A Murder of Crows: Casting the recastings in a new light

Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have been accused of many things over the course of Game of Thrones’s four seasons, from being egomaniacal rewriters to bold television visionaries.

The one question that tends to get lost in the kerfuffle, however, just may perhaps be the one consideration that will dominate more than any other as we enter into what is undeniably the final stretch of the show’s lifespan: has the production been shortsighted from the very beginning, despite having a huge swath of pre-existent material to draw from? And are the show’s numerous recastings the prime example of this?

It’s a question so loaded with potential ramifications, only a murder of crows is capable of answering it.

(Warning: there may be some minor points of discussion that could be considered light spoilers. Please proceed at your own caution.)


Marc

Marc N. Kleinhenz:

Given the recent confirmation that Bran and his merry troupe of travelers won’t be making an appearance in season five next year, it strikes me that the showrunners may very well be breaking one of their very own unwritten rules of adaptation: don’t allow any character to disappear off-screen for too long. Which leads me to think of all the huge number of recastings that they’ve committed over the years, reaching as far back as season two (yes, while some of these aren’t their faults at all – I mean, what actor wouldn’t leave Game of Thrones for the pinnacle of filmmaking that is the Hobbit trilogy? – a number of them, such as Lord Beric Dondarrion and King Tommen, certainly are).

Ser Gregor Clegane

So I feel the question must be asked: is there a certain lack of foresight going on here? Or is it literally impossible to mount a television production – particularly one as large and international in scope as GOT – unless it’s taken one day at a time?

Or is this simply making a Mountain That Rides out of a molehill?

Axe

Axechucker:

I think they hit the very same snag that George R.R. Martin hit. A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons are considered, by and large, his weakest offerings to date. And though I loved them for the ambiance and detail they provided, I can readily agree that they slowed the storytelling progression down. They’re essentially there to set the table for the endgame, and I agree that the producers were wise in chopping them into one season of (quasi) watchable television.

When some people complain about Dorne, they complain that it took them away from any of the characters they cared about. I think David and Dan are hoping to curtail those complaints in GOT by introducing Dorne via Jaime. And people are upset that it means a lack of Riverlands, but, really, how much of that is compelling television? Edmure not being hung*, and Jaime talking to Gemma. (A Gemma who we already knew would probably be cut since season two, as “Alton” Lannister purportedly had, as his mother, “the only fat Lannister” in the family.) But introduce Dorne via Jaime and Bronn, and now you have a completely different dynamic. Tension in the Riverlands: no. Tension in Dorne: assuredly.

As to whether they planned it out right from the start… I seriously doubt it. I think, as they have stated before, they were hoping to get to the Red Wedding. When they did (and knocked it out of the park), then they started sweating.

The Red Wedding

The fact that last season was as compelling as it was is a minor miracle; they have magnetic performances by Maisie, Rory, and Pedro to thank for that. There’s no way season five is as good, simply because they don’t have source material like they had in A Storm of Swords.

I mean, unless they are better writers than GRRM. Har!

As far as casting and recasting…. that’s just the business. It maybe sounds trite to say, but it’s all a part of budgeting. Extras are extras and are often grabbed at the last moment. Would David Scott have been a better Dondarrion than Richard Dormer? Hard to say, but also hard to argue with Dormer’s performance – his gravitas was perfect. Same with Tommen, who, as we knew, was not cast with an actor in season one. I have a harder time coming to grips with Myrcella being replaced, because (a) I know the girl and know she can act, and (b) we have over the years developed a personal relationship with both her and her family, and you never want to see a friend get screwed over.

But, again… that’s the business. Time will tell if the money was better spent on a young Brit with buzz, like Nell Free. She had better knock it out of the park.

*Edmure not being hanged, I should have said. The man may be stiff, but he’s no portrait!

Bex

Bex:

Marc, to answer your questions directly, I think the recasting in particular is more a fault of logistics, if anything: actors become unsuitable for their parts due to age, etc., or other opportunities come along and their contracts let them out of their Game of Thrones obligation. To me, it seems like the faults of employment; things don’t work out. However, for something so large and meticulously planned, perhaps more should be expected of HBO and the series. It’s not like they lost Emilia Clarke between seasons two and three to a big movie franchise, but the lack of continuity has been established.

But looking at the commentary of fans, I have seen several items of discussion that your prompt touches on. When the Myrcella role was recast and many in the GOT fan world were upset on behalf of Aimee Richardson, there was a contingent of the commetariat that responded with confusion, as in “We barely saw her” or “Why do people care so much about a minor character’s actress?” Conversely, I see a lot of discussion about the brotherhood without banners and… related characters and if they will play a role in future seasons of the show. The readers of Watchers on the Wall and online communities may pay special note to these things, but casual fans may not care, or even notice.

Princess Myrcella

So a question I would posit is if people think the show caters at all to the book series or the hardcore GOT fanbase, or if the focus of the show is to appeal to as great an audience as possible. The show seems strangely devoid of “Easter eggs,” considering how rich the world of A Song of Ice and Fire is and the dedication of its large fan base.

Axey makes some great points in his response, and I pretty much agree with him across the board. I think the gist of future seasons is that D&D will probably be playing faster and looser with the canon they possess, so whether or not one puts faith in upcoming seasons could depend entirely on his/her confidence on D&D’s ability to craft quasi-original content. If people are cool with past alterations (Ros, Talisa, sexposition, or the Others reveal, to name a few), and if the altered Dorne storyline is well-received, maybe some of us will be just fine with what’s to come.

