Game of Thrones: Hardhome. Did they really just confirm [SPOILER]??

Well we ended last week with Jorah delivering his gift to Dany and her not really knowing what to do with him. It looks like right now not much has changed in that aspect.

Dany and Tyrion

We open up this episode with Dany questioning Tyrion about why she shouldn’t just kill him right now (which she has a point) and asking Tyrion what he thinks she should do with Jorah (who she told she’d kill if he came back).

Tyrion points out that he’s kill more Lannisters than anyone else she knows and that he knows more about her than she probably knows about herself. I’m glad that Dany seems to be impressed with this.

This right here is a complete departure from the books (at least as far as he’s written so far), but it’s something that the books have been working toward. In the books right now Tyrion is a slave right outside Mereen who later frees himself and escapes to hide in a mercenary war camp– all the while waiting to get to meet Dany.
Dany on the other hand is out in the wilderness with Drogon who swooped into the fighting pits to eat some easy prey and she jumped on his back to try to save him from the people that wanted to kill him. Now she’s abandoned in the wilderness unable to control her dragon (which I’m pretty sure Tyrion knows the secret to this–which I’m also pretty sure is warging to control them like the Starks do to their wolves) and on her period. (Yep totally on her period– which is worth mentioning because she was told that would never happen again after she sacrificed her baby to save Drogo).

OK so all that about the dragon and the fighting pits might happen next week and if it does I apologize for the spoilers, but I’m really not sure where the writers are headed right now. Dany meeting Tyrion and actually getting advice from someone who has run Westeros before though is a great development. He knows all the houses and how they will react to her and he knows all the ways that she could take over that part of the world. Up to now she’s been getting advice from old warriors who were never politicians or people that have never been to that part of the world. I can’t wait to see what Tyrion makes of the politics of Mereen and how long he comes to the same conclusion I did— the dragons need to be seen and feared. Without her dragons she has no power.

Needless to say though Tyrion and Dany working together is going to be something amazing to watch.

Oh and Jorah is sad and gets banished–rubs some on his greyscale and then returns to the fighting pits. I’m not sure what his play is here, but I’m curious as to why he did this.

Cersei

The Queen is locked away without food or water until she confesses. We see her get struck across the face with a wooden spoon when she refuses to do so. She finally gets to hear the charges against her (fornication, treason and incest– not far off the mark there) and told that none of her family is coming to save her. Not even Jaime (remember– as Tyrion left he told Jaime that Cersei was having sex with everyone she could and he can’t get that out of his mind. Of course in the show he’s in Dorne, but still not racing back to her.

She rounds out this episode by licking water off the nasty floor. So things are going great for her.

Arya

Arya is working on her lying skills and is telling Jaqen all about her life at the canals. She makes an adorable oyster saleswoman. She is being given her first job in this new role and is figuring out what she’s supposed to do. She’s been given the job of killing an insurance salesman who isn’t paying out to widows.

This right now is going along pretty evenly with the books. Except instead of Lana of the Canals she’s Cat of the Canals and is given the same task, but told it has to look like he just died. It cannot look like murder at all. I liked that she was Cat in the books because is spoke to her life with her mother as well as her new found ability to warg into animals besides her wolf. Also they aren’t mentioning that she’s having wolf dreams every night and that her connection with her wolf back in the Riverlands is growing stronger. I really wish they would touch on the whole warging thing more because I feel like that’s going to be important later on. . .but I’m not a writer for the show so. . . .

Sansa and Theon/Reek

Sansa confronts Theon about him telling on her. Theon is 100% Reek in this scene, but she manages to find out that Bran and Rickon really aren’t dead. Theon lets it slip, but runs away when he realizes what he’s admitted to. Hopefully this means that he’s finally working his way out of Ramsey’s control. Maybe. Hopefully.

In the books he’s cowed still by Ramsey, but with the arrival of the outsiders that have come for the wedding Theon is given a little more status since the guests expect to see Theon the prince there not Reek the servant. The storyline that I’m really sad they’ve left out is that Mance wasn’t really killed at the wall, but a wildling called Rattleshirt was and Mance has taken Rattleshirt’s place with the help of magic from Melisandre. She then changes his appearance again and is sent to Winterfell as a traveling minstrel and his “sisters” aka other wildling women meant to look like regular camp followers. They are sent to break “Arya” out and get Theon to help with this. I’m really sad they left all this out because it creates some warm feelings towards Melisandre– who hasn’t needed any up to now and it shows the ingenuity of the wildlings around the Boltons.

