Tue
Jun 12 2012 4:00pm
10 Changes Made in Season Two of Game of Thrones

Ever since Game of Thrones premiered on HBO, people have been tracking the changes between the television series and the beloved fantasy novels, cataloguing every difference and plot shift. So, as season two spread out and brought us the amazing events occuring at Harranhall, King’s Landing, the Wall, and Qarth, we’ve had plenty of chances to compare the show with George R.R. Martin’s written saga. Some changes worked better than others this season and now that the finale, “Valar Morghulis,” has come and gone, we can look back at the major differences in some of our favorite scenes and characters, presented here in no particular order.

1. Luring Daenerys Into the Home of the Undying

This is one of the more significant shifts in plot from Martin’s writing in A Clash of Kings. In the books, Daenerys willingly goes to the House of the Undying to gain insight into her future. In no way are her dragons kidnapped — she willingly faces trial by the Qartheen sorcerers. Once there, her visions are prophetic, vague and disturbing, offering her insights into the past of the Targaryen dynasty and her future. The only similarities here lie in Daenerys receiving a prophetic vision while in the tower of the Undying and that, once attacked, her dragon Drogon sets the sorcerers and their entire tower on fire. However, the show’s changes to the plot gave the end of season two a great deal more immediacy, as Daenerys had to ride to the rescue to save her children, rather than choose to endanger herself just for the sake of prophecy. The struggle to pull herself away from the tempting visions of her dead husband and child to protect the only children she believes she’ll know in life — her dragons - makes her story vastly more compelling. When the dragons rain fire on the sorcerer at her command, it also makes the payoff all the more satisfying.

 

2. The Riot of King’s Landing and the Near Rape of Sansa

Set earlier in the season, the riot in the capitol and the near rape of Sansa Stark represented a pivotal shift which showed the audience just how much everyone just really hates King ’Want to Slap Him Always’ Joffrey. And while the riot on the show has plenty of similarities with the source material, it comes off in the text as Oh So Much Worse than the version captured on television. Martin goes into detail about how violent the fighting is and how terrible it is when the High Septon is pulled apart by the starving people—but it’s the description of the rape of a young noblewoman named Lollys Stokeworth that is particularly horrific. Martin doesn’t go into too much detail initially, but when she is found later it’s pretty clear how awful things were and the character later bears a child of her multiple rapes. With no Lollys in the picture, the series instead transfers that event to Sansa Stark, but has her rescued by the Hound at the last minute. I felt that this helped bring home the horror of the riot by making it a character we care about. This transfer of events also cements the Hound and Sansa’s relationship, which always has a touching, and yet uncomfortable, feeling in the books. After all, when the Hound abandons Joffrey later, in the books he kisses Sansa before leaving. That whole kissing thing was edited out for television but the connection between the two is still there as he plays wannabe hero to his lady fair.

 

3. Speaking of Detestable — Let’s Hate Joffrey Even More

In the books, Joffrey is a horrible human being. He’s an arrogant little brat, and one with a mean streak a million miles wide. But the show goes so far as to make Joffrey probably the Worst Person Ever with their inclusion of the most skin-crawling abuse scene anywhere. Your uncle offers you some girls to get frisky with (as a gift intended to get the edge off your unbearable cruelty)? Turn it into a chance to inflict that unbearable cruelty on these girls in the most sexually depraved ways possible. Why not? You’re the king! The writers have made the character so unlikable that he could dive into a fire pit to rescue a bunch of baby direwolves and we still would want to hit him as much as his mother does. You know that he’s a horrible human being when even Cersei Lannister is looking on in disgust. I can’t decide if this portrayal has gone way over the top for me or not, however I feel it was probably done so that any retribution that falls on Joffrey’s head (and that I’m not going to spoil) will not bother folks even though he’s, essentially, a kid. 

 

4. Tywin Lannister and Arya Stark at Harrenhal

Some of the best scenes anywhere on the show this past season have come from Arya Stark in Harrenhal. Whether she’s trying to go unnoticed as Tywin Lannister’s cup bearer (’What? You’re going to slaughter my brother? Oh no, pass the wine? Sure!’) or planning covert murders with Jaqen H’ghar, Arya struggles to decide who she is among all the death and dismemberment at the cursed castle. This whole storyline has been changed from the novels, where Arya is indeed a servant at Harrenhal, but she almost never comes into contact with Lord Tywin (she is instead cupbearer to Roose Bolton). Still, I think it’s safe to say that some of the most tense and fantastically acted scenes from this season featured Arya and Tywin and their careful verbal sparring matches. Even more Arya fun involves her murder plots with Jaqen H’ghar, but in the book, it’s Arya that kills the last guard on her way out of Harrenhal as a last act of transformation from little girl into cold-blooded survivor. The series instead gives all the kills to our favorite Faceless Man and therefore Arya’s story feels a little anti-climactic after a season of tension. Sure, we get to see his awesome face-change (so worth every second of the wait!) but the lack of murder here takes something away from Arya’s storyline and feels a little too much like a rescue for me.

