Monday, April 27, 2015

Game of Thrones: Season 5 Episode 3 - High Sparrow

Hello friends and welcome back to our Game of Thrones coverage!  We are 3 episodes into season 5. Many book readers have coined a few phrases to explain what is happening to the story.  My favorites are "Efficiency is Coming!"  and "Convergence is coming!"  They certainly are flying through the material of A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons (which mostly happen in parallel timelines) but with good reason.  There are a lot of new characters introduced and stories that seemingly go nowhere (or nowhere that couldn't have gone somewhere else more quickly).  The show is doing everyone a favor by taking the best parts of the books and moving the story forward. If you read after the episode last night, you would think the unthinkable has happened to the story of Ice and Fire.  Maybe, I'm a little less surprised, because we kind of figured out a certain storyline in our "spoiler labeled" comments last week!  We'll get to it in the recap, but basically, there are 3 major character stories that have altered storylines in the show compared to the books.  But all 3 of those characters are moving towards a story that IS in the books (that may have involved other "NEW" characters).   Hence...CONVERGENCE, EFFICIENCY!  

Translation: I'm still loving the show and I think the showrunners have the best interests of the plot in mind while still being faithful to GRRM's story.  And this episode was easily my favorite of the 3 so far.  Every scene had me on the edge of my seat and I loved the transitions from setting to setting.  Cersei was talking about Littlefinger?  We cut to Littlefinger.  Brienne was talking about vengeance on Stannis, we cut to the Wall on Stannis.   It was a very seamless way to tie the whole episode and story together.

Book Knowledge Disclaimer: As mentioned above, we do dive into the books here but not past what we've already covered from a TV show perspective.  So, I'll discuss differences (where I remember) in the recap.  In the comments, if we dive into book theories, we will note them as such at the beginning of the comment and request anyone else do the same!   With all of that said, let's dive in!

EW Links:

Discussion Points
Arya's story, as I've endlessly mentioned, is one of my favorites from the later books.  Her whole training with the Faceless Man is interesting.  And of course, due to convergence, our Faceless Man has a familiar face and is increasingly looking like it is ACTUALLY Jaqen H'gar and not just a faceless man using a face comfortable to Arya and viewers alike.  Jaqen is providing some Karate Kid-like mentorship to Arya in making her do seemingly meaningless tasks, but always having a lesson.  
  • A man was killed in the House of Black and white after uttering the reknowned Braavosi words and then having a drink provided by Jaqen.  This seemed to assist in Jaqen's training of Arya.  Arya noticed the 7 gods of Westeros all present in the House of Black and White, but Jaqen mentioned there is only one god and Arya definitely knows its gift.  I'd have to say the answer to that riddle would be DEATH.  
  • Later on a girl in the house puts Arya to the test.  She asks Arya "who are you?" Arya responds with "No One" and the other girl continued to hit her.  Alas, they were playing the game of faces! Loved Arya responding to the attack with the "C" word.  Jaqen said she is not ready for this game as she is still not no one.  She is still Arya Stark.   Her clothes, her sword, her silver.  The girl mentioned the Braavosi coin she didn't earn.  
  • I loved the scene with Arya shedding her old self and throwing it into the water.  For a minute, I thought they were going to diverge from the books and have her throw Needle into the sea.  I almost cheered when she hid it in in the rocks.  This was Arya still hanging onto a thread of her old self.  But she could not part with the gift her brother Jon Snow gave to her.  Something that is a part of her.  Great scene!  So much said with no words at all.  
  • Later on Jaqen moved Arya to the next phase of training.  Giving the dead man sponge bath.  She asked the other girl what happens after they finish cleaning him?  There was no reply.  I have an idea, but I'm forgetting if this sponge bath was part of the books.  Regardless, I'm staying quiet for now! 

