Game of Thrones s5e2 book / speculation followup for non-readers: "The House of Black and White"
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Game of Thrones!
lukeatlook summarizes season 5 episode 2:
Welcome to the weekly followup for non-readers! If you're new to this series, you may want to read this post first, but it's completely optional. Overall it is meant to enhance your viewing experience by presenting trivia from the books.
Spoiler scope is "you're good to go". No spoiling future events of the show, at least I'm trying not to, but you'll come out knowing more than the show has presented. That is kinda the whole point.
TL;DR: Bathe in the rays of enlightement as we drop the book trivia on you - Share our torment as we cry over abandoned characters and storylines - Revisit the details of the episode as I add notes scene by scene - Pretend to laugh as I throw in some wimpy jokes
Mr Jaqen No Here
Jaqen H'gar? Nobody here by that name - Jaqen H'gar, still mentally stuck in the book version of the events
- During her journey to Braavos, Arya befirended the whole crew of the Titan's Daughter. All sailors have insisted on Arya learning their name and were clearly afraid of her. It is not yet explained why.
- The doors of the House of Black and White are made of ebony and weirwood. The building is also referred to as the Temple of the Many-Faced God, and you might have noticed various idols inside it.
- Book version: The House of Black and White is open to everyone, there is nobody turning Arya down. Instead of Jaqen H'gar, she encounters a man with a yellow skull instead of a face, with a white worm in one of his eye holes. When he asks her to kiss him, she not only does that, but also tries to bite the worm. In that moment, his face changes to the one of the kindest old man Arya has ever seen, and he says that nobody has ever tried to eat the worm before.
- Yeah, they just brought back the recognized and liked actor. As a matter of fact, in A Feast of Crows, Jaqen H'gar is in another place entirely (Oldtown in the Reach), which isn't even stated outright - a man very much similar in presence to the one who left Arya outside of Harrenhal appears by the end of the prologue of AFFC, killing the prologue's POV character (narrator always dies by the end of the prologue), a novice in the Citadel named Pate.
The Plotweaver Inn
My lady... Sansa Stark - Podrick Payne, burning the bridge for two whole POV plotlines in A Feast of Crows
- There's a point where I should have stopped repeating "It wasn't in the books" mantra and we're clearly past it, but let's keep going and see what happens.
- GOOD GOD THIS IS TOTALLY NOT IN THE BOOKS. Basically, as I've said last week, two of the most boring AFFC storylines - Sansa's and Brienne's - have been nuked and are being rewritten from scratch.
- We've already surely skipped all the boring Brienne parts, including but not limited to investigating the family of ser Dontos (the knight made fool who gifted Sansa the necklace with the poison), so no harm done there. I'll sum up her book storyline once I make sure we're not revisiting any of its points - even though everything points to the whole thing being ditched, even the final chapter, which unlike all the previous ones made her story actually intriguing. But even that point might be scrapped, as the show seems to have written out one of the most shockingly supernatural elements in it. Let's just say it's somewhat connected to Thoros of Myr, the red priest with flamesword wielding holy-zombie buddy Beric Dondarrion.
- Next week, we tackle on Sansa's development in Eyrie. Which lasts the whole book, so maye it's a good thing we're not having it adapted.
- Oh and this is the moment where I play the card "Any plot holes or awkwardness in character interactions might be explained by the total contradiction of the book story". So all your "Is Littlefinger that careless and stupid?" and "Is Brienne a brainless berserker?" questions might be answered with "Yes, the show version of them are".
- The show plotline holds by its own rules, though: Sansa's disdain towards Brienne is fueled by her inactivity during Joffrey's wedding feast. In the books, Jaime and Brienne did not make it to Joffrey's wedding in time. Paired with Littlefinger's visit to Renly's camp, another scene not present in the books, it sums up to "Well, it makes sense in its own way". The show continuity is surprisingly consistent within its own borders.
- Oh and by the way Sansa has her great uncle Brynden "Blackfish" Tully in Riverrun. He escaped the Red Wedding before the massacre has began. His nephew and Sansa's uncle Edmure Tully is under house arrest in the Twins.
