Hello, friends and bannermen. Sunday’s Game of Thrones was all about the red stuff — wine and leeches! How did the episode match up with the books? How did it differ? This weekly chat series is for fans of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, upon which HBO’s fantasy drama is based. It’s meant to be a safe haven to discuss spoilers and changes from the novels and how they have played out or will play out in the TV series. Hanh Nguyen and Sadie Gennis are longtime fantasy fans of varying levels of geekiness who will sound off on all things Westerosi (and beyond!).
[Warning: If you’re a Game of Thrones fan who has stumbled upon this chat and haven’t read the books yet, begone! Instead, check out our recap of Sunday’s episode “Second Sons” for a spoiler-free discussion.]
Hanh: I actually really enjoyed this episode, although I heard some people online bashing it.
Sadie: Me too! Why were people hating? I thought it was fantastic.
Hanh: With the Daenerys story line, I understand the reasoning behind merging the Second Sons and Stormcrows, but I was sad that a) that left out her tactical move of attacking the Second Sons when they were drunk on her wine after she lied about them having two days to decide and b) that Daario Naharis didn’t have a blue beard. Although he was very easy on the eyes.
Sadie: I am completely with you in regards to your first complaint. We haven’t really seen enough of Daenerys’s tactical abilities yet. But when it comes to Daario, I am so happy he didn’t have a forked blue beard and a gold tooth! Mainly because the way GRRM described Daario in the books, I would just cringe like, “For real, Dany? You’re actually into that?” But to understand their relationship, you have to understand their attraction, and in the show I definitely can.
Hanh: Ha! Yes, it was pretty clear there. I just wanted HBO to take a little bit of a risk. Not a huge deal. I’ll still look forward to Daario scenes. I really enjoyed how much of a d-bag Mero was though! Maybe because I knew he was going to die.
Sadie: He was incredible! It almost made me sad to see him go.
Hanh: Yes, he was just so jocular about his misogyny. Great stuff.
Sadie: I also loved how unfazed Daenerys was when Daario brought her the heads while she was bathing.
Hanh: Yes, her unconcern about stepping out of the bath, which could have been a tactical move on his part to make her feel vulnerable, put her in control of the situation. When it comes to powerful posturing, Tywin couldn’t have done it better! (Not sure if I’d want to see Tywin do that move…)
Sadie: I don’t really think that’s his style (thank God).
Hanh: Well, he had an interesting moment in the episode when he basically saves Tyrion’s bacon from being fried by Joffrey. Saying that obviously Tyrion is super-drunk and didn’t mean to threaten the king. Once again, Tywin has the power in this situation!
Sadie: God, that whole wedding scene was just painful. Though, I did enjoy seeing Tyrion all dressed up and drunk.
Hanh: It was and yet I totally enjoyed it. Peter Dinklage is the best when playing Tyrion in his cups
Sadie: If I had to pledge my allegiance, I’d choose to serve The King of Tits and Wine, hands down. It’s frustrating though, because I feel like if Sansa and him would just get drunk together, they could have a lot of fun. Probably clothed, non-sexual fun, but still. It’d also just be great to see Sansa lose control for even a moment, instead of staying so darn composed all the time.
Hanh: Well, I felt that they did come to some accord before the wedding. Not exactly the alliance we wanted, but still. Tyrion did show a lot of heartache in the episode, like when he shifts into becoming the public drunkard so that Joffrey won’t kill him. This line was so funny and yet so sad to me: “I vomited on a girl once in the middle of the act, not proud of it. But I think honesty is important between man and wife, don’t you agree? Come, I’ll tell you all about it, put you in the mood.” He was so kind to her, sparing her that bedding ceremony and of course the bedding itself.
Sadie: Everything about Tyrion in this episode was bittersweet. He was completely on his game wit-wise and a total sweetheart, but you could just feel his pain. He’s such a Chandler Bing. I just wanted to hold him!
Hanh: And I thought it was interesting/foreboding that the writers chose this episode to clue people in on the story behind “The Rains of Castamere.” It’s like, “Hello! Red flag! Tywin is cruel! Listen for this song to play!”
Sadie: Yes! I feel like even the people who haven’t read the books will get put on edge by that.
Hanh: Cersei was hilarious when she told that story and then threatened Margaery and the rebuffed Loras with, “Nobody cares what your father once said.”
Sadie: Ha! I can’t think of a worst-matched pair than Cersei and Loras (even with his sexuality aside).
Hanh: HBO just sent the logline for Episode 9. I love how circumspect it is: “Robb (Richard Madden) presents himself to Walder Frey (David Bradley), and Edmure (Tobias Menzies) meets his bride. Jon (Kit Harington) faces his harshest test yet. Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) discovers a new gift. Daario (Ed Skrein) and Jorah (Iain Glen) debate how to take Yunkai. House Frey joins with House Tully.”
