Apr 9 2012 10:00am

Game of Thrones, Season 2, Episode 2: “The Night Lands”

This week on HBO’s Game of Thrones, we mostly just felt uncomfortable whenever Arya was offscreen. The sex that has become a hallmark of this series returns in full force as we learn, by turns, that some girls can be neither rock nor salt wives, some girls can be daughter-wives, pimpin’ is not in fact easy, and supposedly moral kings can get a little loose with their definition of moral.

But, yeah, Arya had all the best lines. Bless her.

Warning: book and episode spoilers after the cut. If you wish to avoid spoilers, I refer you to Leigh Butler’s excellent ASoIaF read.

While I really enjoyed last week’s premiere, I liked the second episode much more. Instead of checking in on everyone, we further explored the new situations of a few. 

The only downside? Game of Thrones is perhaps the second worst show to watch with one’s parents after Spartacus.

Right off the bat, we get some quality time with Arya traveling north on the Kingsroad with Gendry, Lommy, Hot Pie, and Yoren of the Night’s Watch. Most importantly, we got to meet one of those three very dangerous prisoners being taken to the Wall. Jaqen H’Ghar! He looked and sounded absolutely, appropriately creepy and mysterious. His multicolored hair was subtle, which I appreciated. I would’ve said Arya has balls of steel for rattling his cage, but, as she discussed with Gendry, she is a girl. (But not a lady. Ladies don’t suggest that someone might “fill their pants” in fear. Perfect delivery.)

I loved the quippy banter betwen the two of them. Maise Williams is just fantastic.

Who really has balls of Valyrian steel is Yoren. Watching him tell off those Gold Cloaks just about made my heart swell.

More introductions were in order when Theon reached Pyke, home to Balon Greyjoy and the daughter formerly known as Asha. I always pictured Balon looking like John Noble playing Denethor in Return of the King and this actor didn’t disappoint. Balon kind of gives Tywin Lannister a run for his money in the Father of the Year contest, no? Yara was well cast, too. I’m dying to see who they cast as Damphair, but I understood why they wouldn’t want to include him in the show so early when his character won’t be seen again for another two seasons. And it was a memorable way to both introduce the badassery that’s Yara and to show how out of place Theon is among his family now.

Not that I feel bad for Theon. I think they actually made his treatment of the captain’s daughter a little nicer than it was in the books. That was some seriously unpleasant sexposition with a very sad and desperate girl. None of the sex in this week’s episode was particularly sexy. And sex tinged almost every storyline. If not being shown, it was talked about, from Sam and Grenn Beyond the Wall down to charismatic pirate Salladhor Saan at Dragonstone.

But why did we need to see Littlefinger in the brothel this week? Without further context for it, his threatening of Ros just served to show some more sex and a little something extra that even three seasons of Spartacus never showed. I feel like the showrunners are trying to make Littlefinger fill up an Al Swearengen-shaped hole in HBO’s lineup and I don’t think it works.

Tyrion has his own problems, of which Shae is only one. I wonder what Shae and Varys were laughing about before Tyrion came home. (“Oh, girl, did you hear? Renly’s got a Rainbow Guard now. Could he be any more obvs?”) And good riddance, Janos Slynt. That was always one of my favorite scenes from the books.

One of the things that makes the nature of television interesting is that we aren’t locked into any one character’s point of view. Robb never got his own chapters in the books, but on the show he comes alive with personality. We have yet to see a Stannis-narrated chapter either. Therefore, I could only interpret his relationship with Melisandre through other people’s eyes.

I thought of Melisandre and Stannis as having more as an emotional affair, not a physical one. I thought she was draining his energy spiritually, magically. Maybe I’m naive. (Shadow babies have to come from somewhere, right?) I just didn’t picture Stannis being okay with breaking his marriage vows, no matter how hot Melisandre was. I never pictured Melisandre as a femme fatale either.

Across the Narrow Sea, Dany is still trying to keep her khalasar from starvation and mourning the loss of Rakharo, her most foppish bloodrider. That didn’t happen in the books and I’m so disappointed that he and Irri can’t continue their quiet background courtship.

Another change from the books was Jon Snow actually catching Craster sacrificing his sons to the White Walkers. And Craster subsequently finding out and reacting with that old knock-on-the-head chestnut. That was a surprise. How will this affect what happens next? Will whatever happens to Jon affect Gilly’s escape attempt?

What do you think of the changes from the books? Which new character shone the most? (Dolorous Edd!) What do you think of Bronn as Commander of the City Watch? Or Joffrey ordering the culling of Robert’s bastards instead of Cersei?

Visit HBO’s offical Game of Thrones site for episode extras.

Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to She covers True Blood, Game of Thrones, and is also an avid gamer. She has also covered tech and TV for and Action Flick Chick. Follower her on Twitter @tdelucci

Mordicai Knode
1. mordicai
All of these fiddles are just that-- fiddling. It aids an economy of storytelling. I don't think there will be a major departure from the plot at any point.
2. night_day
I think you need to revise the wording on some text in the middle there as it's spoilerish re: one of the biggest plot points
Theresa DeLucci
3. theresa_delucci
@2 We're allowed to talk book and episode spoilers in here and I think I kept it vague enough by not mentioning specifics. (My parents read these reviews and they've never been spoiled for the show. Heh.) Unless multiple people raise issue with how spoilers are handled, anything is fair game for now. We have Leigh Butler's lovely ASoIaF read for people who don't want book spoilers. So I'll add that link to the reviews going forward.

@1 I love Bronn being in charge of the City Watch. Anything that gives Bronn more screentime is cool in my book.
4. markerikson
1. I thought the meeting between Theon and Yara/Asha was overdone. In the book, that scene is pretty off-colour, but you can believe that someone suitably malicious and messed up might do that. What happened in the show was not believable. Yara would have to be extremely messed up to let her own brother get to third base just for the sake of a joke.

(yeah, I know GoT already has incest - but Cersei is actually in love with her brother, Yara just wants to make Theon feel like a fool)

2. I haven't read that part of aCoK since it was released (I've reread all the books except the second one, which I'm only just rereading for the first time since 1998 now), but I'm pretty sure it makes in known that Stannis and Melisandre have a physical relationship.

However, I also think that the book implies that Stannis is not aware of it. Melisandre is doing it without his knowledge, somehow?
5. schm0
Yeah, the shortcuts they are taking for exposition and plot condensation are a tad bit annoying. And my is the plot moving fast. IIRC, I think we're two episodes in and probably eight to ten times that in actual GRRM chapters. Honestly though, they missed out on some very easily translatable elements.

For instance, Melisandre was initially a figure of mystery when I read the series... some strange, red-haired woman from a faraway land that I wanted to know more about. It seems in Season 2 that she's just... there. Indeed, I was disappointed by her introduction. The Maester Cressen perspective should have been the first 15 minutes of Episode 1... instead it was broken up and given from a third person perspective and barely touched on at all. I did not feel the least bit of sympathy for Maester Cressen on the show (and where is Patchface, by the way? Under the sea, oh ho, oh ho?) Brushed over is the tenuous relationship between Stannis, Melisandre and his wife, their problems with conceiving a child, the backstory for Davos... all of this is replaced with a brief line about Melisandre promising Stannis a son? Not sure where they plan to go with that one... and that's one birthday party I'd like to miss. Of all the things that would motivate Stannis to whip out his willy, is it really the promise of an heir that seals the deal? Not the promises of magic, sorcery and misfortune befalling his enemies?

This also marks the second episode where Littlefinger is relegated to "brothel-owner" and "generic @$$hole" rather than the conspiring, backstabbing and highly intelligent member of the council I know him to be. He is much less Littlefinger and much more peeping tom/fool/angry pimp than anything else in this season. His rise to power is due to his role as an effective master of coin... his capital ventures in brothelry are secondary at most. But in the amped-up sexcapades of the HBO series it's Littlefinger the whore-herder we see.

I also think the Yara/Asha name change was worthless, and the introduction to her character awkward... and not in the true sense of awkwardness felt in the books. Balon Greyjoy is not the type of father that openly puts his arms around his daughter to showcase her acheivements. Like much of the other new character introductions, it was clumsy and didn't quite translate very well for me.

So far, I am seeing this review over on lining up very much with where the season is heading so far... I'm not disliking the new season, but I am certainly finding myself fidgeting on my couch from time to time each Sunday. I'll be tuning in again next week, despite my rambling reservations above.
Eli Bishop
6. EliBishop
Theresa: In the book, I think the physical aspect of the Stannisandre situation was pretty clearly established when Mel asked Davos for some help in that department and told him it'd be a whole lot of fun.
Richard Fife
7. R.Fife
First off, still going to be keeping my complaints on Mel. I knew that her and Stannis had a phyiscal relationship, but in the books it is kept really behind the scenes (not quite as much as Renly/Loras was in the book, but still on the "maybe/maybe not"). The whole "screwing on the map-table" thing was just over the top for both their characters, I feel. At least in that fashion. If I had more development on their characters, I could totally see it, though.

That, I suppose is what is bugging me. Stannis and Mel have both been really rushed as characters. We totally could have skipped that Littlefinger scene this week to have gotten more backstory/development on Stannis and Mel seperately or from other people talking about them than from what we have got.

