Apr 22 2012 10:05am

Game of Thrones, Season 2, Episode 4: “Garden of Bones”

Uh-oh. Joffrey’s been reading Hunger Games again.

This week on a shocking episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the adaptation gets a little loose in places, to varying degrees of WTF-ness. But nothing that comes before it can prepare one for a final twist that would make J.J. Abrams proud.

Warning: episode reviews contain episode and book spoilers. If you want to remain spoiler-free, follow Leigh Butler’s read of ASOIaF. is not liable for your further enjoyment of the series if later books get spoiled in the comments.

Did the humor seems off to anyone else tonight? The tone was all over the map (much like our characters) and while many individual parts worked, this was my least favorite episode of the season so far. Perhaps my expectations were too high.

Perhaps the opening was too uneven, messing with my expectations right off the bat. I mean, we go from Ricky Gervais lookalike knights farting to one of the least artless implied battles since Rome’s second season. I know the results of these battles are more important than actually seeing them, but it’s pretty unintentionally funny in a normally pedigree show.

More importantly, who is this girl Robb’s making eyes at? If we didn’t get a glimpse at Joffrey’s fetishes later in the episode, I’d say Robb’s got really strange tastes. Women who are good at amputations are pretty interesting, I’ll gve him that. If this storyline’s going where I think it is, I guess it doesn’t matter that this potential interest for Robb isn’t named Jeyne. Like the battles, the results are more important to the story than the details.

Normally I really enjoy the new-to-TV scenes on this show, but the liberal use of Littlefinger’s prostitutes is getting really old. When this episode was already about 11 minutes short on run-time, did we really need such a painfully uneccessary scene as Joffrey popping his cherry. We know he’s a little sadist. His beating and stripping of Sansa at court was definitely sufficient in making that point. Having the young king threaten Tyrion through Ros and her friend’s humiliation was just the flimsiest excuse to show more naked women. Yawn.

A new scene that I enjoyed was Catelyn getting Ned’s bones. While I’m not fully behind the interpretation of Littlefinger presented on this show, Michelle Fairley gave a heartbreaking performance in this scene. Man, I miss Ned.

I much prefer Cat as grieving widow than as the Marge Simpson of Westeros. Talking about knocking her two sons’ heads together to get them to make up is a cute anecdote, but, really Cat? This is something a hell of a lot more serious than a playground tussle. Cat may have the weight of the Stark name behind her, but she’s a terrible mediator.

We only got a short scene with Margaery this week, but she looked fabulously over-the-top again. She’s good at showing her teeth, too. Cat could learn something from her.

The line of the evening, however, belonged to Renly. In an episode filled with awkward attempts at humor, only Renly’s “Born in salt and smoke? Is he a ham?” quip made me chuckle. He’s no Melisandre, but Renly can throw some shade of his own.

Even Dany, who finally wandered into a storyline, seemed really weak as she talked her way into the beautifully painted backdrops of Qarth. Where was her fire? I’m going to chalk it up to being hungry and tired. Xaro Xhoan Daxos seemed a bit stiff, too. I’ll be glad to get past this awkward introduction.

My favorite parts of the episode revolved around Arya. (Big surprise.) The first Harrenhall sighting was everything I imagined. Her hit list definitely had more weight coming after Yoren’s death last week. The new Gregor Clegane seems a bit skinny, no? But I probably wouldn’t have noticed if I wasn’t explicitly looking to compare. I was never so happy to see Tywin Lannister show up! With so many changes being made to show, I did actually fear for Gendry just a bit. Also... rats. Ew. Can’t wait to see Arya as the cupbearer. The tone of this part of the story is just pitch-perfect.

Surely the most-talked about part of tonight’s episode was the cliffhanger ending. Nothing prepared me for Melisandre’s labor when I first read the scene. I would’ve loved to have been in the room with some ASOIaF virgins during the birth of that shadow.

But I couldn’t believe the episode ended there! Torture!

I feel like the last two episodes have dragged a bit. But next week shit defintely hits the fans, so I’m sure my excitement will be much higher. Also: Jaqen returns. Mmm, Jaqen. 

Am I being too hard to please? Sound off in the comments.

Game of Thrones airs 9PM E/PT on HBO.

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

Bran The Builders Cousin
1. Bran The Builders Cousin
I found the ending confusing. Haveing read the books, ***spoiler*** just in case, Davos doesn't transport Mel until Stanis is taking Storms End. The tunnel and bars sugest that they are approaching a keep of some sort ... but Renly is in the field marching towards King's Landing. Stanis doesn't march on Storms End until after Renly is killed. My question is, where the hell is the story going? I don't mind them twisting the story to fit a TV format. But why change things for no reason?
David Lev
2. davidlev
My theory is that the surgeon girl is Jeyne Westerling, and that the "Volantis" thing was her just messing with him.

I kinda liked Xaro Xhoan Daxos, although his affection for her is sad considering what happens in A Dance With Dragons. Interesting also that they made him a Summer Islander as a way to explain why he looks different from the other Thirteen. I kinda liked Dany's threat to the Qartheen, even though it was painfully obvious that it was an empty threat.

The new Gregor is kinda skinny, and he does look a little weird in that armor. Also, it was chilling to watch her reciting the names for the first time, and even more chilling the second time when the list grows.

I thought that Petyr trying to emphasize his love for Cat seemed to be a rather clumsy blunder. He had to have known that she would have reacted the way she did. Although the bit with the bones was a nice touch.

And no mention of Tyrion whupping Lancel verbally? I loved that scene.

And Melisandre's smoke baby was f--cking CREEPY! Renly better watch out.
Bran The Builders Cousin
3. Lsana
Was I the only one who was annoyed by Dany's complete lack of diplomacy in dealing with the Qartheen? She needs their help, they want to see her dragons, just let them have a glimpse of the dragons already. Instead she demands that they give her everything she needs without her giving anything in return except empty threats. Were I one of the thirteen, I'd have been highly tempted to kill the entire Khalasar then and there.
Bran The Builders Cousin
4. The SmilingKnight
Well... im glad this isnt another "oh but it was awesome" review as ones i keep reading around. Very partially ofcourse.

Although i got somewhat accustomed to glaringly bad changes (and thats their real problem of course) this episode almost gave me a headache.
How incompetent do you have to be to so royally (pun not intended) mess up Songs of ice and fire screen adaption?

This is how much, apparently.
Yes, it could be even worse but since when is that a measure of quality?

While first three episodes had at least something in them to be relatively happy to see in terms of quality this one is entirely crap.

In fact i kinda liked the opening (was it the opening? Cant really remember) with two soldiers and fart joke. Its always nice to see when someone puts a bit of effort not to portray the opposing side as completely monstrous when its not necessary.

And these two guys are pretty much what ordinary soldiers are.
Except sitting in the rain without covering themselves up with some cloaks, like total morons.
Thats what cloaks and capes are for, dammit! Not to look dashing and cool ffs...

