/ Leigh Alexander / 5 am Tue, Apr 2 2013
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  • Game of Thrones returns with critical mass of politicking

    Game of Thrones returns with critical mass of politicking

    Funny thing about recaps: Some of the early feedback I got on the handful I did last season suggested people wanted less blow-by-blow, more macroanalysis. But I wonder how well that works for Game of Thrones: Friends, I've read all the books and watched every season so far twice, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't reach for a wiki a few times to make sure I had everything and everyone straight as we begin the third season.

    I'm often afraid the show is going to shake less-obsessive Game of Thrones fans like a beauty in a bear pit, since we're reaching a critical mass of characters and politicking. Yet this is the season readers have anticipated most of all, and if the television adaptation has had one major strength so far it's its ability to abstract the muddy stuff and highlight over-arching themes.

    I'll be your guide this season, and I'll try to focus on some of those themes, while seeing what I can do to help everyone keep their names, faces and facts straight as we return to the world of Westeros and beyond after a long, long winter.

    I think the premiere deserves some extra details to make sure everyone knows exactly what's going on; if you just want some analysis, scroll to the end.

    The season three premiere picks up quite literally where we left off: With unlucky Night's Watchman Samwell Tarly struggling through the snow as the blue-eyed, undead Others -- and the legion of Wights they seem able to reanimate -- begin approaching the Wall from the mysterious, inhospitable lands beyond it.

    We've seen glimpses of this unknowable dread before in the series, but here's the point where we realize a legion of undead is going to be an issue for Westeros. An under-funded Night's Watch staffed mostly by ex-convicts and aging retirees is going to have a hard time holding these guys back -- and a harder time convincing anyone in the Seven Kingdoms to help out, given that their attention and their funds are tied up in their own wars for the throne.

    We presume it'll be harder without Jon Snow, who's been dispatched to infiltrate the society of the Free Folk, who live beyond the wall so they can avoid the oppression and war that comes with living under a traditional king. In this episode, we meet Mance Rayder, leader of the free folk and former crow of the Night's Watch himself.

    Mance is unimpressed when Jon awkwardly parrots rhetoric about freedom, but appreciates his more-truthful story about how the Watch's Lord Commander, Jeor "Old Bear" Mormont, ignored the sacrifice of male infants at Craster's Keep last season. Mance also probably appreciates the genuine romantic sparks he senses between Snow (who is adorably lateblooming about women) and Ygritte, the firehaired freewoman who's been his biggest advocate here.

    Back at King's Landing, we join Tyrion, who's recovered from his war wound -- less so from the complete untangling his sister Cersei's done of his attempts to restore some degree of power and balance in Joffrey's mad kingdom. We find him examining a mirror and noticing his scar makes him even uglier than he once was -- a hallmark of this series is taking people in bad situations and making them worse.

    Not that Peter Dinklage is actually ugly, mind. In the books, Tyrion actually loses part of his nose; the more restrained scarring he sustains here shows a healthy appreciation for his charismatic face. He will probably always be the best thing on this show, and HBO's April Fool's prank about him being replaced was momentarily sick-making, even knowing what day today is.


    Lannister patriarch Tywin has come to town, after arriving at the last minute to save the city from certain ruin. Tywin brought me my favorite moment of last season: Cersei, about to take her son's life as she trembles with wine and brutal terror, leaping to her feet with all the delight and relief of a young girl when it's her father, not the invaders, who strides into the throne room to reveal he's saved her. There's an incredible dichotomy in Tywin Lannister, who as a character is getting one of the best and most luminous treatments of anyone on the show -- he's ruthless, yet we can admire him; we see why his children both hate and long for him. His scenes with Arya Stark (posing as his cupbearer) last season were some of the show's best.

    Not that Tyrion can expect any similar sense of salvation from his father, who never conceals his open loathing for the son he views as twisted and deformed, and whom he will forever blame for the death of his wife in childbirth. Tywin is an excellent general but no kind of parent, and his attitude to strategy and efficiency strains and overhangs his dysfunctional, love-starved children.

    Cersei's heard Tyrion requested a meeting with their dad, and comes to find out what he wants. "He's my father," Tyrion replies."Do I need to want something?" That's some elegant dark humor, there -- but there's also the leaden ache when we hear Tyrion describe to his sister how he lay with his face split in half, yet no visit from his only parent.

