Game of Thrones: Valar Morghulis


78 Responses to “Game of Thrones: Valar Morghulis”

  1. Matt Segal says:

    Great article. I love the SoIaF books and can’t wait to see what they do with later ones translating into the show. In all honesty, though, I think that the show’s biggest hurdle will come during season 4, where peoples’ favorite characters are, in some cases, completely absent, and almost all of the plot goes into making book 5 and later books excellent.

    I think book 3 is going to have enough great stuff going on (as well as a season finale that will leave people WTFing so hard they’ll need to watch season 4, at least for the first part) that it’ll hold its own.

    • Charles Richter says:

      Agreed on the season 3 finale.  I just finished the third book, and had to pick up the next one right away.

      I have to give credit to the show’s creators for convincing me that this was a story I would like to read.  I hadn’t read a non-Tolkien fantasy novel in years and years, as most examples of the genre are absolutely uninteresting to me. It was not apparent to me at all that A Song of Ice and Fire was something very different, but after watching the first season, I had to see what the fuss was all about.

    • Adam Peller says:

      That is assuming they will devote an entire season to book 4 or take massive creative liberties to avoid that hurdle all together.

    • Alan says:

      Books 4 and 5 take place chronologically at the same time, they are just split geographically. The rumors are they will combine Books 4 and 5 for TV and do it chronologically over two seasons more or less. That way, they will keep the characters we love, while strategically introducing the new characters.

      • ocker3 says:

         Martin says in the forward (I think to book 5) that he split the geographical stories into two books to avoid too much jumping back and forth, they really do cover a huge amount of the known world.

  2. SpaceBeers says:

    I think they’ve said they’re going to stop sticking so rigidly to the books structures after season three but I can’t remember where I saw that.

  3. dashifen says:

    (vague spoiler)

    Man, if people are still crying foul about Ned Stark’s death, they ain’t seen nothing yet :)

    • Chentzilla says:

      Maybe they ain’t seen nothing, but they’ve had enough.

    • Oh boy. I know it’s a little sadistic of me, but having read the books I can’t wait to see the reaction to a certain upcoming “event” from all the n0n-readers who are watching the series.  **rubs hands together with glee**

      • SpaceBeers says:

        I’m looking forward to my girlfriend’s face when “that event” happens. I might film it. I wish I could’ve seen my face when I read it.

      • bklynchris says:

        You mean that event that when I read it I yelled, “OMG C’MON, seriously?!?!”.  If so, I had to take a moment to grieve.

  4. Thad Boyd says:

    (Extremely minor and vague book spoilers, I guess?)

    I think that the books do a pretty good job at keeping all the balls in the air and making the major arcs reach climax around the same time up through book 3.

    4 and 5 are tougher, and not just because of the split narrative.  It’s not just that the cast of characters has spun out from a few opening locations to being all over the place, it’s the precise role that timing has to play in the story, leaving some characters back-burnered for long stretches of time until the others make something happen.  The arcs no longer line up, and while, say, something really exciting is happening to Jon, Tyrion may just be kinda cooling his heels, and Davos nowhere to be seen.

    I would say that Feast lacks a satisfying climax altogether, and Dance manages to end on a satisfying cliffhanger for a couple of characters, it leaves a lot more just kind of dangling.

    The show must, necessarily, rejigger the chronology when it gets to season 4 (there is no way it is leaving half the major cast out of an entire season the way the book did).  I think that, not season 3, is where things start to get really hairy.

    And if it’s hard to find a satisfying climax in the fourth and fifth books individually, it’s going to be that much harder to combine them and try to end them somewhere in the middle (Martin found that very idea insurmountable, which is of course why he split the narrative the way he did in the first place).  I’ve got faith in the showrunners, and I think they’ll figure out a way to make it work, but I’m at a loss as to what exactly that is.

    • Agreeing with you— I’ve read and loved this whole series but I have confidence in HBO that they’ll clean-up and prioritize the next few books. They’re masters at this, and I’m pleased that they were the ones to adapt this series.