Blaqfyre

Blaqfyre:

Hmm. I wouldn’t say there is a lack of foresight, but I do somewhat think that D&D bit off more than they can chew. We all know that the world of ASOIAF is huge, especially when compared to other series, such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. When you saw the adaptations of those books to the screen, what was changed or cut out was very minimal, especially when it came to the characters, and I think that’s what makes this series so different from the others – there are a lot of characters. Characters that GRRM made us fall in love with, and knowing that the showrunners made the decision to cut them out, it does make the sullied readers wonder if D&D had been reading the same series or if perhaps they wanted so desperately to change it to make it their own.

I know that this past season and even the news of the next has been particularly disappointing for me, but I suppose, to answer your question, the best way for me to look at it all is to know that Game of Thrones and Song of Ice and Fire are siblings, not twins. I can complain all day about what they haven’t added or what they’ve changed, but, in the end, they can’t do everything. I sure as hell don’t want to be watching this show 10 years down the road, and if they stayed truer to the books, it would take that amount of time to fit it all in.

And if they did add everything we wanted them to, what would the books mean anymore? They would just be the script to the show, really. I love that I can go back to the books and say, “Ah, there you are.” It’s almost comforting.

Missing: Arianne MartellSo, in essence, I can’t agree with all of D&Ds decisions, but I can say that perhaps they are beginning to feel the heat. There is a lot expected of them, and they are making drastic choices, especially when they are now advancing towards the most current book, where the sullied are nearly unsullied. And in regards to Bran, it does worry me that his storyline will be drifting away this season. It does feel as if the first two seasons are different shows from the past two.

Again, the readers are on the edge of unsullied here, and, in my opinion, I would rather read from GRRM what is to happen next with Bran in the books before they do it in the show. I would be sorely disappointed if it were to happen the other way around, but they have a show to make and limited time.

Was it foolish of them to take on ASOIAF? No, definitely not. But I can’t defend some of the recent decisions they have been making.

Sue

Sue the Fury:

TV shows have characters that step away for a year or two all the time. Actors will work on other shows or movies, and the show writes around that. Game of Thrones is structured around the books, and so it has less freedom in how to deal with missing actors, but the writers do still have choices. The books are a guide, but only a handful of major characters are irreplaceable. Less significant characters are simply written out if the actor needs to leave to do a movie (see: Elyes Gabel being written out to do World War Z, though Rakharo is still alive in the books). They can be recast easily, too, as we’ve seen.

We hadn’t heard from Tommen in over a season when he was recast. The smoothness of the transition to Dean Charles Chapman in the role shows that there was much ado about nothing, when some parties were alarmed with a recasting of a character with only a few lines of dialogue.

I think it was more significant when we had a new Daario, and it didn’t help that the show declined to reveal the reasons behind Ed Skrein’s departure. Personally, I prefer Michiel Huisman, so it hasn’t affected me that much. I don’t think we’ll have departures of characters that notable in the future.

A tale of two Daarios

I suspect the show has learned their lesson and will have secured the handful of actors that they can’t afford to lose or not bring back. The lesser characters can be written around. Benioff and Weiss have proven they can adapt the novels, trimming and reassigning parts very well, so I’m not worried about this aspect.

Dame Pasty

Dame Pasty:

I agree with Axey. I think they got to the Red Wedding and the show was such a huge success that they suddenly realized they really would be in it for the long haul. I mean, sure, they did some prep for the long-term story, but in their heart of hearts, they really didn’t think they would make it. Then they had to face adapting some very difficult material (adapting these two books into one coherent timeline that would retain viewers’ interest would probably kill me).

Maybe it does signal a lack of foresight, but I think it’s also a result of their humility – they didn’t think GOT was going to be such a success. They said they’d have been happy to just eke it out – if it was watched enough to stay on the air until the RW. That was a pretty low bar to set, but I can’t blame them; there’s a lot of good TV being made right now, particularly on cable. The bar for the industry is higher than ever before.

One last thing… even though Bran won’t be “in” the show, it doesn’t mean he will be forgotten, and perhaps that’s enough. They’ve made a habit of mentioning and including important characters across seasons in small ways when they couldn’t literally be on the screen. Maybe they’ll have Bran’s visions and voiceovers, even if it’s repeated imagery from past seasons. They’ll think of something.

Maybe I’m giving them too much credit, but I think it will work out fine.

Marko

Hear Marko Roar:

Wait, Axey… how do you know the size of Edmure’s…? Oh, right. Never mind.

I agree that calling the showrunners out on the lack of foresight is harsh. As others have said, it’s all part of the game, often down to luck and beyond anyone’s control. Since we are following the production this closely as fans, we are able to list a whole bunch of recastings, but I am unsure if the average viewer noticed any at all. I agree with Susan that the only exception – and the one that actually felt jarring to me – was Daario (though, despite the importance of his role, he was at least only just introduced the previous season).

In the case of Tommen and Myrcella, we get to see the new actors only after several seasons of those characters’ absences. It’s an unfortunate situation for personal reasons to those of us who have met Aimee, and I am sad because of it, but Game of Thrones won’t suffer from it as a TV show in any way. And sorry, Marc, but Beric does not count at all, same as any featured extra with a single line that gets cast properly at some point down the line. Hiring Richard Dormer for that one word two seasons before you really need the character would not demonstrate foresight, but rather a level of insanity. 🙂

The original Beric Dondarrion

All in all, much, much worse recastings had to be endured by TV viewers as part of their experience in the past (*ehm* Rome‘s Octavian *ehm*), so I count us lucky in that respect. Knock wood.

