Warmup: DONAL NOYE
A former smith and soldier for the Baratheons (he made Robert’s warhammer!) Donal Noye is a smith, armorer and steward for the Night’s Watch. He lost an arm in the siege of Storm’s End, you know, when Davos Seaworth lost his fingers. We first meet him in A Game of Thrones when he dishes out some real talk to Jon Snow about fighting fairly and making friends with the other recruits. And although initially he saved Jon from the bullies, later on he also demonstrated that he is not a kind man but in fact a pretentions bully that enjoys humiliating new recruits in the training yard.
However, when the Wildlings attack the Wall in A Storm of Swords, it’s Donal Noye who steps it up to take command. Short on men, he uses his brains to defeat the wildling Thenns by drenching the stairs in oil and firing off burning arrows. But my favorite part must’ve been when Mag the Mighty came knocking on the tunnel door. What Noye did that day was badass. You see it was Donal Noye who left Jon in charge of the Wall (and not Thorne) and headed down for a kamikaze mission to take care of the giant and hold the tunnel (and not Grenn acting on Jon’s order).
So let’s pause for a moment. Donal Noye, a one armed blacksmith slew a GIANT. The KING of the giants in fact. With ONE ARM. I don’t about you but this was one of those epic moments we the “book snob purists” miss. Sure Grenn was great and he became the hero in the process despite the fact he still lives in the books, but let’s face it, a one-armed Grenn would’ve been even greater.
Or, could it be that I miss Grenn this much….
Whatever the case might be, this was, nevertheless, one of my favorite episodes of Game of Thrones to date.
7. THE TALKING WALL OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE BLACK GATE
“Who are you? – I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. – Then pass.”
The Black Gate is a hidden gate below the Nightfort (castle where Bran in the shape of Summer saved Jon’s life during the third season) that allows passage to the other side of the Wall and is as old as the Wall itself. It is made of white Weirwood with a face on it. The face is old, pale, shrunken, and wrinkled with white eyes. The door glows. When someone approaches the Black Gate, the eyes open.
Yes, the Wall is alive. How cool is that? Unfortunately for you, you were never given the chance to see this information come to life. Anyways, only a brother of the Night’s Watch can open the Gate and only a human can pass through it. They are white and blind, and they ask, “Who are you?” A man of the Night’s Watch must repeat a part of his vow for the door to open. “I am the watcher of the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers. I am the shield that guards the realm of men.” The door’s lips open wider and wider still until nothing remains but a great gaping mouth in a ring of wrinkles. This is how Bran found himself on the other side. A minor detail you were all deprived off.
6. THE SAND SNAKES
“It would gladden my heart if I could assure you that the Sand Snakes were alone in wanting war, but I will not tell you lies, ser.”
The Dorne subplot, something many fans have been eagerly waiting for years, now looks and feels like it belongs to another show completely. Not to mention that it, yet again completely destroys previously established narrative within the show itself. I don’t understand how are they capable of doing this over and over again. Have they read these books? I guess so, but then, did they understand them at all? I guess not. Having introduced Dorne in the last season via one spectacularly delivered character we all loved, this year’s failure seems like something is off. How can it be that all of Oberyn’s daughters, man we all admired and loved, are now turned into caricatures and villains we have no other choice but to ridicule and despise. Obara Sand more than the others whose names I already forgot regardless of the fact I have read the books and I know all there is to know about them, names included. This huge, illogical failure shall remain the biggest mystery to me…that is, until something changes, and fast.
The show adaptation also failed the book’s most feminist storyline as explained in a wonderful article you can read here. Bravo Neil Miller, I have to admit, I agree with you on every single point. And yes, I am too, also, very disappointed. If only Areo Hotah would lock them all up and throw away the key, if not forever then at least until the end of this season.
5. JON CONNINGTON AND AEGON TARGARYEN
“Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon”
First of all, the lack of Jon Connington and Aegon Targaryen could be considered as a potential book spoiler. Perhaps it is also a precedent since, from the looks of it, it is the show that is going ahead of the books, the source material it follows, spoiling them in the process. This of course is not entirely a D&D problem but GRRM’s. He should’ve known that five years is not enough to write a complex book such as this one.
Anyways, why do I consider this particular situation to be a spoiler you wonder? After all the lack of Donal Noye made little to no change for the overall process. But, this is something else completely. In the books we found out that Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar Targaryen, Daenerys’ older brother and one of the potential fathers to our favorite bastard from the North, and Elia Martell, woman Oberyn died for in the King’s Landing, is alive and protected by Jon Connington, Rhaegar’s best friend. So no, he was not killed on Tywin’s orders at the hands on Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane and yes, as Rhaegar’s son and heir, Aegon has a much better claim to the throne (if such thing even exists) than his aunt Daenerys. You see, this changes the order of things slightly….