Anyway... Grey Wind seemed a bit high... unless he jumped and was in the air but you couldn't see that really, only the fart guy looking up at it coming in.

Oona was very nice to see and i think you guys can completely forget about Jayne Westerling.
I mean... why put time and effort into just another character when you can have a completely different one... or ROS!
Im also pleased with the Madden guy and how he does new older Robb so far.

btw leg sawing without anesthetics and rat torture were something i watched as a kid in our old partisan movies. Very often. And it wasnt even the worse.
So it didnt have much "shocking" effect on me. Just normal childhood, growing up, stuff going on.
Even so it would be extremely painful to watch live, even for me.
It should have made Robb throw up.

Ok, yeah... Tyrion short parts were alright.

The rest was hilariously bad or stupid.
Good grief is that Daenerys... is that Quarth? Why is she begging? Whats with the totally stupid "if you dont let us in we will die... HELP!" and then "If you dont let us in we will come back and burn your city!"
Why she couldn't just receive three visitors from Quarth prior to coming there, even if there was no dead city she was resting in?

What the... F`ing F!?
What- The- Flying- F!!!!?

Good to see Ros and some ass getting more time than Daenerys again.
Gregor... :shakes head: ... (for Rhlorr sake,... the guy is constantly wearing armor anyway and yes not that stupid ordinary Lannister guard armor. Couldnt you guys just stuffed it up and make it two sizes wider. Are you all just brain dead at that show?)

Hero savior Tywin.... for the love of... (Hot Pie boy was awesome again, whats his name?)
And Roose? Thats Roose?

Littlefinger just keep stumbling around and making huge, abysmally retarded lines that aggravate everyone. He pisses of Renly, he pisses off Margery and he makes it all very clear to them he is a complete asshole and a douche.
For Chrisat sake he even comes onto Catelyn straight up, as she suffers from restraining herself from killing him. - even if she had no way of knowing his role in the coup against Eddard.
Like, yeeeaaahhh, dumb clone of Littlefinger, thats the perfect moment to proclaim it was destiny intervening to give you opportunity for you two to be together. Ha! hahahahaha!
What a waste of a good actor...

You miss Ned, Theresa? I miss Catelyn.
Among many.

Stannis - Renly meeting was as bad and wasted as i expected. Renly seemed better ONLY because he used lines straight from the book while Stannis is as lost and out of place, time and character as he was from the start. Carrice is still nowhere near real Melisandre, shadow baby CGI or not.
How in the seven hells can you miss such characters so completely?
How can you miss the peach in that conversation and gravity and importance it carries for Stannis?

What a waste...
Bran The Builders Cousin
5. Black Dread
I assumed they were combining the two Melisandre assassination scenes into one. We’ll find out how next week. I doubt that they will spare any time for the Storm's End story.

The Mountain somehow reminded me of the knights in "Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail". I can't put my finger on why.
Pritpaul Bains
6. Kickpuncher
So long as they're saving all their battle budget for Blackwater, I guess I'm okay with the current Rome-like battle scenes.

@5 I got the same vibe re: Gregor. Wonder what it is.
Scott Silver
7. hihosilver28
Like the rest of you, I felt that this episode had its problems. Some of what remains baffling to me is the tone and confidence of the show. During the first season it seemed so incredibly spot on, and then got stronger as the season progressed. This season it seems like they are floundering and striving mightily to find a consistent tone. Now, to be fair, ACoK is what killed me reading the series the first time, so they definitely have had their work cut out for them. But it is just kind of depressing to see them falter after such a strong and intense first season.

Once again, not going to give up on the show, it's just a little disappointing...that's all. I just want more episodes like last weeks that show that kind of confidence and smart writing once again.
Bran The Builders Cousin
8. The SmilingKnight
Ahh... can i get one for the knights of NEE !?

Yeah, Storm End and its shadow business is definitely out. Well, re-purposed here.
Lets just pretend Renly stopped by some castle on the way and thats where that tunnel leads.

Not that it matters anyway.

3. Lsana
Actually, the Quarthen scene was severely bad from any perspective. The thirteen do not need to come out of the gates at all, especially not if they think they have a Dothraki horde in front of their city.
And they dont need to ask to see the Dragons at once - at all.

They can see its not a horde, only a ragtag assemble with barely a dozen warriors, if that, in it.
A group that just crossed the Red waste and is entirely dessicated, tired, starving and suffering from lack of water. They present no danger to anyone.
They can freely let her in and then take a look at dragons at their leisure.
If they want to kill everyone it doesnt matter f they do it inside the city or outside.

It worked in the books because she never came to Quarth first. Representatives of the city came to her and made binding deals with her - which were then reinforced by Quarth power structure not being led by a single person but with different interests groups vaying against each other.

And they thought her naive young girl and easily susceptible to their advances - once inside the city.
The almost religious tones of her being THE Mother of Dragons were also important to more... esoteric among them.

So it doesnt make any sense either from Quarthean point of view, nor from Daenerys point of view.
Bran The Builders Cousin
9. benrubinstein
Great post! Interesting, for the most part I liked the episode. My biggest disappointments were the whore beating scene--totally unnecessary. Also, someone remind how it happened in the books, but WHY did Danaerys not show them the dragons? It only makes sense that she WOULD. Was she worried that they'd steal/kill them? Yeah, well they could do that even easier inside the city.
Caim Callohan
10. LionsRampant
I'm going to be a voice in that I actually liked this episode, as it spread a lot of the characters over the course of one hour.

As a reader of the novels and fan of the show, I remind everyone that the story at heart in the books is Filet Mignon, a hugely impressive meal that suits a dinner feast. The TV show, as in relation that it was derived from multiple novels and never meet the reader's expectations, will never be more than a juicy hamburger to enjoy...but who doesnt love a good hamburger.

The female combat medic Robb made eyes with was very attractive, that's why he was making eyes with her. And I enjoyed their banter.

Yeah the "fart" joke seemed lame for an HBO drama show but as a US soldier that's what "soldiers" do, use flatulence as humor in inappropriate times. And as much as we want to see sword fighting, we all know HBO can't dedicate the show time and that the last battle was budgeted for said sword fighting.

Yes, the Dany part was horrible. I felt she portrayed such immaturity and it was poorly scripted for TV, though I did enjoy Xaro's bit and the actor that portrayed him.

I also enjoyed Joffrey's scene with the prostitutes, as it once again reminded me how much I hate everything about him, and casting him as the viewers true villain.

I was fearing the ending scene with Melisandre and how HBO would display this. I was actually cringing at first when it started because I felt they were going to butcher the scene but their rendition of the shadow creature CGI was impressive and I was more than satisfied with the result creature. I do agree that the actress that plays Melisandre may be missing her mark on occasion.