King's Landing
Another wedding has happened!  Everyone is still alive that attended.  King Tommen has married Queen Margaery and it has reduced Cersei to Queen Mother.  Lots of crazy stuff happening in town. 
  • We followed Cersei to the Sept having her listen to the cries for Queen Margaery, whom we know has been an advocate for the people of King's Landing.  
  • Thankfully, we skipped the wedding ceremony we've seen over and over again and cut right to the creepy sex scene between young Tommen and Margaery.  This never explicitly happened in the books.  Tommen was not aged up as he has been in the show and we endlessly feel a loving Mother/Son vibe between the 2 of them.  I guess that sort of is still there.  Plus there's a running gag about Margaery being a virgin in the books when she seemingly is anything but the sort.  (That's been somewhat present in the show, but not anymore!)   Tommen obviously thinks this is the best thing that's ever happened, though there are enough comments indicating it was short and Margaery wasn't impressed.  Though, she has other goals in mind.  
  • Margaery wastes no time getting into the King's head about his mother.  It's sneaky stuff, but she's trying to convince Tommen that his mother would be better off in Casterly Rock.  Later on we see Tommen talking to Cersei as if it's in her best interest.  She can already feel the new Queen's devilish work at play.  She even confronts Margaery later on and it's nothing but kind words on the surface.  Actually, if anything, Margaery comes off more like the scorned woman throwing underhanded insults in Cersei's direction (indicating she's not the queen anymore, lying about Tommen's vigor in bed, calling Cersei a grandmother, etc...).  Of course, her comment about not drinking wine so early was the best! They certainly play up sympathy for Cersei in the show.   In the book, all of this Margaery stuff happens "OFF BOOK/SCREEN" and we only get the interpretations from Cersei's insane mind.  Naturally, she hates Margaery and just assumes she's playing Tommen against her.  Here, we're actually seeing it at play. 
  • Other King's Landing stories included Cersei bringing a letter for Littlefinger and asking Qyburn to send it.  We have no idea what's in this letter but it does reach Littlefinger.  
  • Meanwhile Qyburn says his experiments are going well and we see a shrouded being pop up and drop back down.  If we've been paying attention since last season, it clearly is his experimentation on The Mountain.  Who would've thought such a meaningless introduction to Robb Stark in Harrenhall would have translated to Qyburn being on the small council and doing some crazy experimentations in King's Landing?  GRRM does subtle character introductions well in the books, and the show has adapted them well most of the time too. 
  • There's also a whole story with Lancel Lannister and the other sparrows publicly shaming the high septon in the streets of King's Landing after finding him in Littlefinger's whorehouse.  It was basically a way to introduce us to the High Sparrow played by Jonathan Pryce.  Cersei aligns herself with the sparrow and sends the high septon to the dungeons.  I don't remember if this story was in the books, but I'm sure it's leading somewhere related!  By favorite part of the whole storyline was when the High Septon came to the small council and he didn't know how to address Qyburn. 

We're back home folks!  Winterfell is being rebuilt, but of course, we are not happy with who is residing there.   We have 2 flayed men hanging up, witnessed by Reek/Theon.  And we have one unhappy Roose Bolton to kick off this story.
  • Roose tries to explain to Ramsay Snow that flaying people of the North is not a way to win their respect.  With the death of Tywin Lannister, their list of allies grows shorter.  Roose has another suggestion in mind, a marriage for the new young Lord of Winterfell.  
  • That's right folks, the marriage Littlefinger discussed last week was for Sansa Stark to marry Ramsay Bolton!  WHAAAT!?!?!?  As mentioned, we kind of figured this one out in the comments last week but it is definitely a change from the books.  It still is in the spirit of the books.   Sansa had one extremely lousy storyline in the books and never left the Vale or Robin Arryn's side.  I can't tell you one thing interesting that happened in that story.  Meanwhile, there most certainly was a wedding for Ramsay Bolton in the books.  But it was to Sansa's old Winterfell friend Jeyne Poole.  However, Jeyne Poole was passed off as being Arya Stark (because the Bolton's assume Arya Stark is dead and how would anyone else know?)   And remember, EFFICIENCY IS COMING!  Why not have Ramsay marry an ACTUAL Stark?  And since we have Darth Sansa this season, why not have Littlefinger make this sound like a really good idea?  I think it works.  I think the details of this marriage may change a bit and I think Sansa is going to end up with a juicier story.  The interview with the showrunners said they had this in mind for Sansa's story since season 2 so they are not just doing it on a whim.  
  • Sansa agrees to this proposal by Littelfinger with a little nudge from him that suggests she avenge her family.  Littlefinger certainly is always looking for a way to rise in power.  Taking out the Boltons might be another one of his goals.  
  • Sansa had some great moments in Winterfell already.  Her fake greeting with Roose was excellent.  And there was an old lady that secretly told Sansa, "The North Remembers".  This seems to indicate she'll have allies within those walls.  
  • It should be pointed out that we got a glimpse of Ramsay's former girl, and she does not look happy about this marriage! 
  • We also had scenes between Littlefinger and Roose and Ramsay.  It's a stretch to think Littlefinger knows nothing about Ramsay, but we'll go with it.  He did learn he used to be a bastard.  Ramsay also promises he'd never harm Sansa.  Hmmm, we'll see.  Roose, meanwhile, received Cersei's letter to Littlefinger and opened it.  We still don't know what it says, but it made him suspect that Littlefinger was still working for the former Queen.  He does intend on responding, but Roose is going to need to see the response.  This whole letter thing was driving me crazy.  Why won't someone just read it aloud!!!??? 

Brienne and Podrick are still trailing Sansa.  She figured out where they were going, so she's in no rush to follow them.  Instead we learn about Brienne's motivations and what makes her tick.  And we learned a little more about Podrick too.  They bonded over a campfire and it was good stuff. 
  • Podrick explained how he came in the service of Tyrion.  It's a story of a stolen ham and who he used to squire to.  But, instead of getting punished with his life, Tywin saved him during the War of 5 kings due to his family name of Payne.  He is a distant relative of Ser Illyn Payne, the King's Justice who beheaded Ned Stark.  (the actor is no longer on the show because he unfortunately has cancer)  
  • Brienne spoke of how she came to care for Renly.  Brienne's father tried to arrange a marriage for her on Tarth and it was the best day of her life with men fawning over her.  It was great until she learned that they were snickering behind her back.  It was Renly who basically said "F" them and danced with her.  She did know he preferred men, but she never forgot what Renly did for her.  He saved her, and she failed at saving him.  She swears vengeance on Stannis Baratheon for killing Renly.  The shadow had a face and she knows it was him that sent that shadow.  
  • Brienne is another story that is off book.  She's still looking for Sansa and Arya at this point in the story.  And that story takes a turn that we're still not sure will happen in the show.  Anyway, let's think about this.  Brienne wants vengeance on Stannis, Stannis wants to march on Winterfell, Sansa is in Winterfell.   There is shaping up to be some juicy off-book/sorta on-book stuff going down in the former/hopefully future home of the Starks! 