    Tyrion may have had all his power taken away, but Cersei fears him anyway: She says she's afraid he'll tell lies, but it's plain it's the truth she's afraid of her father knowing: The nightmarish way she's let her son Joffrey trample the kingdom and run the family into the corner. Oh, yeah, and the whole bit where Cersei's kids are her brother's kids. That's kind of the big one.


    All Tyrion wants, it seems, is stewardship of the family home back in Casterly Rock (his brother Jaime, having joined the Kingsguard, forfeits the right to hold lands). But even though Tyrion was the only Lannister kid to show any bravery during the fight at King's Landing, Tywin's venomous at the suggestion: In his eyes, his youngest son is the only thing he's ever done imperfectly.

    Note dad's extreme offense at Tyrion's whoring; Tywin's own father apparently shamed the family by taking in a courtesan who indulged herself in the family's riches, and he can't abide the idea that his own son has brought a whore to King's Landing. Recall Tyrion confiding in Bronn and Shae about the nasty business his father put him through when he briefly married a whore as a youth. We see quite plainly how Tyrion came to be how he is: The cleverest of the children raised in the cunning Lannister mode, yet the least-loved. His closest ally right now is "upjumped cutthroat" Bronn, who's just asked for a pay raise for his "friendship."

    Davos Seaworth has survived the wreckage of Stannis Baratheon's fleet during the Blackwater battle by clinging to a rock in the middle of the sea. When rescuers arrive, they demand to know what king he's served. The wrong answer, here, could have ended his life, and you see on his face how dearly he knows this. Yet Seaworth would die loyal, declaring himself for Stannis, the "one true king."

    Seaworth is arguably one of the most moral and loyal characters in the entire narrative, yet Stannis is clearly twisted 'round the finger of the Red Woman, the sorceress Melisandre, and her fanatical worship of the Lord of Light. The pirate Sallador Saan, who contributed 30 ships to Stannis' war effort, believes Stannis' cause is lost and is bailing on Stannis, his ominous sorceress and her apparent penchant for burning nonbelievers.


    Yet after everything Davos has sacrificed, Stannis, himself an obsessive, fanatical purist whose own late brother Renly told him no one wanted for king, sends his most loyal man to the dungeons for speaking agains the sorceress. We see how manipulative the priestess is when she implies she could have prevented deaths, including that of Davos' own son, if only Davos had not convinced Stannis to leave Melisandre behind during the Blackwater battle.

    As for the Starks, they lost their Winterfell home primarily due to former ally Theon Greyjoy's prideful muddling, but it's clear Robb Stark's army blames the Lannisters, ignoring some of the subtleties of war in favor of a simplified -- and deeply personal -- vendetta against the family they hold responsible for the death of Robb's father Ned. In Robb's mind, the conflict is even more dangerously oversimplified: His main enemy is Jaime Lannister, and therefore the fall of Winterfell (and the slaughter of Northmen they discover here at Harrenhal) is the fault of his own mother, who set Jaime "free" (into the custody of Brienne of Tarth to be brought home, really) in a desperate exchange for her daughters.


    Ros, the prostitute who ended up as Peter "Littlefinger" Baelish's business partner, tries to bond with Shae over having come up in the world; Shae, still successfully posing as Sansa's handmaid, evades the idea that they may have shared experience.The woman never says anything about herself, and wholly rejects Sansa's attempt to play imagination games with her. Littlefinger's attention to Sansa is slightly creepy, given the degree to which we know that he once desired her mother (and the degree to which we know he can't be trusted), but Sansa's finally brave enough to tell him to help her leave King's Landing.

    The charismatic Tyrells have now joined the Lannisters via beautiful Margaery's wedding to Joffrey. But unlike the cowardly, squeamish and violent boy-king, she has no problem entering the poverty-stricken Flea Bottom to give gifts and food to the children -- and her willing vulnerability is an incredible foil to steely Cersei. The look on Cersei's face when Joff, who himself seems as interested in pleasing Margaery as anyone, suggests his mother is getting older is priceless.


    Of course, no one in this show is simple, and viewing Margaery as simply a naively-charitable heroine would be a mistake. When she urges the head of the orphanage she visits to come to her if they need anything, her emphasis of "directly to me" could be viewed as a potential allusion to her motives. It'll be interesting, actually, to see how the show treats Margaery's objectives, since the books keep them obscured, and never let us get to know her well.

