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[Book Spoilers] EP 204 Discussion

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I loved the line the show added:

Melisandre: "He is your rightful king, born amidst salt and smoke!"

Renly:"Oh, is he a ham?"

I LOL'd loudly, especially at Melisandre's face when he makes that retort. You can tell it has been a long long time since anybody dared to mock her like that.

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I don't think it was really a bad episode, actually. And I imagine the episodes are shorter due to budgetary reasons more than anything else. I hope this means that both the Blackwater and the House of the Undying will knock our socks off...

I did quite like the little CG/painting/whatever that was showing Qarth beyond its gates. It looked every bit as lush, verdant, and opulent as I expected. The design and architecture looked to be some cross between Constantinopolis and Babylonia. I hope we see a lot more of it, and not just interiors; Qarth might just be the most spectacular city we see in the show, with the exception of perhaps Volantis (I forget which city is greater) much later on.

The first time I saw the Qarth scene I was a little annoyed that evidently the Qarthians (judging by the Thirteen, minus the savage from the Summer Isle) are a bunch of white dudes. After watching it again I've changed my mind, most of them look like they could pass for mediterraneans/middle easterners, except the speaker. But it's very odd how they seem to have no noticable non-Westerosi accent whatsoever when the only two people from Braavos we've seen, Syrio and Jaqen, have very obvious accents. And Braavos is a lot closer. Does everyone on Essos except the Braavosi and the Dothraki speak the Queen's English?

I'm torn on that. They should certainly sound like foreigners to contrast with the English-sounding Westerosi, sure. Something more Mediterreanean (or middle-eastern, even, since the Free Cities seem to be using the Mediterranean accents) would have been nice. That said, the merchant guy being English worked too--he had a sort of Shakespearian bombast, which goes along with the sort of sublime ridiculousness that is Qarth. I can't fault them for that.

Edited by Dragon of Valyria

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The best episode so far, alongside with episode 1!

Good:

  • The opening title: I never get tired of watching the opening sequence. Opening titles are usually quite boring, but GoT is one of the very few exceptions I know of. It's also the only title I know of that changes dynamically, based on the content of the episode (this time we saw Harrenhal).
  • Some of Tyrion's best lines survived the transition from the book to the screen. Liked his line about 'educating' his nephew and how he threatened Ser Meryn.
  • Robb's battle: This time they faded to black instead of coming up with a silly excuse (Tyrion being accidentally knocked unconscious by his own men just before the battle...) for not showing the battle onscreen.
  • Joffrey's bedroom scene. Nice showcase for Joffrey's sadistic tendencies.
  • Arya and Gendry's scenes. I remember these parts of the book, and the TV series do them justice.
  • Harrenhal was better than I imagined from the book. Very decadent and scary looking. Excellent design.
  • Cat and Baelish: Nice dialogue driven scene where Baelish tries to win Cat's trust.
  • Qarth: Beautiful city. My only small complaint here is that the military escort/city guard seemed a bit small (a bit of cloning would've helped).
  • The end sequence: I wasn't sure if they'd manage to pull this off, because in the book the 'scene' was well written and had some scary, supernatural overtones. But they did an excellent job here, conveying the horror of the scene and adding a bit of eroticism as well.

Bad:

  • Why does Margaery wear such silly clothes? I wasn't aware that she was so radical when it came to wardrobes.

For some reason it felt like this episode lasted for 90 minutes, and I mean that in a positive sense. Lots of interesting things were happening and the pacing was good. I remember that in the first season, things really started to heat up around episode 5-6. I hope we'll see the same trend in this season as well.

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I want to mention that I wasn't impressed with Tywin's entrance at Harrenhal. Since when does Tywin walk around prisoners and start questioning them about about their professions? Like all other snobby high lords in the book, Tywin barely even notices the existence of low-borns. Doing something like that is beneath him in his eyes. Arya only saw him from far away, almost like a mythical figure. This only worked with Roose because he knew she was somehow involved with Weasel Soup. I don't mind her being Tywin's cupbearer since I already saw that coming, but the way they went about it seemed quite contrived.

I think the TV Tywin has been shown to be hands on kind of guy. In season one he's butchering and dressing a deer carcass? Why would a high lord need to do that. He's also shown in the same scene "educating" Jaime on how to properly handle himself.