Things Went South
I'll make things better. I'm going to Dorne - Jaime Lannister, in a yet another meta comment straight from the scriptwriter's workshop
- You thought we're done with show-only content? Think again! TV Jaime is heading the exact opposite direction than his book counterpart - instead of going north to pacify the Riverlands, he's now going south, to Dorne.
- How does it make sense? Cuts. Having Jaime in Dorne instead of Riverlands allows the showrunners to avoid having to film the Lannister camp and Riverrun (that's location cuts), casting Jaime's extended family and bannerman (that's character cuts), bringing in Blackfish and Freys for this season (cuts, cuts, cuts), and finally, Jaime's journey replaces another Kingsguard who was in Dorne, protecting Myrcella (cuts!) Basically that single decision has saved an immense amount of resources while coming to a fairly similar developments in Dorne.
- In case you don't remember, Myrcella has been sent off to Dorne after Tyrion's game in season 2 during his service as Hand of the King: he wanted to check who can be trusted, so he tipped Varys, Littlefinger and Pycelle about a marriage proposal. The proposal had three different versions, and since it was the maester Pycelle who revealed his version to Cersei, it was Myrcella who got engaged.
- Lollys Stokeworth (the book one) is a mentally challenged girl in her late teens who got raped and pregnant during the riots in King's Landing (season 2). Her engagement to Bronn was set to make sure someone takes care of her child... and that's pretty much the last time we see Bronn. The show has decided to exploit the much liked actor one season more, and made him the sparing partner to Jaime (in the books it's ser Ilyn Payne, the mute executioner).
- We'll speak more of Dorne next time, I guess. For now, repeating the short note: the Dorne wasn't one of the Seven Kingdoms after Aegon's Conquest, as they resisted the Targaryen invasion and joined the realm through marriage years later. This allowed them to retain their traditional terminology, calling their sovereign "prince". Another noteworthy cultural difference is the Rhonyar inheritance: women inherit before their younger brothers (in Westeros, men inherit before their sisters regardless of age).
- Prince Doran Martell is sitting in the chair because of his gout. We'll hopefully learn more about him later in the season.
- The guard, Areo Hotah, is the POV (Point of View) character of the very first chapter set in Dorne.
Let Justice Be Done, Though The Heavens Fall
HSSSSSSSSSSS - the new way to react to any element of the show you don't like, coined on 4chan's /tv/ board on the day of the leak
- It's difficult to approach Dany's storyline in these followups because we've been going through the ADWD material from the moment Daenerys decided to settle in Meereen, and scenes are being adapted in a seemingly random order. This means that I can't bring up any extra information about Meereen from the books, since I can't possibly know if they won't be covered in the show at a later point. And that would be spoiling.
- Backstory then! "He murdered sons in front of their fathers" - Barristan has a very specific event in his mind. When Rhaegar Targaryen disappeared with Lyanna Stark, her brother Brandon came to King's Landing to ask for explanation and demand that Lyanna returns home. However, Rhaegar and Lyanna weren't in King's Landing, and the Mad King threw Brandon and his company into black cells under charges of conspiracy against the crown prince. He then summoned their fathers to answer for their crimes. they were all executed, but Rickard Stark, father to Brandon, Eddard, Lyanna and Benjen, exercised his right to trial by combat. Aerys granted him that request, but named that the champion of Targaryens will be fire. Rickard was burned alive in wildfire, while Brandon was left before him, with a rope around his neck and a sword just out his reach. Trying to get to the sword, Brandon pulled the rope too tight and suffocated. As the Mad King ordered Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon to come to King's Landing, the immediate effect was the rebellion.
Are We There Yet
You're right, no point - Tyrion, this time commenting on how this scene is just as good for plot progression as Gendry's hypotetical monologue while on a rowboat.
- Tyrion's journey will be covered more extensively some time in the future as it gets to a common point with the book version. Again, we've suffered a cut in the cast, this time losing a very promising characters from this season, and maybe even the whole show altogether. It involves travelling under the name "Yollo".
