Hello, friends and bannermen. Game of Thrones' second episode revealed the fates of several more favorite characters that we didn't have time for in the premiere. That's right, more Starks! 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 recap of Sunday's episode "Walk of Punishment" for a spoiler-free discussion.]
Sadie: I don't even know where to begin for this episode.
Hanh: Well, for me, I was happy to finally hear "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" — first within the episode, and then the rollicking cover over the end credits.
Sadie: I loved the jump from Jaime's amputation to the Hold Steady cover! It reminded me a little of The Departed in a weird way, with the mix of violence and fun dance music.
Hanh: I still want to hear it sung drunkenly though... by Tyrion or Bronn perhaps? Or even by kids. That would be funny. Give Rickon something to do.
Sadie: I always forget Rickon exists. After all the characters they've killed on the show, I just wish they would knock him off too, since he serves about zero purpose.
Hanh: Yep! It's pretty much a joke at this point. That's why I'm always inventing things for him to do. Watch, he'll fool us all and take the Iron Throne.
Sadie: Ugh (insert Liz Lemon eye roll). I'd rather have Joffrey on the throne. At least he's entertaining.
Hanh: Ha, wel,l you know my feelings. Mo' Joffrey, mo' better! He's always fun.
Sadie: This episode was seriously lacking in Joff and his snark. Actually, this episode was just seriously lacking for me.
Hanh: Well, they waited until the last possible moment to take off Jaime's hand. So at least we all got our wish! And I enjoyed when he had to define what "unbesmirched" meant.
Sadie: That's true! And it was a great cliff-hanger. But other than Jaime and Brienne's storyline, I found myself either slightly bored or frustrated. Does anyone really care about Pod's virginity? Or that he's apparently some sort of natural sex god?
Hanh: I actually found that funny. What did he do to them? Such a mystery.
Sadie: Maybe that plot will come into play later, but for the first time in the series I felt like it was simply written in for gratuitous nudity and for Tyrion and Bronn to bro out.
Hanh: Well, I feel like it has to come back somehow, even if it's to keep the whores in play more.
Sadie: The whores definitely seem to be playing a much larger role in the show than in the books.
Hanh: Well, they have expanded the role of Littlefinger's whore-in-chief Ros a lot. Perhaps to have someone else take that more whorish role, since Shae is more of an undercover companion at this point. Which makes me wonder if her betrayal of Tyrion in the books will happen like that on the show. If at all! It seems there's far more love between them on the show.
Sadie: I'm starting to think Shae has been reshaped into a much more loyal character, which makes me kind of disappointed. I feel as though to drive Tyrion off the edge, he needs to experience that betrayal by Shae and his father.
Hanh: Maybe she won't have a choice somehow. But for Tyrion to kill her.... yeah, I can't see that happening on the show.
Sadie: Also, what is going on with Stannis and Melisandre?
Hanh: Ugh! The hate people usually reserve for Joffrey I have for Melisandre.I think she's going to go off and fetch Erdric Storm, perhaps.
Sadie: Aha! That makes sense. I forgot they hadn't found him yet.
Hanh: I want her to drown in the sea. At the hands of the Ironborn.
Sadie: That would be the greatest surprise! She has always been my least-liked character. Unfortunately, the show is making me hate Stannis too!
Hanh: Yeah, while the show has made some women stronger, some male characters have been demoted, I feel. Stannis has been made to look like a horny fool.
Sadie: I'm obviously Team Robb for the Iron Throne, but I always had empathy for Stannis because technically he is the rightful king and it's clear he had a good heart. He might be tough, but he's always rational.
Hanh: And Edmure is a goof!
Hanh: Though the rightful heir is Dany! How dare you! LOL the Iron Throne has gone through so many hands.
Sadie: Well, true. But until she's in the Seven Kingdoms (and people know she's even still alive), then you can't blame Stannis for his claim.
Hanh: It bears arguing that whoever is the conquerer should actually win it.
Sadie: Dany did have my favorite moment in this episode, hands down. And I think it's also one of the only moments in which the show has improved upon George R.R. Martin's writing. "All men must die. But we are not men." Pure freaking genius. I did an awkward little cheer at my desk (which I'm sure turned heads).
