Game of Thrones: Off the Page

Game of Thrones S02E03: "What Is Dead May Never Die"

I hate to be that "the book is better" guy, but A Clash of Kings, the novel that Game of Thrones' second season is based on, is better than what we've seen on the screen so far. But there's a good reason for that. The book was not meant to be ingested in 10 hours; Game of Thrones Season 2 is. I can almost hear creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss constantly screaming, "WHAT DID WE GET OURSELVES INTO?" as they squish their scripts, slash characters, and take shortcuts.

The result? Episodes like "What is Dead May Never Die," which, as reluctant as I am to stay it, labored through its hour mostly because it still had so much story to kick-start. Somewhere out there, a 20-something girl squeezed into her Dany costume to watch the episode only to end up in tears because Dany didn't even get a single scene. Nor did we see Robb or Stannis and his Red Priestess.

Now that we're three hours into Season 2, it's appropriate to worry about how the show is handling the scope of the books, because we have a good sense of what we're getting. Season 1 was a faithful adaptation of A Game of Thrones, the first book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, and it did a good job of condensing the story into 10 hours. But in the second book, A Clash of Kings, the universe expanded exponentially. This is fine on the page, but a pain in the ass on the screen: When you're holding the book, you just keep reading until you find your favorite character again. If you're watching the series, you're screwed until next Sunday.

I know this might sound a bit hypocritical on my part; last week, I said it's best to embrace the new characters and follow their stories while the main characters take a break. I still believe that. What I wasn't high on in this episode was how the time was spent. You gotta be extremely economical here, Game of Thrones. From where I stand, the episode spent a bit too much time at Pyke and in Renly's camp, over-establishing what I think we could've picked up on pretty quickly: Theon's a disappointment to his dad, and Renly and his supporters are unprepared for war. That's not to say the scenes weren't good, but there are only seven hours left in the season and King's Landing hasn't lifted a finger to prepare for the inevitable war. I understand that the show has to cut corners, but some of them are being replaced with bigger corners—like Renly's bedtime romp with Ser Loras, insults thrown in Theon's direction, and lingering shots of Margaery's bazoombas. I guess what I'm trying to say is, get a move on, Game of Thrones! There are only seven episodes left and I already feel like we're running out of time!

Alright, enough of that. Let's discuss what did happen in "What Is Dead May Never Die."


"Wildlings serve crueler gods than you or I."

We picked up beyond the Wall right where we left off last week, with Craster beating the snot out of Jon Snow for snooping around his personal business of sacrificing his baby boys to whatever it is that lurks in the forest. Jon deserved that beating, and Mormont explained to him that that's just how things work beyond the Wall. You wouldn't waltz into Canada and try to rescue French fries from being drowned in gravy, would you? Customs are customs. If Craster wants to hand over his sons to forest freaks or pour gravy on their heads, that's his business, eh! Great, now I just imagined a bunch of Wildlings coming down from Canada and pouring gravy all over American newborns.

Meanwhile, Sam still didn't know how to obey orders and spent much too much time flirting and trying to save Gilly, Craster's pregnant daughter who's looking to escape. And what's Samwell's game? Giving a girl a thimble. Niiiiiice. Like I said before, I'm not sure why the series is spending time on scenes like this when someone could be getting his head chopped off. I'm assuming that thimble will save eventually Gilly from a fatal stabbing of the thumb...it'd better!


"Maybe magic once was a mighty force in the world, but not anymore."

Bran is still having doggy dreams, and I wish I could explain it but I can't. Clearly the lad has a connection to his House's animal and can astrally project himself into direwolves. It's either that, or he's totally crazy.

Maester Llewyn and Bran had a great chat in Bran's room. Bran cited the tales Old Nan used to tell about dragons, magic, and people who were able to live in animals, but Llewyn insisted those things are all long gone. Do "those things" include snow zombies and Wights that cut people's heads off? Because I'm pretty sure I wasn't dreaming that stuff. Didn't you just want to reach into the TV screen and shake Llewyn while screaming, "Dragons are real, old man! They're REAL!" Later, he told Bran that Santa Claus was a lie, too.

What's going on here is clearly what we've always believed: Do not trust old people. They're of a 'tweener generation, too young to remember when giants and dragons roamed Westeros, too old to realize that such creatures are rising again. That's pretty much the takeaway from Llewyn and Bran's conversation. What happened thousands of years ago is repeating itself, and stubborn old people refuse to believe it. Like global warming.

The saddest part about this scene is that Bran should've been hearing the opposite of what Llewyn said from Old Nan, the elderly lady who first told him about dragons and magic and other so-called "mythical" things. But the actress who played Nan, Margaret John, passed away after Season 1 was filmed.


"My son is fighting a war, not playing at one."

Robb's medieval email (Momma Stark) finally arrived at Renly's camp to ask for support, and she brought a whole bunch of condescension with her. But that's because Renly hasn't been preparing for war so much as putting on the best Renaissance Faire the people of Westeros have ever seen! If one could take King's Landing on fashion sense alone, Renly would leave it in a pile of rubble. The idea of being a king is much more appealing to Renly than actually being a king, because he's pretty clueless when it comes to the responsibilities of building an empire.

The Tyrells, however, know exactly what has to be done. And it's going to involve some gross heterosexual sex. Well, gross to Renly. Margaery Tyrell (played by The Tudors' Natalie Dormer) faces the task of playing house with Renly, while behind the scenes Renly romps around the bed with Margaery's brother, Ser Loras (the Knight of Flowers_. She's fine with sharing, though, because she knows how to play the game. As long as she births an heir she's locked in as queen, so if she has to tag in on Renly and Loras's wrestling matches to get preggers, she'll do it! What a woman! And she also wins the award for Sluttiest-Dressed Would-Be Queen, thanks to that Jennifer Lopez number she had on. Renly, for his part, looked like he was watching a snuff film when she put her hand down his pants. It's tough to be king, and Renly will have to learn that part of his job is sleeping with hot women, poor guy.