 

5. A New Love Interest — Rob and His Volantene Love

One of the least understandable storylines in all of A Storm of Swords, the third GoT novel, has got to be Robb Stark and his marriage to Jeyne Westerling. One second, he’s betrothed to whichever Frey is going to get tossed his way, and the next he comes back with a girl named Jeyne announcing they’ve been married. Now in the books, Robb gets injured in battle and gets nursed back to health and ’comforted’ by Jeyne, which is book code for “he slept with her in a moment of emotional pain over his brothers’ deaths.” Still, his betrayal of the Frey wedding contract is an issue in the book, and their story is less a love story than that of a noble man trying to protect a girl’s honor after they’ve tumbled in the sheets. The Season Two storyline involving Talisa of Volantis is a complete departure from the books, giving Robb a legitimate love story to explain his betrayal of the Frey marriage. Considering the nightmare that the Freys bring down on the Starks over Robb’s choice in brides, this choice to change Jeyne for Talisa is a very satisfying one. Talisa is a fully fleshed out woman and an equal for Robb, and provides the audience with a moment of joy for the new couple before whatever next season has in store for them. 

 

6. Most Awesome Inspiration Speech Ever: Theon Greyjoy

Oh, how did Theon get so screwed? This season of Game of Thrones worked very hard to show everyone just how messed up Theon Greyjoy really is and how he descends into bad decision making and ultimately, homicide. It’s that fully fleshed-out fall from grace that completely rewrites how Theon loses Winterfell in the books to great effect. While lots of the scenes in his story arch are straight out of the book (yup, the whole feeling up his sister’s in the source material, but who was really surprised, there?), it is the epic speech given by Theon in the last episode that really sums up the poor guy’s fate. No matter how much he channels Aragorn and Leonidas and every other big heroic leader ever, he’s still going to get lumped on the head from behind, bagged like a Christmas goose, and handed over to some horrible fate. This is completely different than the more honorable siege story in the books, where Maester Luwin manages to convince Theon to take the black before the castle is overwhelmed and Theon is taken captive by Ramsay Bolton. In the HBO version, we are able to see the tragic and almost pathetic fall of Theon Greyjoy, who sacrifices the last of his humanity for victory that is all in vain. 

 

7. Missing In Action- Jojen and Meera Reed + A Couple of Freys

Now, with every adaptation there’s going to be some streamlining. With a series as huge as Game of Thrones, of course some folks are going to get left behind on the cutting room floor. In Season Two, two sets of characters got cut out of the story in Winterfell to help move the plot along and (probably) to focus more on Theon Greyjoy’s evolution. The characters of the Frey boys sent as part of the wedding pledge for Rob Stark really made not much sense at all in the overall plot of the season, so it’s understood why they were cut. But it was the characters of Jojen and Meera Reed—two children of the crannogmen who become companions to Bran on his quest—that I missed the most this season. Their insight into Bran’s developing abilities to see in his dreams were seemingly transferred to Osha and her wildling knowledge, but the interaction between Bran and the Reeds remains vital for the continuation of his story.

Fear not, however! Recent announcements have stated that both children will show up in season three, so it’s more of a case of shifting things around then forgetting about them altogether. How they’ll get into Bran’s story as he’s headed north with his little band, we’ll have to wait to find out...

 

8. Most Awesome in General: Osha

Osha the Wildling, while pretty badass in the books in general, ascends to new levels in the television series. She begins in the first season as a prisoner, given mercy and set to work in the kitchens. By the second season, she has evolved into a caring protector watching over young Bran and Rickon, and is instrumental in their escape from Theon Greyjoy’s hands. The last we see of Osha, Hodor and the boys, they’re heading north into the cold with their wolves, yet this is far different from what happens in the books. Since a lot of Osha’s wildling wisdom is instead imparted by Meera or Jojen Reed in the source text, Osha instead does not go north with Bran but instead takes Rickon and Shaggydog away while Bran heads further north with Hodor and the Reeds. It remains to be seen whether or not Osha will continue to be Bran’s protector in the story, since the Reeds are going to be introduced, yet since they’ve worked so hard to build her up as a character I don’t think they’ll be so quick to send her off with the youngest Stark.

