the shades of grey here? Or the slow reveal of how he's been behind everything all along? It's too soon for him to be this nasty, is what I'm saying. Way too soon.
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Favorite Random Image Of The Week
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Archives
Episode 2: Dark Wings, Dark Words

Episode 3: Walk Of Punishment

Episode 4: And Now His Watch Is Ended

When Joanna Robinson is not busy eating figs, you can find her on Twitter, podcasting about "Game Of Thrones" or generally mucking about. Send a raven, won't you?



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Nachiket

    Maybe I'm alone on this but I think Kit Harrington has improved in the last 2-3 episodes.Especially his scenes with Orell.
    Also,Jon in the books is very much like this . . .He isn't very expressive,keeps to himself & most of his conflicts happen in his mind which get a glimpse of because of his POV.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    Where the wolves at? More wolves! Now! That was one of the first things that got me into the books, and the connection between the wolves and the family members is so important. And how are they going to have the Bran Jon almost meeting / fight scene without the wolves. Oh I know they will do, they have done everything else without the wolves, but still. The link between them was so important, even more important in my mind than between Dynerous and her dragons. She had to lock those beasts because she couldn't manage them. And we have seen quite a bit of them. Yes I know they were important in the sacking of Slaver City, but still. MORE WOLVES NOW!!!!

  • Sassafrass Green

    Here's my thing: I really, truly dislike Littlefinger as a character. I think there were attempts in the book to make him more interesting and layered, but I actually think he's really poorly written. I'm sorry, but "I'm the poorest of all the minor lords and Cat wouldn't marry me!" is not a proportional reason for helping to incite civil war. It sets up his ambitions and it's that drive that makes him pull all the strings in the court, but there's something missing there for me and he seems to read "evil just cuz" instead of "terrible for a reason" to me. So I don't have as much of a problem with how he's played on the show.

    This might explain why I'm also ok with a little Cersei whitewashing. Not a lot, mind you, but some. It's tidy and it clearly telegraphs the buckets and buckets of shades of grey in the books. Because see, to me, the whys and wherefores of her character made sense to me. Yes, she's an awful person (even enjoyably awful like Littlefinger), but she's still human. She loves her kids, she wants the best for her family, and the evil that she's committed, while not excusable, comes from a well-explained place. I read her evil as coming from a place of rage and frustration. She wants to do so much more with her life than be married off and have kids. And it seems like she could very well do a whole lot if she was given even a modicum of space to develop herself. Between that and having Tywin for a dad (who we've seen screws up all his kids in big serious ways), is it any wonder Cersei's the way she is?

    So if the show makes a few broad strokes to make Cersei more sympathetic, I'm cool with it (as long she's not a sudden angelic martyr). And if they make Littlefinger as much of an unmitigated asshole with weakly-written motivations, I'm cool with that too.

  • Pat

    I think it's more likely that Gendry will be burned alive than be used to make another shadow baby... GRRM confirmed that HBO will be killing off some characters who are still alive in the books and that is yet to happen.

  • Strand

    I have a friend who keeps asking me about who Ramsay Snow and it bugs me that she's a perceptive girl who should notice that 'X' frame thing' and the finger flaying but no. It's worse that they're almost certainly saving the big Bolton betrayal for episode 9.

    It's as if Theon's captor tortured him in between stroking a pet lion and one of the Lannisters very deliberately mentioned having a relative capture Theon..

    We always knew Roose Bolton would be almost impossible to cast but I love the show version, even if they cut the leeching. He's suitably soft, average-looking but menacing as hell and his little quip this episode was like the "Cross the Ts" scene in Wayne's World. Loved it.

  • Juwan Dickerson

    I just had a crazy thought. What if during the RW the final blow to Robb isn't from Roose Bolton, that its from Talisa and she kills him?!

  • My_Oath

    Bolton kills Robb and Talisa kills Cat would work. But Talisa has to die there. Very foolish if they try to keep her on somehow.

  • Lisa

    Yeah, I've had that thought and I couldn't imagine the nerd rage if that happened. I've been pretty good at treating the books and show separately but that one would piss me off.

    I would be surprise if that happened but i can't wair till Sunday to see if Jaimie sends his regards.

  • My initial thought is "but she's supposed to stay at Riverrun" - although I've just realized since she's not the same character, she might not have to? I hope not. It needs to be Roose Bolton, at least in my head, to make Tywin's plans work in the bigger picture. And give the whole Ramsay/Theon thing more weight, as far as the show goes.

  • Scorptilicus

    I'm starting to buy the idea of Talisa being a double agent more all the time. I do wonder if the lack of pregnancy is going to come up and if Talisa herself might be the reason for it.

  • knockloud

    I loved the LINE "Chaos is a ladder," and Aiden Gillen's delivery of it, but as soon as it turned into a voice-over with Significant Music and Expository Shots, I groaned internally. "Chaos is a ladder" says everything we need to know about Littlefinger while still leaving a hint of intriguing menace. The extended soliloquy is everything the show does wrong (and it does so much right): heavy-handed, showing-not-telling, forbidding the wit of the audience from doing the heavy lifting.

