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Much like the earlier midtrial offer made by Jaime, changing up when Tyrion demands a trial and actually going into the idea of Jaime’s participation is interesting, though I don’t think how the idea was dismissed is fully satisfactory. It’s true that Jaime’s in no condition to fight the Mountain, but the show kind of ignores the obvious counter to that: there’s no way that Cersei and Tywin would let Jaime be killed by the Mountain; if he declared for Tyrion, surely they would either have to find somebody he could actually beat instead or else just instruct a champion to yield and end the contest. They should have said something like a Kingsguard couldn’t defend someone accused of regicide, in addition to his being unable to fight. A nice scene, nonetheless.
The scene with Oberyn was wonderful, though, without reservation (apart from, I guess, the writers’ weird tendency to turn a female ruler into a male one, which they did twice in this episode). Recontextualizing Oberyn’s speech from the novels, where it was kind of a prodding of Tyrion, into a recognition of his humanity, was a very deft adaptation choice, and Pedro Pascal completely sold it. I know HBO is going to push him for Guest Actor this year; even though he doesn’t have a ton of screentime here, comparatively, this would easily be my choice from the episodes he’s in so far (next episode will be big for him, obviously, though I’m not sure how much he’s actually going to have apart from the fight scene).
On the Dany scene (the second one), whilst being fair to the writers and admitting that Meereen is probably the single-most controversial and difficult major story element of the series to date, I’m not really sure the writers have a very good handle on the issues Dany is facing. Firstly, while you could certainly say that Dany’s worldview is a bit black-and-white, it’s weird to make slavery, of all things, the issue to hang this on, since slavery isn’t really one of those things where, on a moral level, there’s a ton of ambiguity (particularly as practiced in Slaver’s Bay). Second, the crux of this scene is Yunkai being given a “second chance”, but Dany already gave them a second chance when she conquered the city and ordered them to release their slaves. They reenslaved them after she left and and are trying to destroy her again. The most plausible reading of the books to me is that Dany chose an unproductive middle path that was neither harsh enough nor conciliatory enough to have a real chance at working (mixed with the general reality that reforming a whole region’s economy is rather difficult), whereas the show seems to take the view that her problem is being too hard on slavery.
The snow castle and the Moon Door were both quite rushed, and rather underwhelming. The snow castle is a contemplative moment, one the show just doesn’t seem to think it has time for, at least when Sansa is involved (even though this episode was only like 51 minutes long); the first few seconds were promising, then we just immediately cut to the castle being built and Robin and Littlefinger showing up (the writers don’t even try to translate any of the poetry of that scene into the dialogue either, giving very bland lines instead). It’s telling that the “unsullied” reviews of this episode don’t really remark on the castle at all.
I’m really not sure what to make of the bit with Sansa pushing Littlefinger on his motive again, because he gave her what was more or less the correct answer back in episode 5; certainly more of the truth than “I did it all for luv”. Also, they completely cut Sansa’s reaction to the kiss, which is an awful choice, particularly when followed by another jarring cut right to Sansa walking in to see Lysa. In an episode where other plots got their scenes spread out as a good way to pace things (the three Tyrion scenes, the two Arya/Hound scenes), this sequence totally suffers from the lack of something similar, or at least an eased transition, something to show what happened with Sansa after.
And then we get the Moon Door, another insanely rushed moment that the writers have robbed of much of what made it powerful. They already removed the Jon Arryn reveal (which is apparently not going to be important to Sansa’s actions going forward, since she now doesn’t have that information, and has no obvious means of obtaining it), and then they cut Lysa’s backstory completely, which lends weight to the whole thing and makes Lysa more than just a cartoonish crazy lady. And the whole thing lasts less than a minute before Littlefinger shows up, where it should have been longer and allowed the tension and suspense to build.
And finally, I won’t lie, Hot Pie’s cameo was probably my favourite moment of the season so far, weirdly.
Agreed about the Daenerys scenes – my hope for Season 5 is that they show that “moderating” your position vis-a-vis slavery doesn’t help.
Disagree about the Eyrie feeling rushed. I thought it was excellent.
Wow, that ended up much longer than I had intended.
I always thought littlefinger kissed sansa on purpose because he knew lysa would be watching.
Littlefinger’s bold, but he isn’t dumb. If he had shown up 30 seconds later, Sansa could have been through the door, or just dropped out of it even after he shows up. It also results in Lysa babbling stuff he doesn’t want Sansa to know, and leads to him having to do a ton of unnecessary gladhanding to remain in power afterward. He was most certainly planning to be rid of Lysa in the long-term, but there were much better ways to do it.
Good points guy & gals
Only gone through the books once,i binge read b3-5 after s3 ep10(thats right i watched s1 before i read book 1 & the same with s2&3)
Must go through it all again.
I imagined LF looking through a keyhole after being told by lothor brune that sansa had been summoned by lysa,brune had been dogging her steps the whole time.
On a different note i think LF’s destiny is tied to a date with a woman who has a fondness for nooses…a bit too predictable??…i suppose if he keeps trying to bump off sansa’s hubbies then she might find it in herself to have him fly.
Exactly. It makes no sense to me that Littlefinger did it deliberately. There are way too many holes in that plan. It seems to me that sometimes people are way too quick to think everything he does is because he is a ‘mastermind’. He’s actually gotten pretty lucky in what he has gotten away with so far (although not without his own cunning obviously).
I never even considered how cold it was for Littlefinger to let Lysa know that he never loved her right before killing her – I think I was just so relieved that Sansa survived and frankly I don’t have that much sympathy for Lysa. But dude is a straight up psychopath.
Oh yeah, it’s the emotional sadism that’s a huge red flag. A pure utilitarian would just toss her through and bush his hands of it; taking the effort suggests emotional sadism.
