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[Book Spoilers] An Unexpected Death

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Fair enough. I have changed my mind. I'd prefer Karstark dieing to Beric.

Robb will lose some of his men in battle. So why not name one of them Rickard Karstark? Cut that thread from aSoS. I have to say that I really liked that thread though. It was a great character moment for Robb.

I'm still hoping for Hoster! :)

I really like the Karstark subplot as well, it really contributes to the sense in the third book that Rob's army is just falling apart. But like you, I think I'd prefer that Karstark die over Beric, as the latter is the only major combatant in the story who is fighting for the small folk and not just for power.

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As long as they keep Thoros around, Beric could be dropped. Hoster doesn't really add anything that can't be moved to someone else, so he seems like a good drop candidate as well.

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I don't think you can cut out the BWB like that, without them where does Stoneheart go, and where does Brienne's story in AFFC gp, you might as well just cut Brienne out completely at that point, and leave Catelyn dead.

I like the way you think!

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The more I think about it, the more I like (or rather, am ok with) the idea of an early Karstark death. Because if you think about it, his subplot really only accomplishes two things:

1) As I said in a previous post, it leads to the Karstark men abandoning Robb's army, helping create a feeling of despair, a feeling that Robb's cause is falling apart.

2) It contributes to the theme running through the books of honor vs. pragmatism, and to the question of whether or not doing what is just is the same as doing what is right. Robb executes Karstark because he killed two captured soldiers (and children, at that) who were promised safe quarter for the duration of the war, or until they were traded for other hostages. So by all the laws of the realm Robb did the just and honorable thing by killing Karstark, but in so doing he hurt his own cause in the long run. This scene shows that, like his father, Robb is honorable almost to a fault.

Thus, in my eyes Karstark's subplot is very important to the overall storyline and to the themes of the book. But here's the thing: the goals his subplot accomplishes are already fulfilled by other existing subplots:

1) The dissolution of Robb's army: the show can simply play up the Frey's leaving a bit more, then later show part of Roose Bolton's army getting decimated at the Ruby Ford (as happens in the book). This way, the feeling that Robb's cause is falling apart can still be accomplished, but in a manner that is more simplified for viewers.

2) The honor vs. pragmatism theme: Robb's marriage to Jeyne accomplishes this just as well as the Karstark subplot, with the added bonus of also contributing to the "things we do for love" theme. Rob does what is honorable, but he hurts his own cause in the long run, just like he does by executing Rickard Karstark.

So yeah, I think if I had to choose, I'd choose to off Lord Karstark early on. Hoster would be another choice, but if you were going to kill him off-screen during the first season, before we even met him, you might as well just do it as part of the backstory of the show. And as I said in a previous post, Beric is the only semi-major player fighting for the smallfolk, so I think that subplot needs to be kept.

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I'm glad about this news (until i discover it's a character i like) as it means there's going to be a level of excitement watching the show even for readers. If it is discovered who pops their clogs early it should definitely be spoiler tagged.

I'm also curious as to whether the unexpected death occurs in a different way to their book 3 death? This could be even more interesting/controversial. It's also great to hear they are seriously considering following Robb's story in season 2 :) It will make season 3 all the more powerful.

As for candidates I'm not so sure but;

I thought none of the Tully's (except Catelyn) were showing in season 1? In which case Hoster would have to die off screen?

Killing Shae earlier would mess up the whole killing Tywin scene.

Was this entirely story motivated or is it perhaps due to an actor not being locked down for 3 seasons? If that's the case then a cahracter who has little to do in season 2 could be a candidate.

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Stoneheart can gather a group of nameless nobodies, + Thoros (and maybe Tom and Lem), quite readily. You don't need the BwB to exist, just establish that there are "broken men" out there or what have you.

It's inevitable that these types of decisions in the TV series will "spoil" parts of the coming books. Because we know that this isn't a Harry Potter -type situation, and that the producers have advance knowledge of what's coming (at least to some extent), their decisions make it pretty clear what's coming up. (They aren't going to 'accidentally' write out a character who plays an important role later)

...so if the BWB doesn't exist in the series, we can be pretty sure that they die out, leaving only Stoneheart's group, in the coming books. At the end of AFFC, they are still around as an alternative, so that's news.

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I am leaning towards Beric myself, or possibly Lord Hoster. Hoster seems like a smallish cut to be doing now, though, but I guess if they were just thinking of simplifying things by making Edmure the unambiguous lord...

Those two are the exact ones I'm thinking of. I really doubt Tywin. Hoster was the first one to spring to mind, the only real purpose to him surviving til Book 3 is it keeps Catelyn chained to Riverrun. But that's very easy to get around. Edmure was essentially already running the place since Hoster was too sick to do anything.

