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Game of Thrones: A Novel Approach to "A Man Without Honor"

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Game of Thrones aired an episode last night light on action, but heavy on character introspection.

It focused on the concept of who we are and who we want to be, as analyzed by Matt Richenthal in his review of "A Man Without Honor."

Now, I'm back with the latest edition of A Novel Approach, in which I take a different tact toward the installment from the point of view of an avid George R.R. Martin reader. Read on. React. And be warned: Spoilers are ahead...

Maybe Tywin will adopt Arya!
My single favorite moment of the season thus far was the meaningful and uninterrupted conversation between Arya and Tywin, although their relationship never came to pass in the novels. They're both so cunning, both holding their cards close to the vest. I don't care how much everyone wants to sway me from my belief that his discovering her true identity is a possibility, but I still think it will come to pass. He doesn't believe her story that she is a stone mason's daughter at all. Everything she knew of the Targaryens and women riding dragons to flatten Harrenhal piqued his interest.  

Tywin is anything but an idiot. While he did give birth to questionable incestual twins, he also gave birth to the wonderful and witty Tyrion. When he corrected her usage of my lady to milady, there was no doubt he knew something was amiss. But he doesn't care. She's good company, smart as a whip and reminds him of the children he once loved, now grown and on to their own fights in the world.

GoT Novel Approach

Sympathy for Theon?
Theon has remained true to his novel character inasmuch as he cannot stand the thought that he is weak and unworthy. Truly, he is both, which makes you feel kind of sorry for him. His father sent him to live with a great man and the things he could have learned he didn't. The look on Theon's face as he raised the two dead children revealed just a hint of who he could have become if fear, pride and lack of confidence didn't get in his way. He had to be comparing himself to Robb at that moment, don't you think? 

Let's not get ahead of ourselves Jon Snow!
Jon's story seems to be moving swiftly into A Storm of Swords, unless it comes to a grinding halt before the season ends. Actually, this seems likely as we are down to three episodes. Suffice it to say the beginning of his relationship with Ygritte was not all sex talk when they first met in Clash of Kings, but it has been enjoyable to watch their banter on screen.

Kinslayer, come undone
Is it just me or do you think the powers that be found Jaime was liked just a tad too much in season one? The scenes with Jaime have been few and far between and he's not come off as someone you love to hate as much as you might just dislike. Jaime had more honor in the novels than to kill one of his own in such a horrendous manner, which gave way for readers to allow him his other shortcomings. But bludgeoning someone obviously so in awe of you is difficult to get over.

The scene between he, Catelyn and Brienne came very close to a conversation they shared in the books, although the circumstances were not the same. I just hope they don't take him too far down the path that redemption becomes impossible. Oh, who am I kidding. If he were ugly and without wit, he'd be irredeemable. But he's Jaime.

Enough Qarth already...
Let's just cut the story of Dany for the season right now and call it good. It's already been damaged beyond repair. Xaros calling himself king? That was a new one to me. They sure as hell love killing people in Qarth a lot more than I recall. There were a lot of lies and costumes to cover their true nature, sure, but dozens of people being killed every other day is bordering on the side of ridiculous.

Finally, a mention of the House of the Undying. With as long as it has taken them to chop the crap out of Dany's story, they'll never have enough time before the end of the series to do justice to it. Just her walk though it could visually take up the entire hour. Maybe she'll walk into a door, we'll see Drogon save her and it will be over. Wooo.

There is a lot of the show to enjoy. Ygritte telling Jon Snow the women would want to eat him up was exceptionally fun to watch... because we do! Robb getting a little romance of his own and learning more about him in the first person rather than through news to Catelyn feels right, although rushed. Tywin and Arya are pure magic on screen. Then we have Dany, whose character and story are unrecognizable. 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (122 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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I really enjoyed your reviews up untill this point.
I understand your a fan and you have stuff you want to say
, but please remember your own constraints and stay on target. I don't care about your ideas about where the tv show is going. If you wanted to write that version you should have. Tell me more about what has changed and they straight up left out. Thank you

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Yeah, I actually thought after last week's epi (I just watched this week's)that maybe they could write it a little better this time, tighter. Now, I thought, Dany has a good reason to go to the House of the Undying. And then they stuck in more killings. And they've killed off all of her household. Don't like. Also - did not like scene with Jaime (I guess we'll never get to Riverrun). Yes, he killed the Karstark boys (2 of them, I think) but that was in battle. I just want to see him on the road with Brienne. I have an idea for an opera to be based on Jaime's story - The Redemption of Jaime Lannister. With a repeating aria, which changes from bitterness through regret to tragedy, called "The Things I Do For Love." Speaking of which, when is someone going to write music for The Bear and the Maiden Fair? And the Rains of Castamere? If I don't get to hear those performed, I'm going to be very disappointed!

