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[Book Spoilers] EP 207 Discussion

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When she's obviously portraying Catelyn as a strong, intelligent woman and not 'the dumb woman stereotype who should be an example women should stay at home', yet it is claimed she's failing at her attempt, I find that to be rather demeaning. Saying her portrayal is a sexist stereotype, is completely ignoring her standing up to Karstark. You don't have to say so explicitly.

How being given a great responsibility by her King while he could rely on countless men to do his bidding, yet he finds her the best person for the job is sexist, is beyond me.

In the show, they make it seem inevitable that she would have to release Jaime because he was going to get killed and make her decision smart. They make it look like she is doing a good job while Robb is away, not sitting around like a sexist stereotype that would not be able to make a decision without a man by her side rather than make her decision completely emotional, rather than logical. Whether you like this twist or not is up to you, but it's not sexist at all. It shows Cat to be a strong, shrewd woman who is able to make the most of a very difficult situation.

The exact wording is irrelevant, the show retains the basic value of the scene: Catelyn warned Robb against doing something she thought to be dumb, he didn't listen, Catelyn was right, Robb was wrong. How is this sexist? It's merely 1. shortening the scene 2. avoiding having to explain the whole Theon being a hostage thing again, something a lot of people who only watch the show might not have understood / remembered / even seen.

I'm not talking about the books, I'm talking about that scene where Robb's flirting. She's polite when Jeyne is there and it only makes sense she's smart enough not to make a huge scene to Robb in front of his men, imagine how bad for morale it would be for soldiers to see their King berated by his mummy like a little kid? Cat handled this situation well and again her intelligence shows as opposed to Robb's (it seems to be a recurring theme), you'd be blind not to see it.

I agree with you she is not dumb, which is why I didn't say she was dumb. See? It can be that easy. If you want my opinion on book Cat, it would be that while I may not agree with everything she's done, people often forget she just lost her friggin' husband and children and is bound not to be at her best, and often had very little time to make decisions. Capturing Tyrion as a counter-weight to the hostages the Lannisters (virtually) had still seems like a good decision to me. And again people forget how little time she had to react after Tyrion confronted her, and how it thus wasn't her initial plan. But that's for another thread.

If I were a sexist screen writer, and I wanted scenes that showed the inferiority of women, I would not have a hulking badass like Brienne in the background who proves the opposite of what I'm trying to prove by her mere presence. So Brienne's presence does matter.

She didn't partake in the action when the Hillmen attacked, that's true, but she did fight off the 'You're not supposed to be here' dude, a scene that no doubt created a lot of respect for her which I would have definitely taken out and given solely to the wolf if I were a sexist screenwriter.

Making her less controversial is again, not sexist. It's happened to all the characters. Even freakin' Tywin shows moments of humanity.

You think it's sexist Brienne takes decisive action rather than Catelyn, showing Brienne can keep a cool head after the horrible thing that happened to her? Err, yeah... well then. Brienne is a woman. How substituting one smart action by a woman by a brave and smart action by another woman is sexist is, again, beyond me.

Your huge defense rant of Cat is meaningless, because I haven't said whether I liked or didn't like the character, you were saying 'hurr durr the show writers are sexist'. They should have perhaps chosen another tale than ASOIAF, a series with *a lot* of strong female characters, to write for then.

First things first, I have always refrained from throwing the word "sexism" around when discussing the show's portrayal of Cat. This was actually the first instance, and you'll notice I only said it twice (one paraphrasing you), and only because you're the one who cried sexism when I voiced my dislike of Cat's portrayal on the show. There are 11 instances of the word in your post, plus your original attack. You should probably tone it down a bit. As it stands, every one of your arguments against me relies on my one implication that I find the writers "more sexist than me", which makes your entire post rather strawman-y. I never said that every change on its own was "sexist", I'm only saying that, viewed as a whole, the final picture isn't very pretty. While I do not particularly find Show!Cat a "sexist stereotype" (your words here, not mine) on her own, she definitely suffers from the comparison with Book!Cat. If I'd watched the show first I don't think I would have been particularly put off by anything in her story line, it's seeing what they've chosen to change from her narrative that makes me very dubious as to the writers' intentions.