 

9. Playing the Game — Margaery Tyrell

Kudos for season two for taking a demure and quiet Margaery Tyrell and turning her into a pragmatic, manipultive powerhouse in Natalie Dormer’s Queen Margaery. Fresh off of her Anne Boleyn best, Dormer’s Margaery is a fiercely practical competitor for the throne who knows exactly what she wants — she wants to be queen. If that means marrying Renly Baratheon and sharing him with her brother or maneuvering her way into Joffrey’s bed by ousting Sansa Stark into the hands of creepy Littlefinger, then whatever—it’s all a means to the Iron Throne for her and House Tyrell and she’s going to do it. While House Tyrell in the books is a solid, subtle, scheming force with designes on the throne, this Margaery inspires no question about being able to give Cersei a run for her money in the scheming department. Not to mention that the show does a great job of showing Margaery as a fashion-forward queen who is all about that plunging neckline.

 

10. Jon Snow and Ygritte — Bedding Down on the First Date

Jon Snow’s story is way off in the distance at points during this season, an important yet oft overlooked piece of the world that gives way to snow, snow and more snow. Oh yes, and did I mention a redhead popped up? Ygritte in the book is just as awesome as her television counterpart, challenging Jon’s views on being a crow—and his views on not wanting to sleep with women. But in the books, there is one subtle yet very important change in the action. In the text, it is very clear that Jon Snow makes the choice to let Ygritte escape because he cannot kill her. In the series, however, Ygritte makes a run for it and the two become separated from the Halfhand and the other Rangers, which leads to their run-in with the Wildlings later. While this isn’t the most dramatic change, it is a big difference between the book’s Jon Snow who decisively decides to not kill a woman prisoner and the Jon Snow who accidentally wanders off and gets lost while trying to bring Ygritte back. Still, the change gave the audience the chance at that super awkward sleeping scene between Jon and Ygritte, which was adorable and playful. 

 

Bonus Change: Brienne and Jaime, Best Buddy Adventure Ever

It’s like the best 80’s adventure that never was. The tough-as-nails lady cop is out to take her prisoner, the dashing and complex murderer, across a country that wants to kill them both, all in the name of justice and a little bit of understanding. The exchanges between Brienne and Jaime in the books are some of my particular favorites and moving them up into season two allows the show to keep both characters relevant and involved. In the books they both seem to take a powder for so long when we switch between other people’s perspectives in A Storm of Swords, but this pacing gives us the opportunity to watch them cement their strange relationship early on, before whatever comes in season three. I can’t wait to see what further gold these two amazing actors will bring us come the next season.

 

Some interesting changes that also bear mentioning: the inclusion of Stannis absolutely sleeping with Melissandre (something only hinted at in the books), Shae as Sansa’s handmaiden (in the books, Shae works for Lollys Stokeworth), the exclusion of the Damphair and his perspective from the Greyjoy story, and the changes done to Yara/Asha Greyjoy (her name, her appearance, etc.).

With all the changes made and information coming out over time about what is going to come next season, what are you most looking forward to? 


Shoshana Kessock is a comics fan, photographer, game developer, LARPer and all around geek girl. She’s the creator of Phoenix Outlaw Productions and ReImaginedReality.com

39 comments
Bradley Beek
1. beeker73
The only change that I really didn't like was Arya not being the one to kill to get out of Harrenhal. She's still my favourite character, but she's a little less awesome in the show than in the books.
kaspe_r
2. kaspe_r
I really didn't like the change with Robb...in the books, he betrays his word and risks everything to protect a woman's honor. This is the Robb that grew up with Jon Snow, that knew that his father had betrayed his own honor once and refused to do the same. He ultimately chooses to betray his own word rather than the woman's and rather than risking bringing a bastard into the world. He is still a boy/man trying to do what is right.

In the show, he basically gives up everything because he met someone that he liked. He has betrayed his word, his honor and his kingdom because he met this really cool chick. There is no conflict between right and wrong. He gave his word, and renegged simply because he wanted to.
Ross Newberry
3. rossnewberry
Regarding #2 in the books, it's my understanding that, as the Hound is leaving, he is never shown actually kissing Sansa. Sansa remembers a kiss later on, and is assumed to have invented the the kiss afterward.
Joseph Kingsmill
4. JFKingsmill16
As awesome as the scenes were between Tywin and Arya where they unfortunately make Tywin likeable when he is anything but in the books.

Hopefully in season three we start getting some flashbacks or such about the rebellion. Half of the fun of reading these books is trying to figure out what really happened by piecing together all the clues. The people who are unfamilar with the books have no idea about these clues.
Mordicai Knode
5. mordicai
1. Luring Daenerys Into the Home of the Undying

This translated into like...an hour & a half of dead screentime. If you are going to use a hammer ("warlocks stole my dragons!") then you don't need to bother having all the rest of the plot where she gets rebuffed & desperate. She didn't even sleuth out their location; the warlock(s) just told her. What the heck. Railroad, treading water, bad TV.

