Hello, friends and bannermen. Game of Thrones delivered a thoughtful, if not action-packed third episode. 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 "Breaker of Chains" for a spoiler-free discussion.]
Hanh: One of the things I'm constantly struck by is how much richer the TV series makes the books with all of these extra scenes and conversations. In particular this episode, I like how we hear just that one line from Margaery — "Am I still queen?" — and it's such a reminder of how calculating she is
Sadie: Agreed! That was one of my favorite little tidbits this week. But while I love the way the show creates these new scenes (including the convos Tywin had with Tommen and Oberyn this week), overall I found this episode painfully dull. Though, this could just be a side effect from having to follow the Purple Wedding
Hanh: True, true. It was like coming down from a sugar high.
Sadie: I just felt like everyone spent this week in prep and regrouping, which does make me extra excited for the next episode, but wasn't exactly riveting television.
Hanh: The Tommen conversation was kind of interesting since he had been so much in the background previously. I wonder if they're going to move forward his wedding... and if Margaery is going to give him kittens!
Sadie: Olenna and Twyin seem to both have their sights set on the wedding happening and I doubt Margaery will do anything to get in the way of being queen. As for the kittens, I hope so! I'm such a cat lady. I'm just curious to see how she adapts her courting style for Tommen, since he is the opposite of Joff.
Hanh: Haha! I do love me some kittens. And think of the memes! But this Tommen is a bit older than the ones in the books, so maybe she'll court him with something less precious? Hmm...
Sadie: Oh, jeez. I hadn't even considered that. And after marrying a gay man and a sociopath, Margaery's probably pretty desperate for some human affection. How old would you see Tommen is in the show anyways? 13?
Game of Thrones: A tribute to that jerk Joffrey
Hanh: Ooh, maybe? If Sansa is 16 or 17, then Joffrey is older? So perhaps 13-14 for Tommen. And I think they may save their sister Myrcella's story for Season 5. I'm very curious to see her and how she thrives in Dorne where they honor strong women.
Sadie: I'm excited to see who they recast for the role. Myrcella was always one of my favorites in the books. Really, I just can't wait until we dive into the entire Dornish story line. Especially since they're really pushing my buttons with Oberyn right now. The Red Viper was the best in the books, but all the gratuitous sex and nudity that accompanies him wherever he goes is getting tired. Like, I get it. The man loves to f---. But he's so much more than just a sex-crazed bisexual. He's just so much more engaging and interesting when clothed, as his conversation with Tywin proved.
Hanh: Maybe they're doing it to contrast Tywin's sort of uptight hypocrisy? But yeah... I can't wait to see Dorne! There's something so refreshing about that place — it's part of the Seven Kingdoms, yet not. They love their bastards. They honor women. I bet the food is fantastic.
Sadie: It's supposed to be so spicy it burns, which is just what I love! Basically, I want to be Dornish. So let's get this story moving so we can get there.
Hanh: Hurts going in and out! Yay!
Sadie: At least they set a trial date — two weeks from where we left off. Though I don't know how long that will take on the show.
Hanh: Yeah, I've always assumed that Westeros had the same "day" and "year" as we do, but the long-ass winters always make me question that. If the strange seasons are magic-related, then the time could still be the same as ours. But if it's from a different planetary distance from a sun or something, I'm at a loss. Then again, George R.R. Martin never pretended this was sci-fi ... only a historical-tinged fantasy. And of course there's TV time to account for, which I think is what you were referring to.
Sadie: Wow. I am just speechless. I was talking about TV time, but now my head is spinning with all these other ideas.
Bubble Shows: Which will survive?
Hanh: But how long can they drag out Tyrion in jail?
Sadie: I'm hoping they won't spend too much time with him in jail. The trial could be an episode, as could the battle by champions if they wanted they could drag the escape into a third. But I can't see us spending too much time listening to witnesses prattle on or watching him waste away in that cell.
Hanh: But at least we got him being super-sweet to Pod! It actually made me verklempt when Tyrion said Pod was the most loyal squire. I like this parting so much better than that non-parting from the books, and this way, Pod can go meet up with Brienne holding his head up high if they do that story line.