  • Scorptilicus

    Yeah, Sam has been a major wuss so far (though I suspect there's a lot of realism to his reaction to his situation. Many of us would likely be the same). Hopefully, it'll just make his slaying moment all the better. Though, let's be frank, even after he kills the Walker, he's still mostly a pushover in the books. Considering what we get in his head throughout AFFC, this characterization actually rings pretty true to me.

    I do wonder about Gendry. I wonder if he'll be at that inn in the future or if this might be an indication that he's not a major player in the future books. If that's the case, I would love to see the show keep him involved. Who knows? Go north with Stannis or provide Davos with a traveling companion? That's a change to the books I wouldn't mind.

    I have the feeling his replacement of Edric Storm is more literal than we might want. I believe Mel told Stannis that his ascension would require sacrifice, so I'm sure she's planning a fiery end for our favorite hunky smith. Leave it to Mel to dress it up as being a "vital" part of making a king rise or fall. I'm guessing Davos will save him, which I hope means they'll be on a buddy road trip to White Harbor. Because I think that would be awesome.

    As for that entire Littlefinger narration with the reveal of Ros... I think that was MEANT to leave a bad taste in our mouths. In the Cast, you guys said you thought that it was just another example of Joffrey's insanity, like Ros' scene with him last season. I actually do think it was that kind of scene, but for LITTLEFINGER more than Joffrey, which I think Joanna realizes given her comments on revealing Littlefinger's evil a little too explicitly. I think that's a fair point. Littlefinger's characterization is nebulous enough in the first three books that when he finally reveals it's him who helped Sansa, there was a part of me that hoped this situation might be okay for Sansa. And that makes the scene with Lysa all the more shocking. It's a surprise that Littlefinger began everything by orchestrating Jon's death and it colors every single action he's taken in retrospect. Now, though, when the show finally brings that to light, it's not going to feel as surprising. I think there is something lost in that.

    That said, this is the first time I really WANT Baelish to die. Even after he kills Lysa in the book, I was so impressed by the sheer scale of his plans that I KNEW he had to die or have some type of comeuppance, but I was still interested in seeing where his plots would take him. Now, though, I very much WANT him to have a bad end. And I did like that it called back to his rather disturbing story to Ros last season. That's why I ended up liking that final scene. It shocked and disgusted me. It surprised a book reader. And I appreciate a show that can bring up those emotions.

    The Ladder speech... well, much of that is helped by Aidan's delivery, which makes it sound cooler than the speech really is. Clearly, this "ladder of chaos" is referring to the game itself and all of those struggles. I think he stretches the metaphor a little too fall, trying to sound profound and it's a little clunky, but I think the idea holds to some extent. It just seemed like stretching out "You win or you die" into a minute-long monologue.

    Yeah, the ending was cheesy, though there was some catharsis after the horrible thing we had to witness the scene before. I liked seeing the top of the Wall again, though. The Wall is one of my favorite things in the GoT universe. The first time I watched an episode of the show and we were panning through locations and we flew north to some location referred to only as "The Wall" I was intrigued. It's almost a character in itself, so I'm glad anytime the story takes us near it.

  • Vince

    You guys are reading way too much into the plan to kill Robert's bastards. And, you're assuming that they're ONLY killing Robert's bastards. Joffrey's "plan" could, and probably is, as simple as telling someone from the King's Guard to kill every bastard with black hair.

  • Oh and I really hope we get to see the scene with the leeches and Stannis calling out the names. It was one of my favorites from the books--so completely creepy and you almost forget about it when suddenly BAM! All three are dead, like he asked.

  • My husband is pretty sure the torturer is Roose Bolton's bastard, but he is very confused about it. According to him it just makes sense, because of the flaying and because of Roose's comment about sending his bastard, but he was confused when Ramsay defering to the other captors when he brought Theon in. I don't know how he can still doubt it after the flaying, but I like that he's still guessing at it.

    And I don't mind what they're doing with Littlefinger, at all. It really bugged me how he kept disappearing for ages and ages in the books, because he was such a deliciously evil character (which....how did anyone miss that in the books?). So, I really love that they're showing all his machinations in detail on the show; it keeps a great character at the forefront and it allows you to really see how complicated plot points are happening. I think it really helps the Show Viewers and it's a lot more fun to the Book Readers. At least it's more fun to me.

  • Guest

    I like you, joanna robinson.

  • Jennifer Schmennifer

    Maybe a good way to curb people's urge to put spoilers in the regular recaps comments is to post this one at about the same time? I mean, it won't stop them completely, but I bet it'd help a lot.

  • Juwan Dickerson

    I don't think Loras is as much of a problematic gay stereotype as people might think. That may be projecting what some people might believe what gay or straight is or how a gay or straight man should act. Sure Loras does portray some stereotypical homosexual traits in the show such as his gestures and his praise of wedding gallantry but on the other side he displays hetero-normative masculine traits as well such as his aggression and skills as a fighter. King Robert was one of most masculine men in the 7 Kingdoms and he loved Tournaments, Food, and the People and didn't give as shit about his bride. Then again his correcting Sansa about his pin being a broach though was a bridge too far. LOL

  • Yossarian

    Has he been much of a bad-ass fighter in the show? The books played up his skills much more, the show really hasn't. He's had more gay love scenes than fight scenes, people who talk about him are more likely to gay bash than praise his abilities. It wasn't so bad in season one that they made the homosexuality explicit but it is just getting ridiculous. I'm not buying this as a nuanced approach to a homosexual character who embodies certain stereotypes while subverting others. Loras is not being portrayed as someone who is respected, and that's the problem.