Sadie: Oh lordy. Could they be any more vague?
Hanh: Ha! Also, there was something that I don’t remember if it was in the books or not, but it felt like an error to me. When Joffrey threatens Sansa and says he guesses it doesn’t matter which Lannister gives her a baby, he’s basically declaring himself a Lannister, not a Baratheon. And although we all know he’s a Lannister, he has to think of himself as a Baratheon to be king.
Sadie: I don’t really know how to interpret that. It definitely wasn’t in the books. What Joffrey told Sansa originally was that since he was king, he could bed whomever he wants. Children/parentage never factored into it.
Hanh: Exactly, I knew rape was part of the deal (yech!). I just wonder if it was an error on the writer’s part.
Sadie: I like to think so highly of the writers, but I feel like that must have been an oversight. Then again, with Cersei as his mother I’m sure it’s hard to escape having a little Lannister pride. Joffrey does seem to even wear Lannister colors more often then Baratheon ones, though he does rock quite the antler crown (but not as cool as Renly’s).
Hanh: I still want an antler crown!
Sadie: Me too! If I had Renly’s crown, Daenerys’ claw necklace and all of Margaery’s gowns I could die happy.
Hanh: I’ll raid your closet.
Sadie: I’m going to raid Gendry’s closet and steal all of his clothes, because that shirtless scene was straight out of my dreams (minus Melissandre and the leeches, of course).
Hanh: That was well done for a new scene written specifically for the show.
Since in the books we never saw Edric gettng leeched, just the leeches after the fact. So does Gendry join Wil Wheaton’s character as having one of the few on-screen honors of having a leech on his privates? From Stand By Me that is.
Sadie: Oh, obviously. And yeah, I don’t know how many other members there are in this club, but it’s at least one more than Seth Cohen’s comic book club, so that’s a solid start.
Hanh: I was trying to think of more, but I hesitate Googling the keywords “leeches” and “genitals” — ewww!
Sadie: Those are images I never want to see.
Hanh: How embarrassing also to have the king and Davos come in
Sadie: I wonder how Stannis feels about his Red Priestess f–king his nephew?
Hanh: Ha yes!
Sadie: As much as I love this show for showing empowered women, I do wish Melissandre didn’t rely so heavily on her sexuality in the books. Birthing a demon or two is one thing, but sleeping with Stannis and Gendry — that’s a little much.
Hanh: Right. And I get it that sex can be used for power, but it would be nice to get a little bit of balance. Well, I guess we got Robb and Talisa, and Ygritte and Jon Snow earlier this season. Can’t get too greedy.
Hanh: And goodness knows we won’t get anything else more loving the rest of the season!
Sadie: Well, there is Edmund and Rosalind’s bedding…
Hanh: LOL I thought of that too
Sadie: But don’t know if it will count.
Hanh: We’ll see what the writers show.
Sadie: As long as they don’t show what Frey does to Robb and Greywind postmortem, I’ll be fine.
Hanh: Oh God, maybe they’ll just tell us? Because I kind of do want that gruesomeness to happen since that’s so horrifyingly awful.The burning of the leeches and naming them after the usurpers reminded me: we’ll see Robb die this season, that’s pretty certain. I feel that Joff has to wait until Season 4. But Balon died off the page in the books. So I’m trying to figure out where that will happen. We still haven’t seen Asha/Yara at the Kingsmoot.
Sadie: They’re probably saving all the Iron Islands stuff for Season 4.
Hanh: Yeah, that makes sense. It seems a lot of new stuff to introduce with only an episode after RW. I hope we see Theon again before this season ends, although it will probably break my heart.
Sadie: As long as we don’t see him gnawing off his own finger! Though, I could use him learning his “real” name.
Hanh: Probably the biggest heartbreak for me will be for Arya. Just seeing her with The Hound this episode and kinda sorta getting along with him, I just wanted to tell her to run away and never find out what happened to her family.
Sadie: I know! To get so close and start to have hope again, then to have it all taken away. But I’m glad she at least has The Hound with her. He’s really not as bad as his rep would have you believe. I totally ship him and Sansa.
Hanh: Yeah, what’s that shipper name out there for them? SanSan? I can’t remember. I don’t ship them really romantically, but I love their friendship.
Sadie: If it’s not SanSan, it is now.
Hanh: But we get Memorial Weekend off, no Game of Thrones. I have two weeks to gird my loins, drink my wine and get ready to cry.
Sadie: I’m going to go out and buy a whole thing of ice cream in preparation so I can eat my feelings. And there’s no way I’m watching that episode with friends. I need to be alone with my sorrows.
Hanh: Let’s see what our readers thought about the episode and how they’re preparing to watch Episode 9!
After a one-week hiatus, Game of Thrones returns on Sunday, June 2 at 9/8c on HBO. Here’s an “Inside the Episode” to tide you over:
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