Reddit follow-up discussion and speculation after Game of Thrones S4E3 "Breaker of Chains"
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Game of Thrones!
Redditor lukeatlook writes:
Spoiler scope: Events in the show + Book content related to show + Speculation on roles of certain characters and plot devices compared to book. As non-reader friendly as possible.
Welcome to the weekly followup for non-readers! Here you can learn things that will make you feel like you've read the books without actually doing it. Some things I write about here are missing from the show, the others may appear in later time. Some have been actually mentioned in the show, but you might have not paid attention - and to be honest, the readers didn't pick up everything at the first read, either.
TL;DR Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the reader party
The spoiler scope will not exceed the events presented in the show, however we may highlight things that otherwise you could miss or cover backstory that is yet to be presented on the show - however, the rule of thumb is to present the context from the perspective of a book reader in this particular moment of story.
Chaos Is a Rope Ladder
Money buys a man's silence for a time. Bolt in a heart buys it forever - Littlefinger, as pragmatic as outright creepy
First thing many native speakers picked up is Littlefinger's accent. English is not my native language, so I'll trust fellow redditors on this one, but it seems like his fancy accent from earlier seasons was a ploy, a style he forged for the court and his business in King's Landing. This may suggest he's acting different, perhaps honest and genuine, in front of Sansa.
A quick reminder: Petyr Baelish, childhood friend of Catelyn and Lysa Tully (before they married Ned Stark and Jon Arryn), has always loved Catelyn, but couldn't marry her due to his low birth. His host, the Fingers (hence "Littlefinger") is a small irrelevant rocky area on the shore of the Vale (capital: Eyrie, managed by: house Arryn). He was a host in Riverrun until his teenage years, when Catelyn got betrothed to Brandon Stark, Eddard's older brother (the engaement got ceded to Ed when the Mad King killed Brandon and their father Rickard).
From the words unknowingly said by Hoster Tully on his deathbed (he was delirious and talked to Catelyn as if he was talking to teenage Lysa) we can speculate that Petyr, unable to get closer to Catelyn, took Lysa's virginity and got her pregnant - although that was actually Lysa's scheme, she took advantage of Petyr when he was drunk. Lysa unknowingly terminated the pregnancy with moon tea (her father tricked her into it), but as deflowered her value in marriage plummeted. Jon Arryn married Lysa in order to win Hoster Tully's support.
Last reminder: Petyr left King's Landing with the dreaded title of Lord of Harrenhal in order to marry Lysa Arryn. We do not know what he's been doing all that time, exactly.
Back to the plot. Show actually still gives some room for ignorance, but the evidence piles up. Anyway, at this point of the book narrative even naive Sansa (although, she was the first hand witness) puts the things together and knows exactly how Joffrey got poisoned and who is responsible for it. If you wish to remain oblivious, you may skip this part. it should be really obvious though
The Black Widow
I must be cursed - Margaery Tyrell, afraid she'll never get laid... well, at least officially
Luthor Tyrell, Olenna's husband, Mace's father and grandfather to Loras and Margaery (along with their show-inexistent older brothers Willas and Garlan) died by riding off a cliff while hawking. Not much is known about him, although Tywin wonders jokingly if he might have done it on purpose after he meets Olenna.
This scene might get some additional meaning once you rewatch the whole season - unless you've realized something already.
Marriages are the primary method of sealing alliances, so according to Olenna's words, we might expect preparation for Margaery's third marriage.
As this conversation clarifies, Margaery is not a Queen. It's actually not just because she didn't consummate the marriage - Westerosi primogeniture is a bitch and she wouldn't inherit the crown after Joffrey anyway. As a matter of fact, no Targaryen woman has ever been a sole ruler of Westeros - they always had brothers or cousins with a better claim. There was one queen who usurped the throne. She got eaten by a dragon and her sons were forced to watch. That is the main cause for why all the dragons died off - her son outlived her brother and kinda got his revenge on dragons.
The King is Dead, Long Live The King
You'll become a king. What kind of king you'd think you'll be? - Tywin Lannister, beginning to shape his last hope for a competent successor
Tommen Baratheon has been carefully kept away from appearing on screen too much in order for the recast to go as smooth as possible. You may remember the previous actor from "Blackwater" (S02E09), when Cersei was on the verge of poisoning him to ensure the forces of Stannis Baratheon won't murder him. The new actor, funnily enough, has already appeared on show - he played the young Matryn Lannister, captured by Edmure Tully and murdered by Rickard Karstark in Riverrun in season 3.
