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Game of Thrones Book / Speculation followup for non-readers S4E4 "Oathkeeper"

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Redditor lukeatlook writes:

Welcome to the weekly followup for non-readers! Here you can learn somethign from the books, usually, but this timeWHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED I will try to refrain from spoiling anything past the show - but, for the love of R'hllor, the show is starting to spoil the future books. This is getting out of control.


Learn new things! Remind old things! This, and more that you wanted, in this week's episode of Feel smart and fancy like a book reader without having to purchase and consume a brick of paper! Spoiler scope: should be kinda safe for non-readers (let's phrase it as "I'm trying").

Warning scope: Presentation of the events may be influenced or disturbed by my own views and prejudices, including but not limited to: Daenerys fatigue, Stannis fanboyism, Shae hate, real-life issues and R+L=J conspiracy theorism. For all of those and more I am NOT sorry. RIP in pieces Stannis the Mannis, writers' hate killed you but you remain in our hearts. Also RIP Strong Belwas. And Patchface. And Moon Boy, for all I know.

This episode is painful to write a followup for since the scenes were either fairly faithful to the book with no new background to explain, or so absurdly different that there is little I can say without spoiling the outcome.

If Slavery Is Not Wrong, Nothing Is Wrong

I will answer injustice with justice - Daenerys, stating that crucifying people is making your character controversial enough to keep away from "too good to survive this show" stigma

  • TV Grey Worm is much more of a character than the book one. This is one of multiple instances when the ASOS split (one book, two seasons) allowed the writers to develop a character beyond the book's scope.

  • Missandei had two brothers who became Unsullied.

  • Summer Isles is an archipelagos south of Westeros and Essos. It's the homeland of most black people in the story - there's also Sothoros, the southern continent, but we don't really know jack shit about that one. A notable figure from the book coming from Summer Isles is Jalabhar Xho, present in court at King's Landing since AGoT (first season). He's a renowned archer, although he lost the Tourney of the Hand to Anguy (the archer from the Brotherhood without Banners). He accompanies Tyrion in meeting the Dornish delegation and gifts Joffrey a precious bow.

  • Notable people NOT from Summer Isles: Xaro Xhoan Daxos, "the black guy from Qarth", not really black and not really heterosexual in the book. I guess the showrunners decided that the show needed racial diversity, so present in the books, with Jalabhar already hanging around in the court all the time. Another character with ethnic background way different in the book is Robb's wife, who's quite Westerosi and comes with a number of family members. Rewriting the Jeyne/Talisa storyline to cut the cast and redefine Robb's relationship with his wife allowed to make her a foreigner from the Free Cities.

  • Back on track: This is the moment where Arstan Whitebeard reveals his identity as Barristan Selmy (you can't see it's the same actor in the book, so the trick worked). Daenerys feels cheated and betrayed, and sends the poor guy through the sewers. Show took a different approach, focusing much closer on the "slave liberation" theme, which isn't as strongly highlighted in the book. Target audience, I guess - note my headline. On a serious note, it's helping to bring out two traits of Dany - her desire to make the world a better place and her cruelty in doing so.

  • Mereen is the biggest and last unconquered city in the Slaver's Bay. Daenerys is going to face "what now?" questions, as the promo for 3x05 suggests.

All in all, other that changing the focus, this was fairly faithful to the source material and doesn't require additional explanation If you wish to read about the Ghiscari culture, read my previous followups. I'll link them all in one place... eventually.

Buddy Comedy 2: The Cow and The Tripod

Ever since that great cow brought you back to the capital... - Cersei Lannister, clearly prejudiced against Tauren paladins

  • Damn, the show keeps getting better and better at bringing up things from earlier seasons. Having the cynical Bronn be Jaime's sparing partner instead of the mute ser Ilyn Payne was a great idea.

  • So, generally all I can say right now about the Jaime-Tyrion conversation is that it takes place in a much different manner in the book. Let's assume the book one will take place later and say nothing about this one, since there's nothing to compare it to.

  • Although the ages of certain characters are quite different, book Margaery is 15 and book Tommen is 8. Still creepy for a love story, still somewhat adorable for a relationship between two children, and still kinda devious from Margaery's side. Wouldn't be so cute if the sexes were reversed, huh? Anyway, Margaery bonds with Tommen over his cats, and in the books all three - ser Pounce, lady Whiskers and Boots - are gifts from her. A grim example of cutting the cast to one cat only. Almost as bad as cutting away Davos's other sons, some of which are actually still alive. Or actually worse, if you value cats for their personality, which the Seaworth brothers didn't have much of.

  • Since the timeline is off with the cat ownership, I guess Joffrey's threat to kill ser Pounce is a replacement for his other story with cats, when he sliced a pregnent cat's belly and took out the fetuses to show his father. Robert had beaten the living shit out of him, but Cersei has threatened to kill him in his sleep if he ever raises his hand on Joffrey again. I guess I can finally stop mentioning that story unsure if it's the time or not... mayhaps.

  • Brienne's armor is blue as a nod to her name in the Kingsguard of Renly. Renly named his finest knights the Rainbow Guard. Brienne was the Blue. Rainbow and its seven colors has religious connotations to faith of the Seven and the show tends to cut the cast where it can, so the choice to scrap that was understandable. Also, there was no need to use the symbol of the rainbow and its connotations to the LGBT movements, especially since GRRM stated it wasn't intended - in the books, you figure out Renly is gay after numerous numerous hints and nothing is so "in your face" (no scenes with him and Loras), so Rainbow Guard flies under the radar (even if it's not even intended) until people star joking about Renly after he dies. Renly's Kingsguard was Rainbow because he liked things to be fancy, not because it was suposed to be a play on LGBT rights.

