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Game of Thrones Round Table: "The Old Gods and the New"

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It featured a near-rape. A beheading. And the theft to end all thefts.

Without a doubt, the most recent Game of Thrones episode provided more surprises and action than any other season two installment to date. So let's get right to our weekly Round Table discussion, shall we?

Below, staff writers Matt Richenthal, Eric Hochberger, Dan Forcella, Carla Day and Carissa Pavlica gather around to relive "The Olds Gods and the New."

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What was your favorite scene from the episode?
Carla: The conversation between Tywin and Arya was one of my favorites. His interactions with her are such the opposite of how he interacted with his sons. Lord Tywin has a softer side. Plus, Arya is much more than just a "sharp little thing," she's shown herself to be quite brilliant.

Dan: Speaking of guys with a softer side. My favorite scene had to be The Hound saving Sansa.  He was so quietly heroic in that moment that it has to be mentioned.

Eric: I'm pretty sure there's only one choice here and Dan nailed it. The Hound rocks.

Matt: The sacking of Winterfell overall was so well done for its shock, its gore and its ramifications. But I'll get specific for you: when Theon first entered Bran's bedroom and the young Lord barely reacted, clearly not taking this pathetic, wannabe tough guy seriously.

Carissa: Ygritte snuggling against Jon Snow in the snow. Poor, inexperienced Jon. Ygritte did know to get him in a tizzy!

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More dramatic scene: The uprising in King's Landing or Theon's takeover of Winterfell?
Matt: I squirmed as Theon kept chopping away at Rorik, but for a scene as a whole? The uprising. It was captured perfectly in all its chaos, from Tyrion recognizing what was about to go down... to it going down and then some! Poor Sana, awesome Hound, forceful Tyrion, jarred Joffrey. So great all around.

Dan: I will go with Winterfell, mainly because of what is going on with Theon. He's torn, and he's not ready to do what he's doing, so every move he makes is with trepidation. He was so jittery while taking over his former home that every single shake by Alfie Allen had me on the edge of my seat.

Eric: Wow. Both were damn gory and intense. But I have to give it up to Sansa's near raping and the Hound's rescue. Entrails will always get me more than a sloppy beheading.

Carla: Wow. Both had their moments. I'll have to go with the riots in King's Landing. Sansa's attack was the right up there with Joffrey's sadistic actions in the bedroom - in "Garden of Bones" - as the worst moments to sit through on the show. The people are so dissatisfied with King Joffrey that they tore a person apart by hand; that doesn't bode well for him.

Carissa: Theon's takeover of Winterfell, if only because Bran has nobody there to help him and Theon is such a jerk. He's also not the best swordsman, as it took him several hacks to loosen a man's head from his shoulders.

Dumber decision: Jon Snow not killing Ygritte or Daenerys not keeping better care of her dragons?
Matt: Daenerys takes worse care of those dragons than Patrica Krentcil takes of her five-year old. Walk around holding their cage at all time, especially in a foreign land, it isn't that difficult.

Dan: Oh, anything less than the vault at the Bellagio for those dragons is dumb. Prized possessions should be stolen with some little raid. Come on, Dany!

Carissa: Dany had an entire stable of people killed, I can hardly blame her for believing her dragons were safe. And Jon has never known a woman, you can't fault him for finding one he might want to keep. Neither were dumb decisions.

Carla: I'm not sure I'd call either dumb, but the more unfortunate of the two is Dany losing her dragons. The only hope she had of regaining the throne was with the power of her dragons.

Eric: As the entire Round Table before me has pointed out, there's not much more care you can leave your dragons in than your entire slaughtered khalasar.  Now letting a red head go? Pretty sure Cartman can preach the dangers of gingers better than me.

Who should Arya have killed with her final wish?
Matt: The executive at The CW who decided to bring back 90210 for another season.

Dan: There will definitely be somebody she needs to kill desperately in the near future. Save it up. Don't waste it like Aladdin.

Eric: Joffrey. Girl already wasted her first. Might as well get the guy that ordered your father dead - who just happens to be my least favorite character - killed.

Carla: Baelish. He knows her secret and has played every side. Unless he decides it is in his interest to help her. One way to get on Cat's good side would be to return Arya to her. If not Littlefinger, she should hold on to it for now. She probably has a bigger threat coming.

Carissa: Tywin. Good relationship or not, he's still the most powerful man standing between her family and peace in the kingdom.

Will Joffrey conclude this season atop the Iron Throne?
Matt: No. That riot was the beginning of his downfall. I see Stannis taking his rightful place before the finale credit roll.

Dan: There isn't much time left for someone else to take a seat, but with the way everyone is acting in King's Landing, I can see it being empty more than Joffrey still sitting there.

Eric: Unfortunately, my vote is going for yes. I mean, if he's willing to have people killed for flinging poo, imagine what he'll do to keep his seat. Hint: kill lots of people.

Carla: No. I predict he will die (please oh please) before the season ends.

Carissa: Maybe in pieces. You know, like someone drops him onto it and he's impaled? That would be cool.

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Richard3

--- Take Robb Stark for example. He isn't even IN book 2, but in the show we are seeing those things we only heard about. Why change that from the book? The simple answer is that the show needs to keep certain actors around because their characters are important to the story and it's hard to justify paying someone to do nothing. So they've taken Robb and crafted his seasonal arc as one about learning to handle defeat and learning about love. There are many people who are cursing the Lady from Volantis because she isn't the same person from the books. But are they sure she isn't? I'd bet by the end of this season we'll find out she is indeed who she "should be". They've moved Roose Bolton into Robb's story (different than in the books where he was at Harrenhall for a bit with Arya) to introduce him in a way that will make more sense to the viewer later on. They've even setup a little "is Lady Volantis a Lannister spy?" plot, which while Robb and she bantered about it jokingly, the letter that Tywin had (which Arya stole) looked to show Robb's troop movements/location. If you know what happens in the book with Robb (the original way he meets Lady Volantis) all of it starts to make sense. It starts to bend back around to the book.