The Wall
Jon Snow was faced with his first challenge as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.  But he spoke with Stannis first. 
  • Stannis was upset with Jon's decision to not assume the name Jon Stark and to stick to his honor.  He did provide some suggestions though for Jon's enemies.  He suggested sending Alliser to Eastwatch by the Sea.  Jon disagreed with that tactic.  
  • Meanwhile Davos provided some insightful commentary on protecting the North and guarding the realms of men.   He suggested maybe getting the Bolton's out of power was a good step in that direction.  
  • We learned that Maester Aemon is ill from Sam and he could not attend Jon's first meeting as Lord Commander.  More to come on this I assume and it's a TAD different from the books which seems to confirm that Sam's storyline will be slightly different in the show vs. the books.  That's all I can say at this point!
  • Jon provided his assignments to the Night's Watch.  Alliser was promoted to 1st ranger.  It is seemingly smart to bestow an honor on his enemy.  But, everything he said about Alliser proving his worth is true.  Meanwhile he sent Janos Slynt, former commander of the Gold Cloaks City Watch, to some pile of ruins along the wall.  He repeatedly refused Jon Snow's command.  Jon could not let this go unpunished.  He brought Janos outside to behead him for refusing to honor his vows.  Once Janos realized it was actually going to happen, he started apologizing and saying he will do his job.  He said he's a coward and always has been.  Jon followed through anyway and took Janos's head, with nodding approval of Stannis.  This was taken directly from the books and handled excellently.  You may not recall, and Kit Harrington reminds us, that Janos Slynt was commander of the City Watch who betrayed Ned Stark.  So unknowingly, Jon had some vengeance/justice for his father.  We should also note, this is the same reason Tyrion had Janos sent to the wall.  You could say karma came back full circle on this dude.  
  • I also forgot to note that Ollie, TV show creation and killer of Ygritte, is now Jon Snow's steward, just as Jon was steward to Mormont.  There are suspicions to where this is going, but I shouldn't speak to it just yet.  (except for that) 

Tyrion finally convinced Varys to get him out of the box and he took in Volantis as just another drunken dwarf.  
  • We witnessed Tyrion admiring a Red Priestess and recalling that the only Red Priest in Westeros was Thoros of Myr.  Maybe he forgot about Mellisandre?  The woman noticed Tyrion and he realized they should move onto a Brothel.  
  • The whole exchange with the "bouncer" with rubbing a dwarf and Tyrion's response was classic.   There was whore dressed as Dany and allowing people to fulfill their fantasy of being with the Queen of Dragons.  Tyrion hit on the less popular girl with some great lines, but then realized he couldn't partake.  We assume it's because of what happened with Shae.  
  • By the way Tyrion's comments about needing to talk to someone with hair (as a slight to Varys) were fantastic. 
  • We notice that Jorah is in the brothel as well.  Tyrion goes to take a piss and Jorah captures him.  He says he's going to take Tyrion to the Queen!   This is meant to be ambiguous as he could be looking to get back in the good graces of Dany or he could be looking to claim Cersei's reward.  I almost said too much here because I know too much!  This does happen in the book and happens much later into A Dance with Dragons.  We cut out a lot of Tyrion's journey to Volantis which is for the better!  Granted, book purists may not be happy with a lot of the characters that were cut out of Tyrion's journey.  From a show perspective, this makes complete sense.  
And those are the thoughts I have for this week.  I will continue in the comments and look forward to our weekly discussion.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week!


Mike V. said...

Forgot to bring up a few things:

The whole discussion at the wall around Tormund and the Wildlings and the fact that Winter is coming and Stannis is planning to leave to march on Winterfell. Lots of info there worth remembering.

Something else too but I'm forgetting right now. If someone else doesn't bring it up I'm sure I'll remember!

Anonymous said...

Since I had thought the marriage proposal was for Ramsay/Sansa, that whole part played out as predicted. With the addition of Petyr using this set up as a way for Sansa to avenge her family. That would be great to see. I just don't know if we'll see a major Winterfell battle this season??