My two cents, tear away.
Bran The Builders Cousin
11. Black Dread
The Quarth scene had me squirming too. Not just a deviation from the book, but a complete breakdown of logic.
Rob Munnelly
12. RobMRobM
C'mon guys, give the poor adapters a break. I liked the ep.
- Who doesn't like fart jokes? Actually, it's two weeks in a row, correct? (Dolorous Edd had one as well.) Scene has the side benefit of reminding all Loras is considered a great warrior (thereby indirectly supporting Brienne) and highlights craftiness of Robb sneak attack.
- I'm interested in seeing whether Talisa (or whatever) is just a MD/nurse from overseas or Jayne Westerling playing a role (as I think she has Essos roots). She sold her role well, and Robb was good. Both can work.
- I thought Roose Bolton's intro was awesome. Subtle (unless you are looking for it) but powerful.
- Recall that Dany has a REALLY thin plot in ACOK (thirsty in desert, vaes tolero with three visitors, getting feasted by Xaro and other Qartheen leaders, going to House of Undying, getting on boat with Whitebeard). They are trying to stretch it out - I can't say they are wrong to do so.
- If they are skipping Edric Storm plotline, as I believe they are, there is no reason to go to Storms End and the associated Davos bringing in Mel by boat. I liked that they moved it up here. It makes sense.
- I liked the Renly-Stannis scene. Makes clear they are just too different to coexist. I wish that they had built in more Cat text from the book (Tywin has 50,000 soldiers - stop fighting and work together!). The invented ham line from very funny.
- The Joff-hookers scene didn't bother me -It has plot importance, as it heightens even more the stress we feel for Sansa if they ever get married (and she'll get her period soon, and understandably freak out).
- Yes, I had 1984 movie flashback re rat torture scene.
- I loved the unexplained mention of the Brotherhood. Very subtle and playing for the long game.
- Charles Dance is really good as Tywin. Maisie still kicks butt as Arya.
- I loved the shadow baby scene. Really nice cliff hanger.
Theresa DeLucci
13. theresa_delucci
I need to watch this episode a third time because I missed Roose Bolton!

The fart joke didn't really bother me in and off itself. It was more just another weird tonal beat. (Dolorous Edd makes existential fart jokes. He wins.)

I'm also okay with them getting rid of Storm's End if they need, too. I mean, we only get 10 episodes. Can't fit in everything.

I can't defend the scene with Joffrey and his whores at all. We already know Joffrey is a shit. He beheaded Ned Stark. He has Sansa beaten and stripped at court. It really did nothing but add more tits and ugliness to the show. We could've gotten a few more minutes of Xaro or the shadow baby or Tyrion.

I was rewatching Alien 3 this weekend and who was playing Ripley's suave love interest, Clemens? Charles Dance! I almost didn't recognize him. Twenty years on and he looks quite different, except for those eyes. I can't believe Alien 3 was twenty years ago.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
Re Talisa - saw a twitter post that an interview with "Robb" is about to be posted where he call confirm that it is her real name and she's not a stealth Jeyne.
Genevieve Williams
15. welltemperedwriter
I keep thinking that the hookers scene is a setup for something, because otherwise I can't really think why it's there...we already know that Joff is an unredeemable psychotic (as I remarked to a friend last night, he makes Draco Malfoy look like Prince Charming). I think it's important that Joff tells them to go to Tyrion when he's done with them. Considering some of what happens later, I'm wondering if this is going to tie in to further plot developments in some way.

This episode does have its problems, but one thing that I really, really liked was juxtaposing one of Tyrion's scenes with Tywin's. It really highlights how alike they are. Nicely done.
Bran The Builders Cousin
16. sofrina
there is nolonger any sense thinking we know what's going to happen on this show. which is kind of interesting. it's like a drawn out experience of watching a "harry potter" movie. we get more time to digest the changes and the adaptation itself. hbo really ought to commit to longer seasons, it would allow for so much more to be smoothed out. why exactly can't they make this show 15 episodes? even if they did a two month break between airings?

i liked roose bolton. he was sufficiently unnerving, arguing about flaying people. would have loved to see the pink cape with red drops on it. the absurdity of someone walking around in such a thing...

loved compressing harrenhall to hook arya up with tywin - so far. we're skipping the whole change of ownership that she used her third wish to set in motion. also, there was some future mention by jaquen of a red god. jaqen doesn't worship the red god, so that's...annoying. how do they handle arya's future adventures without introducing that? she's not going to study to be a shadowbinder like melisandre.

say what you will about the joffrey scene - and having someone beaten with his own sceptre - but i found it fascinating that presented with a willing woman, he chose to voyeur violence and degradation. i never got that impression from the text. growing up around robert has certainly shaped joffrey's sadism.

i was frankly bummed that daenerys's blood rider returned alone. (and what about the third guy?) this is an interesting time to introduce another red priestess on the hunt for azor ahai. it would have been so epic to have a welcoming come rescue her from the desert. and xaro xhoan seemed so immensely foppish and theatrical in the text. you have to wonder if this guy is going be selling complements by the truckload and crying at every turn... yeah, that's what bugs me. daenerys storyline has been visceral but it would be so much stronger if her storyline had an air of mysticism around it this season. if it were literally shot differently, so that it was all it's own thing from the beginning to the House of the Undying, that would emphasize daenerys' destiny.

(td - you didn't realize charles dance was in aliens3? he looks the same, only old.)
Scott Silver
17. hihosilver28
Wait, wasn't Alaya's daughter beaten in the book? That might be a possible connection in the show. But I thought that the reason was because someone (Cersei?) thought that was who Tyrion was sleeping with. It had nothing to do with Joffrey.
William Fettes
18. Wolfmage
I have to wonder why anyone would think the scene with the whores was included for titillation. It was positively repulsive; there was nothing sexual or titillating about it. It was there to show that when he is not dealing with nobility of his class, or he is otherwise restrained by his mother or Tyrion, Joffrey is a sociopathic sadist who will maim and kill innocent bystanders for his own pleasure and his need for petty revenge. Yes, we have seen shades of that already, but, no, it wasn't proved by what happened with Ned or the bullying of Sansa. Sansa was going to be beaten and humiliated, not killed. The closest approximate was the innocent butcher's boy he may have killed in season 1. It is IMO a precursor for his shooting at the hungry crowds. The point of it is we are seeing a powerful contrast with other rational Lannisters who are otherwise defined enemies, like Cercei and Tywin, who can be cruel but are not at all sociopathic. Here we see Joffrey is evil.
Bran The Builders Cousin
19. mochabean
I agree with RobMRobM on the ep as a whole and on the lovley suble way they introduced Roose Bolton, arguably one of the creepiest secondary/tertiary characters in the series. Also loved the playful intro scene. Reminds me of the classic "Da Bears" skits from SNL where the fans debate Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird vs. Jesus Christ.

