Anatomy of a Throne: “The Children”
By Marc N. Kleinhenz on in Editorial.

HBO’s Game of Thrones brandishes a consistent and high degree of fidelity to the nearly 5,000-page-long source material of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, but there still, of course, are differences. While most of these gaps from the page to the screen are small and detail-oriented, it is nonetheless the case that the most subtle discrepancies often hold the biggest insight into the adaptation process, into the demands of filmmaking, and into the rigors of the literary narrative.


This, then, is the anatomy of a key scene of Thrones – not because of its dramatic importance or visual effects whizbangery, but because of the telling nature of its realization.

 

Episode: “The Children” (410)
Scene: Tyrion’s rescue

In A Storm of Swords, Tyrion Lannister’s escape has an urgent, emotionally charged quality to it that is wholly absent from Game of Thrones’s rendition. This is partially due, of course, to the fact that this is the first time the Imp has been reunited with his brother, Ser Jaime, since the first novel – meaning that all of the various conversations that have been expanded and allowed to breath over the past nine weeks in the HBO series are combined together in one super-condensed exchange.

But it’s also largely due to the actual contents of the loaded conversation. This fateful exchange turns out to be the last straw for Tyrion, serving as fuel on a long-smoldering fire and as motivation for him to commit murder – twice. It easily becomes the centerpiece of the chapter, specifically, and Tyrion’s character arc from the first three books, generally.

And the show cut it.

 

Spoiling for a Fight

Although the dialogue that is held between Tyrion and Jaime doesn’t provide much, if any, spoilers for future developments (up until the end of book five, at least – the gods only know what awaits in volumes six and seven), and although it is extremely unlikely that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss will end up tackling the information in a future episode (much like the prophecies from the House of the Undying [“Valar Morghulis,” episode 210] or Tyrion’s revelation at King Joffrey’s wedding feast [“The Lion and the Rose,” 402], it would seem that this will be the latest casualty in the adaptation process), we are still going to put a spoiler warning up for all those Unsullied readers who wish to remain well and truly unspoiled. Worry not, however – we will continue with the “spoiler”-free article in the very next section.

When Tyrion thanks his now-disabled brother for saving his life, Jaime is strangely emotionally distant, talking only of debts owed. Tyrion, sensing that something is terribly amiss, presses him to confess the source of his discomfort:

”Tyrion…”

Jaime is afraid. “Tell me,” Tyrion said again.

His brother looked away. “Tysha,” he said softly.

“Tysha?” His stomach tightened. “What of her?”

“She was no whore. I never bought her for you. That was a lie that Father commanded me to tell. Tysha was… she was what she seemed to be. A croft’s daughter, chance met on the road.”

Viewers would be especially forgiven if they don’t immediately recall Tysha Lannister, Tyrion’s first wife from his very impressionable youth – she’s been mentioned only two or three times across four years, and the original explanation of his marriage and almost immediate divorce happened a staggering 31 episodes ago (“Baelor,” 109). (And, even here, in this first instance, Tysha’s story is watered down: in the series, Tyrion says that he was forced to watch as a whole garrison of Lannister guardsmen had sex with her, paying her a silver coin each; in the books, Tyrion himself is forced to go last, paying a gold coin, for a Lannister is worth more than an average man.) It is perhaps because of this that the showrunners were tempted to excise it altogether from “The Children.”

Tyrion angrily leaves Jaime, the only member of his family that he ever had any love for, behind in the dungeons, but not before getting his vengeance: he tells his sweet brother of all of Cersei’s sexual indiscretions (which, in the show, is reduced to only their cousin, Lancel Lannister [“Fire and Blood,” 110]) and “admits” to being the one who poisoned Joffrey, Jaime’s firstborn son. The siblings depart, then, on the worst possible grounds, with Jaime believing that he has helped free a murderer and Tyrion concluding that there is no one in the world who truly cares for him.

 

The Spider Factor

Note: all potential spoilers have now come to an end.

Beyond shortchanging the scene’s characterization, Weiss and Benioff’s changes also undercut its logistics and, therefore, its believability.

On the page, Lord Varys, the Master of Whisperers, is an active participant in the Imp’s escape: he doses the turnkeys’ wine with sweetsleep, is disguised as an impoverished septon, and personally escorts him through the miles and miles of twists and turns and locked doors. When they reach a particular chamber that Tyrion has heard about before – thanks, ironically enough, to Shae, who was smuggled in this way to secretly meet with Tyrion in his very own bedchambers during his days as Hand of the King – the Imp realizes that he has the opportunity to pay his lord father a visit and to thank him for the betrayal that Ser Jaime had just informed him of. Varys tries to talk him out of it, but there is no stopping a dwarf who is freshly filled with righteous anger; the Spider is bid to wait there instead, which he dutifully does.

