>>>Be sure to check out Part I: Season 2 Scenes that make Game of Thrones Better
The following are scenes that are either modified, reimagined, or complete departures from Game of Throne‘s source material, and I believe they improve on the story told by the books. Also, spoiler alert, obviously.
6 – Stannis “the Mannis” Baratheon
My 2nd favorite of the Baratheon Brothers, Stannis is a bitter, pragmatic, and has never, ever, been considered the life of any party. Night’s Watch blacksmith Donal Noye talks about the three brothers: “Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He’ll break before he bends. And Renly that one, he’s copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day.” Most Stannis scenes in the first two books are from either Davos or Catelyn’s p.o.v., but a simple scene in the first episode really explains Stannis’s character better than having another character do his exposition.
As Davos’s son takes dictation on a declaration of war to the Lannisters, Stannis insists he remove any formality, removing adjectives like “beloved” from before his brother’s name. “A harmless courtesy your Grace,” Davos reasons. “A lie — take it out,” Stannis snaps, “Joffery, Renly, Robb Stark–they’re all thieves. They’ll bend the knee or I’ll destroy them.”
Stannis is as unyielding as he is humorless, and although his courtesies earn him precious little respect from his bannermen, he’s developing quite the fanbase from his actions on the TV series, most of all his heroic siege on King’s Landing in which he demonstrates his belief in and devotion to his cause by leading his men off the boats, being the first up the ladder and over the wall, and generally being a total badass. This is a major departure from the attack in the books, but I love it.
I didn’t really like the choking scene, but it gets across Stannis’s extreme frustration at the outcome of Blackwater, and his doubts over placing too much faith in the interpretations and whims of an invisible god.
7 – Cersei and Tommen
Episode 9…what a ride! As Stannis attempts to raze King’s Landing seemingly single-handedly outside, back in the safety of the keep Cersei’s fallen into the wine and is teetering and bitterly slurring like a cougar without a mate at last call. She doesn’t miss this opportunity to torture Sansa and insult everyone around her. This is very similar in the book, although it’s acted perfectly. The real magic however, is in the next scene, which new for the TV series. I don’t care much for her thinly-vieled parable about a lion’s place among allthe creatures in the forest, but the fact she’s just about to kill her son and commit suicide rather than admit defeat speaks volumes about her character.
Even better, the credits for this week’s episodes aren’t the usual theme song but rather a brief rendition of “The Rains of Castamere,” a song related to the ruthlessness and pride of the Lannister family.
8 – Jamie and Cousin
Jamie’s imprisoned and in bad shape when his hapless cousin Ser Alton Lannister gets thrown in his cell. Totally starstruck, the young knight recalls the time he squired for Jaime to be one of the most magnificent experiences of his life. Although Jaime doesn’t initially seem to recall, he warms up and we see a charming side of the Kingslayer; a tournament story that captures what drew him to greatness in the first place, a compliment to his younger cousin, and an admission that Jaime probably wouldn’t be good at anything else.
It’s all very sympathetic, and the crowd begins to wonder who’s really the bad gu…oh wait, Jaime leaps up, murders his cousin as well as the guard who tries to stop him from escaping. He gets captured again, and his debates with Catelyn continue.
The TV show does a great job showing just hows good Jamie is at finding a sore spot and provoking anyone he wants: “I’ve never been with any woman other than Cersei, so in a way, I have more honor than poor old dead Ned,” he delivers, quite happy with himself. Jamie is one of the few characters with no lust for power: he’s a lion that resents being caged, he acts on impulse, and he truly loves and desires his sister.
9 – Bronn and Sandor
Not much to say. Episode 9’s face-off is obvious fan service, but I liked it well enough. Everyone’s favourite cutthroat steps up to the Lannister’s drunk, depressed hound in a G.O.T. fanboy’s equivalent of Alien vs. Predator that was probably the source of countless drunken debates over who would win. Truth be told, I’m not overly fond of the Hound’s acting in the show, although he certainly looks the part.
Bronn is much more developed in the show, to everyone’s delight, but most of his new material is in Season 1. However, there’s are a few great new interactions between him and Tyrion: one where he tries successfully intentionally irritates a studious Tyrion to alleviate his bordom, and another right before battle in which Tyrion sadly admits their friendship even though it’s apparent he has to buy his friends as well as his women.
10 – Theon
Poor, poor Theon. I haven’t met a new fan of ther series that doesn’t hate him, but surely I can’t be the only one to sympathize as I watch his internal struggle trying to reconcile the teachings of his foster family with those of his birth family. Watching him return unwelcomed to his home and seeing the contrast between his expectations and the cold harsh reality of the Iron Born is enough for me to at least sympathize. He’s misguided, and he’s way out of his league. Although he’s already a p.o.v. character in the books, the TV series has a few extra scenes featuring both his return to the iron islands as well as his capture of Winterfell. Yes, he comes across as childish, petty, and brash but at least…oh wait, there might not be any buts.
Maester Luwin obviously sees the same conflict I see in him, even though Theon’s trying his best to put everyone’s doubts to rest as to how cruel and reckless he can be. “You’re not the man you’re pretending to be,” Luwin pleads, as Theon finds himself abandoned by one of his families kin and responsible for the destruction of his other. But it’s too late to change, and Theon knows it.
Honorable Mentions and Suggestions
- Replacement of Lollys by Sansa in a near-rape is a great way to develop Sansa and the Hound’s relationship, emphasize Joffery’s heartlessness, and make Sansa’s life that much worse.
- Khal “ripped a man’s tongue out” Drogo’s return in Dany’s vision: “If this is a dream, I’ll kill the man who wakes me.“
- Sansa blowing up at Shae over nothing shows the stress she’s under and how she’s bottling it inside
- any other suggestions? Comment and I’ll write them in.
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>>>Don’t forget Part I: Season 2 Scenes that make Game of Thrones Better
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