Axe

Axechucker:

Oh, I can’t talk about Edmure being hung, but Marko can knock wood.

I blame the patriarchy.

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    1. Interesting topic.

      I think this discussion kind of mushes together a few different things.

      With Berric as with some other characters (Rorge, Jaqen, and Biter; Karstark), what happened wasn’t really recasting- The show had an extra represent them as a “placeholder” and then they cast them with a “real actor” when needed. I guess someone sufficiently uncharitable could blame the show for not initially casting the “real actor”, but (for example) it’s hard for me to say that Jaqen was recast when the original Jaqen was an extra with a bag over his head.

      I’d consider the various Gregors, Tommen, Myrcella, and Daario to be genuine recastings in that the audience would have more reason to expect the initial person cast to be there for the duration. I would say that Tommen and Myrcella were closer to “placeholders” given their limited (but important) lines during their initial appearances and then long disappearance afterward.

      With the Gregors and Daario, there was definitely behind-the-scenes drama going on that lead to the original being replaced and I’d assume that the actors are to blame here since shows don’t replace actors at a whim. With Daario, it is weird how different the new one is, which does show some lack of foresight since it seems like in addition to those behind-the-scenes-circumstances, D&D took advantage of the opportunity to reimagine Daario.

      And then you have the issue of characters dropping out for a significant period of time. Most of the time, it’s not bad and seems a weird thing to blame the show for since characters also drop out of the book for sufficient periods. Where it is worrying is cases like the Blackfish and the BWB where their disappearing seems to be tied to their storyarc being dropped.

      And finally, there’s the issue (already much discussed) of the show not casting certain characters at all/not doing those arcs.

      One last thing I’d say is that I think one of the biggest weaknesses/lack of foresight by the show is the lack of development of the Northern plot. It didn’t seem that much of a problem initially, but it ended up as a situation where Roose was Robb’s only bannerman and there seems to be a lack of room to retroactively introduce more people. I think to some extent this problem stretches back to the Greatjon’s actor not being available for the second season and then not being asked back afterward.

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    2. I loved the Daario recast personally. Neither one of them fit the books anyway but I like Michiel Huisman. He is a much better and more likable Daario. The re-casting of The Mountain was kinda ridiculous. They should have stuck with the first one or something. He was big enough to have pulled off the fight scene. The second one was horrible.

      I honestly thought they’d end up having to recast Bran because he’s grown up so much/so quickly. Sophie wasn’t as noticeable on the show because she was already a tall girl but there’s no way she looks 14. Maisie has matured a lot but hasn’t really grown in height so I think they can get away with it a bit more with her. I didn’t really care about Tommen being re-cast but it was weird to see a kid get killed in one season and be the king in the next lol There were some strange choices on who they left out because the actors weren’t available. Like The GreatJon. They didn’t recast him (which I loved the original) and just cut him out of the show totally which I thought was a huge mistake. The North was horribly under-represented and they continue to be so.

      There are some characters that just disappeared completely which should be at least mentioned occasionally IMO – Lancel, Gendry, Dany’s khalasar (they haven’t been seen since S3 when they were throwing up on the decks), her remaining kos (there was at least one left), etc. But then they choose to include Yara/Asha in S3-S4 for short scenes. The scene from S4 was a totally stupid addition IMO. I don’t know why they couldn’t have Bran have 1 or 2 scenes in S5 learning from Bloodraven but I guess it was mostly budgetary. I don’t know that the throw-away scenes just to show us the character again are worth it (like Yara/Asha…or Yarasha) or just wasted screen time. Supposedly Rickon & Osha weren’t gone for good but yet they haven’t even mentioned them.

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    3. Personally I haven’t minded any of the recasting so far. As for the issue of running out of source material I blame Martin for that.

      Now some changes made by the show I disagree with like T alisa but others were excellent like the White Walker reveal and the hound/Brienne battle so I’m willing to reserve judgement until we actually see it play out.

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    4. “… are the show’s numerous recastings the prime example of this?”

      Is this statement really true?
      Shouldn’t read ‘the show’s recasting ….”, I don’t see the > numerous < part.

      Conan Stevens is a story I would like to hear, someday.
      It seems complex.
      For Stevens might blame Peter Jackson! Apparently Stevens had to decide between contract obligations to the Hobbit or GOT.
      Stevens apparently wanted back. The story from , gee three years ago, was that talks for that happened. Apparently The Hobbit nullified the possibility of him being in Season 2.
      But! He didn't really need to be in season 2, or an extra could have appeared non speaking and closed visor. As it turned out Ian Whyte , a great stuntman, was a total bust as the Gregor in S2, the worst miscasting the show has done.
      Who burned the bridges? , we don't know, the showrunners or HBO? Hafthor Julius Bjornsson looked the part for season 4 , but I think, if they wanted Conan Stevens could have been brought back he would have been the best and even handled the stunt work better. The whole Mountain deal is fustercluck.
      Greatjon … Clive Mantle … ok so he had a conflict with another TV series … but that one is a total stone wall mystery. Was that another contract hoo-ha? or was it Mantle? No one has ever asked him about it, and no intel about the whole deal.
      Ed Skrein, well I didn't live him as Daario anyway, tho I could have lived with it.
      Seems in his case , he jumped contract lightning fast, so that one was not the show runners fault, I like Michiel Huisman a lot. The fact that the show disposed of GRRM's circus clown makeup for Essosi is just fine with me.
      As far Tommen , I don't think Callum Wharry was an actor, so using Dean-Charles Chapman has worked out fine.
      Aimee Richardson , that one's a mystery seems she and Nell Tiger Free are the same age?
      Don't know about Richardson's contract, maybe Nell is a better actress?
      Beric Dondarrion that's an incredible nit , probably 99.9% of the viewers , even readers, didn't realize he was in season 1.
      Heck D&D probably didn't know if they would get to season 3!
      Isn't that all the recasting?