Richard3

I just wanted to throw my 2 cents in about how the show is diverging from the books and the fan responses I've seen. I have read all 5 books, having started after season 1 of the show ended. It is a great story and well written, but it gets broader and deeper in terms of characters, locations, plot-lines, and world history. Even ignoring the limitations of a TV show like budget and lack of being "inside the POV character's head"...the sheer size of the story by book 5 dictates that the show will need to diverge, condense, consolidate, and trim. I think they have done a wonderful job so far in their adaptation. The first season was almost scene by scene like the book, but man season 2 is I'd say a good 50% different than the book, not in the broad strokes of the story or the main plot points, but in the scenes themselves and which characters are where with whom.

Richard3

Q1: Best scene has to be Tywin and Arya when he asks what killed her father. Loyalty. Awesome character moment. Q2: I think the totality of the King's Landing scene was more dramatic, but Winterfell's fall is more shocking. Q3: Hands down Daenerys not keeping better care of her dragons. I mean not being able to stomach hacking a girl's head off doesn't seem unreasonable to me, but the dragons are the only reason anyone cares who Danny is. Without them she's just another would-be-ruler. Q4: Who SHOULD she kill? Tywin, Joffery, the Queen...anyone that's on her list who is in a powerful position. Who WILL she kill? Well since this part has diverged so much from the books who knows what will happen, but I'd imagine she will end up having the decision made for her (sort of like the second kill) or she'll make an emotional pick again (like the first kill). Q5: Plead the 5th due to having read the books (and I don't think they'll stray that far on the show).

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1. The hound saving Sansa, I found myself hoping like hell they were keeping that bit the same as the books and found myself yelling for the Hound to save her. He really is a softie deep deep down.
2. The Uprising - Very well done but the scene of Rodrik's final words was up there. Theon really has lost his way, it's all down here for him.
3. Um if I had dragons, I wouldn't be letting them out of my sight in a city where I know no one and trust only a handful of people... Silly, silly girl. But I do agree with the Reviewer that the guy from the House of Undying has them and I don't think he will have them for very long. Props to the writer's for what their doing to her storyline, it is very long and drawn out in the books, they are speeding everything up, love it!
4. Baelish is a good answer and her Mother would probably be so proud after their last encounter but still I found something wishing for the Mountain, he is evil and we havn't seen the last of that.
5. Oh, heaven forbid that but yes he will be but not for long, bring on Season 3.

Matt richenthal

Yes, we're aware of the book and TV show differences, but we write these Round Tables solely focused on the latter. We treat GoT like any other television show and react to what we see on screen.

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The show didn't go into detail, but in the books they send Myrcella to Braavos, which is acroos the narrow sea and to the North, before eventually sending her to Dorne. They do this to switch ships and avoid Stannis' fleet. I didn't have a problem with most of the changes. Anything to try and liven up Daenerys' boring chapters from ACOK is okay by me. My guess is Pyatt Pree and the warlocks stole her dragons and brought them to the House of the Undying.

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This episode has had gaping holes, to little stupid ones in every single scene. Heres a recap: Princess Marcella is being sent of to Dorne for protection. Dorne is below Kings landing near the bottom of the seven kingdoms. Stannis in the last episode had his navy sailing from below Kings Landing and named his pirate/smuggler Davos Seaworth as capitan of his navy with his buddy Salandor Saan the pirate.Who had happily boasted of sinking every ship he could find and plundering to his hearts conetent. Small proability that this ship carryig her, would have manoveured around this massive navy sailing from the same direction. Rodrick Cassel a seasoned veteran knight, was granted 200 of Winterfell soliders from Brandon Stark to retake Torhen Square. His entire army was routed and sir Rodrick captured by a handful of Iron Islanders. A longships worth, this tiny raiding party, most of which had grappled Winterfells walls. We watched as Arya used her knowledge to read and tell of various armies banners and the different houses. This bright child is so dumb that after reading a war plan of attack from Lord Tywin against her own brother Rob Stark. She choosese to have killed a dumb knight who cannot going to telll Lord Tywin. Littlefinger has travelled across many battlegfeilds, to do a job which a raven couldn't, mainly to identify Arya. Daenerys her Dothraki horde was butchered and her dragons stolen. She was under the protection of Xaro, the richest man in Qarth. Sadly all his wealth couldn't afford a few soldiers to guard it. The what is her face doctor who Rob Stark is fond of. She returned home the previous episode. Her home near Castely rock not near Riverun where she is currently many miles away. This hospital service of hers really travels the mile and so do the Lannister wounded. Although more tittes for a perfect 10 rating

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I'm not sure if any of you are aware or have heard, but this episode was, by far, the furthest from it's novel adaptation of any episode so far in Thrones. Virtually nothing that happened in it also happened in the books, and those scenes that did, played out quite differently for the most part. As for your opinions... I actually did not like the riot in King's Landing. This may be because I'm comparing it to the books but the scale of it all seemed rather pathetic to me. For that matter, Thrones struggles with most scenes calling for large crowds, I get it, It's a budget thing. I tolerate the scenes but I don't love them. As for Theon's capturing of Winterfell. I thought it was done really well, though, I'm not so sure an 11-year-old would handle it quite so well in that initial scene. In fact, that scene plays out VERY differently in the books. Bran acts like a little child not wanting to admit he lost and Theon almost treats him like a little brother, he's very boyish and giddy to be back in Winterfell. It isn't quite so grim and serious. And cut Theon a little slack on his beheading skills, not everyone gets a super huge two handed sword to do their head choppings.