Ah! Winterfell has been rebuilt in the intro. I wonder if that is some foreshadowing, if so then the show is already passing the books in a major way.

The show starts with a flashback of young Cersei being sufficiently bitchy to the fortune-teller (Maggy the Frog in the books), when told her future. She’s promised to the Prince she says, (Rhaegar, although this was never a formal deal in the books and he marries Elia Martell of Dorne), but is told she will marry a King, (Robert, after he kills Rhaegar and his intended wife Lyana Stark, dies). If you’ve read the books, you know what happens after this session in the woods, but I won’t say anything just in case they decide to flashback again and tell the rest, which I hope they do. “Gold will be their crowns and gold will be their shrouds.”  What a fortune.  This flashback gives us a look at why she may hate Marg- she’s already lost one child and a younger more beautiful Queen in Marg is in play. But this shows the limits to Cersei’s cleverness. As cunning as she thinks she is, Marg is not the only young Queen/possible Queen that’s out there, she’s just the one that’s in King’s Landing.  She puts some blame on Jaime for Tywin’s death, as he’s is the one who sent Tyrion free. They have a discussion about how everyone outside of the Sept is after them now, that everyone out there (outside of the Sept), wants what they have. We see her first interactions with the Sparrows, (comparable to the Phelps family when it comes to the Seven). Lancel, now a Sparrow, came back in a change from the books to set up this season’s Cersei drama, which will include a long walk through a city. Lancel tries to set her on a different path and she’s pretty much like fuck off, dude. She’s the same when it comes to Loras when he tries to small talk her during the funeral. Dad’s dead and as far as she’s concerned so is her upcoming marriage to Loras.  With Tywin no longer around, there’s not a soul to reign in Cersei.  Uncle Kevan is having none of Cersei…for now, but he’s not able to control her and it’s not all up to him.  After all, his son is a Sparrow but King’s Landing is full of little birds.  Jaime heading to Dorne with Bronn…I have a feeling this is ending in Bronn’s death.  This is a change from the books, but that’s the only way I see this playing out.

Speaking of Loras, he’s with his new dude Oliver when Marg barges into the room. Poor Loras. Knock much? Before the rude iunterruption, Loras and Olyvar were having a lame convo about a birthmark. “Ooh, your birthmark looks like Dorne!” I know, it sets up the introduction of Dorne itself, but it was just cheesy. They could have had them drinking some Dornish wine, discussing a trip to Highgarden and Dorne on a Westerosi wine tour. I was just not a fan of the This Little Piggy of Westerosi birthmarks dialogue. Once Olyvarr leaves Loras and Marg talk business. It seems Marg has a plan and it is not in line with what Cersei is thinking. Marg wants Loras and Cersei married and in Highgarden.

Poor Tyrion rolls out of his shipping crate, drunk. He’s spent quite a bit of time shitting through the holes in his shipping crate during his journey. He drinks, pukes and drinks some more. He’s in the company of Varys, which is a change from the books. Varys is the reason Tywin is dead at the end of last season, (true to the books).  Having Tyrion in his pocket is part of the Master of Whisper’s end game. Illyrio is mentioned, (remember, he’s the one that set up Dany’s marriage to Drogo), as they are on his estate, but he is not seen, (and hasn’t been since the tunnels conversing with Varys). Varys breaks it down for Tyrion- he can go meet up with Dany and help her claim the throne in Westeros OR he can stay at Illyrio’s manse  and drink himself to death. One more option according to Tyrion- drink himself to death while on the road to Dany. Once again, Tyrion wins. Book readers have been waiting for this meeting with Dany to happen. In the books it’s certainly not a straight to Illyrio’s and off to Dany as looks as though it will be on the show. Tyrion goes through some shit. I love the interactions between Varys and Tyrion, it’s some of the best acting on the show, but I really hope they don’t have them traveling together for long, if at all.  In the book there’s a character named Tysha that has really shaped who Tyrion is, and it may be that Varys mentions her soon to Tyrion.  D&D have said they didn’t want to do the flashback for it, but opened the season on a flashback.  Since Tywin is to appear in later episodes, it may be for the Tyrion/Tysha flashback.

