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Game of Thrones: A Novel Approach to "The Old Gods and the New"

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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.

GoT Novel Approach

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.

Sad Robb Stark

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?

Dany loses....everybody?
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.

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

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I think WhiteVeils pretty much hit everything squarely on the nose. I had the same thoughts about the House of the Undying and Sansa. Its obvious that the tower in the final scene in 2x06 is the House of the Undying. The scene where Dany was commanding fire from Drogon builds up to the burning down of the place (although the dragons do seem a bit small still). As far as Sansa, the actor is underage. You can't really go much further in the scene with Joffrey. As far as Bran and Rickon, I like WhiteVeils' theory. They will travel north together, but Osha will refuse to go under the wall and will leave with Rickon to Skaagos while Bran and Hodor continue north of the wall with Sam and Coldhands. Seems very plausible. None of the Stark kids have to die for it to make sense.

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I will be disappointed if they leave out Meera and Jojen form the series as I was super excited to see how they would depict them in the series. I also wanted to point out that I think they are leading up to the House of the Undying by having the Pyat Pree being the one who stole the dragons. Then they would have Drogon burn the place down. Although I think killing all her people was a little intense and unnecessary to develop the plot. I also think nothing will become of the relationship between Tywin and Arya. I think they're just using it to build some sort of plot around the fact she gets to kill three people. Having her scrub floors between naming names might be a drag. So they gave her some more dialogue. Although that could of been easily fixed, she doesn't even talk to Hot Pie or Grendly anymore.

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Dany: It's pretty obvious from the map of Qarth that the tower that the dragons are being carried to IS the House of the Undying. They're using kidnapping the dragons to give Dany a really motivation for going to the House of the Undying and, eventually, burning it down. It's a shortcut that raises dramatic tension for Dany (making her arc a little more sense than in a book). Jorah was obviously trying to get Dany a ship, as ordered. The death of many of her followers...was a little much, but her followers don't show up nearly as much as expected in the later books, so it's not that tragic a change. Just saying...relax and let the story be itself. GRRM is OK with the changes, so I figure we should be too.

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Life of Sansa: I'm not sure what the problem was. The tearing of the bodice, etc, happened in the show too. In the books, she was almost pulled from her horse, but the ones doing the pulling were gunning to do exactly the same thing. It didn't get very much further in the show than the books, and was terrifying and traumatic either way. I just don't think there's much difference here. I guess when I read it in the book, it was an attempted rape too...it just hadn't gotten as far. Arya and Tywin: I don't think it has to lead to something bigger. All Tywin has to do is leave to render an upcoming defeat to Rob for everything to happen just as it did in the books. Changing the various unnamed cooks, etc, to Tywin set up good tension and dynamics, but doesn't need to be that much of a plot change at all if he never learns her identity, and there is no reason to believe he has. After all he has been told by his children that they have Arya in hand. Littlefinger confirmed this to him.

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I think you need to expand your imagination a little bit. Easy Fall of Winterfell scenario with no Jojen and Meera: Osha escapes with Hodor, Bran, and Rickon and goes to the crypts, just like the books. We know she knows where they are. They survive there until Bastard Bolton shows up, again like the books, at which point they escape. They head north, for multiple reasons: 1) Bran can dream that he needs to go there. 2) Jon is there (as far as they know) and would make sure they're safe. No other place is safe for them in the kingdoms right now. 3) Osha knows how to get there. Once they get to the Wall, they meet Sam. Sam takes Bran to Coldhands, while Osha, refusing to go back to the North, flees to Skaagos with Rickon.

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I'm currently reading the fourth book and I am super curious where the TV show is going plot wise. The Arya and Tywin stuff is interesting. All the Dany stuff is bittersweet because it's more interesting than her book plot but she does seem selfish in her desire for the Iron Throne. I liked Jon and Ygritte's storyline better in the books but Robb's love story seems more intriguing since Catelyn is with him.

Cidalni

I agree with you this season has varied so much from the books. Also there's the case of Jon Snow if also differ the way he got separated from the crows.
Maybe Osha will take Meera's place but going further along I don't see how that's possible, unless like you mention Rickon will die.
And Daenerys doesn't seem like the strong Targaryen woman that she is in the books, a girl you root the reclaim her birth right but in the series she looks like a spoiled girl that can't get what she wants. Of all the Daenerys story is the one that makes the least sense.