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[Television spoilers] Sons and fathers - The theme in episode 2

The Mega Sage

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Three major plot points that people seem to have a problem with in episode two are the characterizations of Stannis, and specifically his quavering "A ... son" comment, Ros and her nervous breakdown from having watched a baby be killed in front of her, and Joffrey ordering the male babies of his father killed, none of which appeared in the books (to the best of my knowledge). These are three pretty big changes from the books, but instead of assuming the incompetence and/or lack of care from the creators, by looking at these three scenes, and how they work in the context of the entire episode, I think it's plain to see the changes were done on purpose, and for a very specific purpose.

Almost every major plot point in this episode revolved, in one way or another, around a son dealing with his father. I believe that this is a watershed episode in the *television* series of A Game of Thrones, because it does make so many large character changes, but it does it in a way that is consistent within the *television* world of Westeros. It's obvious the creators aren't going to ignore the books, and I imagine they will still be very faithful to it, but this episode, more than any other, is where they seem to have stepped out from the (lengthy) shadow of the books to say "We have something to add as well". Quite a few of these plot points are consistent with the books, but it's interesting that they placed them all in this particular episode, as though ... on purpose.

  • Gendry is marked for death because of his father
  • We find that Gilly is worried Craster will kill her baby if he finds it's a son
  • Ros is broken up because she watched a son be killed in front of her
  • We find out Joffrey ordered the death of his "father's" bastards
  • Theon returns and is put in his place by his father
  • Davos and his son have a difference of opinion about religion
  • Melisandre promises Stannis a son, and he gives in to her ("A ... son")
  • Jon follows Craster giving his son to a white walker

Those are 8 plot points (in a 50 minute episode) directly relating to the relationship between fathers and sons, or in how people deal with those relationships. This is, in my opinion, something done on purpose by the show creators, and because of that, I am much more forgiving of the changes they have made from the books. These weren't changes made simply to be different from the books. They are changes which support the theme of episode, and to make a more powerful television episode.

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Ros was broken up over baby Barra being killed, a bastard daughter, not a son so that would make your list 7 points related to fathers and sons. But the rest of the points happened in the book and the relationship between sons and fathers was a theme explored in the books. I think the frustration is in the presentation of how these scenes play out within the show. In the books, some of the things on your list are very subtly implied. In the show, it's all explicit. The main question within the debates is whether or not the character GRRM created int he books is lost on a TV screen where subtly is a very difficult tool to use.

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The Ros scene was about Little Finger just like all Ros scenes are about the other character/s present. It could have easily been a generic whore. And it would have been if the writers had not liked the actress so much that they decided to write the character into more scenes.

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The theme of fathers and sons is quite strong in books so I think this is a valid thing to explore especially with some of the changes made. The show needs to start being looked at seperately from the books I think at this point going forward. Characters will be cut that will serve no purpose for building upon themes and plot points within the TV show. As long as the show doesn't deviate heavily from the books, for example,

Stannis winning the Battle of the Blackwater


Renly making it through to the end of the season

, then it's okay to make those changes.

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