    Finally, we rejoin Daenerys, who has reclaimed her dragons and escaped the incredibly inhospitable Qarth with a ship and the riches she's won from her enemies. Next, she needs an army, so she her right-hand man, Jorah Mormont, are headed to Astapor to check out some slave soldiers for sale. We see how the silver queen aches for her Dothraki, who are suffering sickness and terror for her, having never been on the "poison water" in the history of their tribes. We see how firmly the idea of slavery at all disgusts her; she'll be able to get a terrifying army bred from childhood for war, but given that each of them has to murder a baby in their training to ensure they have no "weakness," will she compromise?

    Does she have a choice? Amid all the conniving and mistake-making of the Westerosi throne contenders, Daenerys' white-haloed morality is supposed to make us want her most of all for the throne. I wonder how people of extreme moral character manage to fare in this series?


    For some analysis, I want to talk about Daenerys, because her story arc is obviously going to be the most challenging for the show's writers in the season ahead. Early in the story, hers is one of the most interesting narratives: She begins a terrified girl, estranged from her royal background and at the mercy of her vicious brother Viserys. She's managed to dodge the Targaryen family madness; he hasn't. While he makes a desperate, irrational bid for power, she simply dreams of having her own home. When she's sold as an adolescent bride to a terrifying, wild horselord, we feel for her, and when she falls in love and learns to claim some power within a society completely foreign to her, we root for her. By the time Khal Drogo dies and Dany takes leadership of the Khalasar, we believe she can be a contender for the Iron Throne in her own right.

    But in the books, she often feels like an off-note from the time she comes into power onward: it's hard to forget she is written in lavish physical detail by a nerdy old guy who likes describing her breasts or her various states of arousal. There is a certain theft of dignity that happens to Daenerys that doesn't happen to Cersei, Arya, Sansa or Catelyn; Daenerys is a very young woman learning to become a moral authority, and this episode presents the way her desire to right impossibly large and deeply-ingrained wrongs such as global poverty or slavery in cultures that have a certain peace with slavery will conflict with her ultimate goal of queendom.

    Emilia Clarke as Daenerys often wears an expression simultaneously noble and soft, the kind you expect to see etched on a royal seal, and the way the camera lavishes on her -- a small, beautiful but insistent figure surrounded always by eerie predators -- is currently maintaing a delicate balance between the ways we're meant to see her as simultaneously righteous and powerless. Readers who are Dany fans seem to often feel like they don't know what the books will do with her; it's interesting to see what the show will do with her (I've read that Clarke begged George R.R. Martin to know; if I were her, I'd be the member of the cast begging the hardest, too).

    As the premiere closes, we see longtime Kingsguard commander Ser Barristan Selmy save Daenerys from a trap that exploited her own faith in people (believing a child offering her a ball was simply that, and not a warlock offering her a scorpion). Recall how Selmy was dismissed by Joffrey for being too aged? Now, Dany has a new champion -- and look how anxious this seems to make Mormont.

    Loyalty is really the overarching theme of this episode; its title, Valar Dohaeris, is High Valyrian for "all men must serve" (versus the title of the Season 2 finale, Valar Morghulis, or "all men must die"). How important is allegiance, Jon Snow is wondering as he tries to prove himself to Mance, and what happens when you misplace your loyalty -- or in the case of Robb, or Tywin, or Cersei, or Davos, your blame?

    This season's set to be disaster porn -- book fans are especially excited about season 3 because they cannot wait to see terrible things happen to important characters. Saying so is hardly a spoiler; it's Game of Thrones! If you want to see empowering narratives, watch Girls... er, wait. I got nothin'.

    / / COMMENTS



    1. So that burned castle where Robb put Catelyn in a cell was supposed to be Winterfell? Did the writers feel that the introduction of another castle (Riverrun) would confuse the viewer, I wonder?

      Other than that, I’m pretty pleased with how close the premiere hewed to the book.

      1. Yeah, that was Harrenhal. Tywin Lannister left it in The Mountain’s hands last season, but he seems to have slaughtered his Stark prisoners and high-tailed it before Robb’s troops arrived in force.

    2. It was really a catch up with everyone episode. It did that well, but does not really make for a great story. Hopefully, like last season, it will find its legs in the next couple of episodes.

    3. No Harranhal. It was where first The Mountain and then Tywin were camping with their army. But they left to save King’s Landing at the Battle of Blackwater before Robb got there.

      It was burned and the stones melted by Targaryan dragons back in the day, supposedly haunted.

      1. Ahhh, ok – makes a bit more sense now, though the author’s recap above makes it seem like it is supposed to be Winterfell, to me.

