This will be another one of those posts where I go into detail of things from the books.
I WILL BE GOING INTO DETAIL ABOUT THINGS FROM THE BOOKS. THIS MAY BE CONSIDERED A SPOILER, SO I AM NOW LABELING THIS POST AS SPOILERS.
I’m giving you more chances to click away before I get into the details, guys. Don’t blame me if you continue reading. I will be talking a little bit about what will happen in the next episode as well.
Ok, you’ve been warned!
Last weekend, audiences were shocked, delighted, and choked up over regicide. I wrote a thing about it here. While it didn’t go scene for scene word for word, there was much of the movements and dialogue that was the same from the source material, aside from one or two moments that got moved out of sequence.
To revisit: 1.) Jamie is not back in King’s Landing at the time of Joffrey’s death. 1.5) Tywin and Prince Oberyn talking. 2.) Ser Barristan Selmy is disguised as an aged warrior who squires for a large former gladiator of the Meereen death pits, and has not relieved himself to be the former captain of the Kings Guard. 2.5) Daenerys has NO resources when she comes to the gates of Meereen. 3.) Sansa’s wedding jewelry was a hair net, not a glass necklace. These are the main points I’ll be addressing here.
AND THE LIGHT OF THE SEVEN BLESS PODRICK PAYNE. A truer squire has there never been.
I’ll start by saying Tywin Lannister speaking to Oberyn so frankly doesn’t happen. I actually LIKE this change, especially when Daddy Lannister drops the “Dany has three dragons and is setting her sights on Westeros” bombshell. We know the ships carry stories of the dragons, but they are mostly dismissed as rumor, even though every single ship from Qarth and other ports across the narrow sea tells the same tale, the Unburnt Stormborn Last Targaryen has three dragons. He goes on to say that only Dorne withstood the onslaught of Aegon the Conqueror and HIS dragons, meaning that despite whatever else Tywin has said, he understands Dorne’s strength and importance making this additional scene one of the most important in knowing his understanding of events in other parts of the world. I also really enjoyed the scene where Tommen (who is supposed to be 8, by the way) shows us he’s not completely inept, and might actually do a good job sitting the Iron Throne while talking to his grandfather about what makes a good, strong, just, and wise King while completely ignoring Cersei which makes her feel even more powerless.
So Jamie doesn’t return to the Red Keep til after Joff is dead. When he and Brienne come through The Gate of the Gods, they have already heard the news of the King’s death on the road. Imagine you’re Jamie, the true father of the King, and you hear that your eldest son was murdered at his wedding, possibly at your brother’s hand. So keep that part in mind. This would mess up anyone. We do get several aside thoughts of Jamie’s, where he doesn’t know HOW to feel because while yes, Joffrey was his son, he never was able to have a close relationship with him. His mind goes to Cersei first, imagining her in black mourning, and it immediately goes to a carnal place, wanting to be ‘inside her again’. (Suddenly Luke and Leia’s chaste ‘good luck’ kiss doesn’t seem so bad). The FIRST TIME Jamie sees Cersei again, it is while she is leaning over her dead son’s body laid out in the royal Sept, which is the largest chapel of the faith of the Seven in that part of the world. Cersei is crying, leaning over Joff’s body, and at first, Jamie just stands there staring at her form. He sends away the septons and the guards, telling them he needs time alone with his sister. I’ll totally give her points for recognizing him in his state, though. She calls to him, but remains still. Jamie thinks to himself “She has never come to me, she always waited, letting me come to her. She gives, but I must ask,” giving us HUGE insight into the dynamic of the golden pair. Cersei asks Jamie to kill their brother Tyrion, but Jamie says he must know more of what happened, to seek the truth of the matter. She kisses him lightly, ‘a mere brush of gentle lips’, but he leans in and begins to ravish his sister, ‘there was no tenderness in the kiss he returned to her, only hunger’. Cersei breathlessly says, “No, not here, the Septons,” in protest, but Jamie returns with “The Others take the Septons” and basically rapes his sister. I say basically because we as a society have decided to quantify rape as any time one party says no, and the other presses the issue. He lifts her onto an altar, ripping her skirts and shift while she ‘pounded on his chest with feeble fists, murmuring about the risk, the danger, the wrath of their father, about the Septons, about the wrath of the Gods, but he never heard her’. So, this is rape. In a church. Next to the dead body of their son. She DOES however change her tune once he’s already penetrating her, from an obvious NO, to a “hurry now”. The scene in the book even goes so far as to tell us Cersei is on her period with the line ‘her moon’s blood was upon her, but it made no difference’. This is an important visual thing in the context of water and blood often signifying rebirth of a character, and this happening is a pivotal moment in the life of Jamie. ‘The pale marble altar was smeared with blood, Jamie wiped it clean with his sleeve’. He will never be the same after this scene happens; this is the moment he decides to take control of his own life, and refuses to listen to his sister/lover/Queen.