In the book they cross path with Tyrion Lannister who, in his Sherlock Holmes manner, recognizes them soon after (like he did with Jorah). The Stone men attack them and Jon dives in after Tyrion getting infected with the Greyscale in the process (so it was Jon and not Jorah). Tyrion persuades them to head directly to Westeros instead of Daenerys, as they originally planned. By now, Aegon has gathered an army and has started paving his path towards the Iron Throne. He is supported by Varys, who has been playing a long con, thus making Littlefinger’s games seem like a child play. At the end of the last book Varys turns into a cold blooded, highly calculating killer by executing the most of the King’s Small Council. It was a chilling chapter.
So you see, instead of having Varys “change his mind” about Daenerys, girl he wanted dead in the first season, which is why he, together with his best friend Illyrio Mopatis, sold her to the Dothraki horde, and why he informed the King that hated the Targs of the girl’s whereabouts we’ve got Varys who now contradicts himself. First of all, he believed the girl will die in the process of assimilation with the savages and second, he knew the King Robert would try to execute her. His plan almost succeeded but, as fate would have it, the petrified dragon eggs decided to come to life.
Many believe that Aegon is in fact a Blackfyre, myself included, and that Varys and Mopatis are trying to restore Blackfyres back to the Throne. But introducing another historically important story into the already confusing mix would be extremely difficult. And although I agree, I also think that the Blackfyre story is one of the most intriguing ones. All you need to know about them is that they are a branch of the House Targaryen, founded by Daemon Blackfyre, a legitimized Great Bastard of King Aegon IV Targaryen. Daemon named his House after the great sword Blacfyre, a valyrian steel sword his father gave him as a gift. Daemon was granted a tract of land along the Blackwater Rush and the right to build a keep there by his half-brother Daeron II Targaryen. In 196 AC Daemon and his friends and allies revolted against his half-brother, using the old rumor that Daeron was the son of Aemon the Dragonknight instead of King Aegon IV Targaryen and that the gift of the ancestral weapon Blackfyre proved that Aegon wanted Daemon to succeed him. However, Daemon and his two eldest sons, Aemon and Aegon Blackfyre, were slain by his Great Bastard half-brother Brynden Rivers, known as Bloodraven, or, you know, Mister Miyaghi, sansei Bran is hanging out with in the cave of doom.
Daemon’s remaining sons fled to the Free Cities of Essos with his principal supporter, Aegor Rivers, known as Bittersteel, another Great Bastard of King Aegon IV. When Aegor saw all the exiled lords and knights signing on with other sellsword companies, and saw the support of House Blackfyre ebbing away, he created his own sellsword company, the Golden Company. The same Golden Company is now with Aegon Targaryen conquering the Westeros. None of which happens in the show.
“Your monster, Brandon Stark.”
But not a single storyline from above has been butchered so savagely as were the multiple storylines from the North, Bran’s in particular. The most interesting and above all the most mysterious plotline in the book has become an utter bore in the series packed with meaningless dead ends. And they kept rolling, one dead end after another, causing a great disturbance in the force. And it all started with Coldhands. Or should I say, the lack of him.
Who is Coldhands you wonder. Well, he is a mysterious figure from beyond the Wall. He looks like a Wight, but he is not a Wight. He is not a White Walker either, as far as we know. And he most definitely is not Benjen Stark. According to the Children of the Forest, he died a long time ago (which means at least few hundreds years ago) yet he talks, is capable of thinking process and has memories. But he does not breathe. He is dressed in the mottled blacks and greys of the Night’s Watch with a scarf concealing his face. His hands are black and as cold as ice, and he rides a great elk. A flock of ravens flies under his command. He first appeared in A Storm of Swords, when he saved Sam, Gilly and her baby from the Wight Attack (who came to fetch the baby) upon their escape from the Craster’s Keep. He takes the three under his protection and brings them to the Black Gate of the Nightfort located underneath the Wall, my number 7 of this list. Coldhands cannot pass through himself, due to the Wall’s magic, but he charges them to bring Bran Stark and his companions whom Coldhands is expecting. He then takes Bran Stark, Meera, Jojen and Hodor to the last greenseer north of the Wall. Along the way he kills men of the Night’s Watch. Bran, having slipped into Summer as a warg, discovers this and confronts him in the abandoned village. Bran calls him a monster. He responds with: “Your monster, Brandon Stark”. Unknown to Bran, the men Coldhands killed were the surviving traitors responsible for the mutiny at the Craster’s Keep who killed Joer Mormont. When his great elk collapses along their journey, Coldhands whispers a blessing in an unknown language and slits the animal’s throat; he and Meera butcher the carcass for food. Coldhands leads Bran and his companions to the cave of the three-eyed raven, but he cannot enter. He fights off Wights as they climb to the cave entrance. And his faith remains unknown.