    I do find it problematic mostly because it is completely unnecessary. At the very least he should be able to Act The Part while courting Sansa, play it cool, flatter her, indulge her doe-eyed tendencies because it's good for his family (How fucking hard is it to pull the wool over Sansa Stark?). Instead he is awkward as fuck except when he can barely contain himself gushing about fashion and fabric. Why? Why write this scene just so the dull, uncritical masses can say "haw haw! The gay knight is talking about dresses! I get that trope!"

  • Juwan Dickerson

    Well I feel you there and I doubt they go much further in developing the Loras character because more he will eventually join the Kings Guard anyway following Joffrery's death and Majorey's appointment to Queen Regent.

  • Juwan Dickerson

    I was listening to The Night's Watch podcast and a theory was put forth that it was Marjory or both Marjory and Joffery that used Roz as target practice and killed her. Even though they didn't show her in the room the theory was based on by there being a few missed shots from the bolts. The hosts don't seem to buy that theory and I'm kind of iffy on it myself but it would be really interesting if that were true. What do you guys think?

  • Mimi Honeycutt

    I assumed the missed bolts were either Joffrey's bad aim or him taunting Ros.

  • Juwan Dickerson

    I thought that too at first but it was put forth that Joffrey was a fairly good shot as witnessed by his demostation of his crossbow skills to Marjory when he shot the boar head through the eye. It probably won't go down that way but it's an interesting theory though.

  • Yossarian

    I don't think so. Not that Marjory wouldn't loose a few bolts into a hooker if that's what it takes to be THE queen but I don't see any reason to make assumptions that the show didn't support, especially when it is unlikely to be revisited in future episodes and wouldn't make much difference anyway. Occam's razor and all.

    It's not like the show would be above adding her in the shot lovingly stroking his crossbow if that's what they wanted to convey.

  • Juwan Dickerson

    Yea that reveal would be out of left field but I wouldn't put it past the writers either though. We'll see what happens

  • sj

    Look at it this way, though; as evil as Littlefinger is being depicted right now, his stock can only go up once the audience finds out his role in the poisoning of Joffrey.

    Then it'll dramatically plummet again when they find out about his role in the poisoning of Jon Arryn, and thus being largely responsible for the entire war.

  • foolsage

    Littlefinger also convinced Cat that Tyrion tried to assassinate Bran (with the lie about the wager and the dagger). Then later, Littlefinger betrays Ned to his death. In several ways, LF started the War of Five Kings.

  • Pat Sponaugle

    Nice recap as always.

    If I can talk about Baelish (and who here dares to stop me!??!!??!!) I'm not so sure that the book even presented him in shades of gray. Since we only saw him from basically Ned, Cat, and Sansa's POV, he kind of came across as the annoying but ineffective old romantic rival, the little brother, or friend of mom's who's taking me out of Kings Landing. (Not *me*, Sansa... you get it.) Anyway, if we had had an omniscient narrator observing Baelish behind the scenes, he'd probably appear despicable and diabolical earlier on too.

    My guess is that Baelish is being backlit in a villainous hue (purple? red? I'm talking metaphorically here) because he's being a distraction from the viewers from worrying too much about the wedding at the Twins. A buddy of mine thinks RW is Royal Wedding, and he's convinced Baelish is going to do something awful to Sansa, since he knows we have a rumored book-throwing event coming up, that will cause GRRM to flee the country for awhile.

    If El Diablo Baelish helps distract my buddy from having his spidey-sense trigger at the Twins, it'll have been worth it to me for Littlefinger Pete to be more obvious the scoundrel.

  • I got that vibe too, regarding LIttlefinger as a general rule. When he told Ned "I told you not to trust me" I had a facepalm moment because yeah, he did tell Ned to not trust him.

    My biggest "holy crap he really IS fecking awful" was when he pushed Lysa Arryn out of the Moon Door. I'd pegged him as a power player before then, but that? I don't know why but that changed my entire perspective on the man. I read the books again and kept seeing more things I didn't see before. But that's also on the umpteenth reading of the books too. Not just watching through the show. I understand why they're amping it up. I just don't like it.

  • Yossarian

    For me, the OH SHIT moment is when it is revealed that he was responsible for the death of Jon Arryn, and manipulating Lysa into telling Catelyn the Lannisters did it. The events that set everything in motion, which up until then we assume is a Lannister play for the throne, is actually Littlefinger destabilizing the realm and putting the throne in play, drawing the pieces in so he can take them out (including Ned). If that's how it went down his is almost singularly responsible for the multiple wars that followed, that still aren't finished yet. Compared to that tossing some crazy old lady out of a window is nothing.

    And again, that's why I'm disappointed that the show gave him this ladder speech here. We know he was cunning and ambitious and not to be trusted, but we don't know just how ruthless and maniacal he is until later.

  • Juwan Dickerson

    Do you think that when Sansa was crying while looking at Petyr's ship was it sailing away? It looked like it could have either been anchored or at full mast, I couldn't tell. Because she is smuggled away by Dontos in the confusion when Joffrey dies but if he's already gone in the show I wonder how the writers are going to write it in that she meets back up with him, hmm... Maybe I'm getting to ahead of myself here but just some geek thoughts. I'm just way too excited about seeing how this season is going to unfold and anticipating everything!

