3.01: Game of Thrones - Valar Dohaeris

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weaver of the unseen
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Jon is brought before Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, while the Night's Watch survivors retreat south. In King's Landing, Tyrion asks for his reward, Littlefinger offers Sansa a way out, and Cersei hosts a dinner for the royal family. Arya runs into the Brotherhood Without Banners. Dany sails into Slaver's Bay.
 
A pretty standard episode, this, but one that sets up the rest of the series well.

I get the feeling that we're going to see more original scenes than in other series, in an effort to keep story arcs going (whilst readers are perfectly happy to not see a character for five hundred pages, television viewers might not be quite as forgiving to not see someone for ten episodes) - in this episode, I estimate that only half of the scenes came directly from the books, and that even fewer of those weren't changed to suit the episode. In fact, Davos on the rocks (a drink made from fermented onions?) is the only scene that I expressly remember happening that way... though Jon Snow meeting Mance was also very familiar.

Still, they work quite well, and they build character relationships that we'd otherwise be waiting until next series for (it's been a while since I read the third book, but I think the Margarey/Cersei interaction doesn't start to become clear until the second part).

One thing I didn't like was Selmy's reveal... but it's understandable - it's hard to recognise a face in text, but on the screen it's impossible not to. All said, part of me has to be glad that we get more BFS then we might have otherwise done!

My favourite part of the episode was Jon and Ygritte's march through the wildling camp, and our first look at a giant.
 
I thought it was great and I may have accidentally now watched it four times :D.

Dany in Astapor and the scenes with Margaery and Joffrey were especially memorable, as well as the scene between Tywin and Tyrion. I'll be interested to see how those arcs develop.

I agree with the above that there will be many original scenes, although I think it will great to show examples of how Margaery comes to be beloved of the common people, leading up to the Tyrell plots and Cersei's...reaction to their growing stronger.

The part I didn't like was the beginning with Sam and the NW. How was he supposed to send the ravens when he was out collecting **** to burn? And where did Ghost and the entirety of the NW come from all of a sudden? And what happened to the White Walkers?
 
Ooooh I loved every minute. And I'm mostly unspoiled since I stopped reading the books. You know it's good when the episode ends and you're thinking, 'Ach, already?'

Dany in Astapor and the scenes with Margaery and Joffrey were especially memorable, as well as the scene between Tywin and Tyrion.

The poor nipple! I still find Dany a bit 2D though, even with her brief concern over the baby-killings. I love Margaery, glad she's getting more screen time.

And what happened to the White Walkers?

I wasn't thinking about it at the time, but now you mention it...Couldn't possibly have been a contrivance to end season 2 on a dramatic cliffhanger, oh no... :rolleyes:
 
Ooooh I loved every minute. And I'm mostly unspoiled since I stopped reading the books. You know it's good when the episode ends and you're thinking, 'Ach, already?'

I know, right? When Selmy introduced himself I was thinking we were about to switch back to Beyond-the-Wall. Didn't feel like nearly an hour at all!

The poor nipple! I still find Dany a bit 2D though, even with her brief concern over the baby-killings. I love Margaery, glad she's getting more screen time.

Yeah. I'm concerned with Dany's arc in that regard. So much awesome stuff happens, as one might expect with all these great cities, armies of eunuchs, Selmy and dragons and so on. But Dany is merely the glue that holds the awesome together, and has not had any memorable awesome moments of her own since season one. I felt this particularly strongly when she was standing on the ship saying "not fast enough". It was just kinda bland. I hope they give Emilia some good scenes to show off her talent this season because the Drowned God knows she has it in abundance.

I wasn't thinking about it at the time, but now you mention it...Couldn't possibly have been a contrivance to end season 2 on a dramatic cliffhanger, oh no... :rolleyes:

Starting season two with an all-out battle between the NW and the WW would have been epic. But they definitely wrote themselves into corner finishing S2 that way only to give the lame answer of "Sam ran away and the WW disappeared". Still, I budget constraints and all that, I don't blame that for it.
 
