Edd is having a hard time with Jon's decision to leave. For him, it comes down to one simple fact - the Others are coming. Nothing else matters in the face of that.
For Jon, it also comes down to one simple fact - he was assassinated by the Night's Watch. Is he supposed to pretend that didn't happen?
They are interrupted by a single horn blast announcing visitors. Sansa, Brienne and Pod have made it to the gates of Castle Black. After all they've (separately) been through, it's obvious that neither Sansa nor Jon can truly believe they're seeing each other, but eventually they believe their eyes and embrace.
When last they saw each other, Sansa was on her way to King's Landing to live out her dreams as the wife of the gallant Prince Joffrey, and Jon was on his way to serve the honorable institution of the Night's Watch. Reality waved the left hand to draw their attention and then hit them with a haymaker right cross square in the jaw.
When comparing the books and the series, it's the little things that stand out, ultimately.
Forgive me while I go on a tangent here...
Yes, Dorne is very different (I prefer the book version), but mostly the series has stayed true to the overall direction of the books, allowing for the fact that it would be impossible to do everything to the level of detail in the books. If they had, the show would probably never have been greenlighted, and the pilot would have been 15 hours long.
So as I was watching this episode, there were little things that the book delved into but the series chopped for reasons of trying to get through a story, and they jumped out at me. A couple of things regarding Gilly and Sam (that I won't go into). At least one missing person at the Tower of Joy.
But on the other hand, it's now impossible to read Tyrion's lines in the book and not hear Peter Dinklage's voice. Ostensibly, it was a throwaway scene, but Tyrion sitting with Missandei and Grey Worm was fantastic. For another example - Jonathan Pryce does a wonderful job as the High Sparrow, and as a result his character in the book is richer for it.
Overall, is the book better than the show, or the show better than the book? The answer (for me) is that both are significantly enhanced by the other, Together they are better than either alone.
This one packed a punch or two, didn't it? Three significant deaths, and one very significant undeath. Power shifting hands, wildcards being played, opportunities being seized and fumbled. A long-awaited appearance from the Crow's Eye, the resurrection of a Crow, a long awaited preview from the eye of the crow, and a demonstration of power through vulnerability by the High Sparrow. It was not a flawless episode, but the exposition took a backseat to the story rocketing forward. And once again I'm left saying "that was NOT an hour!".
I've been doing a reread leading up to this season, thinking about GRRM and his glacial writing pace, and wondering where the show is going to take us now that they are somewhat unencumbered by the audience's foreknowledge of what's to come. A few things to note:
- Damn, it's hard to reread certain parts - like Ned's naivete, the Red Wedding, etc. I suspect that part of the "difficulty" is in not knowing the ultimate outcome. But I sped through parts of the books not wanting to dwell on how pissed off they made me, book and show.
- GRRM puts a LOT of foreshadowing in this series, much of which you're oblivious to the first (or second) time through. I first read GOT when it came out, then reread it on my way through each of the next two books. When you first meet the old lady at High Heart (not in the show), you might think of her as some crazy woman blathering nonsense. She dreamed of a maiden with purple snakes in her hair? Whatever, granny. And then you move on and the rest of the book happens. Only when you reread it do you connect that dream to Sansa and the manner of Joffrey's death. Good stuff. Lots of intricacy and complexity and it's well told.
- Is this the first time a show based on a book series gets to take the story to its finish BEFORE the author does? I believe the writers have indicated that they are deliberately deviating from where they know GRRM is going to take the story (hello, Dorne!). And normally, when a movie is based on a book, the people who loved the book hate the liberties the movie takes with the story, but GRRM's tardiness means that the author generating the work may not get first crack at setting audience expectation. How can the original author be viewed as taking liberties with the story the show told? Interesting.
At any rate, we are beyond the books, so anything goes. We are in a spoiler-free zone, although I still think it would be appropriate to NOT regurgitate online theories that have been the subject of someone's graduate thesis in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Though none of us can truly spoil the ending, you can still ruin the joy of discovery for those who don't want to "know" the credible theories of what's coming.
Interesting name for the episode. Not a lot of mercy being passed around in that 60 minutes. For many of the characters, this episode should have been titled "I think I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque".
"The Dance of Dragons"
This show continues to break new ground...or perhaps more accurately, it breaks new ground for a show that is high-budget, high-visibility, and therefore high stakes for the money behind the show. I'm sure there were shows on the fringes that truly broke that ground, but it's a lot easier to be edgy when you don't risk becoming known as the guy who greenlighted a multi-million dollar cf.
Remember the general disbelief among non-book readers when Ned Stark lost his head? How in the hell are you going to take the only bankable star on a massive HBO showcase and ace him in episode 9? I'm still convinced that HBO hadn't read all the way through the first season before they approved the show.
Now, almost every show has a star die suddenly, and frequently gruesomely.
And then there was the Red Wedding. I don't know if that sort of thing will catch on with network tv, but it is the only show I can remember where the interwebs boiled with vines and youtubes of people filming people watching that episode.
And now tonight. I hope Shireen's demise never catches on. As the father of a young daughter, that was hard to watch.
But it was undeniably compelling. And therefore it will be talked about. And someone, somewhere will feel the need to top it.
