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when the wolf comes home

more Game! of Thrones!

I'm still watching!

In fact, I'm starting to think that the more the characters and plots diverge from the books, the more I enjoy the show. The show's Jaime is pretty much the polar opposite of his book version, as far as I can tell, for example -- although the pot has wriggled itself into a place where he and Brienne can be in the Riverlands at the same time, they've had such different trajectories that it's hard to see them having the relationship they do in the books. Although I suppose than now that Tommen (with Kevan's support) has more or less disavowed him, his attachment to the Lannister cause in general is weaker than it has been so far -- but his attachment to Cersei seems as strong as ever. Another interesting side-effect of aging Tommen up and giving him the power to make bad decisions like all the rest of his family is that I won't be completely devastated when he meets his sudden but inevitable demise. Whereas I will be very sorry to see poor little book!Tommen go.

The last episode seemed like rather a lot of setup -- especially the whole "meanwhile, chez Frey" scene, but also the inevitable last-minute rescue of Bran and Meera by Coldhands, who in this universe is of course Uncle Benjen -- but actually moved quite a few plots along.

I have found the Arya training plotline my least favorite in the show, which is odd because in the books I really love it. But in the books you appreciate more how much Arya wants a place, any place, by the time she turns up in Braavos, and also the House of Black and White seems like a very different place. I mean, sure, they're faceless assassins for hire, but they're nurturing faceless assassins for hire. Whereas in the show Arya's decision to leave seems much more straightforward, especially because of the other girl's (unmotivated) rivalry with her. Maybe it's like the Sith, and there can be only two?

On the other hand, I really, really loved that Arya's decision not to kill the actress playing Cersei is what has turned her away from the Faceless Men, and that instead of simple hatred she spent some time thinking about how Cersei would see things. That has almost redeemed the whole plotline and I really hope something similar happens in the books. I want Arya to have her revenge, but I also want her not to want her revenge, and I thought that her turn away from it was nicely framed here.

I saw elsewhere the observation that Daenerys' speech was really a huge evil overlord moment, and although I am a true Dany stan I completely agree -- I do think that Daenerys needs to get herself and her army to Westeros to fight the ice zombies with dragons but I wonder how much she is going to wreck on the way. If they do commit 100% to Dany-the-Evil-Overlord I will be amazed and kind of delighted and horrified at the same time, since I have always assumed that she would cross to Westeros more or less in time to sacrifice herself nobly defeating the White Walkers.

I think the show's willingness to chew through plotlines at light speed is generally a virtue. I look forward, for example, to all hell breaking loose when Davos finds out how Shireen died, and assume that the show won't hold back that information forever (unless the writers have forgotten all those scenes between Shireen and Davos, which I guess is theoretically possible.) And Sansa's plotline is a case in point -- she's moving forward in leaps and bounds, and I have loved her interactions with Jon and with Petyr and can't wait to see more of what she does. She is so hard-edged and delightful now. (And perfectly right to reject Petyr's offer, since she has to assume that any help he brought would be balanced by a betrayal, and probably an attempt to kill Jon.) Presumably the plotlines to do with Sam Tarly and with Asha and Theon will also have about 300% less hanging around and 500% more miraculous travel powers. I can actually forgive Randyll Tarly's speech about how much he hates Wildings -- in the books surely no one south of the Neck even knows what a Wilding is, or can tell the difference between them and ordinary northerners -- because clearly this version of Westeros is a lot smaller than the book one, so everyone gets around more quickly and travels more widely. And has bigger, more impressive houses. Points to Sam for stealing the sword, a least; that's bound to come in handy the next time he has to kill a White Walker. I presume that becoming a maester will take him about three weeks, in this universe, and that's fine with me.

Overall, two thumbs up! Although I still wish the Frey plotline had less sexism and more cannibalism. Will no one get to accidentally eat some Freys in this universe?


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when the wolf comes home

June 2016

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