  • Podrick catches up with Brienne a little bit later in the books, but quick enough for it to not matter in this followup.

Captain Stottlemeyer, I Know How He Did It

And who helped me with this conspiracy? - Littlefinger, enjoying mindfucking Sansa as much as eyefucking

  • Yet again, Petyr's boastful speech brings up all the necessary details, such as his lordship over Harrenhal and arranger marriage to Lysa Arryn.

  • This is the moment when any theories on Joffrey's death stop being theories and start being... well, convincingly proven theories. So almost facts. If you want, you can rewatch the wedding feast and watch for the exact moment Olenna takes the gemstone from Sansa's necklace.

  • However, you can still doubt one thing: Was Petyr the mastermind behind the conspiracy, or merely Olenna's associate through Dontos? What if Dontos was paid by Littlefinger to tell him about Olenna's conspiracy and bring Sansa after the feast? What if Petyr is simply trying to impress Sansa by taking credit for Olenna's actions?

  • In this particular scene Sansa seems a bit naive and stupid, but since in the books she puts the pieces together in her thoughts, you can't really translate it to the show format. Well, there was the dialogue between her and ser Dontos while they ran, but I guess it wasn't a dialogue fit for running.

  • The most important fact for a book reader here is that Margaery wasn't involved. An important thing about the books that I'm going to repeat from time to time is that every chapter is written from a point of view (POV) of a single character. In King's Landing, it's first Eddard, Arya and Sansa, then Tyrion and Sansa, then now Tyrion and Jaime. Neither Margaery nor Olenna Tyrell are POV characters, so readers could never see into their thoughts. This scene gave us insight into Olenna's motives and cleared out Margarey's role.

  • Surprisingly enough, the books never specify the details about Olenna's failed ennagement to a Targaryen. Aemon, perhaps? Nice to hear the story, anyway.

Thanks for keeping with one of the most troubling followups to date. If you feel like I should have focused on something else or refrained from mentioning certain things, please let me know.



So who is that guy? - Non-readers

I'll tell you when you're older - Readers

From time to time, I tend to complain about how show content tends to present alternative storyline that makes it difficult to discuss the book alternative without spoiling a plot point. For example, I could say that a certain event doesn't occur in the books, but that would imply that said event doesn't matter and the result will be as if nothing had happened (so, a character is not really in danger). Sometimes the alternative is interesting and so unexpected that it's nearly impossible to predict what the change implies (for example if two characters who weren't supposed to meet suddenly have a conversation). This time, however, I'm just out of HOLY SHIT WHAT THE HELL

As you may remember, last week's episode didn't have anything about the Wall. I was a little bit unsure about how much can I say about the situation and decided to skip the part altogether to avoid spoiling anything. I thought the things will get easier after I see more of D&D's take on the subject. Boy I was wrong.

  • Mole's Town is not a place of book events, it's only mentioned. Gilly is in Castle Black all the time. Doesn't mean she's safe. Or that Mole's Town is safe. Just a very different chain of events.

  • The little boy in the Watch is the same one who fled from his village in the last episode. No book equivalent, but expect his archery skills to come into play.

  • I mentioned in the beginning that sometimes saying that a storyline is not in the books puts this storyline's importance in question and suggests the outcome. So the next few points are covered in spoiler tags.

  • Book difference, spoiler free

  • Book difference, borderline spoilers

  • Book difference, spoiler-ish

  • What's the reason for all the changes, then? Well, the problem is that we're now nearing the very end of A Storm of Swords. I would say we have less than 20% of the book left. This means that certain plotlines need expanding and while in some way there is a little bit of character development there, the main purpose is introducing a new adventure to kill the time until the key points of the plot. You could call this plotline the first true filler in the history of the show, which until now has rather cut events from books rather than adding new ones.

  • The closest thing to a show-only plotline yet was Melisandre's visit to the Brotherhood camp, but the outcome was similar to book - Arya and Gendry split and Melisandre gets a bastard child of Robert Baratheon (in the book it's Edric Storm, residing in Storm's End - and Gendry stays as a smith). So other than encountering a confrontation between Melisandre, Thoros and Arya, it wasn't that much of a new content. Meanwhile in here book difference

  • All in all, once I encounter characters and scenes that have no place in the book, I fall short. Not much to write about, really, without spoiling the plot point that inevitably comes after the scene.

That is, with the exception of

The Moment Readers Flipped Their Shit

Wait, WHAT? - readers and non-readers alike

  • The scene with the White Walker is absolutely not-in-the-books to the point of going PAST books. The funniest part is that the scene itself only confirms what was already a very popular theory amongst book readers.

  • First off, we have confirmation about "sons of Craster" becoming White Walkers. This was already strongly hinted in Craster's Keep (Craster's wives mentioned "sons of Craster" coming for the Night's Watch), but we get a VERY visual confirmation.

  • Second, the book is very vague about the White Walkers and portrays them as more a force of nature than organized menace. With the finale of season 2 and one of the Others commanding the Wights (zombie army), it was already implied, but now we could see sort of organization within White Walkers themselves.

  • Third and the most gamebreaking detail is the name of the leader of the group in the HBO synopsis, quickly fixed to "Walker". It's a name from Westerosi legends:  and it bears HUGE implications to what the White Walkers are. I'll update this post once the people on /r/asoiaf put some convincing theory together - I'll probably need to decide how much of those legends should I reveal.

This is becoming surprisingly difficult, and I'm kinda glad - it means that HBO it doing better and better job at presenting the plot.

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