Without the presence of the eunuch, Tyrion’s masterful navigating of the Red Keep’s labyrinth of secret passageways is nonsensical, at the least, and comical, at the best. How was he informed of their existence? How did he know one would actually lead to the Hand’s suite, particularly since, unlike in the novels, it was never utilized on-screen before?

And, most perplexing of all, how precisely did he know how to make his way from the dungeons to the Tower of the Hand?

 

Rhyme and Reason

The only likely explanation for the series’s alterations resides with that ever-present and incessantly pesky thorn in the producers’ side known as production concerns, which tends to go hand-in-hand with its faithful companion, screen time. Either finding a suitable location or constructing a series of sets for Tyrion and Varys’s flight through the depths of the castle quite simply would cost too much money, particularly considering the amount of time that the footage would occupy in the finished episode. Simply having Varys show up at the very tag of the sequence was simpler to shoot, simpler to write, and, perhaps most importantly of all, simpler for the audience at home to understand – or so the executive producers thought.

The reality is that it wouldn’t have necessarily been any more time- or resource-consuming to include Varys in the dungeon below instead of just having him in his chambers. Utilizing the streamlined storytelling methodology that Game of Thrones prefers, Tyrion could have paused and asked the Spider which direction the Tower of the Hand is in. Varys could point out the way, ask him to reconsider what he was about to do, and then be summarily ignored. Once the Imp’s killing spree was concluded, he could come right back to the spot where he left his eunuch companion, and then we could have cut to the same exact footage of Varys boxing him up. Although still not the most logical depiction, it would have been on the same level as, say, having Tyrion and the sellsword Bronn walking on foot – as opposed to riding on horseback – from the Vale to the Riverlands (“You Win or You Die,” 107).

Strangely enough, the significant change in motivation for Lord Tywin Lannister’s and, more especially, Shae’s deaths is nowhere near as impactful, even though it does result in the unfortunate impression for the average viewer that Tyrion is something of a cold-blooded murderer (the fact that Tywin had it coming notwithstanding, of course); there is, after all, two further seasons with which to explore the depths of the dwarf’s feelings and rationale on this front. But the amount of backtracking it would take to retconn Tyrion’s sudden master knowledge of King’s Landing, unfortunately, would be too forced, too immense, and too expository for Benioff and Weiss to tackle.

 

My Future Work

I’ve enjoyed my time here at the site and would like to whole-heartedly thank each and every one of you for the warm reception that Anatomy of a Throne has received each and every week. It is precisely because of this that both the column and I will be back next season.

In the meantime, if you’d like to keep up with my various literary escapades and nerd shenanigans, I have just been named the co-editor-in-chief of FanSided’s newest site, Dork Side of the Force. Our grand ambition there is to change the name of Star Wars coverage, and though implementing that will be a slow, steady, and, more than likely, painful process, it should be an exciting journey to take with us. I hope to see you all there.

Additionally, my oft-delayed ebook covering Game of Thrones’s third season – which will contain some exclusive Anatomy of a Throne articles – should be up at Amazon within the next few weeks. It’s called It Is Known: An Analysis of Thrones, Vol. III, and I expect it to be a nerdfest and a half.

Furthermore, a number of us from Tower of the Hand are already talking about doing a special season four release, also set within the It Is Known series, to help dull the pain of Game of Thrones withdrawal. If it materializes, look for it sometime next month – and, yes, we’ll have an announcement/excerpt of some kind here at WIC.

Finally, I’m not quite done with Winter Is Coming – not just yet. Zack Luye and I have been kicking around certain feature ideas, some of which I hope can be implemented within the next month and some which will have to wait ‘til the fall. Either way, they should be a blast, and I hope they’ll help push the envelope of Winter Is Coming’s Game of Thrones coverage and analysis.

Until then, valar morghulis.

 

Previous Installments

Episode 201: “The North Remembers”
Episode 203: “What Is Dead May Never Die”
Episode 207: “A Man without Honor”
Episode 209: “Blackwater”
Episode 210: “Valar Morghulis”
Episode 304: “And Now His Watch Is Ended”
Episode 305: “Kissed by Fire”
Episode 309: “The Rains of Castamere”
Episode 401: “Two Swords”
Episode 402: “The Lion and the Rose”
Episode 403: “Breaker of Chains”
Episode 404: “Oathkeeper”
Episode 405: “First of His Name”
Episode 406: “The Laws of Gods and Men”
Episode 407: “Mockingbird”
Episode 408: “The Mountain and the Viper”

Marc N. Kleinhenz is the features editor for Tower of the Hand and a freelancer who has written for a total of 24 sites. Some of his non-Game of Thrones work includes theme park analysis and interviews with Batman writers and artists.