2. The Riot of King’s Landing and the Near Rape of Sansa

The books are...pretty good at not "fridging" the women. The rape in the book is not an excuse for Sandor Clegane to bust in & act heroic. Using women as props for your male characters to play off of is bad. Using sexual assault for that purpose is even worse.

3. Speaking of Detestable — Let’s Hate Joffrey Even More

This despicable little brat is SO GREAT.

4. Tywin Lannister and Arya Stark at Harrenhal

This buddy duo is easily the best part of this season. A brilliant change-- who cares about...what, Loerch? The mercenaries? Bolton? No, give us some Tywin, right on.

5. A New Love Interest — Rob and His Volantene Love

Fleshing out the story? Yes. Not naming her Jeyne? Why. Why bother making her Volantene? Seemed like messing around for no good reason. Keep the Florence Nightingale act. Just name her Jeyne.

9. Playing the Game — Margaery Tyrell

The show excels when it makes the implicit parts of the book explicit on screen. Margaery is a perfect example. Plus, her fashion is intense.
Vincent Lane
6. Aegnor
There are a few changes that I think are actually detrimental.

1) Catelyn releasing Jamie before she learned about Bran and Rickon being "killed". Releasing Jamie was a foolish decision, and the only thing that mitigated it was that she had just found out about Bran and Rickon and was deep in grief. Without that aspect, I think it critically weakens her character and makes her appear foolish.

2) Sam being left behind and surrounded by whights and white walkers. Ok, book spoiler alert, Sam survives. So we now have Sam in an absolutely inescapable position. There is no reasonable way in which Sam survives his situation. But we know he does. That means we are going to be treated with some ridiculously unbelievable escape by Sam.

3) Jon's story line. When Ygritte escaped from Jon and then recaptured, and they had that whole "getting to know you" thing going on, I thought it wasn't a big deal and easy to get back on track. Just have him decide to release her and then join back up with Halfhand.

Then when the episode ended with Jon being captured by the wildlings, I was nervous and didn't like it at all, but still thought it was recoverable. I thought maybe Ghost would show up and lay into people and help him escape.

When it turned out he was really captured and so was Halfhand, and all the others got killed because of Jon...I really disliked it. I thought it greatly weakened his character and made him look like an idiot. But I was not prepared at all for how poorly they handled him killing the Halfhand. It really made it look like Jon killed him because he was angry at him for calling him a traitor's bastard and his mother a whore. That was the KO punch that I haven't quite recovered from. It ruined the episode for me.
Aimee Powalisz
7. longhairedspider
I have to agree with kasp_r: honor is what is key about Robb breaking the betrothal to the Freys. This is what makes him the son of his father - both in doing what Eddard would do and what Eddard did not do.
Richard Dickson
8. DailyRich
I think we'll get the Damphair in Season 3. We saw a watered-down (no pun intended) version of the drowning ceremony this season, when Theon does it shortly before sailing for Winterfell. It would make sense to then depict the Damphair as a more fanatical adherent to the Drowned God. Besides, they were already asking audiences to wrap their heads around the Melisandre and her religion this season. Best to leave the Damphair off 'til later.
David Goldfarb
9. David_Goldfarb
Sansa being almost raped, but then rescued by the Hound, does happen in the book, doesn't it? It just happens offstage since the chapter is one of Tyrion's. So the only change there is the omission of Lollys, which is forgivable.
kaspe_r
10. vsthorvs
I thought Shae's character was changed quite a bit in the show from the books. not a complaint necessarily, but it's definitely different.

Yeah, should have named her Jeyne. Don't understand why she has to have a different name.
kaspe_r
11. Lsana
@2,7,

This. In the books, Robb screwed up in a moment of emotional weakness, tried to make it right, and just ended up screwing up even further. In the TV series, Robb said, "Ooooo, it's pretty. Sworn word? Sacred vow? Screw 'em, I want that!" I'm not going to feel bad when he gets what he deserves from this one.

@6,

Catelyn at least had a different reason for freeing Jaime. If she hadn't, the Karstarks would have killed him, and the girls would have died as well. I don't think that's a less good reason than the one she had in the book.