We get our first boobs of the season with the introduction of the Sons of the Harpy. The huge statue that Dany has pulled down at the beginning of the show is the Harpy, which she removes as it is a symbol of slavery, wealth and oppression. The Sons are, obviously, an anti Dany group if that wasn’t clear by the throat slitting one of her Unsullied soldiers underwent. The poor dude goes to a brothel, just to be held and comforted (since he’s without a penis or testicles), and gets his throat slit by a dude in a gold mask. Rightfully, Dany is enraged. The Sons of the Harpy have been causing trouble throughout the city and have escalated to murder. In the show Dany is more commanding, probably since she’s been aged up, and seems to rely less on her advisors but that doesn’t mean she’s a good leader or making the right decisions. She demands an honorable burial for the murdered White Rat, which will surely cause the Sons to lash out. Hizdahr is there asking for the fighting pits to reopen. Ugh. Hate him.  I thought we would get some Daario penis, alas the table is strategically placed and we just get a flat booty. Daario tells Dany his backstory, in which he claims to be a pit fighter from a young age.  This is not the case in the books.  With no Strong Belwas, (Dany’s cube shaped pit fighter in the book, who shits on his dead foes), it looks like we will have Daario in his place. This doesn’t work for me.  Daario can’t be Dany’s pit fighter, as it looks like they are setting him up to be, and follow his storyline in the books. Will there be a Brown Ben Plumm?  I really like his character in the books (and his ancestors in the Hedge Knight prequels).  The dragons looked great and they are pissed off at their mama. Drogon is still on the loose and I am hoping his return ends this season, which would be one of the best season finales to date.

Unfortunately, even though the scenes at the Wall are so good, I just can’t handle the changes. Stannis is stoic/unyielding and his wife is still legit crazy.  Mel is still pulling strings and spouting Lord of Light psychobabble.  In the books one of my favorite plots happens at the Wall during this time involving Mance, a character named Val, the wildling Ginny, some babies and Mel.  Never trust Mel with a baby.  This change probably means we won’t see Wun Wun (a “Giant”), and an allegorical Dallas Cowboy.  I was surprised to see Mance burn, and Jon shoot him through the heart, ending his misery- and his life.  If you’ve read the books, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  A few of the readers I watched with had a similar reaction.   Mance refused to kneel telling Jon “if you can’t understand why I won’t enlist my people in a foreigner’s war, there’s no point explainin’.” Well, now his people are leaderless and at the mercy of Stannis…and Mel. This comes from books. Stannis knows that if he is to take Westeros, he needs and army.  He needs the Wildlings.  As in the books, he uses Winterfell as a bargaining chip for Jon.  They also seem to be keeping Mel’s super creepo tendencies toward Jon. Thorne is running for Prom King of the Wall, and is still a huge dick.

There’s not very much of Littlefinger and Sansa, now known as Alayne.  I have heard that this is the season Sansa becomes a badass.  Great. But, why is Robyn with Royce and learning swordplay?  However, that scene was hilarious as Robyn is just the worst at anything involving movement beyond walking.  When Littlefinger and Sansa leave, they discuss going somewhere Cersei can’t reach Sansa.  Where the hell are they going?!

Brienne and Pod are also in the episode. He wants to continue squiring for her and she continues to brood. I’m still not over the fight between her and the Hound, while although awesome, was just too much of a change for me.

Obviously in a production like GoT, there have to be cuts in order to fit the huge scope of the story into the budget of a television show. Dany’s dragons alone require cuts to other areas. However, that doesn’t mean the story itself has to change. If the writers feel they can write Martin’s story better than he can, then they should by all means do it- but don’t change Martin’s source material with extraneous changes. I’m still not over the complete change to Robb’s wife. She was an all-together different character. And why? Was it necessary? Not as far as I’m concerned. I have the same feelings of irritation with them not introducing Strong Belwas, Lady Stoneheart (fingers crossed it still happens), Val, etc., but instead created Roz who had more screen time some of the main characters.  I guess the gratuitous sex scenes were more important than plot. I’m also over filler, like the Dorne map scene.  I get it, but do it better if you’re going to add something not in the original material.