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PS:
be kind to my (language) mistakes - my mothertongue is german, not english

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Having read all the books I'm very pleased with the show so far. I think the show is very close to the books, despite some of the above or earlier mentioned changes. In fact, I'm a bit surprised about all the talk about changes from the book to the TV show. I think one simply can't press all of the stuff GRRM has written in just one book into a series of 10 shows each approx. 55 min.
Of course there have to be changes, some minor, some major. As long as the changes are speeding/spicing up some stories (e.g. Dany's) I'm more than fine with it. I also really like the dialogues of Arya & Tywin - they are both smart & cunning. To me, they add a certain quality, for it's enemies (though only Arya definitely knows - but Tywin supposes so as well) talking directly to each other about personal stuff in a quite interesting and not goal-driven way. Attention: Spoiler!
For those who think the mess in Qarth was just too much bloodshed - just wait for the 'Red Wedding' ... PS:
be kind to my language mistakes - my mothertongue is german, not english

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I read all five books and knew that in order to present the series that there would be changes from the books. Some of these changes were minor and some I thought were major. Despite that I thought this week's episode was a good one. How they are going to handle Dany going to the House of the Undying will be interesting. We know from the books that Dany does gather an army but the series seems to be killing off the members of her kalasar faster than the book ever did. As for Jon's story, it skipped a little but is still fairly close to the novel. Theon's story is very close to the book and you can't help but wonder what he would have been liked if Robb didn't send him to the Iron Islands. Robb's story is a little off but still good.

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I must say... The chick playing Ygrette is an absolute revelation. It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly well cast this show is and in addition to finding people that fit the role perfectly, they find these unknowns who are just incredible. I kept waiting to hear it and for it to be ruined or for it to feel forced... But when Ygrette said "You know nothing John Snow!" I literally yelled "FUCK YAH!!!" At my tv while my other buddy that knows the books cracked up laughing. Perfect delivery, perfectly integrated. Amazing.

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AllI am saying about Xaro's machinations is, if you want to become King, you have to get rid of the competence, and with the mother of dragons as your bride/guestage, sure as hell you will be able to deal with any remaining opposition. I think Dany's storyline this season is about her realizing what it takes to be KIng, what her battle cry really means "I will take what is mine, with fire and blood" what is really hers? is she the rightful owner of the iron throne? or is she just another conqueror? Xaros is showing her that the only thing that's hers is what she can take for herself, and that theme of right v/s might has been the plot for Daenerys this season, and has been done masterfully with each of her appearances and conversations with her supporting cast. As the theme of the season, her story is about power, but more about how to get it and how much she has to compromise to do so. Xaro might as well end up dead this season, but the lessons about power will stay with a more cynical and hardened Dany.

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@Carissa - I have read the first few books myself, and I believe they have done an incredible job on Dany's storyline by spicing it up. I really like her on-screen presence and the Quarth storyline along with Tyrion's is truly the best part of this season. As others said, just because it's different from the book, doesn't imply it's bad. This novel is based on the the time when their are five kings who want to rule the land (including a king like Joffery), there are dragons and whitewalkers, but you find the killings in Quarth bordering on the side of ridiculous? Such kind of a coup will require this level of killings and it is clearly acceptable to me as a fan. The stakes have been raised and I for one can't wait to find out how they portray her visit to the House of Undying. Even if they cut short this visit, I think HBO has done a fine job on her storyline.

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Maybe I'm just paranoid, or ready to believe that HBO is willing to change anything it wants from the original books -- but I felt that at the end of this episode, when Lady Starke took the sword, that SHE might be the one to cut off Jamie's hand!! I hope I'm wrong, for many reasons -- but that was the first thought that leapt into my head.

Richard3

(I've read all 5 books) I don't get fans of the books who are crying foul. As long as the show's characters follow along the same arcs as their book-versions I don't see a problem. The first big change I see happened with Qarth. Eliminating the 13 and setting up a king in Qarth just feels...risky...not knowing if Qarth will play any major role in the future of the series (I suspect not though). Still, it is much more exciting and...realistic(?)...than the book where Danny just sits around until she decides to check out the local house of the undying. Have they said yet in the show that the birth of the dragons has awoken magic back in the world? That's something that the books don't readily come out and say for a while, but I think it's something that would help people understand the warlock's sudden ability to defy the others (since his parlor tricks are now more real powers).

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