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[Book Spoilers] EP 210 Discussion

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Not sure if this was mentioned before but the final scene the walker on the horse who stared down Sam, didn't he look like Jon's uncle Benjen???

Edited by squee01

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The ambiguity over the burning of Winterfell demonstrates to me the dangerous ripple effect of small changes. First, to me, a cliffhanger is something that gets the audience excited about what's going to happen next. It's not something that means the audience is like, 'Huh? What just happened?' No one is going to be like, damn, I need to tune into Game of Thrones next season to find out who really burned Winterfell, because it wasn't set up as an interesting mystery, it just seems more like something that was filmed weirdly.

Why did this happen? All because they didn't want to take the time to include the Ramsay/Reek story. Is that totally understandable? Yes. But it left them with a hole in the story that they couldn't fill. Could they have included the Ramsay/Reek story? They could have had the Lady Hornwood/Bastard issue come up at one of those Little Lord session. It would have taken about a minute. They could even have had Rodrik bring Reek as a prisoner to the Little Lord, explain what he had done, then have Bran order him taken to the cells. They could have had him offer his services when Bran announced that Winterfell surrendered. Again, 20-30 seconds. Have him go along on the hunt for Bran/Rickon. When Asha comes without troops, have him make the same offer to round up troops he made in the books. Theon accepts out of desperation. 30 seconds. Have Robb inform Roose of his Bastard's death and what he had done at some point. Have Roose say, hey, he's a Bastard, I understand. Again, very brief. Have Robb send some other Northman's troops to save winterfell. Then have Reek show up with troops, kill the other northmen's troops, have Theon let him in - he slaughters the Ironmen and captures Theon or whatever. It's basically the same amount of time as what they did and it still means that Roose Bolton doesn't seem involved. It is his Bastard son, who he can't control and doesn't care about. It raises doubts about Roose, but it doesn't make Roose seem inherently untrustworthy.

Why did they not do it? Because they didn't want to hire an actor for Ramsay yet. But now the subtle connections between what happened in Winterfell and the Red Wedding have been severed, and the subtle clues to Robb's doom eliminated. I understand, but it bugs me.

You don't have bad ideas here. I agree that so much was added to the story while sooooo much was cut. I don't think anything you are adding which I believe Ramsey will be featured next season trumps so many other things though. Storms End, Riverrun, Crannogmen and Big and Little Frey I would have added(or not cut) over all this. The real problem with the story is Rob has very little reason to stop by the Freys on his way back to Winterfell because Ramsey went for him...explain how this could work in any sensible fashion.

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Just a theory, but Shea could probably give Sansa the head-piece without too much trouble story-wise. Might even add some irony in the scheme of what happens afterwards.

Still I don't think Dontos will be cut, Littlefingers role has been overtly stated, that doesnt have to mean Dontos still wont be the tool Littlefinger uses.

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I heard a number of people question how they could put the visions onscreen without giving away future storylines. I don't understand this rationale at all. Its all in the presentation. A few tweaks and modifications and the visions and prophecies remain chilling, hearbreaking, and most importantly help drive Dany's story in the next few seasons.

A dead soldier slumped on a chair, sword in his back, wearing a Wolf's head is vague enough. A Targaryen prince talking about the Prince who is promised and that the Dragon has three heads. Heck have Harry Lloyd (Viserys) return to deliver the promises ("Three treasons you will know...", etc...).

Unfortunately the producers decided to settle on a simpler storyline (a couple of tempatations for Dany - the Iron Throne, remaining with Drogo), rather than a more complicated nuanced series of visions (past, present, and future) which offer some insight into both her but possibly also the past and future of Westeros.

The thing is, the dead soldier (it's a king on the book) with a wolf's head has only one interpretation: the Starks are set to lose the war. And the sword in the back is rather famously a symbol of betrayal. It's too heavy handed for the screen.

The Rhaegar vision is something I'm uncertain about. I have said elsewhere that I wonder how many people genuinely think that the absence of this is detrimental to the story or did they really, really, really just want to see Rhaegar depicted on screen? I will concede that it would have been nice to have someone telling Dany of the "threes" (3 treasons, dragon has 3 heads, etc).

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But these visions are treats for us (the readers) rather than having anything to do with Dany herself, or her imminent future.

I thought the Red Keep scene was visually striking and ominous, and the scene with Drogo was touching and reminded her of what she had lost on her quest to the Iron Throne.

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But these visions are treats for us (the readers) rather than having anything to do with Dany herself, or her imminent future.