46 Comments

  1. Rickon
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Hodor

  2. Shock Me
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    In fairness, the show does have a map provided by Varys prior to the Blackwater that shows secret passages. In fact, one of these secret passages was used by Tyrion in the show to sally out behind the Baratheon forces attacking the Mud Gate.

  3. Wiley Wolf
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    ShowShae essentially replaces Tysha for the purposes of Tywin’s murder. I think this explains why they made Shae more sympathetic and made Tyrion and Shae’s relationship a mutually loving one (if not a tad disfunctional).

    For the purposes of adaptation, it would be very odd if Tyrion was always talking about Tysha on-screen (something you would need to do in order to have Jaime’s confession have any impact). Tysha works great in the books because we are in Tyrion’s head. That kind of intimate knowledge is a great advantage for novels not shared by movies of television.

    Tyrion going after Tywin in the show is motivated not just by Shae, but also by the death sentence. Tywin knows that Tyrion didn’t do it, but he doesn’t care.

    To me, this seemed like a very solid adaptation of Tyrion’s escape, though it does minimize the involvement of Varys somewhat. The biggest real difference is that Jaime and Tyrion leave on good terms (of course, Jaime did free a murderer, he just won’t know it until the morning).

  4. Dame of Mercia
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Mr K for an insightful post. I was expecting the Tysha reveal and the coming of a certain hooded lady but I still enjoyed the finale, though I’m in shock about Jojen’s death. I started on the books after last year’s season ended and am still playing catch-up. I was trying to go the library route but the books are so popular that they are always booked well in advance for library loan.

    Some of the changes from book to screen haven’t bothered me. Please believe me, I don’t want to offend any long-time lovers of the books here, but I personally preferred the quick manner in which the death of Maester Cresson was dealt with on the TV show to the longer way it was handled in “A Clash of Kings”. When I encountered the Tysha reveal [should that be revelation?] my feeling was sadness more than anything else. Mind you, even without that plot point, Tywin had treated Tyrion in such a way on both the show and in the books to try the patience of a saint (I know long-term book-readers say, not incorrectly, that TV Tyrion is not as dark a character as book Tyrion). I never thought TV Tyrion was a plaster saint myself. I’ve waxed lyrical about one particular change I didn’t like on other threads so won’t go into that again now.

    I’ve sometimes thought – and have said before – ASOIAF would make a good radio series. That method of presentation might allow some of the subtleties and nuances of the novels be conveyed more than the medium of TV. It would have to be done a novel at a time I guess. Mind you if HBO have the adaptation rights I can’t really see them letting any other company handle the story albeit in a different medium.

    Will look forward to your future work Mr K. I did try to sign up for Tower of the Hand – oh it seems like it was back in the dark ages now, but can only have been last year, because I came late to the party where “Game of Thrones” is concerned, but the site wouldn’t let me sign in!!!!! Didn’t want the likes of me though I don’t know why.

  5. fuelpagan
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Wiley Wolf: To me, this seemed like a very solid adaptation of Tyrion’s escape, though it does minimize the involvement of Varys somewhat.

    Only on the surface was Varys involvement minimized. It wasn’t a coincidence that Tywin had to use the privy in the middle of the night. ;)

  6. Bran the Muffin
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I respect your opinion, but I don’t agree on some points.

    Many book readers seem to have this opinion that Tyrion really has no reason to seek out and confront his father without the whole Tysha backstory. IMO the book is a bit contrived for having Jamie come clean about Tysha at that time and in that place. There are more pressing matters like saying goodbye and escaping without getting killed or caught.

    In the show Tyrion has more than enough reason to kill his father without the added fuel of Tysha.

    1) his father has hated him all his life.
    2) his father sentenced him to death knowing full well he was innocent.
    3) his father blamed him for the death of Tyrion’s mother.

    So Tyrion decided to confront dad. I’m not even sure he was planning on killing him at that point. Instead he finds Shae in Tywins bed.

    4) his father is sleeping with Shae who he loved. More Betrayal.

    In the ensuing chaos of the unexpected meeting, Tyrion kills Shae which he can directly attribute to his father.

    At this point he grabs a weapon from the wall and continues to seek out his father. He finds Tywin in the privy and they have a conversation.

    5) His father states that he wanted him dead.

    Even at this late hour the show watchers are still unsure that Tyrion will actually kill his father. It wasn’t until Tywin calls Shae a whore (a subtle nod to Tysha) that Tyrion pulls the trigger and shoots his dad.

    I think for most people stressed and fighting for survival, that would be plenty of reason to pull the trigger.

  7. The Watcher
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Bran the Muffin,

    I completely agree. you could also add that in the course of sentencing Tyrion to death, his father orchestrated possibly his greatest ever humiliation, that of Shae’s testimony. He’s got a lot of cause for anger.

