Warning: This is an article written from the perspective of a book reader. Unsullied, considered yourself warned.
, and the one issue that has stuck out like a giant’s sore thumb is that the show has all but left behind the source material from
. Sure, the events unfolding this season have a smattering of book material sprinkled over each episode, but it would seem that loads of book characters, plotlines, and locations have been discarded for the sake of streamlining the season for its 10-episode run.
unlike last week’s (and the week before that, and the week before that), is not a complaint about these diverging storylines, but rather a compliment on how well showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have renegotiated some of the meandering plotlines from
. The best example of their success is Sansa’s story, because as we all know, there must always be a Stark in Winterfell.
As Episode 5 began, I must admit that I was watching with trepidation. I was not happy with how Ser Barristan’s story ended in “Sons of the Harpy,” and I did not think that “Kill the Boy” would be any better…I was wrong. From the outset, “Kill the Boy” brought the heat (pardon my intentionally terrible pun), with Dany feeding her dragons, and the episode continued to gain steam with that awkward Bolton family dinner and Jon and Maester Aemon’s heart-to-heart talk, before ending with an awe-inspiring scene featuring Drogon and the stone men.
But this isn’t a recap, so let’s get into the divergences that I liked. In
, the Lannisters pass off Sansa’s friend Jeyne Poole as Arya and marry her off to Ramsay Snow in a bid to consolidate the North. On the show, Jeyne has only been seen once, in the very first episode. For Benioff and Weiss to re-introduce her now would have been ludicrous. It makes perfect sense to sub in Sansa.
? In the Vale doing nothing, that’s where. Why not do away with a character who has little to no value as a plot device and raise the stakes at Winterfell by having Sansa, who has been trained by Littlefinger as a master manipulator, cause a little chaos in the Bolton’s stronghold? Jeyne Poole was a simpering ninny who had to be saved by Reek, of all people, while Sansa is much stronger. I can easily see Sansa, in her new dark persona, pitting Roose against Ramsay in a fight that may very well see the end of one or both characters, all while baking baking up some tasty Fat Walda Frey pies in the meantime…oh come on, you know you want to see that.
Sansa makes perfect sense as the Stark in Winterfell, and if Littlefinger has his way, she could become the Wardeness of the North, a title that she cannot hope to achieve in the books, at least not yet. In that regard, the show has gone to acceptable lengths to set up Sansa’s rise to power by having the little old lady constantly remind her that “The North remembers” and to “Light a candle in the tallest tower,” as well as by introducing the inn-keeper who interacted with Brienne and Pod—that guy’s clearly still a Stark loyalist.
is not about the good guys winning. On the show, the villains who engineered the Red Wedding have had ZERO comeuppance…there’s not even a Lady Stoneheart around to hang Freys. It seems like every time the show endears us to a character or a group of characters, they are yanked away from us and we are denied retribution. Look at what happened to Oberyn Martell. His death scene was adapted almost exactly as it was written in the books, yet his daughters the Sand Snakes have done nothing to exact revenge (yet), and no skull supposedly belonging to Gregor Clegane has been delivered to Doran Martell. To loosely quote the Stones, we just can’t get no satisfaction.
This is why bringing a Stark back to Winterfell could be so rewarding. I firmly believe that we are on track to see Sansa exact some tasty revenge, and I think we will see it soon. Instead of a castle full of Freys and Boltons, we’ve only got Boltons plus one Frey…but we do have a particularly nasty piece of work in Myranda. Episode 5 seemed to perfectly set up a rivalry of sorts between Sansa and the kennel master’s daughter. It would be a fitting end for Myranda and Ramsay/Roose/Walda Frey if Sansa took revenge for House Stark’s demise by taking them down. And if it all ended with Sansa being named Wardeness of the North, the revenge would be all the sweeter.
You see, this is the type of streamlining that I can get behind, and as a book purist, support. As was mentioned in Episode 5, the road to King’s Landing and by extension the Iron Throne goes straight through Winterfell, and between Stannis, Sansa, and Brienne, it appears as though we may finally see the good guys win. And that, my friends, would be extremely satisfactory.
Hi, my name is Razor, and I’m a happy book purist.
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Think about all the casting that would need to be done for all the political players.
And beyond that, the show definitely wouldn’t have enough time to build the politics of the vale into anything interesting.
Thank you! And, I agree. There’s no way the Vale and all the politics involved, could have been shown properly in a 10 ep season.