I have said before and will say again, the Brienne stuff is excruciating. The character is not likeable and the actor is I don't think very good. I thought the whole pod conversation was a way to tell us why she's in the show at this point. Anyway, yea she's going to Winterfell to protect Sansa(again, she hasn't protected anyone yet). Sorry as an aside I had to laugh when she was saved from boys at an event to set up marriage by someone who doesn't like girls--that's just crazy. Anyway, my take away was she at least recognizes she's been selfish re Pod. And that simple twisted mind of hers has many objectives--killing Stannis and protecting Sansa among them. I wonder if she has the capacity to understand the lord of light and Melissandre in all of this? While I'm posting about one of the two characters I dislike most, let me say how sad it was to see Theon hiding from Sansa.

AGREE about the messages between Cersei and Petyr. I hate when shows do that. I think she's reaching out for his help as she starts being threatened. Very interesting between Roose and Petyr about the Lanisters and the collapse of their power along with changing allegiances. And LF claims to command the Vale's forces. With that I'm surprised that he would agree to letting Roose read the note to Cersei.

I found the scene with Tyrion and the red priestess a potential big deal. He was concerned.

BTW, I wanted to see the bedding ceremony--lol!!!!! Margery better keep that King happy in bed now, otherwise he might look elsewhere--lol.

The Highs Sparrow and Cersei meeting was good, just wonder how much of what they said was what they really meant.

I loved it when the Mountain moved.

And the best line of the whole show was probably given by Margery about Cersei drinking wine in the morning.


Mike V. said...

@Richard - to our credit, we deciphered that Sansa/Ramsay plotline together! Not sure about a major Winterfell battle. We do know that their go to battle director has not been recruited for season 5. But, they still have done other mini-battles without him. We'll see!

I will agree to disagree with Gwendolyn Christie (Brienne)...she's great and I'm looking forward to seeing what she does in Star Wars. The whole Pod conversation actually was taken from the books. That was the other thing I forgot to mention...her offering to train Podrick. There might be a reason they're keeping Brienne around if GRRM knew what she'd do after her current Book plot. We did know even back in season 2 that Cat told Brienne she will get her chance for vengeance. So, it's bringing that full circle. Yeah that whole story about Renly and the guys making fun of her calling her Brienne the Beauty...all from the books.

Agreed on Petyr/Cersei/Roose stuff...

Agreed on Tyrion. And we have some book knowledge there too. lol Well, I recall something but not everything.

Richard, you've never made it a secret you were waiting for a Tommen/Margaery bedding ceremony!! lol

Yep...good points with Sparrow/Cersei meeting. I think something that happened in this episode is foreshadowing of something very similar that will happen later on!

Yep...I also loved that wine line and commented on it! :)

off to a meeting but will probably have much more to discuss!

MJ said...

Is it me or was this a better episode then the last 2? Possibly because no Mereen ? LOL j/k - but I liked that we spent more time with characters rather then such small amounts but everyone in it. I was glad Arya kept Needle. Is it me or does Tomen already look older and taller ?
I don't get why Cersei would want to align with a religous zealot but whatever. I def did not see it coming that Little Finger would want Sansa to marry a Bolton. He loves her - but is willing to use her to further his agenda. I hope the new and wiser Sansa realized this. And technically isn't she still married to Tyrion? I thought for sure that Jon was going to stop the execution of Slynt - glad he did not. Didn't think we'd see Jorah again - wonder if he likes the whores that are made to look like Dany ? LOL I assume he is taking Tyrion to Dany. Poor Tyrion now can't even have his whores - rough times for him. LOL Read somewhere today that religion will be a big part of this season.

Read this interview with woman who plays Sansa - she feels that she is going along with marriage to Ramsey because she knows Baelish has a plan. Main&contentCollection=Arts&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body

Mike - have to read your recap now - and the comments.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes. When the high septon was being made to walk naked through the streets all I could think of was a hopeful upcoming scene!!!

I totally forgot about Christi being in SW!!! OH NO!!! Maybe she'll be the female version of Vader? You know all bad and people afraid of her. The more I learn about the upcoming SW movie, the less I am excited. At this point, I will certainly wait to hear what others have to say(people I know personally) before I go.

You may recall several seasons ago on GoT, I commented about how stiff Brienne moves, it was ungainly, uncoordinated and laughable. I've only seen her in GoT(thankfully) so maybe she can do better, I hope so.

BTW, just rented Interstellar and it was really good. I disagree with some but not all of the criticisms. Most of which I think came from minds who couldn't absorb a lot of filler in a 3 hour movie. But, a lot of that filler was to establish the love theme. My daughter(NOT a scifi fan) LOVED the movie! I didn't like it as much as her.


Mike V. said...


Definitely a better episode. Every season it takes 2 episodes just to set the pieces in place for the rest of the season so they're usually not AS good as what is to follow. And yes, more time with less players has been what GoT has been great at the past couple of seasons. Definitely better pacing.

Tommen was recast last season...but do you mean he looked older and taller after he bedded Margaery?? lol

You know Cersei - Sparrow has power and POWER IS POWER. :)

Sansa/Tyrion - Richard and I discussed this last week and LF brought it up this week. Since they never consummated the marriage is null and void!

Makes sense that religion will be a big part of the season. There are lots of religions in Westeros and Essos....ahh that was another correction I meant to make. It was more of the 7 gods in the house of black and white. The weirwood (old gods of the north) were represented and the drowned god (of Pyke and Greyjoy fame) was too.

