A Storm of Swords Awesome: Part 2

The most contentious season of Game of Thrones yet

25th July 2014

Spoilers from this point on, you've been warned.

For those who have not read the books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series from which Game of Thrones is based, this past season would most likely have been the most incredible yet. For the book readers, it has proved the be the most contentious.

Producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have been gradually increasing the number and severity of diversions from the source material to the point where some people are getting rather annoyed by it. Some were accepted, like the increased role given to Oberyn Martell before his demise at the hands of the mountain ensured that we had a real connection with him - making his gruesome death even more shocking. However, there were some that were less popular, such as the friendly terms on which Tyrion and Jaime departed one another, or Ygritte's death, or the lack of Lady Stoneheart in the finale (if you don't know who that is, don't look it up unless you don't care about spoilers).

I think it's important to look at the television series as its own entity; many things in the book would not transfer well to the format of television. This will become increasingly true over the next 2-3 seasons. The fourth and fifth books of ASOIAF take place alongside each other chronologically, focusing on events in different locations in the world. As a result, main characters - like Tyrion, Jon Snow and Daenerys - make no appearances in the fourth book. I don't see the TV show succeeding if all of the audience's favourite characters disappear for a whole season - in fact, the book suffered critically because of this aspect - so it's much more likely that the two books will be combined in order to tell the story.

That said, it doesn't stop some decisions being poor. It may be because I knew Ygritte was going to die anyway, but the moment she killed Olly's parents - coupled with his blatant foreshadowing of "I was the best archer in my village" - it was painfully obvious what was going to happen. His nod after murdering her became a meme.

One change I am happy about that most other book readers are not is Jaime and Tyrion's departure. I always felt that making them leave on such bad terms was not only insult to injury but also shoehorned in for the sake of a bit of extra drama, which ASOS already has plenty of. It's one detail I always wished was different in the book, so I'm glad for it.

In regards to Lady Stoneheart, there's still plenty of time for her to appear, so I'm not losing any sleep over it - but I am a little surprised as it would make for an absolutely sensational finale to the series and make people desperate for the next one. As it stands, the ending of Arya and Tyrion setting sail for pastures new definitely sets the tone but is, much like the season 3 ending, underwhelming in comparison to the rest of the season.

There is one small detail that really bugs me and I can't figure out why they've changed it. In A Storm of Swords, when Littlefinger throws Lysa out of the Moon Door and to her death, the dialogue between the two is simple, and

Petyr: My sweet silly jealous wife, I've only loved one woman, I promise you.

Lysa: Only one? Oh, Petyr, do you swear it? Only one?

Petyr: Only Cat.

But they changed "Only Cat" to "Your sister", which just sounds a bit strange, and they cut Lysa's crazy babbling altogether. It's a minor point but it left me disgruntled.

Nevertheless, I still feel this season is the best so far - every episode has been enthralling and there are some incredible scenes that will go down in television history. The Purple Wedding, Oberyn vs The Mountain, Tyrion's incredible trial scene that will surely provide Peter Dinklage with yet more awards, the battle on the Wall, and of course, Tywin's death on the privy. It's left me hungry for more, but rather than another television series, it's just given me an appetite to devour the Winds of Winter... hurry up, George, please!