Nope – I see why people thought that in the show (and I was pretty disappointed with what they did at the Eyrie overall although I knew it wasn’t going to live up to my expectations) but in the books it seemed pretty clear to me that it was a mistake that forced him to act and kill Lysa earlier than he planned. Sansa easily could have died if he arrived a minute later. He is totally playing with Sansa’s life here because he can’t control his creepy tendencies. Can you tell how much I don’t like Littlefinger? (although I appreciate his character)
Yeah, personally I think LF’s inability to control his creeper tendencies towards Sansa will be his downfall.
I find the fact that they’re rushing events in the Eyrie while perhaps unfortunate for viewers to be potentially significant in other ways. Lady Waynwood and Bronze Yohn are coming next episode-at this rate there’s no way they’re gonna avoid taking Sansa into TWOW territory at the beginning of next season-maybe even the end of this season. And the only reason to do THAT, is if there’s a BIG Sansa storyline coming up and they’re anxious to make room for it sooner rather than later.
The Selyse/Mel scene is totally setting us up for her trying to sacrifice Shireen. I hope it won’t succeed, but this series almost never lets things end positively.
It’s so strange to me that they’re rushing so quickly through Sansa’s plotline. There’s no reason they couldn’t leave her out for a couple of episodes so this scene came towards the end. Or we could just have Sansa and Littlefinger discuss what happened in ep 8 and have Lady Waynwood etc come the following episode. I always thought it was such a great structure in the books to have ‘Only Cat’ followed by the epilogue and Lady Stoneheart. And yet Arya is still yet to get on a ship to Braavos. I get confused about what they’re doing with the timelines and the passage of time in general – but I’ve kind of had to decide to just roll with it or my brain will break from the book nerdrage/ nitpicking.
We’ll have to wait for Ep 10 to see how they do it, but I can see why they skipped Alayne Stone – this was far more dramatic and televisual, whereas everything about Alayne is interior voice and reflective and wouldn’t work as well in a visual medium.
Hell, at the rate they’re going I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw something originally scheduled for Sansa in TWOW happen in the season finale. Again, to me it suggests that D&D knowing there were some MAJOR twists and turns in Sansa’s storyarc in the final two books, (or serious developments for her character wise,) wanted to get cracking on that sooner or later.
Also, considering the sheer volume of Big Moments they have to deal with, I can see them wanting to pace them out a little more…ESPECIALLY since I think they felt they had to save the upcoming Tyrion/Twyin showdown for the finale as its been The Moment they’ve been building to for a very VERY long time. They wanted to close out the finale with that moment for Tyrion-followed by the supernatural reveal of UnCat. And, while “Only Cat” then UnCat was perfect for the book, I can sort of see why they’re doing it differently for the show-Again pacing here. After all we know all Tyrion does in ADWD is travelogue so there’s no hurry to get to *that.*
Thank you for your podcasts – it is still the most informative amongst the now proliferated number of GoT review videos and podcasts. Thanks!
Just wanted to add that I’ve recently heard that the original intention was for the Hound to tell Sansa about his past during the Tourney of the Hand. However, weather was causing problems and shooting delays and it meant that Rory McCann was not available, thus they opted to have Littlefinger tell her that story instead, as Aidan Gillen was available.
I recall finding it a bit odd at the time, but to be honest considering Littlefingers many – at times strange – expositions, especially of late to Sansa, it sort of ended up fitting his portrayal in the HBO series.
I get that, but what I find weird is – why not shift that scene into Season 2? It fits perfectly well into the development of their relationship there. Why give it to Baelish?
There’s conflicting information on that. Rory McCann gave an interview recently where he made it sound like it was a deliberate choice to hold off on the Hound’s backstory (which is also consistent, in general, with their treatment of the Hound’s interactions with Sansa, which barely exist on the show).
I always thought they underplayed the Hound/Sansa on the show since Martin later came to think that whole dynamic was a mistake-he was chagrined when so many book readers started shipping SanSan and preferred not to revisit that on the show-particularly given the age discrepancy between Sophie and Rory.
I don’t really ship SanSan romantically (at least not until Sansa’s older) but I think their dynamic was important and I wish we had gotten more of it in the show. They could have dialled down the romance subtext (which they did anyway) and still have them interacting. I’m not a huge fan of the Hound’s character in general but his interactions with Sansa are important. Sansa really got short shrift in season 2 unfortunately. As much as I have some minor issues, this has definitely been the strongest season for Sansa and I’m glad more show watchers are starting to appreciate her character.
I agreed. They needed to do more in Season 2 with Sandor and Sansau – I think because the Ser Dontos stuff was cut, the whole thematic throughline about chivalry was largely lost.
On the issue of Littlefinger, Sansa, and Lysa, Martin himself has recently spoken: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtYhmD2TZs0&list=PLdyYtz46Nolb1ovYhSOnbIYFktNHfZUkR .
Littlefinger’s attitude towards Sansa may seem confusing and contradictory, because he does have contradictory attitudes regarding Sansa.
I really don’t think that comes across on the show. Gillen and the writing are so hammy and one-dimensional that there’s never a moment where he acts like anything but a creepy sexual predator.
Maaster Steven, I’ve just uncovered some notes on a reading by GRR Martin at ‘ConCarolinas’ which might be interesting – apparently they deal with the deeds of Lord Tywin in the Westerlands which led to the elimination of Houses Reyne and Tarbeck.
They are at the other end of the link above; hopefully they’ll prove interesting!
… much to my embarrassment, I see that you are already well aware of this; please forgive my presumption.
I’m posting this here for those fellow fans who have yet to track this down and hope that they enjoy it as much as I have!
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