I'll check out the link, thanks MJ!


Careful now on saying too much!! :) But I can confirm that the producers had to get permission for said scene to happen. And they did.

You're insane to wait on Star Wars! The preview was amazing and the hype is incredible. It's already guaranteed to be better than the past 3 movies and that's a start! I will be there at midnight 12/18 for screening #1. Christi's role in SW has not been revealed yet but everyone will be revealed over the next few months. It won't focus on her though. The man trio has already been announced and Kylo Ren is supposedly Adam Driver...THAT is the new Vader. Have some faith!

And I think she's great as Brienne and it's certainly a role she's playing. And I think she's been convincing as a swords(wo)man. As convincing as anyone else on the show. Her fight with The Hound was awesome.

Still have not seen Interstellar. One day when our kids go to bed at a normal time we'll have time to catch up on all of these movies. lol In the meantime, at least we're going to see Avengers!

Anonymous said...

BTW, I found it interesting that in this ep introducing the high sparrow that Tyrion saw the red priestess and became possibly afraid. And we had the one god of the faceless men introduced.

I think there is a clash building between religions.


Anonymous said...

OH yea, the wierwood stuff, forgot about that.

What was the deal with the red glowing heart in the house of BW???

Her fight with the hound had the typical up close camera work so you couldn't see her clumsiness--lol.

Glad to hear she's not playing vader. I thought vader died in VI? I absolutely loved the last three movies as it tied the trilogy together and had some good acting. There was some too heavy CGI characters and stuff, but that's a sign of the times for these movies. If VII has less CGI that would be great. The stuff with the water world and clones was awesome. The conversion of Anakin to vader was great. The Anakin/ObiWon qwips were great.

MJ, yea I can see this becoming religion heavy after last night. But, I prefer the fighting heavy vs religion heavy.


MJ said...

Sympathy for Cersei ? You felt that because of a few barbed words from Maergery ? I was cheering her on ! Cersei got in a few as well. And did you just let loose a spoiler with 'insane mind' ? I don't buy it at all that Littlefinger doesn't know exactly who and what Ramsey are - he always makes it his business to know everything.

Agree on them not reading the letter. Maybe I'm remembering wrong but I thought Tyrion seemed nervous when the Red Priedtess looked at him - especially since he's supposed to be staying under the radar.

MJ said...

True with Cersei and power.

TOmen - I mean he (actor) seems to have grown already since last season - as kids on tv do.

I like Brienne - I think she is supposed to be awkward physically and socially and that the actress does it really well. Hardly fair to blame her for not protectin Renly - how do you protect against sorcery ?

Anonymous said...

Brienne--it's the old notion of results matter. She has not yet succeeded at anything. She let Jamie loose a hand and he had to save her from the bear--on and on with examples. And I think that's purposeful. It's hard to say whether her arc will include recovery or continued failure. My bet is that her arc will show recovery, otherwise why have her in the show like this. I suspect the same will happen for Theon. Both of the characters I like to dislike--lol. I would find it funny if Theon and Brienne became a couple.

I think it would be wrong and sad for her to kill Stannis. Maybe her killing Melissandra--I could see that and be cheering.

I had NO sympathy for Cersei.


Anonymous said...

I will add that I would like for Sansa to take out Ramsay!

BTW, I actually miss Tywin.

I wonder when Bravos is going to be knocking on the Lanister doors for money??


Mike V. said...

SW - we can move star wars discussion to the other thread, but i thought we were talking "new vader" in relation to the "new villain" not ACTUALLY "new vader" lol Yes he died in VI...but lots of people are theorizing he'll still be involved somehow because of Luke's comments in the trailer (rerecorded but taken mostly from ROTJ) and the mask being in the trailer. They are definitely using more practical effects and CGI where necessary with the new Star Wars movies. I can't believe you said there was good acting in the prequels. I mean...they did what they could with the information they received, but the scripts were terrible!!! Sure, I enjoyed them for what they were and they were still STAR WARS! But i definitely prefer the original trilogy. Though, the fight with Darth Maul will go down as one of the best fight sequences ever...and John Williams' soundtrack is perfect.

THRONES - no idea with the glowing heart.

@MJ Cersei Sympathy - I always feel the show makes Cersei more sympathetic than the books ever did. But no, I borrowed that from James Hibberd once again. lol But they certainly were trying to cast Cersei in a more sympathetic light in that scene for some reason. And no i didn't let loose a spoiler. I've already noted that in A Feast For Crows we finally get some POV chapters with Cersei and she's the one character where you don't get more of an understanding of where they're coming from. She's just pure evil and nuts! lol Like I said, the show makes her a little more of a sympathetic character even if she is still more of a villain than others.

True about Littlefinger...maybe he was playing dumb. Once again, borrowed from Hibberd who made a similar comment.