Beric would allow them to cut down on a lot. I hope it's not him only because I'd love to see the scene with him and the Hound in Book 3, but it wouldn't ruin anything for me if they did.

Possum,

I think the writers have more to do with interpreting Cersei than Headey does.

Might be a little of both. I was just rewatching the Making of... documentary and Headey makes a comment about how she believes Cersei was in love with Robert at first, followed almost immediately by someone else (can't remember if it was GRRM or one of the writers) saying it was always just a political marriage.

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No, he dies in Asos.

Ahh yes of course. It's been too long since last I read.

I'm still for offing Hoster in Season 1. Though as Ran says, offing Berric can be used to eliminate the BwB entirely, which might piss off the "real" BwB a bit.

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Seems like it'd be confusing to have random northmen reporting an offscreen death of someone we've never seen.

Hoster is Cat's father, so it will make some impression on us. And it would be a nice way to introduce the other Tully's for S2. OTOH, I can't say it fits neatly in my mind.

And is he definitively dead by the end of SoS? I don't remember that.

The timing of Beric's death is somewhat unclear IIRC. He could have died by the time unCat appears at the end of aSoS. We are told he is dead by the end of aFfC. So it might be a point against Beric. But GRRM in his own mind might believe he died in aSoS.

For it to be Beric, they have to be showing his clash with Gregor and the death has to be really brutal for GRRM to wander is he actually really dead. They'll also have to make a lot of other (mainly small admittedly) changes if Beric is gone.

Based on what people have said, Karstark is beginning to be the most likely in my head but its very debatable. Simply because it is easier to remove him. (Still hoping for Hoster though. Sorry Tullys!)

Headey makes a comment about how she believes Cersei was in love with Robert at first, followed almost immediately by someone else (can't remember if it was GRRM or one of the writers) saying it was always just a political marriage.

I thought it was a political marriage but that Cersei could have loved Robert if he didn't speak some other womans name in the wedding bed? (Ned's marriage with Cat was a political marriage also. It worked out fine).

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I don't think it can be Beric, because he already dies at the end of AGOT according to the books. He is killed by Gregor in the ambush, and we don't see that he has been reanimated until ACOK. So deciding the Baric is not to return would be a decision that would be taken during next season, and anything they might have filmed this season could be reversable.

So I'm leaning to Hoster. It's the perfect excuse to have the Blackfish come back home (from wherever they decide he was hiding during the first season) and for the leaderless lords of the Trident to make Robb king. Hey, I even think it might work better than in the books!

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Why does this change have to have anything to do with compression of the third book? If for example it was Rast being killed by a wight, it would provide some satisfaction to the audience since he's a dick.

...

I'll be more than pissed if it's Beric.

Because "Benioff and Weiss deliberately made the change", as Ran pointed out in his opening post. A hypothetical Storm of Swords season - if it ever gets the green light - will be a monster. And why should they kill off characters randomly? Ran's idea, that this particular death might compress or eliminate a whole subplot in season three seems apt to me.

If, for example, Beric Dondarrion doesn't survive Eddard's mission in season one, Mr Weiss and Mr Benioff could compress or even eliminate the Brotherhood Without Banners, beginning with having its leader killed by Gregor Clegane in season one (which, additionally, makes for some gruesome action). As far as we know, Harwin was never cast, Thoros of Myr is only talked about in the first six episodes and the writers/producers will have to compress certain plots in season three. The Brotherhood Without Banners could be targeted quite easily. Of course, Arya's plot in season three would then have to be altered accordingly.

I'm not saying that this is the path they chose to take, but it's a possibility. I like the whole outlaw band story very much and would miss it. But I would miss Rickard Karstark's insubordination and subsequent execution, too. Hoster Tully's early death would likely annoy me the least. So I'm hoping it's him who dies a little bit before his time...

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Hoster certainly seems like a death that won't change much and just make things a bit more streamlined. Cat's storyline with him when he's sick is so much in her head and it doesn't seem that it actually leads to anything else other than fleshing her out as a character.

I like the way you think!

No, regardless of what you think of Brienne that would be terrible for one of the best characters in the series; Jaime.

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But just because they "deliberately made the change" still doesn't mean it has anything to do with compressing the later story. They've made hundreds of deliberate changes but most of them are due to the change in medium, not compression of story. It makes absolutely no sense to not only introduce Beric in season 1, but even go as far to mention Thoros, if they don't intend to explore their original story in book 3. You could argue they've introduced Beric at the tournament for him to be killed later in the season, but Thoros as well? I don't buy it at all.

They've taken the time to cast and introduce Rast, no doubt as a villian of Jon's story. His death at the hands of a wight will be very satisfying to the audience, and I can completely agree with that sort of change. The only thing that makes me think it probably isn't Rast is the fact GRRM mentioned it at all. Does he really care about a change to such an incredibly minor character?