When Stannis Baratheon decided to skip the quarreling in the South and instead take his men and ships to the fight at the Wall, he landed at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, the easternmost tower of the Night's Watch. If you followed the coastline north from Eastwatch, you'd eventually find yourself on a peninsula, and at the tip of that peninsula is the city of Hardhome. Hardhome is where the remnants of Mance Rayder's army fled after Stannis scattered their host.
***Slight book spoiler***
Some 300 years before Aegon the Conqueror brought dragons to the shores of Westeros, the Wildling city of Hardhome was destroyed. Nobody is sure what happened and why, but homes burned and people died, and ever since the Wildlings have generally avoided the place.
***End slight book spoiler***
The Gift is a stretch of land given by the Lords of the North to the Night's Watch. If you remember Mole's Town, where Sam stashed Gilly for awhile (until the Wildlings raided and killed almost everyone) - that's part of the Gift. And that has next to nothing to do with this week's episode.
"Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"
Clearly, the title of this episode was not referring to Sansa Stark. Question for viewers - do you hate Ramsay more than you hated Joff? I say "no", but I think it's only because Ramsay is not a poser. As twisted as he was, Joff pretending to be a badass and then hiding behind a Kingsguard or the Hound or his mum - that adds a strong dose of contempt to the hatred. Still, I'd understand it if others differed. And what about Cersei? Guilty of incest, guilty of cheating on her brother (that sounds odd) with Lancel, guilty of raising Joff and abetting his douchetude, guilty of trying to have Tyrion killed. And, like Joff, guilty of thinking she's far more of a badass than she actually is. What say you?
"Kill the Boy"
Missandei sits beside the bed of Grey Worm, faithfully awaiting his recovery from the attack from the Sons of the Harpy. Grey Worm was stabbed, collapsed and passed out, but not before he killed the last of the Sons.
Also stabbed in the attack was Barristan Selmy, known as Barristan the Bold. Unlike Grey Worm, Barristan will not recover. Knighted by Aegon V Targaryen, Kingsguard to Jaeherys II Targaryen and to Aerys II Targaryen (the Mad King), Lord Commander of the Kingsguard for Robert Baratheon, and of the Queensguard for Daenerys Targaryen. Considered by many to be the greatest living knight - slain in a back alley of Meereen.
Daenerys is not pleased.
Jorah and Tyrion
Jorah sort of rents a fisherman's boat (he knocks the man out, but leaves coins behind) and loads his captive Tyrion into the boat.
Tyrion makes annoying noises until Jorah removes his gag. Tyrion notes that they are heading east, and wonders why, as Cersei is West. Jorah informs him that he is being taken to Daenerys, not Cersei. Tyrion uses his keen observational skills to figure out that his captor is Jorah. Tyrion throws it in Jorah's face that he was spying on Daenerys. His mouth is a little too smart, as he points out that it's possible that Jorah will be executed. Jorah knocks him out.
They called this one "High Sparrow", but they could have called it "Duets". Lots of 1-on-1 conversations moving the story forward.
There was a new city build in the opening credits - Moat Cailin. Moat Cailin belongs to the North; it controls all land-based access to the Neck, which is the southernmost part of the lands formerly ruled by the Starks, and now ruled by the Boltons. More on this in the Ramsay/Sansa story arc.
Arya finds her way to the Free City of Braavos. Braavos was founded by people fleeing from the tyranny of the Valyrian empire many hundreds of years ago, and the city is home to pretty much every religion in the world. Arya is dropped by the ship's captain at the House of Black and White, where she is told she will find the man she seeks...the man who gave her the coin. "All men must die", the captain tells her as he starts to row back to his ship. "All men must serve", she replies. Her knock upon the door is answered by an elderly man with a cane. She shows the man the coin Jaqen gave her, and says "Valar Morghulis" as a code word, as she did with the ship's captain and as she was told by Jaqen to do.
Welcome to another season. I know several episodes have leaked (and if you have watched them, keep your yapper shut in this thread), but I almost enjoy the anticipation of a Sunday night with family gathered around the TV as much as I do the actual show.
There are lots of rumors that this will be the season we see more significant divergence from the books, and possibly even some advancement of individual storylines ahead of where the books currently are. Book readers bemoan the absence of Strong Belwas, Lady Stoneheart, Cold Hands and other complexities that will always be easier to include on a written page than on film. But I recently read that GRRM himself stated that he recently had a good idea for a plot twist in his forthcoming book, and that it might be too late for the show producers to adjust to include it.
Being one of the biggest shows ever to hit TV, it is no surprise that there are a lot of people talking about the series. You have news about the finale being the most pirated show in history. Can I tell you a secret? That record will be broken again next year by some GoT episode.
Now, being honest here, I know that Game of Thrones Scorecards is not one of the big players. We actually just started out posting these for friends and family. Henley, who posts these on a sports forum, of all places, does a great job of summarizing each episode and how it relates to the books. With that in mind below are just a few of the posts around the internet regarding the season 4 finale.
It was a well-executed finale. It wasn't the biggest "holy crap" episode (that still goes to the Red Wedding, probably, although you could give the nod to the "Baelor's Sept" episode from Season 1, in which Ned was beheaded - that started the heads rolling downhill, so to speak), but this episode moved more stories forward in dramatic fashion than any other that comes to mind.
And then it finished with another change-up to the end credit song. I went on and on a few scorecards ago for the changeable intro, but the outro is also a wildcard each week. Nice work.
Also, a nod to another well-named episode, as this title has many meanings.