      Looks one can lay this at GRRM's footstep, and I think George knew this going in.
      You can't take a 1000 pound bag of prose narrative and pound it into a 10 pound bag of visual narrative.
      Bran and Hodor gone for a season is a piffle , consider Rickon and Osha have been off page , forever! That's George.
      And D&D and George liked Natalia Tena , and I do too! In season5 , for for a little bit?
      The show is cursed from the beginning by HBO going to 10 episodes seasons from 12.
      I still don't buy that 12 could not be done, it would just cost more in resources, but seems that's the hammerlock , due to contracts and scheduling, that can't be broken now.
      This has caused all kind of influence on atmosphere, Dany's , now, missing Dothraki handmaidens and even Blood Riders steals the aura of her Dothraki connection.
      (I might note , if you look fast, in season 4, in the Meereen throne room there is a Dothraki guard , once, actually there are background one in E1 and E2.)
      I have not been the least bothered by Arya and Brienne's rearranged and streamlined stories. In fact S4E1 Arya-Hound-Tavern brawl trumps the one in SoS , in my book!
      So a whole boat load of book minor characters got eliminated there.
      One thing about season 5, it's still not dead sure some characters gone, things have been Black-World silent for filming in Belfast in November. We know Wall stuff, and vague countryside filming, must have done the the interiors of The House of Black and White, KL, Meereen, The Vale, Winterfell , man some main actors were not spotted 'on the town'.
      A mystery until S5 airing.

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    5. Boojam,

      “Who burned the bridges, we don’t know, the showrunners or HBO?”

      I think Conan Stevens quite clearly burnt the bridges, choosing to leave to do the Hobbit and then badmouthing the show.

      RE Nell Tiger Free, I saw her in this tv movie “Mr. Stink” as well as one of the episodes of “Endeavour”, so I’d think she was cast for her acting ability.

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    6. I agree with Bex. Although they have done flower colors, mish-mashed phrases, inserted some imagery, and hung (and unhung) some proverbial “guns on the wall”, I wish the show had more “Easter eggs” to taunt the Sullied and enable further symbolic/metaphorical discussion.

      One could also debate that the depiction of the HotU in S2 was due to a lack of showrunner vision post-RW. So many symbols and metaphors could have been carried forth from that point on….but that is only for the books, I guess.

      Enjoyed the debate. Do carry on.

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    7. Recasting is a joke.
      Hi
      I can produce and direct (I think)
      Do I need to control or fundamentaly think about casting?
      Considering the first four seasons were laid at my feet?
      Should I require any foresight and helpful interpretation?
      Oh wait moooooooney.
      F no!
      I’m so clever and smarts!
      Beetles.
      F them.

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    8. Boojam,

      I can’t find part of his comments (which IIRC dealt with stunt coreography and how he thought of Gregor having a rich inner life), but I was thinking in part of this:

      “I had a great time working on GoT season 01 and the response from viewers to my character and portrayal seemed very positive. I was looking forward to being able to reprise the role for season 02, but it seems like HBO decided to go in a different direction for the 2nd season and I will not be playing Ser Gregor this time around which is a pity.”

      In retrospect, I’m thinking the “different direction” may be just a way of saying “chose a different actor”, but when I read his comments previously, it sounded to me like he was saying something to the effect that he wanted to play the “real Gregor” and was accusing D&D of taking the character in a different direction.

      His quote is kind of dubious in any case, since he left to do the Hobbit.

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    9. The biggest piece of evidence for lack of foresight to me is not the recastings, it is the Iron Islands. We have been spoon fed bits from the Iron Islands for 4 seasons now. It feels like there is going to be a payoff.

      It now appears there will be no payoff. If that is the case, Yara should never have been included in the TV series and Balon should have died in season 3.

      That said, I am not sure when the decision was made to limit the show to 7 seasons, or when they decided to cut the Iron Islands (or if they are actually cut permanently), but I can only assume that they did not outline seasons 5-7 before season 4 was written. I imagine that has been corrected now, and the show will be streamlined in a more meaningful way.

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    10. Jordan,

      The different direction was that D&D and HBO were not going to pay for Conan to travel from NZ to Ireland in order to accommodate his filming schedule. I have no doubt that Conan was D&D’s first and only choice for the role, however its also a business. It ultimately was Conan’s choice to be in PJs bucket of cash covered shit, instead of sticking with GoT.

      To say that D&D wanted to take the character in a different direction can’t be accurate. The character hasn’t changed in any way, except who played him. They had an opportunity to give the character more gravitas with Ian Whyte. However they recast him with baby Conan so that pretty much proves that Gregor was always intended to be an oaf, exactly as portrayed by Conan with his limited acting capacities.

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    11. In general, I feel that the amount of heat that Game of Thrones has taken for recasting certain characters has been really overblown. All of the roles that have been recast so far have been minor ones (no starring cast members), and really haven’t been all that disruptive for all but the most attentive viewers. For a show with by far the largest regular cast on TV, that’s pretty impressive. I definitely wouldn’t say that needing to recast a few small roles out of a cast of hundreds is evidence that Benioff and Weiss haven’t been thinking things through.

