I was so excited in the hours leading up to last night’s Game of Thrones premiere I could barely think straight. It’s rare for me to get so excited about a piece of pop culture these days; I’m older, I’m more cynical, and I can more easily see through Hollywood’s deceptive veil. But man, Game of Thrones makes me feel like a giddy teenager again.
Overall, this was a pretty standard Thrones opener. With so many characters and so many complex plotlines, GoT premieres have basically become “check in with all the people” installments, and often it feels as if the show has two premieres. They can’t fit all the characters into one episode, so they spread them out between the first two (like in season 3).
I’ll admit season 4 had a better opener. “Two Swords” is one of the show’s best eps and got the audience up to speed much more elegantly than “The Wars to Come” does, though the latter is still a good episode. Last season’s second episode had a Holy Shit moment in the Purple Wedding; season 5 seems to be moving at a more deliberate pace, which I think is appropriate considering that with the death of Tywin Lannister, the board has been swept clean.
I am going to separate my recap into a NON-SPOILERS section for show watchers and a SPOILERS section for book readers, and will be separating the discussion by location. But let’s start with the opening.
First off, this was the longest recap ever, clocking in at just under three minutes. This “Previously On” illustrates just how sprawling the show has become, and just how difficult it is to adapt A Song of Ice and Fire into a TV show. When Lancel Lannister shows up in A Feast For Crows, you immediately remember who he is because you’ve read about him and committed him to memory. But without that “Previously On” I doubt any show watchers would have remembered who the hell that was.
Also, just wanted to point out a nice detail in the opening titles—Winterfell is no longer eternally burning, but it does now sport the Bolton sigil. Depressing but cool detail.
Now on to the opening scene, the show’s first-ever flashback. The Ds were adamant about not using flashbacks when they first started writing the show, and I agree that it is a lazy trope, especially in a post-LOST age (dammit, Lindelof, get out of my head!). But there isn’t really a more natural way to get this information across—in the books Cersei just recalls the memory, but that doesn’t work visually, and it’s an integral scene. I thought it was a cool way to open the season and that the actor playing Young Cersei was amazing; she had Lena Headey’s mannerisms down to a T. My only real criticism is why is Maggy the Frog hot? Why does every woman on this show have to be in her 20s and hot? Missandei is 25 and hot (she’s 10 in the books). Maggy the Frog is 25 and hot. Why? Why couldn’t she be an old crone? I get that the point is she has this reputation as a hideous monster and then is just a lady, but she didn’t have to be a hideous old lady, just an old lady. Anyways, minor criticism, but it bugged me nonetheless.
The main takeaway from this scene is that Cersei has believed since she was little that her children would all die; considering the odds stacked against Tommen, this definitely puts him on the chopping block. A distinction from the book is that Robert had 20 bastards—my guess was the number was increased to account for all the dead babies from the nightmare-inducing season 2 infanticide montage.
At King’s Landing
At first, “The Wars to Come” had a natural progression of scenes; it wasn’t until halfway through that it started to feel like a recap. The Cersei flashback leads naturally into Cersei attending Tywin’s funeral. Inside Baelor’s Sept she and Jaime argue about Tyrion, and the show then naturally cuts to Tyrion traveling via box to Pentos.
I’d like to give a shout-out to my main man Kevan Lannister, arguably the nicest and most level-headed of the Lannisters. He’s basically “Nice Tywin” and he does play a significant part in A Dance With Dragons, so I was wondering if they would bring him back. I don’t think he’s been around since Season 2, and generally the show is reluctant to reintroduce old characters, so his inclusion was a nice surprise. Kevan may not be as important on the show as he in the books; in this ep he mainly exists for exposition. Since he’s Lancel’s father and Lancel is the show’s introduction to the Sparrows, he really only appears to talk about who the Sparrows are. But hey, at least they used the same actor!
Lancel was buffer and had a new hairdo, making him almost unrecognizable, which was effective. He’s supposed to seem like a completely different person, and changing his look helped. Also I love that he is such a dweeb and is so full of himself that he thinks it was him using Cersei and not the other way around; he was very clearly Cersei’s temporary Jaime replacement.
