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Game of Thrones S4E5 Book / Speculation followup for non-readers: "First Of His Name"


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Redditor lukeatlook writes:

Halfway through the season! Welcome to the weekly followup for non-readers, meant to let the show watchers catch up with some useful trivia from the book and take a look back at some context shown in earlier episodes.

TL;DR: Useful background - Reader's point of view - Scene-by-scene systematics - Lame jokes in headlines - Stannis fandom

Oh I Just Can't Wait To Be King

If you ever call me "sister" again, I'll have you strangled in your sleep - Cersei, one season ago

How shall I call you? "Sister"? - Margaery, either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid

  • Tommen is the first king of Westeros with that name, but not the first king Tommen in history - Tommen was a name of at least two kings of the Rock before Aegon Targaryen's conquest. Tommen II was lost in Valyria along with his Valyrian steel sword Brightroar - since then, until the reforging of Ice, Lannisters didn't have a family weapon.

  • Note how the Baratheon sigil fades from view. Due to Cersei's regency, Joffrey and Tommen have been ruling under the joined banner of houses Lannister and Baratheon, but two seasons ago the Baratheon stag was coloured black on a yellow field. Silver on a yellow field is a Baratheon color as well, but much less visible. You can also compare Tommen's pompuously red clothing (this week, he covered all his yellow vest in a red cape) to Joffrey's, who kept wearing yellow quite distinctly.

  • Baratheon presence in the court is next to zero - Stannis still keeps control of Storm's End, the Baratheon family nest, and even though after the failed siege of King's Landing many lords of the Stormlands have bent the knee to Joffrey, Stormlands as a whole are outside of Lannister control as long as Storm's End holds. Also, some prominent figures like Beric Dondarrion have been fighting against the Lannisters, and there isn't a major Stormland family to replace Baratheons, especially since the solution would be temporary - Baratheon name and legacy would eventually fall back to Tommen's progeny.

  • I've already explained numerous times how POV chapters work, but let me repeat myself: we se the events of the book through the eyes of certain characters. In King's Landing, it's Ned, Arya, Sansa, Tyrion and now Jaime - to the point, show allows us to see much more of Tywin. Lannisters being broke is a surprise to book readers as well, especially since crown was said to be in debt to house Lannister not so long ago.

  • In case you haven't noticed, Cersei plotting with father, exceptionally not being a bitch to Tyrells and casually talking with Oberyn is coincidentally related to the names of the three judges in Tyrion's trial.

Smart-Ass Edgy Reference to Iraq or Libya

I will not sail for Westeros - Daenerys Tararyen, delivering the most disappointing line in history of the show

  • "The Lannisters have more* - but not the navy. Lannister navy is pretty much nonexistent since Tyrion sacrificed it in Blackwater Bay. In the show, it's one ship carrying wildfire - in the books, Tyrion baits Stannis by sending the whole Lannister fleet against him and then setting both sides aflame.

  • "10 000 men can't conquer Westeros" - They can. Three centuries before, Aegon the Conqueror had 3 000 men. And three big-ass dragons. As in, WAY bigger than Dany's. I mean dragons here, not ass. Speaking of the latter, he also wasn't alone - he had his two sister-wives. Way to Kickstart a dynasty.

  • "Old houses" - Realistically at this point Tyrells are too invested in the Lannister regime to turn against them. Boltons are another beneficients of the Lannisters, and currently they are very busy taking control of the North - they might switch sides again, but can't rally the Northmen to anyone's cause yet. Starks, Baratheons and Tullys are either dispersed, imprisoned or dead - and none of them would ever join a Targaryen after that whole rebellion thing. The only free players at this point are Greyjoys, who don't care about anyone, Martells, who just struck a sweet deal with Lannisters by taking Myrcella as a host in Sunspear, and Arryns, who, of course, still won't lift a finger, as they haven't during the War of the Five Kings.

Speaking of which...

