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[Book Spoilers] Stannis / Melisandre presentation


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#1 Xtopher

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 12:02 PM

I´ve read the books, so I know who Melisandre and Davod are and their significance to the story, but for someone that hasnt read the books it seemed to me that the whole introductory scene for those characters was at least confusing.

I thought it wasnt made clear what´s going on in the whole burning of the seven and forsaking their gods for the new one and why everyone is so eager to do so but for 2 of them who are trying to stop her. I felt that scene wasnt as moving as when i read it. It is a very big deal to forsake your gods and it was made very clear in the book.

Finally, the scene where Mel survives the poisoned wine...

...I dont know if im remembering it wrong, but it didnt feel right at all. It was portrayed as a sacrifice from the old man but it wasnt like that in the book. In that chapter the old man (cant remember his name) just wanted to kill Mel offering her his wine but when she drank and didnt die he had to drink as well because they all expected him to make the toast, but in the show he drinks the wine first. Why would he drink his own wine first? he knew it was poisoned! I repeat, i might be remembering it wrong but it seemed to me that this whole scene wasnt at all a sacrifice but a murder attempt gone wrong.

#2 Dracarya

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 04:28 PM

Yeah Maester Cressen definitely didn't drink his own poisoned wine first in the book. It seems kind of stupid how they did it in the show, I agree that it makes no sense for him to drink the wine he just poisoned straight away. And I thought the poison he used was Tears of Lys, so I didn't think it had any obvious effects, like bleeding from the mouth? I could be wrong, though it's just a little nitpick anyway.

I've seen a couple of reviews by people who haven't read the books, and the general consensus seems to be that they're confused about which gods Stannis now serves, what Melisandre is and where she comes from, and who Davos is and why he serves Stannis. I hope this all becomes apparent pretty soon, otherwise they're just going to be left with some very confused viewers.

#3 Corvinus

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:39 PM

Yeah Maester Cressen definitely didn't drink his own poisoned wine first in the book. It seems kind of stupid how they did it in the show, I agree that it makes no sense for him to drink the wine he just poisoned straight away. And I thought the poison he used was Tears of Lys, so I didn't think it had any obvious effects, like bleeding from the mouth? I could be wrong, though it's just a little nitpick anyway.

I've seen a couple of reviews by people who haven't read the books, and the general consensus seems to be that they're confused about which gods Stannis now serves, what Melisandre is and where she comes from, and who Davos is and why he serves Stannis. I hope this all becomes apparent pretty soon, otherwise they're just going to be left with some very confused viewers.


Maester Cressen used the strangler which kills quickly. The Tears of Lys were used on Jon Arryn, and they act slower.

#4 Xtopher

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:47 PM

I've seen a couple of reviews by people who haven't read the books, and the general consensus seems to be that they're confused about which gods Stannis now serves, what Melisandre is and where she comes from, and who Davos is and why he serves Stannis. I hope this all becomes apparent pretty soon, otherwise they're just going to be left with some very confused viewers.


I figured as much. If i hadnt read the book i would be as confused as they. I feel they didnt make the gods thing very clear, it isnt very important now but later it will be very important to know the motivations of the servants of the Lord of Light.

#5 Tywin's bastard

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:01 PM

Yeah Maester Cressen definitely didn't drink his own poisoned wine first in the book. It seems kind of stupid how they did it in the show, I agree that it makes no sense for him to drink the wine he just poisoned straight away. And I thought the poison he used was Tears of Lys, so I didn't think it had any obvious effects, like bleeding from the mouth? I could be wrong, though it's just a little nitpick anyway.

I've seen a couple of reviews by people who haven't read the books, and the general consensus seems to be that they're confused about which gods Stannis now serves, what Melisandre is and where she comes from, and who Davos is and why he serves Stannis. I hope this all becomes apparent pretty soon, otherwise they're just going to be left with some very confused viewers.

I don't agree that it's stupid. Trying to trick her the way Cressen did in the book is a pretty simple rouse while drinking first is much more convincing for the victim, even though it's a gamble since the poison works fast. Seeing Melisandre calmly drink the wine while Cressen displays the effects of the poison was also a pretty good visual.

As for explaining who they are they are of course expanding on that in future episodes. The Lord of Light bit will naturally be pointed out every time Melisandre is in a scene (and possibly by someone else when it really comes out that Stannis has left the Seven) and we have been told that there's been CGI used for Davos' fingers so that's a clear indication about his backstory coming up. It took quite a while for people to get a clue who Theon was last season, to name one example, but it was sorted out.