As Margaery set out to give Renly a son, another woman set out to give Loras a beating. That was Brienne of Tarth, a gargantuan chick who makes Amazonian women look like Linda Hunt (check out my artful cropping in that image above!). Brienne begged Renly to allow her a place on his Kingsguard, and he obliged after she bested his boyfriend in combat. She's a pretty serious lady, and she's also pretty seriously un-pretty. Actually, she's been gussied up a lot more for the series than she was in the books. To get an idea of how she's described in the books, picture Brienne from the show, and then imagine what she'd look like if she was hit in the face with a scalding frying pan about a thousand times. (But what did look great? Her armor! Renly's army will be the best-dressed force in all the realm, hands down.)


"We do not sow. We are Ironborn. We're not subjects, we're not slaves. We do not plow the fields or toil in the mine. We take what is ours."

Making a claim for the title of Westors's worst House (and worst-dressed House) are the Greyjoys. Each House in Westeros lives by a certain creed, and the Greyjoys' is simple: Profit from the misfortunes of others (and also, don't ever use shampoo). These salty leeches are just waiting for the Northerners to leave their houses so they can sweep in and take over. And that includes Winterfell! With Robb fighting in the South, Ned dead, Jon at the Wall, and Catelyn running messages for Robb, that leaves a crippled boy and an old man to defend the castle. You and I could basically take Winterfell with a spork.

The Pyke Central Roast of Theon Greyjoy continued courtesy of his dad Balon and his sister Yara, who relentlessly broke his spirit by asking him how his skirt fit and giving him a boat called "Sea Bitch." So to win back the favor of his dear old dad, Theon opted to turn his back on Robb and be re-baptised as a Greyjoy with a salt water rinse. How sad was it to see him torch the warning letter he was about to send to Robb? And how sad was his handwriting? At least throw in a "sorry so sloppy" if you're going to write that chicken scratch, Theon. Family is a huge theme in the world of Game of Thrones, and Theon chose real family over fake family. This is what those of us in the business call "a dick move."


"The stresses of power often have this insalubrious effect."

Back in King's Landing, Tyrion was settling into his new role as the Hand of the King—rearranging the furniture, adding some potted plants, and throwing a longtime council member into the dungeon. You know, just busy work. His removal of Maester Pycelle was the latest maneuver in his plan to diminish Cersei's power, and the method he used was pretty ingenious. He told Pycelle, Varys, and Littlefinger that he was marrying off Myrcella, Joffrey's sister, to three different men, knowing that whoever had been leaking info would tell Cersei. Thus, the mole would be exposed by what Cersei thought she knew. Sure enough, it was Pycelle, but with the way Varys and Littlefinger play their games, I'm surprised Cersei didn't burst into the room and scream, "How can you marry Myrcella off to Dorne, the Eyrie, and the Greyjoys?" It's always fun watching Tyrion work, and this was one of his finer moments. Plus, I think we can all agree that anytime someone pulls something over on Cersei, it's a good day.

Tyrion also pulled some strings to shut up his nagging girlfriend, Shae. She's now Sansa's handmaiden with attitude, and seeing her share the screen with Sansa just about made my head explode. It was a heavyweight slugfest of bitchiness, and I'm calling it a double knockout because these two ladies are lame dames. My prayers that the dragon comet would smash into Sansa's room while they were both in it went unanswered. I'd rather be stuck in a room with a starving grizzly bear than either of those two. I seriously think that scene took place just to establish our hatred for both characters. Mission accomplished, Game of Thrones!


*Sound of a sword going through Yoren's artery*

The only real action of the episode came at the end, as the Goldcloaks (or men hired by the Goldcloaks) caught up with Yoren's caravan of rapists, thieves, and tweenagers en route to the Wall. The Goldcloaks were much more careful not to put their genitals in danger like they did last week, and when Yoren denied their request to hand over Gendry, he was shot at medium range with a crossbow. And then he got stabbed. A lot. Once again, in this world, having honor is pretty much the same thing as being a sword magnet.

The massacre also took Lommy (a lot sooner than in the book, too), and Arya wisely told the Goldcloaks that he was Gendry. The Goldcloaks aren't the brightest bunch, and Yoren would probably still be alive if—instead of drawing his sword—he'd said, "Hey your shoelaces are untied!" and ran in the other direction. And what happened to the three dudes in the cage? Did they get out thanks to Arya's help or did they get captured, too? It's unclear what the bad guys plan on doing with all these convicts, but I believe I heard one of them say something about taking them to Harrenhal, a keep in the East. You know what that means...new location in next week's credit sequence, hopefully!



Game of Thrones Season 2 Power Rankings

Here, I'll be ordering the 10 episodes of Game of Thrones' second season from first to worst in terms of quality. But remember, these rankings are just, like, my opinion, man.

This Week: "What is Dead May Never Die" was the slowest episode of the season so far, but it featured some good mind games and we finally got to see what Renly's been up to. We also met even more new characters, but thanks to the complications of a television adaptation we're only seeing their surface-level personalities. Hopefully we'll get to know them better as the season progresses, but there's a lot to cover in the next seven episodes. This episode wasn't as good as the first two, but it's still Game of Thrones, and it's still a lot better than most other shows on TV.

1. "The North Remembers" (Episode 1)
Annnnd we're back! Joffrey orders death for Robert's bastards; Melisandre, Davos, and Stannis make their grand entrance; Robb sends an all tomato ultimatum to the Lannisters.

2. "The Night Lands" (Episode 2)
The Goldcloaks set out to find Gendry (and Arya); Theon gropes his sister and disappoints his dad; Jon sees something strange in the forest.

3. "What Is Dead May Never Die" (Episode 3)
Theon suits up for Team Greyjoy; Tyrion gives Pycelle the boot; Cat arrives to see Renly assembling a circus; Arya and Gendry get captured.

