Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Game of Thrones season finale

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

Season 4 of the Game of Thrones show is in the books, and the long wait begins...for next season. I have not been doing episode recaps but thought I would take a look at this episode and maybe comment a bit on the season overall- but mostly I want to hear your thoughts, cause let's face it discussing this show and the books is a blast!

I'll try to avoid book spoilers as I know not everyone who loves the show has read the books. There will be a few though and I'll mark them out.

The biggest thing for me, as a book reader, is that the series really deviated this season- and that NEXT season is almost certain to have spoilers for the next book The Winds of Winter. That will present an interesting dilemma for readers- do you watch and get spoiled, or avoid the show? From what I've seen of the discussions on Goodreads and elsewhere, people fall into both camps. For me I'll probably watch, although I've said before I would much rather read the next book before they start spoiling things- but that may not happen.

Some observations after watching the finale-

They did a good job with Tyrion, but by excluding the Tysha storyline the viewer perhaps doesn't really get all the backstory as to why Tyrion hates Tywin the way he does at the end. Still it seemed to work so whatever. Charles Dance as Tywin was fantastic- his presence will be missed. Also the scene with Jaime- in the books they had a bitter split, and I wish they would have stuck with that because as pointed out, Tyrion has no one at the end of A Storm of Swords- it really made his split with Jaime all the more alarming. And informs everything Tyrion does and says in book five to a large extent.

Speaking of Jaime- one of the biggest disappointments for me was how they handled Jaime. His story arc in a Storm of Swords is one of my favorites and he is really trying to redeem himself even as he rejects other peoples judgments of him- the scene in the book where he refuses to have sex with Cersei in White Sword Tower is a big moment (he says something to the effect that he won't besmirch his honor in that place), yet in the show they throw all that out. Very disappointing and an important character moment lost. They don't seem to get Jaime very well.

Bran is at the three eyed crow, which doesn't happen in the books until book five- so anything with Bran next season is potentially spoiler material for the next book. Yikes. Jojen's death makes me wonder if Jojen really is done as far as the story goes- readers of ADwD know that there was ambiguity as to whether Jojen died or not (different circumstances), and this seems to confirm that he's done. Of course some characters live on in the books even though the show kills them off- but that doesn't seem likely here. It's kinda creepy how it happens in the book, so that's a little... disturbing.

The children of the forest are here!

The scene with Dany and the dragons was done well. The dragons look awesome this season, and again we're getting into book five territory here so next season should be great. I haven't been super impressed with how they handled Dany this season, but I thought this was a great way to end her story for the moment.

Brienne fighting Sandor. Martin took a lot of heat for Brienne's somewhat meandering story arc so avoiding all that and dovetailing her with Sandor and Arya was an interesting choice. Effective and got the job done- Arya leaves Sandor and heads for Braavos. Arya and Sandor were the best part of this season.

Nice to see Jon and Stannis taking each others measure. I like Stannis in the books even given what he does... and his prickly relationship with Jon at the Wall will be fascinating to watch on the show. Mance Rayder was a big disappointment, they've done very little with him and in the books he is a more dashing, tragic figure. Seems like a dropped ball frankly... but we'll see what develops next season. Given where things go in ADwD, this could be VERY interesting.

So those are some of my thoughts. I have a few spoilery thoughts below, mainly about things that they didn't include, so you may want to avoid those if you haven't read the books.

SPOILER A big surprise for me was the absence of Lady Stoneheart. I was sure, along with Tyrion killing Tywin, that that would be the clincher for the season. The fact that they omitted that is a little baffling to me, but again with only a few seasons left maybe they're curtailing that storyline- or maybe it will just show up early next season. It seems pretty crucial, but then again with Brienne showing upin the Vale and fighting Sandor, they're obviously not following Brienne's arc at all so maybe it's less essential to have Stoneheart. I guess we'll see...

Also SPOILER- we still have not seen much in the way of flashbacks regarding Rhaegar or Lyanna. As the books progress we get more and more of a sense that Rhaegar was a good guy, even if his father the mad king was nuts, and where in the first book or two Robert's Rebellion seems pretty cut and dried, as time goes on we start to see that maybe it was tragic that Rhaegar was killed. It's too bad the showrunners can't incorporate some of this into their story, because in the books it plays a role in everything from Jaime's actions to Jon's possible parentage. It's such a huge, if behind the scenes, part of the story that it seems kinda crazy they have not addressed it at all.

So what did you think of the finale?


  1. I'm not a fan of the show but both my husband and oldest daughter are. There was a few days of mourning after the finale because it will be so long until the next season starts. I have 2 different camps regarding books vs show in my house. My husband is watching the show and then plans to go back and read the books. My daughter is reading and watching but keeps coming to me to talk about the deviations. Some work but she really didn't like how the finale went. She thought the book did a much better job. I find it odd how they're mixing up the story lines and events. It makes it impossible to read the books and watch because there's always the fear of the show jumping ahead and spoiling the book.

  2. There were enough great scenes in the finale to make it my favorite episode to date. The fight scene between Brienne and the Hound - this was probably the most intense fight of the series. Certainly, it was one where I didn't want either one to be the loser. It was so brutal, and I got more and more nervous as the power shifted.

    Bran - for once, his scenes didn't bore me to tears. I still think his story line is the weakest, but at least something actually HAPPENED.

    The dragons - they seemed tiny in this episode. Earlier in the season, when one came flying over the edge of the cliff, it looked enormous compared to the little boy. Did they CGI artists forget how big they used to be?

    Tywin - I'm going to miss Charles Dance, the best actor on the show. Yup better than Dinklage. But that was the most fitting way for him to go out.

    Poor Varys - I'm not sure if he's cut out for a life away from King's Landing.

    Jon Snow/Mance/Stannis - eh, don't care about any of them.

    Cersei - I hope they show her reaction next season when she learns of Tywin's death. But I expect they'll probably leap forward in time.

  3. I was really dissapointed that Lady Stoneheart didn't make even a fleeting appearance, they better not skip her storyline completley.

    I totally agree with you about Tyrion and Jaime. I hope the writers get their act together next season concerning Jaime.

    And the dragons - I cried. I don't know why the chains had to be so short though, poor babies ;-)

    With the rate the show is going in taking over the books, I think I had better read A Dance with Dragons before next season. I hope we get a release date for The Winds of Winter soon because I am OK with books spoiling the show but not at all OK with the show spoling the books. If worse comes to worse I will stop watching the show until the books catch up.

  4. Thank you so much for being clear where the spoilers are, Greg. As someone who is enjoying the show first, I've been terrified of looking up GoT stuff online in fear of spoilers from bitter readers who roll their eyes at the excitement, haha. It's interesting to hear that this season deviated a lot from the books--perhaps a set up to provide more seasons to stretch out the material, since Martin takes a while to write?

    I was curious about Dany's role in this season too. It seems like it was purely set up after the momentous beginnings. A lot of work for a queen. I can't but help feeling this sort of ominousness for her future, in terms of dismissing the knight and her difficulties in taming the dragons. Was her character handled differently in the corresponding book (no spoilers :P)?
    Ellen @ Glamorous Book Lounge

    1. I think sometimes I'm one of those bitter readers ha ha! :) I think we're to get a lot of book five stuff next season- they seem to be picking and choosing what story elements they need to end the story.

      I think Dany was a lot of set up this time. Her story in the books has been on auto pilot for a while- not that thing don't happen, but not enough happens. I think they handle her character well enough though, it's close to the books- she gets in over her head in Meereen, so it will be fascinating to see how they do that. The problems with the dragons are straight out of book five, so the next season should be interesting!