@9,

In the book what happens to Sansa is far less dramatic. She gets separated, pulled off her horse, and then the Hound comes and grabs her. Probably would have progressed to rape and murder had it continued, but the Hound showed up before they got nearly as far as they did in the show.
Ian Tregillis
12. ITregillis
Thank you for posting this list! I had noticed changes as the season progressed, but I couldn't remember the books well enough to pin things down.
kaspe_r
13. jcfocarino
For some reason that fact that Jaqen's god was changed to the Red God really REALLY bothers me. I understand the wish to not introduce a lot of gods, but everything else with Arya's storyline involving the Faceless God is exactly the same (Valar Morghulis - but how will HBO pull that off as a saying of the Red God? We've already seen too many Red God things from Melisandre, they won't match up)
kaspe_r
14. elephant_god
My biggest problem with season 2 - now that the Reeds are definitely still being introduced - is the lack of Bolton. While from time to time, Roose Bolton - seemingly Robb's chief advisor now - mentions his bastard and his ways of skinning prisoners, in the end we neither get to see Roose Bolton take over Harrenhal with the help Vargo Hoat and some Weasel soup, nor do we get to see or hear anything about Ramsay Bolton's shenanigans. They are both big players for a big part of the books, I hope they're just late, like the Reeds.
kaspe_r
15. AlBrown
Changing a work is necessary when going from print to screen, from a medium that shows the internal motivations and feelings, to a medium that has to show things with external action. Many a book has made a dull movie when the makers are too faithful to the source material, while many a movie has also meddled too much, and become something quite different.
In the balance, the changes in Season Two were of benefit to the story and its power. The only complaint I have is how long I have to wait for Season Three!
kaspe_r
16. EmilyG
So I'm going to be the grumpy one and talk about how I didn't like most of the changes.

1) I despised the changes in Dany's story line - they felt sloppy and half-baked. You can't overthrow an entire city/country just like that! Also, they didn't include the prophecies she gets in the House of Undying. Given that she spends a lot of time obsessing over them later, you'd think they'd be there, but nope. It's true that Dany's storyline as it is in ACoK wouldn't make for gripping TV, but I don't think they made the storyline any better with their changes.

2) Not a fan. This scene felt like yet another entry in the "let's watch Sansa get abused so that we can once again be reminded how awful her life is!" show. While the connection between Sansa and the Hound was nice, the riot was supposed to be more about how the people blame Tyrion rather than Joffrey for the lack of food in King's Landing. I don't mind as much that he's no longer the focus, but I do mind that it felt like sexual violence was the only way the show could portray just how *bad* the riot was.

3) Similar problem. We already got the message that Joffrey's a sadistic monster before he decided to abuse the sex workers. Really, I swear.

4) Loved them, loved them, and loved them some more. The banter between Tywin and Arya was excellent, and I loved how their conversations felt like one more addition to Arya's education. She's learned to swordfight from Syrio, the power of names from both Yoren and Jaqen H'Ghar, a bit about death and secrecy on her own, and with Tywin she starts to learn in earnest how to lie. Their scenes were great to watch.

5) I can kinda, sorta see why Jayne Westerling turned into Talisia of Volantis given the changes they made to the romance, but I agree with those who've said that it negatively affected Robb as a character. It's as though he stopped being Ned Stark's son and forgot that this thing called honor even existed. In the book he married her to uphold honor. Here he's just being reckless and thoughtless and yes, selfish. He's a king and a leader in war. What he wants right now does not matter as much as a whole lot of other things.

6) Oh god, Theon's speech. So desperate, so doomed to failure. For me, this scene felt like the equivalent to the Battle at Whispering Wood in the first season - it would have been harder and more expensive to stage a battle, so they bonked Theon on the head and showed the aftermath of the destruction of Winterfell. Not as satisfying personally, but definitely understandable.

7 & 8) I'm largely ok with the Reeds not being in the second season so long as they're integrated into the third season in a way that doesn't feel forced. Osha was a good replacement as Dispenser of Wisdom and Advice and I loved that she got more screen time.

9) I am so happy that Margaery got to be an actual character in the show and I *love* the idea of her being a direct to challenge to Cersei on her own terms, not just because Cersei thinks she is. Hopefully there will be lots of Margaery next season.

10) The witty banter between Jon Snow and Ygritte was fun and amusing, but it completely altered Jon's storyline in a bad way. His joining the Wildlings is forced upon him and not something he willingly chooses, as is killing Qhorin Halfhand. And the fight between the two of them was underwhelming and *bad*. So bad.

Other things

Catyeln - I was really feeling the lack of the Tullys and Riverrun in this season. And I completely agree with Aegnor about her releasing Jaime early. Karstark wanting to kill him was a reason to free him early, but a flimsy one compared to her doing so after she learns that Bran and Rickon have "died".

Shae - Just like with Margaery, I loved that Shae actually got to be a person and have thoughts and feelings and interact with other people besides Tyrion.