Comments (244)
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Apr 29, 2012
Yes Tim, I finally agree with you on your concerns for quality of the show. I have stated before that GoT has so many stories to tell that the extra sex scenes do not need to be included. If GoT had more than 10 episodes per season, then by all means, add all the fanfares!

The sex scenes at Petyr's brothel is the most unnecessary! I think we all know what happens at a brothel so no need to show it over & over again. Thus taking focus away from more important story line. My biggest issue is how the writers are portraying Petyr. It was utterly ridiculous when he needlessly confronted Cersei. Still out of character when Petyr confronted Tyrion about being set up & showing that he was upset. I am very concerned how the writers are showing Petyr since he is a major player in GoT and hope it does NOT lead to changing the actual story line

I disagree on how hard you are on Sansa, even though she is not my favorite character, I dislike how the writers are portraying her as way more mean spirited than in the books! It took me a while to warm up to her, but now I look forward to reading Sansa chapters. She named her direwolf Lady because she is supposed to be one. The writers started to portray her as a bitch since season 1 when she was disrespectful to her Septa, which is totally out of character for her. This bitchy spat with Shea is unrealistic! Sansa was smart enough not to do or say anything un-lady like in front of her maids in the books because she knew they reported directly back to Cersei. Of course she has some flaws, but just as anyone growing up, she has learned some valuable lessons.

Asha is such a likeable character in the books, that I am disappointed how Yara is portrayed in GoT so far. Hopefully this turns around
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Apr 26, 2012
Nice piece of writing if I must say so myself. I agree with all your thoughts, concerns and analysis. This episode detracted too much from the book in my view and unnecessarily focussed on the bogus sexual encounter of Renly, Loras & Margaery in what I assume if an effort by the producers to maintain a level of nudity and adult content they established in season 1. They should watch other HBO productions (with similar gratuitous nudity) such as Rome and recognise that Season 2 does not need to have the same adult content as Season 1 if the audience has been won over by the great story and the engaging believable characters. If they avoided such scenes when they are not needed (i.e. not in the book) more of their precious budget could be spent on poorly adapted scenes such the Gendry Arya capture. Effectively some 4 chapters were condensed into one final scene. I'm not averse to some editing for the TV, after all GRRM is great at writing large amounts of description and minor character interactions, which would not work on screen but giving a few more minutes to Arya and co would have been a better way of spending the budget for this episode. I did think that Brienne was perfect for the role. As you say Tim, if she's straight off the page she would look like she'd been badly battered with a blunt instrument many times over or as my buddy's say 'she looks like a bulldog chewing a wasp' or 'it's as if someone had set fire to her face and put out with a brick'. Grotesque is not a bad thing but thankfully for me she looks normal, though huge, which fits well with her role as a warrior. Having read the books I have to say she is one of my favourite characters and I won't hear a bad word said about her. I also think Patrick Malahide is a superbly mean spirited Baelon Greyjoy though I still can't get my head around the name change of Asha to Yarra. Is the viewer considered so stupid that having two people with similar names would be too confusing? In the real world it's not a problem so why is it a problem for TV executives? Bizarre. I worry that with only 10 episodes per season too much good stuff will end up on the cutting room floor. Let's hope they pull it together as it progresses over the next few episodes.
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Apr 20, 2012
I thought that from season 2 onward they were doing 1/2 a book per season?

I'm pretty sure that's what they're doing, because they don't have the budget to expand the length of the season, and they don't want to fit so much story into 10 episodes every season.



I could be wrong but I thought that was what they said way back when filming.
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Apr 20, 2012
I really don't understand where all the Sansa hate is coming from? Because she is portrayed to have flaws that most girls her age would? Because she had a spat with Arya (one of the most liked characters in the series)? Because she is acting bitchy after witnessing her father being decapitated by a -boy- who she is to marry? Because she is continually tortured by her future husband/murderer of her father? Because she is 12 (i think) years old and in an impossibly tragic and hopeless situation of despair and misery?



Seriously, Tim and every one else, HAVE SOME SYMPATHY.



Just to be clear, I had to power through some of those Sansa chapters myself and she is certainly not among my favorite characters, but I do not dislike her in the least. I believe she's shown great strength of character by just being able to sit at the same dinner table with Joffrey and Cersei. Cut her some slack.
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Apr 20, 2012
Personally, I don't like the way Sansa treated Shae just because she needed someone to bully just like someone bullied her. It's unbecoming of a Lady and that's what Sansa is SUPPOSED to be.
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Apr 29, 2012
Yeah the writers made Sansa be out of character since season 1 when she was disrespectful to her Septa. That should not have happened.
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Apr 19, 2012
Stop skipping over Dani, give Arya and Tyrion more scenes, and hopefully Joffrey will get his by Arya's hand (haven't read the books, so who knows).
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Apr 19, 2012
I've enjoyed this season so far (granted I have not read the books yet so I don't know what I am missing) but I have been entertained none the less.....buuuuuut if they were to extend the following seasons to 12 or 13 episodes per season...I dont think I nor anyone else would complain lol
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Apr 19, 2012
I love the series on HBO. Of course the books are great and as long as they can get the most important parts in I am good with the show. Everybody who likes the tv program does need to read the books though. They are wonderful reading!!
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Apr 19, 2012
Honestly right when I started watching this episode I felt it was extremely different then the previous ones in the season. Then I realized it was directed by Alan Sakharov and not Alan Taylor like the two previous episodes. I think Alan Taylor sets up his dialogue shots a lot better and has a lot more artistic shots also.



This 3rd episode felt a lot like other shows which I never had felt before. But yeah...I like Alan Taylor as director.
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Apr 18, 2012
if you dare criticize this series...All that is Awesome is your enemy
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Apr 18, 2012
When talking to your wife, don't use Margaery as an example of a good wife.