      Even with source material to draw on, no TV show can afford to prioritize the future over the present too much – or else it might stumble and never get there at all. Benioff and Weiss are managing one of the largest and most expensive productions in television history, shooting across several countries and working year-round alongside a talented and diligent group of people to bring this epic story to life on screen – a story that Martin himself once called “unadaptable”. A few recasts, cuts, and minor inconsistencies are a small price to pay to visit such a vividly realized version of Westeros. They’re only human, after all, and fanbases are more passionate, attentive, and demanding than ever – especially this one. If people want to question the wisdom of adapting a massively complex, geographically diffuse, unfinished book series from a notoriously slow writer at all? Well, that’s a separate (and valid) issue to debate. But I’m just happy that Game of Thrones exists, and is as good as it is. We’ll see about the larger deviations, but I’m optimistic.

      We’ve debated the merits of excluding certain characters for a season or entirely extensively already, so I won’t do that here. But as for the recasts, I think almost all of them have real explanations and are justifiable.

      The Pre-Pilot Recasts (Catelyn and Daenerys): This really doesn’t count because the recasting took place between the original pilot (which we never saw) and the reshot version that actually aired. But for the sake of completeness, here they are. I can’t speak to how well Jennifer Ehle and Tazmin Merchant would have handled these roles (though I’ve liked Ehle in many projects). But at this point, I can’t imagine Game of Thrones without Michelle Fairley or Emilia Clarke, so I think that this worked out well.

      The Stand-Ins (Beric, Rorge, Biter, and Jaqen): I’m with Hear Marko Roar here – I really don’t feel that Marc’s criticism of the Beric recast is all that fair. David Michael Scott appeared in one scene of one episode in Season 1, and he had one line of dialogue. That’s not a part that any show is going to hire and pay a real actor for – especially when they’re an unproven show in their first year like Game of Thrones was at the time (with a far smaller budget as well). Yes, the producers knew that Beric would reappear in Season 3 if they made it that far, but hiring a real actor like Richard Dormer for such a bit part and then putting him on hold for two full seasons was never realistic. I suppose it’s possible that they could have just not cast Beric at all in Season 1, but Ned had to give his directive to somebody, and as it happens, Scott and Dormer share enough of a resemblance that I barely notice the change on re-watch (not to mention that in-universe, Beric has been through hell). As for the extras who played Rorge, Biter, and Jaqen in “Fire and Blood”, they didn’t have any dialogue and we don’t even know their names. They were stand-Ins in the truest sense of the word.

      Tommen and Myrcella: This was a bit more noticeable because Callum Wharry and Aimee Richardson appeared in multiple episodes across two seasons and actually had dialogue, scant though it was. However, they were originally cast as stand-ins – an acceptable practice for minor roles that weren’t going to become important for years, if ever. It’s clear that one of the main reasons that Tommen was recast was so that he could be played by an older actor. GRRM is the one who wrote Tommen’s marriage to Margaery into the story, not Benioff and Weiss. Natalie Dormer (who’s great) is 32 years old, and people were creeped out enough by her scene with Dean Charles-Chapman. It would have been worse with Wharry. Plus Tommen is now the King of Westeros. I can’t blame them for wanting him to be slightly more active presence on the show than in the books. Having an older actor in the role will help in that respect going forward.

      The objections to Myrcella’s recasting are more understandable because Nell Tiger Free is actually younger than Aimee Richardson, and Aimee is such a delightful young woman who was so enthusiastic about her role, frequently talking about it with fans at conventions and over social media. I feel terrible for her, but I also think that Nell Tiger Free will do a good job with the role, and I’d encourage people to give her a chance before declaring that the show made a mistake.

      Greatjon Umber: Not a recast, but clearly this a character who could and really should have played a bigger role, only to be shelved when Clive Mantle wasn’t able to return. In retrospect, maybe a recast would have been appropriate in this particular case. I won’t dispute that the dearth of loyal Northern Lords has been a bit disappointing. Hopefully, Game of Thrones will address this issue in Season 5.

      Daario Naharis: We don’t have all the details about this one, but from what we can piece together, it really does seem like Ed Skrein left the producers in a lurch by leaving to take the lead role in the Transporter reboot (Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You! Well, eventually). Personally, I think that Michiel Huisman is a much better actor, so I’m happy that he’s now on the show (as for which version is more attractive, I have no opinion whatsoever). The recast might have been a bit less obvious if they tried to make the two versions look more similar, but the Unsullied didn’t seem to care. I’m just glad that neither version has blue hair.

      The Mountain: Ah, the patron saint of Game of Thrones recasting objections! Look, I won’t deny that Conan Stevens was perfect for the role. It’s a damn shame that they lost him, but conflict and ensuing bad blood over his role in The Hobbit have been discussed to death. I thought that Hafthor Bjornsson did a good job in Season 4 (being the Strongest Man in Europe certainly lends credibility to his head-crushing prowess). Furthermore, despite the age difference between the two men, they’re similar enough in build and appearance that I wouldn’t have given the recast much thought if the Mountain hadn’t appeared at all between Seasons 1 and 4. Really, the outlier here is Ian Whyte, Game of Thrones’ ultimate utility player who stepped into the role for Season 2 when they were in a bind. Yes, he’s too skinny and he doesn’t fit the profile.* In retrospect, with Tywin leading the Lannister forces at Harrenhal, they probably could have gotten away with not showing the Mountain at all in Season 2. If they had the chance to do those scenes over again, maybe they would. Oh well. If this is our most glaring example of recasting, things really aren’t that bad.