  • Yossarian

    I don't think it was sailing away... that's Petyr's personal ride, no? His bed(s) are in the cabin? It wouldn't leave without him. (no idea why the sails are up 24/7. Probably because it looks cool/ more like a boat that way)

    I might need to re-watch (or, someone else can help out if I'm off base...) but didn't Sansa rebuff his initial offer of escape because she thought she was going to be married to Loras? And so now that Littlefinger has sabotaged those plans and she is faced with marrying Tyrion, suddenly the offer from Littlefinger is pretty much her only option. So I assumed she was looking at the boat because now she wants to be on it. (Which is exactly what Baelish wanted, which is why he blew up her plans with the Tyrrells, because he is so damn good at playing the game and climbing the ladder, etc)

  • Juwan Dickerson

    Yea Sansa did turn down the offer because she thought she was going to marry Loras and go to High Garden. Littlefinger is a conniving little pimp!

  • Pat Sponaugle

    I've had a similar experience on re-reading the books. I can't help but filter Baelish so he appears in the darkest of lights.

    By contrast, Varys always struck me as super-creepy in the books, but the TV Varys, I kind of like. He seems more like an approachable human. So, the last time I read the book, I realized I was cutting book Varys slack.

  • A dog called Crunch

    Is it confirmed in the books that Cersei sent Mandon Moore to kill Tyrion? I know I assumed that was the case, especially because book-Tyrion is so convinced that is the case, but has it actually been proven in the books? From what I remember, it's still an open question.

  • lowercase_ryan

    How many times has Cersei been told she's not as smart as she thinks she is?

  • mswas

    Not enough.

  • JoannaRobinson

    I thought it was a weird echo to have Anguy tell Arya she's not as good as she thinks she is. I'm not saying it was an intentional, thematic echo but, rather, a sort of sloppy linguistic one.

  • mrsachmo

    review = meh

  • Mimi Honeycutt

    Haha, goodness, I love your writing. Raisin Bran XD

    Cersei -- If I were to guess, it's to make her downward spiral in AFFC more pronounced (like giving girls to Qyburn). I mean, in the books it's clear because we're in her head. They might be setting her up as nicer at first to compensate. Then again, I play devil's advocate a lot. To be honest, I have more gripes with the whitewashing of Tyrion.

    Theon/Ramsay -- This scene had me giggling like a deranged schoolgirl. I'm down with Ramsay being more slasher-impish than in the books--Rheon's delivery is just so magnificent. I agree they should've revealed him though. Roose could just tell Robb his bastard has imprisoned Theon.

    I do think there are a lot of clues to answer who he is: Bolton's dialogue from S2, Bolton's establishing line about flaying, the Bolton sigil and Theon's cross, the hornblower, the trollishness shared by the Boltons, virtually no other named bannermen who haven't been "guessed" out, and the pervading question: what in hell happened to the army outside Winterfell. I know Bolton was casual, but he clearly said his bastard went to Winterfell and Theon was then facing an army.

    Roose -- Totally agree. Roose is friggin' awesome. It almost makes me wish he'd team up with Stannis so they could snark at each other. Long live House Trollton!

  • Bottom line -- I think a lot of SWs are gonna be pissed when Ramsay's identity is unveiled. Hard to imagine the majority will believe that a minor reveal was worth confusing them for an entire season.

  • Yossarian

    I assume they are going to tie that reveal into the larger plot twist of Roose Bolton betraying Rob & the Red Wedding. Which is going to just blow the Show Watcher's little minds all over their living room. So I don't think it will be seen as a minor reveal in that context.

    My bigger problem is that as a book reader, or even as someone who is paying attention to the context of the story, there is simply no way that Theon would not be able to guess that he is being tortured by Ramsay.

    Theon was raised in the North at Winterfell and educated by Maester Luwin. He knows the houses and the words and the banners. Even if he hasn't met Ramsey you can be sure he has heard the rumors. The thing he is tied to is on their sigil, there is no way Theon wouldn't be able to guess.

    It might work for story reasons, but it breaks my suspension of disbelief to see Theon so clueless.

  • Lisa

    To be fair, Theon is probably is super dehydrated amd not really sleeping well. I know if I don't get enough sleep sometimes it's like my brain is not quiet turned on. Add in the major headache he must have from not drinking or eating and being tourtured regularly. I can buy Theon not exactly thinking clearly.

    And I don't think there are rumored about Ramsay in the show. Robb and Catelyn didn't mention anything when Roose said he always sending his bastard to Winterfell.

  • Yossarian

    You're right about the fact that the show never mentions rumors surrounding the Bastard of Bolton. That's all book knowledge and it's not fair to hold them accountable to that.

    But I don't care how low his blood sugar is, no way he doesn't realize that he's tied to the Bolton family motto. Maybe my parents don't recognize it but a highborn lad raised at Winterfell, even a miscreant like Theon, just wouldn't be that thick.

  • Lisa

    Yeah, they only thing that bugs about this story me is the choice to keep it a mystery. because, yeah, it's not some super shocking thing that will blow people away. I just hope it doesn't completely ruin the entire story for them going forward.