"His wife lets him bang dudes with her in the room before making a baby deposit and you won't let join a third fantasy hockey playoff draft pool!?!?, C'MON!"

Doesn't work as an argument.

Anyone else suprised about how small Marg's boobs were once they were finally let out?

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Apr 18, 2012
Fans of the books like to ignore how bad they translate into television. Even Martin has admitted it and laughed as he said one of his motivations for writing them in the first place was he felt stifled by the realities of episodic TV. He also said he's glad he doesn't have the job of modifying the books to TV as he knows just how difficult that is going to be.



If you think they are ignoring major characters now, just wait. Martin expanded the world to the point that he needed to split his original vision of book 4 into what became books 4 and 5. Hundreds of pages go by without any major event occurring and you literally don't see major characters in book 4 at all. If they don't trim the characters in book 4/5 in a major way it will kill the show. Personally I hope they use the books through book 3 and modify the universe with input from Martin after that.



People that insist they need to stick with Martin's vision aren't being realistic. They'd need about 12 seasons to do it right and that's just isn't going to happen. Though it might be funny to see a 28 year actress trying to play waif-like tween like Arya.
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Apr 19, 2012
I believe that they will combine the events of book 4 and the first half of book 5 (which for those that haven't read them; they take place at the same time chronologically but contain different characters). Also book 3 will be two seasons to fit in all the glory of A Storm of Swords.

If you scroll down a way, you'll find that FringeFanatic has written a brilliant summation of how this season is almost perfectly on track with the book's first 30% (if anything the TV show is slightly ahead) and this has not been achieved through the cutting of significant scenes, in fact the slight re-working of Arya's story is the only notable one I can recall right now and I think it was a smart move
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Apr 19, 2012
Thanks for the shout-out! That summation took me like an hour to write.



I think the adaptation has been nearly flawless (excluding that wildly uncharacteristic Littlefinger scene). Unnecessary exposition has been cut while still remaining true to the source material. The only thing I'm worried about is the exclusion of Jojen and Meera. I've heard they have not been cast for this season.
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Apr 18, 2012
I agree, NOTHING HAPPENED! Extend the number of episodes per season or else cut to only the interesting parts. My biggest problem with season 2 is too many characters, with nobody being the main protagonist, nobody to root for, it just feels like a soap opera, with stories that go nowhere and constant character scenes flipping back and forth.
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Apr 19, 2012
One again. Game of thrones is not about the WAR. Surely the war of the 5 kings is important to the overall story, but what is great about the show is how wonderfull and diverse each character is and the fact that here isn't a straight line drawn between good and evil. The show follows the book and more episodes means more detail to the existing scenes.



Nobody to root for... just pick a house and watch the show.

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Apr 18, 2012
I'm surprised as a fellow reader of the books that anyone could complain about the series...I think they're doing an amazing job, and the episode actually FLEW by in the 55 or so minutes! I think the dialogue is great, the new characters need some development, so they need these "boring" episodes..don't worry the action is coming! I guess since this is a TV website, that most of the writers have ADD? I couldn't imagine if any of them wrote about a *gasp* two hour movie!!
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Apr 18, 2012
The best point for Yara's (Asha in the books) character development has been missed, IMO
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Apr 18, 2012
I didn't mind the episode. All seasons have ebbs and flows. I've bought the books, but now have misgivings about reading them before I watch the show. I think I'll enjoy the books more if I wait, then the books will be like a bonus and maybe the author will have the book series finished too (I understand he takes his time writing - you guys must reread them often to remember what has happened).
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Apr 18, 2012
this episode was Awesome
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Apr 18, 2012
I wish he would stop comparing the show to the book so much.
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Apr 18, 2012
Some of us think that in comparison to the books the TV show is doing very well indeed. I have had no problems with it so far at all, well apart from one scene in the pilot when Littlefinger needlessly confronts Cersei about her incest to her face. Mainly as Littlefinger is a brilliant character who is greatly defined by how close he keeps all his cards to his chest.

Oh bugger, I compared them again didn't I?....
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Apr 19, 2012
We can't help it.
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Apr 18, 2012
Me too. The TV show should be judged on its on merits and so far it has been absolutely gripping throughout and has had hardly put a foot wrong.
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Apr 18, 2012
Game of Thrones borrows more and more from I, Claudius

http://www.galacticavariants.blogspot.com/2012/04/game-of-thrones-er-i-claudius.html
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Apr 18, 2012
I'm not sure the reviewer has read the books, in spite of his claims. It seems more a case of having been told the key events. I mean bewing upset that Dany isn't in an episode...you realise the later books have major characters not in them at all right? Strange thing to complain about from a bookfan

I found this episode quite good. I could see reason behind merging events and the new scenes. So far Season 2 is showing promise.
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Apr 18, 2012
I think it's a case of "I read the books, so I'm officially a Song of Ice and Fire snob, so I MUST discount the show, since most people haven't taken the time to read the books so I can be cool and show my disdain"
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Apr 18, 2012
Ignorance is bliss... I haven't read the books, so I'm enjoying the season so far. I like the new characters and I'm here just for the ride. But if the sheer amount of characters and situations from the book is overwhelming, maybe the show's writers should make a freer adaptation of the book. It seems the writers of The Walking Dead found a better way to deal with ahte great amount of comics as the source of the story. They created new characters and situations, while others from the original work were eliminated.



By the way in this episode I especially enjoyed Tyrion's cunning machinations to consolidate his power. As Varys says, a very small man can cast a very large shadow. I also liked the part in which Llewyn says that magic once was important but not anymore. Magic will come in due time, but until then, we'd better enjoy the show's medieval politics and all. That sets Game of Thrones apart from other fantasy stories, which are ordinarily about pure good vs. pure evil and magic beings.



One more thing. I hope that, in this season, Dany does a little more than just roam the desert... And when are those darned dragons going to grow up???? We wanna see them BIG! And causing havoc!
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Apr 18, 2012
This writer doesn't know what he's talking about...I read the books, and I haven't been disappointed yet.