If you have seen the show you know this is not how the story goes. Sam is the one who saves Gilly and the baby from the attack, since there was no Coldhands there to help them. Likewise, Bran and the Co. are captured by the mutinies at the Craster’s Keep because alas there was no Coldhands to kill them all. Instead Jon Snow was sent North of the Wall to deal with the mutinies with the help from Locke, who was, on the other hand, sent by Roose Bolton to deal with the remaining Stark heirs, only so he would be killed by Bran warging Hodor an episode later, which comes as no surprise because Locke never joined the Night’s Watch to begin with. Therefore, multiple plotlines resulted in multiple dead ends. Thank God we didn’t have Coldhands because that would mean less dead ends and furthermore, no Karl Tanner, the legend of Gin Alley. And we can’t have that. Few rapes and meaningless monologues per episode is where all the fun went this season and the next, culminating last week with the unnesessary rape of Sansa Stark. Anyways, upon avenging the loss of Jaime’s hand (a nice touch by the way), Bran proceeded North in search of the three-eyed crow and the Weirwood tree. Without the Coldhands. There, right in front of the cave, a great number of creatures, which are neither White Walkers, nor Wights, came digging their way out of the ground. What are these new creatures you wonder? I wonder too. What surprised me the most was not the odd agility of these creatures but the fact they were made of bones and if you have read the book you know that “the bones cannot come back as Wights” and you know that once the flesh falls of the Wight he ceases to exist as the Wight, i.e., he stops moving.
So, what is the deal here? Did they make a mistake? Or did they introduce a fourth entity, we know nothing about? Either way what happens next is even more alarming. In the nick of time, as Jojen is dying (wtf he is still alive in the books?!) and the rest are succumbing to the number of the agile bones, we have Leaf, one of the Children of the forest (muthical creatures believed to be extinct), emerging from the Cave and attacking the Pirates of The Caribbean with what happens to look like some sort of a deadly pixie dust fireball?! I wonder how this scene would play out if it were set in the Dornish Water Gardens.
Needles to say, this is what happens when you cut Coldhands out and start writing fan fiction.
3. WILL THE REAL JAIME LANNISTER PLEASE STAND UP
“The things I do for love.”
For three years Benioff and Weiss have been building the character of the most hated man in Westeros – Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer, father of Lannister bastards that sit the throne and an attempted murderer of a child, among many other things. However, I have always been his fan. And although many will not understand this love, specifically those that have only watched the show, it is what it is, and I will try to elaborate on it more in the upcoming lines. First of all, I liked him because he truly was a human. He was never a cardboard, or an obedient servant for the higher cause. Instead, he was loyal to his family, which is what ultimately destroyed him. I cannot fault him for being born into Lannisters. But with this name and his birthright Jaime was doomed right from the start. So, let’s take a closer look at this character and his story arch from both the book and the show.
Jaime Lannister is the second child and firstborn son of Lord Tywin Lannister of Casterly Rock and his wife Lady Joanna, also of the House Lannister. And my favorite character. At the age of fifteen he joined the Kingsguard of the Mad King Aerys II Targaeryn thus becoming the youngest member in the history of this prestigious knightly order. He earned derogatory nickname “Kingslayer” when he treasonously slew the Mad King from the back near the end of Robert’s Rebellion. For most of his life, he has had a secret and incestuous relationship with his twin sister, queen Cersei, now Queen Mother. He had three children with her: king Joffrey. Myrcella and Tommen, though most of the realm believes their father is Cersei’s husband, late King Robert.
Prior to Kingsguard
At the age of eleven, Jaime was sent to Crakehall to squire for Lord Summer Crakehall alongside Merret Frey. Two years later, while still a squire, he won his first tourney melee. At the age of fifteen he participated in the campaign against the Kingswood Brotherhood, during which he saved the life of Lord Crakehall. He was knighted on the battlefield by Ser Arthur Dayne, the best knight that ever lived. On his return to Casterly Rock he stopped at King’s Landing to see his sister Cersei, from whom he had been separated for years. It was there that Cersei told him of their father’s plans to marry Jaime to Lysa Tully, second daughter of Lord Hoster Tully of Riverrun. Cersei suggested he becomes the member of Kingsguard instead, replacing the late Ser Harlan Grandison, so he would be close to her and so he would save himself from the unwanted marriage. Jaime was raised to Kingsguard by Lord Commander Ser Gerold Hightower in a ceremony during the Tourney at Harrenhal, making him the youngest knight ever to be raised to the order. That night, however, the Mad King soured the honor by sending him back to King’s Landing to guard Queen Rhaella and Prince Viserys (Daenerys’ older brother who was later killed by Khal Drogo), depriving him of the chance to participate in the tourney. Jaime realized then that the King had only chosen him for the Kingsguard as a slight against Lord Tywin, of whom Aerys was insanely jealous, to rob him of his heir. * a sigh * Furthermore, the plan failed to bring Jaime and Cersei closer together, as they had intended. Lord Tywin, furious at the turn of events, used a pretext to resign as Hand and returned with Cersei to Casterly Rock. Jaime remained at court, guarding the King.