So yeah. Still haven't made up my mind how I feel about the second season overall. There were some changes and additions I appreciated and enjoyed, but for many of them, especially the ones that were more character-centric, I did not.
kaspe_r
17. Adama
Kudos to the development team in charge of taking an epic fantasy series and transposing a full novel into 10 episodes of high action / decently paced adventure!

Thoughts:

1) I may be the only person on earth bored with Daenerys and her dragons her group of refugeees/slaves in the books. Consequently I loved how they shortened/adapted her story line to make it more intriguing and interesting. There is a lot that happens in the books that translates to not a lot happening imo and they managed to cut all of that away pretty well. So I'm definitely happy with this incarnation of her story.
Also how good is Iain Glen as Jorah!?!

2) It would have been a stretch to get an audience unfamiliar with the books to feel the same sympathy for Lollys as Sansa I think. And The Hound does not come across as a hero to me - just a conflicted dude saving Sansa (which does happen in the books as mentioned - just offscreen I believe). The awkward love-hate thing is portrayed brilliantly. I always cringe when they talk to each other. As it should be.

3) Joffrey was done brilliantly. Jack Gleeson deserves an award for his portrayel. Also a slap.

4) I hate Tywin in the books, I love Tywin the series. The interactions between him and Arya are some of the best in the series to date. Love how well they do this and the two actors have a chemistry that is fantastic. Like an almost perfect father-daughter relationship. Except for the killing of her loved ones obviously.
I loved the "m'lord vs my lord" discussion they have (Dance with dragons anyone?).
I also didn't miss the Goat and his band at all. Did miss the Faceless God though...

5) Agreed with other posters that Rob's conflict is/was missing. Makes what happens later so much more poignant. Also don't understand why she isn't called Jeyne.

6) Could Theon trully have been done better? Kudos sir Alfie.
My wife has not read the books but couldn't wait for "that little s***" to get his just desserts.

7-8) I didn't miss the Reeds and loved the extra awewsome of Osha. Always felt it a shame that Rickon, Shaggy and Osha didn't get more attention/love in the books. Hope they keep them all in one plot line.

9) Thought Margery was done well. Most awkward sentence ever should be "we could get my brother in here..." Glad they are giving her a proper flesh out - in all senses of the word.

10) Jon Snow - can't wait for him to become awesome. Love the series/book Ygritte so another great casting done. Fight with Halfhand was meh - but then I found it meh in the books too. And Jon gets captured and lost with no Ghost? Suspend disbelief - 100%.

Only thing I've been trully dissatisfied with from the start - and I get why it's happening - is the under utilisation of the dire wolfs. the CGI cost would be horrible I imagine but damn when Grey Wind enters Jaime's cage I nearly wet myself for the sheer awesome.

Could they have gotten a better Briene? Another proper kudos to all and sundry.
Mordicai Knode
18. mordicai
13. jcfocarino

Oh yeah, that "Red God" instead of the "Faceless God" is really, really, really anger making.
kaspe_r
19. lmllr1
@jcfocarino I noticed that too. But I'm wondering if the red god Jaqen refers to is not the same as Melissandre's red god, and they just picked a confusing moniker for him? Otherwise it makes no sense at all.

My other big complaint is Talisa being from Volantis. As a foreigner Talisa has no official status in Westerosi society - it's a big change from Robb tumbling a noble girl as he did in the books.
Stefan Mitev
20. Bergmaniac
jcfocarino @13 - Jaqen spoke of the Red God in the book too. It is not a change.

“The Red God has his due, sweet girl, and only death may pay for life. This girl took three that were his. This girl must give three in their places. Speak the names, and a man will do the rest.”
Maiane Bakroeva
21. Isilel
As awesome as the scenes were between Tywin and Arya where they unfortunately make Tywin likeable when he is anything but in the books.
Heh, I always liked him in the books. An interesting character with great presence and hidden depths. Of course, at this point in the books we only saw him from Tyrion's PoV. When people who like him get their say, it becomes clear that Tyrion's view is somewhat one-sided. Obviously, with show Arya's scenes we get this insight much earlier.
I am OK with all the changes, more or less, except for the timing of Bran's and Rickon's "deaths" and the fact that Talisa is not Jeyne and honor plays no role in Robb's decision.
Personally, I don't think that in the books Robb decided because of honor alone either - IMHO, he was smitten too and it made it easier for him to chose Jeyne over his promise. But it was an issue, certainly.