    4. The burned castle was Harrenhall, the dead men were the Northern prisoners. Presumably the Mountain (who was left in charge by Tywin) killed everyone before he scarpered. I was confused by this too, but figured if it was Winterfell they would have made a bigger deal of it, and included Bran & co. in the episode.

    5. “…Daenerys is a very young woman learning to become a moral authority…”

      Daenerys is a common-or-garden Mary-Sue.

      Unaccountably loved/idolised by others? Check.
      Gets her own way effortlessly? Check.
      Unique hair/eye colour? Check.
      Unassailable beauty? Check.
      Exiled princess? Check.
      Unique pets? Check.

      Arya Stark, OHOT, now there’s a feminist character…

      1. I agree in general, but to say Daenerys gets her own way effortlessly is a bit much. She did get sold to a warlord, she started out with little more than her name, beauty and the charity of others. Westeros is a tough place for women in general. Even Cersei longs for the power and prestige that she would have been afforded had she been born male instead of being married off to a king she hated.

        1. According to Cersei, she didn’t start out hating the king.  She adored Robert, but Robert changed that.  Her own marriage is why she’s had so little empathy for Sansa.

          Being born a Lannister male is no guarantee of power and prestige.  Tyrion is male.  Being a woman of a royal house made her a bargaining chip to acquire more power.  Being a male of that same house also makes you a slave to Dad’s ambition (that and a fondness for privileges of one’s last name). 

          1. “According to Cersei, she didn’t start out hating the king.  She adored Robert, but Robert changed that”

            Hers and Jamie’s relationship would have always precluded her ability to feel comfortable with Robert, even without his infidelities. She has a lot in common with Robert, actually, considering how she exploits the people around her. Even Jamie.

      2. Puh-leaze. Arya Stark is cool, and I love her, but calling her a feminist character (and implying the other female characters aren’t) is the classic mistake of assuming that a girl or woman has to either pretend to be a boy, or have traditionally masculine traits, to be a strong character. And it irks me quite a bit.

        Taken alone, Arya is just as stereotypical as you seem to think Daenerys is. It’s the wide breadth of strong female characters — Arya, Sansa, Cersei, Asha, Arianna, and yes, Daenerys — that makes ASOIAF, in my opinion, a feminist work.

        And anyway, I don’t even know what you’re talking about with most of those bullet points. She’s certainly not idolised by anyone except Jorah Mormont and he has his own issues. Pretty much everyone else who supports her — which, it must be said, is not a particularly large number of people — are doing so for their own reasons; Barristan, for instance, who is trying to assuage his own guilt about failing to protect Aerys.

        1. I think part of what makes us view Arya differently is that while she is certainly a stereotypical or archetypal strong female character, we’re joining her story far earlier than we normally would. In other stories, we would be seeing her as she will be in several years time – a great fighter not by pure strength like everyone else but by skill and wile (taking after the Braavos dudes she’s had as mentors/role models). A stark (cough) contrast to e.g. Brienne of Tarth.

          Here we can sense that she will become that, but right now she is also still a vulnerable little girl – and not just conveniently for story purposes, as is often the case, which makes many character like this ring untrue and/or trite.

          I love that the character is written this way. Normally we might expect to see all of her story from the first two seasons (and this season, perhaps) as a flashback, or a series of flashbacks. Instead we actually see it all, fully fleshed out, and this forces it to actually make sense and not be trite and stereotypical even if, ultimately, her character type is something we’ve seen many times before.

        2.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I am so sick of the assumption that strong female character = someone who can fight or someone who acts like a man.  I am trying to show many strong female characters in the books I am writing who are all very different.  Some can fight, some are a little masculine, but others are very girly or quiet or feel too much, but they are all strong.  One day I might even get published.  (Sorry for hijacking.)

    6. The (imperfectly) translated conversation between Daenerys and the slave trader was as hilarious as the version in the book, although at the end one of my flatmates (who’s not read the books yet) said “I though for a moment that it would turn out that [Daenerys or Mormont] spoke his language”.
      My poker face is improving.

    7. “There is a certain theft of dignity that happens to Daenerys that doesn’t happen to Cersei”


      1. Well without any spoilers, we know how things end up for Cersei, but it’s narratively nuanced in a way that doesn’t happen to Dany — Cersei suffers as an object of elements within the narrative, while Dany suffers as an object of the author. I feel Cersei is plausible; I feel Dany’s a fetish item. 