I thought the Red Keep scene was visually striking and ominous, and the scene with Drogo was touching and reminded her of what she had lost on her quest to the Iron Throne.

If you look at visions and prophecies together, you'll see that they are actually very important in Dany's story.

A big part of Dany's personal changes are a result of the 3 betrayals prophecy. While show runners might expect people to believe Danny's later paranoia toward those around her is because of Xaro's acts, it will fall flat for most viewers.

Note that they had some visions in HOTU. For non book readers it would have made no difference if those visions were prophetic. Already many of them are wondering about symbolism and prophecy in those visions.

A bigger problem is that by downplaying Quaithe and HOTU they are making Dany's story less and less connected to Westeros story. In the books there is a sense of mystery about Targaryan history and possible relation to PTWP, AA and events beyond the wall. Here the best you can say is probably some day dragons will fight White Walkers. There is even less reason to get invested in show Dany's story, because there is absolutely no connection to possible future events in westerns other than she just moving there.

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Maybe they will have Quaithe give her the three betrayals, three mounts, etc prophecy.

I do not think this would be a bad idea at all considering they established the warlocks as magicians but not wise people, whereas Quaithe is known to have knowledge and is fairly established as mysterious knowing quite a bit with her warnings to jorah.

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Just a theory, but Shea could probably give Sansa the head-piece without too much trouble story-wise. Might even add some irony in the scheme of what happens afterwards.

Still I don't think Dontos will be cut, Littlefingers role has been overtly stated, that doesnt have to mean Dontos still wont be the tool Littlefinger uses.

Presumably, Littlefinger will spend a few weeks or months wooing Lysa and trying to consolidate his position in the Eyrie/Vale; and during that time, he could use Dontos as his proxy, alerting Sansa to the plan to spring her from King's Landing but telling her that it will take a while to make the arrangements.

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I dont quite see how is this a defense of daenerys storyline at all.

And you seriously think Emilia can have any influence on the producers? Either herself or through some sort of agents or menagers.

I find such an idea ridiculous. She just started and this show made her.

I don’t know what to say except that having spoken to many many people in the industry (I went to school with a good deal of people who now work in Hollywood) and I have read a good deal on this issue and my impression is that the pull that actors have on a set and in production is huge. And producers and writers know that they HAVE to keep the talent happy. Nothing can deep-six a production faster than unhappy talent. This is why they have to be exceptionally careful in how to cast and deal with those top-drawer characters – the actor who plays them can start making demands that, if not met, could destroy a production. Now, mind you, this RARELY happens, but that's because most sets and productions are dedicated to keeping the talent happy.

I think these producers know that if they want a show they need to keep these people happy. I am not saying Emilia is going around making demands; I think that her people are probably making it clear that they need this person to get on screen. And the producers know that Emilia COULD start making waves and they want to avoid that. Especially considering that Emilia plays such a critical character.

As for the Daenerys storyline it didn’t need to be made into anything even lesser to work.

I ultimately agree with your construction of what the season could have looked like. Therefore, you have to ask why they did not so something like that? I think its pretty clear- the producers knew that they needed to give Dany more face time for reasons stated above. I could be wrong but no other explanation really suffices. They greatly expanded the footprint of that character for reasons that are not very clear. They story you describe could have been minimized even more (its incredible how expendable the Xaro character is). Why didn’t they do that?

Another explanation is that the writers are concerned that the audience will stop caring about Dany and therefore they need to give her more to interact with. However, I am unsure what they did was the way to go about that. I could be wrong. The most effective moments for Dany came in the House of the Undying which, we all seem to agree, could have been done regardless of what happened in Qarth.

I think the show ballooned Dany’s character up for no good reason. Its not a huge deal because they got to the finish line; my problem is that they took away from everything else that was happening.

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Not my favourite episode-Not a fan of the HoTU scene (even if the destroyed throne room looked cool) and the altering of Jons story line in general but I have to say Theons ongoing irritation with the horn blower is possibly the funniest thing Ive seen all series-especially when he is making his epic speech. Every time I watch it I cant stop laughing. Wonderfully written and suited the character really well.

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An excellent point about the book fans. Besides, it is not like we are talking about some obscure books nobody heard about... I think there are over 20 million books sold WW, while HBO subscription base is about 21MM. There bound to be about 30% overlap between book readers and show viewers. It is a substantial force that can get frustrated enough to abandon the show overtime.