Sadie: That's exactly what I was thinking! And I do hope they move forward with that story line. Pod is too great of a character not to keep around, especially when he cluelessly and adorably squires for Brienne. Together, they're poised to be one of the show's best odd couples — and that's saying a lot. Speaking of, I love how oddly similar The Hound and Arya are. The second they picked up their soup bowls and started slurping in unison I couldn't handle myself.
Hanh: Aha! So glad you brought this up. It was on my short list of highlights from the episode. Ayra is a girl after my own stomach. By the way, have you seen the video of Arya and the Hound — '80s sitcom style?
Sadie: Yes! Why isn't that a real thing?!
Hanh: The rabbit stew scene seemed to be perfect for that. It would be for TGIF ASOIAF, a whole night devoted to Game of Thrones spin-off content! Oh, but there is something that is puzzling me. In the books, Arya and the Hound part ways when he's injured after that melee at the inn. But here, they're still together and supping side by side. Do you think that the producers didn't want her to seem heartless abandoning him when he's injured? If so, then what will be the catalyst for them parting ways?
Sadie: I still think they might part ways in that fashion, but that producers may have wanted to give us a little more time with them before shipping her off to Braavos. I'm not complaining though. They're great together.
Hanh: Yup, yup. It kind of reminded me of the chemistry in Punky Brewster. Although I thought she might leave him after he keeps stealing from people, in protest over a difference of ideals and such.
Sadie: I think it's so cute that Arya still has any ideals, but I feel like out of everyone on this show, she accepts reality the most. And the truth is, she has nowhere to go and no one to turn to and it's easier to survive with The Hound than alone.
Hanh: Arya is definitely the most practical Stark child, which is why she's survived (but credit goes to the Hound for saving her from going into the Red Wedding).
Sadie: I don't know if I would say Arya is the most practical, but I'm also a diehard Sansa fan. Though her escape was far less badass than in the books.
Hanh: They have to save the budget for the battle at the Wall!
Sadie: And it seems the Watch has another battle brewing! I did not see Jon wanting them to send men to finish off the deserters at Craster's! Also, I would be so confused if I hadn't read in the books about how exactly Joffrey was murdered!
Hanh: Right! It's interesting that the show is either drawing that out over many episodes or just keeping it murky altogether. The show usually make things more explicit (like with Elia's death, Oberyn's intentions, Rhaegar's infidelity). At least Jon is far stronger here than in the books, which is good. I always felt I needed to see more leadership and less falling into default leadership from him. It will make the whole Lord Commander thing more believable for me.
Sadie: Agreed. He really had balls in this episode to talk back so much, rather than meekly follow the rules and be overwhelmed with guilt all the time. Dany also stepped it up as an inspiring leader this week. The shackles grenades were a genius way to rally the Meereen slaves.
Hanh: I was actually applauding that!
Sadie: Plus, I love that they found a way to turn the champion battle into comedy gold!
Hanh: Daario was perfection. I know fans of the books will miss Strong Belwas, but I enjoyed Daario ... and he did not take a dump on screen like Strong Belwas did in the books. I've seen onscreen defecation (foreign film) --- not my fetish! I'm OK with Daario's implied urination.
Sadie: I miss him a little, just because he was so delightfully disgusting (and also so simple compared to other characters). But man, Daario was such a boss! You just can't hate on that.
Hanh: This fight was really fun (although brief). That fight choreography makes me hope for a really good if tragic Red Viper/Mountain match. I'm a sucker for fight choreography
Sadie: Me too! I also can't wait to see this new Mountain (and exactly how huge he is). I think that was my issue with this week's episode though - not enough blood and murder.
Hanh: Right. And while I look forward to that match, no other death this season can really match Joffrey's as far as TV fan appeal. Ooh, but maybe the show let us see Walder Frey die!
Sadie: I'd drink to that!
What did you think of Daario's battle with the champion of Meereen? How did the episode hold up? How long do you think it will take until we see the Red Viper and The Mountain match?
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.