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Apr 18, 2012
They're not getting big yet because Dany doesn't know what to feed them with. They are not eating if you review the previous episode. Breast milk perhaps? =)
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Apr 18, 2012
FF has hit upon it below, but you'll no doubt see the key to getting them to eat pretty soon.

However for those expecting quick dragon growth and Dany to be riding them to Westeros any time soon, well it may be a bit of a wait.
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Apr 18, 2012
I see. Interesting. Well, I don't suppose there's a pet shop with Baby Dragon Chow for sale. At least I hope the poor dragonets don't starve to death. (Yes, I know "dragonet" is not an appropriate diminutive for "dragon" but it does sound good, doesn't it?)
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Apr 18, 2012
Dragons in the book eat flesh...being in a desert and being too small to eat people..not much to choose from so they stay small..also Dany is keeping them in cages while they travel (so as not to lose them) which is also describe in the books as a hindrance to their growth.

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Apr 18, 2012
Not just flesh, but *charred* flesh.
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Apr 18, 2012
It's maester Luwin not Llewyn...
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Apr 17, 2012
""I hate to be that "the book is better" guy""



something tells me you not only LOVE it, but get off on it



:)
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Apr 18, 2012
I think he should be and should flaunt it! Since in the review that is the only line indicative that he actually read the books because he either didn't get the book of missed the point since in the review it seems to miss important plot points made really clear in the book. Like Brans dreams or Tarly's promise, etc.
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Apr 17, 2012
"but with the way Varys and Littlefinger play their games, I'm surprised Cersei didn't burst into the room and scream, "How can you marry Myrcella off to Dorne, the Eyrie, and the Greyjoys?""



i thought the same exact thing. hah
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Apr 18, 2012
I know I read the books but. When I read that in the review I thought you don't know Varys or Littlefinger anyway. Hell I at some point thought it was Varys that overheard the Pycel convo and put him on the spot but no. Both Varys and LF are to wise and clever for those smal tricks, although LF almost got played and he got mad! lol
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Apr 17, 2012
The episode wasn't bad. Clash of kings is a thick book where nothing really happends except a few things here and there(blackwater and bitterbrige). It's hard to divide screen time evenly. Dany only has a few chapters in this book, Robb and Jamie don't show up at all. The only thing that bugged me was that they put dragonstone and Vaes Dothrak in the intro when there wasn't a single scene in those places. My biggest concern is the the Reeds didn't show up and there is no sign of them in the next episode.



Was that Damphair on Pyke with the last scene with Theon or just some random preist?

Do you guys think that they'll introduce Papa Tarley, Papa Bolton and Ramsey?
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Apr 20, 2012
Nothing happens in A Clash of Kings? Seriously? I think you need a reread. A Clash of Kings has a TON of important events. Given, not as many events as A Storm of Swords or A Game of Thrones, but try reading book 3 without book 2 and you will be lost.
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Apr 17, 2012
I noticed that, too. Maybe they are stuck with the intro for financial reasons? We haven't been in Vaes Dothrak this season anyway. Actually they should include the Red Waste (and later Quarth) into the intro sequence. HBO has released a new map (not canon!) showing a lot more of Essos than the books, I thought it was for this purpose so I really think there's financial reasons as we know they have maps they can use.
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Apr 17, 2012
You basically made my point from last week; boobs are great n all but I can just picture some producer dude at a season 2 planning meeting saying "Hey, do we need these characters? Can't we get rid of them and show more boobies? That'll crank up the ratings".



Based on these reviews I'm still torn on whether I should start reading the books or stick to the show.
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Apr 23, 2012
as someone who had not read any of the books until a few weeks ago I most definitley suggest doing so. I read Game of Thrones in anticipation for the second season and after the first episode of the second season.(and second straight after because i was a naughty boy. webrip) I couldn't wait 2 weeks for the third episode and went straight out to buy the rest of the books.



I am now 100 pages away from finishing the second book (i am a slow reader and have other commitments as well as being torn on wether to carry on reading or wait for the series to finish and then read the second book as i did with the first) but from about page 400 onwards i have not been able to put the book down.



I do believe the show is doing as good a job as possible on the adaption when you consider limited budget, limited timescale among other things. And therein lies my reasons to suggest reading the books as well as watching the show. The book has so many more characters and although they may not be major characters some of their interactions with the major characters help to develop and deepen some of our favourite characters. Reading the books you have a deeper understanding of said characters thoughts, emotions and reasoning for their actions. Also keeping the various maps of the world of ice and fire available on the internet while you read helps create a familiarity with the locations, the distances between them and pulls you deeper into the world in which this story takes place.



The only downside I have found is when watching the series I now know or have a good idea of what is going to happen and where the story is going but there are some upsides to that also. However as it has been mentioned by many on here there seems to be at least two important characters which the show seems to be looking to leave out in the two Reeds Jojen and Meera. If this comes to pass that these characters should be discarded then that would be a major blow to the series but in reading the books you then have a whole new dimension of the story to enjoy.



