Game of Thrones S4E7 book / speculation followup for non-readers: "Mockingbird"
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Game of Thrones!
Welcome to the scene-by-scene episode followup for non-readers! If you ever had any questions, this is the moment when they get answered - you'll also recall some neat things that you've probably missed. If you don't have any questions, don't worry, I've got answers anyway.
The spoiler scope should not exceed the point of the story in the books. That is, right now, various books - some excerpts are from ASOS, some are already AFFC, and some are even walking into ADWD material. Anyway, you should be fine. I'm trying.
TL;DR: Trivia from books - Expansion and Explanation - Reader perspective - Rants about minor differences - Rants about MAJOR differences - Lame jokes - Actual jokes (no guarantees on the last one)
Ghosts of Champions Past, Present and Future
If you want justice, you've come to the wrong place - Tyrion Lannister, on the border between total despair and TOTAL AWESOMENESS
Ser Gregor Clegane got his nickname "The Mountain that Rides" from his monstrous height. Books describe him as almost 8 feet tall (in modern units, 240 cm). We've seen him in season 1 during the tourney of the Hand, but due to undisclosed reasons the actor has been recasted. Twice. First time for a brief appereance in Harrenhal, in conversation with Tywin, and now for the real deal. New actor, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, is "only" 205 cm (6'8'') tall, but it's still quite impressive.
The Mountain's collossal size takes a toll on his health. He is under the constant influence of painkillers (milk of the poppy) to ease his headaches. Needless to say, him being resistant to pain is the cherry on top.
To recall Mountain's story so far: he appears first at the tourney, kills ser Hugh of the Vale (Jon Arryn's squire) and loses to ser Loras Tyrell; then in his rage slaughters his horse and tries to kill ser Loras. After that, he's seen pillaging the Riverlands - in response, Ned Stark as the Hand of the King sends lord Beric Dondarrion and his men to bring him to king's justice. In the face of king Robert's death and their inability to defeat the Mountain in open battle (The Mountain kills lord Beric twice), the Lighting Lord's party forms Brotherhood without Banners, still loyal to Robert Baratheon's cause and opposing the Stark-Lannister conflict. The Mountain, scared away from Robb's trap by Edmure Tully, leaves the burning Riverlands behind him and comes to King's Landing.
Jaime's relation with Tyrion doesn't require additional backstory other than reminder of Tyrion's first marriage to the whore Tysha (the story was told in S01E09 IIRC). As Tyrion already told Shae, when he was sixteen he and Jaime met a girl and saved her from attempted rape. Tyrion fell in love with her and bribed a drunk septon to marry them. after two weeks, when the septon sobered up and told Tywin, Jaime revealed the ploy: Tysha was merely a whore, and the whole scene was staged to get Tyrion laid. Tywin had Tyrion watch his guards rape Tysha one by one, filling her hands with pieces of silver for the service.
Lady Stokeworth already tried to marry her mentally challenged daughter Lollys to many noblemen, including Tyrion himself. The fact that Lollys was raped during the riots in King's Landing (season 2) and got pregnant didn't help the cause. Lollys's experience is a mirror for Sansa, who realizes what she's been saved from.
Oberyn Martell is nicknamed "The Red Viper" from a duel in which he allegedly poisoned his weapon. He's a renowned knight (in one tourney, he crippled Loras's older brother, who got written off from the show) and an educated man (he even forged few links in his maester chain). (further in-parenthesis explanation; links in maester chain represent mastery over sciences such as medicine, economy and logistics).
Oberyn's mother (also Doran's and Elia's) was friends with Tyrion's mother, Joanna Lannister. They planned to arrange a marriage between Oberyn and Cersei, as well as Elia and Jaime. The Martells still wanted to go through with the plan after Joanna died, but Tywin turned them down.
The next episode is called "The Mountain and the Viper" and it kinda spoiled the names of the champions for many people. Sorry about that one.
By Fire Be Purged
Nothing is just nothing - Arya on nihilism
Someone asked "Why are they taking so much time, Yara Greyjoy has sailed around the whole continent" and it's a completely valid question, that Yara scene was kinda bullshit and totally not-in-the-books (although it served its purpose). Anyway, Arya and the Hound are travelling through the warzone, carefully avoiding any troops, especially Lannister men, and their destination is somewhat inaccessible (Bloody Gate is just one chokepoint, the whole area is mountainous).
If you paid attention no further explanation is required, but in case you've missed the "previously on": Rorge and Biter were the two people locked down in cage with Jaqen H'gar when Arya was travelling north to the Wall. Arya saved those three from the fire, gaining threee death wishes from Jaqen to make even things out with the Red God.
We've already heard the Hound's story three times now, so yeah.
"Come on, Ghost" - Jon, halting the spendings on CGI for the time being
Alliser Thorne is a dick to Jon, but for a good reason. He was just a simple guy in King's Landing during Robert's Rebellion and he got sent to Wall because Robert and Ned won. He never did anything wrong, he simply fought for the wrong side. No wonder he despises the son of a man without who caused him to spend the rest of his life on the Wall.
This whole plotline is stretched beyond belief, so no further context from books.