    But I've been enjoying it. And Iwan Rheon has been delightfully crazy.

  • Juwan Dickerson

    I can see how from just a TV watcher's perspective it might be problematic and frustrating the Theon story line is and it might be that they are doing it this way because "in the books" Theon's identity is hidden which made for a startling reveal, well they can't do that in the TV show because they aren't going to recast Theon nor can they hide Alfie Allen behind makeup the next best thing would be to make the identity of his captor a secret. But that might have been a mistake because there's no dramatic payoff to that reveal like there is in the books.

    But on the other hand its kind of frustrating that non-book readers especially Dave hasn't figured this out! LOL. Like that line that Ramsay gives about "...you haven't been paying attention." Even from a non book reader's perspective it should be obvious if they've been keeping up with the show, Game of Thrones is a sprawling epic that does demand your attention your ability to recall several characters and plots but like Johanna said all the evidence is right there. The torture device Theon is hanging from is the Bolton sigil which we saw in episode 3 on their banners. Like Joanna said he is playing the horn from Dave's favorite scene in Season 2, Roose told Robb that he was sending his son to kidnap Theon, I think the only person it should be a mystery to is Theon! LOL but hey if the show watchers can't guess right then maybe it works.

    But a note on the Roose Bolton story line As much as I like him as a character I think the motivations to let Jaime go and ultimately betray Robb were much more clearer in the book than in the show because we had all the Vargo Holt backstory to go on. Maybe they'll clear the confusion up by the time we get to the Red Wedding but I was kind of confused in watching the show as to why he would have let Jaime go.

  • Mimi Honeycutt

    My best non-reader friend has figured it out and I've seen some non-reader critics guess it too. I wonder if next week Dave will have figured it out after so many people were "ARRRGH! LOOK!"

    I think it's fine if Theon doesn't know, but it's coming across like it should be a huge reveal for the viewers, when really it's not. I don't think they really hid Theon in the books though; we knew he was at the Dreadfort, and it was obvious who the new Reek was.

    I thought Roose was pretty plausible. He can tell Robb is losing the war--the new Lannister-Tyrell alliance, Robb marrying Talisa, his men are growing contentious, etc. Sending Jaime back to Robb would get him nothing while sending him to Tywin would get him favor and possibly gold/alliances.

  • Juwan Dickerson

    I see your point about Roose, That whole Talisa/Jeyne really effed Robb up! LOL

  • christopherdlc

    Agree with #10. I was NOT a fan of the Ros scene. Killing her is one thing, but the extra long shot was creepy, in the wrong way. There are many ways to show her with Joffrey and make clear what will/did happen.

  • Something else to keep in mind regarding how Littlefinger and others are portrayed on the show -- Benioff and Weiss have no idea how many seasons they're gonna get. Some of the machinations may require acceleration for practicality's sake.

    Hell, I don't even think Littlefinger is any different here than he is on the page. He's a selfish, manipulative prick who wants to win the game more than anyone else around. I don't see much contrast between the two Littlefingers.

  • The_Ghost_of_Bo_Crowder

    Yup. Littlefingers motives are written with a bit more ambiguity but his actions are pretty much always villainous.

    From the betrayal of Ned onwards he's obviously not a nice guy.

  • Sherry

    "The question is what will their shadowbaby get up to?" My assumption always was an invite to the Red Wedding.

  • BendinIntheWind

    Really? I'd assume it would explain Balon Greyjoy's mysterious fall from the bridge.

    The Red Wedding is totally orchestrated by Tywin - how would the shadowbaby fit into that? It just happens to show up at the same time, or Tywin had no part in it? I would be so severely disappointed if they retcon this.

  • Sherry

    My earlier reply got eaten. I meant "bad karma for Robb" shadowbaby, not one that kills him all Renly-like. I will be mega pissed if they don't follow the Red Wedding to the hilt as in the books. But the Balon thing makes sense, too.

  • Juwan Dickerson

    It would kinda make sense for the death of Balon but didn't he get pushed over by a wave in the book? And he's not really a factor yet this season and wasn't really much of one in the book either.

    But the Red Wedding on the other hand unless they make it a shadow baby that kills Robb and not Roose Bolton, which by the way would be a grave injustice to us readers!

  • manting

    he is killed by a faceless man brought by Euron Greyjoy. The dwarf hermit lady at high heart is pretty clear about it - she tells of a dream where she saw a man without a face on a swaying bridge and a drowned crow was on his shoulder.
    Translation - she saw a faceless man hired by Eureon "Crow's Eye) Greyjoy who kills him on one of the bridges that connect his castle. Also Eureon literally shows up THE NEXT DAY and takes the throne.

  • Pat Sponaugle

    As far as I know, it's unclear what really happened to Balon. He did go off a bridge. But I think I recall Dany had some vision in the house of the undying, where she saw a man confronted on a bridge between towers in a storm. I want to say that the other being involved seemed to be a faceless man, but I might totally be talking out of my back end. I'll see if I can confirm or deny.

    If it was a shadow assassin from Missy, that would be a better explanation thematically.

  • JoannaRobinson

    In A Storm Of Swords The Ghost Of High Heart says "I dreamt of a man without a face, waiting on a bridge that swayed and swung. On his shoulder perched a drowned crow with seaweed hanging from his wings." This is, allegedly, about Balon Greyjoy.