          1. Hah, I left it simple to avoid any spoilers, and I’ll try to sum it up as much as possible.

            I see Cersei as a different sort of debasement and disagree that hers was particularly nuanced, I took it as a different sort of objectification. Cersei is the “safe” character to abuse (and be “not as good as a man”) and so it was displaced onto her. I still felt uncomfortable with the trajectory in a way that I do not believe was intended to engender any sympathy.

            I don’t disagree with you about Dany, of course.

            1. Hm, that’s interesting — I always had sympathy for her, so I may not see it as clearly. In general I think what happened to her was the most horrible thing that could have happened for her, and in that regard it’s consistent for the way all the other characters get treated. Dany, on the other hand, I think is being wasted or kind of oversimplified within the story, in terms of what she is presently doing and what seems to be of primary concern to her and the way she’s being written about (and I’ll leave off there! SPOILER FREE ZONE HERE!) 

      1. I did a handful last season, from midway through on — I’m sure you can find them by searching Game of Thrones on BB. Thanks for reading! 

    8. Dany is the moral center of the series.  She should be just another lunatic Targarian, with equal parts crazy and monomaniacal.

      But she isn’t.  And there is little doubt that she is portrayed (in both book and series) as someone that you want to win.  She is far from perfect, pays for her mistakes, pays for her good intentions, but is no longer doing it simply for the throne- she’s doing it because she feels she can make a good queen.

      1. I’m a guy, so perhaps I have the wrong or biased perspective. But, I don’t think the writer or story should be characterized as misogynistic. Most of the culture within the story is paternalistic and the female characters surely suffer within this context, more than their male counterparts. I find the intelligence, strength, honor, history and humanity of the different and varied female characters to present stories just as complex as those written for the male characters. There are plenty of instances where male characters are debased/killed, what have you.

      2. I’m a girl, and I’ve never found Martin to be even remotely misogynistic. Slightly pervy? Sure. Not-completely-tumblr-grade-socially-conscious-about-all-things? Definitely. 

        People often see the bad things that happen to female characters as a mark of misogyny, but I don’t think it’s as simple as that. Is it misogynistic to write about a society where life sucks for women? ‘Cause guess what… that’s many societies, both throughout history and today. I would agree that these grim-and-gritty torments have become far to prevalent in fantasy fiction in general, but Martin takes them and gives the women in question a chance to respond… and respond in interesting and meaningful ways.

        I think that a lot of people are viewing GoT as a step down from what I’d call the “more enlightened” fantasy universes, where women are more empowered than they likely would have actually been during roughly analogous historical times. While I generally prefer those universes myself, due to my profession I have to be familiar with ALL the fantasy universes, including some of the grimmest and grittiest. I had actually given up entirely on heroic fantasy before I found ASoIaF, because not only were these universes often terrible towards women, the women occupying them were frequently poorly written or entirely passive. 

        Martin takes a universe like that, and populates it with interesting, varied, realistic women. To me, it reads like a feminist rebuttal to the default grim and gritty assumptions. 

        I can understand how someone who isn’t familiar with the real misogynistic grimdarkstuff could mistake Martin for the very thing he is skewering. As someone who has been wanting to punch all those universes in the face for the last decade, I squeal with feminist glee while reading ASoIaF.

    9. Great writeup, two points:

      Bronn is a better friend than I think he’s being credited for. As pointed out in their conversation, Tyrion hasn’t even told Bronn what he’s paying him, but Bronn’s still comes when he calls. And he is a sellsword, after all. It’s like if your friend’s a contractor, you still have to pay him to redo your bathroom. The double sarcasti-quotes are a little harsh; maybe single sarcasti-quotes?
      And taking on seemingly impossible, culture-changing challenges doesn’t conflict with Dany’s pursuit of the Iron Throne–how she handles the Unsullied (as we’ll see) shows that she is already behaving like the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms; certainly more so than any of the other claimants.

      1. I’m sure Bronn knows what he’s being paid, it’s Tyrion who said he doesn’t know how much it’s costing him. Tyrion’s paying him with his family’s gold after all, he doesn’t really have money of his own. 
        And just because he claimed ignorance, it doesn’t mean it’s true.

        1. You sure? I remember it as Bronn asking for double, Tyrion saying, “I haven’t even told you what I’m paying you,” and Bronn saying, “Then you can afford it.”