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The thing is, they never say they moved up this characters death for the purpose of compression, unless I am mistaken. To me it sounds more like they killed off a character, George came along as said "Hey, you killed him to early" and they were like "Oh, well ok, we are keeping it this way though" which implies to me that the timing of the death really was not notable and probably won't change much.

And even if it was intentional, for Beric, just because he suddenly died in season 1, would not mean hes gone from the show. He gets ressurected after all. So maybe they are just bringing in the aspect of him being brought back to life earlier in the show. See him cut down in season 1, then suddenly in season 2 or 3, Beric reappears. Nothing changed, he simply died earlier.

In fact I am willing to be this is what does happen, otherwise time would have to be devoted to going around and showing what happened to "those guys" that Eddard sent out. For readers of the book, we hear about them from time to time, but on a show it would be weird to see them sent out and then never see them again. Killing them off earlier, or at least Beric, more or less "ends" that story arc, until suddenly its brought back to the forefront in season 3.

We we to have to wait to see him die in season 3, then there would be a need, at least I think, to show where they are and what they are doing. Killing him off would just be a simple way to not have to waste time showing them hassling Lannisters throughout season 2.

OFC this is all idle speculation on my part :P

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The thing is, they never say they moved up this characters death for the purpose of compression, unless I am mistaken.

I think its a fair assumption to make though. I can't see them forgetting that a character actually died in aSoS. They seemed pretty clued into the series. (Unless it is somebody very very minor like Rast and I think GRRM would have clarified if that is the case).

And even if it was intentional, for Beric, just because he suddenly died in season 1, would not mean hes gone from the show.

I don't think GRRM would mean this either. IIRC Gregor killed Beric the first time they clashed. So Beric dieing in GoT is not a a change. If it is Beric, GRRM must mean that Beric died for good (e.g. decapitation). Although, i'm thinking its not Beric right now.

I don't think it is confusing to keep mentioning the BwB in any S2. Gives Polliver something to do. :) If they come back in S3, we need some acknowledgment that they still exist.

It makes absolutely no sense to not only introduce Beric in season 1, but even go as far to mention Thoros, if they don't intend to explore their original story in book 3.

I imagine they will have some version of the BwB story either way. Arya, Sandor and Cat are too involved in that. But they could finetune it by getting rid of Beric. I'm not a big fan but they could introduce Beric in order to show Gregor killing him. Keeps things dramatic.

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Perhaps, but why even make compressions now? For all D&D know, this show could be a much bigger hit than anyone is anticipating. HBO may end up asking them to extend this show for as long as they possibly can, so why start throwing away potentially great aspects of the books like Beric when they may not even need to? "Blast it Dan, we completely wrote out Beric in the first season because we didn't think we'd fit him into the third, but now HBO have given us 18 episodes for season 3! We don't even have ENOUGH story now!"

Again, I really don't know who this character is, but I highly doubt he was written out for future compression.

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This is just very speculative, but after the conference call with David and Dan, I noticed something: they're kind of focused on season 3, which clearly would cover some of their favorite material. To the point, I admit, where I've wondered if HBO has indicated that if it does well, they might order two seasons in one go. And if HBO has indicated that, they may have also indicated that they're not willing to go beyond a certain number of episodes. Which could be leading D&D to make some hard cuts now...

But it's true, they can just leave Beric entirely ambiguous, I suppose, and not write it decisively. So, it's a mystery.

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This is just very speculative, but after the conference call with David and Dan, I noticed something: they're kind of focused on season 3, which clearly would cover some of their favorite material. To the point, I admit, where I've wondered if HBO has indicated that if it does well, they might order two seasons in one go. And if HBO has indicated that, they may have also indicated that they're not willing to go beyond a certain number of episodes. Which could be leading D&D to make some hard cuts now...
Has HBO ever ordered multiple years at a time for a series? I have no idea myself, just asking the question, but I haven't heard of something like that before.

Let's face it, if the series were to get a season 2 and then end, it might be the worst possible situation. Assuming a season 2 gets made, a season 3 is a must. That would be a reasonable stopping point for the series although of course going all of the way would be better ;). In any event, it doesn't surprise me that D&D are focused on season 3, they are clearly huge fans of the books and most fans of the books are of the opinion that A Storm Of Swords is where the series goes to 11.

As much as I like Beric, he's not essential to the story. But you don't really get much out of offing Beric early without removing the BwB completely, which would be a shame. I have some not-very-well-formulated impressions that maybe they aren't fond of the UnCharacters -- the Others have Wights, now we have other sort-of-but-not-quite Wights that might muddle the picture a bit. Or maybe they will dispense with Beric to make UnCat all the more unexpected and terrifying.

It'll be interesting to see for sure.

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