Yeah, I've heard they had the butch up Gwendolyn Christie to play Brienne because she's actually a good looking woman. lol

I'm not going to go as far as saying Brienne will kill Stannis, but I think they will encounter each other sooner than later. (even if it hasn't happened in the books)

I don't personally have sympathy for Cersei, let's make that clear. I just would agree with any TV Critic that says the show tries to cast her in a more sympathetic light. Being a book reader I can say that's absolutely true. There are NO redeeming qualities for her in the books. And it's probably a testament to Lena Headey bringing the character life and the writers writing towards that.

Why wouldn't you miss Tywin, Richard? Charles Dance was one of, if not THE best actor on the show? Of course his presence is missed! Thankfully, there are plenty of great characters still on the show to keep it entertaining.

Sansa taking out Ramsay would be awesome. I really wonder how far they will diverge from the books this season....and I also wonder how different book 6 vs. season 6 will be. Like if they're mapping out next season now, and GRRM is planning to get the book out BEFORE season 6...I wonder if they're communicating things to include in the story or if they truly will be their own entities at that point. (I'm guessing the latter)

Good question on the Braavosi money!

Anonymous said...

This is a complement--You are MUCH better than Hibberd when using your own thoughts. I thought he totally missed some great points and is getting a little lazy. There are several commentators that are much better than Hibberd regardless of his use of prose. It's one thing to point out important and/or even subtle elements but his is becoming more form over substance.

It's fair to say Cersei is being portrayed more sympathetic than in the books. That comparison needs to be stated. But seriously, it requires serious tunnel vision to say she's sympathetic. This point by Hibberd partially discredits his recap along with other misses such as Tyrion and the red priestess.

Keep up the good work!!


Anonymous said...

I might add sometimes I feel like Hibberds recaps "carry water" for the show runners. I'm not going to go into all the examples, but the show should stand on it's own feet. Without the need for external explanations by actors,directors or recappers.


Mike V. said...

I appreciate the kind words Richard, lol. And I do use my own thoughts. But, I traditionally do read EW's coverage before the morning when I write my recap so some of the information that I read ends up in my recap. I think we're arguing over semantics on this Cersei thing. I think the show does try to make her more sympathetic than the books but no she's not a completely sympathetic character.

And yes, the both got their slams on each other in that scene, but I think Margaery got the upper hand. I forget if there was music playing and what the tone was, but all of that can add up to the show intentionally trying to make people feel SOMETHING for a character. And when I watched that scene, I had the feeling that was happening to Cersei. Then I read the Hibberd recap, and he said something similar. So, then I accepted it as something probably everyone interpreted that way.

Once again, I do not feel sympathy for Cersei. But, I think the show makes her more sympathetic than the books. Same with Theon. In a much bigger way with Theon. And I'm sure it's because of what A Dance With Dragons does with Theon (which we've already seen most of it over the course of the show).....But, when we read A Clash of Kings we HATED Theon. He did a complete 180 and we never saw any ounce of doubt in his actions. In the show, we have him AMOST writing a letter to Robb Stark to warn him then setting it on fire. Subtle (or not so subtle) things like this make a character more sympathetic. Cersei has had so many discussions with Tyrion about her miserable existence where Tyrion almost felt bad for her and fished for some compliments to give her. This scene where Margaery won the argument was just another example of a scene like that. If this scene happened in the books (which maybe a scene like it happened but not exactly) we would've heard Cersei's thoughts during it and they would've been batsh*t crazy lol Here we just get visual cues from Lena and they were appearing to emotionally scar her.

But, I think I've spent enough words justifying my use of one word in the recap! :-)

As for Hibberd, I know exactly what you're saying. I'm sure it can happen when you're given exclusive access to the set and interviews with characters, showrunners, GRRM, etc... Maybe you unintentionally start defending. It's kind of like the movie ALMOST FAMOUS where Hoffman tells the kid not to become their friend. lol I still enjoy his recaps though and EW's GoT coverage. I think the endless GoT content is because the show is so popular and readers are interested. So any little snippet of information they can provide, they will.

And judging by the comments, people are definitely in an uproar about the Sansa story change. They're more worried about things to come if the plot from the books remains the same. I think some of that will be altered, but we shall see!

I think I've rambled on enough for now!

MJ said...

Haven't read the Hibbard thing yet.

Anonymous said...

Yea, I get where you're coming from on Cersei.

Great point about her crazy thoughts not easy to show on TV. I guess they could do a voice over, which I love but so many hate. She could confide in someone about her thoughts, but I don't think the show runners really want her absolute crazy thoughts out there??

The next ep will likely focus on Essos and Dany. So hopefully we'll get some Tyrion with qwips. I really expect the next ep to ratchet up Dany's problems in Mereen. The foundation was 2nd ep and this upcoming ep 4 will be a big step further. I don't know but hope Jorah gets Tyrion to Dany. I can't recall why Jorah thinks taking Tyrion to Dany will help Jorah's case with Dany. It seems it would help Jorah more, a lot more if he took Tyrion to Cersei. Maybe it's that simple, that Tyrion is valuable to a Dany enemy??


Mike V. said...