As for your claim that removing Cat's advice was done because viewers would not remember Theon's situation, I think it's pretty insulting to their intelligence that you think it likely they'd forget a character who has been in 9 out of 10 episodes in the first season. Especially since he reminds them at least once per scene that he is not a Stark, only their ward/hostage. Besides, it's not like they know who Balon Greyjoy is at that point. Also choosing to focus on a 3-word sentence I put in parentheses instead of focusing on the rest of my argument was not the greatest idea. My point was that Catelyn was able to successfully predict Theon's betrayal when no one else was, showing that she was an adequate judge of character and had a good mind for politics. It would have added about 10 seconds to the scene. And the reason I dislike this change so much is that all the other advice she gives in the books has been stripped as well. She does not plead for peace when Robb is named King in the North, she does not show to him that paying Renly homage is important, she does not warn him against Theon.

As for all the characters becoming more sympathetic... Let's compare Jaime and Cersei's portrayal in this episode, since they are after all supposed to be the same person in two bodies. Jaime finds himself in a cell with his (distant) cousin, Alton Lannister, probably half his age and an old squire of his. They fondly reminisce about that time when they were squires, and Jaime tells him that he did very well in his role. Then he bashes his head him with his fists out of self-preservation, and strangles a young guard with his chains. He spends the rest of the episode trying to piss off anyone who ever talks to him. Nothing of the sort happened in the books, except the killing a guard part (but he did with a sword, and not his bare hands). Compare that to Cersei's actions, who imparts some womanly wisdom to Sansa. She reminisces about Jaime and Robert aloud. Then she has a small one-on-one with Tyrion where she muses about her past sins and Joffrey's morality. Nothing of the sort happened in the books. It's also important to note that Cersei had a stillborn baby with Robert instead of a voluntary abortion, that she used to have feelings for him for about a year while she should have started hating his guts on the night of their wedding and never ordered the murder of babies and small children like she did in the books. It doesn't take a genius to see that Cersei has been softened quite a bit, or made "more sympathetic" as the writers would say. A similar thing seems to be happening to Shae, who is mostly acting out of self-interest in the books, but is in the show ready to incur the queen's heart to protect the tearful teenager. Gods forbid a woman be unlikable, amirite ?

Being sexist isn't always restricted to thinking all women are inferior to men you know. Fandom usually has no problem with characters like Arya, Asha and Brienne, because they occupy traditionally male roles, aka the role of a fighter. It's especially easy to see when comparing people's reaction to Arya and Sansa. The former is a cocky, plucky tomboy who talks back to armoured men twice her size, wants to become a fighter instead of a lady, and eventually joins a group of super-powered assassins, the latter is traditionally feminine, crushes on boys, likes pretty dresses and romantic songs about true love. Unsurprisingly, Arya is ranked at #3 on the Tower of the Hand's Top 30 Characters while Sansa is at #18, but also makes an appearance on the most hated list and is routinely berated for being passive, useless or simply a bitch.

And once again your last paragraph confuses me. I really don't see why you think my entire post was based on what I perceived your opinion to be. It doesn't really matter if you like her or not, which is why I never brought up the subject. Similarly, I haven't really talked about my feelings towards the character, though I think it shows pretty obviously. Since all you've managed to get out of my post is that I think "the screenwriters are sexist hur durr durr" let me explain more clearly my problem with Cat's adaptation.