The scene at Harrenhal reflects this perfectly. He comes in see's something amiss in his shop and sets about to correct it while also educating his men on why it's better his way. It show's that's he not just some uber powerful rich Lord who rules by fear. It also explains why men follow him willingly.

Also, as someone said earlier you can really see how much Tyrion and Tywin are alike in how they handle their affairs.

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I'll never understanding this "All or nothing" mentality. It's like the whole "You're with us or you're with the enemy" thing. Yes, we're all grateful Dan and David have made such an accurate, loving adaptation that captures the book's spirit, etc. It doesn't mean, as both fans and just human beings with tastes and differences, we may not like everything or have minor complaints or are bothered by a change, not simply because it is a change at all, but because of what it specifically changing what from what. This is a forum for fans to express their opinions, in a discussion thread marked aside for the followers of the books. Minor complaints voiced here are not going to change what's already been done, nor will it make the showrunners do things differently in future seasons. I really don't see what's so bad about people using this specific avenue to voice their (sometimes) negative thoughts.

Absolutely. Yes, there will always be idiots whining about the 7" tall guy not being big enough, but most of the criticism that has been about the writing is perfectly legitimate. Those who are upset by that should probably find another forum to frequent... I mean what is this forum for anyway, to spam threads about how awesome and perfect everything is? :rolleyes:

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Strongly agree with everything you wrote. I don’t understand why they’re doing this. It’s not like they’re going to shop this out to syndication where they need to keep it to 50 minutes so that with commercials it fits in a 90 minute timeslot.

They're shopping it out to TV channels in every country in the civilised world, and then some. Many of which have commercial breaks.

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Last season things really started to get intense after episode 4, and judging by the preview, it looks like this season will be no different! Can't wait for Qorin Halfhand, Jaqen in action, more Bran, and Brienne taking names!

Also, if you are on a forum, you definitely have to expect nitpicking and criticism. If everyone agreed about every single thing..where is the fun in that?!?

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this episode provided a better explanation for why Arya doesn't have Jag'hen kill Tywin- because Tywin came in a save Gendry from being tortured to death. I also think that being Tywin's cupbearer, Arya will see him more as a person, not just as her family's enemy. (I've never gotten the impression that tv-Tywin or book-Tywin is needlessles cruel and sadistic. He's very ambitious and pragmatic, and will take very extreme steps to further his goals, but he doesn't strike me as someone who's randomly cruel to the servants.) I never really bought it that Arya just "forgot" to have Jag'hen kill Tywin. I think this way, she'll know that she's "supposed" to have Tywin killed, but he saved her friend and if he's kind to her, she'll find it hard to kill him. So we'll probably get some interesting scenes where Arya is torn about what to do, vis a vis Tywin.

Such an excellent point! And as someone else stated before, it's good to keep in mind that Martin is working with everyone as well, so he must give some sort of approval for each change. It helps that he has experience writing TV, so he knows the sacrifices that must be made. But aside from that, I mentioned earlier that I think the TV adaptation is a great opportunity for Martin to show different sides of his characters. I first noticed this in season 1, with the way Cersei was portrayed. I found myself unable to hate her - suddenly there was more story to her, and she was a much more interesting character. This episode gave me the same perspective on Tywin.

There's a part of me that truly believes every time some seemingly strange changes are made to characters that Martin wanted to give us a different perspective on them. Though I doubt very few loved Tywin, I definitely had a certain level of respect for him. The books made it too easy to hate him, and I really feel like the TV renditions are changing him.

Martin's characters have always been complex and rendered in shades of gray instead of black and white. But the show is doing an even better job of furthering those shades. I'm a lover of character development, and the folks at HBO have done an incredible job at this. I don't particularly mind the added scenes because they provide more depth to the character - such as the Joff/Ros scene. Joff was a bit young in the books for us to see just how his cruelty would develop. I feel they did a good job of taking advantage of the fact that he's aged up in the series - so we can see what the book!Joff would have been like had he been just a few years older.

Besides, I always wondered what would have happened if Tyrion had gotten around to sending a few whores over for Joff. I thought it would be a great idea. That scene helped me answer one of the great imaginative "what ifs" I had while reading the book.

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For me this show is feeling very disjointed. I loved many of the individual scenes (everything with Tyrion X10) but as an over all story, it's floundering.