      *I’ve made the (really bad) joke to my friends and family in the past that the version of the Mountain that we see at Harrenhal in Season 2 is actually Gregor and Sandor’s long-forgotten cousin, Steve. Steve Clegane always wanted to be a fearsome soldier with a cool nickname like the Mountain or the Hound, but because he wasn’t as big as the Mountain or as visually memorable as the Hound, people kept forgetting who he was. Eventually, he took to standing in for the Mountain whenever the Lannisters needed a Clegane brother to terrorize some folks and Ser Gregor was occupied elsewhere. No one was fooled, but the common soldiers were too scared to say anything, and Tywin didn’t care as long as he got the job done.

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    12. Great responses, it’s nice to hear from everyone. Personally, I’ve found that I remind myself of the crazy schedule D&D stick to with GoT, whenever some aspect of the show gets on my nerves. It certainly isn’t an easy undertaking.

      I agree with Sue that the Daario recast felt the most blatant, although I very much disliked Skrein’s Daario…

      I also really really liked what Blaqfyre says about the overall timeline of the show. As much as I’d like to see every detail play out, I’m fairly convinced that a successful TV narrative has to have a natural arc. God forbid GoT suffers the same fate Dexter did.

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    13. It is very interesting that Conan Stevens as Bolg only had a cameo in An Unexpected Journey and he was replaced/recasted with a CGI-orc motion captured by Lawrence Makoare. Either he has very bad luck or noone is able to work together with him.

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    14. This was a great read. I think this kind of group opinion piece should become a staple. Nice work.

      My brief opinions on the recastings are:
      1a. Recasting The Mountain, once was a travesty. Conan Stevens was perfect for the role. The recast to Ian Whyte was annoying for a sullied viewer (myself) and confusing to the unsullied viewer; my wife had no clue that the “guy who chopped off the horse’s head in season 1 was the same guy at Harrenhall in season 2”.
      1b. Recasting The Mountain the second time was important. I could never have imagined Ian Whyte, as The Mountain, fighting Oberyn. Thor did a fantastic job in that part. My only grip is that The Mountain is supposed to be OLDER than The Hound and Thor just looks (and is) so much younger than Rory. Other than that, it was great.
      2. Recasting Daario. That one was jarring to the viewer…especially having just watched season 3 prior to season 4. Though, in the end I much prefer Michiel Huisman to Ed Skrein.
      3. Recasting Tommen. This was the smoothest recasting yet. It made the most sense and had the least impact, likely due to the time between appearances on-screen.
      4. Recasting Myrcella. I agree with all above that it is sad that Aimee Richardson was let go, but mostly because she seems like such a sweet girl. Her acting was good and I was happy with her as Myrcella. That said, we haven’t seen from Myrcella since they shipped her off to Dorne. I don’t believe this will have any negative impact on viewers when the character arrives on-screen again.

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    15. Mine is the Furry,

      Jared,

      Good posts/points. So yeah, I had an overstated understanding of Steven’s “wrongdoing”. I guess in theory, the show could have accommodated his filming and barring that, could have asked him back.

      I’d really like to know the situation with Clive Mantel. I know he wasn’t available when needed for the second season, but he could have been reintroduced in the third.

      I should also mention that Aimee seems like a really nice person and I do feel bad for her.

      On another topic, I was thinking about Bex’s point about the lack of Easter Eggs, and it reminded me of the (oft-discussed) topic of the lack of new songs. Similarly to my Northern storyline complaint, it’s something that I think worked during the first three seasons, but seemed like a glarring issue in the fourth season (the Dornishman’s Wife was sorely missed and there’s no reason a Northern prostitute would be singing “The Rains of Castamere” since the only people who would be interested in hearing that song are Lannisters/Lannister supporters).

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    16. Really? I can’t believe that Beric was even mentioned in this article. The recast was absolutely necessary. At best they could have put Beric in a hood and refused to show his face in season 1(similar to how Michonnr was introduced at the end of season 2 on The Walking Dead prior to the role being cast in season 3). But his role had 1 line in season 1. Hardly worth a high caliber actor at the time.

      I’m suprised The Mountain was not mentioned. Since he was recast twice.

      However the most damaging change for me was losing the Greatjon after season 1. Such a badass character. Wish they could have kept him

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    17. Ryoko Masaki,

      Good point too. I think that (as well as Stoneheart, assumign she really is cut) is an instance where there was what seems like effective foreshadowing… and then the show dropped it.

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    18. I love this string of posts and comments, very entertaining!

      Daario is the only jarring one. Really, all the unsullied never noticed any of the others. And if the’d kept Daario’s wig, or any blond connection whatsoever – I bet they would have barely noticed that.

      Axechucker

      Gemma is the mystery character in Dorne, *hahaha maniacal insane laughter please insert here* Ahh well, we can only trgically pretend… or they should have had Jaime and Gemma on the roadtrip instead of Bronn? 🙂

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    19. I don’t think you can really count Tommen and Myrcella. No show could cast two child actors, who they then don’t have roles for several years, and have any confidence that four years later those kids would have grown into competent actors who still fit the role. It’s just not reasonable to expect that.

      The Mountain situation is unfortunate, but really I don’t think it damaged too much since the Mountain is really only defined by being a big dude. Ian Whyte didn’t really fit that, but I think casual viewers have forgotten that, and I think season 4 Mountain did a perfectly fine job of naturally picking up the role.

      Daario is the weird one, since they not only recast, but seemed to really recreate the character in the process. There was zero attempt to make him look remotely like the first guy, like there has been with all the other recasts. That one’s really confusing.