  8. ArgonathofBraavos
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    That’s it? The bulk of this analysis focuses on the question: “How does Tyrion know about the secret tunnels?”

    The answer to that question, in the show-verse, can be very simple (and not nonsensical at all). He knows! He’s a smart and curious dwarf, who’s spent a lot of time in KL without significant responsibilities (prior to becoming Hand) and he’s learned all about the castle’s secrets. There’s no need to explain this for the audience. To them, Tyrion happens to know about these secret ways, and that’s all that matters.

    Since season 1, GoT has been building to this moment when Tyrion decides to confront his father. One would think a more nuanced analysis was in order…

  9. A flayed man none.
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion doesn’t seem like a cold blooded murderer. We’ ve been feeling his pain since the first episode. “All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes.”

    Similarly, the show doesn’t need to concern itself with the logistics of labyrinths it has never introduced. Varys may make use of secret passages in the books, but we haven’t seen that in the show. Only if you’ve read the books does Tyrion’s emergence in the Hand’s chamber raise a brow. And since that was Tyrion’s chamber before, it’s really just the kind of contention that change-resistant readers would identify.

  10. ArgonathofBraavos
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Bran the Muffin:
    I respect your opinion, but I don’t agree on some points.

    Many book readers seem to have this opinion that Tyrion really has no reason to seek out and confront his father without the whole Tysha backstory.IMO the book is a bit contrived for having Jamie come clean about Tysha at that time and in that place.There are more pressing matters like saying goodbye and escaping without getting killed or caught.

    In the show Tyrion has more than enough reason to kill his father without the added fuel of Tysha.

    1) his father has hated him all his life.
    2) his father sentenced him to death knowing full well he was innocent.
    3) his father blamed him for the death of Tyrion’s mother.

    So Tyrion decided to confront dad.I’m not even sure he was planning on killing him at that point.Instead he finds Shae in Tywins bed.

    4) his father is sleeping with Shae who he loved.More Betrayal.

    In the ensuing chaos of the unexpected meeting, Tyrion kills Shae which he can directly attribute to his father.

    At this point he grabs a weapon from the wall and continues to seek out his father.He finds Tywin in the privy and they have a conversation.

    5) His father states that he wanted him dead.

    Even at this late hour the show watchers are still unsure that Tyrion will actually kill his father.It wasn’t until Tywin calls Shae a whore (a subtle nod to Tysha) that Tyrion pulls the trigger and shoots his dad.

    I think for most people stressed and fighting for survival, that would be plenty of reason to pull the trigger.

    Well said. I have been harping on these very points since the finale, and have found just a few sympathetic ears. Great to see that some of us book readers are able to separate the TV and book universe, and analyze the former with a clear eye.

  11. Dev F
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Wiley Wolf:
    ShowShae essentially replaces Tysha for the purposes of Tywin’s murder. I think this explains why they made Shae more sympathetic and made Tyrion and Shae’s relationship a mutually loving one (if not a tad disfunctional).

    I think it’s actually the other way around: the fact that Tyrion and Shae’s relationship was more loving explains why they couldn’t include the Tysha revelation.

    In the novels, Tysha and Shae are essentially polar opposite characters. Shae is the gold-digging whore whom Tyrion deceives himself into believing is his true love, while Tysha is the true love Tyrion was duped into believing was a gold-digging whore. In the show, adding the Tysha revelation would render them essentially the same character: the woman who genuinely loved Tyrion but whom Tywin turned (back) into a whore. Once Shae is already serving that purpose, revealing that Tysha also served that purpose becomes redundant.

    More than redundant, in fact, because it shifts the focus of the story from Tyrion’s current travails onto some random event in his past. In the books it wasn’t random, because the Tysha deception explains how Tyrion got so twisted around that he couldn’t tell a materialistic whore from a genuine admirer — in other words, Tysha is at the root of why Tyrion’s in his current predicament in the first place. But if show-Tyrion doesn’t have a problem telling real love from pretend love, because Shae was his real love, the Tysha revelation doesn’t explain anything except that Tywin once did something really awful to his son, which we already know from the awful things he’s doing to him right now.

  12. Wiley Wolf
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Dev F,

    That is an excellent point – the relationship with Shae on the show would have actually undercut the Tysha reveal.

    I think that this Anatomy article misses the mark – though I’ve enjoyed the others!

  13. Ludo
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    How does Tyrion know about the secret tunnel ?

    If I remember well, Varys gives him the map of the tunnels of King’s Landing in the “Blackwater” episode in season 2.

  14. ArgonathofBraavos
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Dev F: I think it’s actually the other way around: the fact that Tyrion and Shae’s relationship was more loving explains why they couldn’t include the Tysha revelation.