          1.  Tyrion said “I don’t even know what I’m paying you now.”, to which Bronn responded “Then you can afford it.”

    10. I wish they hadn’t mentioned Tyrion losing his nose at all. If you’re not going to actually do it I can understand that, but then to mention it is just sad fan-wank.

      I felt the theme of this episode (and it was one of my favorites so far) was about dialogue between two people. Nearly every scene came down to two people explaining or trying to hide who they were and what they were about, but even when trying to obfuscate they all ended up revealing some kind of honesty. 

    11. Yet no mention of the giant? A shocking oversight. Really though, it was brilliantly realised in just a common place ‘oh, there’s the giant’ and seamless that in many ways it impressed me a lot more than, say, all the trolls and fell beasts and balrog and huge eagles/elephants/spiders etc in lord of the rings.

    12. Is it actually explained in the show that Jon Snow was “dispatched to infiltrate the society of the Free Folk”, or is this knowledge from the books? I marathoned the first two seasons over the weekend before the new episode (with my girlfriend, who hadn’t seen it, but also so I could remember everything) and I felt that it was rather ambiguous on this point. 

      If he was actually sent to do that, and killing the Halfhand guy was planned as part of it, I’d say it’s a pretty big spoiler to reveal that here. I mean, I certainly suspected it, but I don’t think it was unambiguously revealed.

      Now, I do remember the arguments in the comments last year about spoilers, and I know I shouldn’t read these if I’m that concerned about it but I rather enjoyed the spoiler-free discussion and insight last time.

      1. In season 2, after Jon is captured, Qhorin Halfhand “urges Jon to ensure that the deaths of his men were not meaningless, and says that he could be a valuable spy in the wildling ranks.” (Game of Thrones Wiki) So it was there, but could easily be missed. The circumstances in the book led to this situation via a slightly different route and there was a lot more soul-searching as Jon figured out that Qhorin had rather ambiguously insisted he murder him to prove his loyalty to the wildlings, but the outcome was basically the same.

    13. quibbles.

      Tyrion keeps his nose.   Hey the CGI would have cost a bundle.  The could have at least sprung for one off color contact lens.
      Eliminate Ser Dontos as the middle-man in the Sansa escape….ok, weak character, reasonable.
      Omit the parts where Barristan travels with Dany incognito and have him come out straight away….yeah, sure.  Gotta cut something.  Plus having the audience in on the secret for so long would have been awkward.
      Paint Margery as hands-on Mother Theresa of Calcutta with the starving orphans in the mud.  Wait, what?
      Separate Ghost from Jon early.  Can’t see a reason for that one.
      Sam *did* get the crows out, Moremont.  C’mon, give a fat guy a break.
      I still haven’t figured why Ros exists.  Most of her scenes are main characters filling in back-story while forking her.  I suppose that’s something.  Hasn’t the ‘hooker with a heart of gold’ been done enough?

      1. Margery needs something to distinguish her from the Lannisters, I think this political savvy with the common folk was a good way and fits in with her ambition and intelligence. Whereas Cersei and Joffery are more ambition and less savvy.
        The wolves are playing a much smaller role overall, I would think this is primarily budget related. They are much more massive than any dog stand-in and need to either be CGI or shot from a special angle/cut.
        Agree about Ros and everything else though.

      2. Ros is like a chorus; her value is to move the exposition (er, the sexposition) forward. 

    14. I’m really looking forward to this season.  I haven’t read all the books, but I have an idea as to what happens. It would’ve been so easy to put the main focus of the story on Jon Snow, considering what happens to Robb in book 3. However, he still remains the character he is.

    15. If I had one wish for this series, it is that someone could’ve added a caption at the beginning of a new scene explaining where the hell we are. It isn’t until we see some of the characters that we figure it out. My wife, who has not read the books, finds the series quite confusing. I didn’t even recognize Robb, until I saw his mother. I’ve read the books (all except “A Dance with Dragons” which I’m awaiting paperback) and I find it confusing. Considering that characters are going to move quickly a little basic information would help quite a bit.

      Someone implied that Dany was in Westeros. Totally wrong. Westeros is the continent where the seven kingdoms are located. Dany is on a continent to the east.

    16. How does anyone live beyond the Wall? It’s mostly glaciers, so unless they are going to fish, I don’t see how anything survives there. 

    17. It’s so true to life that Tyrion is the only guy not planning to assassinate his family or start a war of conquest, so of course everyone has to single him out as being the amoral  monster. 

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