  • Pat Sponaugle

    Thumbs up! Thanks for doing the research JRob! Much obliged. It would have made me crazy re-reading the House of the Undying stuff and not finding what I thought was there.

  • Sherry

    Hm, I guess I was thinking of shadowbaby as more of a bringer of bad karma to Robb than actually killing him, as the one did with Renly. Yeah, if the RW pans out in any other way than it did in the books I will, as someone said upthread, set the Internets on fire. Had forgotten about Balon (although I assumed he was pushed by one of his brother's minions and they said it was a wave or the wind, can't remember which) but random shoving shadowbaby would also work.

  • Becks

    There's a fairly convincing fan theory floating about that suggests Balon's death wasn't an accident and wasn't the result of a smoke baby:

    http://asoiaf.westeros.org/ind...

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I don't think the Littlefinger plot is top one-sided. He comes across as sleazy and double-dealing in the books. Okay, setting up Ros to be killed is a deviation, but Ros herself is a deviation. I don't think Book-Baelish would have acted much differently.

    Aside re Slayer: Fucking spiders, man.

  • Yossarian

    So Roose was doing a Wayne's World bit? When Melisandre made the agreement to buy Gendry from the Brothers I hope they made sure to cross all the t's and dot the.... lower case j's.

    The book spoiler recap always brings out the negativity in me because the more I think about how it is different from the book, the more I want to complain about it. Especially this episode. Great acting performances are being weighed down by too-cute-by-half writing.

    And while Joanna can convince me that the slow play of the Ramsay reveal makes structural sense for the TV show I really have a problem with the way they rushed Littlefinger into this heavy–hand John Galt speech this early in the show just because they needed to close this episode with a crescendo. We always knew he was shrewd and self-interested but I like the way GRR withheld the depth and breadth of his machinations until after he escaped with Sansa and you realize he's been playing the Game longer and better than anyone else in the seven kingdoms.

  • pfeiffer87

    Although i enjoyed the Osha/Meera skin off this week I'm getting anxious that Osha & Rickon are still with the Reeds, hodor and bran. They shoud've been separated right now and off to Skagos to tie in with Davos' future plotline. Cos I feel like GRRM is gonna do something great with the whole rescue Rickon from cannibals thing.

    Hate the gay-stereotype-loras. He should be in the kingsguard by now - not sure how they're gonna stop Cersei & Loras' wedding. i assumed it would be when Tywin dies but that's ages off.

    Also Cersei should be more of a bitch and littlefinger should be less. In the books he's selfish and ambitious but I never got from him that he was all out evil.

  • Pat Sponaugle

    I'm echoing your Osha and Rickon observation. I mean, I guess they can have them separate at some future point, but I'm keen to discover what Osha and Rickon (yes, even Rickon) were up to, and book six isn't coming along fast enough.

  • Mimi Honeycutt

    Maybe Ramsay goes after them so they split up?

  • Sherry

    You raise an interesting point about Loras that I've been pondering, which is if/when he joins the Kingsguard. With Olenna taking such a firm stance that Highgarden can't lose its heir (bye, two other brothers), how does the show get around that and have him join the KG? Does he do it voluntarily to get out of marrying Cersei? Or, does it even matter if he doesn't? I'm so confused...

  • That's a huge part of Jamie's coming back too - he sees a lot of himself in Loras, at least at that age.

    Plus, they are losing the whole angle of the Tyrell/Martell feud. If Oberyn never knocks Willas off his horse, then why do they hate each other so?

  • Duvall

    There really aren't any shades of gray to Baelish in the books. He's a thoroughly evil bastard there, the only difference in the show is that he tells people about it.

  • foolsage

    Agreed. In the books, he's utterly evil. Due to the constraints of the first-person perspective, we readers had to put together all the clues and see that, sure, Littlefinger was directly responsible for a lot of murders, and a lot of frame-ups after said murders. In the TV show, most of this is now out in the open, but I think the character is unchanged.

  • Right? I don't get what people are talking about here. Any doubts about Littlefinger only showed up on Sansa's chapters, and we all know she's kind of an idiot when it comes to judging people.

  • Mimi Honeycutt

    Well, Littlefinger's more subtle. It's not that he's grayer, it's that his actions are grayer until late ASOS/AFFC. I don't really have a problem with him being eviler on the show.

    Sansa's not a bad judge of character by AFFC, when she starts putting her memory and empath skills to good use. I don't think LF realizes she remembers everything he says.

  • Ashley

    In the books tyrion never investigates who actually sent the hit he just naturally assumed it was Cersei. But it was probably Littlefinger whispering in Joffery's ear kinda like how he did with Ned. And the baby killing was never explicit it was only talked about but no one finger was pointed right at Cersei.

    Also I think that the Red god is a little flashier than say the Old gods. The old gods are also more powerful in the presence of weirwoods and I believe that they're "moment" is still to come especially if Mel starts burning down the trees they won't take to kindly to that!

  • He did try to find out though. He just never really got anywhere with it. By that point, he'd lost the power of being the Hand, and was fairly quickly saddled with marriage to Sansa and being Master of Coin. Seems reasonable that trying to go down that rabbit trail would not have been as high a priority as in the past. (Especially trying to juggle Shae and still keep her secret. Book Tyrion has quite a few irons in the ol' fire.)