    In the novels, Tysha and Shae are essentially polar opposite characters. Shae is the gold-digging whore whom Tyrion deceives himself into believing is his true love, while Tysha is the true love Tyrion was duped into believing was a gold-digging whore. In the show, adding the Tysha revelation would render them essentially the same character: the woman who genuinely loved Tyrion but whom Tywin turned (back) into a whore. Once Shae is already serving that purpose, revealing that Tysha also served that purpose becomes redundant.

    More than redundant, in fact, because it shifts the focus of the story from Tyrion’s current travails onto some random event in his past. In the books it wasn’t random, because the Tysha deception explains how Tyrion got so twisted around that he couldn’t tell a materialistic whore from a genuine admirer — in other words, Tysha is at the root of why Tyrion’s in his current predicament in the first place. But if show-Tyrion doesn’t have a problem telling real love from pretend love, because Shae was his real love, the Tysha revelation doesn’t explain anything except that Tywin once did something really awful to his son, which we already know from the awful things he’s doing to him right now.

    Exactly. IMO, this is so obvious that it almost hurts to have to keep repeating it!

  15. A Man Grown
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Agreed with your disappointment in the scene. I was expecting the Tyrion scenes to be the showstopper of the finale, but it turned out the best part of the finale by far was Brienne/Arya/Hound. It seemed like D&D brought everything they had to that sequence, then rushed the rest.

  16. FictionIsntReal
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    On the show, Jaime says Varys helped him break Tyrion out. We don’t need the details of him knocking out guards.

  17. LittleFlower
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
  18. Maverick
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I think Tysha is a really bad shaggydog story. The ironic comedy that Tyrion was forced to rape his whore wife who turns out not to be a whore. speaking of Shaggydog, I wonder what will happen with Rickon after being MIA with his Shaggydog for 2 whole books?

  19. ArgonathofBraavos
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    IMO, the best part of the finale was the Tyrion-Tywin showstopper. I am sullied, but every unsullied I watched it with, and have spoken with since, were absolutely floored by the Tyrion-Tywin-Shae material.

    I personally feel strongly that knowledge of the Tysha material from the books is the primary thing blocking people’s appreciation for this scene. But based on how the show developed Tyrion and Shae, it would have been completely out of place in the show.

    This is an example of an excellent adaptation choice, and we gripe about how Tyrion knew about the secret passageways, and that there wasn’t enought reason for him to want to kill Tywin? This is fandom at its most insane. The scenes work, and work exceptionally well.

  20. TOIVA
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I agree with all those before me pointing out the show rendition does make a lot of sense (as an Unsullied, despite reading the ‘mild potential spoilers’ in the post, I can’t thoroughly compare it to the books, so I won’t say it’s better or worse).

    Tyrion knows his way around because he was studying old maps of King’s Lading a good part of Season 2 (some provided by Varys even).

    Tyrion finds Shae in Tywin’s bed. The struggle leads to him strangling her. Whether he originally wanted to kill Tywin or not (it still seemed to me like he was pursuing his thirst for knowledge first: Why did Tywin sentence him to death despite knowing he didn’t kill Joffrey, …?), now he’s fallen to the ‘dark side’. Now he definitely wants to kill Tywin, one of the very good reasons being Shae.

    And speaking of the Jaime/Tyrion relationship: Jaime already knows Tyrion didn’t kill Joffrey. If Tyrion (after the Tysha story) started telling the opposite, it would be for the least confusing. And the effect of Jaime having remorse from freeing Tyrion will, I believe, come with Jaime finding out about Tywin (despite hardly loving his father, he’ll see his brother is a killer after all).

    So, yes, it does make sense to me.

    If that change is the reason of so many people being angry at the finale, well, it seems to me as a greatly exagerated reaction. Adding the Tysha talk described in the post wouldn’t make much sense in the show continuum, I fear.

  21. ArgonathofBraavos
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Shock Me:
    In fairness, the show does have a map provided by Varys prior to the Blackwater that shows secret passages. In fact, one of these secret passages was used by Tyrion in the show to sally out behind the Baratheon forces attacking the Mud Gate.

    Ah, I forgot about that. Yes, the secret way out at the Mud Gate was an actual example of Tyrion knowing the ins and outs of KL’s secrets. And then, of course, we have Varys’ map-sharing. But there’s nothing preventing an audience from believing that Tyrion has obtained significant knowledge of the Red Keep’s secrets off-screen. Just because we don’t see it all happen, doesn’t mean it didn’t. And given Tyrion’s established character as a very curious and intelligent man, it makes perfect sense that he would have gotten to know the Keep’s many architectural secrets. IMO, this has to be the most misguided of criticisms yet…

  22. Khal-A-Bunga
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    The answers to your issues in this ‘anatomy’ have already been handled readily by other posters here. Not a very well thought out iteration in what has generally been a very good series here at WiC.

