Spoiler Alert, for those who only wish to watch Game of Thrones as a TV show:
This column will explore the highlights and shortcomings of the Game of Thrones Season 2 finale as it compares to the books on which the series is based. Are they two separate entities? You better believe it!
After last weeks incredible portrayal of "Blackwater" I had a sinking feeling that the season finale would be left lacking. I was right. Before I break down how well the content held up, I'll tell you why I think this week fell flat: Too many jumps.
We could have easily done without Robb's wedding. It's already fabricated material, and saving it for next season would not have made the slightest difference to the episode. Nor would leaving out the scenes between Stannis and Melisandre or Varys and Ros.
Where did they really fit in to the overall narrative of the evening? Nowhere. These were time wasters that should have been sacrificed in lieu of more valuable, weighty stories. Ros was a necessity, I suspect, for boobs. Letting an episode go by without a boob might confuse people.
A great - if new to readers - scene was Shae telling Tyrion they were meant for each other. The way this typically sarcastic little man collapsed into her arms was extremely touching. The question is just how much of what we're seeing is acting on her part? If she's not pretending to love him, then what will come about to change that as the story progresses? Another possibility is their love will remain true and an obstacle of a different sort will provide their conflict, betrayal and rip them apart.
While Dany's walk through the House of the Undying was nothing like I would have expected, offering no foreshadowing or mystical messages for her to decipher, she did see her husband again.
A fan favorite was brought back for his swan song, and perhaps she didn't need all of the mumbo jumbo and double talk, only her old life to be in front of her eyes and her new life to be singing in her ears to push her into the future with a new sense of fortitude. This version of the Undying didn't just have her beloved Drogon saving her life, but all three of her children in a lovely spectacle of flame.
Wasted life of the season? Keeping Doreah alive just to have her betray Dany. She might as well have succumbed in the Red Waste, still a loyal friend, than even make it to Qarth. It reminded me of the Gemma storyline on Ringer. Bring her back, then, hey... kill her! In this case, let's just let Daenerys know that she was betrayed by her very best friend. Why?
Personally, I loved the scenes between Brienne and Jaime. As far as I've read, I keep hoping for a full on romance between the two, and they are quickly making that a viable option on screen. It's as if Jaime has met his true twin. Shhh...don't tell Cersei. The look on his face when she slaughtered three men as if it were nothing was perfection. Bring on Game of Thrones Season 3 and more of them please!
There has been some controversy that I've read where people find it confusing what happened between John and the Halfhand. I thought they set up the play very well. It took time, but Qhorin made it very clear what he expected Jon to do and why. If it didn't play off on screen as well as expected, then viewers were just unable to follow the nuances.
As for Theon? Great speech, better ending.
What happened at Winterfell before Bran came home? How do you feel about Joffrey's accepting Margery to join their families in marriage? Sound off on these topics below and weigh in on whether, with this Margery, Sansa will end up as well off as she does in in print. I seriously have my doubts.
I look forward to hearing your musings on the finale and your ideas on the season overall now. Also, remember to check out Matt Richenthal's newbie-based Game of Thrones finale review as a rundown of events by someone unfamiliar with the source material.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.