THEY CALL ME QUIET GIRL, BUT I'M A RIOT, YEAH, MAYBE TULISA, IT'S ALL THE SAME -- THAT'S NOT MY NAME: I think it's time to stop thinking about Game of Thrones as a slavishly faithful adaptation of the books that changes the details only to get down to the ten-hour-per-season running time. That was true last season -- with the exception of the unambiguous depiction of the Renly-Loras relationship, everything on film was right there on the page. It hasn't been true this season, though. The key plot points, obviously, are the same, but Benioff and Weiss seem to have felt more comfortable filling in the spaces in between with material either altered or invented to make the best TV show possible, books be damned. And it's working well -- where the books are dense, the show is brisker and sharper (better for TV), and the show is still capable of surprising from time to time. So I think I'm going to stop talking about the books, not because I'm joining the show-only zealots, but because the books seem less relevant to a discussion of the show over time. Specifics after the jump.
As for last night, I had a different reaction than Sepinwall to the two executions last night. His thought was that Jon and Theon both should have paid more attention to the lesson that Ned gave in the second scene of the pilot. Mine was that the juxtaposition of the two scenes (a juxtaposition that you can only do in the show, given the structure of the books, and I'll shut up now) told us a lot about the two characters. Although Quorin pronounced sentence on Ygritte (I believe for the capital crime of deserting her Lady Maid duties at Downton Abbey) and Theon on Ser Roderick, Jon volunteered to be the executioner; Theon had to be reminded that it was his duty. More importantly, though, Jon had learned the lesson that Theon didn't -- when the person pronouncing the sentence has to come to grips with the consequence in a very immediate way, an honorable man will give some thought to whether it's the right sentence. Theon didn't, ergo he was not an honorable man; Jon knew that Ygritte didn't deserve to be killed, and therefore couldn't kill her. In an episode where all of the living Starks made appearances, it was a nice reminder that sending Jon to the Wall and leaving Theon with Robb was a terrible decision (for that one, blame Catelyn as much as Ned).
Meta comedy: Benioff and Weiss wanted us to be extremely aware of how ridiculous it is that George Railroad Martin wrote that flirtation scene for Ygritte. Hey, they were saying, remember when that woman wearing twelve layers of seal pelts made the sexy motion? She looked like a half-deflated fur balloon.
Joffrey turnabout: some fresh wet cow dung to the temple, and then a Tyrion slap reprise. It's a start.
MIA: Stannis, Toriamosandre, Davos, Jaime.