"Yarasha" actually worked well in my opinion. I was biting a knuckle and chuckling during Theon's whole bit, but I do agree that the "fatherly warmth" Balon showed to Yarasha at the end was out of character. I do feel sorry for Theon at this point, but I do that while refusing foresight. At this point in the book, aside from how he treated the Capt's daughter, he hadn't really been a "bad guy". Perhaps he had been a bit creepy and bratty, but there was little to know foreshadowing of what was to come with him, which I think was part of the point of his later arcs. He gets into a bad position because he is trying to regain a father figure in his life, and it turns out really really bad.

Arya/Gendry/Yoren rock. That is all I have to comment on that.

Night's Watch: curious how this develops. All told, they just need to get to some "zero point" on leaving Craster's Keep, though. I could see this really just ending with Jon waking up alone, stumbling back in, Craster acting like nothing happened, and Jon getting chewed out by Mormont again. And then they head off to the hillfort.

Not much to say on Dany. It was what it was. Dunno how I feel about the death of her foppish bloodrider, not that he has had much to do in further books, but we already know they are running from the new Khals.

Tyrion. I don't know why, but I got a feeling of Tyrion being in much more control of his situation in book two than the series is giving. He seemed to always get the upper hand in his conversations in the books and effectively took over the city with little trouble. The series is making him much more of a protagonist facing issues than a short mary sue (which I really saw him as in book 2, a mary sue that I loved), but I am still enjoying it.

Last random gripe: the "foreign accents" that Shae and Mel have in the series are somehow annoying me. I know they are supposed to be accented, but somehow they just sound silly instead of sulty/mysterious like they are supposed to.
8. Black Dread
I thought I was watching a series based on a book I read. I didn't realize it was based on the retarded porno cliff notes.
I understand the economy of story / characters that would make Bronn the guard commander. We lost the fact that Selyse had pushed Melisandre on a reluctant Stannis. In later books / seasons, the lack of Selyse will be a big change.

What are the Nights Watch still doing at Castor’s? Aren’t they supposed to be looking for Mance Rayder?

I agree with schmo – Littlefinger owns a bunch of brothels he manages as a business portfolio. He isn’t a cheap pimp running the talent.
Matthew Hunter
9. matthew1215
Asha/Yara: Did Not Like. She doesn't seem like the character from the books (who was very outgoing and physical). She seems more like a slightly creepy daughter who isn't quite all there. Some combination of hair and face (too feminine) and actions (too subdued with her father).

@4: I agree things with Yara went too far. Theon copping a feel, sure, but as I recall Asha was defending her "virtue" with some success while not actually saying "stop". As for Melisandre, I'm not quite sure what she's got going on with Stannis here versus in the books. I think the shadows we get later are good indications that there was some sort of physical relationship with Stannis (remember, it's HIS shadow she was pregnant with) but I don't think it was ever spelled out in the books, and Stannis breaking his marriage vows seems out of character. OTOH, he's locked his wide up in a tower, which may simply be an excuse to keep her out of the way, but may also indicate she is sufficiently nuts to be set aside (in the show at least). At any rate i hope they cleared that particular bit with GRRM so it doesn't become awkward later.
Vincent Lane
10. Aegnor
I think cutting Jacelyn Bywater and giving Bronn his job makes a lot of sense. It saves you the time of introducing his character, when he really doesn't play that large a part.

I liked the Littlefinger scene. I was rolling my eyes when they went directly from the Theon sex scene to Littlefinger peeping, but overall I think the scene worked well. It reminded viewers of the type of person Littlefinger is.

I'm troubled by the change of Jon actually seeing Craster giving the baby to the other. In the book it is just a rumor, and the Mormont can kind of skirt around the issue for expediency. How does he do that when Jon is telling him he gave a baby to on of the White Walkers with his own eyes?

I think there will definitely be major plot changes coming up. I say this because the Reeds, and Reek have not been cast. You don't cut those characters without major plot changes.
Richard Fife
11. R.Fife
@10 As I recall, while the Reeds have played a semi-big part in the Bran storyline, I don't really see why they couldn't be written out and their role given to Osha, who herself was written out when she went off with Rickon. Who will take Rickon off, no clue, but that could be an equally easily made change.

Something I just thought of: what fate lies in store for Bronn as the commander of the goldcloaks for when Tyrion falls from grace? Bywater didn't exactly win the game of thrones, if you get my drift. I'm going to be mad if they kill Bronn off. I like how he was written out so much better.

Edit: what does this episode have to do with the Dothraki afterlife? That is what the Night Lands are, right?
12. Black Dread
The death of Rakharo baffled me since he is still alive and active in the books. Maybe they want to remind us that Khal Jhaqo is still a really bad guy - although we don't see him again until the end of the last book.
Scott Silver
13. hihosilver28
I really have to say that this episode irritated me. I thought that some of the plot points were handled with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, and others were given incredibly short shrift.

Re: Yarasha- Didn't bother me too much how she was introduced. It was a very discomfiting scene in the book, and played the same way here, if slightly more.