During Jaime’s service at the Kingsguard, King Aerys’s growing insanity became more apparent, and Jaime found himself conflicted and troubled by many King’s actions. One night, he and Ser Jon Darry stood guard in front of Queen Rhaella’s bedchamber while her husband King Aerys raped her (yes it is possible that a husband rapes his wife). Jaime made a comment as to how they are sworn to protect the Queen as well to what Darry replied “We are, but not from him”. He had a similar reaction to the execution of Brandon Stark and his father Lord Rickard Stark, but was reminded by Ser Gerold Hightower that he swore to protect the king, not judge him. Over the years he learned how to cope with Aerys’s cruelty by “going away inside”, an advice he would later pass on to Brienne, when Brave Companions consider raping her before taking them back to Harrenhal.
Aerys refused to let Jaime join the royal army; instead he decided to keep him in King’s Landing so he could use him as a potential hostage against Lord Tywin, who had yet to choose a side in the conflict. Eventually Jaime was the only White Cloak in the capital. After the Battle of the Bells, Aerys come to realize that the rebellion might be successful and that King’s Landing might be lost. He devised a plan with the help of his chief pyromancer to burn the entire city to the ground, with the aid of wildfire, rather than lose it to Robert. After his eldest son Prince Rhaegar died at the Battle of Trident, Aerys had his pregnant wife (with Daenerys Strombron) and son Viserys sent to Dragonstone.
After the Trident, Lord Tywin called his banners from Casterly Rock. His armies marched to the gates of King’s Landing, pleading for entry. Though Varys called Lord Tywin a traitor, King Aerys listened to Grand Maester Pycell instead, who told him that Lord Tywin had come to his defense. Once inside, Tywin betrayed Aerys and began the Sack of King’s Landing. As the only knight remaining in the entire city Jaime knew he didn’t stand a chance in defending the Red Keep. He sent the messenger to the King, asking him to make terms with the attackers. Messanger came back with the orders from Aerys that he should bring him Tywin Lannister’s head as a proof of his loyalty. Knowing that Rossart, the new Hand and chief pyromancer, is with the King, Jaime was lead to believe that Aerys was about to command the destruction of the city. Instead of going after his father he went to the Throne room. On his way there, he came across Rossart and killed him with his own sword. He found the King alone in the Throne room. Then he killed the King as well. Lord Tywin’s men, Lord Westerling and Lord Crakehall, came into the Throne room immediately after. Jaime told them to proclaim to those still fighting that the King was dead and to spare anyone who yielded. Lord Crakehall then asked whether a new king should be proclaimed as well, indicating that it could be Lord Tywin, Robert Baratheon or even a new Targaryen. Jaime told Crakehall to proclaim whichever king he wished, for they were all the same to him.
He then seated himself on the Iron Throne, waiting to see who would come to claim it. He was found sitting there when Lord Eddard Stark rode into the hall with his men to claim the throne for Robert Baratheon. In the following days, Jaime secretly hunted down and killed the two other pyromancers involved in Aerys’ plan. Although Eddard Stark urged Robert to strip him of the white cloak, arguing that Jaime should at the very least be made to join the Night’s Watch, Robert listened to Jon Arryn instead and Jaime was pardoned by King Robert I and, along with Ser Barristan Selmy, continued to serve in the Kingsguard. Robert gave him the name Kingslayer. Though judged by the entire realm for his betrayal, Jaime considers the slaying of Aerys to be his finest act. And I completely agree. His true motivation for killing King Aerys remains unknown to the masses. The only person who knows the truth is Brienne of Tarth. And now the audience.
War of Five Kings
After Jon Arryn’s death, King Robert travels North to ask Lord Eddard Stark to be his new Hand. Jaime Lannister accompanies him together with his two other siblings, Queen Cersei, his lover and their younger brother Tyrion Lannister, the Imp. While at Winterfell Jaime and Cersei are caught having sex by Bran Stark. The boy almost falls from the tower but Jaime pulls him up only to throw him out through the window moments later. Boy survives but falls into coma. Eight days later an assassin tries to finish the job before he was killed by Bran’s direwof, Summer. So why did he do it? Many fail to see that although this is a horrific thing he did, he did it to protect Cersei, her children and along the lines himself. I say her children because Jaime never really cared for them in a way only a father can since, well, he was their father only by blood and nothing else. However, the family name is something Jaime cares about and something he fully understands. I don’t want to sound like a child-killer apologists but in the cases like these we have to be able to view the act of violence from all sides. And Jaime was never given his side, except if you are to read between the lines, which many fans fail in miserably. If Jaime left Bran alone, Bran, being a child incapable of understanding the gravity of the situation fully, would tell someone and this would bring forth the following scenario: Cersei would die a traitor, the heads of her children would be decorations on the spikes above King’s Landing, Jaime would either be executed or sent to the Night’s Watch and Tywin would go mad. He would then raise his army and rebel against the King Robert and the War would start…a war that would leave many dead bodies behind. If you think about it, this is exactly what happened in the end, and at the hands