We know it’s been hard for you to keep a lid on it. You poor book readers, you. We’ve tied your hands and tongues with our “no spoiler” policy in the official “Game Of Thrones” recaps. Some of you have been doing a better job than others. And some of you, regrettably, pissed TK right off in the comments section of last week’s recaps. So, to give you an opportunity to vent your theories, frustrations and questions, here’s a post that’s just crawling with spoilers. You hear me, non-readers? THERE ARE SPOILERS EVERYWHERE. You have been warned. This is me verbally trying to slap some sense into you. So get out while you can.
Still here? Good. What follows are the major plot points the “Game Of Thrones” writers must/should get through with only three hours remaining in the season. They’ve somewhat cleverly left most of the sensational stuff until the end, but those of us who know the book might be a little worried about how it’s all going to fit together. The show’s great and the folks who run it are brilliant. I have a lot of faith in them. But take a look at all the things they have left to cover and then feel free to go batsh*t in the comments. No holds barred.
The Kingslayer: His final scene in last week’s episode, with him still trussed up and Catelyn reaching for Brienne’s sword, is the last one Jaime Lannister has in “A Clash Of Kings.” But I highly doubt this is the last we’ll see of the three of them this season. For one thing, Catelyn hasn’t even heard about “Bran” and “Rickon” yet. No way the show runners will deprive Michelle Fairley such tasty dramatic meat to chew. It’s what she does best. But your guess is as good as mine as to when she finds out. Will Brienne and Jaime already be on the road?
The King In The North: Currently, Robb is off accepting a surrender at the Crag with “Lady Talisa” (aka Jeyne Westerling?) in tow. It’s reasonable to assume that he’ll find out about “Bran” and “Rickon” while there and need “comforting” which, you know, kissing, bed, imprudent marriage, Frey betrayal and, eventually, a nice day for a Red Wedding. I’m not really sure I understand the name change, but I certainly appreciate the show introducing the character of Talisa/Jeyne earlier in the season. It makes Robb seems marginally less stupid. I think we’ll get this marriage (or at least some consolation boning) before the season is through.
The Death Of Qhorin Halfhand: When last we saw Jon Snow, he had been led into a Wilding trap by the feisty Ygritte after manfully enduring a lot of jokes about his virginity. The question is, how will the death of Qhorin Halfhand play out? If Jon is captured now (by random Wildlings or by Rattleshirt himself) and the lot of them then encounter Qhorin and the remaining band of Night’s Watchmen, how will The Halfhand and Jon have a chance to plan anything? Will it all be conveyed via meaningful looks? And given that Jon Snow didn’t “let” Ygritte get away, what exactly is her motivation to play out the whole Pocahontas in The North scenario? Why should she save him? His pretty hair? I have to say, I have enjoyed the expansion of Ygritte in this season and Rose Leslie is pretty much perfectly cast in my mind. At any rate, Qhorin’s death is one of the most poignant and compelling in “A Clash Of Kings” and I hope they don’t bungle it. (They won’t.)
Arya’s Last Name aka The Escape From Harrenhal aka The Battle Of Weasel Soup: The whole situation in Harrenhal is a perfect example of the way in which the HBO show has, in my opinion, improved upon an already strong plot line from the book. The pas de deux scenes between Tywin Lannister and Arya Stark have quickly become the highlight of each week for me. Both Charles Dance (unsurprising given his age and experience) and Maisie Williams (ridiculous given her age and experience) have been delivering powerhouse performances. The idea of Tywin becoming a sort of dark father figure to Arya and one of many surrogates who will help shape her along her journey, is a fantastic concept and one that I am so grateful the show runners ran with. The alternative? A few weeks of watching Arya get knocked upside the head in the kitchen. No thank you. So without Roose Bolton (I very much doubt he’ll make an appearance), I’m guessing that when Arya misses her chance at Tywin (he has to run off to Kings Landing at some point, yes?), she’ll say her last name to Jaqhen H’gar, he’ll help her escape, and she’ll run off into the night with Gendry and Hot Pie. I doubt the soup will even come into it.