Cuckoo's Nest

Mummy says they killed your mother and chopped off your borther's head - Robin Arryn, managing to take over the title of the most despicable child in TV in just one sentence

  • Have you even grasped the extent of what has just been revealed?

  • In case you've already forgot those people, feel free to learn to hate them all over again. We've seen Eyrie back in season 1, when Catelyn brought Tyrion here. Arryns have ruled over the Vale for thousands of years. They were one of the first Andals in Westeros - Andals are the civilization who brought the Faith of the Seven and populated the South. Northmen descend from the First Men.

  • Sansa goes under the name Alayne Stone. Stone is a common name for bastards in the Vale, as much as Snow is in the north. Petyr himself is from the Fingers (hence his nickname), part of the Vale, hence Alayne's tie to the Vale.

  • Robin's name in the book is Robert. Jon Arryn named his son after his ward Robert Baratheon, just like Ned Stark named his son Bran after his brother Brandon - and Robb after Robert. Jon Snow is named after Jon Arryn, of course. As long as one of the characters is dead, it's OK for the show, but to avoid confusion, some names have been altered.

  • Brandon Stark, Ned's older brother, was supposed to be Catelyn's husband. Petyr challenged him to a duel for her hand and lost. Brandon lost his life when he came with his father Rickard to King's Landing demanding prince Rhaegar to return his sister Lyanna Stark. Rhaegar's father, Aerys "Mad King" Targaryen, had them both executed in a very gruesome way. The scene almost made it to the show's pilot and was even featured in the first trailers.

  • Eyrie is where the rebellion started when Jon Arryn refused to hand over his wards Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark to King's Landing. They allied with Tullys through marriage of Ned (who took over his brother's engagement) and Jon (who married Lysa mostly to do her father a favour), and, long story short, won. Ned, devastated by his family's death (he lost everyone but his brother Benjen), came back home to the North, and Jon Arryn stayed in King's Landing as Hand of the King to Robert Baratheon.

  • Book makes a stop in the family house of Baelish in the Fingers, where Lysa waits for them, eager to marry Petyr as soon as possible. Tiny size of the keep emphasizes both the social advancement of Littlefinger and awkwardness of Sansa hearing her aunt's screams.

  • Okay, so now this was the most important reveal of the show so far. Jon Arryn's death was the catalyst of the whole bloody thing. If Jon Arryn didn't die, Robert wouldn't come to Winterfell, Ned wouldn't become the Hand, Bran wouldn't fall off the tower, Catelyn wouldn't capture Tyrion, and in the end Ned wouldn't die.

  • Well, of course, if Jon Arryn didn't die, he and Stannis would probably have eventually completed their cause against Joffrey's claim to the throne. So even if the Lannisters didn't kill him, they would certainly want him dead, sooner or later. Still, that leaves room for error and chance for Robert to find out the truth, and that wouldn't create as much chaos as Jon's death did.

  • Sansa's marriage to Robin as first cousins, however psycho the Lysa and her son are, isn't anything odd. Marrying cousins, even first cousins, is actually practised in some places in our world (India, Pakistan). In Westeros, the cross-country arrangenents between major houses such as Tully-Stark, Tully-Arryn and Lannister-Baratheon (and lately, attempted Lannister-Tyrell) are incredibly unusual. Even Rhaegar's marriage to princess of Dorne Elia Martell was rather an exception amongst all the inter-Targaryan pairings.

  • Speaking of unusual arranged marriages, there is a theory that , but we lack any hard evidence to support this claim other than timing of some arrangements.

End of a Legend

Aren't you... like... afraid of me? - Karl, a little bit confused

Nah, man, you're not even in the books. We'll be fine- Jojen, fond of his greensight

  • So now, without any speculation/spoiler tags, IT WASNT IN THE BOOOOOKSSSSSSS

  • But, seriously. This whole part was made up to tie some loose ends and kill some time in Jon's storyline, which as far as ASOS is concerned, is nearing its end. Jon coming back to Castle Black (end of season 3) marks about 2/3 of his chapters in ASOS. So the season 4 part, if it's supposed to not exceed ASOS, needed to be a little bit extended.