When was the last time we got any sexposition? Anyone remember? Season 4 was actually kinda light on the sex and nudity by comparison with previous seasons, so I’m guessing it’s been a while. Well I hope you like sexposition and I hope you like man ass because the Ds gave you a whole bunch of both! Well, I suppose there was only a bit of sexposition—in the Loras/Olyvar scene, Olyvar notes that one of Loras’ scars looks like Dorne, and then tells you where all the cities in Dorne are. Sexposition, everybody! God, I love sexposition.
Some people have noted that there was a lot of man ass in this ep and have wondered if this is the writers responding to the criticism that there should be more equal opportunity nudity on the show. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, I really could care less—this is my least favorite topic of discussion concerning Thrones. I love boobs and I’m not offended by floppy dongs, distracting as they may be, so I am completely neutral on this controversy. Daario has a pretty nice butt, though. Just sayin’.
I didn’t quite get why Margaery chilled in her brother’s sex den. Like, the Tyrells clearly aren’t incestuous, and they’ve already established she knows her brother’s gay, so I don’t know why she was being all creepy. I did like her checking out Olyvar though, that was a nice touch.
There are some characters the show has done a good job of expanding upon or improving, namely Brienne and Bronn. Then there are some they kinda screwed up. Loras is one of those. Can you tell me anything about Loras that doesn’t involve his sexuality, his family or his lovers? No, because he has no character traits. He’s a good warrior I guess, but that’s about it. His main character trait is GAY. Loras is GAY. That is about all there is to him. Now look—I appreciate that there are gay characters on this show and gay sex scenes because I believe in progressivism, and I understand that to make this often droll and dry fantasy story palatable to gen audiences, the Ds need to make all the gay characters from the books HELLA GAY. Oh, there’s an offhand line about Oberyn sleeping with men and women? Well, we better have an orgy scene where he slaps a guy on the ass, then. You get what I’m saying.
But if you think about it, the show isn’t being particularly progressive because the Ds don’t really know how to write gay characters beyond GAY. Renly had a bit more to him but Loras and Olyvar are just GAY. And it’s disappointing because Loras is actually an interesting character in the books, but changes were made (by necessity) that worsened him. In the books he has two other brothers but that’s more names and faces for the audience to remember so now he’s the only Tyrell bro and that means he’s the one who’s getting pledged to Cersei. Well, if he’s marrying Cersei, then he can’t join Joffrey’s Kingsguard like he does in the books, which means he doesn’t have much else to do other than bang man whores. That in and of itself is a little obnoxious, as even on the show Loras is supposed to be madly in love with Renly, so much so that he never really gets over his death, but here he’s pounding butts one year later (time moves faster on the show) and talking about running away to Dorne. He’s just a character that I like in the books but does nothing for me on the show, and beyond some man ass, I doubt he’s doing much else for anyone else.
I really liked the POV shot of Tyrion passing through various ports. It was an elegant visual device to quickly skip his voyage from King’s Landing to Essos. Peter Dinklage and Conleth Hill are always wonderful in their scenes together, so I can see why the Ds went off book and decided to have Varys accompany Tyrion on his journey. Also no one would remember who Illyrio is, though he is mentioned here. In general I support keeping memorable characters around because TV works best with a consistent cast. An ever-rotating cast of characters works for A Song of Ice and Fire, but not its TV counterpart.
That being said, where was Illyrio? I mean, if they mention him why not bring him back? Was that actor not available? Probably, but it’s not like they have a problem with recasting. I guess it would have detracted from the Varys/Tyrion scenes, so it makes sense to cut him, just seemed weird to have Varys mention him but not have him appear on screen. Maybe he’ll show up to see Varys and Tyrion off next week?