For one thing, I absolutely do not understand why the writers would feel the need to make her character more sympathetic to the viewers. If someone is incapable of feeling sympathy for a woman who loses her husband, her two sons and two daughters and witnesses the murder of her last remaining child before going mad and having her throat slit, I would suggest that the problem lies with them and not the character. By changing the elements of her story line that most of her detractors agreed on, they are validating their complaints and making it the correct interpretation. When they change her active decision to remain with Robb instead of going with her younger sons and have her repeat ad nauseam that her place is in Winterfell they are agreeing with it and saying that a good mother's place is at home with the children and not in a military camp. When they change her motivations for freeing Jaime, turning it from her betraying Robb to her preventing Karstark's betrayal they are implying that she was wrong to "disobey" her teenage son's wishes.

Then they are getting rid of every piece of advice she ever had, stripping the character of an important layer of characterization. Catelyn was raised as the heir to Riverrun until Edmure's birth, and was the Lady of Winterfell for 15 years. As a result she has developed a good mind for politics, and is capable of giving great advice in times of war. Advising to keep Theon close was a good idea, making peace with the Lannisters would have been a god idea, bending the knee to Renly would have been a good idea etc. But everyone around her ignores her because she is 1) a woman, aka the gentle sex who knows nothing of war and 2) a middle-aged (by Westeros standards) mother, and kings don't "hide behind their mother's skirts". Despite all that hostility she still chooses to hang in there and speak her damn mind, and even though she does miss her younger sons (she never expresses the desire to go home to Robb though) she believes she can help her eldest in a meaningful way and fights to remain at his side. In the end all she gets in thanks is a forced vacation to Seaguard with Lord Mallister so Robb can keep playing the king. The show makes her much more passive in that way, because she doesn't even give any political/military advice anymore and because she is shown to be staying against her will. Book!Cat wanted to stay with Robb, which is why she sent Ser Rodrik back to Winterfell and named him castellan, Show!Cat is forced to stay with Robb, and it is therefore him who orders Ser Rodrik back to Winterfell. Maybe you think it's only a minor decision, but with all the other changes it becomes a trend rather than an isolated element. So basically, D&D have taken out this whole dimension to her story line where she has to fight the gross misogyny around her to make herself heard.

tl;dr : Show!Cat isn't so bad on her own, but the comparison to Book!Cat makes her look passive, indecisive and unoriginal, thus making me question D&D's ability to portray female characters that do not fall into the Tomboy or Ice Queen tropes.

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[M]aking me question D&D's ability to portray female characters that do not fall into the Tomboy or Ice Queen tropes.

They've done well enough with Sansa, Melisandre and Margaery who do not fall into either category. Even Ygritte hasn't really been portrayed as a tomboy so far though I expect that she will further down the line. So far she has been fiery, playful and very feminine. The points you make about Cat are fair, I just don't think that it's accurate to generalize from that.

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In conclusion... enough anger that the show isnt as epic as the books.. There is not enough time for the epic to be told on screen, and never will be. The second we accept this is the second we can sit back and just enjoy the show. I dont recall hearing people care about the variations to X-Men or Avengers as venomously as ASOIAF readers seem to care about the differences here. Accept the very definition of "BASED ON". My main concern here is making sure GRRM finishes our books. These shows are a great way to get me through my time waiting. Be happy guys... its not like the writers butchered the show like Eragon got butchered ruining that phenomenal series. This is a great show.

When the whole series comes to an end, supposing I live that long...

it might be interesting to have a poll asking people if they would rather NOT have seen Song of Ice and Fire done as an HBO TV series?

Or maybe we could ask that now?

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Actually there's no need for speculation because I just remembered that Sansa's age is given right in the first episode of the series. Cersei asks her how old she is and Sansa answers that she's 13. Which means that she is now 14 and that Arya was probably 11 but now 12.

Seems to me , on the show, they have stopped giving explicit ages to the 'child' actors... or at least I wish they would stop it... since if this show goes into a fourth season all the former 'child' actors will be late age teenagers. Another season or two and they will be young adults.

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tl;dr : Show!Cat isn't so bad on her own, but the comparison to Book!Cat makes her look passive, indecisive and unoriginal, thus making me question D&D's ability to portray female characters that do not fall into the Tomboy or Ice Queen tropes.