    I’d also add that, in season two, Varys provides Tyrion with a map of the tunnel systems underneath King’s Landing, and since he was constantly worrying about Shae being discovered in his chambers, it stands to reason that he would have familiarized himself with the network of tunnels should he need her to escape the Keep, or should he himself need to escape.

    The idea that Tysha is a necessary component of Tyrion going to confront his father is also kind of ridiculous. I know that if someone had put me through the things Tywin has put Tyrion through, I’d have more than enough reason to want to pay some ‘last respects’.

    Finally, if this is indeed the last time Jaime & Tyrion will see one another (which I believe it is), then it makes sense to play their parting the way that the writers did. Why sully their final moments together with a character we’ve never met? Especially since it felt a bit strenuous (in terms of logic) for Jaime to bring this up when he did in the novel.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love that scene in the books. But without the inner-monologues from the characters, it would have been prohibitively difficult to give this scene the same weight in the show without constantly referencing Tysha and undermining Tyrion’s relationship with Shae (who is very much a presence in both the book and the series).

  23. TOIVA
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I forgot to mention, however, that despite disagreeing with this particular post, I enjoyed reading this ‘Anatomy of a Throne’ series.

    I kinda like those comparisons of the show to the books (provided they’re not spoilery, or very mildly, anyway).

    Looking forward to more reading from you here, Marc.

  24. Rillion
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    As for Tyrion’s knowledge of the secret tunnels, that could have been expained with a three second clip placed in the previously on segment, just show the scene of the Spider showing him the map of secret tunnels from before the battle of the blackwater.

  25. Kisses
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    As hand and overall pretty smart guy, Tyrion would know the tunnels…I am still way more upset about the other thing (sighP

  26. Jorge Tuero
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Has Ciaran Hinds had a facial palsy or is it just great acting on his part?

  27. Grey Ghost
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    An excellent read as usual. Thank you, I needed that. I still don’t know how to feel tbh. I love this world and this show. But…

    It will never be as good as the books while they hack n slash at it in the manner that they are. Season 1 prompted me to read 5 books, ffs. Season 4 has me waiting for that WoW release date, and praying I get my hands upon it, before Season 5 commences.

    I don’t mind getting spoiled, but not badly or incompletely. So yeah, I really don’t know what to do.

    95% of this episode was absolutely top notch, but the other 5% ruins all the hard work put in. Acting, writing, set design, costume, choreography, and all the other stuff, being undermined by nothing more than structure. I’m just some dood at home, yet I feel I coulda planned this out a lot better.

    Uh. I also feel like I’m ranting which I don’t wanna do. I’m grateful this show even exists. And happy you’ll be back for more of these next season. :)

    Oh, and btw…

    Where do ‘ores go?

  28. Grey Ghost
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    ps.. these suggestions that Tyrion would know the map by heart are kinda silly. He used it to circumvent The Mud Gate, two seasons ago. I doubt he had reason to examine and memorize the labyrinth of tunnels (on various levels) beneath The Red Keep.

  29. ArgonathofBraavos
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Grey Ghost:
    ps.. these suggestions that Tyrion would know the map by heart are kinda silly. He used it to circumvent The Mud Gate, two seasons ago. I doubt he had reason to examine and memorize the labyrinth of tunnels (on various levels) beneath The Red Keep.

    How long had the Lannisters been living in the Red Keep? Tyrion, a curious sort, had years and years to learn the tunnels. And in the show universe, it’s not necessarily a “labyrinth of tunnels.” All the audience knows is that there is a secret passageway leading from the dungeons to the Tower of the Hand. Plain and simple.

    This gripe can only arise from knowledge of the Red Keep as described in the books. It has nothing to do with the internal consistency of the show.

  30. Grey Ghost
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    ArgonathofBraavos,

    Cba with opinion tennis. Got bored of that years ago. I don’t think it was anywhere near as good as it coulda been, and that opinion will not change. I’m fully aware of all those out there with a differing one.

    I ain’t saying the show is bad. I never have. Besides True Detective its the best thing on tv by faaaar.

    But shit compared to the books.

  31. Fancy word for a sellsword
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Jorge Tuero,

    Bell’s Palsy, and no.

  32. Marc N. Kleinhenz
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m genuinely happy to hear that the sequence in question works so well for non-literary fans; I was honestly afraid that it would seem somehow out of place or otherwise inexplicable.

    Overall, I’m extraordinarily happy with how “Game of Thrones” has played out over the past four years, and I even feel that, in some places, the show’s narrative proceeds much more smoothly — and, perhaps, much more soundly — than does George’s (he is in desperate need of an editor, much more so than other authors, despite all his storytelling brilliance).

    However, with that said, there are a small handful of instances where I truly feel the showrunners have dropped the ball, in ways either gigantic or minute (which, in turn, affects all the rest of the production, like the after-effects of an earthquake [which is why we're discussing highly specific details in these articles]). This sequence, for me, is certainly one of them.