      My secret hope is that Martin will finish the next 2 books (should be 7 books expected, 1 for each god) in time for HBO to create them and give this series a bang-up ending. Based on the ending of the fifth book, I don’t see how it’s possible to just leave it at that.

      Curious if working with HBO and their plot/script writers will shape or inspire the next two books. He seems to have a great relationship with them and the cast. Based on his organization struggles with books 4 and 5, I expect this to only be a positive thing.

    • nowimnothing says:

      Actually book 3 is supposed to be split between seasons 3-4 so it would be seasons 5-6 and maybe 7 tackling books 4-5. I assume books 4-5 will be somewhat merged back together for the TV series. Drawing out the TV series will give Martin a more realistic chance of keeping ahead of it, but after last time I am not holding my breath. At this point I am just happy we have two seasons of very good depictions of the books. It could have easily turned out like Legend of the Seeker though of course that had much weaker source material. Anything after this is icing on the cake.

  5. Actually – to pick a nit – valar morghulis is High Valyrian – not Braavosi.

  6. despralynn says:

    I forget where I heard it, and could just be bs, but I think that since DwD and FfC were originally one book that just got too massive but took place at the same time (meaning, it was split by characters not time), the show will recombine the two and do two seasons based more one the timeline, not the specific characters of each book. 

  7. Lyron Bennett says:

    Yeah, season 3 is the first half of Storm of Swords. Season 4 is the second half. I think for at least 2 more seasons this show has such good material to work with that if it loses a lot of folks it will be the shows fault not the story (once we get to Feast of Crows though….ugh…I have no idea). 

  8. Lyron Bennett says:

     I heard this too and I think it makes a ton of sense. Besides a FfC would be a terrible season of TV.

  9. Scott says:

    Hi, my name is Scott and I post things on twitter as @iscoff:twitter 

    I made that joke about Game of Thrones being like twitter and want everyone to give me a dollar if they liked it:

  10. tatere says:

    So far, the series is working extremely well as an adaptation. Having GRRM actively involved is the key, I think, because it keeps the changes anchored to what’s important in the overall story. Compare it to “True Blood”, which has spun off into an incoherent mess as one unthought-out divergence piles up on another. I just hope HBO continues to support it, because definitely we are coming up on parts where knowing that, yes, the show WILL be around long enough to see things through will make a big difference.

  11. xzzy says:

    I try to avoid liking any of the characters too much, because it seems like there’s a million ways for any one of them to get killed at any given moment.

    I don’t want to be that guy who picks a side and then suddenly that side is dead.

    • Alan says:

      I find it hard to pick a side. I mean, I root for House Stark, but I also root for House Targaryen, Tyrion, and even Varys….

    • vrplumber says:

      (Sorta Spoilery)

      Arya Stark is my favorite character to follow, but its getting a little hard to take the constant barrage of horrible things happening to her.  

      She needs a lucky break, dammit :)

      • benenglish says:

        I feel the same, have never read the books and only seen the series.  I’m afraid to say where I think she should wind up since if I guessed right, would that make me a spoiler-spreader, right?  But there’s one role that she seems destined to fulfill.

        I may read the books just to find out if I guessed right.

  12. unit_1421 says:

    “Game of Thrones” is HBO’s new “Oz,” in terms of a huge cast, multiple story lines and high body count. Cable shows have become gladiator academies for actors and studios that want to develop new talent. The newer actors get all the cussing and fucking out of their systems before moving up to the bigger paychecks (for slogging through far more inferior material) of the big 4 prime time shows. GoT suits this drama mill formula perfectly, as you get to see a lot of new faces performing decent material and the media gets to speculate on who will be the next big thing…

  13. semiotix says:

    Prediction: many storylines will be pruned out of necessity, but the show as a whole will obey the Law of Conservation of Incest. 

    Actually, that’s not really fair, since TV-Margaery’s absolute nonchalance at the idea of a three-way with her gay brother actually increases the incest quotient of the show.

    And this is coming from a fan. I can’t wait for season three to find out who’s going to fuck their sister next!