of Ned Stark who learned the truth. By pushing Bran (my second favorite character) out of the window, Jaime Lannister was trying to avoid this. Granted, his methods are flawed but in the situation like this a man has only two options: to do something or don’t. He chose the former. Guilty of only two things – sleeping with his sister and pushing the boy out of window – Jaime Lannister is one of the most tragic characters of this saga when you look at the bigger picture and in the given context. Keep in mind that the two things Jaime is guilty of are the two things many of the characters are guilty of. Daenerys is a product of incest, her mother and father were both her aunt and uncle while Ned Stark is a second hand product of incest too since incest was and is an integral part of Westerosi nation, brought to them by Targaryens who wanted to keep their bloodline pure. As for the attempted murder of a child and protecting one’s family, well Ned Stark, labeled as one of the most honorable people of Westeros, would do the same for his family…in fact he already did. He protected Jon’s secret for years. He lied to his king. He lied to his wife. He lied to the world. And if someone learned his secret and posed a threat to the child he swore to protect well…I don’t know what Ned would do. Maybe he would not kill the child, I’ll give him that, but he would definitely kidnap the child, make him his hostage until the indoctrination is complete and the child, deprived of his identity, becomes one of them. Which one is worse I do not know. But this is the Game of Thrones and everyone is fighting for his or her own family and family name, the only thing that goes on. And for survival. Speaking of which, the most loved characters, Arya Stark and Tyrion Lannister, are not innocent either, in fact, they could be even more guilt than Jaime Lannister. Arya, among others, killed the stable boy in cold blood. I don’t blame her. She had to do it in order to survive. But then how is this killing justifiable and Jaime’s is not? Because Jaime is a grown up and Arya is not? Or? I don’t know about you but I call that hypocrisy. As for Tyrion, he did threaten to take Tommen captive and do to him everything Cersie does to the whore she captured, believing her to be Shae. And book Tyrion is, contrary to the popular belief, very capable of doing that. I understand, the show glorifies him and it is only understandable that people see him as a hero. But he is far from it. Same as, pretty much, everyone else. Bronn, another fan favorite, kills everything that moves, regardless of age or gender, but for a price. Jorah sold people for living. And Khal Drogo was a cold blooded killer and a rapist. Daenerys on the other hand, tortured innocent girls for the information (she truly is the epitome of American ideology), giving the green light to her men for raping them, and in front of their father. Were they raped or not we do not know but the mere fact she complied says a lot about her. And of course, the show has omitted this little detail completely. So you see, no one is innocent in the Game of Thrones, fan favorites least of all, except perhaps Jon Snow, who is the only pure hero of this saga.
Anyways, Ned Stark accepts King Robert’s invitation to be Hand, and begins investigating the death of Jon Arryn. In this investigation he discovers Jaime and Cersei’s secret relationship by piecing together the fact that every time in history a Lannister wedded a Baratheon, they produced raven-haired children. Instead Cersei’s children Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen are all fair-haired. Meanwhile, Catelyn captures Tyrion Lannister on suspicion of his involvement in the attempted assassination of her son. In retaliation for Tyrion’s capture, but ostensibly to create an uprising, Jaime breaks Kingsguard neutrality by leading Lannister men in an attack on Eddard Stark and his Northmen in the streets of King’s Landing, leading to numerous deaths on both sides. He then flees from King’s Landing and joins his father. Lord Lannister appoints Jaime to command half the host of the Westerlands. Jaime’s army marches against Robb Stark. However, in the Battle of Whispering Wood Ser Jaime Lannister is captured by Stark’s men.
While being held captive he was named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard after Ser Barristan Selmy, who was dismissed from his service by Cersei Lannister, who around the same time took their cousin, Lancel Lannsiter for a lover, among others. Distraught at the news of the alleged deaths of her sons Bran and Rickon at Winterfell by Theon Grayjoy, Cately Stark interrogates Jaime. After the second talk, Catelyn, acting on her own, releases Jaime in an attempt to make an unofficial exchange for her daughters. Along with Brienne of Tarth, Catelyn’s sworn sword, Jaime begins his journey south towards King’s Landing. After being held captive for over a year, his physical appearance changed a bit – he lost a lot of weight, his beard grew longer and later on (in the book) he shaved his golden hair. But his spirit was not broken and he continued to look for the ways to escape. On one occasion he tricked Brienne and stole one of her swords in attempt to duel with her for his freedom, or death. However, both of them are taken prisoners by Vargo Hoat/Locke and Brave Companions who betrayed Lord Tywin Lannister, shifting allegiance to King Robb Stark. Vargo Hoat suspects that his superior, Lord Roose Bolton, is thinking about going over to the Lannisters after their victory over Stannis Baratheon in the Battle of Blackwater, and their alliance to House Tyrell. To prevent this he chops Jaime’s sword hand off, thinking that the blame will fall on Bolton. In the show Jaime lost his hand in order to protect Brienne of Tarth from rape. Remember this.