  • Juwan Dickerson

    I've been wanting to say this ever since I listened to the Cast of Kings podcast and I'm glad Joanna mentioned it here. With regard to #6.

    I think from a show viewer's perspective it probably would make more sense for Tyrion to think that Joffery had done all those acts like killing the bastards and especially having him killed because of what we all know is going to happen to Joffery and how Tyrion is going to get blamed for it. The whole thing in the books was that Tyrion was accused of poisoning Joffery and it makes sense on the page how they could think Tyrion could have done it but he doesn't really have a motive to do so other than Joffery just a rotten little bastard. Well book readers know he's going to die and who kills him and TV viewers just want him dead but what's the motive? In this age of Law & Order and CSI (not that I'm comparing at all!) motive is important to portray. And by having Joffery be the blame for killing the bastards and more importantly trying to kill Tyrion (which by the way we have Tyrion on record stating that he wants "actual" revenge on the "actual" person that tried to kill him) makes more sense when it comes down to pin Joffrey's death on him. And also why would Cersi lie and blame it on Joffery to protect herself knowing how protective she still is of him. It might be whitewashing of Cersi but I think the plot makes more sense this way.

  • Elisa Uranga

    I why are they making Tyrion to squeaky clean good guy too? I don't like it.

  • BendinIntheWind

    I remember someone else surmising on an earlier thread that Tywin would actually kill Shae, and Tyrion would kill him as payback. If this happens in the show, I will BURN THE INTERNETS TO THE GROUND.

  • kbenton

    Boy do i agree with that. It'd completely destroy the depth of the act. Tyrion's rage goes so much deeper than that... it'd be awfully unfair. I can't imagine the writers don't see that though.

  • Mimi Honeycutt

    O_O Please baby Jesus do not let that come to pass.

    I don't like whitewashed Tyrion as much as gives-into-his-demons Tyrion. It makes me wonder how they'll handle Sansa. In the books it made total sense why she rejects him (and showed her strength, tbh). I reaaally don't want the show to make her seem like a bitch.

  • Yossarian

    I'm not sure I agree. They are both prone to making dumb moves but it seems like Cersi is more attuned to bigger outside threats, things like bastard children and Uncle Tyrion blowing the whistle on all their shit when grandpa comes back. Joff, on he other hand, is prone to being impulsively foolish in the moment. Over-reacting to a slight or hiring someone to finish off Bran without thinking it through.

    But in the series... Joff is making all these behind the scenes moves on his own initiative? Really? His not supposed to be that savvy or motivated. The Queen regent and the small council pull the strings, he just goes along with it and sentences people to death until he gets bored. I'm not sure I understand his character in the TV show, other than he is a little sociopath.

    Joff is supposed to be the kind of person where, if he tells someone to do something crazy/stupid/reckless they would try to steer him away from it. He's not THAT respected, or feared, even by his own men. I don't see him ordering hits. I think if he tried the person receiving the order would ask his mum about it.

  • competitivenonfiction

    Yes to all of this. It's exactly what I was thinking.

  • Juwan Dickerson

    Well lets talk about that because it's already been established in the show that Tywin knows about Jaime and Cersi even though he frames it as a "rumor" and that was revealed in front of Tyrion in episode 5 during he and Cersi's meeting with Tywin. So there's no leverage or stakes there for Tyrion to have against her if daddy already knows. And also Tywin know's how badly Cersi has mismanaged Joffery and let him run wild.

    I didn't mean to imply that Joffrey was making behind the scenes plots. I didn't think in the book that the killing of the bastards or the hit on Tyrion was a calculated plot. To me it was a impetuous and foolish move, for Cersi in the books and for Joffrey in the show. Actually the reveal that it was Joffery that actually put the hit on Bran was way smarter than those other two things.

    The show has done a good job of portraying Joffery as a rotten bastard and showing that those around him just pretty much go along with what he wants like any spoiled brat. And I can see Joffrey telling Mandon Moore (who had threatened Tyrion in the past for threatening Joffery and laying hands on him.) And we've seen evidence of the the Kingsguard/City Watch being fearful of him in the show, remember Marjorie's threat to the Knights about telling Joffrey when they tried to stop her from talking to Sansa? And we have already seen Joffery threaten death after being slapped. That's Joffrey's motive to have Tyrion killed.

  • Yossarian

    The killing of the bastards kind of HAS to be a calculated plot, though. Who has a list of Robert's indiscretions and the fruits of those unions, where they are hidden, etc. The jilted wife surely would. But his teenage son? Please.

    The only way it makes any sense is, as Ashley points out right below this comment, if it some how leads back to someone like Littlefinger whispering in his ear to kill the Bastards (and where to find them), or to have his Uncle killed. But then that just raises more questions: why/how do Cersei and Tyrion just accept that he is capable of these things they should know he is not capable of? Or, is the show just being sloppy.

    Cersie is supposed to be the one finding unscrupulous half-competent knights like the Kettleblack's that she can manipulate to get shit down. Stuff like that should be beyond Joffery.

    Putting the hit on Bran was not smart, it was sloppy and impulsive which is why Cersei and Tyrion were able to figured out it was him.