Regardless of whether or not we see him, we did learn a bit about Illyrio and Varys and their plans. Both characters are as mysterious in the books as they are on the show, with their true motives always hidden, so this episode was illuminating for book people as well. Varys basically said that he and Illyrio are part of a society of Essosi who think Westeros is going to shit (which sure, but like, you guys still have slavery) and want to reinstate the Targaryens to get everything back on track. That’s… not really enough of an explanation for me. It still doesn’t explain why a merchant from Pentos and a mummer from Braavos would give a damn about their neighboring continent. I suppose it could be the Valyrian connection—the Valyrians were the greatest civilization Essos ever knew and the Targaryens are their descendants so perhaps Illyrio, Varys and their secret society just want to put someone with more of an Essosi flair in charge? I dunno, we’ll probably learn more later (at least in the books).
I really loved the two scenes with Varys and Tyrion; they had the right amount of comedy and foreboding drama. Tyrion being a drunk, like he is in the books, is great, especially him puking then immediately refilling his glass like it ain’t no thang. But as much as I like these two characters, I still find Show Tyrion’s motivation lacking. In the books Tyrion kinda goes on a Walter White arc. At his core he is a kind, nice person with a good heart, but after so much shit befalls him he slowly descends into villain territory. For me, this started when he had a singer killed and turned into stew. Which was fed to people (GRRM loves cannibalism). Seemed excessive. Then he killed Shae. She had it coming, but still. He leaves on bad terms with Jaime in the books, and more or less hates everyone in his family as he travels to Pentos. In A Dance With Dragons, his motivation is pretty simple: burn House Lannister to the ground. Literally. With Daenerys’ dragons.
But if he has no enmity towards his House beyond Cersei, what exactly motivates him to go to Meereen and join up with the other side? Varys gives a nice speech, sure, but it just doesn’t quite cut it for me, the same way him going up to Tywin’s chambers in the season 4 finale lacks the proper motivation when you remove Tysha from the equation (what is it with these books and the letters T-Y?). I appreciate that Tyrion is more of a straightforward hero on the show because it needs that, especially as Daenerys might be heading into sketchier territory this season. But from a screenwriting standpoint, I don’t think his motivation is quite strong enough. Minor quibble, though.
When their eps veer into “checking in on everyone” territory, Game of Thrones often likes to connect its scenes thematically or visually. They’ve done better, but “The Wars to Come” did seem to use freedom as its primary theme. Now that they are free, the Unsullied go to brothels just to be cuddled. Hizdhar makes the case for reopening the fighting pits, explaining that hey, if the freedmen wanna do it, let ‘em do it. Daario sorta reiterates that point in the scene featuring his ass, where he tells Daenerys about his backstory. Said backstory is all made up for the show, but that’s fine because Daario has zero backstory in the book, and never really stands out because of it. He’s just a sexy sellsword from Tyrosh in the books; that’s about it.
Apparently he was sold into slavery at the age of 12 by his mother and fought in the Yunkish fighting pits (I’m assuming it’s Yunkai, they were sorta unclear on this but it seemed like all the fighting pits were supposed to be in Yunkai) until being freed as a man. Though it was still technically sexposition, it felt more natural than Loras’ Dorne scar, and helped define Daario a bit more, who is still coming into his own in Season 5.
The real philosophical discussion over freedom came in the Castle Black scenes, but it was still interesting to see Daenerys grapple with even tougher decisions than those she faced last year. The dragon scene was cool; I like how big they’ve gotten and it makes me excited for when we next see Drogon.
I could never see another scene between Missandei and Grey Worm, though. I could never see Grey Worm again and die happy. He is the most worthless character on the show and his relationship with Missandei is its most boring. I don’t care. I don’t care at all about these two characters. I care a little bit about Missandei, but only in the context of her being a gal pal to Daenerys. In the books the Unsullied are just sorta there. They are mindless killing machines; even after Daenerys frees them they are cool and complacent because they’ve been brainwashed their whole lives. But now we gotta follow one around even though by his very nature he is devoid of personality. Daenerys has another eunuch companion in the book who is a million times cooler (he’s named Strong Belwas; that name alone should tell you how badass he is), but I understand why he was cut in favor of Grey Worm, and I’m pretty sure I know why this silly romance with Missandei has been such a focus (see below in the spoilers section if you wanna know).
