Tonight the show became it’s own beast. Here’s a breakdown from last night’s episode and a few new theories.
First, my #1 irritation:
As drastic as the changes are, I have taken some time and digested them, along with some wine fudge to make it a little easier. Out of all of the characters in ASoI&F who apparently did not make the cut for the show, Lollys Stokeworth does?! It already looks like none of the other Greyjoy’s will be added, (no Kingsmoot); no Arianne conspiring to make Myrcella Queen, no quest to meet YG/Aegon; no Quentyn Martell and his…bbq; no JonCon or YG/Aegon (maybe, theory below); no Lemore (I need to know who she really is, damnit), and of course, no Coldhands or Lady Stoneheart. But we’ve got Llolys! I’m tired of hearing that characters have to be cut because they don’t have a purpose in the end. Does this mean Llolys is the Dragon’s Third Head in the prophecy? No. That stupid scene on the beach could have been time added to something else in the episode. Out of everything this was my least favorite part of the episode.
Opening with Arya’s arrival in Braavos, we finally get to see the city and it’s Titan of Braavos, which was awesome. I don’t think the settings and imagery of the show have ever failed me as a viewer. As in the books, Arya arrives at the House of Black and White and is turned away after asking for Jaqen H’ghar and is turned away by the old man. No one by that name is at the House of Black and White. As she waits for a bit, she recites her adorable little kill list, short a few names- Mel (the Red Woman), Beric, Thoros and Tywin (who she would not know of as dead, yet). I thought Arya cleanly beheading the pigeon on the show was as adorable as pigeon beheading can get. She’s had practice; she’s been killing them since season 1. In ASoI&F, Arya lives on the streets for a while as Cat of the Canals. During this time her warg skills start to develop, not here, though. On the show she sees the old man in the alley after being confronted by thugs. She follows him back to the house and with a flip of the wrist the skin is removed to reveal Jaqen H’ghar. This does not happen in ASoI&F. There a “kindly old man” trains her. Oh, and by training, I mean she’s training to be an elite assassin- a Faceless Man. Thankfully, Arya’s story is largely unchanged.
Jamie goes to Bronn (having a nice walk with fucking Lollys), and asks him to go with him to Dorne. Aww, they’re pals. I think that this means Bronn will be taking Ser Balon Swann’s spot on the death list, but without an Arianne, there may not be a death at all here. Well, I take that back. There may not be a death as far as Jamie or Bronn go. At this point in ASoI&F Jamie, is in the Riverlands trying to end the siege at River Run. He frees Edmure Tully, Cat’s younger brother and Lord of River Run, but Cat’s Uncle, the bad ass Brynden the Blackfish, escapes. Up until last season’s Red Wedding, many thought that the Blackfish had escaped with Robb’s wife who may or may not have been carrying his heir. Now we know that false, and his still living widow in the book has now been shown to mean nada in the future, since they had her stabbed in the baby holder during the Red Wedding (that doesn’t mean that the Blackfish won’t show up at Winterfell as the hooded man, though). Oh, there’s also the Jaime/Brienne/Stoneheart love triangle going in the books.
I can’t say for sure if Myrcella makes it out alive this season. In ASoI&F she barely escapes with her life after Arianne’s scheme is interrupted by Areo Hotah, head of her father’s guard. During this confrontation, Darkstar turns and tries to kill Myrcella, disfiguring her face. Without the plot to crown Myrcella as Queen, she’s pretty much got nothing going for her, here or in the book. Add to this Cersei’s prophesy in EP 1, and I say Myrcella is a goner.
The Red Viper’s widow Ellaria on the show is out for blood. They’ve given her the lines that I believe Obara said to Doran in Feast. It looks like they have merged the two, as this widow is a very different person than in the book. Here Ellaria is Hell bent on dismembering Myrcella. In ASoI&F she gives a speech about the futility of vengeance to the Sandsnakes. Here she takes on Prince Doran when he tells her to stop with the vengeance talk “Not while I rule,” he says and she replies “and how long will that be?” Ohhh shit! Doran’s has a plan in the book. His brother may have been formidable in battle, but in his Feast speech to the Sand Snakes, when he reveals his true plans, we see that Prince Doran is every bit as dangerous from his wheelchair. I hope they include it in the show, although he’s going to have a different plan here. In ASoI&F, Doran sends Arianne off to meet YG/Aegon. Well, as we know, neither character has been cast…BUT, if we look at the books, we know that there is a possible surviving child of Rhaegar and Elia Martell, being fostered by JonCon/Griff, Rhaegar’s trusted friend who apparently received the boy via Varys before the Mountain smashed in the heads of Elia and her children…yes, there was a body, which means Varys replaced Aegon with some other child. At least that’s a theory. But what if instead of JonCon, the boy was taken to his Uncle, Prince Doran to be fostered? In ASoI&F, the end game is to get Aegon and Dany wed, (if you don’t know the lineage, Dany is actually Aegon’s Aunt). This would keep the general plot going from ASoI&F. If Trystane is just Trystane…well…I dunno. Oh, the scenery for Dorne is absolutely exquisite.
