Hello, friends and bannermen. Sunday's Game of Thrones treated us to surprise reunions, a brief glimpse of Dorne and more dragon awesomeness. 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 "The House of Black and White" for a spoiler-free discussion.]
Hanh: Huzzah! We got one of the many convergences that have been promised for the season. Brienne did indeed meet Sansa and Littlefinger, and even though it wasn't the result she would've liked, I'm satisfied that more meetings will happen.(Should we just book a table at the Inn at the Crossroads?)
Sadie: They could have dragged out the "Will they/won't they meet?" tension for much longer, but I'm so relieved that this season seems to be quickly moving through the more predictable events so we can get to all the good, meaty repercussions. It does break my heart to see how Brienne really can't catch a break, though. She's the most honorable (living) person on this show, which means she's likely doomed to fail at every turn. But hey, at least she hasn't lost her head yet!
Hanh: Right? And although I feel bad when she's made to look like a fool, Littlefinger does it so well! She needs to lay off the "a shadow with Stannis' face killed Renly" story even if it is true. Know your audience (and don't sound crazy)! Her unwavering loyalty and sense of purpose is endearing though. I would want her on my side.
Sadie: I was about to say that! Which is likely why we'd both end up on Qyburn's table, betrayed by our own instincts. Which reminds me of something that struck me during this episode that I never quite realized while reading the books: the similarities between Brienne and Dany. Both are these wonderfully noble, idealistic women who are continually forced to contend with the fact that the real world does not adhere to their principles.
Hanh: That's a good point. They both try really, really hard, and it's very sweet in a way, but it's not cutting it. Dany's mistake this episode was pretty epic though. On one hand, if she wants to be the supreme leader and brook no argument among her people, then killing Mossador makes sense. But what about that "everyone deserves a fair trial," the whole point of why she was upset in the first place? That whole scene just killed me. When he pleaded for Mhysa, seeing Daario waiting for her signal. Argh! (Also, so confusing to name him Mossador and him not be Missandei's brother!)
Sadie: Exactly! She just seems to be crumbling under the pressure and all these different influences. But the most heartbreaking part for me was her face seeing Drogon. She clearly needed some comfort or a sign then that she was doing the right thing at that moment, but instead he flew off, leaving her even more alone than she was before.
Hanh: Et tu, Drogon? I'm hoping though that this means more Drogon visits, which would totally make her big flyaway rescue make sense. What a scene to end the season with! I'm assuming that will be the last scene, anyway. Because obviously
Sadie: I'm also excited to see the way Dany's execution compares to the one Jon is forced to do now that he's Commander. In the books, both are forced to kill their own men to create order. And we've seen how it's worked out for Dany in the show. But will Jon's have a similar effect or succeed in gaining him the respect Stannis said he doesn't have?
Hanh: Right. Well, at least he's finally Lord Commander now. That scene played out fine, but I did miss the literal bird crow crying out, "Snow!"
Sadie: See, I was so grateful we rushed right through all that. Like the Kingsmoot, the whole Lord Commander election is a lot of hemming and hawing that was a bit interesting, but also dragged on forever. Maybe I'm being greedy, but I'm just ready to really dig into the action this season. Particularly since I'm not quite sure where the show is going this year.
Hanh: Oh, I'm fine without the whole lack of political angling and stuff, but I guess I just want more animals to be involved on the show. We got Drogon, so I guess I shouldn't get greedy. Yeah, not knowing exactly is fun but also worrisome. Think of what next year will bring!
Sadie: The graphics on Drogon in this episode were also out of this world! I can't believe what they're able to do on a TV budget.
Hanh: Yes, Drogon really impressed me, and I already feel this show looks amazing. Really, I cannot wait to see him again, in daylight!
Sadie: I think us knowing the cliff-hanger A Dance with Dragons ends on is going to make us overly anxious for all things Dany to move forward so we can find out what happens next.