He killed the captains and gave you their heads - Jorah Mormont, mixing up Benjen and Euron
Explaining the joke: Benjen Stark and Euron Greyjoy are two characters jokingly suspected to be Daario. That is most likely not the case - it's an inside joke made by readers. And you're not even supposed to meet Euron yet. Or... are you? Anyway, any time you see "Benjen is Daario", know it's an inside joke meant to mock conspiracy theories. The more the fun when a somewhat serious website dedicates a whole article to the theory, taking it serious.
Daario Naharis being recasted has some pros and cons - new Daario is closer to how the book Daario looks like (sans the blue facial hair), but the old Daario had that "bad boy" look better, and we have enough Men with Beards, I suppose.
Whenever in doubt, blame it on book Dany's age. Book Daenerys is 15 and is somewhat expected to make poor choices and fall in love with a bad boy.
Another reminder: Ned Stark was about to execute Jorah for selling people into slavery. Why would Jorah do that in the first place? Well, in his youth he won a tournament and asked for his crush's hand in marriage. Girl was way out of his league in more ways than just her appereance - she was permanently unhappy with dull and poor lifestyle on the Bear Island, so Jorah did what he could to support her needs. He was so broke and desperate that he sold poachers he caught into slavery. When he heard that Ned Stark has found out and is coming to execute him, he fled Westeros, leaving his family sword Longclaw. In case you haven't connected the dots, his father was Lord Commander of the Night's Watch Jeor Mormont, and Longclaw is currently in Jon Snow's possession.
Humour isn't my strength - Selyse Baratheon, a perfect match for Stannis
Stannis is actually full of witty dry one-liners that are humorous to the reader, but he certainly doesn't intend to joke. "Robert could piss in a cup and men would call it wine, but I offer them cold clear water and they squint in suspicion and mutter to each other about how queer it tastes."
I tend to write a huge apologetic piece of "have you accepted your one true king into your life" every week, but there's a limit to everything. Enjoy some boobs.
In his chainmail shirt with a sword in his hand, Gendry looked almost a man grown, and dangerous. Hot Pie looked like Hot Pie ~A Storm of Swords
Now that's fanservice to readers, plain and straight. Hot Pie is one of fan favourites because of jokes in narrative, but after his farewell with Arya, we never see him again. This might be the last time we see him or it might be not - scenes like this one are a great example of show-only story dynamic, so someone might go by the inn as well.
Can't say much more without spoiling the rest of Brienne's and Podrick's journey, but it seems like some parts of related storyline might be sped up and some postponed, to group plotlines by theme in respective seasons. If we skip a chapter or two or three, we can leap to the end of that story written so far - so this slowly creeps out of the reach of what I can write about. The show might soon surpass the books or just write a new story, and so far, it does a damn good job at it. The timeline gets funky, though.
A little more:
This. Is. SANSA
Only Cat - Littlefinger, expressing his fondness of felines
Book readers are a little bit upset that the line got changed from "Only Cat" to "Your sister". It doesn't change anything within the story, but the line is Littlefinger's signature (it's his equivalent of Darth Vader's "I'm your father") and it's actually the ending line of A Storm of Swords.
Someone already wisely realized that if those chapters are from Sansa's perspective, then how could she know about Lysa confessing that she poisoned Jon Arryn? Well, that was part of this particular breakdown, the show has just spread it through two episodes.
Robin (book: Robert, nicknamed Sweetrobin) is probably either autistic or epileptic. Lysa has miscarried numerous times before giving birth to him. She was already known to be fertile since she got herself pregnant by Petyr, comforting him after his lost duel with Brandon Stark. Hoster Tully tricked her into terminating the pregnancy, hence Lysa's disdain to her father and probably that's what caused the miscarriages.
It's quite interesting how this scene has been foreshadowed in the books and even in the show. There's an old mysterious lady in the Riverlands who Arya and the Brotherhood meet and who speaks very cryptic phrases - but her words echo or foreshadow Renly's death, Jaqen H'gar, Red Wedding, Purple Wedding, some events yet to come, and, finally, Sansa's snow castle in Eyrie.
I dreamt a wolf howling in the rain, but no one heard his grief. I dreamt such a clangor I thought my head might burst, drums and horns and pipes and screams, but the saddest sound was the little bells. I dreamt of a maid at a feast with purple serpents in her hair, venom dripping from their fangs. And later I dreamt that maid again, slaying a savage giant in a castle built of snow.Ghost of High Heart
Note: in the book, Sansa wears a hairnet, not a necklace, hence the "purple serpents in her hair". Also partially the role of the woman got taken over by Melisandre, at least the part where she's concerned with Arya.
An example of show foreshawoding is Patchface's song sung in the show by Shireen. Clarification: Patchface is Stannis's fool and the sole survivor of wreckage that took down Stannis's parents. Patchface nearly drowned and is quite odd in behaviour; his song foreshadows Renly's death ("the shadows come to play, my lord") and Lysa's fall in the words "the birds have scales and fish take wing". Sigil of house Tully is fish. She didn't fly so good.
You probably realize now that this two-week gap is a moment to catch a breath before the final 3 episodes? You'll need it.
In the meantime, you can read my previous followups, compilation of which can be found here.