Yeah. I'm concerned with Dany's arc in that regard. So much awesome stuff happens, as one might expect with all these great cities, armies of eunuchs, Selmy and dragons and so on. But Dany is merely the glue that holds the awesome together, and has not had any memorable awesome moments of her own since season one. I felt this particularly strongly when she was standing on the ship saying "not fast enough". It was just kinda bland. I hope they give Emilia some good scenes to show off her talent this season because the Drowned God knows she has it in abundance.

I agree with all of this! The end of season one was great for her character but then she just dissolved into 'Mother of Dragons' mode and it was just a bit urgh. I want to see a bit more personality/humanity, writers! I know anyone's better than the Lannisters but give me a reason to want Dany on the throne other than it was stolen from her...

Starting season two with an all-out battle between the NW and the WW would have been epic. But they definitely wrote themselves into corner finishing S2 that way only to give the lame answer of "Sam ran away and the WW disappeared". Still, I budget constraints and all that, I don't blame that for it.

It's a bit of a cop out, but they've got so much to handle I'll forgive them. As long as they keep delivering the goods. :D
 
The part I didn't like was the beginning with Sam and the NW. How was he supposed to send the ravens when he was out collecting **** to burn? And where did Ghost and the entirety of the NW come from all of a sudden? And what happened to the White Walkers?


You don't witness the much fight with the white walkers in the books either. IIRC, You only get little bits from sam's point of view as flashbacks while they're running back to the wall...now what I don't recall is if he managed to send the raven or not. I remember him writing and rewriting the letter multiple times, not sure if he ever managed to send it though.

I'm not sure that was ghost or not...Ghost should be with Jon in the wildling camp. anyone remember the end of last season...was ghost with jon when he kills the halfhand? I know he was in the books,as ghost helps jon in the fight, but I don't recall seeing it on screen...
 
The title of the episode is Valar Dohaeris, which is High Valyrian for "all men must serve." I can see how this was appropriate for Jon, Sam, Bronn, Ser Meryn, Pod, Jorah, Shae, Roz, BFS, and mostly for Tyrion. But to include that title and not include Arya was a let down for me.

The highlight of the episode was Tyrion's meeting with his father. I just love Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. When I watch him, I think that GRRM should have described him as Charles Dance looks. Poor Tyrion.

The BFS story has been rewritten without Strong Belwas and Arsten Whitebeard.

Ghost is obviously with Sam, but in the books he was present when Jon met Mance's court.

And did you like Jon's explanation of the Old Bear's ambivalence to Craster's evil or did you prefer Jon's story in the books?

Lenny, I also agree regarding the original scenes. To keep the various plots moving through the growing number of POVs from the books, the show will put more and more POV characters together in original or changed scenes.
 
I agree with all of this! The end of season one was great for her character but then she just dissolved into 'Mother of Dragons' mode and it was just a bit urgh. I want to see a bit more personality/humanity, writers! I know anyone's better than the Lannisters but give me a reason to want Dany on the throne other than it was stolen from her...

It's going to take a lot for the writers to keep the audience interested in Dany and her storyline for several years to come, especially when not a whole lot happens in that time.


The title of the episode is Valar Dohaeris, which is High Valyrian for "all men must serve." I can see how this was appropriate for Jon, Sam, Bronn, Ser Meryn, Pod, Jorah, Shae, Roz, BFS, and mostly for Tyrion. But to include that title and not include Arya was a let down for me.

The highlight of the episode was Tyrion's meeting with his father. I just love Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. When I watch him, I think that GRRM should have described him as Charles Dance looks. Poor Tyrion.

The BFS story has been rewritten without Strong Belwas and Arsten Whitebeard.

Ghost is obviously with Sam, but in the books he was present when Jon met Mance's court.

And did you like Jon's explanation of the Old Bear's ambivalence to Craster's evil or did you prefer Jon's story in the books?

Lenny, I also agree regarding the original scenes. To keep the various plots moving through the growing number of POVs from the books, the show will put more and more POV characters together in original or changed scenes.

I think the title of the episode was just a throwback to the title of the last episode of season two, rather than anything particularly related to serving.

I really liked Jon's reasoning there. I don't reckon we can truly appreciate Jon's feelings about his bastardy without his POV like in the books. So on screen, his reasons did need to tie in more closely with his eventual reasoning for allying with the wildlings against the WW.
 