Baelor I Targaryen, called also Baelor the Beloved or Baelor the Blessed, is a well-known figure among the people in Westeros. Too pious to consummate his marriage (in his defense, arranged to his sister), he was rememered as both the kindest king to ever rule Westeros and a sort of a lunatic. He lived halfway between Aegon's conquest and Robert's rebellion, when the dragons were already gone (he tried praying over the eggs, to no effect). He was known to fasting to the point of fainting, but some believe his death was caused by his uncle, fed up with Baelor's madness. Baelor died at 28, obviously leaving no children. To some, like Lancel Lannister, he was a shining light amongst the immorality of Targaryens. Other Lannisters (such as all Tywin's children) perceive his character as rather unfit to live, let alone reign.
There is no character in Targaryen dynasty resembling "Orys I" from Tywin's story (which is rather short and dull for Westerosi standards). Aerys I was a well-known book reader, but he sought for knowledge and mystery, disregarding politics and laws. The only person with that name is Orys Baratheon, bastard brother of Aegon the Conqueror, the founder of House Baratheon. And that guy was never a king.
I don't really think adding anything new about Robert Baratheon here is necessary.
Book Tommen is actually significantly younger. To the point where he plays with cats. Expect the readers to flip their shit on any mention of felines, it's actually a major part of Tommen's character. Allegedly.
And here comes the part where I need to admit my inability to properly review a scene. I'll try to do my best. Anyway, there are two cases where a sexual encounter goes way differently in the books than in the show. The first one was Dany's wedding night. Book Drogo was gentle and didn't move further without Dany's permission, while TV Drogo outrightraped her. Somehow we glossed over that part, but whatever. Now here comes a similar problem, but now the show is popular enough to raise a great deal of controversy as misogynistic (rape culture!). Long story short, this goes way differently in the books, long story shorter Jaime doesn't rape Cersei in the book, long story even shorter what the fuck, man.
I suppose the rape is meant to be a replacement for the fact that in the book Cersei is on her period, to make a gritty picture. Also, book Jaime gets to King's Landing after the wedding, so this scene is their reunion. I gotta admit this is too fucked up for me to properly analyze. Maybe that's the key point. That scene was supposed to be a mess.
To anyone claiming it was a rape in the book as well, here's a quote:
“Hurry,” she was whispering now, “quickly, quickly, now, do it now, do me now. Jaime Jaime Jaime.” Her hands helped guide him. “Yes,” Cersei said as he thrust, “my brother, sweet brother, yes, like that, yes , I have you, you’re home now, you’re home now, you’re home.” She kissed his ear and stroked his short bristly hair. Jaime lost himself in her flesh. He could feel Cersei’s heart beating in time with his own, and the wetness of blood and seed where they were joined. "
- So yeah, their relation is fucked up, but not that fucked up. It's different enough to cause controversy.
Winter is Coming... Eventually
We ask the Stranger to not kill us in our beds for no damn reason at all - Sandor Clegane, pious in his own manner
Fairmarket is halfway between the Twins and Harrenhal, equally close to Riverrun, and still quite away from Eyrie. That's as literal as you can get with "middle of nowhere".
Sandor mentions Second Sons. This sellsword company was already a focus of the show, when Daario Naharis took control over them and joined Daenerys in season 3 in the episode named after the company. The title was a play with the characters of Sandor, Stannis and Tyrion as well, since they're second sons in a very literal meaning.
This scene mirrors the spirit of equivalent scene in the book, where Sandor actually agrees to stay, but the people recognize him and force him to leave.
Tullys are the rightful lords of the Riverlands. Some people might hold a grude against them as they were unable to protect their subjects against the pillagers led by Gregor Clegane, even with the help of Robb Stark, but a feudal society operates on a much bigger timeline and family allegiances can hold strong even after some twists and turns.
It's not the first time we've heard all the names of the Seven, but it's the first time we've heard a full prayer to them. All seven aspects are in fact one deity, much like with Holy Trinity, but unlike in Christianity, where nobody realy understands the distinction (and nobody is even supposed to), different aspects have certain roles and domains. Father is the leader, Smith is the artisan and craftsman, Warrior is the... well, you get the point, Mother is the bringer of life, Maiden is the embodiment of innocence, Crone is the keeper of wisdom, and Stranger is genderless death. You may associate some of the Seven with characters from the show, this works especially with Starks, as long as you find a way to label Rickon as Smith.
Quick reminder: In Westeros, seasons last for years. Surviving winter is a real damn challenge. Still a dick move to rob innocent people, of course.
Character limit, already? Well, I'll continue in the first reply.
It's This Section Again
I will not become a page in someone else's history book - Stannis Baratheon, unaware he's already a page in someone else's script
We might have forgotten the leeches, but here's that plotline back. Of the three usurpers named, Joffrey was the only pretendent to the Iron Throne, the other two (Robb Stark and Balon Greyjoy) being separatists at best.