My wife also hates Missandei/Grey Worm and said she finds little details from the books way more compelling than any of their nonsense. She specifically called out a scene in which an Unsullied visits a brothel to get cuddled which is SO SAD. Just SO FREAKING SAD. Hits me right in the feels. And lo and behold, we were given a version of that scene… that was even more sad because the poor bastard got his throat cut. Sad as that was, it was a good segue into introducing the Sons of the Harpy. I also liked the tearing down of the Harpy statue, even if it looked a little CG-ish. It was a little fake-looking, but it was nice to see a full CG shot like that. On a sidenote, when White Rat first showed up in that green screen shot and looked at the camera, did anyone else think, “oh shit, did they recast Grey Worm?” Because I did for a second.
In the Vale
Poor, poor Robin Arryn. To be honest, I always kinda hated that kid but my wife has been making me more sympathetic lately. When you think about it, he’s a sickly little boy who’s been spoiled by his insane mother his whole life, and now she’s dead and he’s just being carted around like an object and not a person. It’s sad.
The Vale stuff is the only place where the show seems to be significantly surpassing the books, and I think that’s why George released a Sansa sample chapter last week. It’s been a while since I read Feast, so I’m not 100% positive, but I’m pretty sure there is talk of fostering Robin with the Arryns, and on the show it’s already happened. Littlefinger leaves Robin with Bronze Yohn Royce before departing with Sansa to what is almost certainly Winterfell. When Sansa asks where they’re going Baelish says, “to a land so far from here, where even Cersei Lannister can’t get her hands on you” and then they played the Winterfell/Stark theme music. So they’re definitely going to Winterfell. Why? Well check the spoiler section for my thoughts on that.
The actor who plays Bronze Yohn is growing on me. I know show people have no idea who the hell Bronze Yohn Royce is, but he’s a character I liked from the books and I had a strong mental image of him that the actor they cast didn’t match. But now that I’ve seen him in two episodes he seems to be capturing the character well. I like that he always wears that giant breastplate; that seems like a very Bronze Yohn thing to do.
I think everyone, show and book alike, would agree that Sansa as Alayne is the most interesting the character has ever been. Sansa is a good character, but her story works better in a novel than it does on screen. She has no agency because she’s a child and a hostage and just keeps getting shuttled around. Now she’s finally taking action and playing the game, and it’s very exciting.
In the episode’s silliest moment, Pod urges Brienne to get back on the trail of the Stark girls, at the exact moment that Sansa and Littlefinger drive by in their carriage. It was over the top… but I loved it, and it actually was a good visual representation of Brienne’s story from A Feast For Crows, which is to say, Brienne is terrible at tracking down Stark girls. I still much prefer Show Brienne to Book Brienne, thanks in no small part to Gwendoline Christie’s stellar performance.
At Castle Black
The Wall was where my favorite scenes took place and made up the most of the episode’s runtime. Everyone got to check in and show their face, even Dolorous Edd and Tormund. Gilly is great. I like how no-nonsense she is. When she expresses worry that Ser Alliser will send her away, Sam says “I promised, wherever you go, I follow” to which Gilly responds, “you can’t leave. They’ll execute you.” Keep being a badass, Gilly.
Melisandre and Jon is one of the most interesting character pairings from A Dance With Dragons and I was very excited to see it on screen. Melisandre is herself, one of the most interesting characters in the series, and like Illyrio and Varys, is very mysterious. What I like about her is that she comes off as a good person doing very evil things because of her convictions. I love the way book and show play with the audience’s conceptions of good and evil by presenting them with characters that skirt the line. Melisandre does evil things, namely burning people alive, but she believes that what she’s doing is good. It’s not an excuse she tells herself to justify her actions; she genuinely believes in the power of the Lord of Light, and she has reason to—the show reminded me of a detail I had forgotten, that Melisandre is literally warm at all times thanks to R’hllor. Don’t know how excited I am to see her try and seduce Jon, though…
“Are you a virgin?”