Nice thoughts, but what have you got against Fat Walda Frey? I doubt she had anything to do with the Red Wedding, and is probably just doing what her dad told her to do by marrying Roose. Justice for Fat Walda!
I believe she is a metaphorical dowry cow. Where’s the beef?
I actually think Fat Walda is cartoonish cute, I have nothing against her. But, she’s a Frey, and all Frey’s must die!
My only issue with this plot line is how they just kind of yadayadayada’d over Sansa being wanted for kingslaying in King’s Landing. The bit about how the treaty was with Tywin is dumb. I thought a simple solution was to go a little closer to the books and say that Sansa was Arya. Everyone that actually knew her in the North is probably dead or would keep their mouths shut because they are loyal. No one would figure it out unless Cersei were to cross paths with Sansa.
I can’t tell the Bush or Obama daughters apart so it really isn’t that hard to imagine that anyone else couldn’t remember which one goes to which face to the Stark daughters.
I think LF can tell the Lannisters won’t be in power for long.
Margaery is the current Queen, and she knows Sansa is innocent.
I LOL’d at the Bush/Obama daughter reference. Yes I agree with you that they seemed to white wash that whole Sansa being accused of Kingslaying.
Perhapes Sansa will be the revenge of the Starks but not in a way that will scream righteous. By the time Ramsay is done with her she will be as damaged as her mother, perhaps worse. With those in and around Winterfell who “remember”, her minon could take revenge and hand out justice as Stoneheart does in the books.
I also think Sansa will take on some of the Stoneheart revenge personality/story traits. As much as I want to see Stoneheart, I have a feeling that’s what they’re doing. I only pray that she doesn’t get raped or tortured first!
oh I think Sansa is WAY smarter than Ramsay, his time is coming.
Great article, nicely done – yours are the only articles I look forward to reading here on WIC these days.
Thanks, I appreciate that! I gotta say though, my fellow WiCers are pretty darn good if you give em half a chance. =-)
Las episode set up Sansa’s levers – Ramsey’ s daddy issues, Roose’s impatience with him, his new heir, the jealous girlfriend. Longer term does the series need the Boltons to survive? Not really. If Stannis makes it to KL that will set up a whole new set of conflicts.
It’s great to see a book reader stand up for the show. I am enjoying it because it’s what reading the books use to be; what’s going to happen next?? Where is this going?? Etc…
It’s going to require some well-written scenes to show Sansa manipulating Roose, Ramsay and Myranda but the set up is there.
From what we’ve seen so far, it doesn’t look like Sansa has been schooled enough on the art of manipulation. She seems so vulnerable on all her scenes (Myranda easily made her go to the kennels, she cried in front of the Boltons when Theon apologized, etc). She will probably end up being abused again and saved by someone else (Theon, Brienne, Stannis, the servants), and her story will be less about her and more about someone else again (like when she married Tyrion). A shame, Sansa retaking Winterfell through sheer manipulation and wit could be really EPIC.
I disagree… We cannot forget that there is a book been written, and another one to come after… So there’s no big plot changes NOW… But we are talking about a butterfly effect here… Ok, so Sansa is going to Winterfell… What about the redemption arc of Theon? What about the plotline for Sansa in WINDS OF WINTER? I AGREE that makes sense… But that doesn’t make it a GOOD decision at all…
I like you find myself strangely OK with this separation from the current books. I find myself cheering for Sansa to do some damage and live up to her name.
If you’re happy with Sansa’s changes, you can’t be
much of a book purist. :) Some of them (e.g. “Angry GOT Fan”) were upset that nobody said the line, “Tywin Lannister, in the end, did not sh-t gold.” What did they want, GRRM’s head popping up on the screen to provide narration?
I’m sorry, but no one can justify her being in Winterfell with the Boltons. It depends on what is more important, being happy in a safe haven where she can be protected, or having Winterfell through a marriage to Ramsay Bolton. Winterfell is not worth being married to that devil Ramsay.
I have to admit that as a book fan i really enjoyed the show too, well untill they sent jaime to dorne and untill they mutilated baristan and loras’s stories. I still watch the show because i got attached to moast of the actors( except emillia clark, she’s weak) …in regard to sansa, i think there’s a good reason why she is still in the vale in the books,and the reason is experience thaught me to trust Martin :) , and also that the scope has got so big in the books that it would be impossible for the show to replicate it. Nonetheless i am sure that sansa’s storyline in the books will be better. I just hope book six will come before season six so i wount have to deal with so many spoilers.
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