Hanh: Ha! Honestly, even though I like Daenerys in theory, I was never a fan of hers. Maybe she's made to be too remote for me. I'd like to see some humor in her. The best time I liked her was when she was against her brother. Her championship of the Unsullied is interesting, of course, but in kind of a theoretical way. By the way... on the show, they never mention that the Unsullied are drugged! I wonder if they only want to attribute their loyalty and skills to extreme training. Also makes me wonder if Missandei will actually be related to any of them on the show.
Sadie: I feel as though her opportunity to admit that came and went now. The entire interaction with Missandrei was lacking, I felt. Dany didn't seem to inspire any faith or gratitude in her.
Hanh: I understand why they made Missandei older, but yes, that takes away from that automatic bond, of Dany being a mother figure to her. But we'll see how the grand emancipation of the Unsullied plays out.
Sadie: Now that's a scene I'm looking forward to!
Hanh: I'm always happy to see dragons crisp up some slavers!
Sadie: The second I read the word "crisp" I got hungry, but when I finished the sentence it made me feel like Hannibal Lecter.
Hanh: Oh, I always go that route. Cannibalism, as long as it's not real, is very intriguing to me.
Sadie: Which characters would you pair a red or white wine with?
Hanh: I think it depends on the preparation and sauces.
Sadie: I think Dany would be a white and Tywin a red.
Hanh: Actually, I think Dany might be red if she has blood of the dragons in her. Something spicy!
Sadie: Ooo, very true. You convinced me! But switching gears before we scare our readers... We're both going into this Theon story completely blind, if I'm correct. It's kind of exciting, since we already know the big moment this season is working toward, to have some mystery still.
Hanh: Actually, no, I know part of what's going on with Theon. I felt I needed to in order to cover the show. But I will reserve my comments to Book 3 only! So what do you make of his escape?
Sadie: I am completely baffled. There are so many characters we've already met on this show and so many that are still to be introduced, it can be hard to keep track. Am I supposed to know the person who saved him at the end?
Hanh: I'm just happy he's back! I had missed him in the books. But I don't think so ... not really? I think we only saw his face when he was sweeping the torture room and helped him escape initially. But when he killed the guy with arrows... I think that's where you're confused, yes? The guy who died acted as if we should know him.
Sadie: Exactly! Which also made me feel as though I was supposed to know who the guy who died was.
Hanh: Yeah, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out if we've seen him, but I don't think we have.
Sadie: That scene made me want to go out and buy Book 5 immediately ($15 for a Kindle book, be damned!)
Hanh: I'm confused enough as it is, trying to keep my Book 3/Season 3 story lines straight. I do have to say that the show has succeeded in its casting enough for me to envision some of the actors while I read the book. So sometimes I think I've seen it on the show when I haven't.
Sadie: Oh, vivid imagination!
Hanh: But you know, in general, I must agree that this was a transitional episode. Lots of stuff put into motion, which makes me hope that the next episode really advances it.
Sadie: Agreed. I have no doubt that all my frustration at this episode will be paid back (with Lannister interest) next week.
Hanh: I did think it was cute that Hot Pie made Arya a wolf cookie. I would like to have a Game of Thrones-themed feast. Oh, and just an aside, I could do without some of the North of the Wall stuff, but I did enjoy seeing the horse heads arrayed out that way. Sometimes that visual is worth it.
Sadie: I wanted to screengrab that immediately. I find it strange that the show is making the wildlings' journey more about war than simple survival though. It's much harder to root for them!
Hanh: Really? I got war from them from the books too. I just thought the show was boiling it down more.
Sadie: I always felt the wildlings were happy to have an excuse to attack the Wall, but what they really wanted more than anything was just to put the Wall between them and the Others.
Hanh: All things north of the Wall seem a bit remote for me sometimes. But I do want to see Jon Snow get some and that crazy climb though. Besides the RW, I'd have to say that is a visual I've been looking forward to for Season 3.
Sadie: The cave scene!
Hanh: I hope Ygritte gets to say, "You know nothing, Jon Snow" as pillow talk!
Sadie: I'm sure that'll be a huge turn-on for him.
Hanh: LOL. Those crazy Stark men. And yes, I do count him as a Stark.
Sadie: As you should! Even if Cat doesn't. She is really killing my buzz this season. I almost feel like just kill her and get it over with, since it's as though they don't know what to do with her still alive.
Hanh: Maybe that's a good place to end. Readers, which characters are you just ready to see die on the series for the way they're portrayed? Weigh in below!
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.