#6 Francis Buck

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:03 PM

I watched it with a friend of mine who hasn't read the books, and although he grasped that there was some kind of sacrifice going, he had no idea why or how Melisandre fit into it. He also of course had no clue what was up with Davos, since they don't really explain his role at all in the first episode. He did, however, pick up right away that Cressen was trying to poison Mel, which I honestly thought was pretty vague and I feel like a lot of non-readers may not totally get what was going there.

Nonetheless, I must say that the Dragonstone sequence was really the only part of the premiere that I felt was slightly lackluster. It could have used even another five minutes, just to give a little background on how Davos, Stannis, and Melisandre all fit with each other. The cinematography and acting was great though, and I love all three casting choices.

#7 turdle

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:31 PM

I'm totally fine with throwing the audience into the deep end. I mean, GRRM does that all the time in the books. It's only the first episode, these things will become clearer to non-readers as the story unfolds. To me, there are only a few things the audience really needs to take away:

1-Stannis' basic character traits: he is stubborn, blunt and not going to join anyone calling themselves king
2-there is some sort of religious turmoil going on
3-the red priest is a force to be reckonded with

the other details will come, and when the audience does fully understand, they will appreciate rewatching that scene more.

#8 Ser Cipher

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:41 PM

When I read the first chapter of the ACOK, I had no idea who she was, what she stood for and it took me forever to make the connection. I think they did a pretty decent job.

#9 WetHair

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:50 PM

While they portrayed Stannis very accurately, Melisandre, on the whole, was quite different than in the book. In the opening episode she was just, well, a bitch. But in the Prologue of ACoK she tells Maester Cressen "It is not too late to spill the wine, Maester," and in the last sentence of the Prologue it reads "the red woman looked down on him in pity." The woman we saw last night was not in a pitying mood.

#10 Lord Varys

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:55 PM

It is an obvious mistake not to use another, additional scene before the burning of the idols. The way it is, we don't even get Mel's name in the first episode. The clever thing would have been to open the season with the scene with Cressen and Shireen and the white raven, with Davos arriving later and talking to him. Thus some facts could have been declared early on:

1. Stannis having declared himself King and the situation in the Stormlands.
2. The growing influence of Melisandre on Dragonstone.
3. A first tidbit about Davos's background.

Both Mel and Stannis would have been much more interesting if people had talked about them before we actually meet them. And there would have been space for this in this episode. It could have easily been 3-5 minutes longer!

#11 Frozen Soul

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:03 PM

I think it was a good introduction, as turdle pointed out the viewers need those 3 basic things.


1-Stannis' basic character traits: he is stubborn, blunt and not going to join anyone calling themselves king
2-there is some sort of religious turmoil going on
3-the red priest is a force to be reckonded with


1. Check, I think the scene when they were writing his statement was great

2. Check, Religion is not very important right now, later on yes, but for now the focus is on the new Kings

3. Check! The poisoning scene is different, in the books Cressen used the strangler, I dont what they used on TV but it was more dramatic, I think the viewers got the point that Melisandre is not normal and dangerous, she drank after seeing that Cressen was already suffering from the effects of the poison, yeah I believe they made their point clear.


Edited by Frozen Soul, 02 April 2012 - 07:05 PM.


#12 Maginor

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:51 PM

I think it is wrong to view this episode as a stand-alone entity. It fits in as piece in the larger season. They will probably explain things a lot better as the season progresses. It is not necessary to explain everything about Davos and Mellisandre in the first episode. It is enough to establish that they are there and give a small glimpse into their personalities, which they did. In a book it is possible to sum things like this up in the thoughts of the characters, but on tv it may be better to demonstrate who they are by showing them act.

#13 Davos55

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:11 PM

I thought it was a great intro for the main characters from Dragonstone. Obviously Davos is one of my favorite characters in the series, and I am very very happy that Liam Cunningham seems to have a great grasp on the character. As noted above, you get to see the basic characteristics of these characters, and these will be expanded upon later in the series. Davos is seen to be a man who will follow Stannis loyally, and also question his decisions when they seem rash, which is very accurate as to how he is in the books. Stannis is seen as a man of brutal honor and honesty, who is very stern and will do whatever it takes to win his crown. I loved the scene where he was helping to edit the letter, especially when he made it Ser Jaime, the Kingslayer. Melisandre is mysterious, magical, and loves the Lord of Light. These characters are all set up well, and they will surely be expanded upon greatly, starting with the next episode most likely!

