Hello, friends and bannermen. On Sunday's Game of Thrones Daenerys and Jon Snow made proposals, and the Stone Men thrilled us! How did it match up with the books? How did it differ?
This weekly chat series is for fans of George R.R. Martin 's A Song of Ice and Fire books, upon which HBO's fantasy drama is based. It's meant to be a safe haven to discuss spoilers and changes from the novels and how they have played out or will play out in the TV series. Hanh Nguyen and Sadie Gennis are longtime fantasy fans of varying levels of geekiness who will sound off on all things Westerosi (and beyond!).
[Warning: If you're a Game of Thrones fan who has stumbled upon this chat and haven't read the books yet, begone! Instead, check out our postmortem for "Kill the Boy" for a spoiler-free discussion.]
Sadie: Was it just me, or was this the best episode of the season so far? Previous episodes had been more about getting the pieces in place for all the big events to come, but "Kill the Boy" began really digging into each individual conflict. It felt like a real tipping point for me.
Hanh: I definitely felt that for the Dany and Jon Snow story lines. It's like each of them had attended a leadership seminar (does that make Tormund and Missandei the show's Tony Robbins?) and decided to take real action. Unexpected ones for their followers. The show also handed back Dany's mojo, making it her idea to marry Hizdahr and basically having her propose to him (instead of vice versa as in the books). I wonder if Daario would care. He doesn't seem particularly tradition-bound.
Sadie: While the changes to Dany's plot this season have been small compared to the other departures, I think they have been crucial to keeping her story engaging and maintaining her status as a hero worth rooting for. In the books, she's constantly compromising and is incredibly reluctant about doing so. Everything she does is never really her idea. But now, even if the end results are the same, at least her downfall is of her own making. She chooses to marry Hizdahr. She takes swift and harsh action against the great families. I loved seeing Daenerys back to being her empowered badass self, even if I don't agree with all of her decisions.
Hanh: Yeah... crisping up the head of households is kind of a full-on mad Targaryen thing to do, but she at least realized that it was not a sustainable option. (And at least Viserion and Rhaegal got some fresh prey!) Speaking of dragons, one of my favorite stories this episode was Tyrion and Jorah's. Wandering into the forgotten world of Valyria, seeing Drogon... it was all magical. The expression on their faces!
Sadie: I loved how the show used Drogon as the distraction right before the Stone Men attacked because it completely worked on me! It wasn't until I was re-watching the scene that I noticed the Stone Man lurking in the background behind Tyrion.
That entire scene was so intense, even though the SFX makeup wasn't the most terrifying, becase I knew what was coming but I couldn't get my mind to accept it. I mean, poor Jorah! Can that man ever catch a break?
Hanh: Haha! The Stone Men were chilling in a way that I hadn't expected (and man, if they were ever setting up poor Shireen for an untimely burning death, this was the episode), mainly because you question how much of humanity is in them, what that turning point is. And no, Jorah keeps paying and paying. This is a deviation I totally support since this means no Jon Connington/Griff/Young Griff story line from the books, which introduced too many new people I didn't care about.
Sadie: Here's my big question: Since Jorah has been infected with greyscale and Mereen hasn't been touched by the bloody flux, could greyscale be the epidemic that ravages Daenerys' city? Or does she have enough on her plate that the show will skip the infection disease angle all together?
Hanh: I feel they'll skip the plague, and I can't imagine that greyscale would replace it. It seems too permanent a blow to Meereen. Also, didn't early footage show Jorah in the fighting pits? Maybe he'll die an honorable death to make up for all of his wrongs. And of course with the death of Barristan the Bold (RIP!), this sets up Tyrion to be her Westerosi adviser. I want them to get to Meereen already!
Sadie: Same! And I'm with you. I really hope we get to actually see some Tyrion-Daenerys interactions, rather than more missed connections. Luckily for us, the show has always been good about bringing characters together, rather than building dramatic irony through those "so close, yet so far away" failed encounters. Which is one reason I'm glad we finally got the Reek and Sansa reunion we've been waiting for. And holy %#$&, was that a tough dinner scene to get through. You could read so many conflicting emotions on both Sansa and Theon's faces: horror, hatred, fear, pity, guilt. I love that even at a civilized family dinner, Ramsay finds ways of being a monster.
Hanh: Yes, it's interesting to have read all that in their faces. I would like to hear Sansa say straight out what she thinks of Theon/Reek, or at least what she thinks she feels about him. I wonder if he'll reveal that Bran and Rickon are actually alive? I think one of the reasons why this whole plot is so delightful is that it is completely new and created just for the show. I'm losing faith that there will be revenge pie served though. Also, yes, Ramsay was such a monster this episode. And not to defend him, but we see where he gets it. He's at least a monster that you see coming, he's loud about it. As opposed to his dad Roose who seems so civilized, yet so casually recounts the rape of Ramsay's mother and can say, "The Lannisters send their regards" while stabbing you.
Sadie: I loved that scene between Ramsay and Roose! But Fat Walda's pregnancy does throw an unexpected wrench in everything to come and makes both Sansa and Ramsay's position much less stable.
Hanh: True. But Stannis is on the way now (that will probably take a few episodes... maybe up to Episode 9?), and Brienne has a means of communication, so again, this wholly new plot for the show fills me with so much anticipation. I have no clue what to expect here. Should I get ready to mourn for Pod?
Sadie: Forget mourning Pod. Should we be preparing to mourn Jon? We still don't know whether or not he survives the stabbing at the end of A Dance with Dragons, and Sunday's episode found him finally putting the wheels into motion that will lead into his own demise (which is a recurring theme this season. See: Dany, Cersei, Jon). Though, I'm beginning to wonder if it will be Jon's love of the Wildlings, not his decision to ride against the Boltons that will ultimately lead to his brothers turning against him "for the Watch." Olly's role in the episode had me wonder if maybe he would play a part in Jon's stabbing, but to have him kill both Ygritte and Jon seems a bit too neat.
Hanh: Jon's proposal was certainly not popular. Ha! It would be bold if the show definitely killed off Jon, but I doubt it. With all the talk of Rhaegar this season, they have to make a reveal about Jon's parentage, right? Maybe he'll be greatly injured, which would delay that revelation until the final season.
Sadie: Here's my thing: Even if Jon "dies," he can still be brought back. We've seen it done before on the show and the books, and Melissandre clearly has invested interest in him. Maybe that's why. It's all leading up to Jon being stabbed by his brothers for one reason or another, and Melissandre bringing him back and revealing he is the Targaryen prince that was promised.
Hanh: Dammit, if only the show had done that for Lady Stoneheart! I don't know why, but I don't like the idea of Jon being killed only to be resurrected, but yeah, it would make sense. Melisandre will have to do something to win back followers after what's probably going to happen to Shireen. And on that grim note, let's see what the readers thought of the episode.
What did you think of the Stone Men? Do you prefer the way this Dany has decided to solve her problems? What are your predictions for Sansa's plot?
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
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