Hello, friends and bannermen. Sunday's Game of Thrones gave us sex, creepy feelings and sometimes both in the same scene! 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 recap of Sunday's episode "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" for a spoiler-free discussion.]
Game of Thrones "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" recap
Hanh: Uh, wow. For once I'm glad that Theon's torture was not explicitly shown. I have to assume that they were going to castrate or geld him, since that was alluded to in the books. I just wish he tried to get away instead of getting turned on by the whore -- who is not one of the good whores on this show! But I suppose being tortured made him befuddled.
Sadie: I actually don't remember any allusions to Theon parting ways with his little general.
Hanh: Yeah, I think it's more of hinted at
Sadie: Hmm... I doubt it will go much farther than the physical torture stages, but hopefully we'll start to see him emotionally break pretty soon. Even though I'm a Theon sympathizer, I'd love to see him become Reek (rhymes with weak), etc. He's very traumatized from Ramsay's torture, but we saw him try to escape still. That's note something Reek would dare attempt. Ramsay's so twisted, I couldn't help but worry what he's going to do with Theon's thing once it's off.
Hanh: I feel he already has! But any sort of removal/damaging of his manhood will surely do so. His idea of self-worth and power was so wrapped up in womanizing. And he won't bounce back like Varys did. It makes me wonder how far they're going to take Theon's story this season. I know that his sister will come in, so at least that much we'll see, but not until the end though.
Sadie: Asha/Yara and Theon will be reunited?!
Hanh: Not certain about reuniting, but Yara will definitely show her face. It may have something more to do with Balon though.
Sadie: Ahh, okay. That's right. We still haven't seen the kingsmoot. Reading Book 5 and watching Season 3 are leaving me so mixed up, especially since they decided to bring Theon's story line into this season.
Hanh: It makes the most sense to do so since Season 5 (or 6) couldn't really work in flashback. But I think a midseason miniseries would have been a lovely alternative.
Sadie: Or maybe just run Game of Thrones daily and all year round, soap-opera style. Money, schmoney! It'd be worth it!
Hanh: Ha! I don't know if my poor heart could take it. As it is, the suspense and foreshadowing for Episode 9 is killing me!
Sadie: I knooow! When Robb and Talissa were being so sweet and tender -- I just died. But talk about gratuitous nudity!
Hanh: Well, it allows us to see how Robb got a baby in her so fast.
Sadie: Haha. True. And there definitely has been a lack of shirtless Robb recently. Now that we're talking, this whole episode was so romance heavy
Hanh: Orell is part of a love triangle! That was different.
Sadie: Yes, that was ... interesting. I kind of wish that Orell had simply hated Jon because he was a crow and a turncloak. Or maybe because he's a warg who doens't warg out. Not EVERYTHING has to come down to sex (though GRRM might disagree)
Hanh: Exactly. I'm trying to understand the point of that scene. Ygritte on the show already said she knows Jon is loyal to his cause. So it's not like Orell's suspicions are new to her.
Sadie: Exactly! The entire interaction seemed a little out of nowhere and slightly irrelevant, which makes me wonder if Orell's lustful interests in Ygritte will serve some purpose later on.
Hanh: Right. He might be the spur for Jon to leave with a well-timed incident or something. OK, let's move on to the saddest romance on the show: Tyrion and Shae. I mean, the series has made Shae so much more than she was in the books that I'm about as heartbroken as she is that Tyrion is going to go through with this marriage to Sansa!
Sadie: Making her Sansa's handmaiden has added such a great dynamic! Of course, in the books Shae didn't give a flying f--- about Tyrion marrying her They've really made us root for them! Talk about sadism.
Hanh: And it really does show how sad Tyrion is -- he cares too much about what people think of him, that he ignores when this woman, who has treated him better than any of his own family, is in love with him. I could almost understand him being loyal to Jaime, but Tywin has done him no favors. Then again, if you're going to be a wretched Halfman, I guess it's best to be one in a rich and respected family.
Sadie: So true, because once Tyrion is flees Westeros we see what it's like to be just a regular Joe Halfman (and it ain't pretty). Even just when Cersei asks for his head, no one seemed to hesitate before killing every dwarf they saw in an attempt to get the reward.