For Jaime, the loss of his sword hand and with it his fighting ability destroys everything that he was. He becomes nothing, which causes him to fall into a deep depression, losing the will to live. Brienne is the one who keeps him going, reminding him that he has something to live for, namely, for his family and for revenge. While they are held at Harrenhal they share a bath in the bathhouse. Jaime divulges to Brienne the events surrounding the Sack of King’s Landing, including Aerys’s wildfire plot. Later, at dinner, Lord Bolton tells Jaime that he will free him as long as Jaime absolves Bolton of the blame for the loss of his hand. Jaime agrees, and Lord Bolton orders Steelshanks Walton to escort him to King’s Landing. Brienne is to remain behind as Lord Vargo’s prize. He makes an oath to Brienne that he will keep the promise they made together to Catelyn Stark and leaves.
Lord Bolton leaves Harrenhal to the Goat, but before marching for the Twins he tells Jaime to give his warm regards to his father. Jaime responds, “So long as you give mine to Robb Stark.” Bolton leaves to join King Robb for Edmure Tully’s wedding and Walton begins the journey to King’s Landing with Jaime and the disgraced maester, Qyburn. The latter’s task is to keep Jaime healthy. When sleeping on a weirwood stump, Jaime has a dream about Brienne. They are trapped in the dank cavers beneath the Castlery Rock. He is then haunted by the shades of the other knights of the Kingsguard, most notably Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Gerold Hightower, as well as Prince Rhaegar, who came to judge him for killing Aerys, regardless of the fact he wanted the exact same thing and was plotting against his father. Targaryens, bunch of hypocrites. In his dream Jaime also sees Cersei who tells him that he will fade together with the fire of his sword before leaving him in the darkness. He shouts her name, but she is already gone. After the fire of his sword goes out, Brienne’s continues to burn, defending him from the shades, making her the only person left by his side. Moved by this he commands Walton to return to Harrenhal saying that he “forgot something”. Back at Harrenhal Jaime finds that Brienne has been tossed into the bear pit with only a wooden sword to defend herself with. Vargo Hoat, with a bandage around his face from where Brienne bit off his ear when he tried to rape her, refuses to pull her up. Instead he tells him: “If you want her, go and get her”. And Jaime did just that. He jumped into the pit barehanded to save Brienne, he stood in front of her holding off the bear long enough for Walton’s men to fill it with quarrels and pull them out from the pit. When Brienne asks him why he came back for her, Jaime responds that he had dreamed of her. * swoon *
And this is where everything went down the hill for this masterfully written character. In the book Jaime was on his way to the King’s Landing when Joffrey died. He was not there and therefore, he could’ve done nothing to prevent it from happening. In the show he was at the wedding and he didn’t see it coming and even worse, he could not have done anything to prevent it from happening.
Cersei of course blamed him. I would too. He looked weak and incompetent. What kind of a Kingsguard fails to prevent the king being poisoned by his own wedding pie in front of the whole world to see. In the book Jaime arrives to King’s Landing a day after it all took place and he meets Cersei for the first time in the Sept of Baelor while she is mourning their son. It is here that Cersei literally jumps him despite the dead body of her bellowed son. And it was Jaime Lannister who fought against it. Granted, he was indecisive but still, it was him who said no and not the other way around. Relieved that her lover/brother came back home after more than a year of absence, Cersei, still grieving, started kissing Jaime…And it happened like this:
She kissed him. A light kiss, the merest brush of her lips on his, but he could feel her tremble as he slid his arms around her. “I am not whole without you.”
There was no tenderness in the kiss he returned to her, only hunger. Her mouth opened for his tongue. “No,” she said weakly when his lips moved down her neck, “not here. The septons…”
“The Others can take the septons.” He kissed her again, kissed her silent, kissed her until she moaned. Then he knocked the candles aside and lifted her up onto the Mother’s altar, pushing up her skirts and the silken shift beneath. She pounded on his chest with feeble fists, murmuring about the risk, the danger, about their father, about the septons, about the wrath of gods. He never heard her. He undid his breeches and climbed up and pushed her bare white legs apart. One hand slid up her thigh and underneath her smallclothes. When he tore them away, he saw that her moon’s blood was on her, but it made no difference.
“Hurry,” she was whispering now, “quickly, quickly, now, do it now, do me now. Jaime Jaime Jaime.” Her hands helped guide him. “Yes,” Cersei said as he thrust, “my brother, sweet brother, yes, like that, yes, I have you, you’re home now, you’re home now, you’re home.” She kissed his ear and stroked his short bristly hair. Jaime lost himself in her flesh. He could feel Cersei’s heart beating in time with his own, and the wetness of blood and seed where they were joined.
So, as one can see from the above passage, there are a myriad of different circumstances going on both verbally and in context. In the books, Jaime’s arrival to the sept was also his arrival to King’s Landing from his epic journey with Brienne. It was the first time seeing each other.
In the series, Jaime has been back for weeks, and their relationship has been fraught with tension. And in the show he kind of raped her. We can now argue about it but there is no point. She refused him. She said no multiple times and he refused to hear it. Eventually she gave in…but he did force her to that point. So tell me, why would he loose his hand while saving Brienne of Tarth from rape, a woman he hardly knows, only so he would be destroyed as a character by doing the similar thing to the only woman he ever loved and in front of the corpse of their late son he failed to protect. It makes little to no sense, narrative wise. Furthermore, in the book this was the LAST time he slept with Cersei. In the show he slept with her in the Kingsguard chambers while throwing the White book on the floor, a thing Jaime would never do. The show, however, got one thing right, she did come to him, she did make a move onto him, but unlike the show, the book Jaime said no. And this is how the scene went down.
