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Westeros Blog: Blackfish Delayed

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It will be interesting to see how they deal with characters that are introduced briefly in book 1, but don't become prominent until later (Greatjon, Bolton, Beric).

I'm sure the writers can find a feasible way to have them show up in season 2 if need be.

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The greatjon never becomes prominent. They could easily cut him out of the series and no one would miss him. I would much rather have had Umber cut than the Blackfish. :(

I hope they don't cut the mormonts. Maege shows that women caqn be effective leaders and warriors in Westeros, without being as ugly as Brienne.

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These minor characters all add depth to the respective sides, they constitute the team. That's their key importance. Of course, you could just have a bunch of nameless people in the background but it leaves the characters with no one to interact with. Robb's experiences and interactions with all his commanders provide a window into his character and development, much more so than just seeing him talking to his mother all the time. And it is those experiences that propel him to be King of the North at the end of the season.

The Lord of the Rings films cut almost every character from Gondor, such that the main characters from there had almost no-one to interact with (they then created entirely new characters to get around this!) and Minas Tirith is seemingly the only place in the entire kingdom.

Why do I say that this indicates they don't understand the Blackfish? Well, because h's only in the Vale because his niece is there and it means that he's still serving his house, though in that roundabout way that's typical to his black sheep attitude. Removing Brynden from the company of Lysa undermines his estrangement from his brother, which is a key component of who he is.

It's akin to putting Stannis into King's Landing for GOT or having Theon just starting out as a ward of the Starks. The place and timing of character introductions is important and can have knock-on effects.

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You know, you can keep his being in the Vale. Just a throw away from Cat to Ser Vardis, 'I had hoped my uncle would be here to greet me,' and 'Lady Lysa sent Ser Brynden to Gulltown for <insert some bullshit reason Lysa made up to get him out of her face about helping Riverrun>', and you've laid the ground for his introduction the next season when he says he was fed up with Lysa doing nothing and he's left her service, etc.

It's sad that the family dynamic has to be cropped a bit, but the Blackfish is not an important character, plot-wise, nor is his estrangement from Hoster important to the plot. It's a lovely detail, part of the family saga aspect of ASoIaF, but some of these things must be cut to make room for the many plot developments in the first book.

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Well, because h's only in the Vale because his niece is there and it means that he's still serving his house, though in that roundabout way that's typical to his black sheep attitude.

And as Ran said, he can still be serving Lysa.

The greatjon never becomes prominent. They could easily cut him out of the series and no one would miss him. I would much rather have had Umber cut than the Blackfish. :(

But the Blackfish only becomes significant in aFfC right? It seems he will feature if we get a S2, so not a problem.

The difference between him and the Greatjon (IMO) is that Robb needs some bannerman when he calls them to Winterfell. I agree with redxavier that there needs to be some minor characters interacting with the major characters or the series would lack depth. The 2 obvious choices are the Greatjon and Roose. Especially since the Greatjon does have a great scene with Robb. OTOH, when the Blackfish joins up with Robb, he is just another face amongst Cat, Rodrik and the rest of Robb's bannerman. He doesn't fulfill a unique role. But the TV writers realise that when Rodrik goes North, they will need Blackfish later on. So we have a nice compromise between budget and been true to the books. :)

I have no expectation that Beric will feature until if/when they film S3. He barely speaks before hand.

They actually could have a nice scene in S2 when the Blackfish arrives and Catelyn asks "do you bring word from my sister"?.

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It is a nice geek attitude to say that despite the portrayal on the screen the character in question could still be there, but off screen for some reason, but I'm pretty sure that they won't introduce the Blackfish somewhat by talking about him, and that not showing him. That's not how cutting characters works. You do this, to make things less complex, not to complicate them by including distracting lines of dialogue. If the Blackfish appears in season 2, he will likely be either a knight of Riverrun (though thus it would be difficult to explain his epithet - so they might cut that, too), or they will have had him returned to Riverrun out of his self-exposed 'exile' when he learned about the situation there. That could work, if Cat is really surprised to see him here, and there are few lines about his past exchanged.