As for the adaption though I once again state that when you take into consideration the budget that taking the book page for page would require, the fact that a tv show has to keep high ratings and draw more money than it spends and the fact that your average television viewer can't digest a story of this scale then I cannot see how they could be doing any better job of it so long as it stays true to the books.
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Apr 17, 2012
Go Tyrion and Arya! The smaller, the smarter :)
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Apr 17, 2012
Definitely the weakest ep so far although still entertaining. As others have stated HBO needs to commit to more eps a season or better yet, 2 hours an ep. There are just too many factions and not enough screen time. When whole factions are absent while others only get 5 minutes per ep there's a problem. In the end it just leaves the viewer unsatisfied.
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Apr 17, 2012
Wow. I couldn't disagree more. This was the best episode this season and I am vastly preferring the second season over the second book. George RR Martin likes to ramble on with nothing happening, but the tv series doesn't have that problem. I especially love the extra things they are doing with Loras, Renly and Margaery. I didn't care about any of them in the books but I instantly adored Margaery and love Renly and Loras. I don't know what episode you watched, but it wasn't what I watched. Plus any episode without Stannis is a bonus. I hate him and his Red Lady.
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Apr 17, 2012
Episode was not great but i enjoy watching it. I agree that this shows need more episodes, allot more. Slow episodes are there to build up the good ones, 15 slow and 5 really great is a good mix for a full season.
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Apr 17, 2012
Best episode so far this season!
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Apr 17, 2012
I am happy they left some characters out. We need to rotate the spotlights.
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Apr 17, 2012
They need more episodes per season, that's all there is to it. Season 1 worked very well, season 2 is NOT WORKING so far. It's disjointed, rushed, and just not captivating anymore. It's not bad editing, its' that they just can't fit so much content into a 10-episode timeframe. I REALLY hope they extent Season 3 to something like 15 episodes, or the show will be done!
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Apr 17, 2012
Season 3 will only cover half of book 3:

http://grrm.livejournal.com/276653.html
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Apr 17, 2012
I am cautiously optimistic. I haven't read the books, so I can only hope they do a good job, and while I don't know if season/book 2 will be very good when it's all said and done my hope is book 3 will be as that's going to be split over 2 seasons. It won't fix the "you have to wait until next week if your favorite character doesn't show" problem, but at least my hope is they won't have to cut as much as people seem to say they're cutting from this season.
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Apr 17, 2012
"... it's still Game of Thrones, and it's still a lot better than most other shows on TV."



Bite your tongue. It's still better than ANY other shows on TV!
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Apr 17, 2012
Breaking Bad is better than GoT...for now.
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Apr 17, 2012
Shows are completely different so it's hard to compare. I like to see more of GoT as it will only get better whereas Breaking Bad has gotten worse since the start of the third season only picking up at the end of the fourth.
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Apr 17, 2012
Couldn't disagree more. 3rd season was the best one, the double crescendo of one minute then half measures and full measures was better than anything else the show has done. most of 4th season was weaker ending fabulously but it only built to the singular event.
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Apr 18, 2012
I agree Breaking Bad has only gotten better each season with 4 being the best. Hopefully the show will end in a High note on season 5. I consider it the best show on TV. That said GoTand Boardwalk Empire are there for me as the other top 2 shows. I know they are different but the high tension feeling I get from an episode of Breaking Bad overshadows anything from GoT be it sex or violence or coolness!



I love GoT but since I've read the books the show doesn't have that much surprise to me. It is still very very good and will only get better and be the best next year after BB end :P
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Apr 17, 2012
Out of the first three books, the second was definitely the worst. Sure, some cool things happened, but it felt like a lot of filler and set ups for 75% of the book. The show is taking those awesome moments and showing them so lets stop complaining we didnt get to see arya travel and sneak off to pee for five episodes before anything important happens
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Apr 18, 2012
Yet the way the crow Yoren's caravan was ambushed could have been better scripted, IMO. I'd rather stay with the book chapter describing it than the simplistic way it was recreated in this episode.
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Apr 18, 2012
The original script for this episode had a different approach to that scene, but realities of schedules, budget, and especially child actors only allowed to work a limited number of hours a day necessitated the change to this version. Originally Lommy did not die in this scene but at a later scene just like in the book, but the aforementioned reasons meant that had to be changed too.
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Apr 18, 2012
I get that it is a book where no t much happens when compared to the other 2, but I've always loved book 2 since it is there that Tyrion shines the most in realation to ppower and cool stuff to be done. I hope this season focuses more on him and Arya. Hell if Tyrion won the Emmy for last year performance I thought having read the book this season he was going to totally rock.I fear I might be dissapointed.
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Apr 18, 2012
Peter Dinklage is amazing no matter what, but yes, if Ned was the main character for season 1 then Tyrion is seasons twos. We are also only three episodes in. I'm sure we have a lot more Tyrion to come!
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Apr 17, 2012
I really think you're being a bit hard on Sansa. She is a bit boring and underdeveloped in the earlier books, but she has become one of my favorite characters. And I adore her role and character on the show. All of the Stark women are incredibly strong, and should definitely not be underestimated!
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Apr 17, 2012
Well, I thought this was the best episode of the season so far even though Dany and Jorah, who are my favorite characters, weren't around. Brienne is another fav of mine now and I love Arya's stoyline. The things she's been going through... Poor girl. Loved the last scene!
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Apr 17, 2012
For me it was a great episode. Again, the Night's Watch expedition from King's Landing takes the palms. Yet, I do find it weird how they shortened Arya's story. I mean, where's The Mountain? He was not with Amory Loch, as weren't The Tickler or Raff the Sweetling, who are The Mountain's men. I guess this group of men is a mixture beetwen Loch's and Clegane's. We should see The Mountain That Rides again pretty soon.



I think the way the whole Renly/Loras/Margaery was handled brilliantly. It's pretty much as I suspected after reading the books (I never bought the "easy-going innocent virgin" role Margaery played in the books).



I do wish the whole Theon baptims was handled differently. But the scene with the candle was beautifully added (it was not in the books). "Yara"(Asha) is starting to get too annoying, a sides of being too ugly and nothing like I imagined from the books.
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Apr 18, 2012
TEchinically Raff was the dude that killed Loomy with Needle so he is there. Armory Loch too was there which is cool. The mountain was not, but maybe they'll mix and match and show him in Harrenhal.



I always thought Asha/Yara to be a bit prettier, but seeing Balon and they way they live and dress it became more clear to me how the Greyjys and people in Pyke usually dress/look/ SO with that I don't mind at all how Yara looks, it fits with the place as let say a really hot Yara between a bunch or raggedy dressed people would not.
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Apr 18, 2012
I actually miss Asha's sharp tongue. She looks so blunt and cold in the series that I wish they had included some more dialogue for her character so far, because she's most of all naughty, very naughty!
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Apr 17, 2012
I agree. I pictured Asha (Yara) as being a really really hot chick.
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Apr 17, 2012
Haha, love the cropping.
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Apr 17, 2012
We put gravy AND cheese on our french fries in Canada, thank you!