The two stop at an inn for some dinner, and Pod is shocked to see that across the room, Sansa and LF are having a meal. Knights of the Vale surround them. First off, how did Brienne and Pod NOT SEE THE HORSES OUT FRONT WITH THE ARRYN SIGIL COVERING THEIR BACKS?! The first words out of Brienne’s mouth should have been “Yay! Knights of the Vale! Maybe they can help me find Sansa!” Nope, it’s total surprise. BUT THAT ISN’T THE ANNOYING PART. The annoying part as a reader is that it never happens. The annoying part as a viewer is that the conversation between Sansa and LF is almost painful. It doesn’t flow, it’s uncomfortable and if it weren’t for Brienne’s interruption/interaction with LF, that scene would have been an absolute failure, as a reader and viewer alike. Now in ASoI&F, the Knights of the Vale, well, Knights in general, are honorable. Here we have one trying to take off an unarmed Pod’s head after he loses his horse and taking the title of Most Inept Squire. This may be to show that they are on LF’s payroll? Brienne’s Valyrian sword slashing through metal and bone was pretty cool, though.
I’m concerned for Brienne. Is she incredibly loyal,or is she nuts? Both Stark girls have told her “no thanks,” which is irritating since it does not happen in ASoI&F, at all. It’s hard to tell on the show since there is no Lady Stoneheart to make anything Brienne does right now make any sense, so she’s just running around like a Stark stalker. Her journey in ASoI&F is pretty time consuming, so I understand the need to streamline part of her story…but it’s such a HUGE change.
We know a marriage has been arranged for Sansa, but to whom? In Feast she’s supposed to be in the Vale, set to marry Robin Arryn, (her sickly, spoiled cousin), and so far Harry the Heir is unmentioned. On top of that, as we saw last week, Mance is dead. In ASoI&F “Mance” screams that he is not the King and we see Mel’s ruby glow. She has used her magic, (those damn finger bones), to kill another wildling. Mance is sent to Winterfell as the Abel the Bard. Show Mance, while much more of a demanding and grizzled presence, might not fit well with this. ASoI&F Mance is charming, talented and enigmatic. He isn’t as gnarled and lacking in personality. With no Mance, what will happen in Winterfell.
What I see happening here is Sansa will marrying Ramsay, instead of the fake Arya, and Brienne and Pod will take the place of the spearwives/Abel plot. This will be interesting since Brienne has sworn to kill Stannis. Since Jon is upholding his vows to The Wall, others are sent in his place by Stannis to rescue “Arya” from her marriage to psycho supreme Ramsay. LF must know of Stannis’s plans to take Winterfell, because as diabolical as he is, I cannot see him handing over Sansa to Ramsay. He knows all about the Boltons, and what could happen to Sansa at their hand. He seems to care for Sansa in a very weird and pervy way. We’ve heard Sansa becomes a player this season (and in WoW), and it seems that there will be a Stark in Winterfell earlier than expected if this is another change from the book.
Well this storyline is getting moved up. I know many people find her storyline in Feast boring, but in Dance quite a bit happens. Actually, I honestly find the most interesting parts of Dany’s story are the adventures of those trying to get to her, not what she herself is doing. On the show she has a come to Jesus of sorts with Selmy about the madness of her Father, something he has been attempting to do in ASoI&F, and is always dismissed by her. She assures him she is not her Father. Well, things start out fine, until she beheads a slave for killing her Harpy prisoner. All hell breaks loose. As a reader, this situation is very similar to the incident with the Karstarks, when he beheaded a bannerman, Rickard, for killing two Lannister prisoners. That really sealed Robb’s fate in the books, making an enemy of his sworn swords in the name of being just.
As I mentioned above, there does not appear to be a Quentyn Martell or any additional Greyjoys. This means Dany will be down two suitors. Daario mentions his Second Sons in this episode, but it looks like instead of a Yunkish war, the main conflict for Dany this season will be with the Sons of the Harpy and her new poor relationship with the slaves. I’m wondering if this also means no pale mare infection. Without the extra sellsword units needed, Tyrion, as we have seen, will meet with Dany in a totally different way. Leaving out the war will most likely change what happens with Hizdar, as well. Drogon made an appearance, and he seemed to be sending Dany a message- hopefully it’s “damnit, woman! Get to Westeros already!”