Reminders: Hadn't Davos released Gendry from Dragonstone, Melisandre would burn him to "awaken a dragon from stone". We can't be sure if anything would happen, as the only act of waking up a dragon from stone involved a petrified egg (three of them), a pyre, three dead people and a crapload of blood magic.
The Golden Company might be the only sellsword company honourable enough for Stannis, but their unbroken allegiance has its price, and it's not just the money - they are incredibly picky when it comes to choosing who they fight for. It's easier to never break contract if you fight for the winning side.
Syrio Forrel, Arya's teacher from season 1, was the First Sword of Braavos for 9 years, but Davos has ceased his criminal lifestyle for over 17 years, since the time of Robert's Rebellion. This makes it unlikely that Davos knew Syrio.
Dragonstone has many more characters in the books, such as the mysterious fool Patchface, whose near-death experience marked him for life with craziness slash prophecy, who is Shireen's main companion, and maester Pylos, who took over after Cressen's failed attempt at poisoning Melisandre. Pylos is the one teaching Davos how to read. Of course Shireen's dynamic with Davos is great, but Stannis's court in books is much larger than that. Personally I prefer resolute Shireen over absent Shireen.
Iron Bank of Braavos is known to always collect their debt, one way or another. As a matter of fact, they have been mentioned already, but the scene got stolen by Podrick Payne. I would like you to pay attention to that scene, especially the part where Tyrion says that Iron Bank may start funding their enemies to speed up the payments.
Two Guys, A Girl, And A Whorehouse
Categorically - Tywin Lannister, somewhere between lying and simply not giving a fuck
This was already an issue with Renly, but HBO has generally expanded the sex scenes not only in quantity, but sometimes they present scenes that the books would only imply they could happen. Oberyns's bisexuality is merely implied in the books.
The story with the world being inside a giant's eye was already mentioned by Robb Stark as Old Nan's nonsense.
Disregarding whether Gregor Clegane acted on Tywin's orders or not, slaughtering Elia's children, who would be main pretendends to throne, was an understandable consequence of the rebellion. Elia's death, however, seems rather unnecessary.
Tywin mentioning the dragons at this point is a significant change, as in the books everyone seems to be quite oblivious to the situation. Then again, we see King's Landing through the eyes of Tyrion and Jaime.
Dorne resisted Aegon and his dragons by simply never gathering all in one place to get roasted. Aegon and his sisters had three dragons, which was more than enough to level a castle or slaughter an army, but insufficient to keep carpet bombing a whole kingdom. Dornishmen have won through dispersion and perseverance.
No trial of this size or magnitude has ever been mentioned in the books before, so all the rules regarding judges and witnesses will be explained on the run. Long story short, Tyrion is fucked.
This is the first time the name of the poison, "The Strangler", is said in the show. Books mention it when Cressen attempts to poison Melisandre. If you go back to S02E01, you'll notice the effects were similar.
Another character cut from the story at the moment: Kevan Lannister, Tywin's brother and Lancel's (Robert's cupbearer in season 1 and Cersei's surrogate for Jaime in season 2) father. He's the one informing Tyrion about the judges in the book.
Fire! - Daenerys, deciding to intimidate people with barrels instead of her bloody dragons
I'm tired enough to add some personal opinion here: HBO seems to really dig Dany's anti-slavery crusade and Jorah's journey into the depths of the friendzone was boring two seasons ago. Now it's downright agonizing.
I'm gonna wait an episode or two until I compare this with book, because I'm not sure when will it be safe to talk about the alternative plotline. Let's dedicate this part to Strong Belwas, then.
Strong Belwas, cut out from the show, is a giant mercenary sent to Daeneerys by Illyrio Mopatis (the old guy who hosted her in Pentos, back in S01E01). He's (Belwas, not Illyrio) a veteran of the fighting pits, notorious for letting his oponents cut him once and then killing them after giving them false hope. Daenerys chooses him because she doesn't really hold any feelings towards him (other than the feeling that she can spare him). Belwas kills the horse of Mereen's champion, allows him to wound him, and then wins the duel on foot. Then, in his soon to be signature move, he defecates towards the city of Mereen, and wipes his ass with the cloak of Mereenese champion. HBO: where we escalate sex scenes and tone down biopsychological warfare.
As you may suspect, the title of this episode comes from Daenerys's storyline. "Breaker of Chains" is her new title. The full title right now would be "Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains"
I am aware that the whole Wall section is missing, but I couldn't do it on the run, no POV character ever visits Mole's Town and the whole deserter plot got a bit complicated. Thanks for all your feedback.
For those questioning the rape scene, here is GRRM's response:
tl;dr He says that he disagrees with the way the writers made that scene.