I'd like to take a stab at defending the scene with Joffery and the prostitutes, which I found very difficult to watch. I do think it served a purpose beyond HBO's T&A quota. Yes, we all know Joff is bad, but up until now how many viewers (and characters, like Cersei and Uncle Tyrion), saw him as a boy -- a child pulling the wings off flies who just needs to get laid? This scene shows that he's MUCH worse than the bratty, spiteful child we've seen thus far. And his some of his other bad deeds -- ordering Ned killed, ordering the slaying of Robert's bastards, can be seen as the ruthless consolidation of power he learned from Grandpa Tywin. So now we know Joffery is not just a consciousless bastard -- he gets off on sexual torture. The scene fixes him as an adult villian. I have some more thoughts about how the scene effectively subverts viewer expectations to make us even more aware of Joff's awfulness, but they aren't any more coherent than this sentence so I'll stop.
Bran The Builders Cousin
20. AlBrown
The Joffery abusing the prostitute scene and its gratuitous nakedness made me think of the recent Saturday Night Live sketch with the teenaged boy advising HBO to make the show more lurid. It shows that Joffrey is evil, yes, but as said above, after the Sansa scene (which was really well done), we already know that. It does, I guess, show that Joffrey is willing to oppose Tyrion openly, and how he shares his mother's hatred of his uncle.
I thought Tyrion was spot on during this episode, and his rescue of Sansa was a high point of the episode. Tyrion's conversation of Lancel was very well handled, and set up things to come.
Dany was an idiot at the gates of Quarth, but after all, she is a young teenager, not a seasoned leader, and as in the book, not all her decisions were good ones. I thought there was another city before Quarth in the books, but understand how the film version needs to compress the narrative somewhat.
I very much like Renly, which matches the book. He was always one of the most likable of the folks vying to become king, and certainly the polar opposite of his brother.
Cat receiving her husband's remains was well played by both her and Littlefinger.
The birth of the shadow demon was just as creepy and effective as it was in the book, although I was disappointed that it ended the episode.
The Arya stuff was good, creepy but well presented.
My wife agrees with some of the opinions stated by folks up above, that this was a somewhat uneven and dark episode. When the credits rolled on the previous episodes, I was always shocked that they came so quickly. During this episode I looked at the clock a couple of times. But even the weakest episode of this wonderful series is still better than just about anything else on TV!
William Fettes
22. Wolfmage

Yes, well said. As bad character isn't a singular black box, there is a purpose to showing different aspects it as part of developing the full depravity of the character. For example, consider the order that all the bastards be killed. Whilst it is a totally horrific act, like with Ser Donatas, Joffrey orders it obliquely so that his intention is apparent if you read between the lines. It is also part of a "rational" political act - removing threats to his reign and somewhat implicitly endorsed by Cersei in that capacity. In that, it is not altogether different to the terrible things done by other Lannisters (and indeed other characters in Westeros more broadly) to preserve power or gain more power. Similarly, though tormenting Sansa is a form of personal cruelty – it is also a public political act in front of the court in response to the bad news of Robb's attack.

The scene with the whores is a bit different. In forcing Ros to beat another prostitute with a heavy instrument in the privacy of the room, he is specifically shown to get off on the terror he causes, he is controlling the situation personally, and it’s obviously an evolution of the grudge he holds against Tyrion for past sins and the affrontery of his interruption at court. Also, unlike with Ser Dontas being drunk, the whore to suffer is entirely innocent. It is a powerful contrast to Tywin's arrival at Harrenhal who though he has no real concern for the welfare of the captives, he is nontheless hyper-rational about not wasting the opportunity. He isn't cruel for cruelty's sake.
Bran The Builders Cousin
23. The SmilingKnight
Jofrey the rational one. Politically expedient too! Haha!
Boy... what a wild imagination.

In fact, there was no particular order of killing of bastards, apart that set by production, especially not by Joffers.
Political act?
How about stupid cruelty and incredible show of weakness, inaptitude and general incapability?

Tywin IS cruel for cruelty sake. At least the real one. Its simply one of the tools. He uses it.
This one seems bent on playing the wise granpa angle on top of whatever else.
Anthony Pero
24. anthonypero
I'm pretty sure the plan is for the first five books to be done in four seasons. This is going to require some massive reworking of plot elements. Things from Book 3 are likely to show up in this season. I think its necessary to withold judgement (as far as calling the changes unnecessary, at least, you can certainly judge whether you like them or not) on all changes until the end of Season 3, at least. By then we should have a better idea of how they are restructuring the story.
William Fettes
25. Wolfmage
The SmilingKnight@23

Don't twist my words. I didn't say Joffrey was rational. I said that he displays forms of cruelty and depravity, within different contexts, that mark him as different. Some of those acts are obviously political, with some kind of power-based rationale to them, and some are personal. I'm not saying a power rationale makes them more morally acceptable, so don't imply otherwise. I'm just saying it is unhelpful to conflate them all together when it is the context that develops different aspects that distinguish his character vis-a-vis Tywin and the other Lannisters who do a lot of awful things in the name of power, but otherwise aren't total sadists. And, yes, Tywin is a god-awful person capable of
gratuitous cruelty - but it is not like this. With Tyrion's wife, for example, he is doing an aggravated lesson.

Joffrey did give his mother the order to kill the bastards. The fact that he uses oblique language doesn't alter that he knows full well what he is doing and that it will be carried out. It is exactly the same type of oblique language he uses to get Ser Meryn and his other toadies to kill Ser Dontas with the barrel of wine, etc. That is Joffrey's style of command when doing unspeakable things. The scene with the Rose and the other whore was different because he is directly controlling the situation.

Honestly, why do book purists have to talk about the show as if any sequence that isn’t exactly as it was in the books has gigantic provisional non-canon quotation marks around it? It would be easier to have this conversation if you actually take the show on its own terms.

And, yes, your tone borders on trolling. Knock it out.
Bran The Builders Cousin
26. The Smilingknight
Ah... here we go. Trolling, (and you dont even know what that is apparently), "book purist" and twisting your words am I?
Why, you poor tv show lover.
Go and cry me a river.
Make it a Trident.

So i can merrily cross it, go for a swim maybe, or catch a fish in it.

I twisted nothing. Thats what youre desperately trying to invent out of thin air or conjecture and wild imagination that is only a personal interpretation of what little is visible in the show.
Its not my fault its not anything actually real.
You may think like that. I dont care for your personal opinions.

But they are not actually true in any other sense.
If that is lowering the level of emotional engagement for you...Its not my problem. Talk to D&D.

I just thought it was ridiculously funny that someone thinks abuse of Sansa is like, a prudent political move by Joffers.

Finding rational motivations in his oblique words of all places.
Every psycho has some kind of his own "rationale" spinning around in his skull. . So what?
Aerys had a few really peachy ones, for more obvious reference.

Oh yeah... tsk... book purist me, eh?
Needless to say but that term is completely vapid, pointless and frankly, just stupid. Not surprising seeing who invented it.
(no, it was not you... but then again... you cant find that info on TV)
Anthony Pero
27. anthonypero

You should just come back over by me and we can argue some more about constructs and mental disorders... like adults.