    One last note: to look at the totality of my work on this site and then to dismiss me as a “book extremist” due to one single article that you may dislike is absurd in the extreme. With this type of knee-jerk reactionism, it’s easy to see how our current political climate is so caustic. =(

  33. Jorge Tuero
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Fancy word for a sellsword,

    Thanks. Great face acting then, I guess. Kudos to him.

  34. Squealy
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Go back and watch the scene again. Jamie and Tyrion are trying to make a hasty escape. Would it really make any sense for him to stop and confess this long-buried secret to Tyrion in the middle of it? There would have had to be a bunch of exposition to remind viewers what the hell they were talking about. A suspenseful scene like this has to move forward, not stop for a trip to the past.

    I agree with whoever said above that the confession is a total contrivance on Martin’s part anyway. And since Tyrion has plenty of other reasons to confront his father, why is it needed? The outcome is exactly the same.

  35. Kisses
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Plus wouldn’t this scene make Jamie seem evil as shit to have been complacent in this (even as a teenager). I am a book reader, but I loved the bro love at the end, rather than the hatred.

  36. ArgonathofBraavos
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Marc,

    I greatly appreciate your work so far, and have followed your analysis religiously (in lurk mode for most of it). And to clarify, I do not group you in among “book extremists.” However, reading between the lines of your critique, particularly in regards to the “How did Tyrion know how to navigate the secret tunnels?” question, I think it is clear that your analysis of this scene in the TV show is overly colored by the knowledge you have of the Red Keep in the books, and of Tyrion in the books. The TV audience doesn’t know the full extent of the tunnels, doesn’t know how far the dungeons are from the Red Keep, and doesn’t know how much Tyrion knows about these passageways (apart from some hints from season 2, when Varys shares his maps). All of that background is from the books.

    In the TV show, it seems very much in Tyrion’s character for him to know these secret routes. As a small man and a general outcast, he has had to rely on his wits and his resourcefulness to stay alive and get ahead. Knowing his way around the Red Keep, and knowing how to get around it with stealth, rings very true to the Tyrion we know in both the show and the books (particularly as we know he occupied the Tower of teh Hand himself once!).

    And as for Tysha, a lot of very compelling arguments have been penned about why that reveal would not have worked in the show – particularly given the very different Tyrion-Shae relationship. I’d like to see your respond to these arguments at some point, if you have the time.

    Lastly, it’s not just “non-literary” fans who appreciated it. I’ve read the five ASOIAF books three times now, and enjoy them very much. But I do believe the showrunners got this one right, in the context of the world (and the characters) they have built for the show.

    As GRRM said, show Shae is better than book Shae. And IMO, the show beats the book on this scene.

  37. ArgonathofBraavos
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Grey Ghost:
    ArgonathofBraavos,

    Cba with opinion tennis. Got bored of that years ago. I don’t think it was anywhere near as good as it coulda been, and that opinion will not change. I’m fully aware of all those out there with a differing one.

    I ain’t saying the show is bad. I never have. Besides True Detective its the best thing on tv by faaaar.

    But shit compared to the books.

    I am someone who does change my opinion from time to time (particularly on subjective matters in film and TV) based on new and compelling insights from other people. Not often, but sometimes. I find that process fun and invigorating. I’m sorry that you don’t find the exchange of opinions to be interesting (or useful), and so I won’t bore you any further. But I will say that opening your mind to other points of view can relieve boredom, if you let it!

  38. Ashara D
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    “…non-literary…?” Really? I happen to hold a degree in English, began reading these books some eleven years ago, and have re-read them all countless times so forgive me if I find that word choice a bit snotty.

    I generally try to avoid these comparison posts for the reasons illustrated by this comment thread. Unless the poster can genuinely try to divorce the two story telling modes, the piece comes across as petty, as this one does. I have enjoyed the few of these “Anatomy” pieces that I HAVE read in the past, but am quite disappointed in this one as I feel it is no better than the drek dished out over at that other site. Dev F was far more insightful here.

    As for the tunnels: Not only was Tyrion given the knowledge he needed in the form of Varys’ map, but he lived in the Tower and had someone he loved that he needed to spirit in and out often. Do you really think that 1) Shae would just waltz past the guards at Tyrion’s door everytime she wanted to see him? Did said guards think that she was reporting regularly on the contents of Sansa’s chamber pot? And 2) Tyrion displayed SURPRISE to see Shae in his room in more than one scene. Wouldn’t the guards alert him to Shae’s presence if they knew she was there? D&D are respecting the audience enough to know that they get the secretive nature of this relationship enough to figure this stuff out, even if the audience isn’t considered “literary.”

