Hello, friends and bannermen. Sunday's Game of Thrones finale proved Arya finally learned how to stick 'em with the pointy end while poor Theon lost his most-prized sword. How did the episode 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 talk with Charles Dance about Sunday's episode "Myhsa" for a spoiler-free discussion.]
Hanh: I am filled with mourning that this will be our last chat for the season! I feel bereft, much like Theon. OK, maybe not quite like Theon. I lack the important piece of anatomy. But I did love Ramsay's sausage consumption scene!
Sadie: I love how they turned Theon's castration into comedy gold! Especially after last week, I think we all needed that bit of levity.
Hanh: Yes, seeing Joffrey sent to bed without supper also put me in a good mood. But with Theon, it was interesting to see Balon and Yara get the package with his, um, package in it.
Sadie: D.B. and David had to have seen the "D--- in a Box" mashup coming a mile a way, right?
Hanh: Did it get made? If so, link me! [Warning: Contains coarse language and implied sexual content.]
Hanh: Thank you! This is art!
Sadie: Aside from the fact that it made "D--- in a Box" relevant again, I also loved that Theon's castration made Yara much more empathetic. She's no longer just the woman who let her brother diddle her as a joke. She has heart! She has balls! Which is good because at least one Greyjoy heir should. Balon Greyjoy is like the Cryptkeeper, and I have to give her props for standing up to him and trying to rescue her brother. Though her mission makes me wonder if maybe she and Theon will be reunited sooner than I imagined.
Hanh: Who knows? Maybe she'll be delayed by Balon's death and the Queensmoot.
Sadie: If Yara's headed towards Deepwood Motte, then it doesn't look as though she'll be rallying in the Kingsmoot. If that even still happens.
Hanh: I feel like it needs to, right? In order for the second leech's death to become true?
Sadie: Balon will die, of that I'm fairly sure, but maybe Yara only has one uncle in the show or maybe neither she nor Vicatarion question Euron usurping the throne? I can't believe we have to wait months to find out!
Hanh: A year! Oy. Theon's "dismemberment" wasn't the only disturbing thing. We actually got to see the Robb/Grey Wind mockery. And so did poor, Arya! I HATED that she had to see that.
Sadie: That was just cruel! Hasn't she been through enough?!
Hanh: No wonder she became all stabby. That was my favorite scene, by the way.
Sadie: I clearly have a special place in one of the seven hells because I am so happy she finally became murderous. That's the Arya I know and love from the books. The second she walked up to those men and had that docile voice I knew they were in for it.
Hanh: And how The Hound is like, "Just tell me next time." Ha.
Sadie: I want a spin-off of them so bad!
Hanh: The Weasel and The Hound! Or perhaps wolf. As for Bran, we got the guest right story from him, which makes me wonder if they just did that to explain what a breach of etiquette that was or if they were going to kill off Walder Frey soon. (Hoping for the latter!)
Sadie: Ooh! I sure hope so. That would be one deviation from the book I'd kill for. Pun totally intended. Speaking of Bran, I loved his interaction with Sam and I'm sad it was so short lived. It was one of the few bright spots Bran, Jojen and Meera have had in so long. I wanted it to never end!
Hanh: I just liked that there was that recognition. "You're the crippled brother!" It feels like we're one step closer to the Starks uniting.
Sadie: Sam's an honorary Stark in my mind. I just wish he could tell Jon that he still has at least two brothers alive. But I guess he has enough to worry about without fretting over how crippled Bran is faring beyond the Wall.
Hanh: Well, we'll see how alive Jon is when we see him again. And while the Red Wedding episode ripped my heart out, this episode gave me a little heartache as well for both Ygritte and Shae. I wanted Shae to take Varys' offer to leave.
Sadie: I was torn! On one hand I wanted her to get away so I'd know she'd be safe and happy, but on the other hand, I'm selfish and want as much Shae screentime as possible. I'm really hoping they find another end for her than at Tyrion's hand, because she's just so darn perfect in the show. Especially when she told Varys how much she loves Sansa. That had me cheering in my seat.
Hanh: Yeah, well there was such a deviation for her character already. I think she's going to have to meet another death. I mean, I also suspect they'll change Tywin's death.
Sadie: But then how will we know whether or not Tywin actually sh--s gold?
Hanh: I can't see HBO sullying Charles Dance's performance with such an end. Or at least it will be off-screen. Maybe Tywin will be angrily forcing Shae to submit in order to teach Tyrion a lesson, and then deaths will result from there.
Sadie: I can definitely see Shae's death being different (and I think Tywin might just be the culprit), but I still think Tywin's will stay the same. Tyrion has definitely been getting slightly darker. When I read the books, I thought it was ridiculous that anyone besides Cersei would consider Tyrion murdered Joffret, but in the finale Tyrion's threats to the King were seriously ominous. It almost had me believing!
Hanh: Oh, I still didn't feel it enough. I figure they're going to ramp up Tyrion's careless comments/threats next season to make the case against him stronger. Well, how did you like Cersei's revelation that Joffrey was a "jolly little fellow" as a child? Ha! We saw a bit of that at the beginning of the episode. He was positively giddy from the Red Wedding news!
Sadie: I absolutely loved it. Joffrey really is still a child, the jolly part just doesn't come out as often unfortunately. Nothing a good nap won't fix though, according to Tywin.