Oh yay, what are you, gonna leech him like you leeched Gendry? Leech on the dick scene, is that what’s happening here? Sigh. Hey… anybody seen Gendry btw? Is he still rowing that boat?
Anyway, moving on… STANNIS. My boy, Stannis. He’s getting better. Slowly but surely they are improving his character. But there are still details from the books that they neglect that make him worse. For example, Stannis’ mission in the North is motivated by a plea from the Night’s Watch. All the other claimants have ignored the Watch’s call for aid, and Stannis realizes that in order to be King, he needs to protect the Realm and answer the Watch’s call. When he saves the day at Castle Black, the Night’s Watch chants “STANNIS, STANNIS, STANNIS!!!!”
Because the show needs to move faster, his mission has basically been boiled down to Kill the Boltons. That’s fine because the Boltons are awful, but it makes Stannis seem a bit more power hungry, like all he really wants is to claim the North. But man, Stephen Dillane is still killing it: “I shall take back the North from the thieves that stole it. Tywin Lannister is dead, he can’t protect them now. I shall mount Roose Bolton’s head on a spike.” God, I hope so, Stanny. I really do.
It also occurred to me that Stannis has been made more villainous not because the Ds have it out for the character, but simply to distinguish the other claimants from Daenerys, to make her appear as the best candidate. This isn’t quite as interesting as the books, where one wonders if Stannis would actually be better at ruling than a horny fifteen year-old girl with three giant monsters, but I understand why it’s being changed. This was exemplified by Varys explaining to Tyrion that the Seven Kingdoms need a ruler “gentler than Stannis but firmer than Tommen.” Daenerys, especially Show Daenerys, falls under that category for sure.
Glad Davos is still around; he’s one of my favorite characters from the books. However, since his subplot is getting cut and he’s at the Wall with Stannis, I doubt he’ll have much to do other than stand around and give sage advice. But hey, the more Davos, the merrier.
A minor criticism, but it has always bugged me how quickly word spreads on the show. It’s been what, a week, and a Raven has already reached Castle Black with word of Tywin’s death? I mean, I get it, it’s the show, whatever, but it bugs me a little.
Let’s cut to the chase. The real meat of this ep was the Jon/Mance stuff. Mance was never a huge presence on the show, but they saw him out in style. Ciarán Hinds is a great actor, but never had much to work with until his final scenes. The conversation between him and Jon was fantastic and I was blown away by Hinds’ performance. The little twitch in his eye when Jon tells him he’s going to burn—just really amazing stuff. I liked the philosophical discussion the two had, about principle vs. practicality. Give up on your principles but keep your life? It seems like a no-brainer but there’s more to it. It’s not just that Mance can’t bend the knee; he doesn’t want to send his people into more battles. “My people have bled enough,” he said, and he meant it. He can’t bend the knee if it means enlisting his people against their will. How can the Free Folk be free if they’re slaves? It’s all summed up by his final words to Jon. “I think you’re making a terrible mistake,” the young Black Brother says. “The freedom to make mistakes was all I ever wanted,” Mance says solemnly. As someone who hates structures and bureaucracy, I totally understand the sentiment.
The burning was hard to watch but beautifully done. This was no quick burning like Melisandre gave the Florents in Season 4—here she slowly but deliberately lights the pyre, one piece of wood at a time. Again, Hinds’ performance is master class. You can see Mance trying so hard to appear brave and strong in front of his people, but as the fire catches, the fear in his eyes is palpable. The editing in this scene was top notch. Close-ups show us that pretty much everyone present is not okay with what is happening other than Melisandre and Selyse.
Can I also say that Selyse is just the worst? At least Stannis doesn’t enjoy burning people and treats his daughter like an actual kid. Poor Shireen! How many burnings has she had to watch now? That actor is also good. How does this show get all the good kid actors? Except for Olly. Fuck that kid.