If you remember the premiere of Season 1, some people were confused about Jaime and Cersei's relationship, it wasn't too clear why John Arryn was so important, and some of the main characters all had their basic characteristics show.

On a side note, I loved the premiere and I am so unbelievably happy the show is back!

#14 int11

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:16 PM

I'm totally fine with throwing the audience into the deep end. [...] To me, there are only a few things the audience really needs to take away:

1-Stannis' basic character traits: he is stubborn, blunt and not going to join anyone calling themselves king
2-there is some sort of religious turmoil going on
3-the red priest is a force to be reckonded with


I agree with that. Especially the part about being thrown in the deep end. If GRRM wrote the first Bran warging chapters like ".. and then he became a wolf", I'd probably put the book down.

My three non book-reading friends (who had subtitles to look at, which incidentally made *me* miss the part where Cressen adds the poison) got the following out of the Dragonstone scene: Stannis doesn't beat around the bush; the old man tries to poison the red woman; the red woman has some weird religion stuff going on, several people distrust her, and she doesn't easily die.

(And none of them mentioned anything about who drank first, or asked about the name of that particular poison or whether it would disable the respiratory system or cause intestinal damage ....)

Edited by int11, 02 April 2012 - 08:18 PM.


#15 Darth Pipes

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:30 PM

I have to admit finding the poisoning scene to be odd at first but later on, I thought it made sense. If Cressen's plan worked, Melisandre would have died and everyone would have known he did it. Stannis would have executed him. So you might as well plan your own exit strategy. The only way to convince Show Melisandre that the wine was fine was to drink it himself.

#16 Drinking Cersei's Tears

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:32 PM

The only way to convince Show Melisandre that the wine was fine was to drink it himself.


It makes sense, but the problem is that dude was bleeding from his nose almost before he gave Mel the cup.

#17 JayDubya

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:46 PM

It makes sense, but the problem is that dude was bleeding from his nose almost before he gave Mel the cup.


Right - it was obvious to her that he had drunk poisoned wine, and she drank it anyways. If he didn't start showing symptoms right away, viewers would wonder whether it was actually poisoned. If, after a minute, he started to die and she didn't, that would be interesting, but not dramatic. But the way they set it up - that he is dying almost instantly, and the only thing that happens to her is that little 'hazard light' pendant starts blinking - that shows how much (magical) power she has. It sets her up as a major player, and it did it in less than a minute.

#18 Francisco R. Fonseca

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:58 PM

I have to agree w/the OP here. I got the same confusing feeling from that scene as well. I just finished ACoK last week so it's fresher in my memory, but I didn't think it was portrayed as well or as intense. I do think though Melisandre was cast well & is almost exactly as I envisioned her, but Davis is a little different, but that's not a big deal for me.

As far as Stannis goes though I think they hit the nail on the head and can't wait to see how they do him the rest of the season.

Edited by Francisco R. Fonseca, 02 April 2012 - 09:00 PM.


#19 Qhorin Halfhand and Yoren

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:31 PM

They should have spend more time developing the Stannis storyline giving viewers a much better sense of who Stannis, Davos, Cressen and Melisandre are and what is their current position. And also adapting great dialogue and character moments.

The Prologue successfully does that in regards to all three and I think it would have made for great television if the episode spend more significant time on that aspect of the storyline. The prologue is really a pretty good story and in my view is one of the great chapters of the books. This very short in time attempt is not nearly as good and it is somewhat lacking.

Unfortunately Patchface might have needed to be cut or to just be a not particularly special fool. And their are some inner thoughts that might not be as easy to adapt. But the prologue chapter has great dialogue in it and events that work well and it could had been adapted. Developing Cressen viewing Stannis and Renly as his kids would not be a bad idea either. Maybe the show would add an additional line or two of Cressen saying to Davos (or someone else) how he raised the Baratheons and considers them sons and can't allow Melisandre possibly leading Stannis to kinslaying. So yeah I think through some adjustments it was adaptable, and it is a loss that it wasn't because it would have made for great television. Maybe they didn't do so, because they only have ten episodes and unlike season one in this season there will be more time spend in battle scenes making time for some storylines even more limited than it might have been in general.

Edited by Qhorin Halfhand and Yoren, 02 April 2012 - 09:43 PM.


#20 Darth Pipes

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 10:56 PM

It makes sense, but the problem is that dude was bleeding from his nose almost before he gave Mel the cup.


Agreed. That's one of the reasons it wasn't a well-written sequence on the show.