Also, introducing the Tullys in season 3 is going to be very awkward. Reeds would be OK - except that I was almost wishing that they'd just give their insight to Osha and Bran instead and have Luwin or some servant from Winterfell survive and go with Rickon.
Rob Munnelly
22. RobMRobM
Quick hits
- Sam finding the dragonglass rather than Jon. Like.
Sam obsessed with Gilly. Like.
- Ghost disappearing from Jon's situation with Ygritte. Disappointing.
- Jon being portrayed as an idiot. HATE.
- Qhorin death scene. Workable - clear enough to me that Jon killed him at his own request.
- Condensing two shadow babies to one. Like.
- Stannis sex with Mel - like but I didn't like to promise to produce an heir - "baby" would have been okay but not heir.
- Dany trumped up drama in Qarth. Dislike.
- Dany revised trip to HoU - not bad but should have been amped up.
- Bronn as head of Gold Cloaks. Like
- Blackwater battle differences. Love (even Stannis at the frontlines - silly but very cool TV characterizaation).
- The game of Ros - not that troubled anymore. Interesting vehicle for getting info across.
- Shae being truly in love with Tyrion. Hmmm. I guess it will heighten drama in next few years but....
- Jaime-Brienne moved into Season 2. Love.
- Cat releasing Jaime without word of Bran/Rickon deaths - HATE HATE HATE! Without that desperation, she becomes an idiot.
- Theon Winterfell changes (cutting off Ser Roderick head rather than Bernard Tallhart; knocked out by own troops rather than trying to take the Black but running into Ramsay). Like. (Alfie Allen is my MVP vote this year).
- Margaery as Breasty McPolitics - LOVE. Plausible reading of the books and will be great for TV.
- Harrenhall changes - Like. Arya as kitchen wench would have been tres boring. (And, as noted above, Jaqen uses "Red God" in the books.)

On balance, pretty darned good - Bravo to HBO and the showrunners.

Rob
Mordicai Knode
23. mordicai
20. Bergmaniac

...huh, wait, really? That...okay, I will take my lumps on that one. Interesting, in that it implies a relationship between the Faceless God & R'hllor, right? Either with R'hllor as one of the faces, or as the Other...
Bridget McGovern
24. BMcGovern
Re: Faceless God--I haven't gone back and checked, but I thought that the Faceless Men served "The Many-Faced God," which intersects with many, if not all, religions, including the Seven, the Old Gods, and so on. So when Jaqen refers to the "Red God" in the quote above, he's specifically referencing the fire (that would have killed him and the two others if Arya hadn't intervened), but not necessarily claiming to serve the Red God to the exclusion of any other gods.

Does that make sense?
kaspe_r
25. Jarvalex
Doran Martell is married to a foreigner, Mellario of Norvos.
He is of equal rank to Robb in the Westorosi hierarchy, so I wouldn't think Talisa was without precedent. But Talisa doesn't fit Volantis of the books, that is perhaps more a problem.
Rob Munnelly
26. RobMRobM
Oh, and where the heck is Ser Alistair Thorne? He left in Season One and should have arrived by now, leaving an unnecessary plot hole.

Re Robb-Talisa, showrunners have made clear they wanted to change the dynamic from choice of honor versus honor (marrying a woman you sleep with v. keeping promise to bannerman) to choice between love and honor. Not sure I like it but I can accept it - although it makes Robb seem more like an idiot as opposed to an the Book version impetuous teenager who understandably seeks solace after hearing of his brothers' "death" feels compelled by honor to wed his "victim."
Rob Munnelly
27. RobMRobM
@25 - why doesn't she fit? I'm curious.
kaspe_r
28. redheadlrg
Looks like I'm the only one, but I don't have a problem with what they did with Robb's character--in fact, it made him more complex to me. He learned many lessons from being Ned's son, not just "honor." Ned married for the sake of an alliance rather than love, and then cheated on his wife and fathered a bastard. He spent much of his life after that trying to atone for that sin and live "honorably," only to have his head cut off in the end. Robb is fighting a brutal war and is facing his own mortality every day, and it looks as though he's decided that he needs/wants more than a politically ally in his bed. May not be the "honorable" thing to do, but it makes him more human and more interesting, particularly in light of Ned's experiences.
Mordicai Knode
29. mordicai
24. BMcGovern

That scans; yeah, that is what I meant as a face of the Faceless god; & the fire thing makes it really click. Okay, I take it back! I wish I had eaten this crow earlier, it is delicious!
Rob Munnelly
30. RobMRobM
@29. Does it have three eyes?

@28. There are some assumptions in your interesting argument with which I don't necessarily agree. Hmmn.
Bill Stusser
31. billiam
@28
Will keep this vague to avoid possible spoilers (since we don't know for sure yet) but a lot of what you said about Ned is more than likely wrong. I have no problems with the show putting Robb's romance on screen but why not use Jeyne? Why make up a new character?

@27
Most people seem to think that she doesn't look like someone from Volantis should look. Most of the arguments I've heard are based on the people from Volantis looking fair, like the Targaryans.