Hanh: Damn you bloodthirsty Westerosi! *shakes fist*
Sadie: It's so frustrating to watch Tyrion and Sansa separately discuss their impending marriage. I feel like if they could just communicate with each other honestly, they could be happy together. Not in love, but happy in a way
Hanh: Right. I'm glad they've made it clear in the show that he's not interested in her because she's a child (athough that comment about already having evil notions not needing company was great). And if she knew his mind, they could become conspirators in a way.
Sadie: Exactly! With Casterly Rock and Winterfell, they could prove formidable foes to anyone.
Hanh: Oh, and Margaery's sex talk with Sansa was hilarious!
Sadie: Oh my god, yes! I learned a lot from my mother, but definitely not THAT!
Hanh: LOL. They should have more moments like that when Sansa is unwittingly funny. Like back in Season 1 when she says she doesn't want anyone good and brave, she wants Joffrey! And Arya snickers.
Sadie: Sansa's definitely her best when at her most clueless. In the words of Leslie Knope: Oh Sansa, you beatiful naive clueless newborn baby. Though lately, I've started to feel as though Bran is the most clueless of the Stark children I'm totally on Osha's side when it comes to their desire to go beyond the wall. It's nothing short of insanity.
Hanh: Really? I think as a sheltered prince of Winterfell, most of the stuff he's been taught are couched in terms of legend.I think what he's learned on his own has made him be more than his upbringing. So much has happened to Sansa, and yet she lives in a fantasy world. Whearas with Bran, I feel he's more open, probably because he's a warg.
Sadie: It'd be one thing to go beyond the Wall with some sense or understanding of the danger, but they simply aren't prepared. This was the first time Bran had any idea that there will be White Walkers to contend with. He's so focused on finding the three-eyed raven so he can learn to fly, that he hasn't fully comprehended how they're going to get there and that people might actually die.
Hanh: I always got the feeling that they would be avoiding as much trouble as possible and will be undercover. I mean, hiding is obviously not proof against White Walkers, but I had to assume they knew there were crazy dangers — White Walkers or otherwise. I feel this quest is actually of such importance that it has to be done. It's the only way Bran can contribute to the fight.
Sadie: How is this contributing to the fight though? They're following Jojen and Bran's dreams, but they're not quite sure why. And who's to say the power that sends them these dreams is on #TeamRobb. It's all such a mystery!
Hanh: I don't think of the dreams are on a side politically. I think it is part of the nature of what's happening in the world, in the bigger picture that is what's being fought. The fight isn't just with the kings. That's why things beyond the Wall are being stirred up. And Bran is one of the few left in Westeros who may have the ability to understand what's going on.
Sadie: It's true, but we still aren't sure what gods/powers are on the side of good and which are on the side of evil. Maybe Bran is being lured by darkness!
Hanh: I don't think it's either good or evil. It's interesting the religious system in this world. The Lord of Light has been proven to be a true god by resurrecting Beric. But depending on who the pracititioner is -- Thoros or Melisandre -- it seems that the actions are neither inherently good or bad. (i.e. a gun isn't evil, only who wields it). I feel that the old gods may still exist concurrently with the Lord of Light --
Sadie: Exactly what I was starting to say! I feel as though all the gods are "true" gods. But OK, if R'hllor is a legit god, then there is some other force (it who must not/hasn't yet been named) and I'm waiting for THAT to manifest itself beyond simply the White Walkers, which is why I worry about Bran. I'm overly cautious. And would need more answers before abandoning my society for a dream.
Hanh: Worrying about Bran is normal. But I don't know... sometimes I think the quest must be done!
Sadie: What if he becomes a crippled Darth Vader? Trying to do good, but corrupted by The Force? And then Rickon would end up being Luke!
Hanh: Rickon is kind of whiny already... But we already have someone who's lost a hand.
Sadie: Just kidding. Rickon would be an ewok. No. Jar-Jar Binks.
Hanh: Ugh, now that's going too far! I don't like Rickon, but he is at least a Stark.