Hanh: I know we're supposed to feel for Cersei, who loves her children too much, but I can't seem to sympathize when it comes to Joffrey. I was, however, frustrated by that teasing cliff-hanger when Jaime finally returns to his Cersei sans hand. In the books, she wasn't all that warm and welcoming. I wonder if they'll change if for the series. Oh, and there was not nearly enough Jaime-Brienne this episode! I feel the finales should have two hours or something.
Sadie: After Jon and Ygritte's violent heart-to-heart, the Cersei-Jaime reunion was definitely the most gut-wrenching scene for me. Jaime traveled all that way and he gets nothing from her! All because he's missing one silly hand. It's just unfair. And I agree, definitely not enough Jaime and Brienne. Especially since they'll most likely be parting ways fairly soon (sniff sniff).
Hanh: Well, to be fair, we don't know if Jaime gets nothing from Cersei in the scene. They just cut it right there. She barely has time to process what's going on.
Sadie: If I was her and Jaime walked in, I'd be in his arms faster than you can say twincest.
Hanh: I think it was in the editing. I felt she was in shock and then... SCENE. It would be lovely to get a Brienne and Cersei scene, no? The contrast!
Sadie: Oh God, I hadn't even considered that and now it's all I'm going to spend the next few months dreaming of!
Hanh: Fan fic!
Sadie: I'll get my LiveJournal up and running right away. This will take top priority.
Hanh: I kind of liked that Davos and Gendry bonded over the horrible conditions of Flea Bottom. And Davos told him to have a bowl of brown!
Sadie: They were so cute together my heart just squeed. You could really tell Davos switched into paternal mode. He couldn't save his own son at Blackwater, but at least he saved Gendry. And thank God Melissandre saved him! It's the one good thing the Red Woman has ever done.
Hanh: Well, I still don't care for her, but she will be sending Stannis up north to save our heroes, so I guess she's good for something.
Sadie: Her worth does pretty much end there, unfortunately.
Hanh: Or fortunately. Can we kill her now? I should have my own Arya-inspired hit list.
Sadie: You might scare our co-workers if they ever overhear you muttering your hit list under your breath. But as long as I never hear my name, I won't call the cops.
Hanh: Tolerant of you! I will let you live.
Sadie: Huzzah! All is right with the world.
Hanh: Did the Daenerys scene feel somewhat anticlimactic to you? I like the overhead shot, but there was a disconnect for me. They definitely should have taken the Dany scenes out of last episode and saved it for this one.
Sadie: Yes! I was afraid I was the only one who felt that way. After a fun, exciting episode Dany's scene was such a snoozefest. Yes, the last visual was beautiful and I'm always down for more dragon shots, but sheesh! That's how they ended the season finale?
Hanh: Full of meh.
Sadie: Plus, the second she started crowd-surfing I rolled my eyes with a fervor typically reserved for Smash. It was so out-of-character bad! I don't know what they were thinking.
Hanh: OMG, yes. I did a spittake. I expected a beach ball (or at least bouncing head) to appear next. Overall, what were you satisfied with from the whole season? I'd have to say Jaime-Brienne, Red Wedding, Arya-Hound and Theon's torture. Oh, and Tywin and Olenna. Let's hear it for the oldies!
Sadie: Oomph. Putting me on the spot! I'd definitely agree with Jaime-Brienne, Arya-Hound, Tywin-Olenna and Theon's torture were standouts. I also really loved the awkward triangle between Shae, Sansa and Tyrion.
Hanh: That's a good one, the triangle. It's definitely a new element that makes things that much more poignant in the series. Sansa was practically joking with Tyrion! It was nice to see her so jolly.
Sadie: All I've ever wanted was Sansa and Tyrion to bond, even if it only lasted a minute. It was as though the show heard my prayers.
Hanh: As for what needs work... I think Daenerys' story line has been moving too slowly for my taste. It's as if she's not just in another place, but another time. I know they're following the books, but still.
Sadie: They've deviated so much in other storylines, they really should spice up Dany's. Especially when it started out so great this season. That de-nippling was grotesque perfection.
Hanh: Yes. They owe me a beefed up Dany story line after that horrid "they stole my dragons" thing last season.
Sadie: I'd also say that they have to do something to make Gilly more interesting since she's going to be around a while. Almost every time they cut to her and Sam I have to struggle to care.
Hanh: Yeah, totally boring. Although... I don't want to witness Sam punching his V-card. Who knows what language the ravens will learn from that?
Sadie: Ewww! I forgot that happened. Maybe they'll just skip over that part.
Hanh: Him becoming a man? Hmm, maybe. I didn't really see the point of Osha and Rickon staying with them for this season either. Before we close this out, any hopes for next season?
Sadie: A million! But I guess I'll narrow it down to: Tyrion kiling Tywin on the toilet, Shae living, Arya making it to Bravos and Theon to be full-blown Reek. Oh! And lots more Tormund Giantsbane. I'm a sucker for that ginger beard.
Hanh: I know who I'm getting a life-sized Tormund standee! For me, I want Brienne-Cersei and Brienne-Jaime scenes, more Arya and Hound bonding, Shae to live (saying it twice is the charm, no?), Yara saving Theon/Reek, Joffrey's excruciating death and Hodor to get more lines. Readers, what say you?
Check out this "Inside the Episode" and share your thoughts about the finale and hopes for Season 4 below: