Sorry, TV Fanatics. This one has taken me awhile.
For the duration of season two, I've been penning what we so wittily have titled A Novel Approach to Game of Thrones, reviews of each episode written from the point of view of a George R.R. Martin fan.
But "The Old Gods and the New" was a challenge - because so much deviated from the literature. I've collected my thoughts on it, however, and welcome all feedback to the following book-based review.
The fall of Winterfell
I know everyone thought it was no big deal when I wondered where Meera and Jojen were and what it would mean to the remainder of the season, but now I have to bring it up again. Theon has named himself Prince and taken over Winterfell. He's a useless sod and learned nothing of the ways of being a Stark, especially the honor of taking a man's life with your own hand when you sentence him to death, so don't let the screenwriters kid you into thinking him in the least bit honorable. He's not.
He's nothing but a child trying to please his daddy and be a better man than his sister. Woo hoo! He took a castle from a nine-year old paraplegic who rides the back of a dual syllabic stable boy. Quite the feat there. He should be proud.
Back to the missing Meera and Jojen: With them and Hodor, Bran escaped Winterfell and Theon even used some other kid to "prove" Bran was dead. Osha spirited Rickon away so Bran's story wasn't hindered by the toddler. Now what? Will Rickon die? Will Bran's story become even further marginalized by remaining at Winterfell or being forced to escape with a toddler in tow? I cannot come up with a good scenario for this to play out in which we get to see Bran and Summer become one, which is one of the grooviest parts of novels.
The (terrible) life of Sansa
I thought the scene when Joffrey humiliated Sansa in the castle a few weeks ago was cut far too short. In my ignorance, I imagined it was because they were afraid to put the actress through too much. Surprise!
It's because they wanted to turn a simple assault scene into something far worse, a near rape. Frankly, I think having the misdeed done to her by Joffery had more impact overall, and they would have been fine to leave the two scenes as they were. To have your soon-to-be husband tearing your bodice and exposing you to your people is worse than a rape by strangers, don't you think?
What will become of Arya and Tywin?
So this nice little bond has formed between Arya and Tywin. Where can it possibly be heading? Will she slip up and leak information to him revealing her identity? She seems too smart for that. For the screenwriters to go to all this trouble to invest into this relationship it has to be leading to something big, right?
Will she be the ultimate hostage for Jaime's release? Maybe Arya will plunge a dagger into Tywin's back forever changing the landscape of Westeros. Would it really be any different than some of the other changes we've seen?
Which brings me to the lovelies at Qarth who relieved Dany of her entire entourage. Except Jorah. Where the hell was Jorah? And what happened to the House of the Undying? Did they decide to skip the visions and wizardry entirely for the House of the Dead? Losing her dragons? No way.
Daenerys has looked like a stumbling fool this entire season, whereas in the novels she always had her people in her thoughts first. Nothing was done without forethought and the end game in mind, to gain her rightful place on the Iron Throne as was her birthright. Granted, she was tricked by sorcery but was saved by Drogon. Seems that option is out. Are they planning on kidnapping her? Who knows? None of us who read the books, that's for certain.
* As always, editor-in-chief Matt Richenthal has also written a Game of Thrones review for this episode. Read it now, but please reserve all book-related comments for this space.