Re: Melisandre- As @EliBishop stated, the genesis of Melisandre's "shadow magic" is pretty firmly hinted at in the books as having copulation as a necessity for it to work. *spoilers ahead in white* Both in what she states to Davos as well as Davos noticing that Stannis becomes more and more haggard as more shadows are birthed, like he's actually physically giving of himself for these creatures to be born, also both Davos and Catelyn notice that the shadow looks like Stannis. That closing scene could have been handled with much more subtlety in my opinion. When I was watching it I felt like Stannis was controlled by his c**k (in terms of the show) and that was never who he was in the books. It just felt a little out of character. I always felt that he was having sex with Melisandre out of duty rather than desire.

Re: Davos- I really wish that they would have taken the time spent with Littlefinger doing nothing but being skeevy this week and took some time for Davos to explain why he's the Onion Knight and why Stannis took his four fingers off. This would give us greater insight to both Davos and Stannis and could have been added to the scene where he was talking to his son.

Re: Jon- Yeah, since this detail isn't even revealed in this book, much less by Jon, I don't know how they're going to shrug this off. Or maybe they just want the "White Walkers" to be a persistant threat. I was just surprised that they revealed information that doesn't come to light until A Storm of Swords.

Re: Dany- I have absolutely no idea why they decided to kill Rakkharo. Nothing like that happened when they were in the waste and that change surprised me. I guess they just want to remind us that Dany is in a tenuous position? I always felt that the threat of starvation and dehydration was enough of a threat. That and I enjoyed having one of Drogo's bloodriders sticking with Dany throughout her story. So...that change baffled me.

Overall, I'm less thrilled with the start of this season than I was with the first season, but I'm definitely going to stick with it and give them the benefit of the doubt until the season ends.

Oh, and @Black Dread, probably shouldn't be giving spoilers from so far ahead. At least tag it with a spoiler.
14. sofrina
the changes were strong enough to qualify as surprises. i never saw stannis/melisandre coming. the book gives vague indications that she is pulling his shadow while stannis sleeps, i got no vibe that they were having an affair. it goes completely against stannis' character to be sleeping with another woman. he seems to only be interested in women in the most perfunctory sense. he's married because he's obligated to have an heir, of some sort. (they seem to have written his daughter out.) that was a shocker. and he didn't put up much of a protest either.

davos got a great scene with saladhor saan.

having jon witness the sacrifice of one of craster's sons was confusing too. coupled with the preview for next week, they seem to be collapsing the whole journey to the fist of the first men, etc. but who knows? i'm not sure how snow meets ygritte without going scouting, nor how the situation dissolves into the conflagration at craster's that sends sam and gilly on the run. (who's son was that supposed to be? gilly's?) does everyone scatter from here, sending jon to the wildlings and sam/gilly off on their own? is there no quorin halfhand?

and i don't get killing off rakharo either. wasn't he the lead bloodrider? didn't he whip viserys and and threaten to kill him? why take the most recognizable of the three?

have to agree about sister greyjoy being less vibrant than in the book. i could have bought her arrogantly swooping in to sit on the arm of her father's chair and put her arm on his shoulder. she didn't rise to being dismissive of theon as the scene seemed to demand. she just went through the motions. i don't see this girl fingerdancing.

great casting on the captain's daughter.
Scott Silver
15. hihosilver28
Grrr. The text color isn't functioning, so a spoiler is right out there in black. Dammit. Moderator, could you white out the spoiler that starts after "*spoilers ahead in white*" and finishes before "That closing scene". Thanks.
16. cheem
@9 regarding Tyrion's preeminence as seen in the books: remember that the only PoV we get in King's Landing in the book is Tyrion's. He thinks he has it all under control, of course, but we only see the edges of Cersei and Littlefinger's schemes, a fact which he alludes to in passing a number of times. And really, how sudden his fall at the end of Book 2 and how miserable his lot in Book 3. He just never was that secure in his place. The third person perspective the TV series gives us drives this home, which I think is good and realistic.
17. The SmilingKnight
Best in this episode were:

Dolorous Edd (i havent even figured out it was him in the first ep but here its very clear :D ). Thats Dolourous Edd we all know and love, cracking it in the worst possible moments eh?
Hot Pie and Lommy were really great and into it, totally believable, Jaqen worked fine - which is a nice surprise, really. And Ghost! Real GHOST!
With no freaking barking too!

- Once more, for unwashed masses - Ice and Fire Direwolves are NOT meant to be earth Wolves or Direwolves, mkay?
And they are legendary beasts from the stories even in Westeros. -

Arya and Gendry did good. They talked a bit too loud and close to others about her real sex and family relations... but at least others acted like they couldnt hear it. As it is in the second book, that part of the story looks like it will be one of the best.