The Boltons

They are discussing Stannis and his plans and Ramsey offers to take 20 men out into the snow to take down Stannis. Lets just say they are both insane and horrible people and then just move on from this right now. I’m sure it will be gross and graphic later on.

The Wall

So we see Gilly and Sam being all awkward and post coital, but then Olly manages to come in and be Debbie Downer. He expresses his doubts about what Jon is doing and his hatred for the Wildlings. Olly is a new character and I really don’t know why there is such an emphasis on his character unless it’s just to remind you that the Wildlings aren’t all nice people and they’ve done horrible things.

Meanwhile Jon has landed at Hardhome with Tormund to try to negotiate with the Wildlings there to come back and help the Night’s Watch hold the Wall. Evidently Rattleshirt (aka Lord of Bones) is the leader of this group and he doesn’t want anything to do with the new arrivals (remember I mentioned him earlier and how he was killed by Melisandre). Welp he keeps insulting Tormund so Tormund takes his staff from him and beats him to death with it. All the Wildlings doubt Jon’s word, but eventually everyone but the Thenn’s agree to go with Jon and they very very slowly start getting on boats.

They load up a good number people and then suddenly the wights attacked the walls and for some reason instead of loading the boats faster they stood around and stared at the skeletal beings that were breaking down the walls. They move from staring at them to fighting them which does about as much good (once again why are they not sticking people into boats as fast as possible?).

Then all of a sudden the White Walkers themselves show up and Jon gets into a fight with one that looks like it’s not going to end well for Jon when a theory from the books is finally confirmed in that although all other blades have shattered against the White Walkers Jon’s holds up. It not only holds up it kills the Walker and turns the tide of the battle.

The reason this is true is because Jon’s sword is Valyrian steel and forged with magic from Ancient Valyria as well as dragon’s breath (dragon steel is another name for it– which sounds familiar like dragon glass you could say). Then as the people load the last of the ships that are able to escape Captain Barbossa  the Night’s King (aka the head White Walker) shows up and tells the boys to take a walk. The furious onslaught of the undead is more than the remainder can handle and the battle is soon lost. The Night’s King then reanimates all the dead and Jon stares on in horror from his (painfully slowly) retreating boat.

So this doesn’t happen at all in the books. He does send people to Hardhome to try to save them and bring them back to the Wall, but he doesn’t go himself. Also in the books the whole Valyrian steel theory hasn’t been tested yet, but Sam suspects that it will work. I’m pretty sure this was an interlude for everyone watching to allow them some action in a otherwise battle light season. I do question the wight and White Walker’s lack of fear of fire. In the books and the show they have been scared or at least repelled by fire, but aren’t phased at all by it this go round.

There are a lot of revelations this episode, fan theories proven right and fan desires made true. I have to say even though I don’t always support their departures from the books, it is making it an interesting watch.

Why do book Readers think “It’s not as bad as what happened in the books” is an excuse for violence?

After the Sansa wedding night episode I had friends on Facebook going crazy (along with a ton of other people throughout the Internets). They were done with Game of Thrones!  They were shocked and appalled that once again the show used rape to as a plot/character development device. On a particular thread a friend of mine had expressed her outrage at this and I had responded that, “It’s not near as bad as the stuff that happened to the woman he married in the books.” My comment triggered an angry response from another person who questioned why that was OK? Just because something is worse in the books that it was based on why is that an excuse for that action?

That got me thinking. Why did I think that excused what was shown for entertainment purposes? I finally came to the conclusion that I don’t think it being worse in the books is an excuse, but more that I came into the show informed as to what to expect. Also that reading about something happening isn’t the same as watching it played out in front of you.