At first Shireen watches but when Mance starts to scream both she and Gilly look away. Jon seethes with anger before putting the King Beyond the Wall out of his misery. I liked that he seemed to be struck by Mance saying he doesn’t want his people to see him go out like that. As soon as he starts screaming, Jon preserves his dignity with an arrow. I think the cutaway that really got to me was Tormund’s. Kristofer Hivju is also excellent and here could only act with his eyes. But seeing him tear up as he watched his best friend die, this man he pledged his whole life to… man, as savage as the Wildlings were in battle, as horrible as the things Tormund has done are, it was still a sad thing to see.
In the end, Mance was a good character weakened by a lack of screen time. Ultimately they did a good job of making you care about him right before he died, and I think his principles will remain in the viewers’ minds long after they’ve forgotten about him. That scene was everything Thrones is good at: horror, tragedy, philosophy, all rolled up in a scene you want to turn away from but can’t. I like that Mance even vouches for Stannis, saying he respects him and that the Realm needs a man like him on the Iron Throne. His final words are great: “This was my home for many years. I wish you good fortune in the wars to come.” R.I.P. Mance.
And that’s it! Sorry this was so long but there was a lot to discuss. Next week we’ll hopefully see Arya and the Boltons, and I hopefully will write a much shorter recap.
BEWARE, FOR THE NIGHT IS DARK AND FULL OF SPOILERS
- So there was no mention of the Valonqar in the Cersei flashback scene, leading me to believe that detail has been cut, which is fine. Cersei believing everyone is out to kill her kids is enough motivation to justify her descent into madness, and the Valonqar is a weird and complicated concept. The only thing is that the Valonqar is supposed to kill her (according to Maggy’s prophecy), and a sizable contingent of book readers believe that that person is Jaime, so I wonder if that aspect of Cersei’s story has been significantly changed for the show. It’s hard to say as much of this is speculation until The Winds of Winter releases next year.
- I am very excited for a Cersei-heavy season; she’s the character you love to hate and Lena Headey is great at bringing that to life. That being said, I am not keen on Show Jaime and want him to get to Dorne as quickly as possible (which should happen soon, if spy reports are to be believed). A lot of the choices and changes that piss off book readers are ones made of necessity, so I have sympathy for the Ds, and nothing but disdain for book zealots like AngryGOTFan. Getting Jaime to King’s Landing faster is a change made of necessity, to give him more to do and more screen time in general. But it kinda ruins his character, or at least lessens it. Nikolai Coster-Waldau is perfectly cast and is great at portraying the character, but his relationship to Cersei is his weakest trait, and I like that the books tackles that quickly, and moves on to an arc of redemption. On the show, Jaimie is still Cersei’s obedient lapdog… I guess? That’s part of the problem: their relationship is so all over the place—one second he’s raping her, the next she’s openly telling everyone she’ fucking her brother—that it’s hard to know how to feel about it at any given moment. I prefer Jaime and Tyrion having a fallout like they do in the books—maybe that will happen now that Jaime knows he killed Tywin, but I suspect Tyrion will be the sore spot that ultimately drives Jaime and Cersei apart. I mean, c’mon, Jaime… you can’t honestly be so dumb as to think the Tyrells murdered Tywin. But hey, at least he’s not standing over his dad’s corpse thinking about stuff for 2 hours straight.
- I think we’re gonna get a couple eps of Varys and Tyrion hanging out in Volantis, then Tyrion will be kidnapped by Jorah.
- I am fairly certain Kevan and Pycelle will meet their doom by season’s end, as they do in the books. I think Varys will disappear from the show for a while after Jorah kidnaps Tyrion, and will return near the end to kill Kevan and Pycelle and pave the way for Daenerys, not Aegon. I think 99% of book readers have resigned themselves to the fact that the Griffs are being cut. There’s some mild hope, but it seems unlikely, especially with all the streamlining, and honestly? I like that twist and I think it’s great, but it wouldn’t work for TV. Makes sense to cut it. Hell, when I first read it I was really stumped as to how they would adapt it for TV. Sometimes the novels aren’t perfectly transferable; it’s a hard fact that these crazy book zealots need to accept. Recently I was telling a friend how much I love the story-within-a-story in A Song of Ice and Fire, about how there’s this whole other plot involving Rhaegar and he said, “yeah, but I want to watch the Hound and Tyrion smoke a blunt, not listen to people talk about a guy who’s been dead for years.” Exactly.