Yoren was pretty cool although his original line about laws and shortswords really should have been kept in addition to these new lines about nicking and un-nicking. :)

After that, Balon was pretty great.
All the Iron Price talk you could want and: "I wont have you dressed as a WHORE!" while Theon looks just like one.
Loved it. Very appropriate after his behavior on the ship.

Tyrion and Cersei dish some really heavy strikes and hurt each other like only they can do. Awesome work by both actors in delivery and subdued, but visible reactions.

Oh yes... Davos and Saladhor San apart from just being awesome, teach young Mathos (mathis?) some rough and tumble pirate talk and roots. :)

Listen to yer ol Da boy!


Yara is just a mistake. She doesnt behave or look like Asha we know and love.
Just another character that doesnt belong there and its actually someone else, some strange unnecessary replacement, just like this tv Littlefinger.
Plus here she is shown enjoying Theons touches too much - which is just stupid.
It was never about it in the actual story.

Tv going for lowest common denominator and cheap shocks - which by itself is totally stupid and absolutely unnecessary here.

Melisandre and Stannis too. Well she did show here she can use her female wiles too instead of just looking mean and suspicious but... not really characters as they should be.
Except some superficial stuff.
She did bone Stannis in the books (yes, in real Westeros Melisandre bones you!) but its never explicit, she just tells so to Davos once.

I always saw Melisandre as a sort of femme fatale, (Christina Hendricks presence - with unholy powers) but thats not what was most noticeable or striking about her. She doesnt flaunt it. Its there but, rather, a part of her whole presence, strength and shere impact. She was never openly as dreary, suspicious and "evil looking" like this new one - leaving that interpretation to individual readers.

Stannis... i have no idea who this tv character is, really.

Jon and Sam were good in their scenes, but White Walkers... cmonn... that just looks as silly as their first ep scenes.
18. jcfocarino
I can deal with the odd Stannisandre sex scene (although it does kind of ruin their relationship for me in the show), but the Littlefinger scene was just so pointless. I don't see how it developed the TV plot at all. I understand it presented some kind of characterization of Littlefinger, but at the same time I feel like that was using up valuable screentime that could have been given to other characters.

And is it just me, or does Shireen not exist in the show? Unless I heard incorrectly, I believe Melisandre just said Staniss' WIFE was sickly, not his daughter. And she said she would give him a son as an heir (which I don't remember from the books, either...) , but Stannis has said before in the books that he would put Shireen on the Throne after his death. Shireen? :(
Rob Munnelly
19. RobMRobM
Liked it, didn't love it.
- People are being a bit tough on the showrunners here. Plot is moving fast because there is so much ground to cover. I'd rather do this kind of streamlining rather than lose key stuff later. So I miss the Cressen prologue but understand why it was restructured.
- Rakharo died because the actor is going to be working on another project. So they decided to have him die rather than a handmaiden (as in books). Works fine (as long as you accept suspension of disbelief that the Khalassar would not just ride into the Red Waste in force, kill Dany's band and take the dragons).
- I really like Stannis, Mel and Davos - even more than in ACOK. Stannis is wooden and stiff by nature, and that is coming across in spades. You can see why most people don't want to flock to him. The backstory of Davos will spin out over upcoming episodes. Better that than a one time info dump re the Onion Knight. And I love Carice Van Houten as Mel. Just awesome. Only "part" that seemed odd was her reference to giving him a "son and heir." I would have expected only the former. Yes, while book isn't crystal clear re M-S sex, it is plainly implied).
- I loved the Greyjoys in this episode. Theon owned it, Balon Greyjoy was wonderfully menacing and I liked Yara - but she needs time to develop in future shows. Give the actress a chance, please. And the book is far more squicky than the TV show - she claims to be pregant, Theon wants to drink her breast milk, lots and touch of touchy feely - this is definitely the PG version.
- Yoren's crowd - very good.
- Tyrion/Cersei/Varys - very good.
- Littlefinger - very tough to portrary on screen, as he does lots of subtle stuff in his head in the books that won't be good on TV show. And can't just skip him for multiple episodes without audience losing interest. So need to have something for him to do. I thought last week's scene and this week's scene showed an overly-obvious LF, but I can understand why the showrunners are doing it.
- North of Wall. I loved Dolorous Edd, Sam and Gilly and I liked all the rest but the ending - but I'll give showrunners the opportunity to pull it together next week. NOTE: query what WWs are doing with the male babies - eating them? Or, as Leigh said in her book re-read, perhaps the frozen zombie day care facility?
- Generally looking forward - I'm hoping against hope that Reeds show up next season, perhaps running into Bran post-events that will be featured in the finale this year. It's hard to know what's happening as the story is unsettled re the roles of Rickon, Osha, Bran, etc. I'm really concerned with butterfly effect here. Ditto re Reek. And the Tullys.