  • Who would have more to gain from planting that idea in Joff's golden head though? Littlefinger or Varys? That's what I wonder.

    Varys' motives are clear (at least in the point I find myself) he wants Targaryens back on the throne, and has been biding his time. So would it make more sense for Varys to slip ideas to Joff that would wind up being part of his downfall? Or is it Littlefinger plotting his own rise to power? Or even a bit of both?

  • JoannaRobinson

    I like this point, that the show is making Joff out to be a calculating bastard when really he's an idiotic, sadistic little sh*t.

  • Yeah. The larger issue for me is that Tyrion -- one of the smartest, most capable game-players the realm has seen -- swallowed that lie from Cersei. He can't believe his dumb, impetuous nephew is capable of these plots. Or at least, capable of doing this on his own.

  • Yossarian

    Did Cersei come right out and say it? I thought Tyrion confronted her with it and read from her reaction, and if that's the case I have to assume that the show is implying that it really was Joffery. Otherwise we have to accept that Cersei is so good she can control her reaction body language to completely fool Tyrion.

    Not that I'm happy about it, but I really don't think the show is putting that out there as a red herring. I think they really want us to pin this on Joffery. (though I agree his character should not be capable of doing it on his own)

  • Juwan Dickerson

    No she didn't. I think it was more of a body language thing. I do agree with you that Joffrey shouldn't be capable of plotting. But I believe that the show is putting these actions on Joffery to make show motive for Tyrion when it comes down to blaming him for Joffrey's death.

  • Matt

    Was reading quite a lengthy forum thread for book readers debating who was actually to blame for the whole Mandon Moore episode. I mean, in the books, was it actually confirmed that it was Cersei? When we get her POV, she never really thinks about it.

  • kbenton

    I recall Tyrion did some investigation and while it wasn't really stated explicitly, he more or less decided it was Joffrey.

  • manting

    in the books I think it is Cersie - they go on and on how she forced his appointment and how he is her catspaw. There is also foreshadowing of the attack when Tyron recalls that Jamie said that Moore was the "most dangerous man in the Kingsguard, excepting myself of course."

  • Forbiddendonut

    Oops! I made my post before reading this. I totally agree. I don't think Cersei was the one who ordered Mandon Moore in the books. The only other candidate is Joffery. The fact that Tyrion confronted her about it and they both came to the conclusion that it was Joffery was new, but not the fact Cersei wasn't the one who did it.

  • Fredo

    It's par for the course for Joffrey, who likes to have others do his dirty work for him. As Tyrion will summise later on when he starts asking Joffrey about the dagger used on the attempt on Bran's life.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Up until this season I have loved every change made from book to show. Now there are a couple I don't like (you listed them) and I don't know if I should be concerned. The Baelish thing strikes me as a huge change from the character's tone in the books. Maybe it's just me, but I never thought he was one to do something so overtly as the Ros death. He's evil, he's conniving, and he's ruthless, but I always thought of him as subtle as well.

    I don't get the point of drawing parallels between Arya and Joffrey. I mean really, what does that serve? We know their roads have and always will be completely different, so why make the link?

    Another big change for me is Melisandre and the Red God. As we discussed in the facebook group, she's much more involved in the show. Almost like a puppeteer at times, which is not an impression I ever got from the books. Also it feels like we have a front runner in the race to become the one true god, and I don't like it.

  • Stannis is quite dismissive of Melisandre at some points in the books. There are times I think the only reason he's giving her a shot is because the Seven seem to have failed him - by rights, he should be King, and he's not, and no one really even wants him to be King. Even the people who begrudge him the point that yes, he is the older of Robert's brothers and Robert's children are illegitimate, so Stannis *should* be King don't really think he'd be a good one. Remember Ned talking with Renly about that very thing? No, he wouldn't be a good King, but it's his right as the elder.

    So I sort of picture Stannis as giving whatever god(s) he can a shot at what he knows is right. Melisandre and R'hllor have gotten him farther than the Seven ever did, and with Davos' information about the Others and the Wall, he can finally try to do something *right* and get people's attention.

    I am curious how they're going to swing the whole Davos/Gendry thing as far as the show goes. Or if they'll even have Davos be the one who stands up to Stannis and Melisandre and saves him.

  • lowercase_ryan

    That's a great point that I had forgotten about. There are times when it felt like Stannis would hitch his wagon to whichever god could put him on the throne. In fact, I think he's always been like that.

  • Enrique del Castillo

    He's more pragmatic than most people think. Remember his speech about the ill hawk and replacing it with a healthy one?

  • Sherry

    The only thing I can think of re: the parallel between Arya and Joffrey is to give non-readers a foreshadowing of the really weird road that she's going to walk because it's such a huge transition from where she starts out. Showing even the slightest violent parallel between the Arya they love and someone she hates and wants to kill could be a way to bring it home to people who haven't read her POV chapters and truly won't get her 180 turn when she makes it. Heck, even in the books I struggle with it at times. Just a theory, though.

  • Mrcreosote

    Luckily Ramsey Bolton becomes a complete badass, then goes back in time to protect his buddies although he won't tell them who he is. Also he's in Juvie.

  • Three_nineteen

    He only becomes a complete badass after fucking up another arson attempt.

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