I would like to remind everyone that the “Song of Ice and Fire” otherwise known as Game of Thrones has been a published series for over a decade. The first book was published in 1996, and so there has been PLENTY of time to read them. I understand some people don’t have the time or the inclination to read large tomes, but please, do yourself a favor, and do not read things labeled spoilers. THIS IS NOW LABELED AS SPOILERS. I’m a reviewer, a writer, I talk about things before most people see them because it’s my job. I do my best to wait for long enough to give the majority of folks time to watch/read/enjoy for themselves, and if there are potential spoilers in what I write, I will in fact label it as such. That is as far as my professional responsibility to readers goes, it is up to YOU to decide for yourself NOT to read further. After you read past a certain point, you only have yourself to blame, and cannot cry to the interweb Gods that something massive has now been ruined because you couldn’t help yourself.
Ok, so, this past Sunday, something happened on HBO’s hit Game Of Thrones. This is an understatement, as the show continues to be a focal point of the majority of watercooler talk on Mondays since it began. Those of us who were die-hard readers of the books have been waiting for YEARS for certain events to take place, just to see how the “Oh I’m not gonna read the book” folks reacted. (I give you the example of the TONS of videos on youtube of the “Red Wedding” reactions.) I will remind those reading this piece that we still in the show haven’t technically made it all the way through book 3. That’s right, we’re still covering things that happen MID WAY through book 3.
1. Jamie isn’t back in King’s Landing yet. That doesn’t happen until after the Purple Wedding, post death of his king/son/nephew and someone else who I won’t say yet. He isn’t there when it happens. His first reunion with Cersei is….um…an unholy thing. While Tyrion and Jamie DO HAVE A MEETING where Tyrion says “Look at the two of us. Handless and Noseless, the two Lannister Boys”, it’s not until AFTER other big things happen.
2. Jamie’s sword partner while he’s learning with his other hand is Ser Ilyn Payne, the tongueless headsman who brought Ice down upon Ned Stark’s head. Not Bron the sellsword. Payne is not able to speak, which makes him the ideal sparring master for the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard who doesn’t want anyone to know he can’t fight with his remaining hand. There are lots of lessons where Ilyn is described as wordlessly cackling, which I was dying to hear.
3. Arya says her prayer every night, naming those who have wronged her that she seeks vengeance on. When one from her list is killed by her own hand, or even just killed/dead outright, she’ll say “Valar Morghulis”, which she didn’t at the Inn in the season 4 premiere.
4. Ser Dontos the Fool should have already been in play since mid third season. Not sure why they’re rushing his involvement with Sansa, but there you have it.
5. The Red Viper Prince Oberyn of Dorne and his paramour Ellaria Sand should have ALREADY been introduced. (Again, in book 3, they should already be kicking around causing mischief in the brothels.)
6. Stuff with Jon Snow on The Wall should be getting really crazy about now. Monarchs will be appearing out of no where, the first battle for Castle Black happens, and the ravens do their thing with no help from Sam. You’ll see what I mean. Hopefully.
7. I’ve talked about it before, but Ramsay Snow (Bolton) comes to Theon disguised as the broken man Reek, convincing Greyjoy to murder the two miller’s boys and tell the world they were actually Bran and Rickon. It wasn’t a “oh hey I’m Ramsay Snow, and I’m here to royally frak up your plans, dude” like it’s done in the show. You don’t know for almost a book and a half that the SECOND Reek living at Winterfell is actually Theon. It’s pretty gory and awesome at the same time.
8. With the Ramsay/Theon/Reek thing we also can say the way Ser Barristan Selmy gets revealed to Daenerys is different as well. In the book, we are unaware of “Arstan Whitebeard”s true identity til it is revealed almost a full book after his appearance at Khaleesi’s side. It is a BIG reveal, his “I left King’s Landing to seek out the TRUE heir to the Iron Throne,” and he makes Jorah look like a traitorous asshole, which he is.
9. Daario Naharis and his recast. While yes, the previous actor playing the Tyroshi pirate was not even CLOSE to his description, this new guy isn’t any closer. Where is the three pronged bluebeard? At least he has the naked lady hilts on his Wanton Blades.
10. Something I’m becoming more sure of is that Tyrion’s mistress Shae is possibly Sarella Sand, the Sand Snake we never meet because she is off on her own adventures. And with what happens with Shae, it makes sense.
11. Gendry ‘Waters’ never meets Melisandre, nor does Thoros of Myr or Bedrick Dondarrion. They are replacing the character in the book of Edric Storm (one of dead King Robert Baratheon’s bastards) with Gendry. The meeting of two red priests is something you always want to see in the books, but it never happens, making me feel like the show did a disservice to those of us who were left wanting in the pages for so long.
12. The Purple Wedding itself.
This will mainly be about the wedding. Ok so, to begin with, Ser Dontos SHOULD have been influencing Sansa for a longer period of time, convincing her he was her best hope to get home, that he had a plan. He also gave her a hair net to wear at Joffrey’s wedding, not a necklace as was used in the show. The same motions happened however, with Lady Olenna Tyrell The Queen of Thorns coming to Sansa and adjusting her jewels as depicted here. That part totally happens. The things I’m complaining about however are the changing of the cup the Tears of Lys go into. The strangler stone SHOULD go into the large ornate wedding goblet Mace Tyrell (the bride’s father) gave the couple, which they both drink out of. This is important for the later trials because by all accounts, Margary should have died too.
The Jousting troupe SHOULD be two dwarves, one male one female. One rides a dog the other a giant pig. This is an important thing, because in later books, the female dwarf Penny and her mount Pretty Pig become regular characters. In the TV episode, all the jousters are male. Yes, even “The King In The North” with his wolf helm is shown as being a male in the lineup at the end of their display. This choice is strange, as again, it does play into storylines farther on in the series in the future of Tyrion.
Joffrey dying in the arms of his parents in front of the gathered wedding guests? Yeah, that doesn’t happen. Jamie isn’t there, but Cersei does rush for Joff and holds him while he turns purple and points towards Tyrion.
And of course this all seems strange when the episode was written by Grandpa George himself. RR Martin writes at least one if not two episodes per season, and I was really surprised when it was pointed out this was one of his. So, at least, he has the story’s integrity foremost in his mind with these changes. I’m very curious to see how the rest of this season shapes up, and how far into book 4 we’ll get once they’ve finished with the outstanding “Storm of Swords” stuff.