  • Plot points remain as follows: Bran continues his journey north, Jon is at Castle Black, Mance doesn't know about Watch's true power, Craster's Keep is not relevant anymore and direwolves are free.

  • Jojen being all chill about his fate is very very book-canon. His sort of catchphrase is "This is not the day I die". Which would be badass if it wasn't for his implied dolorous delivery. He's like that.

  • This may be introduced later in the show, but book readers have known this from the second book now: book difference.

Addendum

  • Scenes such as buddy comedies of Arya&Houd and Brienne&Podrick require no further explanation since all they did was bringing back events from earlier episodes (as a matter of fact, so did Cersei's conversation about Myrcella). The tempo has significantly slowed down for those few middle episodes.

  • Iron Bank of Braavos gets much much much more highlight than in the books, to the point where I can hardly say anything more about it than the show does. I'll probably revisit that in the next episode.

  • Reddit gold for these posts amassed on my account could feed me for over a month (life isn't that expensive in Poland). I have to admit this feels good.

  • My fellow quality crusader /u/GRVrush2112 made a post on Vargo Hoat (book equivalent of Locke) and Brave Companions (incredibly graphic group, cut from the show). I hugely recommend reading it since it sheds new light on season 3 regarding Jaime, Brienne and Qyburn

I've also made a compilation of all my previous posts, as requested.

Compilation in the comments below.

Here are all his previous posts:

Season 2

My first post about the book trivia which started the whole series

Episode 6 - The Old Gods and the New

Episode 7 - A Man Without Honor - merged with ep. 8

Episode 8 - The Prince of Winterfell - merged with ep. 7

Episode 9 - Blackwater

Episode 10 - Valar Morghulis

Season 3

Episode 1 - Valar Dohaeris

Episode 2 - Dark Wins, Dark Words

Episode 3 - Walk of Punishment

Episode 4 - And Now His Watch Is Ended

Episode 5 - Kissed by Fire

Episode 6 - The Climb

Episode 7 - The Bear and the Maiden Fair

Episode 8 - Second Sons

Episode 9 - Rains of Castamere

Episode 10 - Mhysa

Season 4

Episode 1 - Two Swords

Episode 2 - The Lion and the Rose

Episode 3 - Breaker of Chains

Episode 4 - Oathkeeper

What are my resolutions, looking back at those?

  • Many characters got written off or merged with others. Examples include the Tyrell brothers, Davos's other sons, Bloody Mummers and many more.
  • Ros, although hated by many book readers, allowed for insight into minds of people that otherwise stayed out of the spotlight, like Theon, maester Pycelle or Littlefinger.
  • Political nuances such as sizes of the armies and family allegiances are vastly absent from the show, and this is kinda key to the whole story.
  • Bonus scenes on DVD include a lore reading that is really really helpful.
  • All characters got aged up, adjusting their actions and troubles to our perception, but some traits could be justified by the actual book age (best example here is Daenerys, who's 14 at the start of Game of Thrones).
  • Sex scenes are polarized - some are way overdone, some are in show even though they could be only implied in the book, and some got cut off entirely
  • Writers dislike Stannis, while book readers are generally fond of him, which makes this character a poster boy for the reader fandom
  • All the visions and prophecies due to the difference in written vs graphic media are greatly changed. This involves writing off characters such as Ghost of the High Heart and completely rewriting House of the Undying.

More on HBO polarizes sex scenes - some are overblown, while others are cut off:

  • Renly's sexuality is only hinted, so is Stannis's relation to Melisandre, there are much much fewer brothel scenes and even though it's generally true to the story's spirit, it's definitely amped up.
  • Sometimes a consensual sex scene becomes a rape scene in TV - Jaime's rebound with Cersei is disputably rape nonetheless, but Dany's wedding night was definitely consensual in its form (although of course it was an arranged marriage).
  • Cut out is everything involving an underage character whose age wasn't drastically changed - Sansa's puberty is a key plot point, so unlike Daenerys she couldn't get that much older. This means that everything involving her sexually got cut off, that being her wedding night with Tyrion (nothing happens, but they strip naked and she comments on his body), any dreams with sexual content and experiments with her female friends.
  • The attempted rape during riots in King's Landing stayed, though.