Yep, that's my point. The showrunners have toned Cersei's craziness down. Granted, she's still a great TV character with all the wine drinking and jokes about wine drinking. People tune in for that stuff and it's awesome. She has been able to unleash some of her thoughts like with Jaime in the 1st 2 episodes. Blaming him and Tyrion for everything and getting her feelings about Margaery out there. So, it's covered. Just not in the same tone always.

****BOOK STUFF****************

Keep in mind, the show still made Jorah's plans ambiguous just like the book did. But, I don't remember his motivations either. I'm sure it was to get back in the good graces.

I've heard there's going to be 3 weddings this year. This episode already revealed 2 of them. Obviously, the other one has to be Dany and Hizdar So yeah I think they're accelerating right through Dany's Meereen issues to try and make it as non-boring as possible. Get to the fighting pits.....and have Drogon cause a ruckus! That has to be part of episode 9 this year. That would be my guess.

I just heard that shooting starts this summer for the show and that they most likely have already written season 6. That's nuts. So they really probably have little to no idea on what GRRM is writing. Should be interesting going forward!

Anonymous said...

That is nuts about S6.

I've been reading and looking into this red glowing heart thing and am leaning towards it representing the red god of light. Since we saw several other references to it as well.

I think watching for the religious stuff this season will be rewarded next season-lol.

**************8book stuff*******************

Yea, those are the 3 weddings. Interesting that Sansa's would actually happen. I'll have to say that I'm not looking forward to Sansa's bedding ceremony.

The wedding to Hizdar makes me think that the next ep could be bloody in Mereen. If they keep up this alternating ep themes that means there's likely 5 for Westeros and 5 for Essos for major time in each. So, how they are alternating would mean the wedding would PROBABLY be in ep 10 and JS's death in ep9. But, I've heard JS's death is ep 10. So, obviously it's just guessing. Regardless, the Essos stuff seems like it has to be mostly covered in 5 eps, so yea, it will be moving much faster. Thinking on it some more, I could see the fighting pits opened in ep 6, her married in ep8 toward the end and her leaving for Westeros as a kind of cliff hanger in ep10??? But they could save the departure for the beginning of S6??? If we see her depart this season then we know they are on track for a 7 season show as originally planned.

I've been hoping that GRRM while writing book 6, is giving the show runners up to date info on the fly so to speak.


Anonymous said...

***************book stuff***************

Isn't Volantis where we're supposed to meet Connington/Aegon?

Maybe next ep?

This storyline is the single most important unknown element for the entire series at this time. For whether they are used or not used will tell us a lot about what was real or not in the books. Assuming they keep cutting the unncessary clutter--lol.


Mike V. said...

Glowing heart - That would be my assumption too. It would make sense if all the other religions were represented.

**************Book Stuff************************************

The bedding ceremony is what people are "worried" about. I think Theon or Brienne will intervene before anything terrible happens to her. But, I could be wrong. Maybe she'll intervene herself.

I'd put "death" in quotes!! If they go the book route...we know book 6 is supposed to open with 2 big battles. The Battle in the Snow and The Battle at Meereen. So, I gotta think Dany flying away on the Dragon has to be one of the final shots of Season 5...but we don't know if she's leaving at the end of book 5 or if she's heading back to Meereen to take control of things. I think they'll mix up whose stories are in which episodes. But I could be wrong. But you could argue Arya had a pretty meaty plot this week and she's in Essos. From a podcast I listened to it was centered around a theme....focusing on 4 women Sansa, Arya, Brienne and Cersei. They indicated it was some motive they all shared that Dany doesn't share due to her position of power which is why she was excluded from the episode. I don't know if that's true or not...but whatever they said kinda made sense. Like all of them are looking for some kind of revenge/upper hand....where Dany is in a different spot. But Jon Snow and Dany had very similar storylines in back to back episodes with the hard decisions they had to make....and their decisions kind of mirror each other. Though Jon was very more decisive in his.

I dunno...just regurgitating stuff I've listened to and probably missing key details in what they were saying!

Mike V. said...

*****BOOK STUFF******

Aegon/Connington - I think we've discussed this. I don't think it's happening. Maybe it will but I'm thinking it won't. I think we're going to have the adventures of Jorah/Tyrion/Varys. Then again, this is a good opportunity for Varys to disappear back to KL for his big epilogue scene (if they go there).

And it doesn't mean it won't be important in the books, but they may just cover it in a different way in the show. The less introduction of new KEY characters the better to lessen the confusion of TV viewers.

Anonymous said...

************book stuff************88

I was secretly hoping Varys was going to run into Aegon/Connington since he lost sight of Tyrion


Mike V. said...

****BOOK STUFF*****

Interesting thought....though if they have casted these characters it's been unusually quiet. Even though Ramsay Snow was supposed to be a surprise reveal in the show...we knew he was cast too.

We'll see!

Anonymous said...

I posted this before, thought you had read it. Includes possible SPOILERS/rumors on cast members.


Mike V. said...


