Pedro Pascal, Indira Varma Pedro Pascal, Indira Varma

Hello, friends and bannermen. Game of Thrones kicked off its fourth season with plenty of swords and a few new players. 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 Gennisare longtime fantasy fans of varying levels of geekiness who will sound off on all things Westerosi (and beyond!).

Game of Thrones recap: "Two Swords"

[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 theGame of Thrones recap for "Two Swords" for a spoiler-free discussion.]

Hanh: Huzzah, the show is finally back! And we got to meet a few new faces: Oberyn Martell, the new Daario and I think this is the first we've seen of Styr, the Magnar of Thenn, right?
Sadie: And I have so many feelings about all of them! Mainly positive ones towards Oberyn and the new Daario, but I'm not too pleased with the show's portrayal of Styr.  I understand why he couldn't be earless (just like Tyrion isn't noseless: way too much time/money for such a little detail), but his entire introduction just seemed so cheap-horror-movie cheesy. Like, of course the meat he brought to eat is "crow."
Hanh: From the books, is it clear that the Thenns are cannibals? Or is it just this version of Styr?
Sadie: I don't remember the Thenns being cannibals in the books (though I wouldn't be surprised if they were). But they were seriously unnerving, and I see how cannibalism is a quick way to convey that whole dangerous, no-holds-barred attitude.
Hanh: Right, and that helps us differentiate each of the wildling "types" from each other I guess. I think I'm OK with this portrayal just because I had no real feelings about Styr in the books. I hope this makes for juicier scenes to come!

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Did you enjoy the premiere? Did you like Oberyn and this new interpretation of the Magnar of Thenn? Do you prefer this Daario? Do you have anything special planned for watching Joffrey's wedding next week?

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.