It's called a Poutine!

No srsly, usually just ketchup!
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Apr 17, 2012
They could have started the Renly scene from when Margaery walked in (and left the Loras bit out altogether). Margaery's dialogue covered all the relevant points. As much material as they're finding it necessary to edit out, wasting that time onscreen seems a stupid move.
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Apr 17, 2012
Worst ep of the series so far. All the others have been great but this one was lacking in both scope and storytelling. I saw that head writers and series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss didn't even want to write this ep and farmed it off to writer Bryan Cogman. Hopefully GoT will return to its full glory next week. If not - I'm bout to just start reading the books instead. I rate this ep a 6/10.
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Apr 17, 2012
Well.. I watch the show 'cause i like the books... if the show goes too far away from it.. i'm gonna quit without any regret. I like when they take advantage of non developed characters of the books, but changing the history soo far could ruin he continuity in the future and make flat the show..
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Apr 17, 2012
1) I really like the Margery/Renly scene. The Margery in the books wasn't really developed at all - just kind of thrown around here and there - but she sticks around a while. I'm happy they're giving her a little more personality and drive in the show.

2) I'm sad that they skipped over so much of Arya's story, but I love her story once Jaqen comes back into it, so at least skipping bits of it get me closer to that!

3) I love Tyrion's storyline and thought the way they filmed the "I'm marrying Myrcella off to Dorne/Theon/Robin" bit extremely well.

4) I'd love to see more of Bran and his wolf.

5) Jon's story is finally coming together - I'm excited to see his journey happen in film because it was pretty awesome in the book.

5) Sansa's scene with Cersei, Tommen, and Myrcella was heartwrenching.



Basically, I'm sticking with season 2 while I wait for seasons 3 and 4 - in my opinion, book 3 was the very best. Totally amazing. Though I believe this episode was likely my favorite of the season thus far, even though there wasn't much Littlefinger or Arya in it and much of it strayed from the book.



Also, I thought it was a brilliant choice to have Theon sitting alone in the dark with that letter, only illuminated by that bit of candlelight. Really excellent way to show his descent into badness. And that's not really a spoiler - if you couldn't tell he was going to get badder, you weren't paying attention.
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Apr 17, 2012
In the books, didn`t Aeron hold Theons head under water when he was batising him?
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Apr 19, 2012
Yea if I remember correctly he basically drowns him. Strange thing is, apparently that's not Aeron, they haven't cast him yet, which explains why he hasn't had the scenes he does in the book.
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Apr 17, 2012
Those weren't men hired by goldcloaks, they were Lannister men, redcloaks led by Amory Lorch, one of Gregor Clegane's men.
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Apr 19, 2012
Technically he isn't one of Gregor Clegane's men, he is of House Lorch with the manticore on red background as his sigil, whilst Gregor is of House Clegane with the three dogs on a yellow background as his sigil.

Although both houses are banner-men to House Lannister. But Amory Lorch doesn't answer to The Mountain, thats for sure.

Not sure why I felt the need to write this to be honest, but maybe one person out there will find it interesting.
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Apr 17, 2012
For a fantasy show, there are far too many humans.
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Apr 17, 2012
"wah.... the tv show isn't exactly like the books, wah..."



god can you people shut the f--- up, the quality/high expense of the show, even with its ridiculously high budget ($50-60 million) means they can only do 10 episodes a season, and they've chosen to split season 3. the fact this show even exists and was greenlighted is a miracle in and of itself, and it's one of, if not the, best show on tv. yes, it would be nice if it could mirror the fantastic 2nd book 1:1, but it can't, stop being so god damn ungrateful and get over it. the show is still amazing.
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Apr 17, 2012
First of all, this is a GoT forum! What the hell do you expect? The TV show is adapted from a very popular book series. Of course the book-ies are going to have complaints about corruption of source material. Deal with it, 'cause it's not going away.



Secondly, I wish I could write that all we're doing is constructively criticizing, but it does venture into whining sometimes, and I can understand how non-book-readers might get frustrated. Personally, I love both, but I do have bones to pick, now and again.



It would be nice if we could have a separate forum for book-readers only.



OR



Oh, man, I just thought of this. What if Tim could write two different reviews? One for non-book-readers and one for us book-ies ... Nah, Tim would never go for that.
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Apr 17, 2012
i'm a huge fan of all 5 books and the tv series... i'm all for complaints when they're justified, and as a vociferous tv watcher i have a pretty critical eye when it comes to shows, but i really feel the GoT tv show has gone above and beyond the call of duty in the quality it's produced, and whining about Asha/Osha naming, nudity, not covering every bit of material in the books is really unwarranted... and it makes no sense -- if you've already read the books and have experienced those parts, why do you need to see EVERY one of those things translated on screen?



the tv show has added some great things that aren't in the books, especially varys/littlefinger moments that present some stronger foreshadowing for their roles to come than the books does... it should be judged on whether it's doing a good job as a tv show, not its ability to mirror the books 1:1. not to mention the unrealistic expectations of a medium that has so many time/budget/etc. restraints



should save the complaining for when the show does something actually egregious... which it hasn't done yet.
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Apr 17, 2012
I agree, except I feel they didn't spend enough time on "Margaery's bazoombas" *drool*
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Apr 17, 2012
In "Tudors", she was my Queen.
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Apr 17, 2012
Natalie Dormer is truly exquisite.
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Apr 17, 2012
I was most disappointed with the Arya, Yoren scene.



