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"Game of Thrones" Discussion (with book spoilers)

(Ed. Note: WARNING! IF YOU HAVE NOT READ ALL 5 OF THE GAME OF THRONES/SONG OF ICE AND FIRE BOOKS, YOU WILL ENCOUNTER SPOILERS HEREIN. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.)

It was recently suggested to me that I create a "Game of Thrones" fan post in lieu of cluttering up some other thread with my spoiler bars, so here I am. Rather than write a long forward, I'm just going to dive in to a few thoughts I've had this season.

1. Robb and Cat's story line has been mishandled. It started with Robb discussing his desire to marry Talisa with Cat beforehand, which made him seem even more shallow and irresponsible than he did in the books (where he married Jeyne because he slept with her). My guess is that the writers wanted the relationship to be more romantic, but I think all they've really accomplished is making fans blame Robb more for losing the war. In the books he was a fool, but he was at least a noble fool, in the mold of his father.

On top of that, there's been a pall hanging over Robb and Cat this season, and the writers haven't taken the time to build up some optimism about his plan to steal Casterly Rock. The book went into much more detail about his seemingly brilliant strategy for taking Moat Cailin (I think that's the right castle), and I personally had begun to think that he had a chance after all. I'm not getting that sense from the show. Instead, we get scenes where he assures Talisa he'll visit her homeland after the war, and anyone who's ever watched a single television show knows that he's good and doomed after a promise like that. I therefore don't think that the Red Wedding will have the same shock value on the show as it did in the book.

2. Natalie Dormer deserves an Emmy. She has single-handedly made not just her own character way more interesting than the book version, but she's also breathed new life into the others with whom she interacts (in particular, Cersei, Sansa, and Joffrey). Before this season, I'd have never believed that any family could light up my screen more than the Lannisters collectively do, but Margaery and Olenna are really bringing it for the Tyrells.

3. I love the way they've already compressed Dany's story line, but they're soon going to have to add in some meaty character development for her to keep things interesting. She made an awful lot of mistakes in the books, and it's not yet clear how much she's learned from them even by the end of book 5. I'm confident that it will all pay off eventually, but television audiences aren't going to want to sit through multiple seasons of her screwing up repeatedly. Given what they've done with several of the characters in Kings Landing (especially Margaery), I'm cautiously optimistic that these writers can pull it off.

4. The show's whitewashing of Tyrion is going to make his murder of Tywin and Shae tricky. I'm curious to see how they'll do it--will they let it play out like it did in the books and risk having audiences turn against the fan favorite, or will they further soften him and present his killing them as justified? In spite of the gold chain he gave Shae recently, I'm concerned that he may not kill her at all. Perhaps Tywin murders Shae and Tyrion kills him in a fit of grief and rage? I hope not. I like Tyrion's moral grayness in the books.

5. The show may be an indirect source of spoilers for future books, as decisions on what to cut give us clues about who/what is important later on. Talisa's supposed pregnancy and whether or not she survives the Red Wedding is the most obvious example right now. My prediction is that Talisa dies and Jeyne Westerling never births an heir. I think the pregnancy on the show is just an attempt to make us feel worse when she's brutally murdered (and it won't work on me; good riddance).

Questions, comments, thoughts, concerns?

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