20. Mark Z.
I'm really looking forward to Tyrion sending Littlefinger out of the city on a diplomatic mission, because that means he's gone for the next ten episodes or so. God, I'm sick of him.

It's like the writers have forgotten that Lord Baelish is anything other than a pimp. He's supposed to be a social climber and Wall Street financial wizard who invests in the sex trade because it has a good rate of return. He represents the total corruption of a system where a guy who's terrific at making money for himself can be put in charge of the royal treasury, bury the government in debt (while continuing to make money for himself), and thus make himself irreplaceable because he knows the secret rain dance needed to keep the creditors happy. This is interesting.

But apparently they took one look at his '70s porn 'stache and decided to write him as a generic abusive whoremonger. There's no reason for him even to be in this episode--except at the small council meeting, because he's, you know, on the council. They sit around discussing "the disturbance at Littlefinger's brothel" and nobody even asks "Wait, why isn't he here? Isn't he master of the treasury or something?"

Don't even get me started on the characterization of Stannis.

R. Fife #11: Bronn fills the role a little differently than Bywater, IMO. Bywater had to die because he was just too damn conscientious. Bronn can just be bought off.

...which makes Tyrion look like a fool, because he's making the same mistake Ned Stark did, i.e. thinking he had bought off the City Watch, and then getting outbid by Cersei Lannister. The writers then draw attention to this by keeping the exchange where Tyrion asks if Bronn would kill a baby for the right price. The point of putting Bywater in command is that he's not just another mercenary thug.

I get that they're concerned about making the audience keep track of too many characters*, and Bywater would--oh, look, it's Ros, who serves no purpose except to be monologued at. Maybe Tyrion should have put her in charge of the Watch. He's worked with her before, after all.

* The most defensible change from the books, IMO, is renaming Theon's sister, because "Asha" and "Osha" might be hard to tell apart with some of the wacky accents these people have.
Theresa DeLucci
21. theresa_delucci
Boy, these threads grow fast.

I've been very happy with most of the changes made so far. The cast is just too big and the episode order too small to fit every person and every thing in. I don't mind some of the character changes from the book. None bothered me as much as Khal Drogo last season. Stannis and Melisandre aren't coming across as memorably as in the books, but once they actually start doing things, I know it'll change.

But I do feel like the show's forgotten Littlefinger is a master of coin on the council, not Al Swearengen running whores and booze. Swearengen had a severed Indian head he would monologue to. Littlefinger has Ros. I wonder if Ros will take over Alayaya's part of the story and that's where we're going, to feel more sympathy for her later.

Now I need to find out where Rakharo is going. He was handsome.
Scott Silver
22. hihosilver28
-Thanks for the info regarding Rakharo. That makes it a lot more defensible in my mind if the actor wanted to go off to do something else. Out of curiosity, was I the only one who thought that he was sending back water when it showed the bag dripping. I guess that's just me trying to reconcile the books and show.

-Regarding Craster's male children and the White Walkers; when that part in the book popped up, my first thought was that's how they propogate. We know that when they kill, they create wights, but where to the Walkers come from? My opinion is that human sacrifice allows them to propogate...probably specifically human male sacrifice. Just a theory since we know that as a race they have been around for centuries, whereas Craster has only been there for 50-ish years.
Caim Callohan
23. LionsRampant
@19...Thanks for your insight, as I agree with a lot of what you posted.

The Littlefinger scenes felt very forced this week, as I felt they were not necassary for the flow of the season's storyline. The staff at HBO must have had a sex scene minimum and requested additional scenes instead of story. I know as a "viewer" and not a "reader" we are supposed to remember that LF has the power to remove, betray and be the political snake that he is, I'm very certain his scenes were to portray that evil, although I feel a large portion of it was missed.

I really enjoyed the Greyjoy's scenes, as for how fast this season will have to move, I felt that they had to portray the brother/sister/father relationship with overexageration. I actually felt bad for Theon in the show as I did not feel that way in the books (due to more of his written insight and personality), which I feel will help with his storyline.

Man do I love the Bronn character/actor and am just happy he's getting the screen time.

And of course, the Arya/Gendri/Yorren storyline is going very well and always happy to see them on screen, very enjoyable..."as my Lady wishes".

The White Walkers scene I feel was added to remind the "viewer" that the WWs are still out there. As a reader you have to remember that the viewer is never reminded of them as we were with the character's thoughts, insight and coversation that can't be expressed due to the time limits of TV.
Rajan Khanna
24. rajanyk
I agree with Theresa in that none of the changes really bothered me, except for Littlefinger. I, too, don't see the need for all of the brothel scenes and he seems more anxious in this version and less capably manipulating behind the scenes.

