Game of Thrones By the Book: Bottoms, Baratheons and Betrothals
Hello, friends and bannermen. Sunday's Game of Thrones exposed several of its characters -- and not just while they were bathing! Plus: More machinations and creepy fetuses were revealed. 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 aGame 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 "Kissed by Fire" for a spoiler-free discussion.]
Hanh: Well, that was quite the parade of bottoms, yes? And one male full-frontal nudity for good measure.
Sadie: Quite, indeed! But I'm not complaining.
Hanh: They all served the story, as it were. Plus: Jon Snow finally got laid!
Sadie: And it turns out he does know a few things after all.
Hanh: How did you think that love scene played out? I did like that Ygritte kissed him first. He didn't fight very hard.
Sadie: His awkward bafflement when Ygritte undressed was pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen.And it was great seeing Ygritte be so in control of her sexuality and have the guy be the n00b, without it being some whole Mrs. Robinson/Stacey's Mom situation.
Hanh: Right. The scene was fairly quick, but it was a very sweet moment. Maybe they should have bathed first though? Speaking of bathing, Jaime's explanation about why he killed Mad King Aerys was all that I could have wanted. Bravo to Nicolaj Coster-Waldau!
Sadie: I know! I was sitting with my face practically touching my computer screen I was so enthralled. That, and it was hard to hear because of he did it all in whispers.As my friend complained, this isn't an ASMR [autonomous sensory meridian response] video! But in all seriousness, that confession was damn emotional. I just wanted to hug him, tell him it was all okay and that I'd never call him Kingslayer again.
Hanh: I'm hoping that the viewers, like the fans of the books, are seeing Jaime in a new light. It was masterfully done, and to be honest, I was skeptical about the series' ability to capture his internal journey in such short snippets.Of course, after my interview with the actor, I was looking at his stump a lot too. That was well done!
Sadie: I'm not going to lie. During his bathtime admission, there was one moment where I thought it kind of looked like he was doing a puppet show with his stump hand.
Hanh: Sad puppet!
Sadie: But that close-up during the scene with Qyburn: absolutely brutal! Totally made up for the lack of gore during Beric and The Hound's fight scene, in my opinion. Though, I still would prefer Beric in general to be a little more beat up.
Hanh: Yeah, Beric was good-looking on the show! Not so much good-looking? Gendry's mustache, which returned with a vengeance.
Sadie: I was giving the 'stache a close inspection during the episode and think it actually might be part of the world's saddest attempt at a goatee.
Hanh: Aww! Also sad was his response to Arya's offer to be his family. "You wouldn't be my family. You'd be 'milady.'" Stupid social hierarchy in Game of Thrones!
Sadie: I don't understand why he can't just get over it! It's so bizarre to see someone from the lower class enforcing the caste system, when Arya wants so badly to do away with it.
Hanh: Right, and he was joking about it earlier. But it does seem you're right. Gendry will take the place of Edric.Since "Edric" was one of the names they gave to Queen Selyse's fetus children, I'm assuming he's not showing up.
Sadie: OK, what was the deal with that? I mean, c'mon! Creepy much?
Hanh: Nuttier than a Westerosi fruitcake. If they had them.
Sadie: The entire Stannis story line I've been taking serious issues with as a reader. As a viewer, it's damn engaging.
Hanh: Yes, for the first time, I think they finally made him sympathetic. Shireen is so sweet!
Sadie: Shireen is adorable! I really like that she's now the one teaching Davos how to read. But does that mean he's not becoming the Hand of the King?
Hanh: I was wondering about that. On the show, Stannis sends him to the dungeon, whereas in the books, he's unaware. That means it would take much more to get Davos out on the show. Maybe bringing Gendry by will be the catalyst for bringing him out.
Sadie: Stannis not only sent him to the dungeon in the show, but he seems to frickin' hate his guts! The show's interpretation of Stannis is much more emotional than he ever was in the book. He feels guilt, lust, and all these things when in the book it was almost soley steely determination, frustration and teeth grinding.
Hanh: It's made him polarizing for me. I find him to be such a whiny snot. But I will admit it does make more sense in this interpretation to have him tempted by the Red Woman. I can believe this guy is moved by passions.
Sadie: He seems much more Robert and Renly's brother in the show than he ever did in the books. But that was kind of his thing: being the Baratheon that never fit in.