Hanh: Yes, it's time to get her to Westeros and meet more people! Everybody meets! Speaking of finally meeting people, we made it to Dorne. I wanted a bit more but I guess they have to drag out the Sand Snakes story a bit. I do like that Jaime is heading there though. Dorne always felt a little removed to me in the books. And he's going with Bronn! Happy he won't be killed off scene somewhere.
Sadie: I am so glad they cut out the siege at Riverrun and made Jaime the one to go after Myrcella. And adding Bronn to the mission is pretty much the best bonus ever! Though, now I'm curious about where this plot will go. Clearly, Jaime won't be able to execute the big, murderous ruse Cersei had set up in the books. But I'm hoping this change means we're going to get a lot more action and interactions with the Sand Snakes.
Hanh: I'm thinking Bronn is the go-to guy if you need that buddy comedy chemistry. But he and Jaime will never have what Bronn and Tyrion had! But oh, Bronn meeting the Sand Snakes would be delightful. They're going to just be so angry!
Sadie: They would destroy him. I mean, going from Lollys to a Sand Snake is basically like thinking you can try your hand at sword-swallowing because you once held a butter knife.
Hanh: Ha! OMG you just mentioning Lollys and Sand Snakes in the same sentence almost makes me hope that one of them crushes on Bronn. But he's a bit older... not that that's a problem in Westeros
Sadie: I don't think people in Dorne care about age or have any of the sexual hang-ups people on the Mainland do. Though, I do hope we don't spend the entire time in Dorne dealing with their sexuality. I get that they're more free and blah blah blah, but I want to see some kickass women take charge (and possibly try to murder a child, whatever) instead of just seeing them get naked a lot. Because while this season has been pretty good on the female nudity front so far, I doubt that will last.
Hanh: Yes, I prefer to see the more warlike side of the Sand Snakes. Besides, Melisandre is still around for any casual female nudity. And there has been plenty of male back (dorsal?) nudity in the premiere. And of course, Cersei will have her big scene. Yikes! But that won't be sexual.
Oh, it was funny that Cersei was so lenient about that guy killing the wrong dwarf. In the books she totally had him killed, right? But instead, it was another way to get Qyburn into the picture. "Dwarf head? Ooh, may I have it?" What the eff is he going to do with a dwarf head?!
Sadie: From what I recall, Cersei was basically flooded with dwarf heads in the books, since she put out such a high price on Tyrion's. It was basically open season in the Seven Kingdoms. And I don't remember her killing everyone who brought her the wrong one. Also, re: Qyburn, the answer is clearly reanimated dwarf head. It'll be exactly like Reanimator in my mind.
Hanh: Animated dwarf head. They said it couldn't be done! But it's probably not Penny's brother. I'm sure they've cut that story out completely. It's funny but up until that point, I had forgotten about Strong Robert. Argh, I mean Robert Strong. I trust the show will make him interesting. I follow The Mountain actor on Instagram, so I'll be looking for clues. It's kind of odd. Not my usual food and cat pictures on my feed. But this is a great post:
Sadie: I've stopped trusting social media "clues" (damn you, Lena Headey!). And am I the only one who doesn't trust the House of Black and White? I'm glad they brought Jaqen H'gar back into the fold for that plot line, because I think he's great. But there's something about their whole mission that gives me the heebies.
Hanh: Well, yeah! They haven't delved that much into the death part yet. So far it's just fun with faces. I love that syntax though. "A man is not Jaqen H'ghar." "A girl is not Hanh Nguyen."
Sadie: Oh my God. That line was amazing. And I'm hoping the show will illuminate more about who the Faceless Men are, even though that seems to be an oxymoron. That's one of the great parts about the show: they aren't afraid to expand upon ideas set up in the books and really dig into the heart of what it's about. But whether we'll really learn more about the Faceless Men and what it really means to be "no one" we'll just have to keep watching and see.
Did you enjoy Brienne's meeting with Sansa? What do you think of the show sending Jaime off to Dorne? Weigh in with your thoughts below.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
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