I think a new element for the drinking game needs to be added - drink every time a baby dies. That's 2 for 2, people.
25. AlBrown
So far, I am content with the minor tweaks that HBO has made to the plot and characters. Books can give us thoughts, desires and motivations, all that interior stuff, film just gives us exteriors, so are more oriented toward action. Things that are expanded on in books must be presented with a broad brush in film. So each media presents the gist of the narrative in different ways. And it would be impossible to present ALL the characters in the books, even with ten episodes per book.
There are so many things I have loved seeing in this series, the episodes just fly by. Each week, I am amazed when the final credits appear, not believing that a whole hour has already passed by.
William Fettes
26. Wolfmage
I both agree and disagree with the criticism of Littlefinger.

On one hand, he is definitely more than a pimp and brothel owner in the books, so it would be nice to see a bit more of an allusion to the other enterprises he runs. His talk with Ros, at least, focused in on this financial imperative a bit more, but I still think the character development is too fixated on the perverse.

Another mild departure is that his moves and quips in the great game are a little bit less telegraphed than we typically see on the show. But I can understand most of the choices the showrunners have made here with the limited time.

That said, I would resist the idea that Littlefinger is a master of himself, beyond all goading and pettiness. The books quite clearly show that he is not a master of himself where the Tully girls are concerned and that he nurses a poorly hidden little man complex with plenty of grudges.

The show has chosen to make these weakeness more apparent, but they are certainly present in the books.
Mordicai Knode
27. mordicai
I think this last episode-- maybe this whole season, maybe this whole book-- are really stolen by the Greyjoys. Those awful, Cthulhu worshipping, monsterous Puritan rapists. The. Worst.
Theresa DeLucci
29. theresa_delucci
Like I keep saying, I really kind of liked A Feast for Crows because of all of the Greyjoys. I read it kind of picturing Viggo Mortensen playing Damphair. He's such a method actor, I can picture him growing a beard and weaving seaweed through it and walking around like that all the time. He's also got the crazy-eyes I feel Melisandre is lacking.

I can't wait for the next episode. Brienne!!! (I think, from the previews.)
Rob Munnelly
30. RobMRobM
A Beauty indeed. And meet the spouse. And maybe even the parley ... one can only hope. And the attack on Yoren's misfits. "Darling boy, give us an axe." And Theon getting one ship to command while his sister gets the fleet....And perhaps good news for Dany from one of the Bloodriders. Could we hope for a little masked Shadow woman?
31. The SmilingKnight
20. Mark Z.

That was good. Nicely put.
A few things like changing Bywater for Bronn, a bit of age change to Saladhor, even killing Rakharo i can put aside.

Changing Asha name i cant. Their explanation doesnt make any sense at all and the chosen new one is quite stupid and out of setting style.
But at least now it points its not the same character.

Was it so hard to find a good actress with black hair, put her in the light gym and then onto a sailing boat for a month?
Thats not how seafaring people look like!
And they are not all covered in grime and dirt!

Generally, i see a lot of people commenting really do try to go for some kind of "ahh its all ok... i maybe didnt like some detail or change BUT ITS ALL GOOD!"
And then the excuses and semi arguments about how its a tv show and not a literal translation of books come in.
I guess, even acknowledging some specific things are bad will reduce their overall satisfaction with each episode.
Which is understandable but not really objective.

Its not the point that everything should be just like in the books.
The point is that how scenes develop in the books - characterization and dialogue included, are simply better than these new choices.
And even bigger point is that many of these changes are not really necessary at all.

Thats whats most galling of it all.
Compare any instance you wont. All characters and dialogues that keep closer to the books regularly turn out to be the best parts of each episode. All the freaking time.

In that line and based on few previews i expect next episode to be the worst yet.
Damnit, i hope they dont miss the peach... i mean i dont know how you can even miss the peach. If youre not completely insane.
Im still hoping that there will be the awesome "my husband and baby" Asha scene...
Because, missing something like that is just not conceivable for a tv show.

Quaithe? I really dont think so, thats out of the scope here.
If they can remove Jojen and Meera...

Im also hoping there will be more Direwolves. Not a lot but, rather that they wont be just removed from each scene like they use to be.
This start with Summer (there was no naming of summer!....) and Ghost was good, but if they just keep pushing them out of the shot ...

Didnt mention Daenerys short scenes thus far... Not much to say about it, really. I just hope Emilia can do the changed, resurrected in flames Daenerys even better then the opening Daenerys.
Rob Munnelly
32. RobMRobM
SK - Quaithe has already been cast and will appear this season.

On the Jojen and Meera front - in the latest D and D interviews, they are quoted as saying that certain Book 2 characters have been held for introduction until Season 3 to avoid viewer overload. Obviously, that must mean the Tullys but I hope it also includes J and M.
33. The SmilingKnight
hmm? Quaithe is in? thats a surprise...