The title of the episode is Valar Dohaeris, which is High Valyrian for "all men must serve." I can see how this was appropriate for Jon, Sam, Bronn, Ser Meryn, Pod, Jorah, Shae, Roz, BFS, and mostly for Tyrion. But to include that title and not include Arya was a let down for me.

The highlight of the episode was Tyrion's meeting with his father. I just love Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. When I watch him, I think that GRRM should have described him as Charles Dance looks. Poor Tyrion.

The BFS story has been rewritten without Strong Belwas and Arsten Whitebeard.

Ghost is obviously with Sam, but in the books he was present when Jon met Mance's court.

And did you like Jon's explanation of the Old Bear's ambivalence to Craster's evil or did you prefer Jon's story in the books?

Lenny, I also agree regarding the original scenes. To keep the various plots moving through the growing number of POVs from the books, the show will put more and more POV characters together in original or changed scenes.

I'm with you on the 'missing Arya' feeling Boaz. I foolishly let that title get my hopes up.

In answer to your question, I preferred Jon's original reasons for joining as described in the book and also liked the Halfhand death scene more there too. I understand why they've changed it as they want the audience to wonder which side Jon is really on, with the limited time available for them to do so. Which makes it all the weirder that Ghost isn't with him, which makes no sense to me at all.

I missed Sam the Slayer too. That encounter in the books had a profound impact on him and how he was viewed by the Nights Watch but TV Sam hasn't got that now.

Charles Dance is truly awesome isn't he? He's been given some wonderful lines and scenes to dominate proceedings but he's just nailing Tywin's character utterly. Hard to believe fans were questioning the choice when he was cast.

What did you think of Joffrey in this episode? Did we have a sneak at some form of character progression or was he just pretending to care about his bride's charitable acts, as he was with Sansa in series 1? Either way, Cersei's face after his "age" crack was a picture of frustration.

The Harrenhal scene was interesting as well. I don't know how that randomly unfortunate Mallister got there but I suppose he reminded audiences of Cat's relations which will lead into future episodes, but it was a bit weakly done. Also finding Qyburn among the corpses and saving him?? It'll give the book fans fits! Thapphireths! :)
 
A good season opening as far as I'm concerned. I think that we may see Dany snapping out of that hysterical, childish "WITH FIRE AND BLOOD!" attitude and becoming more serious and calculated.

Also, Sansa's scene <3 I loved it, and I loved her attitude. She was a spoiled brat in the first season, slowly matured over the course of the second, and I hope we'll see a more calculated and smarter Sansa in the third. To be honest I forgot how she was portrayed in the third book.
 
I hope they give Emilia some good scenes to show off her talent this season because the Drowned God knows she has it in abundance.

The...talents...that we saw at the end of Season 1 would be more than welcome to return. :D

Great start, though. It was designed to set the season up and it did.

Jon and Mance was excellent. Margaery is already fantastic.

But Tyrion and Tywin - absolutely fantastic scene. If Tyrion isn't the greatest character ever then I'm not ridiculously good looking.

With The Walking Dead now finished for the season it's great to have GoT to jump into. Unfortunately, I have to now wait 5 days until the next episode :(
 
I was like a child at Christmas when it came on. I knew it would eventually move slightly from the text bit still I wouldn't change a thing well that's not true Semlys reveal I would of changed and dragged it out a bit.

Isn't GRRM a part of the creative team for the series? or is that just one episode a season? I love to hate Joffery and Cersi. I can't wait to se how the season continues and if they keep some of the really amazing bits from the text in it.

PS does anyone else get over excited when they see posters on Billboards and adverts on TV?
 
Enjoyed it, too - felt a bit short, though. :)

And did you like Jon's explanation of the Old Bear's ambivalence to Craster's evil or did you prefer Jon's story in the books?

Wasn't the original explanation because he wanted Winterfell? That was a good reason for Mance and unique to Jon - after all, might Mance have also known about Craster?

However, I figure a TV audience wouldn't easily understand if Jon was lying and being duplicitous, and that there would be little time to explain this (there being no sympathetic characters he could tell this to). In which case, it was reason enough without undermining Jon's character.
 

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