- Since Loras isn’t in the Kingsguard, it seems unlikely Cersei will send him on a suicide mission at Dragonstone, as she does in the books. But I think Cersei will still try to destroy the Tyrells any way she can, and Loras is a prime target. Since his only character trait is GAY, my wife suggested that Cersei may reveal that secret to the Sparrows and Loras will be put on trial and then executed, flogged, punished, whatever. This would make sense since they made a big point of saying how flippant he is with his man whores and how he should really be more careful as King’s Landing is riddled with spies.
- I think most book readers would agree that Grey Worm is doomed. There’s no Strong Belwas on the show, so that means Grey Worm is gonna be the sucker who eats the poisoned locusts, and since he’s not a huge dude like Belwas, pretty sure he’s gonna die. Why else would they have written this Missandei subplot and built up Grey Worm as a character if they didn’t want you to feel bad when he eats it?
- I’m not a book zealot, so I don’t get mad at changes and streamlining on the show unless they’re particularly egregious (e.g. Jaime raping Cersei), and I don’t think the Ds wanted another season of Daenerys in Meereen. So I don’t mind that the war with Yunkai is being cut. It would have been awesome to see, but it’s too expensive, and just another battle leading to the endgame. But I do find it kind of hilarious that what is a giant conflict in the books has been resolved with just a few lines of dialogue. Last season the Greyjoys were wiped from the show when Daario stole the Yunkish fleet for Daenerys. If she’s got a fleet, no need for Victarion to exist. Now there’s no need for her to fight Yunkai, because Hizdhar went and hashed it all out with politics. It’s possible hostilities will erupt later in the season, but I doubt it. I guess they just gave up on Astapor though?
- So Littelfinger is taking Sansa to Winterfell… but why exactly? I was wondering how they were going to do the Bolton plot on the show as they clearly weren’t going to do Fake Arya. Jeyne Poole was on the show in season one, but never had a line and then vanished. When I saw photos of Sansa in the North, I figured that was where they were going with that plot, that she would take Jeyne’s place and marry Ramsay. But why? Why would Littlefinger marry her to Ramsay? If Ramsay marries a Stark then like Tyrion, he becomes the official Lord of Winterfell, solidifying the Boltons’ claim on the North even more. My wife suggested maybe Littlefinger is pledging Sansa to Ramsay as Alayne, but what good would that do anyone? Alayne is a bastard (at least in the books, I’m not sure about the show, where she’s Littlefinger’s fake niece, not daughter) so marrying her doesn’t help Ramsay out none, other than allying the Boltons with the Arryns I suppose. I dunno, I really don’t know where it’s going beyond Sansa going to Winterfell. If I had to guess I’d say Theon will rescue her and bring her to Stannis like he does Jeyne, but beyond that I don’t know what’s going to happen, and am very excited to find out.
- I think it’s safe to say Mance is actually dead on the show. Most book readers seem to agree, and Ciarán Hinds has been doing interviews as if he’s actually dead. It could be the Ds are pulling some serious J.J. Abrams shit and it’s all a ruse, but it would be an elaborate deflection for a character that isn’t exactly a fan-favorite. It would also deflate that final scene of all its emotional impact if he wasn’t actually dead. It’s also hard to believe it wasn’t him; why would he address Stannis like that if he wasn’t Mance? The Lord of Bones has been recast and is coming back this year, but since he didn’t show up before Mance’s execution, it seems unlikely that Melisandre’s glamor is happening. The only reason she keeps Mance alive is to enlist him in rescuing Arya, but since Fake Arya clearly isn’t happening, there is no need to send Mance to Winterfell. Thus, I think he is the first of the season’s non-book casualties. Hopefully there won’t be too many more…