Ahhh that site is blocked at work but I looked on my phone. I feel like I did read that when you sent it to me before. All I can say is...I guess there's hope! If they can do it in a way that's not too confusing, then maybe they can sneak it in. But, if they went with it like the books did..he would've met them by now already...he took a boat ride from Pentos to Volantis and met them there. Here he was in a box with Varys instead.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I should say after some more thinking on it, the next ep will have to add in some Dorne action. So, Sand Snakes, Jamie and Bronn. They spent all that money on producing Dorne scenes and we've yet to see any!

*****************book Stuff*****************

LOL, you're so convinced Connington/Aegon is a rouse--lol. I'm about 20% expect it to be true and about 80% hopeful it's true--lol.

If they're in the show, then I'd be about 70% expecting and 95% hopeful

I've been disappointed before--lol.

I think this would be a great plot twist by GRRM too.

If these guys don't make it into the story then I'm about 95% sure Dany will be our hero and LIKELY ultimately VERY disappointed in GRRM. Since he has sold us on the notion of him not being predictable. Stannis didn't rise from the fire and ash like Dany, so he can't be the true Azor Ahai compared to her. The next Azor would have to come from the fire. Interesting that we just had some scenes with the fire god isn't it--lol?????


Mike V. said...

Previews indicate you would be correct. lol

*****BOOK STUFF*****

I'm not convinced it's a sham, but I don't think it necessarily means he will be sitting on top in the end. It's a nice book twist, but it may not be AS important for the show. And even if it is important, the show has found ways to give important plots to other characters before. Hell if Tyrion ends up being a T too...they could just consolidate the 2 plots into 1!

You're forgetting...there are more than just Dany that those prophecies could apply to. Some of the prophecies could apply to Jon as well with the way he "dies".....if they think he's dead they could try to set HIM on fire and he rises from the ashes. Could be how they prove he's part T. lol

But I don't think it's just going to be Dany flying west and saving all mankind and becoming queen. That's too clean. There will be more to it. And I still think that the book and show will HAVE to end differently.

Anonymous said...

*******************book stuff*****************

Wow, you're on a roll there.

Combining Tyrion into the Connington stuff, could be possible.

So far, Dany's the only one but your idea about JS is GREAT. So much reason to think so since we know his heritage and they burn the dead to avoid wrights. There could be a situation where T could go through a fire as well and that would explain his concerns when seeing the red priestess.

So, the 3 dragon riders could be Tyrion, JS and Dany. And the thoughts I've been having about Tyrion becoming a ruler could be true. I just think that all the stuff he's been saying that he could NEVER be a king seems like it could play into that.

I believe the endings won't be different as far as who ends up in power and the major battle with the walkers(I forget their name again)--lol. As I recall, I believe you agree with the overall endings being the same. Of course the details won't be, like certain characters final arc.


Mike V. said...


I guess i go back and forth. It's just the fact that GRRM couldn't keep up with the show and now he's talking about adding twists to the story to justify people still buying the books. Twists the show can't do....Just seems like the stories may change in the end.

But yeah...I did think I might be onto something with Jon. We'll see. Clearly his story won't be over when we pick up in book 6. It's just HOW will he survive or be reborn.

and just since you asked: WHITE WALKERS! lol

Mike V. said...

Nothing spoilery here...just Beniof quotes about catching up to the books and "spoiling the future books" They do discuss heading towards the same destination. So, maybe you're right Richard. (I stumbled upon this with some other googling, so it's from last month.

Anonymous said...

You know, I've sometimes wondered why Dany being a Queen of Essos is such a bad deal that she must go to Westeros and conquer. I mean, the bank of bravoos is the largest money center ANYWHERE and lots of other assets exist. She could concentrate on conquering all of Essos and have a full plate.

Essos doesn't have the problems of WhiteWalkers, killing winters with starvation,etc--it's a good deal.

I think the Targeryens can ultimtaly be traced back to Essos? So, there's a deeper heritage that's been lost


Mike V. said...

I think Birthright is a big deal for these characters. But yeah the general consensus is that Essos seems like a better place to live. Outside of the whole slavery stuff. lol

Anonymous said...

Yea, but isn't the birthright issue traceable back to Essos? It's obviously a purely opinion thing and GRRM has made it clear that the Iron Thone is the big deal.

But, I was wondering what I would do if I were Dany. And with my background, identifying and using assets is key. So, the Bank of Bravos would be a primary target. You could get their wealth and take over the loans where you could collect from the other houses. Even GRRM has made a point of the need to pay your troops and debts.

The slave issue is a cultural thing and would take time. We have a lot of slavery today(even openly), even in the US we have some(illegal though). So sad. I could argue that the Nights WAtch is a type of slavery.


Mike V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike V. said...

Yeah it's a good point that their roots trace back to "Valarya" or whatever it is. Not a bad plan to overtake Braavos or at least the bank.

Interesting topic of Night's Watch being a type of slavery. I guess it has some similar themes. It's basically Westeros's prison system. They just send people to the wall out of sight out of mind. But it's not just for criminals, it's for people that others would rather not exist at all (i.e. bastards like Snow...cowards like Sam). But, I guess the idea is if you don't live up to your vows, you die. That's a pretty steep price to pay! If you try to leave you die. yeah...I guess I can see some similarities.