The Westeros Watch Part Six

Jimmy and his Ms. got really into Game of Thrones with season one.  Will they continue to love what they see with season two?  Jimmy talks the show some more with Tom, particularly the first two episodes of season two, “The North Remembers” and “The Night Lands”.

tomk:  Season two of Game of Thrones is based on the second novel A Clash of Kings. The main plot seems to deal with the”war of the five kings” between Robb Stark, Joffrey, Renly, Stannis, and off to the side Balon Greyjoy. The TV version is not as faithful to the source material as season one, but most of the changes affect Dany’s storyline. Hers would have been unfilmable and uneventful otherwise.

In terms of the book, all the POV characters that survived the first book are still doing that with two new ones added: knighted former smuggler Ser Davos Seaworth and weasel Theon Greyjoy. Theon holds the distinction of being one of the few characters who doesn’t get more sympathetic when we see things from his perspective.

jimmy:  I will admit to being a little lost with the new characters and people burning “God” on the beach and whatever else was going on there.

tomk:  Well, we’ve seen references to the Old Gods and the New. Now we can add the Lord of Light and there’s a Drowned God the Iron Islanders worship.

jimmy:  And there seem to be Kings at every turn now.

tomk:  Weak kings with questionable succession will do that.

jimmy:  A lot of folks getting their jabs in at Joffrey and Cersei in these two episodes. And Joffrey gets slapped again. A welcome trend.

tomk:  Yeah, well, slapping Joffrey is a lot more dangerous now when he’s doing things like order the murder of infants.

jimmy:  That was disturbing. But how did they so quickly track them all down? It took two Hands a lot more work and time…but I guess they were trying to be stealthy about it.

tomk:  If the Hands could find them, the gold cloaks of the City Watch could too.

jimmy:  And they wouldn’t ask how much it paid.

tomk:  Bronn at least has some standards. They’re mercenary standards, but at least it’s an ethos.

jimmy:  I was glad to see that there hasn’t been much passage of time from season one to two. There was definitely the potential for a large time jump. Do the books flow similarly?

tomk:  Pretty much. New characters are added as you’ve seen, but many of these people are folks affected by the chaos of the royal succession. We heard mention of the humorless Stannis Baratheon, and now we’ve seen him and his extended supporting cast, most notably Ser Davos and the red priestess Melisandre.

jimmy:  She’s…something.

tomk:  George RR Martin claims she is the most misunderstood character in the series.

At the least, she’s a religious fanatic with an anti-poison gemstone around her neck. As far as you know anyway.

jimmy:  I got the poison immunity…but not the gemstone.

tomk:  It was glowing while the Maester died. It’s a small detail from the novel. Like the first book, it opens with a prologue for a doomed character. In the case, it’s the Maester.

jimmy:  I guess the Maester should have read the book, because his sacrifice was all for nothing.

tomk:  Maesters are essentially the most learned men in Westeros, but even they can’t get to read everything.

jimmy:

 

tomk:  Hey, that guy knew his poisons. It’s maybe magic he didn’t account for.

jimmy:  He might have wanted to come up with an antidote or build up and immunity first…but there probably wasn’t time.

tomk:  Not when some woman has the potentially rightful king burning everything in sight.

jimmy:  Including loins.

tomk:  Yeah…wait for something there.

I will say no more.

Though for what it is worth, Stannis never struck me as all that religious. He’s a soldier and a pragmatist. If something seems to work, he’ll use it.

jimmy:  I think he might say as much.

It’s interesting though that the story of the Lannisters that got Arryn and Ned killed has now become common knowledge. With only Joffrey and Cersei (and their supporters) dismissing it as rumors and slander. And of course Cersei knows the truth, and I get the feeling Joffrey might wonder about the legitimacy as well.

tomk:  Joffrey would need a higher level of intelligence or introspection than he has ever displayed to get closer to that truth.

jimmy:  True enough. It’s also in his best interests not to care, as he has no designs to vacate the throne. See: killing of bastards.

tomk:  It might be interesting to know how his two younger siblings feel about such things.

jimmy:  I liked Tyrion giving Cersei the gears for how hard she “tried” to save Ned. He’s easily the best character on the show.

tomk:  Making him acting Hand allows him to truly show what he can do.

We also see Sansa knows a couple small tricks to manipulate Joffrey when she really has to.

jimmy:  It speaks to Sansa’s smarts, but also to Joffrey’s lack there of. It’s not like she set some long plan in motion that he didn’t see coming.

tomk:  No, but it shows her own adaptability and survival skills. Did you notice, though, who backed up her assertion about how birthday executions make for bad luck?

jimmy:  I did. He seems to be growing protective of her.

tomk:  The Hound is an interesting character. Joffrey treats him like a pet, and he’s got a very cynical mindset in many ways, but his actions sometimes suggest he is a better person than he says he is.

jimmy:  Well, who knows how he would have grown up if his face wasn’t pushed into a fire by his brother.

tomk:  Better looking?

jimmy:  Lol, well, that, yes.

tomk:  He probably still would have been a better man than the Mountain. But that’s not hard.

jimmy:  We haven’t really talked Dany. Things aren’t looking good for the former Ms Aquaman. And no one knows what a dragon likes to eat. At least no horses died this episode. Oh, wait…

tomk:  Dany’s plot this season is rather slow. You’d think wandering the desert and slowly dying of thirst would be more exciting.

jimmy:  So…is Bran psychic or what?

tomk:  What? You’ve never had weird dreams through the eyes of a canine companion before?

jimmy:  Well, when you put it THAT way.

tomk:  It can’t be any weirder than that three-eyed raven.