JON SNOW/THE WALL/STANNIS
Shireen is just adorable. She appears to be fighting her own war- one against illiteracy, one pirate and wildling at a time. She lovingly mentions Master Cressen teaching her to read at age 3. Aww. RIP, homie. Greyscale is brought up. Gilly’s description of the greyscale as it took over two of her sisters is disturbing. Shireen doesn’t remember how she was cured; she was too young but remembers many people coming to treat her. Gilly’s father, Craster, made Gilly’s sisters move out of the house after the infection set in. They resembled wild animals in their behavior, and were eventually led off into the woods on leashes.
Selyse shows up and tells Shireen to stay the hell away from the wildlings. She’s convinced they will use her against her father for defeating the wildlings. I think Shireen, scaled like a dragon and made of King’s blood, has more to worry about from Selye’s beloved Mel than she does of Gilly or Sam. Off the top of my head, this entire scene is strictly show.
Stannis tells Jon that he’s too kind and people will not follow kind. Jon tells Stannis the free folk (wildlings), will never follow him, because he burned their King, they will only follow one of their own. Stannis shows Jon a letter from a Northern house refusing to kneel to him. Angry 10 year old Lyanna Mormont’s handwritten letter was adorable. “Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North. Whose name is Stark” This brings a smile to Jon’s lips and a frown from to Stannis. It look slike they are going to skip bringing up any other Mormonts. Is there anything to read into here, with the two high born, strong willed girls from the North only recognizing a Northerner, a Stark, as King, being named Lyanna and Wylla?
Because of his lack of support, Stannis offers Jon everything he has always wanted- the name Stark and Lordship of Winterfell, for his fealty. Sam and Jon have a bromance date night, a nice meal and some ale. Jon tells Sam about Stan’s offer and Sam is super excited for his BFF. Unfortunately, Jon turned down ol’ Stan. He swore an oath to the Watch, and he means to keep it (unless there’s some good wildling fire crotch to warm up in). No mention is made of Bran or Rickon. As it happens, it’s voting day for Lord Commander, which makes a comment from Sam earlier to Gilly and Shireen about past Lord Commanders and their ages, less out of the blue.
Enter Sassy Sam the Slayer. At this point it’s Thorne vs Mallister, with Jon giving his vote to Mallister, unlike in ASoI&F where he decides not to vote at all. Sam nominates Jon, as Jon is looking at him like “sit the fuck down, Sam.” As Sam speaks, Slynt tries to make a mockery of him, but Sam flips it and effectively destroys Slynt with his humor, truth and passion. He makes Jon the ideal commander in a touching speech. Maester Aemon looks exceptionally pleased. John sits and drinks while the others vote. I really want to hump him. It’s a tie- and Master Aemon breaks, it with his vote for Jon. From here I think we will start to see even more changes in the show from ASoI&F, but with Mance being really dead and Val not existing in the show, I think readers knew this was going to happen after last weeks episode. Will there be an Oldtown Voyage? And if so, will any of Oldtown stay the same? Who’s going to Winterfell? More importantly, will there be any fat, pink masts for Sam?
Cersei is seriously freaking out after receiving a vipers head with Myrcella’s necklace hanging from it, and is certain the Martells mean to kill Myrcella in revenge for Oberyn. Remember the prophecy? Speaking of, the one thing left out was that Cersei would be killed as her brother choked the life out of her with his hands. She believes this to be Tyrion, as Jamie has only one hand for now…but that isn’t true, one is just gold.
Jamie tells her he will go to Dorne and bring back their daughter. Cersei scoffs and belittles him. He tells her he has a plan and will not go alone, and will do it quietly so as not to start a war. We find that Cersei has completely taken over ruling now that Daddy is dead. She appoints a new Master of Whispers and Master of Coin. Ser Kevan is having none of it and is the only person who stands up to the increasingly nutso Cersei, “I do not recognize your authority to dictate what is and is not your concern. You are the queen mother, nothing more.” Ohhhh bitch you got burned! Oh, she’s also on a dwarf hunt, which actually happens in the book. Well, not her specifically, but she has people out killing dwarves…creepy ass Qyburn is now the proud owner of a dwarf head…
Looks as though Ilyrio is out, which makes sense if they are doing away with YG/Aegon. Tyrion’s route to Mereen is far less humiliating on the show, no dog riding at least. At some point he meets up with Jorah, but since it seems the Yunkish war is a no go on the show, I’m guessing Varys has something planned that brings Jorah back. Varys tells Tyrion that “Cersei is offering a Lordship to that man that brings her your head.” To which Tyrion replies “She ought to offer them her cunt. The best part of her for the best part of me” Ha! So true. These two are the best on the show, so I hope this book deviation ends up awesome, instead of another change for no damn reason.