There are two reason the show runners are taking all these extra steps with Joffrey. ***BIG TIME SPOILERS*** 1) They are about to have Tyrion MURDER a child on television. Joffrey needs to be more obviously scum for them to get away with that on TV with a US audience, even an HBO audience. 2) Joffrey's total vileness allows Cersi and Jamie more sympathetic by comparision, which for Jamie at least, will be important, since he will begin his reclaimation project soon.
William Fettes
28. Wolfmage
Thanks AP. I agree this isn't how adults have a conversation.

@ The Smilingknight - Yes, I stand behind saying your tone borders on trolling (note - I didn't call you a troll or say you were actually trolling so thanks for twisting my words again).

Just to ellaborate - exasperatedly stating that you could destroy all the puny arguments made in defence of the show if you could be bothered is obviously inflammatory and silly besides. So is scoffing at bona fide posts made in good faith. I don’t know you at all to judge whether that was intended as a tongue in cheek joke or not – like Morbo on Futurama. But it appears not -- both from your continued use of that tone and the pre-emptive warning you gave to the moderators not to ban you for trolling. Why else would you say that if you didn’t think you were walking a line with your choice of inflammatory language?

Or is it that you see yourself as a victim of overzealous moderating in the past? In my experience, the TOR moderators are extremely fair. But regardless, lines have to be drawn somewhere. Try not to take it personally. They aren’t out to get you if you can keep a civil tongue which, admittedly, seems to be difficult for you.
Bran The Builders Cousin
29. Elen
The saddest fact about the tv series is that Cat is, arguably, the wisest woman in the books. I understand the fascination one may have with Robb, and I don't begrudge his screen time, but at the sacrifice of Catelyn's importance, a character who defies the conventional literary roles for women and mothers, I cannot agree with. If I recall though, that line regarding Stannis and Renly's immaturity was in the books, I think.

Regarding characters like Littlefinger and Stannis, with actors who we know can act, I can only conclude that the fault lies with the writers. Changes are necessary to an adaptation, and I'm not claiming that I could do a good job either, but it seems like D&D and the other writers aren't realizing how much a tiny change now can affect the entire story in the future. With some books, it's perfectly okay to change these details, but with ASoIaF, it's taking a enormous risk, moreso since the series isn't even finished.
Anthony Pero
30. anthonypero
I understand they may think they need to make changes. My concern is that they don't know where the story is going. how can they possibly make changes with any confidence that it won't put them into there own Meranese Knot?
Theresa DeLucci
31. theresa_delucci
Random aside: I wonder what Nikolas Couster Waldau is up to. That's probably got to be the best, easiest job of the year. Get paid to be on one of TV's biggest shows but dont' have to work much. Until it's time and then you get to be awesome every day thereafter.
William Fettes
32. Wolfmage

That's interesting that you say that, because at least at the fora I visit, where the books are discussed in some depth, Cat is a frequent target of wrath precisely because she is allegedly not wise in the sense you are saying.

Obviously her advice re Theon and Balon is good, however, there are many pet hates beyond her coldness to Jon. I don't really want to go into specific because of spoilers, but I gather you know the main sin which is kinda a big deal (tm). Also, it can't really be denied that arresting Tryion was a huge stuff-up even if she did manage to muster forces to do so in a clever way.
Emmet O'Brien
33. EmmetAOBrien
AnthonyPero@24; The plan is to do the first three books in four seasons; Benioff said at Comic-Con last year Storm of Swords is too big to do in one season, and indicated which event in the book he'd be happy if the show could reach.

Also, it's my understanding that GRRM has briefed D&D on where the books are going beyond what's currently been written in order to avoid the problem you mention @30.
Bran The Builders Cousin
34. blandocalrissian
*spoilers of course*
Tyrion does not in fact murder Joffrey. I don't recall exactly how it is exacted (yes, pun intended), but I believe that Melisandre is responsible for his poisoning somehow. It's possible that the show might choose to change the course of events as it has done elsewhere, but if they do so, it vastly changes the way Tyrion views himself as acting in the world versus how the world perceives him. Tyrion is capable of being complicitly cruel, but he largely has a moral compass that prevents him from committing the murder of his nephew. When he tells Jaime that he did kill Joffrey, he does so knowing that it would have been morally correct to do so writ large, but wrong within his family structure. He says so solely to hurt Jaime upon learning that Jaime was partly responsible for the most painful, world-defining event in his life.
William Fettes
35. Wolfmage
On the good:

-Good to see Renly come into his own a bit more this episode. It's hard to put my finger on why - but he was just more obviously Kingly in his demeanour and his dealings with Littlefinger, etc. It also probably helped to have the continuity of attention -- following on from last episode. Whilst he's always delivered his witty zingers well on the show, and he has got some focus as a player in the game, I don't think he's quite had the same force of presence as in the books up until recently.

My wife who hasn't read the books (yet) rather inopportunely remarked that she bet he would be the King!

-Liked the shadow-birth. CGI was great (and disturbing).

-Liked the first glimpse of Xaro, though the flamboyance of the Roy Dotrice-voiced character is hard to top.

-Loved Harrenhall. Nice to see Arya eye-balling Needle so closely the whole time. Good to hear her list mantra. Tywin's entrace was also awesome. His armour is truly resplendent. The rats were rough to watch, though I suppose nothing compared to broom handles!

On the not so good:

-Though Qarth itself looked great, I'm not so sure about Dany's behaviour. The show communicated her uncertainty about being robbed of the dragons well, but her refusal to show them as a last resort didn't make much sense, and the threat was patently silly.
She is surely in just as much danger of being robbed inside the walls as outside - the main difference being the opportunity to rest and recover. But if she is dead in the waste it is pointless.
William Fettes
36. Wolfmage
**Major spoilers**

It isn't Melisandre either. It's very likely one of the Tyrells - either the matriach Olenna or Margarey or a family collusion. There are a few clues - such as her insistent interview of Sansa about Joffrey's qualities as a husband, what Littlefinger says, the suspicious missing gemstone in Sansa's hairnet, etc.
Jonah Feldman
37. relogical

I think the show writers are intentionally altering Littlefinger's character to show him as a pathetic creep rather than a master manipulator. Around the end of ASOS, he seems like the mastermind behind everything, except he really doesn't get what he wanted and then he dawdles in the Vale for a book. Over time, we're starting to come down from that peak and evaluate if he was really that brilliant to begin with.

I think GRRM overplayed him too much, and now the fans expect him to be a flawless schemer who sees everything coming. He's not going to end up on top in the end, and when you get down to it, he's just a guy who's as fallible as anyone, and his whole plan to get rid of Ned and marry Catelyn was pretty absurd and emotional for such a great schemer.