*Spoilers - for those who have read Clash of Kings only*



In the books, when Yoren is killed, Arya escapes with the other boys. There is also much confusion around Amory Lorch's men attacking the night's watch in the smallhold where they are camping. These men do NOT HAVE THE SAME MOTIVE (or at least knowledge) as the ones who tried to capture Gendry earlier as is implied earlier. The battle is more epic and, as said, Arya escapes (nearly dying to free the 3 in the wagon). Her and the other kids (hot pie etc.) then spend a long time heading north. It is only when she tries to rescue other survivors being tortured by the Tickler that they are captured by Ser Gregor's men.



These chapters all established Arya's character, her survival instinct and justified her enmity for the characters that become her nightly 'pray'. I do not like the pace at which the series is going, cutting out major and memorable scenes like the aforementioned for the sake of gratuitous boobage. Starting to mislike the series. The books were just too great, and the first was well ported to TV, but the next 5 encompass too much...
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Apr 17, 2012
I agree, the expedition of this storyline is slightly worrying. Her hatred of Ser Gregor's men (especially the Tickler) is a key plotpoint for her this season. But I'm willing to wager we will be introduced to them at Harrenhal (instead of the village where Arya and the others are captured) and will come to hate them as much as she does in no time at all. Arya was still pretty badass throwing the axe into the burning wagon and saving Gendry from certain death. Also, there was only one chapter when they were heading north, so not that much was cut. Arya is one of my favorite characters in the books, and I think the show is portraying her quite nicely.
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Apr 17, 2012
I'm also sure they will do it this way. They also don't have the luxury to delete too much pages of her story. Sure, she is the only character appearing in ever book but after book 3 there's really not much pages alltogether on her story and abandoning a character for half a season would be pretty bad for a TV show.
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Apr 17, 2012
I agree .. I feel like they've rushed the Arya story .. we hardly got to know Arry! I feel like we've missed a major part of her character traits.





Anyway ... Arya rocked in the 2nd book -- by far my favourite characted in it.
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Apr 17, 2012
**SPOILERS from the novels beyond Clash of Kings**



As good as the books were, GRRM tends to over-indulge in details. In the book, Arya builds a hitlist nearing the double digits...okay, we get it, lots of people have done her wrong! But for the sake of the television, witnessing her father is enough, IMO. Soon, when she starts hearing news that other members have dropped off, it'll be more than enough. Also, her quick thinking and survival instinct was clearly shown when she named the dead Lommy as Gendry.



Wait till you get to a Feast of Crows and a Dance with Dragons...GMMR goes overboard on excessive and redundant details at the great expense of plot development.
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Apr 17, 2012
And ... why the heck is Asha called Yara?? Does anybody know the reason why they deviated from the book? Her name sounds too similar to Osha?
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Apr 19, 2012
Yes, and now, as a clearly unforseen result, it sounds too similar to Arya. Too funny.
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Apr 17, 2012
That's exactly the reason given. It might sound ridiculous, but I came across a bunch of book readers who actually confused the two.
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Apr 17, 2012
yeah, I guess they are changing names where they see fit to avoid confusion.
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Apr 17, 2012
I can't believe they are taking so many shortcuts from the "Clash of Kings" book ... the main reason why season 1 was amazing was due to how close to the books they managed to tell the story. In season 1, it could be done in 10 hours because the characters and locations were so few (Winterfell, King's Landing, the Wall, the Dothraki and a bit of the Eerye).



Now, in addition to all the storylines in each of the locations from season 1, the second book adds Highgarden, Pyke and Harrenhal ... and a lot more characters we need to get emotionallly attached to! This can't be done in 10 hrs - should have been at least 5 or 6 more episodes.



They seem to be rushing some storylines (I remember Yoren staying alive for a lot longer in the books and being an altogether more kick-ass character also) and they waste precious time on the prostitute Rose and littlefinger's brothels (who cares?) and all these sex scenes (although, I must admit, I love this new approach to the Margaerie character :-P).



Maybe I'm just being nit-picky ... I still love the show. I just want it to be AWESOME so badly!! :-D
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Apr 17, 2012
Sure, Yoren was kick-ass, but ultimately, he's forgettable and doesn't impact the plot. Also, sure, the battles took place under different circumstances and was less epic, but given how many better battles are coming up and all the crap that goes down in Harrenhal, this battle was also largely forgettable. I'm sure there'll be a scene w/ the Tickler coming up...and thankfully, at least in the TV series, we only need to see things once to establish certain things. GMMR's character development, at times, feels like beating a dead horse...we get it GMMR, X character is BAD, and Y charcacter is GOOD, and Z character walks the line between both!



Also, I really like how they're showing how adept they the Tyrells are at playing the game of thrones so early on in the series. In the books, this doesn't get revealed until SoS and FoC.
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Apr 17, 2012
Who is this GMMR you keep mentioning?
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Apr 17, 2012
woops, i meant GRRM - the author! :S
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Apr 17, 2012
He's besties with R.J.J. Tolkien and K.J. Rowling, of course.
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Apr 17, 2012
Haha! You're like Tyrion. I can never best you in wittiness.
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Apr 17, 2012
Never heard of those two, but could you have meant J.T.T. Rolkien and J.R. Kowling?
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Apr 17, 2012
I am disappointed by the way both Asha (Yara) and Osha's stories are being scripted this season.



Osha only gets inside Kings Landing in the second part of the book, and not as Sansa's maid. In the books, The errands Tyrion ran while Osha wasn't inside Kings Landing were also ignored by the script, and most particularly the event that made Tyrion bring Osha inside, out of fear for her, as a maid (even more, not as Sansa's maid!)



Regarding Asha/Yara, I wish her acidic wits she slams Theon with in the book had been scripted just as in the book.
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Apr 17, 2012
By Osha you mean Shae. Osha is the wildling woman captured near Winterfell in the first season when Bran first went riding after his fall.
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Apr 17, 2012
Oops... You're right, that's Shae. I guess I'm becoming a victim of the name changing between the books and the series.
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