@26
In one of the early episodes this season Tyrion is told that a brother of the nights watch showed up with a hand in a jar and he just laughs it off.

The change I disliked the most were to Jon's story. Not only did they make him look like an idiot but, as I posted in the episode 10 post, they removed the order from Qhorin to Jon to join the wildlings. That was a bad decision IMO. And where the hell is Ghost?

One more thing, while not really a change from the book , I don't think they did a good job selling Bran's and Ricken's deaths. Not only did none of the non-book readers I watched the show with think they were dead but the show revealed that they were still alive just one episode later.
kaspe_r
32. thistleberry
IIRC: Jeyne westerling's grandmother was from Volantis. a certain maegi called "maggie the frog" known about lannisport for prophecising, and telling futures: including to certain foolish young girls.
I saw this connection from her first introduction in season 2.
The fact that book Robb is not a POV character, and that so much of this is "off screen" in the Novel, would have made for many happy book purists when Robb+new wife magically appear... but i think your general TV audience would have been very confused. Not saying that the show is perfect, but i think that was the intent.

As for the Jon changes: yeah not liking him being reduced to a bumbling idiot... but I think the clear indication of the half-hand's plan is there if you were payin attention, while also being more vague. I think when Jon has some 'splaining to do' later, the lack of a very clear "you will do exactly this" will make his bumbling attempts to explain and justify himself into a much better scene for us, in terms of the acting. I just hope they use some of this next bit to show him learnign, and developing into the amazing Book jon we know and love... TV jon has a lot more growing up and maturing to do than book Jon did.

Overall, I recognize and see all the failings of the show, and agree with many of the criticisms; but on the whole Im happy to see it reproduced on the screen, and they are certainly keeping pretty good faith with the intentions of the series, if not all the details precisely. My hope is that like Varys' grand schemes, the temporary setbacks and upsets will ultimately bring us to a place we want to be.
Jennifer McBride
33. vegetathalas
Sansa and the Hound didn't kiss. See here.

Also, from So Spake Martin:. "n A STORM OF SWORDS and later volumes...Sansa remembers the Hound kissing her the night he came to her bedroom... but if you look at the scene, he never does. That will eventually mean something, but just now it's a subtle touch, something most of the readers may not even pick up on."

EDIT: Sorry, it's deleted my html links. Don't know why.
kaspe_r
34. DavidS
Changes sometimes are a must to make good tv (and make sure you allow the budget) but there is one thing I REALLY did not like, and that was how Halfhand and Jon's relationship is/was being treated. In the series Jon seem to be infactuated by the Wildlings, through interest, enmity towards the other Black Brothers or whatnot. In the books, though, he is an honourable man being sent on a quest. The Halfhand teaches Jon, likes him and ultimately actually gives him the job to infiltrate the Wildlings... that brings a way more interesting character and would not necesarily make the series loose µany time or money, it could have been rewritten better.

What I am loking forward to in the next series? The Unsullied, Thoros of Myr and his "undying" Liege Lord...
kaspe_r
35. Gill Foreman
Love this show more than anything on TV. Love Sci-Fi in general. Understandably the inspiration of the snadal and sword fnatasy epic is european history but Fritz Lang is really the pioneer of the Sci-Fi genre. Really excited to see the revamp of his film that releases in the UK 23 July.
http://www.metropolismovie.co.uk/
kaspe_r
36. Jesse Campagna
Tyrion's chain in the Battle of Blackwater Bay was missing. This was a major part of the Lanister victory and a huge part of the book.

I agree with many above that the scenes between Tywin and Arya were amazing, but the changes to Jon Snow, Ygritte, and the Halfhand's stories undermined Jon's character and short changed that storyline.
kaspe_r
37. RandellFolds
I was very let down by the Battle on the Blackwater. There was nothing sealing the fate of the majority of Stannis' fleet without Tyrion's chain. Why would hundreds of ships just continue to stream into a meatgrinder? It will be interesting to see how they set up and portray Davos' little adventure at sea. I can't wait to see some Salador Saan!

The absence of the Bloody Mummers is going to make it very difficult to portray the betrayal and affront of Jaime's loss later on. The dog turning on it's master so to speak, and basically neutering Tywin's golden boy holds so much significance in the books.
kaspe_r
38. StarbuckBSG
Something I've been wondering about is this: In the TV series Dany's bloodrider Rakkharo is killed before Quarth, but in the books he is still alive in A Dance of Dragons? Why kill him? He's not that important for the story line but still...
kaspe_r
39. KingInTheNorth
#2 WRONG in the books the Hound never kisses Sansa. Sansa conjurs this idea in her head for some reason. it is known as the "Unkiss"

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