    • DevinC says:

      I thought Margaery’s nonchalance at the idea revealed a lot about her character: she is completely pragmatic about how romance and power relate.  This doesn’t necessarily mean she’s ruthless, but it does make her a very strong foil for Sansa.  

  14. franko says:

    seasons 1 and 2 have been so great, i just can’t WAIT until they hit book 3, where things REALLY get rolling…

  15. deltaverde says:

    Of course they cast Sean Bean.  He always dies.

    • Yeah I can’t believe people were surprised by that. Given his track record, he’s lucky to have lasted a complete episode. :p

      • wizardru says:

        You know, I thought that, too…and then I actually ran the numbers.

        He has died a lot…but he’s also survived a lot.  His biggest problem is that he plays the big heavy, so he ends up dead.

        For every Fellowship of the Ring or Goldeneye, you have a National Treasure or Sharpe’s Rifles.   In Silent Hill, Ronin, Troy, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Flightplan, North Country….Bean survives in as many movies as he dies, honestly.  He’s just really high-profile when he does die.

  16. akbar56 says:

    SPOLIERS: Since they have already said season 3 will not stick to the “one season=one book” rule,  here is how I predict Season 3 and 4 to end: (fill in the space between as you will)
    Season 3:  The Red Wedding will end the season (or episode 9 like Blackwater was this year)
    Season 4: Joffery’s ‘wedding’ will be early in the season, Season will end with Crossbow in the Toilet and the reveal of Lady Stoneheart
    (I am not sure how they will split up Jon’s story)

  17. AlexG55 says:

    I always heard it as:
    Why doesn’t GRRM Tweet?
    Because he can’t restrict himself to only 140 characters.

  18. Erik Veland says:

    It is ok to spoil the plot up until the episode in question, but can you please refrain from any (however vague or wink-wink) future spoilers from the books? How hard can that be?

  19. michaelismichael says:

    The only disappointment I felt in the last episode was that the annoying Sam was not killed by the zombie king.

    Really, though….why would Martin create a dumb servant character named Samwell? I have yet to read these books but I thought so far he was doing a good job of avoiding similarities with LotR.

    • templarsmonochromata says:

       Is it just me, or does Sam have the LOOK of being an illegitimate son of our ex, killed by a boar, king?
      To me, the resemblance in face and body is uncanny. Perhaps the directors didn’t notice, or perhaps its a subtle little thing that might get a little lip service without breaking cannon. I mean, the king DID get around a little and all..

    • Oh I like Sam. Trust me, he comes into his own as the books progress. :)

      • bklynchris says:

        Indeed!!!!!!  But if I am not mistaken did they show Sam finding the cache of dragonglass arrow points?  When it was NOT him.  DId I imagine it?  I am one of those most annoying wussies who when it seems they are going off original script run from the room humming loudly so I won’t be crest fallen.

    • Jim Saul says:


      I agree that his cowardice is overplayed and slapstick, but dumb the character is not. It’s not played out quite as much in the show as the books, but even in the show pretty much everything the Watch knows about Walkers is Sam’s research at Miskatonic. I mean in the Castle Black maester’s library.

      • michaelismichael says:

        Yes, I would say dumb. Thinking that you have fallen in love with a girl after a 20 second conversation is dumb. 

        Also, I’ll say this again….his name is Samwell and Sam’s name in LotR is Samwise. Why would Martin make this obvious comparison?

        Plus I thought he would have made excellent zombie fodder.

        • Jim Saul says:

          I’ve fallen in love with no more justification than that. Try it, it can be a lot of fun.

          As for the name, do you really think Martin did that by accident?

          I don’t suppose you noticed what his affected middle initials are.

          As for the zombie fodder, if you’re still watching next year, you might enjoy the next moment after that cutaway. Sam’s interaction with that walker isn’t done.

  20. Jim Saul says:

    They’re coming up on some complications that I don’t know whether HBO will be able to deal with…  “Stoneheart” is obscure enough a reference that anyone who hasn’t read the books would really have to put in the effort if they want to whine about spoilers.

    If they handle those kinds of things well, they’ll have done something truly groundbreaking.

