Game of Throne’s third season will see more changes from the book

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‘Game of Thrones’ third season finally launches this week. In this week’s Beyond the Wall, Ivey and Bob discuss the potential changes from the books that fans might notice. As usual, SPOILER warnings in effect for those who haven’t read the books.

 

Finally, it is only a couple of days away. The third season of HBO’s hit Game of Thrones will premiere this Sunday, bringing with it dragons and white walkers and wights and wargs (oh my!). George R. R. Martin’s third novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Storm of Swords, will serve as the basis of this season. The book’s narrative will actually be spread out across season three and an as-yet-unannounced fourth season, so we’re not entirely sure what will happen when.

Adding to that air of mystery is the certitude that season two brought to fans of the series: the story on the screen will not match the story on the page. The differences started small – a character’s age increased here, a name change there – but last year definitely saw some major departures from the books. While there are many fans of the books unhappy with the changes,

So if you don’t understand why Meera and Jojen Reed are just now being added to the cast, you should probably move along.
you’re not going to find that in Beyond the Wall, CliqueClack’s (sorta) weekly column about all things Westerosi. This week, Bob and Ivey will look into the future that is the third season, and the changes that we expect it to bring.

As with every installment of Beyond the Wall, spoiler warnings are in effect. Our discussion is from the context of people who have read the books – and are enjoying the show. So if you don’t understand why Meera and Jojen Reed are just now being added to the cast, you should probably move along … you sweet summer child.

Ivey: One of my favorite things about season two were the changes from the books. I know that isn’t always the most popular opinion, but that’s the way it is. The series of books are phenomenal, but without changes it wouldn’t work on-screen. Plus, we’d have never seen the awesomeness that was Tywin and Arya or how Margaery Tyrell is a considerably more complete, interesting character than in the books at this stage.

Looking to this upcoming season, some of the pebbles cast by producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are going to start causing large ripple effects, and I’m sure a whole new host of changes are in store. What do you think some of the biggest differences are going to be?

Ian McElhinney’s name is still going to show up in the credits, and the secret that Arstan is actually Ser Barristan Selmy is not going to be so secret.
Bob: Well, we’ve already talked about the changes that are in store for Theon, as he’ll actually still be on the show, so I don’t think we need to address that anymore. I’m really curious to see how the show handles the character of Arstan. Obviously his presence in the books and eventual reveal is going to be a heck of a lot harder to pull off on the show. Even if the producers decide to throw on a huge fake beard and a silly costume, Ian McElhinney’s name is still going to show up in the credits, and the secret that Arstan is actually Ser Barristan Selmy is not going to be so secret.

I’m guessing that Arstan is never going to appear to Dany, and that, instead, she will just meet Ser Barristan and they will become bestest gal pals like in the books without all the chicanery. The real loss here, in my opinion, is the fact that the show hasn’t cast a Strong Belwas. While a minor character, I really love Belwas in the books, and I’m hoping that his appearance on the show, like Jojen and Meera’s, will only be delayed and not canceled.

Ivey: I’ve been looking forward to Selmy’s re-introduction since before last season, but I think you’re right: the former Lord Commander of the Kingsguard trying to hide his identity is something that works on the page but likely won’t work on the screen. But that change has some repercussions in and of itself. In the books, it is only after Jorah recognizes Selmy that the latter reveals to Dany that Jorah had spied on her for Varys. That’s a fairly big revelation in their relationship, as it eventually causes her to exile her former advisor.

Bob: Well, I don’t think I would mind seeing that story sped up a bit, though I’m not sure what it would mean for Jorah in the short-term. Giving him something to do other than yelling “Khaleesi” a bunch of times would be a refreshing change of pace. More than likely, however, Barristan will just keep that fact to himself for a bit longer.

Ivey: True. Once Jorah is exiled his storyline will pretty much dry up for a season or two.

Considering the “big event” that the third season will be building to is without question the Red Wedding, I’m curious as to how we’ll get there. The “Jeyne Westerling Conspiracy” — that Jeyne was somehow still alive, under the protection of the Blackfish, carrying Robb’s child — has pretty much been dispatched by Martin who said the basis for the theory centers on a authorial mistake. Considering that and the whole change from Jeyne to Talisa, the Westerlings won’t be a member of Tywin Lannister’s conspiracy, so who will? The Freys obviously will play will play their part, but who else? Logic dictates a larger role for Roose Bolton, but how will he end up interacting with Jaime — and will Jaime send his regards?

It’s the little things, like catching that Tyrion spent half of last season whistling the “Rains of Castamere” before the audience even knew what the song sounded like.
Bob: Aside from the obvious change to the Red Wedding — Jeyne Westerling being replaced with Talisa — I’m not sure that there’s really going to be any difference here. It’s probably the most memorable event in the books (I would argue even more memorable than Ned’s beheading), and I think that the producers are going to respect that and make sure that they do it justice. Do you see the need for them to change any of the important details?

Ivey: I guess if anything, I’m curious to see what clues the show layers in. I read this section of the books so quickly that I missed all of the foreshadowing. I am hoping that Benioff and Weiss make a point of including that foreshadowing — albeit in a more cinematic way. It’s the little things, like catching that Tyrion spent half of last season whistling the “Rains of Castamere” before the audience even knew what the song sounded like.

Bob: One of my favorite scenes from last season was when Cat was yelling at Robb in camp about breaking his oath to the Freys and marrying Talisa. If you recall, their conversation is abruptly interrupted … by Roose Bolton. I thought it was a fun little piece of extremely subtle foreshadowing for die hard fans. It should be fun watching to see if there are going to be more nods like that to the Red Wedding as season three begins.

 

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Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

3 Comments on “Game of Throne’s third season will see more changes from the book

    • Bob and I actually discussed that video as we were writing the piece. We collectively put the odds of that being the case to be around 1 in 5. I like the idea, specifically that Benioff and Weiss might be layering in the same level of background complexity that GRRM did in the books.

      At the end though, Talisa being a Lannister spy would countermand the “epic love story” that B&W used to describe Robb and Talisa in advance of last season.

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      • Yea I totally agree to that point. It puts a lot of emphasis on Tywin’s scheming versus happenstance and “true love” but Robb and Talisa haven’t really had much time to fall in love and could be argued that it’s still mostly lust and Robb is only 16 or 17. I’d like to give the showrunners more credit because of all the hints that can be gleaned from the second season about her true intent. The most convincing evidence to me is how Roose Bolton interacts around her. Definitely devious. Her being present at the RW throws another wrench in the machine. I really don’t know how they plan on delivering on that.

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