There will, I think, be no connection between Lysa Arryn and Brynden Tully. And it would be completely redundant to include something like it in this scenario, as we won't see Lysa again before season 3 - and she is never going to interact with the Blackfish again. Even if the Blackfish travels to the Vale in the books, this decision could be explained in the series with the fact that he intends to serve his last known relative to be alive and free - Robert Arryn.

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Werthead's idea is brilliant and I hope that's exactly what they do. It will add so much to the drama of the fight with Vardis Egen. The novels are excellent at creating a sense of mystery and suspense over where off-screen characters are and what they're up to (Barristan Selmy, Stannis, Rickon, the Crannogman whose name eludes me, the Blackfish later in the series, etc), even characters like Tyrek that exist entirely off-screen. I'm sure they'll do a good job of that in the series as well, whether or not they decide to establish the Blackfish in as an extant-but-absent character in the first season.

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That's not how cutting characters works. You do this, to make things less complex, not to complicate them by including distracting lines of dialogue.

Uhm ... that's actually incredibly common in serialized television shows. It's called foreshadowing. ;) Two or three lines in a single episode can lay the seeds for someone you may not actually meet a season or even two away.

The lack of Edmure and Hoster Tully sure doesn't mean they won't even be mentioned in the first season. I'm pretty sure the shape of the conflict remains the same.

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Well, yeah, okay, but I don't think the Blackfish is important enough to deserve that much foreshadowing (Deadwood's second season and all the talk about George Hearst springs to mind), as foreshadowing is mostly done with to introduce/foreshadow the coming of important characters. I rather assume that they might handle it like they handled Cassius in Rome. He just is going to appear eventually, and people are confused because you should assume - as we followed the whole war with Pompey - that he should have appeared earlier, or at least been mentioned before. The audience knows Brutus pretty well at this point in the season, and it's really stretching the credibility that we have to go along with the fact that they never interacted in the series before episode 10.

The Tullys/Riverland situation certainly need to be mentioned, or else the whole reason for Robb's march needs to be cut down to Ned's arrest. This would be possible, of course.

But if I'm not mistaken the Blackfish really becomes less important in ACoK and ASoS than in AGoT (not that much Robb scenes). Okay, they could make him Cat's companion while she visits Renly - but this would further change him from a good military commander to a nice uncle kind of character.

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The Tullys/Riverland situation certainly need to be mentioned, or else the whole reason for Robb's march needs to be cut down to Ned's arrest. This would be possible, of course.

GRRM himself has said that the first season will be very true to the book. Any subsequent season may be more difficult as the series gets more complicated, not less. Still, given that comment about GoT, I think we can assume that the whole Riverlands plot will be in the story. Without it, there is a huge hole in the story. What are the Lannisters doing if not attacking the Tullys? Where is Robb marching if not marching to defend the Tullys?

What Ran is suggesting isn't a lot of foreshadowing. There could be one line in aGoT. Since they plan on introducing him in S2, why not? And why not connect him with Lysa when he does appear in S2? He has to be somewhere. And somebody has to tell us that Lysa isn't getting involved in the war. In S1, it seems she hates the Lannisters. One could hope she would support her relatives in their war against those enemies.

I accept that they could drop a lot of that background but it doesn't take a lot of effort. And adds further layers to the story. :)

It will be intereesting to see what they do with Robb in any S2. I wouldn't rule out featuring him more than he does in the books. Either way, I expect the Blackfish to go with him. Robb needs men. Can't just be the Greatjon (for example.

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My first reaction was concern about the king in the north scene. It is perhaps a legitimate charge that AGOT has one awesome ending too many ... is it confirmed that the KOTN scene is even going to be in season one? Assuming it is, I would rather they just downsize it and stage it with the northern lords only, than have the riverlords their without their leader. We can have a scene at the beginning of season two introducing the Tullys via their acceptance of the northern king, and since the viewers don't really know the Tullys yet the KOTN scene can still seem impressive since you don't really know what you're missing.