    Anyway, I loved the episode. The CGI on the dragons is wonderful. I especially like the sly, “clever girl” smirk they give when looking under Dany’s arm at their prey.

    • alexorella says:

      I agree that HBO is completely NAILING those dragons.  They really look amazing. Even though I was disappointed a bit by how they stripped down the whole House of the Undying part, I can accept it so long as they keep up the amazing dragon work.  

  21. Sirkowski says:

    I love the books; I love the show. Haters gonna hate.

  22. Cant wait for season 3! Season 2 was awesome

  23. IamSmartypants says:

    The thing to keep in mind if you haven’t read the books is that just about every character is at risk (except probably Dany, Jon and Arya) .  No matter how much you love someone, in Game of Thrones it’s always, “Til death do us part”.

  24. bklynchris says:

    I purchased my mother the HBO series for M day and she and my step dad have gone nuts for it.  We so thoroughly enjoy talking about it.  I am still gobsmacked on the timing of Peter Dinklage’s literal birth to make this series happen as without him it…just…could…not.

    Here is my dieing burning question.  I am just squirming to know, in the first hour after the initial airing of the S1 episode where Ned Stark is beheaded how many viewers who had not read the books audibly said “WTF?!?!”, made a mad dash for the ePad of their choice and downloaded the first book in the series? Anyway someone can find out what the sales of the digital book were in that time from B&N and Amazon?

    I did, and subsequently read the entire book before the next episode (S1 finale).  My children had the weirdest lunches that week, cans of tuna requiring can openers to open, the rest of the breakfast they didn’t eat…whatever was essentially edible and at hand that I did not have to put down the book while to stuff their lunch.

  25. bklynchris says:

    also…since then I have been reading Barbara Tuchman’s “A Distant Mirror”, regarding medieval life and the machinations of royalty during the 14th century and can’t help but wonder if GRRM did too.

  26. I can’t wait to see the little turd Jofrey die and his mom taken away in chains.  Waiting with  baited breath. Season two was mostly boring. the best episode was indeed the finale. Please don’t bore us to death in Season three.

  27. Adam Fields says:

    The show suffers a bit from its desire to show everything on screen. Especially in book 3, a surprising amount of the action takes place “off camera”, as it were – the impact comes from hearing about it later, and there’s a real focus on the sense of confusion and indecision stemming from the fact that not only the characters don’t know what’s really happened, but sometimes the reader doesn’t either. That, for me, has been mostly lost in the show, and is evident in bringing Robb’s marriage to the forefront. It’s possible in the book to juggle that many storylines precisely because (not in spite of) the habit of having even major events pass by with very little mention except “well, that happened”, and then being revisited later. The show should run with that and accept that not everything needs to be explicitly depicted.

  28. Uwonder says:

    Not to worry…. if the show starts to drag they can always throw in some more tits and ass. It worked for the first 5 episodes of Season 1. Lots and lots of closeups with long extended scenes.

  29. Armitage75 says:

    Good stuff…my personal major problem is how they’ve treated the Littlefinger character.

    The books set him up as arguably the best player in the kingdom…usually multiple steps ahead of even the smartest/craftiest characters.

    Invented scenes like the ridiculous confrontation with Cersei just lack all of characteristic subtlety and make me worry that they don’t understand Martin’s vision for the character. That said I know GRRM is heavily involved so hopefully this isn’t as big a deal as I’m making it out to be (he is my fav. character so I am admittedly biased).

    Basically he’s showing his cards way more than he ever did in the novels.

    That said loved the article and love the show.

  30. I skipped this whole thing to avoid MORE spoilers. The image at the top of BB was enough to piss me off though — just started powerdiscing the new season. Lame.

  31. SixSixSix says:

    Books one and two were tight. Dramatizing them required skillful adaptation of an already strong story arc. Books three and four drop in focus and especially in dialogue. It’s hard to avoid the feeling that the the author was padding things out. They will be much more challenging to bring to the screen.

  32. Vaughn Marlowe says:

    Anybody ever make a list of Top Ten Disappointing Series Finales?

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