The creators should look at the experience of LotR adaptations where Peter Jackson had a little over two hours to present a similarly-sized and complex material, while HBO producers have 10 hours! The first season was much closer to the book, and I believe so much stronger! It is about cutting and simplifying, and definitely not adding scenes and characters, such as Ros and Khal Drogo/baby appearance

I agree. The creators should look up to Peter Jackson... he had 3 complex and long books to fit in 3 movies which could not last more than 2 and a half hours each. He did an excellent job anyhow, reviving that magic feeling you got from reading the books. And he did make changes, but not substantial ones. That is, I hope, what the creators are looking forward to.

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I don’t know what to say except that having spoken to many many people in the industry (I went to school with a good deal of people who now work in Hollywood) and I have read a good deal on this issue and my impression is that the pull that actors have on a set and in production is huge. And producers and writers know that they HAVE to keep the talent happy. Nothing can deep-six a production faster than unhappy talent. This is why they have to be exceptionally careful in how to cast and deal with those top-drawer characters – the actor who plays them can start making demands that, if not met, could destroy a production. Now, mind you, this RARELY happens, but that's because most sets and productions are dedicated to keeping the talent happy.

I think these producers know that if they want a show they need to keep these people happy. I am not saying Emilia is going around making demands; I think that her people are probably making it clear that they need this person to get on screen. And the producers know that Emilia COULD start making waves and they want to avoid that. Especially considering that Emilia plays such a critical character.

I ultimately agree with your construction of what the season could have looked like. Therefore, you have to ask why they did not so something like that? I think its pretty clear- the producers knew that they needed to give Dany more face time for reasons stated above. I could be wrong but no other explanation really suffices. They greatly expanded the footprint of that character for reasons that are not very clear. They story you describe could have been minimized even more (its incredible how expendable the Xaro character is). Why didn’t they do that?

Another explanation is that the writers are concerned that the audience will stop caring about Dany and therefore they need to give her more to interact with. However, I am unsure what they did was the way to go about that. I could be wrong. The most effective moments for Dany came in the House of the Undying which, we all seem to agree, could have been done regardless of what happened in Qarth.

I think the show ballooned Dany’s character up for no good reason. Its not a huge deal because they got to the finish line; my problem is that they took away from everything else that was happening.

Emilia, at least at this point, is not considered a top draw actress. That may change in the next few years, but I doubt Emilia even had people (beyond an agent), and she still may not, until she was cast in Game of Thrones. Of the current cast, probably only Peter Dinklage, Lena Heady, and Charles Dance could have any real influence, if they wanted to exert it.

I think you are confusing the issue with the contracts the regular cast members sign when joining a cable television series (these are the people appearing in the opening credits). I am not familiar with what baseline union agreement is applicable for GOT (its an HBO show based in europe) but in most network and cable television, regular cast members are guaranteed a number of paid appearances in a given season. I am guessing for GOT it is a least five episodes per season given how much Aiden Gillen and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau appeared this year - even if only for a single scene. Obviously more recognizable or top draw talent can make additional demands or increase the number of appearances.

More than likely, this was D&D's attempt, however flawed, to given Dany a compelling storyline in the 2nd season. I doubt this was Emilia was pressing for anything.

Its also why we can probably expect to see alot more of Alfie Allen next year that most people expect.

After all, if they the actors are only retained on a recurring basis (typically actors whose names appear in the end credits) they are free to sign onto any other series or movie as they have no real guarantee of steady work on the series. This I believe is what happened with both Connor Stevens (The Mountain) who had to be replaced and Eyles Gabel (Rakharo) - whose character was killed.

Edited by pleonasm

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J_Crews wrote:

I took to be more like a "We need to get married now. Let's go find a septon."

Yeah, that was the shortest marriage ceremony since Robin Hood: Men in Tights!

Did anyone else notice the parallel wording (paraphrasing, "You're mine and I'm yours") between the marriage vows and the conversation between Tyrion and Shae? Deliberate, coincidence, or just sloppy writing?

Is Robb trying (unsuccessfully) to keep his marriage a secret? If no outsider but the septon knows about it, Robb's men can hardly complain about the "wrong" gods being invoked. Tellingly, this ceremony uses handfasting but no visible public outer signs of being married (such as American and European wedding rings, lady Hindu red-dot-on-the-forehead, or Amish men letting their beards grow out).

Like the RW setup with Joffrey and Cersei's lip service about betrothal being a solemn commitment, with handy, politically-acceptable excuses for getting out of it. If Talisa DOES turn out to be Jeyne Westerling, would this be grounds for annulment? I could see Cat pushing for that and Robb refusing ("I love her no matter who she really is"), and the Freys feeling even more insulted and provoked once they find out.