Why in the world are you using an exclamation point instead of a hyphen? This new!fangled typography is mind!boggling.

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They've done well enough with Sansa, Melisandre and Margaery who do not fall into either category. Even Ygritte hasn't really been portrayed as a tomboy so far though I expect that she will further down the line. So far she has been fiery, playful and very feminine. The points you make about Cat are fair, I just don't think that it's accurate to generalize from that.

Well most of Sansa's scenes are taken straight for the books : in this episode it was almost word-for-word, except when they had Shae threaten a maid with a butter knife (that's what it looked like to me). But I didn't like her portrayal in season 1 all that much, where she seemed overly bitchy to me. Basically I think they do well with the women who fight (Arya, Ygritte, Brienne) or the women who scheme (Margaery, Melisandre) but they have a pretty big weakness when it comes to more traditionally feminine characters like Catelyn and Sansa. Arya's comment of "most girls are dumb" followed by Tywin laughing and agreeing with her seems to support that.

Why in the world are you using an exclamation point instead of a hyphen? This new!fangled typography is mind!boggling.

It's a common way to mash up two words in fandoms.

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So you would rather just had been one season?

Come on, that's not really a good question. We all hoped that the second season would be as good as the first. Imo, it's not, so that's the problem. They are deviating from the books much more in this season for some reason. Why do that, when the books are gold? You ignored my point! Which is: they bit off more than they can chew. It's a very complex series, and tv isn't equipped to deal with it unless they give 2 hours for each episode.

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Well most of Sansa's scenes are taken straight for the books : in this episode it was almost word-for-word, except when they had Shae threaten a maid with a butter knife (that's what it looked like to me). But I didn't like her portrayal in season 1 all that much, where she seemed overly bitchy to me. Basically I think they do well with the women who fight (Arya, Ygritte, Brienne) or the women who scheme (Margaery, Melisandre) but they have a pretty big weakness when it comes to more traditionally feminine characters like Catelyn and Sansa. Arya's comment of "most girls are dumb" followed by Tywin laughing and agreeing with her seems to support that.

That's kind of harsh, it was a perfectly Arya-like thing to say, I don't think it reflects how the writers feel about women. But just o go back to the female characters; Yrgritte hasn't been a fighter so far. As I mentioned, she's been forthright and playful. Obviously she will become a fighter but she's also overtly sexual and passionate in the books. I also think that there's more to Margaery and Melisandre than scheming, both are most definitely passionate women. Where I might agree is that there aren't any examples of emotionally vulnerable women in the show, other than maybe a couple of scenes with Cersei (and of course Sansa). But then, the men tend to fall into a few defined categories or schemer, fighter, good leader, or cruel leader; only Jon Snow and Sam are providing anything different right now, and maybe Hodor for different reasons.

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When the whole series comes to an end, supposing I live that long...

it might be interesting to have a poll asking people if they would rather NOT have seen Song of Ice and Fire done as an HBO TV series?

Or maybe we could ask that now?

I'm glad you asked that question. I couldn't give less of a crap that, after it's all done, ASOIAF was made into a tv series.

I don't care how unpopular that opinion might be.

Books are always better, and I'm not a huge TV fan.

So there you go.

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You are the first person I have seen to mention that. I thought the same thing. Was the Hound supposed to be hanging around Sansa's quarters anyway?

He would have been one of the last people I would have thought to tell either Joff or Cersei.

That was goofy.

Did he really tell?

Or was it that other , whats-her-name-handmaiden(?)(who I have seen before)... who regardless of Shae's threat told anyway.

I can't remember in the book, ..., but no matter what Sansa did the whole deal would have been impossible to keep secret anyway.

Besides , don't remember when it happens, but thought after the war in the north, the marriage of Sansa to Joff was on Cersei's back burner anyway , even if and when Sansa became available.