More on Stannis: This character is a prime example on how a translation to the show format can alter or outright kill a character. Writers have said out loud that they dislike Stannis stating that "he would make a terrible king"source. Their questionable decisions such as making show Stannis dependable on Melisandre sum up to presenting a character so different that it's difficult to easily explain his popularity among readers. Some points about the differences:

  • Stannis never sentenced a man to die because of his beliefs (unlike in show). The man burning on stake was a traitor who tried to talk with the Lannisters behind his back and gain himself titles.
  • Stannis is a declared atheist. "I stopped believing in gods the day I saw the Windrpoud break up across the bay. Any gods so monstrous as to down my mother and father would never have my worship, I vowed. In King's Landing, the High Septon would prattle at me of how all justice and goodness flowed from the Seven, but all I ever saw of either was made by men."
  • Stannis is hugely burdened by his past. He was neglected by his own brothers and yet remained loyal to their every request. His envy of Ned and sadness emanate from his every chapter.
  • Stannis is really devoid of greed - he seeks for the crown because he feels he has to. "I am king. Wants do not enter into it. I have a duty to my daughter. To the realm. Even to Robert. He loved me but little, I know, yet he was my brother. The Lannister woman gave him horns and made a motley fool of him. She may have murdered him as well, as she murdered Jon Arryn and Ned Stark. For such crimes there must be justice. Starting with Cersei and her abominations. But only starting. I mean to scour that court clean. As Robert should have done after the Trident."
  • As a reader, you get to realize the extent of the war and the damage it deals to the common folk (more locations, more people, more stories). That brings out opinions such as "hey, maybe he's not likeable, but he wouldn't really be bad at this and he would definitely kill all the bad guys".
  • Most of Stannis's dry one-liners got lost in the translation to the show, but they were quite common. The closest the show got to that was the scene where Stannis described how he was forced to eat livestock in Storm's End, throwing in comments like "Never liked cats, so fine". Many homorous scenes come from the narration: "I am not a man without mercy", said he who was notoriously merciless
  • Stannis shares all his moral dilemmas with Davos and his constantly aware of anything questionable about his decisions. Killing Renly still haunts him.

For a long time the king did not speak. Then, very softly, he said, "I dream of it sometimes. Of Renly's dying. A green tent, candles, a woman screaming. And blood." Stannis looked down at his hands. "I was still abed when he died. Your Devan will tell you. He tried to wake me. Dawn was nigh and my lords were waiting, fretting. I should have been ahorse, armored. I knew Renly would attack at break of day. Devan says I thrashed and cried out, but what does it matter? It was a dream. I was in my tent when Renly died, and when I woke my hands were clean."

"Renly offered me a peach. At our parley. Mocked me, defied me, threatened me, and offered me a peach. I thought he was drawing a blade and went for mine own. Was that his purpose, to make me show fear? Or was it one of his pointless jests? When he spoke of how sweet the peach was, did his words have some hidden meaning?" The king gave a shake of his head, like a dog shaking a rabbit to snap its neck. "Only Renly could vex me so with a piece of fruit. he brought his doom on himself with his treason, but I did love him, Davos. I know that now. I swear, I will go to my grave thinking of my brother's peach."

All in all, Stannis and Ros get most love and hate from readers because they're the most drastic cases of controversial adaptation. Stannis isn't perfect (damn, the whole point is that he's not supposed to be likeable) and Ros wasn't as bad as some readers would imply (although some scenes were really, really questionable, see "Play with her arse"), but the differences were significant enough to make those two a general symbol for reader skepticism.

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