Sadie: True, true. I'll apologize to Starks everywhere before they have my head
Hanh: Speaking of people who like to decapitate ... (Good segue, eh?) Joffrey had an interesting scene with Tywin.
Sadie: Oooh, I had almost forgotten. It's actually nice to see that Joffrey is interested in the role of a king beyond the ability to murder without consequences. Even if he still is a lazy and sadistic pr---.
Hanh: Well, I loved the whole power play there. Tywin was completely ruling him (standing over him, saying that Joff had to come to him for meetings).
Sadie: If I remember correctly, Robert and Aerys didn't bother attending council meetings, really (and if they did, they weren't in a state of mind to contribute). So points, Joffrey.
Hanh: Oh no, I don't think so at all. Joffrey still isn't going to go to meetings.
Sadie: But at least he tried!
Hanh: Although he discussed it, I don't think he has any intention of really going. He was more like whining. He's king. If he wanted to, he could order the Hand to move the meetings back to the Council chamber.
Sadie: I found it interesting that he didn't order it. Joffrey loves telling people what to do, but you're right. He only whined, because it seems as though Tywin's the singular person he's still intimidated by.
Hanh: Yep, Tywin is the one person who can put Joffrey in his place. Cersei has lost her hold over him. And Tyrion dare not slap Joff again (alas). Too many whores have suffered at Joffrey's hands because of Tyrion!
Sadie: Someone has to slap Joffrey before he bites the dust. I need more GIFs!
Hanh: But what I thought was interesting was one thing: For once, Joffrey was right in that Daenerys is more of a threat than Tywin thinks.
Sadie: How is he the only one worried about a Targaryen with dragons? It's the most frustrating example of dramatic irony.
Hanh: Yeah it's interesting... Joffrey believes in dragons still, when everyone thinks they're extinct. But it's kind of the same with the other folk (giants, etc.) north of the Wall People forget to the point they think they're just legends. And when they least expect it, "DRACARYS!"
Sadie: Well, Tywin believes there are dragons, but only "apple-sized" ones. Which would still scare the crap out of me!
Hanh: Ooh, they're bigger than apples now! I think maybe... large jungle cat perhaps?
Sadie: They're huge! Oh yeah, definitely. Like little lionesses.
Hanh: And then there was one less magical animal in the episode -- the bear!
Sadie: And don't forget the maiden fair! Jaime was a full-on hero in this episode, barely a hint of Kingslayer at all
Hanh: Exactly. I loved that moment when Qyburn sneeringly asked how many lives he's saved. And Jaime said, "Half a million -- the population of King's Landing." Put that in your pipe and smoke that, Maester! And now, he can add Brienne to those saved. But even though I knew how the bear scene ended, I was still freaked out when he was trying to climb out of that pit with only one hand.
Sadie: Yeah, that was intense! Not to mention painful.They gave us quite a gruesome glimpse of that stump earlier, so using to climb could not have been comfortable
Hanh: But it was so worth it!
Sadie: I do think that after he rescued her was definitely the first time Brienne saw Jaime for the good person he is. Mainly evidenced by a type of slack-jawed, shocked stare.
Hanh: Oh, but this brings me to two moments of foreboding. The first was when he's leaving Harrenhal and tells Roose, "Tell Robb Stark I'm sorry I couldn't make his uncle's wedding. The Lannisters send their regards." Because of course, when Robb is killed in the books, one of the guys says, "Jaime Lannister sends his regards" while impaling him.
Sadie: Yes, that was so painful! And of course, Roose must have been snickering inside. Silly, ignorant Jaime. I truly believe if he had made Robb's wedding, it would have turned out much better for the Starks.
Hanh: Sadly, we'll never know. And then, the episode ended with the "Rains of Castamere" playing over the credits. Argh!!! The trap is closing. Run, Robb, run!!!
Sadie: I get so close to shaking my TV at moments like that, trying to warn Robb. Soon I'll have to be physically restrained.
Hanh: I'm sure the Bastard of Dreadfort would be happy to help! OK, on that note, let's see what our readers think about the episode.
Is seeing Robb's happiness just cruel? Do you want Theon to be put out of his misery? Sound off in the comments below!
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.