AKA portent of things to come.

jimmy:  Exactly. He’s big on the premonition dreams.

tomk:  Yeah, well, they don’t seem very helpful so far. What’s he seen? How to drink out of a puddle?

jimmy:  Give it time.

And were the dire wolves so big last year? I know they started the series as pups, but they are huge now.

tomk:  They are dire wolves. They will get bigger than regular wolves.

But since we’re on the subject of dire wolves…

Robb’s wolf is Grey Wind, Sansa’s was Lady, Arya’s is Nymeria, Bran’s is Summer, Rickon’s is Shaggydog, and Jon Snow’s is Ghost.

The dragons are named Drogon (for Drogo), Rheagal (for Rhaegar), and Viserion (for Viserys). Drogon will be Dany’s favorite.

And just for the record, the Seven in One worshipped by the Church of the Seven, Official Church of Westeros, is the Father, Warrior, Smith, Mother, Maiden, Crone, and the Stranger. The last one is death and isn’t really worshipped so much as recognized.

jimmy:  O…k…

tomk:  They have names, Jimmy.

I wouldn’t sweat most of them. The dire wolves may be important to remember since we see them the most separately.

The dragons usually act as a group.

And the Seven? That’s trivia.

Great, I broke Jimmy.

That or he had his own premonition dreams about Hodor’s bath time.

jimmy:  Let’s not go there.

tomk:  More of a Melisandre’s bath time fan. Got it.

jimmy:  Let’s change the subject to a less disturbing topic like…making wives of all your daughters?

tomk:

Future episode preview to fix Jimmy.

jimmy:  Better.

tomk:  You know, much of what happens on GoT is based on actual European history. The war of the five kings comes from a lot of War of the Roses stuff, a decades long English civil war between the Northern York family and the Southern Lancaster family, eventually won by a long shot who’d been living on another continent.

But nothing above the Wall seems to count there. Craster is, well, disgusting. There’s no better way to put it.

But what happens to his sons?!?!?

jimmy:  I don’t think we’ll ever know.

tomk:  Well, something took them.

jimmy:  Jon better be careful or he won’t be able to see what it is with no eyes.

tomk:

It’s hard to say who might be causing more problems at Craster’s Keep (actual name)…Jon or Sam. Sure, Jon keeps getting caught and upbraided, but Sam is doing worse without getting caught.

jimmy:  He’s noble and wants to safe everyone. I don’t know this show well enough to say, but if it’s anything like Walking Dead, if you’re the noble one, you don’t last long.

tomk:  If we’re talking Jon or Sam…

Hmmmm…

GoT doesn’t quite play that way. A good and noble person can last if they can adapt, but they’ll have to go through a lot of misery to get there.

If anything, Jon’s screwing up is giving Mormont plenty of opportunities to teach him lessons. Jon learns a lot above the Wall.

jimmy:  Well, he better if he is going to be in command one day.

tomk:  Surviving a cold and hostile environment surrounded by all kinds of enemies isn’t the sort of school you can safely flunk out of.

It may be worth noting which characters pick up mentors and lessons along the way. Jon does. Arya does.

Sansa does too in her own way. No one gives a better example of how not to do anything than Joffrey.

jimmy:  Heh

Speaking of Joffrey, just so I’m clear going forward, all things considered, who was the true successor to Robert on the throne?

tomk:  Stannis. Joffrey and his siblings aren’t Robert’s children.

Renly is acting out because no one really likes Stannis as a person. And heck, Robb and Balon Greyjoy aren’t interested in the Iron Throne.

Robb, theoretically, could agree to simply be Warden of the North like Ned was if it’s one of the Baratheon brothers on the Iron Throne. That may be why he’s sending Cat to Renly. Renly apparently has one of the largest armies.

jimmy:  Robb seems to have really stepped up to the plate as King in the North, interested in the throne or not.

tomk:  Apparently, he’s got a good head for tactics. Well, he also trusted Theon to go home and recruit the Iron Islanders. That doesn’t seem to be working out so far.

jimmy:  Especially not after his “Luke and Leia” moment.

tomk:  True fact: Theon is played by actor Alfie Allen, kid brother to pop star Lily Allen. The producers approached Lily to play Yara Greyjoy, but she declined due to not wanting her own brother to feel her up.

jimmy:  Understandable.

tomk:  That said, Theon clearly no longer fits in with his family. And that clearly bothers him. And while Yara isn’t exactly a welcoming presence, old Balon is the real problem here.

jimmy:  He’s not too fond of Theon (and possibly sanity) that’s for sure.

tomk:  He’s fond of the Iron Islander way of doing things. Basically, Iron Islanders are Vikings without a religion Marvel could make a superhero out of. The Drowned God just sounds like Aquaman or Namor’s lamest foe in the form of some waterlogged corpse.

jimmy:  Anything we haven’t touched on in these early days of season 2? Besides a lot of talk about Arya and Gendry peeing?

Or Tyrion not being Ned Stark?

tomk:  Roz is now training other prostitutes? Littlefinger may be wrong about whether or not knowledge is power?

jimmy:  Power is power.

tomk:  From season two on, expect the first two to three episodes to be about reminding you who ended up where after the previous season’s finale.

jimmy:  I don’t need reminding; I just watched them!

tomk:  Not everyone is you!

jimmy:  Fortunately.

tomk:   That would be a Michael Keaton movie: Mooseaplicity.

jimmy:  Lol

tomk:  Anything you want to add then, Jimmy?

jimmy:  I’m ready to move on.

tomk:  Well, I think we’ve been introduced or reintroduced to everyone so perhaps it is time to proceed.

And so our Watch continues.  Be back soon for the discussion on the episodes “What is Dead May Never Die” and “Garden of Bones”.

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