“‘Don’t you think I want it as much as you do? It makes no matter who they wed me to, I want you at my side, I want you in my bed, I want you inside me. Nothing has changed between us. Let me prove it to you.” She pushed up his tunic and began to fumble with the laces of his breeches.
Jaime felt himself responding. “No,” he said, “not here.” They had never done it in White Sword Tower, much less in the Lord Commander’s chambers. “Cersei, this is not the place.”
“You took me in the sept. This is no different.” She drew out his cock and bent her head over it.
Jaime pushed her away with the stump of his right hand. “No. Not here, I said.” He forced himself to stand.” (ASOS)
Why insist on tarnishing the character of Jaime Lannister is beyond me.
As if this was not enough, they now made him go on Cersei quest in Dorne, something book Jaime Lannister would never agree to do. Why? Because it is stupid and Jaime is everything but. The stupidity of this plan was seen in the last episode during the most ridiculous fighting scene, which took place in the Water Gardens. Where are they going with this is a mystery. In the book Jaime Lannister is fighting Blackfish Tully, the guy who in the show went to take a leak during the Red Wedding and went missing. Should I point out this is not how it went down in the book? Yeah, I didn’t think so. And in the book, Cersei, who in the meantime found herself in a bit of a pickle, sends for Jaime who instead burns her letter and goes of with Brienne to save Sansa Stark and not Myrcella Baratheon.
And then there is the question of Tysha, or the lack of her, which made Jaime utter Tyrion’s words, you know, how the next time he sees his brother he will kill him. If you don’t remember, Tysha is…oh just forget it. Nevermind.
Building a character one way only so you would completely destroy his development is why this is my number three on the list and what brings me to number two….
2. JEYNE POOLE
Jeyne Poole is the best friend of Sansa Stark and a daughter of Vayon Poole, steward of Winterfell. She survived the massacre of Eddard’s household following his arrest for treason, while her father died making her an orphan in the process. Later on she was given over to Littlefinger, who said he will find a place for her.
When Jaime says farewell to Steelshanks Walton there is a northern girl present who claims to be Arya Stark, although Jaime does not recognize her. They pin a wolf brooch on her and send her north to wed Roose Bolton’s legitimized bastard, Ramsey Bolton, in order to cement their claim to Winterfell. Brienne is shocked, but Jaime explains to her that the girl is not who she says she is and that with all of Arya Stark’s kin believed dead, besides her sister Sansa and half-brother Jon Snow, no one will be able to dispute the girl’s identity. He then urges her to look for Sansa instead, giving her the Oathkeeper sword as a promise he will keep the oath given to Catelyn Stark.
Jeyne is forced to marry Ramsay and pleads with Theon several times before the wedding for him to help her and take her away. When stripped by Theon for the bedding, numerous scars cover Jeyne’s back, suggesting she had been whipped. When Ramsay asks her if she knows how to please a man, she replies fearfully that she has had training.
Believing his little sister Arya Stark is a captive at Winterfell, Jon Snow launched a rescue attempt by sending Mance Rayder south to rescue “Arya Stark”. Mance, under the alias Abel, brings six spearwives with him who are disguised as maids. They enlist or force the help of Theon Greyjoy. Eventually, Jeyne and Theon manage to escape Winterfell, however, Mance and the spearwives do not. Ramsey sends a letter to Jon Snow who realizes his sister is in great danger now that Mance is Ramsey’s captive. Besides that, in the “Pink Letter”, Ramsey has also made a precedent by being the first man to threaten the Night’s Watch openly and from the south. Believing he has no other choice Jon Snow finally decides to march on Winterfell.
With the narrative choice of merging Sansa Stark, who had absolutely nothing to do with this story, with the character of Jayne Poole, numerous things were set in motion. First of all, Sansa Stark’s development, just like Jaime Lannister’s, was utterly destroyed. As a consequence, Sansa Stark had to undergo the horror Jayne Poole went through as if the horror she already endured at the hands of Joffrey Lannister and his mother, was not enough. Without going further into this discussion I already spoke extensively about in my last review “Bowed. Bent. Broken.” I will move on to the second point in which I have to notice that Sansa Stark is not Arya Stark and as such will not and cannot have the same impact on Jon Snow.
We all know that Jon and Arya had a special relationship and that Arya, besides perhaps Bran, is the only person he would leave his post at the Wall for. Sansa Stark is someone who was always closer to the Tully side, and under bigger influence of her mother Catelyn, who as we know, hated Jon. Due to this influence, Sansa, unlike her siblings, was the only one who did not consider Jon as her equal. In fact, there was little, if any, love between the two. In the show, they didn’t even say goodbye to one another although, unbeknownst to her, it was Jon who ended up being her hero, that day he chopped Slynt’s head off.