Which I guess is how I felt about Clash too.

This. People seem to forget that S2 is disjointed because clash was disjointed. Honestly, the book was very imbalanced and not up to par with Got and Asos. I was actually anticipating this drop in quality (posted it somewhere inthe general section some time ago).

Some examples:

Clash focused on KL and Tyrion a lot(count his chapters) Guess who's the shining star in S2? Clash kind of introduced stannis and mel out of the blue. Guess who nonreaders are confused about? Clash made Dany's story boring. Guess what S2 arc is uneventful? Clash jumped around a lot. Guess what S2 is doing?

S2 isn't less entertaining because of too much deviation; it's not deviating enough. To put it less harsh: the show has hits and misses but so does the book! It's not a perfect literary creation.

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This was probably my least favorite episode of the season. Tyrion was fantastic, and I liked some of the Harrenhal stuff, but many other scenes felt forced and out of place.

I'm okay with how they introduced Bolton and Jeyne, but there was too little context for that scene. I think it might be because I hate not knowing where (geographically) characters are. We know Robb is fighting Lannisters, but where, and for what purpose? I wish that was clearer (although the pointed dialogue from "Jeyne" made it clear that Robb doesn't quite know what he's getting into, which is a nice touch).

The "Brotherhood" thing in Harrenhal felt forced. No one knows who they are. Another scene missing some context. And I know they wanted to give Arya a new name for her list (Polliver), but the way they did it seemed forced to me.

I liked most of Cat/Littlefinger, except for Littlefinger's plea to Cat about having some opportunity (implied: since your husband, whose bones I have brought you, has been dead for a month). That didn't seem like LF's style.

Dany at Qarth was boring and made little sense. Why not just show them your damned dragons? I don't remember how that went down in the books, so maybe I'm just forgetting. But I was confused that whole scene, including the "Sumai" invocation.

Renly and Stannis was fairly well done, but seemed too abbreviated.

Joffrey and the whores would have been completely unnecessary had they done a bit more with the Sansa scene.

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I loved this episode. I think they've done a good job, although I thought they should've extended Sansa's scene and somehow cut the scene with the whores slightly shorter. Can't wait for the rest of the season.

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I know where Beric has appeared - Ned ordered him to take Mountain's men into custody, but there is no explanation of what happened to him (died/reanimated). It seems to be 1 of the cut storylines for the show

Even in Clash, I don't think we have seen Beric yet nor heard about what has happened to him. We hear about the Brotherhood. That's all.

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Qarth: I think what everyone is forgetting is that Dany hasn't figured out how to feed the dragons yet. We haven't seen the dragons since hearing she doesn't know how to feed them. And now at Qarth they want to see the dragons and she won't produce them. So I think what they were going for was to make the audience wonder if the dragons are actually dead. But I haven't seen anyone actually reacting to it that way and the scene just did not work. It had me cringing worse than a Ros scene. If there's this ominous Garden of Bones outside Qarth then why don't they just kill her?

Then we have Stannis who just appeared in the Stormlands without any buildup. Okay. Remember the scene in the books where Tyrion tells Cersei that Stannis has set sail and she freaks out because they are being attacked, and then Tyrion tells her he's attacking Renly and they both laugh. Cersei jokes that Robert must have been the smart one of the three. Seven hells, where was that? Maybe next episode...

One shadow baby instead of two. I really don't like this at all. For those who say this means you don't have to cast Penrose, you don't have to cast him at all. We never see him in the books. Renly dies out of nowhere then later Davos smuggles Mel under the castle and we see the second shadow baby. We don't need to see the second shadow baby do anything to put it together. It doesn't take any longer, it's the same two scenes in a different order. And the lack of the peach I bet you anything on the dvd commentary they are going to be like "We wanted to do it but it just didn't work with Renly's costume" and to that I say "Bite me". Not only is the peach itself awesome, but later you have Stannis talking to Davos and saying only my brother could vex me with a piece of fruit. COME ON!

I'm not at all a book purist. I'd rather they totally changed Dany's entire arc rather than try to make it work for tv, for example (though I have no faith in these guys ability to make anything up on their own at this point). But some things are sacred, and we clearly have different ideas about that.