So the show is cutting the crap and giving us a human being from the start. You can have the same story, but instead of having oh-so-clever Littlefinger calmly masterminding everything, you have a pathetic loser setting off events he can't control in a desperate, misguided attempt to win back a woman who never loved him. It's not the same, but it's still a story in line with ASOIAF.
Bran The Builders Cousin
38. blandocalrissian
You're right. I had thought that it was Melisandre, having not read the book recently but remembering that she was maneuvering some mojo that seemed like it would bring that into effect. But it definitely wasn't Tyrion.
William Fettes
39. Wolfmage

Well said. I've thought along similar lines as well in terms of the ultimate hollowness of the flawless schemer thing. I will say I do think the show is sometimes a bit inartful in vocalising Littlefinger's political thoughts in neon lettering - for example, as witty barbs and general probing for weakness. The show runners use that shortcut a bit too often to sign-post to the viewer some of the juicy complexities of the game and different players. But it's not exactly wrong for him to be a little twisted and petty, using barbs that revel in his own smarty-pants-ness.We're just seeing it a lot more clearly.

I think Varys is by far the deeper player. We're just able to judge thatearlier in the show because the false equivilency lingers on far longer in the books that Littlefinger is a mastermind political genius of unrivalled skill. He is good. I don't want to take anything away from that. But he still has weaknesses and he's still a bit of a dick.
40. graftonio
Tyrion is not a nephew killer....he does have daddy issues though.
Bran The Builders Cousin
41. The Smilingknight

Nope. In general.
Specifically, no problems with TOR moderators at all.
Just with the usual trolls and lowbrow "fans". As for other sites, im sure they will recognize themselves.

Related, you can stand behind anything. Doesnt make it true.
And please dont go into "who is adult here" territory either.
That makes all you say just silly and irrelevant.

Generally, the fact that the producers, directors and HBO are dumbing down everything for the supposed "benefit" of some "tv audience" is a not an argument anyone should use to make the show look better or excused.

Well, - its all your "arguments" actually come down to.

Also, Cat is disliked and "attacked" all over by less intelligent fans. Mostly because her decisions and choices end in bad things for their favorite characters for which she then gets the blame.
Such "fans" are just incapable of understanding they are seeing the events from all knowing hindsight position of a reader and totally forget that the story is simply realistic in that sense and that there is no characters who make great decisions that never fail or that dont ever go through similar stuff and failure.

Cat is therefore one of the most defended characters too, by actually intelligent fans all over.

@: Relogical
No, not really. Most people understand what Littlefinger actually is and that his position of leverage is mostly due to him making sure none of the players really pays any attention to him.
He is not dawdling in the Vale.
He is not after Cat at all.
Never was. (in the events in the books)

The FACT that tv version of Littlefinger is just hilariously bad is well... just a fact.

@29. Elen

Well said.
Ill just add that producers talked... or at least George did, about the negative butterfly effect some changes may create.
Apparently he was thinking of even greater or biger ones.

Its somewhat ironic they havent been able to avoid that same effect with most of the ones they made so far.
Of course none of it matters to mass crowds and new fans especially, since they dont even know what they are missing.
Bran The Builders Cousin
42. The Ghost Of Harrenhal
Its getting worse every episode. By the way you should change the warning from contains episode and book spoilers, to just episode spoilers. surely by bringing a book to the tv screen you should aim to please the millions of fans of the books to give yourself a good following. why change story arcs so much? why change charectar names or invent new characters altogether?

The other big issue I have with this series is where are all the people? I appreciated in the first series that as a first series it wasnt over commiting its self, however the first series was a succsess so shouldn't the budget have increased to include some extras. I can just picture the blackwater a fight with two boats and twenty defenders, pathetic. I did like the effects with the shadow baby but cut back on the flash effects and give us more people. I dont expect Bravehart but be realistic.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
43. tnh
I wasn't bothered by Danaerys's scene at the gates of Qarth. The way I read that interaction was that she was insisting that her group be brought into the city and received as guests. The obligations of hospitality are important in most parts of this world -- remember Wyman Manderley's pies? -- and are even more so in its desert cultures. That's why she's emphasizing that they'll die if they're left outside the gates. She's saying their deaths will be on the collective heads of the Qartheen for refusing to give them aid.

This also explains why she's so stubborn about not displaying her dragons before they're brought inside the city. Until that happens, she and her people are not guests, and can be plundered and killed without incurring guilt, bad luck, or the displeasure of the gods. Showing them her dragons is all she has to barter with. It's not a strong position, but Xaro Xhoan Daxos takes her up on it, and that's all it takes.

I also don't think Catelyn is stupid. She's been incurring vulnerabilities far in excess of her power since the story started: Bran maimed, Ned absent and then dead, both daughters in the hands of others, and Robb in open rebellion. Her family at Riverrun is besieged, her childhood friend Littlefinger has grown into a monster, and her sister is no damned help at all.

It's all too easy to see Catelyn's mistakes because she pays dearly for every one of them. That doesn't mean she's stupid. Cersei makes at least five major mistakes for every one of Cate's, and Joffrey makes more than that. The difference is that Cersei and Joffrey don't pay for theirs.

Wolfmage @25, I get your point. You're distinguishing between characters like Tywin Lannister, who are capable of doing awful things if there's reason for them, and characters like Joffrey and Gregor Clegane, who do awful things because they enjoy doing them.

Anthonypero @30, not everyone associated with the show knows where the story is going, but George R. R. Martin is a consultant on it. I trust he can keep them from advancing straight through minefields.

Ghost of Harrenhal @42, having a lot of people onscreen is much more confusing than having them present on the page. In a book, the narration identifies who and what they are at the same moment that they're brought into existence. In movies and TV, all those bodies are present and distracting, and can't be dismissed from your attention, until someone finds occasion to say "that's a bunch of untrained Lannister levies," or "those people are kitchen staff who've come out to see what's happening."

Having to do that at all lays an extra burden on the scene; and until it happens, part of your mind is going to be taken up with wondering who they are and what their presence signifies, which means you won't be paying full attention to the action that's the real point of the scene.
Anthony Pero
44. anthonypero
@tnh, stop being so reasonable, you'll ruin a perfectly good disagreement ;)
Bill Stusser
45. billiam
The TV guys have already ignored GRRM's advice on making changes that affect the story he's writing.

Spoiler Warning:

In an interview GRRM says that he told the TV guys not to have Drogo kill one of his own warriors in a duel because that character would come back into the story at a later point. The TV guys went ahead and did the episode their way. Then, in the books, that character comes back into Dany's storyline, with his own khalasar, at the end of ADwD.

So, if they get that far with the HBO series, I guess the TV guys are gunna have to come up with another new character to take the place of the character they killed off. Probably not a very big deal, but wouldn't it have been easier to take GRRM's advice and just not have Drogo kill him in the first place?
Don Barkauskas
46. bad_platypus
Another thing to keep in mind is that in producing a TV show (or a series of movies), you have to deal with real-world issues, not just pure story-telling issues. Here are some examples:

1. Actors sometimes need to be replaced/written out.

Richard Harris died after the first two Harry Potter movies came out. Michael O'Hare left after the first season and Claudia Christian after the fourth season (each under disputed circumstances) of Babylon 5. Charlie Sheen was fired from Two and a Half Men, etc.

What needs to be done in these cases depends. Harry Potter obviously couldn't continue without Dumbledore, so the only choice was to cast a diffferent actor. Two and a Half Men and Babylon 5 were re-written so that the characters were no longer in the show.