I talked about it in my previous piece, but Ser Barristan Selmy, the former Lord Commander of the King’s Guard of King’s Landing was forcibly removed from his position by Queen Cersei after the death of King Robert on the grounds of Selmy “being too old to continue his services”. “Arstan Whitebeard” has been traveling with Dany since the attack of the manticore, which he saves her from. He is squire to a VERY large former gladiator Strong Belwas who was a former fighting slave in the pits of Meereen. We don’t know this bearded man in a hooded cloak who fights with a quarterstaff for Khaleesi Daenerys is the same man until they stand at the gates of Meereen. Without any resources to mount a siege; that means no wood to build catapults and such as she has in the show. That moment of making it rain broken slave collars? Awesome visual, and I like it, but it’s not in the book. She is without possibility of getting into the city. They stay camped outside for at least a week, and food is scarce. Sickness is breaking out, her freed men and women are getting restless, and she is desperate. The city of Meereen sends out a battalion of warriors to meet Dany’s army, and a ‘hero’ to meet her champion face to face. The Meereen guy unlaces his pants and takes a piss towards the direction of Dany’s pavillion, an insult to provoke action. Dany sends Strong Belwas out to face the ‘hero’, not because of this “you’re too important, I’m not sending you” thing, but because if a former slave beats this guy, theoretically the slaves of the city will be more likely to rally to her cause. Yes, the hero comes at Belwas on a horse with a spear, not a freaking lance, (seriously, the scene in the show was more the fight between the Prince of Dorne and The Mountain which will happen within an episode or two) and allows the hero to wound him once on the chest as he does with every opponent so you can count the scars and see how many men he has bested. Belwas makes short work of the man, killing him, and then drops trow and takes a dump in the direction of Meereen, wiping his butt with the banner of the city. Once this is completed and he returns to Dany, the conversation of “well, we can’t fight them one on one, we need to do something” happens, and Brown Ben Plumm an escaped slave of Meereen speaks of the sewers and them being the only possible access point into the city. The matter rests for the evening as Dany takes Arstan on a ride through the camp of her followers. She is pulled off her horse and almost killed by the escaped Titan’s Bastard who has sworn revenge on her, but Artsan makes short work of him, apologizing for letting the Bastard get as close as he did to the Khaleesi. Upon their return to the pavillion, there is an argument that breaks out when Dany tells Jorah “you might have let me know the Bastard escaped”, and Jorah stupidly counters with “I didn’t see the need to frighten you”, which is never a good idea, you guys. It is revealed in this moment that Arstan is actually Barristan Selmy, and that Jorah has been selling out Dany ever since he joined her side in Pentos. Because he’s a big fat lying jerk. “But I stopped reporting on you after you almost died from the three assassination attempts I knew about,” totally not a good excuse either. This moment is something we won’t get, because we’ve known in the tv show that Barristan is Barristan, and I’m curious how this “Jorah has lied” thing will work out. But BECAUSE Dany is so mad at them for lying to her, she sends them down into the sewer to break into the city, free the slaves, kill the masters, and open the gates to her Unsullied army.
The ‘necklace’ Ser Dontos gives to Sansa wasn’t that big of a change from the jeweled hair net in the book, and I even said so in my other piece. My issue is with the complete dismissal of the glass stones when Littlefinger crushes them on the bow of the ship once Sansa is brought to him. What the hell? The stones are supposed to look like almost black dark purple small amethysts, not opaque light blue large drops. As far as the relevance, I guess it isn’t much, but it bothered me and needed to be stated none the less. Also, the “money buys a man’s silence for a time, but a bolt through the heart buys it forever” line had me shouting THE BOLT IS THROUGH HIS FACE, NOT HIS HEART!
Hopefully, the next episode (more than likely 2 of them) will bring us up to speed with the end of book three and beginning of book 4. And I want the battle for the Wall, Stannis and Melisandre appearing, Mormont’s raven, and everything that goes with it.