It could actually be a really tidy transition from S1 to S2, new people, new scenery, so on. The question of the Tullys' war with the Lannisters is actually largely set up without us seeing Hoster or Edmure anyway, IIRC, and Brynden only talks about the Vale, not the Riverlands. Also correct me if I'm wrong, but Robb doesn't even have a scene with Brynden in book one except to say "Hi good to have you." We hear of his scouting reports and that he led the van when they lifted the siege at Riverrun, but there are no establishing "the young wolf and his manly advisors who are not his mommy" scenes with the Blackfish anyway. Northmen, yes; Blackfish, no.

I don't find it particularly surprising that they'd be downsizing Cat's storyline.

We don't know if Greatjon Umber won't be important later on, heheh. That's what makes all these cuts difficult to call from the armchair.

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It could actually be a really tidy transition from S1 to S2, new people, new scenery, so on.

It is possible they could delay the KotN scene till S2. They could end Robb's plot when they capture Jaime, which is a climax in itself. I dismissed this earlier but i'm coming around to thinking it isn't completely unlikely. Makes the start of S2 a lot more dramatic. But I don't know. It could work though.

And yes, Brynden speaks little to Robb. In fact, Brynden speaks little in the initial 3 books except for that one major conversation with Edmure/Robb.

Why do you think they are downsizing Cat's storyline? In S1, Cat's storyline is so meshed with Tyrion's that it has to be significant. Removing some conversation between her and Brynden doesn't change that a lot.

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Delaying the KotN scene until the start of S2 would take the victorious exultation out of it, which I suppose is a loss. OTOH it could be seen as an opportunity to emphasize the more skeptical aspects of it, which I'm not at all opposed to personally, and I do think that the capture of Jaime makes a nice climax as it is, if somewhat smaller in stature. Or they can just stage it without the river lords and have that be another plot point altogether.

I meant more Cat's personal storyline, though I should have said "I wouldn't be surprised if ..." since it's up in the air.

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This is the first piece of show news that has actually worried me a little. Cutting Edmure from season 1 is perfectly do-able, since his biggest impact on the plot of the first book happens off-page anyway. The Blackfish is far more important to the plot, especially in the latter half.

Sure, Roderik Cassell could fill the Blackfish's role in Robb's initial battle plans ... but if your making that big a change, why not cut Ser Roderik instead? He's far less important to the overall story than Brynden Tully.

As are many, many other minor characters that will appear in season 1.

Plus, I was sorta hoping they'd cast the most flamingest gay actor in the world to play Brynden, and have him camp it up on screen at every oppurtunity, so we can finally put that little question to bed. Admit it. You all want to see Carson Kressley leading a cavalry charge in the Battle of the Camps, fucking shit up left and right while looking impeccably fabulous.

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Sure, Roderik Cassell could fill the Blackfish's role in Robb's initial battle plans ... but if your making that big a change, why not cut Ser Roderik instead?

Rodrik Cassell does play an important role in aCoK, so he is needed. And even in S1, somebody must travel with Cat or it would look very strange. So while he doesn't play a huge role in S1, he is in the right place at the right time. The Blackfish can be more easily be dropped, with other characters taking his place.

But then, i've never thought the Blackfish played a very important role except as a cool background character. :)

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At the end of AFFC he's set up to become an important character in later books, so I definitely think we'll have him appear season 2, and there's no reason why he still can't be estranged from his brother. I don't think it'd harm things that much if the dropped that point, but I hope they don't because it adds depth and a bit of mystery to the character.

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Lady Mormont is distinctive, so they may include her but she does very little of importance in all 4 books.

I really hope they include the Mormonts! However:

I hope they don't cut the mormonts. Maege shows that women caqn be effective leaders and warriors in Westeros, without being as ugly as Brienne.

Maege isn't exactly described as a beauty - stout, grey-haired? No matter, she can kick ass with her spiked mace. However I got the feeling that the pretty one is her daughter Dacey.