I would give Peter Dinklage 10/10 and Carice 9/10, but the rest of the episode 4/10. Season one I would, and did, and continue to, watch the episodes multiple times. I don't really have the desire to watch any of the first 4 episodes again, even though I did like ep 3. So all the buzz I heard before the season started based on people having seen these 4 eps and talking about how it was all more together than the first season I just don't understand. I hope they get it together for the second half of the season.

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Even in Clash, I don't think we have seen Beric yet nor heard about what has happened to him. We hear about the Brotherhood. That's all.

Thanks! Do you remember when Arya starts having dreams as Numeria? When she was on the run from Harrenhal or before they (she,Gendry,HotPie, Lommy) were brought there?

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I thought they aced the Tickler! He was made of win. Well, not of win, but of all sorts of creepy stuff! I didn't mind how Arya added Polliver to the list, he was already in the last episode and the whole thing had to be shortened down to fit, and I wouldn't want him to be missed out.

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I wanted to write down everything I did and didn't like, but after reading through 22 pages of this thread with "internal server errors" all the time I'm way too tired. Now I can only come up with this:

Did Littlefinger steal that purple cape from Varys?

Edited by White Raven

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This is from a Clash of Kings, page 465: “The Red God has his due, sweet girl, and only death may pay for life.”

Thank you. I was searching for that quote myself.

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So thoughts on the fourth episode.

  • Despite showing the Wall, Pyke and Winterfell in the credits, there were no scenes with Jon, Theon or Bran. They should have substituted with Storm's End, especially since they've left out the Reach, and it's unclear to viewers where Renly's host is.
  • So they've also decided to ditch Jeyne Westering for no good reason, diving the part to some Talisa of Volantis. Still, actually seeing Robb's romance will be interesting.
  • First glimpse of Roose Bolton and Vargo Hoat (at least I think that's who the torturer at Harrenhal is supposed to be). And finally we meet the Mountain again, but we still need to see how despicable he is - killing, torturing and raping.
  • The horrors of war is pretty evident in the post-battle scene with Robb and Arya's experiences at Harrenhal. "Nice" touches even if they didn't show all the horrors, like the amputation and the torturing.
  • Just when you thought Joffrey couldn't become more of a bastard, we see him tormenting poor Sansa, and that was just him getting started. He's a sadistic voyeur when he has Ros beating a poor whore (in an added scene). Now I actually have sympathy for Ros.
  • Tyrion continues to own everything and everyone, from Joffrey to Meryn Trant to Lancel. God I love his character!
  • You could see that the Hound flinched at was happening to Sansa. When will we get a scene with them?
  • Clever Littlefinger. he couldn't sway Renly, but he sort of did plant a thought in Cat's head about exchanging Jaime for her daughters. And his talk with Margaery foreshadows the change in allegiance for house Tyrell.
  • Qarth sure looks like a nice place.
  • Dany's little outburst against the Qartheen does seem to lack any credible threat considering her pitiful little band.
  • Davos is a good man, with an excellent performance from Liam Cunningham. Too bad all the good men in Westeros serve different sides.
  • That was some creepy shadow baby Melisandre gave birth to.

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In defense of the Joffrey/whores scene...

I think it does quite a bit more than just show the progression of his depravity. This scene solidifies why, once the Lannister/Tyrell alliance is made, Joffrey must die. Think about what we've seen of Joffrey up to this point from the perspective of a powerful family like the Tyrells:

  • He beats up on Sansa--Well, there's bad blood between them (war and all that), and she's far more a prisoner of war than a queen. There is no reason to presume from this that the way he treats Sansa will be the way he treats Margaery.
  • He has commoners/drunk knights tortured--again, the Tyrells would think they are above such risk. They are a powerful house, not like the rabble.
  • He had Robert's bastards killed--an ugly order, but some may call it justified

While many of these actions can be a bad PR issue for the Crown-Tyrell alliance... none are a serious threat. What Joffrey does with the whores, is.

As someone above noted, a teenage boy is presented with two naked young ladies in a room... and his reaction is to have them beat each other? The mental depravity of that scene goes far beyond anything we've seen before. Margaery can never be safe married to this Joffrey. That is why the Tyrells will take on the huge huge risk of assassinating the king. Not just the king, but a Lannister king. I'm sure the Tyrells have heard the "Rains of Castamere," and they need a better reason to take that risk than "Joffrey has a mean streak." That is why we will have the Purple Wedding.

Yup.

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