Hanh: Black sheep Baratheon! Changing the subject. Did it just seem to you that Rickard Karstark's killing of the young Lannisters came out of nowhere? I mean, we knew he wasn't happy about Catelyn, and I knew it was going to happen, but it was still tonally weird for me.
Sadie: Yes! I think if I hadn't known it was coming and having just read pages (upon pages upon pages) about his unhappiness, I would be totally taken off-guard by the murders.
Hanh: It was interesting also for the series to let us get to know the two boys a little before they died. That definitely made it more brutal to watch.
Sadie: Not to mention the fact that they thought they were being rescued. When one of the boys got so excited to see the men burst in, it broke my heart. I've never wanted a Lannister to live more in my life.Except for Jaime of course. ... And Tyrion. And kind of Cersei. Dammit, I do love the Lannisters!
Hanh: You've got that Lannister love! Yes, they're fun villains. That said, every little step -- like killing those two boys, Robb executing Karstark, the plan to get Walder Frey on his side -- just fills me with dread.I want to yell, "Don't! You'll piss off Tywin and Walder! Run!!!"
Sadie: All this anticipation pains me. I get so excited for every episode, and then so filled with dread knowing we're one step closer to it all.
Hanh: Exactly. Even when I relish the performances. Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister is just awesome, but at the same time, I fear him.
Sadie: Every time he starts to creep me out I do a twist on the whole "picture them naked thing" and picture him on the toilet.
Hanh: Cuz that's not creepy at all, Sadie!
Sadie: I don't mean actually USING it. That sounds weird, but it was the only time we ever saw vulnerability in Tywin in the books. Just right before Tyrion does some friendly patricide.
Hanh: I actually like being scared by Tywin. Makes me feel alive! Cersei's smirk during the whole engagement scene was hilarious though. I could totally feel that she and Tyrion were siblings there. Also, I've been enjoying all the moves that were required to get to that scene. Littlefinger sending his male spy to bed Loras was genius. None of these machinations were in the book, and I think the producers did a good job figuring out ways for this to happen that are still in keeping with the characters.
Sadie: I did not see that coming! It was so fantastic. I really appreciate when the show can take me by surprise.Though, I am a little sad. I kind of wanted Loras to be happy.
Hanh: Well, I mean, that was just going to be a hookup no matter what I feel.
Sadie: Also, any excuse to have Olenna spar with Tyrion is fine by me.
Hanh: It's fitting that Olenna and Tywin are the only ones who can best Tyrion in a war of words.
Sadie: I'd love to see her take on Tywin once she discovers his plan to marry Loras to Cersei even more.
Hanh:Diana Rigg vs. Charles Dance? My mug of ale overfloweth!
Sadie: They should revive Celebrity Death Match just for this. Who do you think would win though?
Hanh: I think they'd both get some good barbs in and then decided to finish up behind closed doors. Geriatric lovin'!Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they had some history way back when -- before or after Tywin's marriage of course. He was totally in love with his wife. Whereas Olenna's husband was a dimwit.
Sadie: In my mind, Olenna would be able to tame Tywin like Margaery tamed Joffrey.
Hanh: Makes sense. But Olenna would have to dazzle with her wits and steel. Tywin's not a sucker like Joffrey is.
Sadie: Wits or t---, it doesn't make much of a difference. The Tyrells will use whatever they have to gain control of the kingdom. And I'm kind of rooting for them, since my chosen king is fated to swap heads with a direwolf in a few weeks.
Hanh: Is Robb your chosen king if he had lived? I'm kind of torn about who I would actually want on the Iron Throne.
Sadie: Well, King of the North. As for the Iron Throne, I'd like to see Margaery or Danaeyrs, probably. I think Tyrion would make an excellent king if he could get any respect, but that's never going to happen. Tyrion and Danaerys are probably my dream team. What about you?
Hanh: I would never want Tyrion as king. I want him to have more fun than that. Maybe the Hand for a competent king.So he'd have the respect, but not as much of the duty. I just don't feel Dany is in touch with the people of Westeros. I'm still undecided. Let's see who our readers would prefer on the Iron Throne!
How did you like the episode? What's your take on Littlefinger's spy mission? Who deserves to be king/queen?
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
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