I knew going into watch Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince that Snape would eventually kill Dumbledore. But reading it in the books and watching it on the big screen are two different things. In someways it was more emotional to actually see the look in Snape’s eyes and the corresponding look on Dumbledore’s face at the moment of death, but you also don’t get the whole thought process of each of the characters. You are relying on facial expressions instead of getting to hear an inner monologue or having the author explain a back story on the character.

So when Snape takes out his wand and kills off another main character I wasn’t shocked or emotionally crippled. I was when I read it the first time, but by the time the movie rolled out I was used to the idea. I knew it was coming so it didn’t pack the same emotional punch.

This is true for so many things in literature. There are things added and taken away by knowing what is coming and seeing it acted out on screen for the first time. Yeah you know that Mr. Darcy is going to fall for Elizabeth, but seeing Colin Firth say the words out loud brings a whole new emotion to the scene. Or a better example for me is you don’t really see how annoying Elizabeth’s mother is until you see her.

But why have I talked about Harry Potter and Austen when Game of Thrones was the culprit? Seeing emotions and knowing back stories is one thing, but this is rape that we’re talking about. Here’s where I come to my conclusion about why people use “it was worse in the books” as an excuse.

If they’ve read the books and then chose to watch the show they know what’s coming. They know (for the most part) who is going to be raped, tortured, enslaved, killed, stabbed at their wedding, etc. They’ve read it, accepted it and kept reading for one reason or another.

I’m sure there were readers along the way that said– wait– they just killed my favorite character– this series is depressing– I’m out!  Or I’m tired of the sex scenes that are written like a twelve year old’s fantasy– I’m out!  (Seriously– GRRM has words for female genitalia that make me want to vomit. He talks about sex like a pubescent boy). So many things happen in the series (and the show has left out a lot of disturbing crap) that would be horrific if they happened in real life that as a reader I skim those parts. Jaime and Cersei having sex again? Cool– I’ll just skip the in depth description of her “sex” and just remember that it happened. Theon getting flayed again? Alright– gross–but instead of reading the full description I’ll just skim over the super gross parts and realize that Reek has a fewer toes/fingers than he did before. Skimming is the only way I got through some of the parts of these books (and the only way I got through the Wheel of Time books after Robert Jordan lost his mind and until Brandon Sanderson took over).

I may not have read every single disgusting detail of the bad things that happened in this series, but I know what happened. I’ve already processed that Ramsey is the most disgusting person ever, I know that Cersei thinks she’s the smartest person in the world, and that Sansa is an idiot. Still I wouldn’t have wished Jeyne’s fate (the girl Ramsey married in the books that was pretending to be Arya) on anyone. That’s why book readers were upset that Sansa had returned to Winterfell. They knew that if she married The Bastard that things would not be pretty for her. I know people who just had seen the show were probably excited to see a Stark in Winterfell again, but believe me Sansa should have kept her butt in the Eyrie.

So do I think it’s OK that Sansa was raped? NO! But that was what she was doomed for the second Littlefinger took her there to marry Ramsey. If he had treated her like a lady that would have been completely out of character. He is insane and likes to inflict pain on everything and everyone he can. Obviously his wife would be subject to that as well.

What I am saying is reading about a horrible act and seeing a horrible act visually acted out is totally different. Knowing what is coming allows the reader to prepare themselves for what is to come (and even you non-readers– seriously what did you expect from Ramsey?).

So if seeing Sansa get raped makes you no longer want to watch Game of Thrones stop watching. I have family members that refuse to watch the show because they don’t want to relive everything that happens to these characters (as well as family members who have refused to watch or read because of what these books entail). I’ve left some shows mid series because I didn’t like the direction they went in. With everything else that has happened in the series though I question your surprise at this violence. Dany was raped in the first episode (which by the way didn’t happen in the books– Drogo was very kind to her and besides the fact that she was disgustingly young for him it was not violent like that), Ned was beheaded by a psycho with too much power, and Theon was brutally tortured. All of that plus everything else that I’ve left out should have clued you in that this wasn’t going to be a happy, peaceful show.

I don’t think that rape, torture, incest, or zombies are acceptable things, but as a reader I came into this show informed as to what I was going to see. If you don’t want to continue watching the show because of the horrible violence it shows, stop watching it, but don’t expect the show runners to make an insane torture loving character nice and sweet all of a sudden.