2. You can't rely on getting a specific actor at a specific time for shooting.

Robert Foxworth was supposed to appear on Babylon 5 but decided instead to appear on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (Babylon 5's creator responded by killing off Foxworth's character.) The shooting schedule for the sequel to The Hunger Games had to be altered because Jennifer Lawrence was already committed to an X-Men film, etc.

3. Production costs and budgets have to be accounted for.

I don't have any specific examples off the top of my head, but this should be fairly obvious.


How these are handled depends greatly on what you're trying to produce. For original series like Two and a Half Men, there are not likely to be too many consequences story-wise. For Babylon 5, which had a general outline in place from the beginning, its creator has been quoted as saying that he had "outs" prepared for all the major characters in case they needed to be written out, and even then there's fairly strong evidence that the replacement of O'Hare after Season 1 caused him to have to re-work the entire series. Finally, for productions with set stories like Harry Potter and ASoIaF, you either have to make major changes or re-cast characters with different actors.

In light of those three points, consider a couple of the changes discussed. The point billiam @45 brings up: it would be crazy to depend on being able to get the same actor three or more years down the line to play the role, so unless it's absolutely crucial to the story for that particular character to reappear they could simply exclude the scene entirely. If it is somehow crucial, it could be done by re-casting the character if necessary or introducing a new character that Dany would "recognize" as having been with Khal Drogo.

As for not showing the dragons, in addition to the reasonable in-world explanations, it's possible that they simply didn't have the CGI budget to do both the shadow baby and the dragons, and the shadow baby was more plot-crucial.
Rob Munnelly
47. RobMRobM
Nice to see the robust, mostly civil discussion here. Well done and enjoyable, thanks to all. I'm very concerned about the butterfly effect myself, given the changes needed to make the TV show work as a TV show, and hope that GRRM is giving sound advice on that score.

I don't see killing Mago off in Season 1 as a big deal - bloodriders are more or less a dime a dozen for TV purposes, as the renaming of Dany's and the killing off of Jhogo/Rackharo make clear. Khal Pono or Khal Ifornia can replace Khal Mago if needed. I'm very concerned with the Season 2 omissions of the Reeds and Reek - only time will tell if the workarounds will be workable. And, of course, if the Tullys aren't featured from the outset in Season 3, all will go to hell in a handbasket.

Most of the other streamlining changes made to date seem reasonable, assuming D and D don't screw it up. Bronn as head of gold cloaks - ok. Shae as Sansa handmaiden a season early - ok. Skipping a fair amount of Arya and Gendry hiding post-Yoren death before getting caught - ok. Expressly showing birth of shadow baby rather than just shadow baby attack from Cat's perspective and then shadow baby birth for Storm's End attack - ok, etc. Nonbook readers have expressed to me concern about keeping track of all the many characters and that has to be respected by the showrunners, IMO.

Anthony Pero
48. anthonypero
Pretty Sure Osha is replacing the Reed siblings in their storyline. Reek is just not needed. There's no reason they can't call the character Theon later on, or even call him Reek and just make a passing reference or backstory.
Rob Munnelly
49. RobMRobM
AP @48. But we have no idea what's happening with the Rickon plot line, other than where (as of ADWD) we believe he is. Osha with Rickon is fully consistent with books and safe. Osha with the others creates question of what to do with Rickon and how can a little kid be cared during what appear to be dangerous adventures.

For example, if they let Maester Luwin live and let him shepherd Rickon, will he be up to the defensive challenges that we'll no doubt learn about in future books? Or if Osha goes south, we have the boring plot line of Bran, Hodor and Summer and no dialogue. That's why I'm still hoping Bran and Rickon will leave together and meet the Reeds on the road - otherwise, I'm concerned about significant plot failage.
Bran The Builders Cousin
50. The SmilingKnight
I dont have any particular problem in the fact that they are reducing scope of the story for the tv, as far as non-critical characters and places are concerned.
How they do it is up for critique though, where appropriate or deserved.

I do have a problem with cutting off, reducing, dumbing down and devaluation of important characters that are there, most of all.

It all seems to look like they are flinging in random changes just for the sake of it, or because they can, or because some hack wants to prove he can do it "better".

Having several different directors and so called writers which are basically uninspired hacks on the body of George work is inexplicable to me. One thing i expected was that the first season served as a sort of selection in that sense. That good ones will be kept for as long as possible and bad ones discarded.

Instead they just go on with the circus and promenade of wannabe "writers" and directors who dont direct anything.
Add to that a small army of different HBO suits, managers, so called producers and "execs" or whatnot and the only thing you can get is a mess.

Good enough for tv, mass audience or hbo, sure. Not good enough for Songs.
Anthony Pero
51. anthonypero

What GRRM has done with Rickon and Osha is affectionately known as "Putting them on a bus".

They can send anyone with Rickon. It doesn't matter. The lady who plays Osha has been fantastic, and I'm sure the writers don't want her sitting out the next three seasons.
David Lev
52. davidlev
@billiam: I'm pretty sure you're misremembering your story, because the only time Drogo killed one of his own men was in the episode that GRRM himself wrote. Perhaps it was the bloodrider killed by Jorah?

@TheSmilingKnight: Having multiple writers and directors is how American TV works. If it was being done by the BBC they probably could have had one writer/director or writer/director team, but on the other hand they would have been marketing it to the wrong audience (the UK instead of the US) and probably wouldn't have had the funding that HBO has given them

As for other general comments people have made: I just assumed that the whole "show us your dragons" thing the Qartheen guy was doing was a veiled threat to seize the dragons, hence Dany's refusal to show him the dragons. I also think that people may be confusing a stupid thing a character does with bad writing vis a vis Dany's empty threat (and several other things people have complained about such as many of Cat and Littlefinger's actions). ASoIaF, if nothing else, is a story of people doing monumentally stupid things and pretty much every major character has at one time or another done something incredibly boneheaded thanks to their character traits. For instance, Dany has gotten this plan into her head that she will return to Westeros at some point in the future to reclaim her kingdom, and thanks to falling in love with Dothraki culture, she wants to do it with her Dothraki horde (when it would be many times easier and more effective to go to Pentos or Braavos, sell her dragon eggs, and use the money to hire sellswords). These two thoughts put her at the head of a (very small and desperate) horde of Dothraki, with a need to get inside and a rather over-inflated opinion of herself, leading to her being arrogant with a man who's obviously trying to take advantage of her somehow (probably to steal her dragons, but possibly some other way). This act is both very stupid and very much in character for Dany.
Bran The Builders Cousin
53. The SmilingKnight

thanks for the laugh. hilarious stuff.

Oh, its "how its done in USA" eh? Well then... i guess that makes it alright. Harrumphh!

No, thats not the main reason why some stuff is bad. Its not like these hacks and different directors can choose changes themselves. They just work with what theyre given. Its just an additional negative thing.