- This one time we're using the scarcity of things to dwelve upon in Tyrion's scene with the marvelous transitions between the scenes (King's Landing -> Dorne, road to Volantis -> King's Landing) to break the usual location-by-location format. Small council now!
- Master of Ships is an empty title after the battle of Blackwater, which has left the whole royal navy in pieces and ashes. The iron men are busy pillaging the shores of the North and Stannis is away at the Wall, which means navy is not a concern for the capital at the moment. It wasn't an ampty title when Balon Greyjoy rebelled against Robert Baratheon a decade ago, but even then the title of Master of Ships belonged to Stannis Baratheon, which translated to splendid results (he crushed the Iron Fleet) and no recognition (Robert and Ned took all the glory for taking the main islands).
- The book version of the small council is a bit less... small, and again, removing unnecessary characters has trimmed down the cast. It sums up to "Cersei appoints weak, irrelevant men who she can easily control".
- Book Tommen is a plump, 10 year old kid. Show Tommen might be more interesting than that, although certainly not as adorable.
The Blind Luck
You have no idea what people will do. All your books and you still don't know - Selyse Florent, hitting us readers where it hurts
- As of now, we have effectively closed out the entirety of A Storm of Swords, barring the epilogue (which, however epic, might never get adapted in accordance with keep-the-supernatural-down policy).
- There are two chapters being adapted here. One is Jon's, and ends with Stannis's offer, and one is Samwell's and describes his scheme behind the election.
- Greyscale doesn't have a real-world equivalent by medical standards, but it's treated like leprosy due to the lethalithy of a similar sickness, the grey plague. When Grand Maester Pycelle was young, the disease has struck Oldtown, wiping out half of the city and majority of the Citadel. People who survive grayscale like Shireen are immune to grey plague.
- The show didn't do justice to the choosing and Samwell's ploy. It's actually Janos Slynt, not Alliser Thorne, who's being suggested by King's Landing as the Lord Commander.
- The choosing runs similarly to the conclave (choosing of the Catholic Pope), which means a candidate needs two thirds of the votes in order to win. the longest choosing in history of the Night's Watch has lasted for two years.
- Faced with the possibility of voting Slynt, the choosing becomes a deadlock between commanders of the outposts that mark the ends of the Wall: the Shadow Tower and Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Candidates - Cotter Pyke and Denys Mallister - have both deserved the title of the Lord Commander, but dislike each other and their conflict stalls the vote.
- Stannis is irritated that the choosing has been in deadlock for days, and maester Aemon suggests that Sam remedies the situation. Janos Slynt comes to Stannis and suggests he should force the Watch to elect him into Lord Commander.
Stannis ground his teeth. “It is not my wish to tamper with your rights and traditions. As to royal guidance, Janos, if you mean that I ought to tell your brothers to choose you, have the courage to say so.”That took Lord Janos aback. He smiled uncertainly and began to sweat, but Bowen Marsh beside him said, “Who better to command the black cloaks than a man who once commanded the gold, sire?”“Any of you, I would think. Even the cook.” The look the king gave Slynt was cold.
- In the end, Samwell goes for the same plan that got John Paul II elected Pope: he introduces a new candidate (Jon Snow) to break the deadlock, playing off the commanders of the side outposts and convincing them to cede their votes towards Jon.
- At the last choosing, Jeor Mormont's raven files in, squeaking "Snow, snow, snow". That seals the deal and Jon wins by a landslide. Drop curtain, A Storm of Swords is almost finished after its ridiculous murdering spree. Oh and in the last chapter Lysa reveals that Littlefinger was behind Jon Arryn's death. And then there's epilogue.
Overall, even though I'm still salty to the highest degree about some characters that were cut, the show seems to have a very solid idea how to approach the clusterfuck also known as AFFC/ADWD. Even if the idea isn't perfect, at least it works.
And that concludes this week's followup. Feel free to include any feedback, point out mistakes and/or omissions. Here you can find a compilation of all previous posts. Also look out for the in-depth post from /u/GRVrush2112 when he's ready :)
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