As for Jojen and Meera, seeing how they havnet been introduced when they should have been i dont see really where they could be implanted later on. At least without looking silly as just running up into them somewhere in the forest or something. Osha taking over some of their roles... doesnt look good. If they do that it will be one of the bigger mistakes.

I guess we will see.

Stannis and Renly meeting really looked bad, bad, bad... in the previews so... im squinting in that direction the most for now.
34. The SmilingKnight
By the way...

Ive watched these two episodes again and some details started seeping in...

Just a few smaller things:
How does Robb know exactly why Eddard was killed, about the Lannister incest, children and Bran seeing Jaime and Cersei? Did a magic raven tell him?

Why does Arya have a jacket (doublet, whatever) that shows she has breasts?
Isnt that a bit suspicious?

Oh yes... first Ep, Jorah tells Deanerys that if they go certain way they will come into Lamb men lands and they will kill them.

Excuse me?

The infamous Lamb men, the famous killers of Essos, is it?
I mean... with a name like that they can only be some assassins-bloodthirsty-cthulu-cult or something, riiiight?
Rob Munnelly
35. RobMRobM
SK - re your latest post.

1. Raven from Stannis re incest; obvious deduction from there (Bran climbing tendences and Cersei and Jaime skipping the hunt).
2. Arya grew boobies in the off season. Suspension of disbelief required.
3. Lhazareen are the same people that Drogo assaulted and killed at the end of Season 1 (viz Mirri Maz Durr). The ones that are left can handle a wimpy 100 person khlassar and are motivated to cause grievous bodily harm, Lambs are not.

Re Quaithe - German actress named Lauren Pradelka.
Re J and M - given J's abilities, wouldn't be hard for him to see a meeting somewhere on the Kingsroad. may seem somewhat contrived. The could do a work around (Luwin not dying; Osha heading north) but I'm very concerned re butterfly effect.

Re Stannis-Renly - I thought it looked pretty good. I'm willing to see how it plays out. Might well be just fine. Ditto re Ashayara.
36. The SmilingKnight
1. Nothing of it is even mentioned anywhere in Stark camp before Robbs unload of magical deductive detective work which containes too much detail. And Jaime doesnt confirm any of it even by a hint or a grimasse.
Very poorly done.

Looks more like it must have been the three eyed crow...

2. You must be joking...? If not... please dont even try explaining it.

3. Lamb men ("Lhazareen" is not used in the series anyway irc), are religious pacifists. Atleast judging by Mirri Maz Duur background story.

Its not like its some kind of big mistake in the tv show full of mistakes. It was just so bloody uneccesary.

You thought Stannis looked good mewling and pleading for the crown that should be his, looking like his about to burst intio angry tears if someone doesnt give him what he wants?

- "interesting"....
Rob Munnelly
37. RobMRobM
36 - mileage varies.

I don't see Robb's detective work as being difficult. Once Stannis gives the key by raven - J and C sleeping together - very easy to figure out. Makes perfect sense to me.

2. Arya looking like a boy is canon - I'm not going to even start thinking about it.

3. Fact that Drogo makes fun of them for not fighting the Khalassar well, doesn't mean that they are 100% pacifist or can't kick the butts of fewer than 100 Khalassar leftovers, dragons or not. Not a factual error by Jonah, IMO.

Re Stannis - actor has a tough job. Stannis needs to be tough in the field but unlikeable and awkward in person. The actor is doing it so far. I'll reserve full judgment until later.

Separate, off the point note; a co-worker is reading ASOS and he just read an Old Nan story where wildlings left babies out for Others in order to be left alone. So there appears to be a Wilding long history of this practice. Who knew? I still wonder what they are doing with them. Eat, rituals or somehow turn them into more Others or wights.....
38. The SmilingKnight
Im entirely a wrong kind of man to talk with that tone to.
Excuses are not my provenance.

1. My observation was not based merely on Robbs theoretical powers of detective deduction, however improbable they are.

2. A boy... with breasts visibly noticeable, in every scene, does not look like a boy.

3. We know about Lazareen way of life from Miri, as ive said already while i never mentioned Drogo or his observations and opinions.

- The actors DO NOT have a tough job. They have a perfect job. With incredibly deep written support for each character and his personality or background or past.
Sprinkled with excessive monetary and production values any actor can simply dream off.

Stannis is a "bit more" than those three simplified characteristics. Its almost funny that you fail to mention, by pure accident im sure, any of others that are nowhere near visible in the show.

Stannis is not "awkward" at all.
This tv one is, thats true.
Awkward, insecure and bordering on being pathetic, already.
39. a1ay
Im entirely a wrong kind of man to talk with that tone to.
Excuses are not my provenance.

You mean "not my province". "Provenance" is another word for origin.

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