How and will Jon react to the news of Sansa’s marriage to Ramsey Bolton is unknown. Perhaps it doesn’t even matter since Jon is now going to Hardhome (instead of Winterfell) and has, therefore, made enough enemies as it is. He doesn’t need Arya or Ramsey for generating more hatred now… although cutting the “Pink Letter” out would, in my humble opinion, be a grave mistake.
1. LORD WYMAN MANDERLY
“The North remembers, Lord Davos, and the mummer’s farce is almost done.”
Lord Wyman Manderly is the head of House Manderly of New Castle, the seat of White Harbor. He is loyal to the House Stark. Wyman’s heir, Ser Wylis, is captured by the Lannisters in the Battle of the Ruby Ford while his second son, Ser Wendel, died at the Twins during the Red Wedding.
After saving the Wall from the Wildling attack King Stannis Baratheon sends a letter to Wyman Manderly demanding fielty. Due to his cryptic response Stannis sends Davos to White Harbor to speak on his behalf. Upon his arrival he is captured and taken to the Merman’s Court. A large audience is present at court, with three Freys attending (Rhaegar, Symond, and Jared), as well as the family of his surviving son, Wylis. After Lord Wyman hears Davos’s plea to join Stannis’s cause, he orders Davos’s execution due to his loyalty to House Lannister, the Iron Throne, and his faith in the Freys’ explanation of the Red Wedding being Robb Stark’s work due to his ability to turn into a direwolf. His courageous granddaughter is outraged which marks this chapter as one of the best of this saga to date.
Instead of executing Davos, Wyman executes another prisoner in the Onion Knight’s place and sends Davos to the Wolf’s Den, a prison in White Harbor. The other prisoner’s head and hands are removed, dipped in tar, and the unnamed prisoner’s fingers are removed in order to make the remains, which are displayed in public look truly like Davos’s. The Freys write to King’s Landing stating that Manderly loyally ordered the execution of the Onion Knight. Wyman Manderly’s trick works, and the Iron Throne returns his only living son, Wylis, from captivity.
During the celebration feast welcoming Wylis home to White Harbor, Wyman meets secretly in a room of the New Castle with Davos and Robertt Glover. He apologizes to Davos for the way in which he has been treated, and explains that the need for all the acting and deception was to trick the Lannisters and Freys into releasing his son from captivity and make them think he is a fat, stupid oaf who fears them. Manderly explains to Davos that he has learned from a survivor of the sack of Winterflee, Wex Pyke, that it was Ramsey Bolton who was responsible for the massacre. He also explains to Davos that he has learned from Wex that Rickon Stark is alive and he needs a smuggler as opposed to a normal sailor to retrieve him from his current location, Skagos. Wyman promises Davos he will swear allegiance to Stannis if Davos does this task for him and brings his liege lord back home, safe and sound. Davos accepts.
After he and Davos reach an agreement, Manderly leaves to attend the wedding of Ramsay Bolton to “Arya Stark” with an armed escort. Before doing so, he gifts his three Frey guests a palfrey each; guest gifts are given to guests when they leave their host’s protection, meaning they are no longer under the protection of guest right that was violated during the Red Wedding. The three Freys do not arrive with Wyman Manderly who instead brought huge amounts of food for the wedding celebration. At the wedding feast, Wyman is in a very good mood, laughing and calling out songs for the singer Abel, Mance Rayder in disguise, to sing. He then presents three huge pies. He himself serves them; the first steaming portions he gives to Roose Bolton and his wife, the next to the sons of Walder Frey, Ser Hosteen and Ser Aenys. “The best pie you have ever tasted, my lords. Wash it down with Arbor gold and savor every bite. I know I shall,” he says. He then asks Abel/Mance to sing the Rat Cook for them, which is a song about an evil cook who kills a prince and bakes him into a pie he then serves to the king. Although it was never confirmed, most of us believe that Wyman Manderly, the legend of North, killed all three Freys *HAR*, baked them in a pie and served them at the Winterfell wedding. And as it turns out, revenge is a dish best served on a platter. And who knows, mayhaps this was a blessing, for after all, they grew up to be Frey.
In the show, however, all of this epicness is completely ignored. Instead, his lines were given to that cool old lady in Winterfell. Oh well, at least we’ve got to hear “The North remembers” line. At this point in the story I will take anything book-wise and savor it, following an excellent advice from this badass lord.
Honorable Mentions: Ser Loras Tyrell, Lady Stoneheart, Strong Belwas, Tysha, Ser Barristan Selmy, Arriane Martell (which is the reason we have to put up with Sand Snakes), Patchface, Iron Islands and the Greyjoy brothers, Direwolves at the expense of dragons who are apparently way cooler among the audience and who due to the lack of CGI money seem to be completely forgotten, Badass Brynden Rivers, Bran greenseering, Jon’s dreams, the proper introduction to the House of the Undying instead of that mush we’ve got, and last but not least, the lack of Edd, Fetch me a block line.