      Greatjon is different since he was never recast, but I would agree that he probably hurt more than any of these, since the whole tone of the Northern plot shifted without any representation from the loyalist houses. As far as the show is concerned right now, everyone who wasn’t related to Robb abandoned him.

      Oh, and Beric, yeah there’s no way you could have cast someone two years in advance for a walk-on like that, especially in the first season of a new and risky show. The best solution there probably would have been to only mention him and not show a face.

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    20. The Daario recasting bothered me. Mainly because I think I’m one of the few people who preferred Ed Skrein in this role. He’s a slightly odd, striking looking guy – I think some people found his delivery wooden, but I found him interesting and memorable. And he oozed arrogance and self-assurance perfect for Daario, which for me, Michael Huissman does not.

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    21. Its obvious daario was recast to look like Euron because they are the same person! GRRM and nd DD had their outlining talk after they cast skein nd were like wish he’d make a bad euron recast now!!!

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    22. As a GOT fan who has not read the books (but who has gone back after each season to learn more from Towerofthehand.com), I think I’m most disappointed by the lack of Riverlands material on the show. I understand the decision to delay the Tullys until S3 in favor of other storylines (and to prevent an unwieldy cast), but now going into S5, benching them again seems unfortunate. The Iron Islands also feel underwritten on the show, especially as Yara’s expedition in S4 was such a blink-and-you-miss-it fiasco.

      My other big disappointment is not the adapters’ fault: the decline of compelling material for Daenerys each successive year. I wish I was as eager to watch the Essos scenes as I am the ones in Westeros, but that’s emphatically not the case. She’s had major developments in her story for sure, but nothing like her S1 journey.

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    23. Jordan,

      Jordan: I can’t find part of his comments (which IIRC dealt with stunt coreography and how he thought of Gregor having a rich inner life), but I was thinking in part of this:

      “I had a great time working on GoT season 01 and the response from viewers to my character and portrayal seemed very positive. I was looking forward to being able to reprise the role for season 02, but it seems like HBO decided to go in a different direction for the 2nd season and I will not be playing Ser Gregor this time around which is a pity.”

      In retrospect, I’m thinking the “different direction” may be just a way of saying “chose a different actor”, but when I read his comments previously, it sounded to me like he was saying something to the effect that he wanted to play the “real Gregor” and was accusing D&D of taking the character in a different direction.

      His quote is kind of dubious in any case, since he left to do the Hobbi

      I am not going looking for it but there some postings of his which gave the impression that Stevens had flown to Europe, England? to negotiate.
      That fell through and he left what sounded like obscure messages and later seems he said he would clear it up someday.
      I do think the Hobbit deal kind of shut him out for a while … but it’s all a mystery for a later date.

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    24. Hodor’s Bastard,

      I think they have included some Easter Eggs, kinda, to twist the noses of the Sullied.

      Talisa getting stabbed as she did at the Red Wedding was, for me, a comment on the “Jeyne Westerling is pregnant” theories… they (literally?) killed that theory in the womb.

      Jojen’s fate was, again to me, a comment on the “Jojen paste” theories… Oh look, he did get turned into paste, but no, Bran isn’t going to eat him.

      I hope they cock a snook at the Euron/Daario nonsense, if we ever get any more Iron Islands plot line.

      Lady Wolfsbane,

      Who is Gemma? I think you mean Genna. Also,

      the mysterious character in Dorne is Aggo, Dany’s Bloodrider that hasn’t been seen since he went to get help in the Red Wastes. It is known. He just kept on riding, South East, and eventually made it to Dorne. Somehow. Also overcame his fear of the Poison water while he was about it.

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    25. Blaqfyre

      I wouldn’t say there is a lack of foresight, but I do somewhat think that D&D bit off more than they can chew.

      Perhaps. Recasting is an unfortunate part of this process and perhaps we are lucky that none of the “major” roles have been recast. Could this have been planned better? Maybe. It is sad when one of our favorites (Aimee) goes. It is a little jarring when Daario is recast and is completely reimagined. Overall, I’m not terribly bothered by the changes.

      I am more troubled by missing characters and plot lines. Yes, I will miss Arianne regardless of what she ultimately does or does not do. I looked forward to seeing how the Griffs and the Greyjoy uncles would be portrayed on TV. Is their absence due to a lack of planning or the necessary economics in bringing this story to TV?

      Will “established” characters/plot lines start to drop? I assume that Gendry, the BWB and the Blackfish have not been abandoned and will return in some manner. Maybe I am being too optimistic.

      Jordan:
      One last thing I’d say is that I think one of the biggest weaknesses/lack of foresight by the show is the lack of development of the Northern plot.It didn’t seem that much of a problem initially, but it ended up as a situation where Roose was Robb’s only bannerman and there seems to be a lack of room to retroactively introduce more people.I think to some extent this problem stretches back to the Greatjon’s actor not being available for the second season and then not being asked back afterward.

      This is my main complaint. I don’t know if it is attributable to the Greatjon or not. I do believe that it, in this instance, it is a lack of foresight. Yes…yes…I understand the limitations of time, money, etc. For me, the Northern plot – its men and their loyalty to House Stark – is one of the amazing elements of this story and it has been lost. I could have done with a few less scenes of Robb and Talisa and a few more of Robb and his bannerman.

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    26. Mine is the Furry:
      My biggest disappointment was recasting flaxen haired Tyrion with chestnut haired Tyrion.

      Yeah, Season 1 is kind of jarring in retrospect when you recall the period where they put some effort into Tyrion and Jaime being blond, compared to now.

