While I was disappointed that we didn't get any of the visions from the House of the Undying, if you think about it, that didn't lend anything to Danny's story in the book. It was more just a metaphysical dump for the reader and I'm not sure how well that would translate. What they put in its place was pretty cool, with the Khal coming back. Gave her arc up to this point some emotional punch. Still it is interesting that they didn't include the 3 betrayals. Maybe the show doesn't want to be tied to prophecies they may end up deviating on...?
While I agree the extra-long episode jumped around a bit, I didn't find that a problem. It's the season finale and checking in with everyone was important. Although I was surprised they didn't leave Tyrion's fate cliffhangered (or is it cliffhung?). The description of how far he's fallen seemed like a good place to start season 3. Now they'll just probably reiterate it all in the next episode. I too am interested in how they're going to resolve the Tyrion/Shae relationship. If it ends up like the book that is going to be brutal. I suspect the show will develop the fallout a little more if they're still going down that route.
After reading a ton of comments from various sites, I wonder if GoT the show is going to suffer by being tied to the book structure. Already people are saying "the white walkers have been too absent", "Danny should just get to Westeros already", etc... It's only been 2 seasons! Book readers have had to endure over a decade and some of the things people are already harping about (slowness) STILL hasn't been resolved (not saying which things). If you consider that book 3 will be seasons 3 & 4, and a re-combined books 4/5 will be at LEAST seasons 5 & 6. That's 4 years minimum from now to get to where the books are currently. Are people going to stick with the show when people are already complaining things are too slow?
Seeing as how quickly HBO renewed the show for season 3 (not a week after season 2 premier) maybe they'll go super-early and renew for season 4 this week!
@Matt: I think part of the difficulty of translating Jon and Danny's stories to the show are that much of what is interesting about them is internal to the characters. It's about Jon struggling with where he belongs in the world and about Danny learning what it means to be a ruler. With the casts fairly limited around those two it isn't as externally intriguing as compared to Kings Landing where the full on "game of thrones" is going on.
Overall I was a little...deflated...after this episode. Here are my nit-picks 1. I wanted to see the Bastard of Bolton to get some face-time at Winterfell. Maybe next season (although since book 3 is spanning 2 seasons I could see him not being introduced until beginning of season 4). 2. I wonder at how they depicted Jon Snow killing Halfhand. It looked more like he actually got pissed at the insults and really went after him, instead of acting out the plan to infiltrate the wildlings. Maybe they are keeping it ambiguous...has Jon snow really turned his cloak sort of thing. 3. King of Qarth?: Generally I like what they've done with Qarth, but not sure I liked the reveal of Xaros being poor. I guess it gives him ultimate motive to enact the plan he did through the season.
I thought this episode did the same as the season 1 final ep...setup the next season. It's going to be interesting to see how the audience handles this sort of thing season after season with nary a wrap up in sight. Also I agree with the "isn't Stannis captured" sentiment. I've read the books so I knew he wasn't captured, but I don't think the show did a good job at showing that. Too difficult to tell who was and wasn't on his side.
@Guenon: Yeah it's not the most advanced comment system out there (no offense to the site). There is some odd thing where it will notify you that you have too many characters but when you shorten it up it will sometimes post some but not all of what remains, and not tell you that it's still too much. Also being able to "reply" to specific posts / edit your own posts would be stellar. ;)
1. The reactions to the wildfire explosion. Bron especially since he was pretty cynical about its use. 2. The Hound from the books? Heck no. The Hound from the show? I would say yes. 3. 17th 4. Joffery. I was surprised he didn't flee on his own, but only when his mom gave him an out. 5. The Bastard of Bolton
@Carissa: I think of it from two perspectives... 1. Do they really want Peter to sit for extensive makeup / CGI effects every time he's on screen. 2. It's pretty gross in the books and this is a sexy HBO show you know... I do wonder if they'll do something where his wound starts out worse and eventually heals...just to give some due diligence to the impact the injury has on him.
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