Hello, friends and bannermen. Game of Thrones is winging its way to our TVs faster than a raven, and just like our dark-feathered friends, it brings ominous tidings. But before Season 3 kicks off on Sunday (9/8c, HBO), let's get the Thrones conversation going.
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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! There will be a show-only recap/postmortem posted every Sunday evening after the episode for spoiler-free discussion.]
And now, to address the mammoth in the room:
Hanh: Going into Season 3 of Game of Thrones, the obvious event on every book fan's mind has to be what is called The RW. I'm so scared of spoiling anything that I don't want to spell it out, but I assume everyone reading this chat knows what horrible event we're talking about.
Sadie: When I read the book, I couldn't look at it again for days after I read that scene; I was so upset. I'm terrified of it this season, to be honest.
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Hanh: There's definitely that sense of dread about that scene, but it's also a heavy responsibility to know what's going to happen on the show and not slip up about what's coming to friends. It's very stressful, in fact. Have you spoiled anyone on anything yet? I did! It was tiny (Theon feeling up his sister), but I felt like crap about it.
Sadie: I haven't! I always make sure to ask everyone I know who watches if they know first. But speaking of The RW, they say Season 3 is going to make Ned Stark's death look like a party!
Hanh: [Cues up "Dead Man's Party"] Did you know that The RW was going to happen? I already knew because someone spoiled me on it, so I had this foreboding feeling before reading it.
Sadie: I remember I texted a friend freaking out about Tyrion's wedding and they just said, "Just you wait until the next wedding." It was the most cryptic text.
Hanh: Ha! Perfect tease. Yeah, there isn't a good record for weddings in this book.
Sadie: It's like school dances on The Vampire Diaires. Something always goes wrong
Hanh: Since Book 3 is being split across two seasons, that raises the question of just when The RW is happening. I assume it will be this season.
Sadie: It would be a crazy cliff-hanger of a finale, but I feel like they'll want to take us off guard and do it earlier, especially because I'm anticipating the fallout from it just as much as the actual RW. Does that make me a little horrible that I'm excited to see the RW? I feel like a serial killer.
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Hanh: Yes, you're horrible and so am I! I think all of us are anticipating it (will so-and-so die exactly as described?). If the leaked episode names are to be believed, then RW should probably happen in the penultimate episode, called "The Rains of Castamere." Do you remember the significance of that song?
Sadie: It was based on Tywin, wasn't it?
Hanh: Yes! The National did a great cover of it here. But "The Rains of Castamere" is about Tywin eradicating Castamere, which was ruled by House Reyne (yay puns!), so it's a very warlike and ominous song. I want to play it at parties now.
Sadie: This is amazing! Now where's there cover of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"?
Hanh: Well, I've heard/seen some online, but I don't think those are the official (HBO series-approved) ones. I think they did hire someone to record it this season. Hold on while I look...
Sadie: I always get nervous to hear songs from books, because I always make up tunes to them myself. Thankfully, I'm rarely disappointed. It's probably because I have no sense of rhythm and therefore my interpretations are terrible. Singing about genocide really makes me want to dance. (That's my Lannister wit right there.)
Hanh: You're not blonde enough to be one. Besides you'll always have to pay your debts. No deadbeat Lannisters! OK got it. There will be a cover of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" by an indie band called Hold Steady, sez EW. Surprisingly, I can't find a leaked version online yet. I hope it's properly, drunkenly raucous. I can just imagine all the kiddies screaming, "A BEAR! A BEAR!"
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Sadie: Is hipster Daenerys going to be in the music video?
Hanh: In her unicorn onesie, twerking. Or what does GRRM call his horsey animal? A zorse! Best name ever.
Sadie: A zorse is a zebra and a horse, aka my dream animal — besides a jackalope (which would totally be my sigil). What would yours be?
Hanh: Hmm, dream animal is tough. For some reason, people associate me with chickens — but that's so not elegant or cool enough. I don't want that on my sigil. I am drawn to most big cats and also octopi/kraken types. (Ah, Theon!) So maybe an amphibious cat? Aqua Cat!
Sadie: That sounds ... terrifying. Way to give me nightmares! Speaking of Krakens, I really hope they show the Iron Islands a little this season, mainly because I want that Kraken mantel. If I could have that mantel and Renly's crown, Ilyn Payne could do his thing and I'd die happy.
Hanh: I love Krakens! I got that as my fake tattoo at the Game of Thrones premiere party, and so many people were giving me sh-- about it. They were like, "Do you even watch the show?" And I'm like, "Yes, bitch, and I love Theon! He's awesome."
Sadie: He is awesome! I don't know why people be hating? So he betrayed Robb and hit on his sister? He's the best.
Hanh: I thought was interesting is that our editors asked me if it was possible that the people in the RW wouldn't be killed since the show doesn't always follow the book. I was like, "WTH? NO!" The big deaths are definitely going to happen.
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Sadie: I think there would be a full on riot. I saw the Emmys panel this week and George R.R. Martin was discussing how the producers were killing off people or had killed off people that are still alive in the sixth book.
Hanh: Right. Like Rakharo, one of Dany's bloodriders, was supposed to stay alive longer in the books, but died in Season 2. So did her Dothraki handmaiden Irri. So, here's my question to you: Knowing what is going to happen, do you still enjoy watching the show?
Sadie: Hmm... it's tough. I feel more emotionally prepared. Like, if I hadn't read the books, then watching The RW would probably destroy me...When Will Arnett and Amy Poehler got divorced I cried and ate half a jar of Nutella with my bare hands. This would be ten times worse.
Hanh: Heaping more coals onto the fire .... Fans have had such an overwhelming anger towards Martin.
Sadie: Over what?
Hanh: They've been waiting for the books so long that when Game of Thrones the show started, they felt he was just taking more time away from writing and completing the book series. I mean, we've all read the forums. They're really vicious! They're afraid he'll die before he finishes the final two novels.
Sadie: Well, in a way the show might actually speed things up because now there's a deadline.
Hanh: I agree! I think the show keeps the fandom in the forefront of his mind and so he's driven to write constantly.
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Sadie: I'm more worried about the show catching up!
Hanh: Yup! The kids are already growing up. Bran's face looks so different!
Sadie: They're going to have to recast him soon. This isn't like Taylor Lautner in Twilight. Going to the gym and eating bags of meat won't keep you 11.
Hanh: But as long as Hodor looks bigger than him... maybe it will work? Or maybe they can castrate Bran!
Sadie: They can CGI him like they do the direwolves. Either option works, really. I'm excited to see how long they keep Bran and Rickon together. And to meet Jojen, aka the cutest kid from Love Actually!
Hanh: Yes, yet another Game of Thrones kid I'll want to adopt! So it's pretty clear that you and I are excited about and on board with the show, despite all the changes from the novels. Maybe we should open up the floor to the readers now and see what they think.
Game of Thrones premieres Sunday at 9/8c on HBO.