In the book, Sansa was freaked out about the riot; even though she wasn't seized and nearly gang-raped, men tried to pull her from her horse and would have if the Hound hadn't stepped up to save her and bring her back; I think she saw him cut off someone's arm. She had the nightmare about people chasing and stabbing her, and then awoke to find that she was bleeding. Sansa then freaked out, and started trying to destroy all evidence of the blood, and nearly burned up her room. While she was cutting up her clothes and trying to burn the mattress, her maids thought she was going crazy and left the room, and probably went to get help; eventually they came back and Sansa was subdued and then cleaned and bathed (during which time she calmed down) and later sent to Cersei for lunch (which she couldn't eat) and rather kind advice. It was the only time that Cersei was actually kind to Sansa.

The inference in the books was that the maids, who were known by Sansa to spy on her for Cersei, told the Queen. But the way that Sansa was reacting to her flowering, someone would definitely have known. The way it's written, Sansa's extreme reaction was due to PTSD from the riot (which carried over to her nightmare) as well as the knowledge that she would be married to Joffrey after she flowered.

I don't think that Cersei planned to marry Joffrey to Sansa; but until she came up with more advantageous marriage for Joffrey and/or Sansa, that was the public course of action.

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'First things first', there was no 'attack' in my post. Get that idea out of your head. Thanks. Now then, 'Throwing the word sexism around' is virtually the same thing as making the very extreme (and wrong) statement 'showcat is just a reminder that a woman should be at home with her babies'. The final picture is made by all those small changes, so me addressing them one by one (especially since you brought them up) is no more than logical.

I do not particularly find Show!Cat a "sexist stereotype"

Then how she could possibly be 'just a reminder that a woman should remain at home with her babies.?' ^__^

I gave different options for it, since I, as opposed to you, don't think I can see inside the minds of the screenwriters. Even following your trail of thought, the logical conclusion would still be they did not find it necessary to repeat the fact Theon is a hostage, not 'they want to make Cat seem unimportant and dumb.' Given your faith in the intelligence of the audience, I'm sure you'll agree they'll be smart enough to put 2 and 2 together and realize Cat saying it is a bad idea entails both not trusting Balon and not trusting Theon. Or that she did not trust Theon, but thought it smarter to question Balon's loyalty to get her point across than doubt Robb's good friend. Or that they want the audience to think for themselves and maybe say 'hmm, maybe Cat wasn't too fond of Theon to begin with...?', look back and watch the episodes again for clues. You see, many possible theories. But no, out of all possible options, it has to be 'we want to make Cat seem dumb an irrelevant.'

As for Jaime, some of the audience may be shocked, but I'm pretty sure a lot of them will find him badass because of that scene as well. Sympathy can be gained on different levels, and a lot of people have weird taste.

Yes, Cersei and Shae are way nicer in the series (it wasn't very difficult to do however, both of them are still pretty iffy and in Shae's case it doesn't even make much sense). That's what I'm saying. As for unlikeable women, now that I think of it Melisandre is pretty unlikeable in the show compared to the book, and Margaery doesn't appear very nice either, especially not as innocent as she was in the book. Whory and vainglorious, more likely. Of course, you can hardly speak of this in absolutes because opinions will differ on that. Again though, rather than attribute it to 'hurr, woman cannot be unlikeable! They have to fit in a nice little frame!' you could also think positively and attribute this to the show wanting to stress the fact there are no 'wholly evil' or 'wholly good' characters (something GRRM really stresses on, even in interviews), something that is easier to get across in the books through their thoughts and the masses of information you get compared to a little bit of screentime.

The character's popularity among fans is obsolete to the screenwriter's intentions which we're discussing. I don't see why you brought that up.

From your huge defence of Cat and your assumption I was implying she was dumb I took it you thought I was a Cat-hater. It may not have been very relevant, but I thought I'd point it out I'm not a Cat-hater, on the contrary, while I was at it.

Robb tells Cat not to go home in the show. I interpret that as Cat is competent, she doesn't have to go home because she is too freakin' important. That makes her appear much smarter than when she stays of her own will and then fucks up. As in being wrong, the 'Jaime would have died and had no more purpose anyway' argument you can make in the show quickly turns that around.

It could be that I just don't remember it, but the scene where Catelyn stands up to Karstark is Show-only as I recall it. Why make up an extra scene like that when you're only trying to put Cat down?

Catelyn was simplified, but then not one show character has been as complete as it was in the books, it simply seems to me you're paying more attention to her missing scenes than any others. The basis is still there: she's clearly a strong-willed woman who does give good advice even if she didn't say everything she said in the books and is counted upon, and I'm sure most people (especially those who haven't read the books) will see her that way. If you don't like her in the adaption, that's all up to you, but don't blame it on sexism, because that's just ridiculous. Asoiaf is like the worst series you could ever use to attempt to get a sexist message across, lol. A lot of what you say has nothing to do with the screenwriters anyway, but are simply things that happen in the story regardless and can be brought down to the fact that Westeros just isn't a very nice place for women, or people in general ^__^

I could be here complaining about how Jon Snow is a complete pussy in the show who gets repeatedly owned by Ygritte (as well as everyone else) and bring that down to sexism as well, but since it makes little sense to me I'd rather look for other less nonsensical reasons.

Edited by StannisandDaeny

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A dialogue-heavy episode, but the dialogue was for the most part quite interesting. Episode 6 was more exciting though.

Good:

  • Maisie's best scene so far with Charles Dance. The interesting thing is that Arya didn't actually meet Tywin like this in the novel, IIRC, but it still works. And it makes sense that she feels tempted to kill Tywin. This scene not only represents an opportunity for the writers to make their own (minor) changes to the screen adaptation, but it also gives Maisie some screentime and an opportunity to show her acting skills.
  • The scene with Tyrion and Cersei. Another scene that I don't remember from the novel, but still fits in with the rest of the story. It was a nice, interesting touch to let Tyrion show a hint of sympathy for her sobbing sister, and see Cersei's reaction (as if she was saying "I'm crying and need some comfort, but not from you").

Bad:

  • The scene with the Kingslayer and the other guy in the pen. This scene dragged on for too long, especially when considering the relative unimportance of the scene (they could have cut to the 'climax' of the scene much earlier, without all the filler dialogue). It's the first time in this season that I feel that a scene is way too long.

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There wasn't too much blood, far from it. If she had been bleeding for an hour, it should look like that. It's superficial, really. Never had an 'accident' like that before, assuming you're a girl?

Yup, I am a girl, and still think there was too much blood for her first time, I have always heard girls saying that the first time, there was almost nothing. You say, she might have been bleeding for an hour, but they show that much blood that she could have been bleeding the whole week. At least in my experience.

I think the blood on her legs and some smaller stains on her gown and sheets would have told it quite sufficietly and much more realistic.

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The reason this show *has* to be different this season and beyond is precisely what you've said: Book One largely stays in a very few locations and the stories are not so deeply intertwined and interdependent on each other e.g. the Starks/Winterfell and Dany/Kahl Drohgo. If you really think about it, there is more like 2.5 to 3 "books" so far if you consider that the events of books 2, 3, 4 and 5 overlap each other. Story lines and minor characters will, of course, have to be chopped off. I'm really liking that the overall story archs are being preserved while the characters are getting a chance to break out of their trite portrayals. Tywin is a father to three children and he's fighting a war to secure their future. I think him smiling a bit and acting the somewhat loving parent to Arya is an awesome addition to him and deepens his background. Anyone can play the sourfaced "evil king" character but when you throw in scenes like the feeding of Arya, you make him more whole and complex.

The books are the books. There are time constraints as well as audience/entertainment sensibilities to consider. Not everyone has read the books and piling on character after character, plot after plot, scheme after scheme would leave the average HBO Joe scratching his head every Sunday night. I think they're doing it right by slowly progressing the main story points, hacking away the boring crap and changing it up where it would make some sense in a "real world" Weseteros. They've got a season or two more to really hook us and I hope they get as much time as they need to tell the story. Who knows, maybe we won't have to wait for GRRM to finish it, we'll see a "book 6" on screen first!

Even though I am really happy that GOT was made into a series, I think that Benioff&Weiss have unfortunately bit off more than they could chew. Here's why:

In season 1, there were less characters, and although there was still a lot of background that made the story complicated and perhaps a bit difficult to understand for non-readers, it worked. (Background info such as CotF, First Men, Andals, Targaryen history, the many gods in the series are what I am referring to.) What helped make season 1 more cohesive was the fact that Ned Stark was the center of the storm, so to speak. He was the loveable patriarch of a noble family and most of the events derived from him -- Robert's offering him the position of Hand, which meant that his queen and Jaime were in Winterfell, etc. etc. Ned's BEING THERE set off a bunch of chain reactions, and once he agreed to be Robert's Hand, all the plotting started.

The only characters who were not really surrounding Ned Stark in the plot were Viserys and Dany. They were also separated geographically. However, the writers did a good job of explaining why they were in exile and what they were trying to accomplish.

Once Ned was executed, all hell broke loose, and I mean that in a couple of ways. Firstly, people who hadn't read the books were shocked and pissed that the "main character" of the series had been killed. Secondly, it accelerated the War of the 5 Kings. Thirdly, and most importantly, I observed a splintering effect of the storyline - now, instead of a plot that is very textured/includes subplots, but is basically still about Ned and his family (as well as Dany) it became a hundred different storylines.

One thing that struck me forcefully was how much each episode of season 2 skips around. In the first season, each episode seemed like it spent much more time on each character, and the cut from one scene to another was seamless and well-segued. This season, it runs sort of like this: two minutes with Theon hunting the boys - cut - one minute with Bran/Rickon/Osha/Hodor going towards a village - cut - Dany trying to find her dragons for two minutes - cut - Sansa talking with the Hound for 1 minute - cut - Arya and Tywin Lannister talking for 3 minutes (incredibly uncharacteristically, btw -- he even smiles a couple of times) - cut - Sansa gets her period and talks with Cersei for two minutes - cut - Jaime maunders on with a character - Alton?? - who wasn't in the books for four minutes, strangles him and a Karstark son, escapes - cut - Tyrion and Cersei have a heart-to-heart even though Tyrion has already delivered the infamous line of "your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth"....um, what? - cut - etc. etc. etc.

I didn't want to generalize before I had seen more than half of series 2, but this fragmented style of filming book 2 is disorienting and annoying. I understand that this might seem natural because there are 5 kings in the land, so naturally everyone will be all over the place, but what happens when even more characters are added as the series progresses? Will we only see half a minute of each character, unable to savor the longer interactions we enjoyed in season 1? It appears that although the adaptation of the books to TV is well-intentioned, there might be an inevitable downward spiral of fragmentation because of the growing cast, the growing complexity of the plot, and the unnecessary scenes they add to the show. (Perfect example: why on earth did they steal Dany's dragons? If they hadn't made that decision, there would have been extra time to use for longer scenes with the characters.)

Aside from that, my opinion of episode 7 is much like it has been for all the other episodes thus far -- I am left dissatisfied (unfortunately). The only high point for me was John & Ygritte's interactions. I love the actress playing her - she's got her character spot-on and even though in the book I always HATED it when she said "you know nothing, Jon Snow", I thought the way she delivered that line was absolutely fantastic. Grim, and not playful as I had always imagined.

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We always seem to focus on deviations from the books but there are other components which make this fantastic TV.

The striking thing for me is how it looks.I think the sets,the locations,the costumes,attention to detail,the lighting the cinematography are all really top class.I know HD television in itself improves the visual experience,but it looks to me the HBO are taking full advantage of the technology.

The acting,both individual and ensemble,has been top class.Stand outs for me have been Dinklage,Allen,Heady,Malahide,but I really can't find anyone to criticize.Coster-Waldau was outstanding in this episode,and the good news is we're going to see much more of him from now on.

I don't mind the plot deviations as long as they resolve themselves correctly,and time will tell on that score.Dany's changes look to be an improvement imo.

This is compelling,top class television.

Edited by redriver

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I found this episode to be the most difficult for me to watch. I'm having a hard time separating the books from the show I'll admit. I realize that some of it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things but some of it just irks me. The whole Jon storyline and the Quorin Halfhand angle in particular for this episode. I was assuming that he's meet up with them and he'd have the talk about turning cloack to infiltrate. The "Is your sword sharp Jon Snow?" line was one of the things I was really looking forward to. I'm hoping that the halfhand has also been caputured and in the next episode Jon has to kill him to convince them he's coming over. If they make him out to be a turncloak in the show I will be very pissed.

The continuing Daenerys re-write is puzzling me more and more. Killing the remainder of the 13 just seems like it's gratuitous. It's like they hadn't filled the blood and gore quota for the episode or something.

Jaime's sudden vulnerable moment with his cousin was pointless to me. I would have rather them spend that extra 4 minutes or so on his talk with Catelyn so we could get the backstory on how Brandon and Lord Rickard died and how he really became the Kingslayer and how the rebellion started. Speaking to a lot of people who never read the books before watching, they all of a sudden get a better appreciation when I provide some of the backstory that is missing from the shows. This is one of those moments I believe.

I have also stopped hoping that Meera and Jojen would appear at some point. I'm guessing they will meet them on the road north during season 3. They play such a major role in the Bran storyline that I don't see how they completely cut it out.

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Wait...did you guys actually think Bran and Rickon were dead when you read the book? Personally I don't believe a character is dead unless I see it with my own eyes, and something definitely felt off about that Theon/Reek scene on the hunt.

I actually did! Seemed a bit harsh but after Ned was executed it appeared as if the Stark family was cursed.

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Having seen 7 of 10 episodes I think I'm quite sure that I like the first season better, because it has a more coherent feel.

Don't get me wrong, the second season is once more a gem, but the segments are barely long enougth to get whats going on. I suspect people not having read the books really have to pay attention...

I actually like the changes, because they are very well set and make for surprises even if you've read the books.

Exchanging the Westerlings through some singular alluring exotic beauty was a clever move, because it keeps the character-zoo a bit smaller and still serves the plot point.

Putting Tywin into Harrenhal for an extended period also cuts back on nonessential characters and gives Tywin and Arya more screentime for character-development.

I really like the Tywin-Arya-scenes. Those two actors work so well together.

As for the Tywin feeding Arya scene. I don't think Tywin knows who "The Girl" really is, he for sure suspects that "The Girl" is more than she seems though. Feeding her was no act of mercy. He suspected the poison-dart was meant for him and when he offered Arya his meal, my first thought was he tests her, because he thinks someone very close to him might try to poison him. Having Arya eat his meal, checks if this meal might be poisened, and has "The Girl" think twice to either poison meals herself or accept a bribe to do so. If she has to "fear" having to eat the occasional meal herself, she might even look out for people tempering with "My Lords" food (That's how I think Tywin would think...). The highborn-question is him probing who this not so ordinary girl might really be. I'm looking forward to how far the writers will go with this twist. I suspect they will have Tywin find out Aryas real identity which will force her to flee from the castle in the way portrayed in the books. At that point this additional peace of knowledge for Tywin would have no serious repercussions for later events.

Jon/Ygritte works very well too. Ygritte was one of my favorites in the books and i really hated it when and how she died. I think the writers blew her part up at this point, because it was a given that she'll be a favorite and because in all the gloom going on, she's a bright spot that counterweigths all the seriousness a little. Also she transports a lot of exposition about wildling-background and motivation that is scattered over many pages in the books.

The Quarth-storyline is much more interesting than in the books. I really like what the've done there, though I'd not have had Dany go as "weak" as she does when "loosing" her dragons. The changed Quarth this leaves behind makes no differences as far as the books go so far.

Edited by anaron

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