The Burning Of Winterfell: In the books, after Theon presents the charred corpses of the “Stark boys,” his sister Asha/Yara comes to Winterfell to flaunt his failure in his face and rather than helping him fortify and defend the keep, she leaves him with insultingly leaves him with not enough men to protect the stables, let alone the castle itself. The show runners seem to love this Yara/Theon dynamic so I’m sure this interaction will take place in the next episode or two. But what about the subsequent battle and the fall of Theon Greyjoy? In the books it’s an established character, “Reek” aka The Bastard of Bolton aka Ramsay Bolton, who betrays not only the Northern men come to take back Winterfell, but also Theon himself. It’s a terrifying yet satisfying moment in the books and given that we’ve not seen hide nor hair of Reek I’m wondering how the show runners plan to pull it off. Also, Ser Rodrik Cassel has already been clumsily dispatched, so we don’t really have a Winterfell man to root for outside of the walls. Will Roose Bolton (introduced via a few conversations with Robb) take the place of Ramsay since his services are not required over at Harrenhal? What role will Dagmer Cleftjaw (much more Reekish in the show than in the books) play? One way or another, Winterfell will have to burn, it’s just a bit of a mystery as to who will light the torch. P.S. WHERE THE HELL ARE MEERA AND JOJEN REED?
Threatening The Hand Of The King: When Cersei, a few episodes back, told Tyrion, “One day I pray you love someone. I pray you love her so much when you close your eyes you see her face. I want that for you. I want you to know what it’s like to love someone, to truly love someone, before I take her from you,” I think even the non-book readers got a knot in the pit of their stomachs. Too bad Shae couldn’t hop on that ship to Dorne with Myrcella. But in the book, of course, Cersei grasps the wrong end of the whore stick and captures Alayaya instead of Shae. Since Alayaya doesn’t really exist in the show (though we’ve seen someone who looks like her in Lord Baelish’s brothel), can we presume Roz will be taking her place? I’m not sure what reason Cersei would have to connect Tyrion to Roz other than that he hired her for Joffrey…but hey, the show runners love Roz! So I’m sure we’ll see her buxom visage soon enough.
The House Of The Undying: Probably the second most impressive sequence in the book is the cracked-out fever dream of the House Of The Undying. I’m not really sure how I feel about Dany’s dragons being captured, but it certainly does give her a better motivation to burn that nightmare palace to the ground. I can’t wait for the madness of her visions, for her triumph over Pyat Pree and for some sweet, sweet dragon fire action. The question is, will Dany’s story end this season with another scene of fire, or will we see her on the docks and her first meeting with Ser Barristan Selmy? (They mentioned him this past week for a reason, you know!)
Wife Swap: King’s Landing Edition: It’s been a few episodes since we’ve had a nice, plump, juicy, satisfying “Joffrey, you little sh*t” moment. This should do nicely. Joffrey, in front of all his court, breaks his engagement to Sansa Stark and joins himself to Margaery Tyrell instead. Way to trade down, Joff. This scene is also a chance for Aidan Gillen to shine as Lord Petyr Baelish, a role he has been playing to smarmy perfection. But, most of all, I want to see Sophie Turner act out Sansa’s naive triumph when she thinks she’s free and her crushing defeat when she realizes she’s in more danger now than ever.
Did I Forget Anything…Oh Yeah, The F*cking Battle Of The Blackwater: In a recent Wall Street Journal article, the creators revealed that the reason they were able to pitch their show successfully to HBO is that, despite the sword/sandal/dragon aspects of “Game of Thrones,” there were no major battles to film. In season one that is. But those of you who have read the book know that The Battle Of The Blackwater is going to be a b*tch to film and a particular b*tch to film well. We know from the WSJ that they’ve built at least one ship (good), we know from watching the show that they’ve established Davos as a character we recognize and that they teased the h*ll out of Tyrion’s Wild Fire so, knuckle joints crossed, this is going to be one badass, jaw dropping, pants sh*tting Battle Royale. Complete with valiant Pods, craven Hounds, traitorous Mandon Moores and The Hand Of The King, risking everything for his family and for his city, and getting none of the credit. I can’t think of a TV show ever taking on something quite this epic in scope and I just hope they pull it off without relying too heavily on cheap-looking CGI.