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I am not sure why Ramsay needs to be cast for the 3rd season, when after his Winterfell scenes he only appears and becomes important in book 5? I.e. 5th season at the earliest. And I have to say that how they handled Winterfell worked for me. Who burnt it and why is an intentional cliffhanger. Nor is there any need to keep Alfie as a regular for 2 seasons when there is nothing for him to do.

There is no guarantee that the show will even get the 5th season and it is not very clear how important Theon is going to be to the plot in the remaining books. Yes, he was a terrific PoV in book 5, but they don't really need a PoV character to show Ramsey's sadism and nuttiness in the show.

Frankly, the one big change that I absolutely can't get behind this season is the timing of the news about Bran's and Rickon's "deaths". Everything else was negotiable and worked... more or less, IMHO.

I liked this season a lot, despite yes, not liking all the changes. But then, I didn't like all aspects of season 1 either.

I am curious how they are going to introduce the Tullys now, that they have done nothing of importance for 2 seasons. Edmure, even more of a douche and Brynden, robbed of all his glory?

Maybe they'll make it so that Riverrun has been under Lannister siege all this time and Robb wins yet another victory freeing it? That would be good enough for introducing Edmure, but for Brynden? I dunno.

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Frankly, the one big change that I absolutely can't get behind this season is the timing of the news about Bran's and Rickon's "deaths". Everything else was negotiable and worked... more or less, IMHO.

That's a good point. I'm guessing that that they're going to use the news of those deaths as the triggering even for the whole nasty Stark spiral down to the RW. Kind of like the roller coaster reaching the top of the hill, then crashing down after it crests. They wanted to save that triggering event so they could immediately follow up with the rest of the story, rather than have the "trigger" in season 2, and the repercussions not start until season 3.

I am curious how they are going to introduce the Tullys now, that they have done nothing of importance for 2 seasons. Edmure, even more of a douche and Brynden, robbed of all his glory? Maybe they'll make it so that Riverrun has been under Lannister siege all this time and Robb wins yet another victory freeing it? That would be good enough for introducing Edmure, but for Brynden? I dunno.

Another good point. I have no idea. Just guessing, but maybe they'll make it that the siege is actually new, and that's how the Tully's get pulled into the war? I mean, I suppose the assumption is that they haven't been involved to this point. So maybe they introduce the Blackfish as being the guy who brings the news to Robb -- escapting from the castle, fighting his way out in some death defying escape, then bringing the news of the siege to Robb and asking for his help. So we meet the Blackfish, and he brings us to the rest of the Tullys?

It's a good question.

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That's a good point. I'm guessing that that they're going to use the news of those deaths as the triggering even for the whole nasty Stark spiral down to the RW. Kind of like the roller coaster reaching the top of the hill, then crashing down after it crests. They wanted to save that triggering event so they could immediately follow up with the rest of the story, rather than have the "trigger" in season 2, and the repercussions not start until season 3.

But Bran and Rickon's deaths are no longer the trigger, due to the timings changing. Robb marrying Talisa/Jeyne was the trigger however it's only in the books that Bran and Rickon's "deaths" trigger Robb marrying Jeyne.

Sigh. Yet another pointless change. Why they changed the order of events I don't know. Probably so they could blame Cat for it, they seem to hate her.

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I didn't like how they made the Others...I imagined them more elegant, not so rough...

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I get the feeling that a lot of you dont feel as though this series is going to influence how GRRM writes the final couple of books. This show (like anything in Hollywood) is based on the novels but will be tweeked, spun, nudged, due to the likability of the characters, and actors portraying them. GRRM is signing off on all the changes. What's funny is GRRM isnt a purist, but a lot of you are.

Youve read the books, great, now the series will be played out before your eyes and will contain aspects and angles you havent seen or didnt expect. I also assure you that the final two books will be significantly influenced by this show and the fan response. You'd be silly to think it wouldnt. Its actually quite amazing to watch; rarely has an incomplete series been used to make a TV, even rarer so is the popularity and love so rich as it is in GoT.

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GRRM is signing off on all the changes.

Where do you get this idea from?

Although I do agree with your other points, the tv program is a different media and has to be portrayed differently (perhaps some of those changes we will disagree with). GRRM licensed these people to make an adaptation of his series; they paid him for those rights and (I believe) all he wants is for it to be successful and bring people a lot of entertainment just like his books. The idea that these producers/writers/directors owe him anything more than doing what they think best for the program (whether or not we agree) is ridiculous.

Edited by Ciglon

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