Stupidity is in line with Daenerys character eh? (and everything george has written)
And she could have concuered westeros with sellswords? And she has a "horde"?

The more you know...!

This intenet thingy of yours is teaching me so many things.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
54. tnh
SmilingKnight, politely explaining your differences of opinion is more effective than making deprecatory noises. That was true clear back on DARPAnet, and it's still true now.
Bran The Builders Cousin
55. The SmilingKnight
Hmmpff... it was "heads, walls, spikes" back in the good old days.
Now its... "politely disagreeing about diferences of opinnion".


... How about if i politely mount some heads on some spikes and walls then?
Cant we compromise?
Rob Munnelly
56. RobMRobM
@52 - yes, the potential butterfly is Drogo's bloodrider (Mago) killed by Jorah outside of Dany's tent.

@51 It matters to me who travels with Rickon, especially given his apparent end location in ADWD. My guess is it took a lot for O and R to survive in the books, but we won't know until the next book. But I agree, given how good Natalie Tena has been, they'd prefer to have her travelling with Bran at the center of the story. But that still creates a big potential mess of butterfly issues.
Bran The Builders Cousin
57. The SmilingKnight
I would say that reducing Aryas travels and experiences has already led to some ugly butterflies.

Sure, it can be shortened generally speaking but...

They also reduced Clegane brothers both.
The whole story is devalued for it.

I could list other examples for pages and pages of text, but theres no point to it.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
58. tnh
Hmmpff... it was "heads, walls, spikes" back in the good old days. Now its... "politely disagreeing about diferences of opinnion".
Theresa DeLucci
60. theresa_delucci

It'll be really interesting to see what they do with Bran and Rickon. I mean, as of right now, Rickon can travel north with Bran for all of the dialogue he has on this show. Hodor gets more lines. But the long-term changes can't be foreseen.

Which would have more emotional weight and satisfaction on the show? Luwin dying in the attack on Winterfell was a powerful moment in the books and I'm loving the actor playing him on the show. (He must have a link for snarky line delivery because he's a maester of the ice burn.) But if we don't have the Reeds and Osha goes with Bran, who will take care of Rickon?

I know the show is a huge success right now and I can see it existing for many seasons, but few HBO shows get the amount of seasons needed for us to eventually see the results of changes to the Rickon story. That's also a reality of producing TV shows, in addition to the points bad_platypus made.
Bran The Builders Cousin
61. lampwick
If GRRM was on-board with the changes HBO made, then he must have approved the part where Stannis doesn't have a daughter. And if that's the case, then the daughter probably wasn't a big deal to begin with. Which is too bad, because it completely closes down one line of speculation -- there's a (very small) chance she could have ended up on the throne of Westeros.
Bran The Builders Cousin
62. tigeraid
As usual, wailing over the changes from the book simply because they're CHANGES.

There doesn't appear to be an Edric Storm in this version, so why bother with anything at Storm's End? Might as well simplify the situation. They're trimming unnecessary fat.

Nothing that shows how barbaric and ruthless and sadistic Jeoffrey is can be considered a waste of screen time. It makes you hate him even more, which will make you enjoy it even more when he gets his comeuppance.

Since there's no Storm's End storyline and they have to cram all of this into ONE SEASON, I see nothing wrong with Mel releasing the shadow creature in a sewer (or whatever), which will make its way to wherever Renly is sleeping, and move the story forward. Again, they just condensed things. Works fine for me.

Complaining about Roose's introduction is absurd, it was a brief moment, he talked and acted like Roose would have, and we'll get more of him in the coming episodes. BFD.

WTF is wrong with a fart joke? They're soldiers, they act like brotherly dicks to each other. Get over it.

The thirteen didn't want dirty savage Dothraki's in their city; you can take them literally in saying "they're a danger" but what they really mean is that they're racist, and believe Dothraki to be beneath Qarth, and thus do not belong there. Dany doesn't show them the dragons because they're a rag-tag bunch of thirsty, starved Dothraki and probably couldn't put up much of a fight if the thirteen tried to TAKE the dragons. Hiding them was VERY necessary.

As for cutting out battle scenes, so what? GRRM did it in the book too! He PARTICULARLY did it with Robb to heighten the sense of "myth" around the King in the North, and his men transforming into wolves and feasting on soldiers and such. We don't NEED to see Robb's armies fighting, just like we didn't NEED to see it in the book.

The only part out of this otherwise fantastic show that I bugs me is Littlefinger not acting like Littlefinger. Other than that, onward and upward!
William Fettes
64. Wolfmage

Thanks for elaborating on the importance of formal hospitality in this situation. It does make much more sense if there is some nominal protection gained just be being invited in as guest. I was putting too much emphasis on the Xaro’s guards. You're totally right that these kind of customs that protect guests are thematically important norms both in Westeros and Essos, so I should have picked up on that.

Re: Cat

Yes, I agree with everything you said here. I’m very far from impugning any of Cat’s decisions free from this proper context and I also would give due credit for her good decisions and judgements. I only mentioned the criticism because I personally wouldn’t hold her forth as the wisest women in the series without such qualifications.
William Fettes
65. Wolfmage
Re: multiple people involved with the writing and direction of the show

Yes, it is entirely standard for serial television of any quality to have many contributing writers and directors. Not just in the US either, but certainly all the best US shows of recent history, including critically accaimed masterpieces like The Wire, Deadwood, Breaking Bad and Mad Men, have multiple writers working on the scripts and multiple directors working on episodes. Sometimes there are particularly important individual episodes, multi-part arcs and finales that get assigned to the top gifted people, but you don't have the same people working thoroughout. The point is that even to play in this space -- working for the likes of HBO or AMC -- you're already a proven talent.

So if the show has a problem it isn't the structure of the division of labour itself.
Bran The Builders Cousin
66. Phonos
Tigeraid@63 "The only part out of this otherwise fantastic show that I bugs me is Littlefinger not acting like Littlefinger."

And Ros - don't forget Ros.
Rob Munnelly
67. RobMRobM
@61 - putting aside her ascending to the throne, I'd like to hear WTF is up with greyscale and whether it is somehow evil (as suggested by several in ADWD).

@66 - Mine is Shae. I liked better as a sweet but saucy domestic whore, rather than a foreign cranky one. Good actress, but the complications added are distracting. Another is the dumbing down of Cat this season. She's made some mistakes but she smart as a whip and very savvy, but the writers have taken away several of her ideas and given them to other characters. She needs more complexity than show is giving her. Ros... isn't bothering me all that much at this point, surprisingly.
Chin Bawambi
68. bawambi
I was going to comment on artistic visions but I will instead say: always a pleasure Wolfmage watching you present a viewpoint whether I agree with you or not. Thanks again Theresa for attempting to keep the peace.

Bran The Builders Cousin
69. Spiegel
Rather late to the discussion, but Joffrey's scene also shows that there aren't knight-in-shining-armour-rescues here. Tyrion and Sansa are safe, but another innocent pays the price for Joffrey's well-deserved humilliation.

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