    That said, I genuinely wish you good luck with your future endeavors. I am a Tower of the Hand fan and I appreciate the level of polish on your writing. Peace.

  39. Tom M
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    The show decided to have Jaime and Tyrion have a different relationship thus the wholesale changes. Tyrion leaves Westeros still hating Cersei, okay fine. Dad is dead, okay fine. But instead of hating Jaime too, Tyrion for the show thinks his brother cares for him.
    Guess we have to wait and see how that plays out.

    Oh, and the Cersei-Tywin scene? D&D want to believe that Cersei’s threat to dad is that she will commit suicide and see her children dead before she will let dad have influence over Tommen.
    Right. So Cersei is crazy and stupid. Meh.

  40. Khal-A-Bunga
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Tom M,

    Well, yes. Cersei is a bit crazy, and not nearly as smart or clever as she thinks she is, which is remarked upon several times by characters within the show itself.

    Also, she’s not so much making a threat as she is exerting what power she has over Tywin to ensure that – at least in this instance – he doesn’t get to ‘win’. She’s leveraging her position against his, basically, though it takes the form of a threat. Really, it’s more coercion than threat, because Cersei doesn’t want to see ‘her house burnt down’ any more than Tywin does.

    Also, have you read AFfC?

  41. zerowolf
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Forget about the books and you’ll enjoy the show far more. It will be very easy for you to forget about the show when you read the final book – you’ll be too old to care.

  42. Grey Ghost
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    ArgonathofBraavos,

    Pls don’t attempt to belittle me, or suggest close-mindedness, I’m about as open-minded as they get. I’ve physically read each book twice, and had Roy repeat it to me countless times. I watch the show with both sullied and unsullied and have probably rewatched it all half a dozen times. I love it. And effectively live there.

    George’s work may well be remembered as a masterpiece when all is done. The show was heading in that direction too, but now, its just a show. They keep dumbing it down for the masses and in the process are letting down the fans.

    Yes, I’m a ‘bookreader’, and now that I am I can never enjoy the show the way I did in S1&2. But I’m glad of that, because the books are far superior. They will stand the test of time, whereas the show (for me) will always seem like a missed opportunity.

    I’m surprised D&D make so many unnecessary changes when they are lucky to even have the show. How many ppl get a second chance at a failed pilot?

    But anyway, my opinion is fixed because the source material is, and so now, is Season 4. It’s done, they cannot change it, and nothing anyone says will change that. I’m perfectly capable of arriving at a conclusion myself. Lol. But thanks.

    Whenever I think of Season 4 I will remember all the amazing and accurate moments, followed by “fuck em till they’re dead.”

    *sigh*

    Joffrey = D&D
    Widow’s Wail = GoT
    The Lives of Four Kings = ASoIaF

  43. ArgonathofBraavos
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Grey Ghost,

    My apologies. I did not not intend to belittle, but see how my comments may have come off that way.

    To clarify, I did not mean to suggest that you had to change your mind. I was simply suggesting that discussing the GoT adaptation with people you might disagree with should be seen as more than just “opinion tennis.” It can be an interesting and enjoyable experience, whether you change your mind or not. As I said, I am rarely convinced to alter my opinion on an element in the show or books, but I am fascinated by how people approach things so differently.

    In other words, I was encouraging you to stay in the discussion, as I think it would be a poorer one without you (and others with whom I disagree).

    Hope that makes sense!

  44. Grey Ghost
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    ArgonathofBraavos,

    Well, thanks for the kind words. Apologies if I overreacted.

    I imagine I will watch Season 5, there’s no way I could not. Friends, family, and the joy (and frustration) of reading people’s thoughts online. I’d have to live in a box lol. Like Tyrion’s.

    Last week I swore to not watch ANY between these seasons, felt like I needed a break. But already I’ve rewatched the first 3 eps with an unsullied friend. :D I love watching it with new ppls as you experience it afresh again, through their eyes.

    I struggle with conversing online cos its more about perception than intent. Plus the negativity seeps into your own thoughts and uh, its insidious. But yeah ill be sticking around. I really like it here, good staff, good ppls. Been lurking for a couple of years now.

    But yeah. Thanks again and ill cya in the comment bit :)

  45. Grey Ghost
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Back on topic… I can’t get ma head around how Jaime and Tyrion will find out the painful truths they both learned (or didn’t) from the epic conversation that was cut.

    Apart from, ofc, that they won’t!

    Oh my god.

    And that’s where I start to hug the book again. Meaningful motivations being left on the editing floor.

  46. Salty Dornishman
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Grey Ghost,

    Varys and Tyrion have a long boat ride ahead of them. Plenty of time to tell stories, even ones that have sad endings like the marriage of Tyrion & Tysha.

    And yes, it’s entirely possible that Varys knows about all of that… he is the Spider, after all


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