You know, you can keep his being in the Vale. Just a throw away from Cat to Ser Vardis, 'I had hoped my uncle would be here to greet me,' and 'Lady Lysa sent Ser Brynden to Gulltown for <insert some bullshit reason Lysa made up to get him out of her face about helping Riverrun>', and you've laid the ground for his introduction the next season when he says he was fed up with Lysa doing nothing and he's left her service, etc.

:agree:

It is a nice geek attitude to say that despite the portrayal on the screen the character in question could still be there, but off screen for some reason, but I'm pretty sure that they won't introduce the Blackfish somewhat by talking about him, and that not showing him. That's not how cutting characters works.

Over at Winter is Coming we had a discussion on our Ser Not Appearing In Season 1. :P I humbly suggested one little gimmick: when we get to the last scene of S1, whether it's the Whispering Woods, the King in the North, Jaime's capture etc, it would be vastly cool and, I think, rather easy to show an unnamed warrior with no lines to speak, visor down, black armour, a black fish as the crest of his helmet, fighting or cheering or whatever, mixed up in the crowd but visible. Casual viewers would not even notice; fans would yell their joy to heaven, becuse they'd recognize the "mystery knight".

Plus, I was sorta hoping they'd cast the most flamingest gay actor in the world to play Brynden, and have him camp it up on screen at every oppurtunity, so we can finally put that little question to bed. Admit it. You all want to see Carson Kressley leading a cavalry charge in the Battle of the Camps, fucking shit up left and right while looking impeccably fabulous.

ROTFLMAO! Thanks for the much-needed laughter. I'm neutral about the Blackfish being gay or straight, but the visual delighted me, especially the part about looking fabulous. :cool4: I'd keep that even should he turn out to be straight.

However, back to seriousness... We already have Loras who is flaming and fabulous; I would like a male character who is warlike, somber and manly, and happens to like men. If someone has seen "Mountains of the Moon" with Iain "Jorah" Glen, you know what I mean.

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I humbly suggested one little gimmick: when we get to the last scene of S1, whether it's the Whispering Woods, the King in the North, Jaime's capture etc, it would be vastly cool and, I think, rather easy to show an unnamed warrior with no lines to speak, visor down, black armour, a black fish as the crest of his helmet, fighting or cheering or whatever, mixed up in the crowd but visible. Casual viewers would not even notice; fans would yell their joy to heaven, becuse they'd recognize the "mystery knight".

Fun idea but i'm not sure how it would work continuity wise? The Blackfish is fighting but nobody mentions his arrival? I think that kind of idea would work better for somebody like Thoros of Myr at the meelee. Seeing a guy walking around in the distance with a flaming sword would be hilarious. Or even have a fleeting glimpse of Beric (but he isn't as obvious as Thoros).

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Fun idea but i'm not sure how it would work continuity wise? The Blackfish is fighting but nobody mentions his arrival? I think that kind of idea would work better for somebody like Thoros of Myr at the meelee. Seeing a guy walking around in the distance with a flaming sword would be hilarious. Or even have a fleeting glimpse of Beric (but he isn't as obvious as Thoros).

Why would you need to mention him before or during the battles ? If I remember correctly, the Blackfish wasn't in the main battlefield. He was with the scout section killing the guards before the battles. After them, you could have Robb telling to Edmure that they succeeded thanks to the blackfish (and there enters the Blackfish). And if you still want to include him on the main battlefield, do as the other said without mentioning him. His armor should be sufficient to recognize him.

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Why would you need to mention him before or during the battles ? If I remember correctly, the Blackfish wasn't in the main battlefield. He was with the scout section killing the guards before the battles. After them, you could have Robb telling to Edmure that they succeeded thanks to the blackfish (and there enters the Blackfish). And if you still want to include him on the main battlefield, do as the other said without mentioning him. His armor should be sufficient to recognize him.

The Tullys aren't in S1 at all, so Robb can't tell Edmure anything. He could tell Cat but she would surely wonder where her Uncle is. :)

While including the Blackfish in the background is neat, it just complicates his introduction in S2. Or at least, I can't think of a simple way to do it. The adaptation is complicated enough without making it more complicated by employing an injoke.

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