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    27. Regarding the Myrcella recasting, I believe Sue has stated in the past that Aimee Richardson was allowed the opportunity to audition for the expanded role this season (because of her playing the role in the past) but clearly at the end of the day, they chose a more experience actress to take on the role.

      Both Richardson and Callum Wharry were placed in the background as featured extras in S1 so it stands to reason that if the roles got more complex down the road, the actors would need to be re-evaluated. The fact that they let Richardson at least read for the part was a nice show of respect for her but at the end of the day, she got her chance to audition and it was deemed she wasn’t up for it. That I’m sure would not be what some people who know the actress personally would like to hear but I’m not sure if the show could have done much more than they did.

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    28. Conan Stevens got a credit for the first Hobbit film, but it is Lawrence Makoare for the second two as Bolg. So once again Conan was recast. Worse, I don’t recall Bolg at all in the first film, so maybe all of Conan’s scenes are on the cutting room floor.

      Online Conan seems like a nice guy… I hope on set he ain’t a douchebag.

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    29. Ser Florian:
      Talisa getting stabbed as she did at the Red Wedding was, for me, a comment on the “Jeyne Westerling is pregnant” theories… they (literally?) killed that theory in the womb.

      Was that a subtle Easter egg or a blatant “NO FUCKING WAY ROBB HAS AN HEIR!” jab at the Sullied? 🙂

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    30. The recastings are surprisingly few, considering the size of the cast. It’s not like they’ve had to change Tyrion or Dany (although some might be happy to see the latter).

      There are series that have had to replace the main hero. Spartacus and Babylon 5 come to mind.

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    31. umuckurlife:
      This was a great read.I think this kind of group opinion piece should become a staple. Nice work.

      Yeah, A Murder of Crows is supposed to be monthly, and the fact that we’ve missed one month and have been late on essentially all the others thus far is my fault — my father has been very ill with stage-four secondary bone cancer, and he spent half of October in the hospital. Sue the Fury and all the other Watchers have been very patient and accommodating, and I’d like to thank them all publicly for their forbearance.

      My dad’s on a new treatment plan now and is doing much better, so I fully expect to get back to regular shape starting later this month. 🙂

      And thank you, everyone, for the compliments! It’s very nice to know that we can not only entertain for at least a few moments a day, but also be thought- (and, much more importantly, debate-) provoking, as well.

      ~M.

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    32. Marc N. Kleinhenz,

      I’m very sorry to hear about your father. That type of cancer a terrible illness to contend with. I’m glad that he’s doing better at the moment. Hopefully his new treatment plan will continue to afford him the stability and comfort he needs to enjoy his life!

      As for these roundtables, they’re always fun to weigh in on whenever they’re posted. Don’t worry if other demands on your time preclude you from sticking to a regular schedule. Whenever you have the time to facilitate one, we’ll always be happy to participate!

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    33. Most of the comments are spot-on. The only real recastings that matter are Daario Naharis and The Mountain. In the former’s case, it’s jarring, and I preferred Ed Skrein, who as I think Glenn Greenwald said, basically stood around looking like “he wanted to lick everything,” which is pretty much the ethos of Daario. But by the time this is done, Huismann will have more time logged in playing the part. So we’ll get used to it.

      The Mountain is odder and also jarring. Conan really looked the part more than the others. Thor was great at the task he was given, and in terms of sheer size, the man is MASSIVE — he weighs in at 400 lbs! Now, very few 8-footers that can act are out there, so that’s fine that he’s only 6’9″ or whatever, but good lord is he big. And yes, as others said, Whyte is the real outlier here. He’s 7’1″ but built like Dirk Nowitzki (not even like Mark Eaton or Shaq), and the way he seemed to get more slender from his hips to his shoulders was really notable. They were smart to re-cast him and put Thor in place.

      And given Conan didn’t even come back in The Hobbit movies as Bolg, you gotta wonder what’s going on there.

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    34. Placeholders like the original Rorge, Biter and Beric are pretty insignificant as far as I’m concerned. The most they could have done was only show the back of original Beric’s head when he got the order. Most people didn’t notice.

      Tommen and Myrcella were children who had small roles in their first incarnations, a gap of a year or more and then a recast with a similar looking performer and an expanded role. Due to their age and the physical changes people go through then, any slight changes in appearance, voice, etc are totally justifiable. You may argue that their recastings were unnecessary and maybe they were (Aimee was great and even Callum I feel did a pretty good job for a non actor), but the recastings are convincing enough to be in no way hurtful to the production. The fact that Tommen now looks alot like his dead cousin can be put down to genetics.

      As for the Greatjon etc their absence is unfortunate but again plausible. They were never recast, they just haven’t been seen in a while. Greatjon is back at Last Hearth and the Dothraki are still with Dany, just in the next room. They can still potentially come back.

      The mountain is a little bit more problematic. Versions 1 and 3 are close enough to each other to work (especially with a lack of appearances for a while before season 4). Version 2 however was utterly unconvincing. To their credit though they had short notice and they tried. Ian Whyte was already on staff so an easy quick fix, sufficiently tall and they gave him the right facial hair. It didn’t work, but they tried. I think they should have left Conan’s weird helmet on Ian the whole time and added some extra padding to his armour but in the end the Mountain’s Harrenhal days are not the most memorable anyway (in the show at least) so not too much harm done.

      Daario’s recasting was however, joke. Not a good one either. This is not a critique of either actor, the logistical necessity of having to replace one of them or even the fact that neither resembles the book version. It is the fact that they are not the same character as each other that I struggle with. One is a little over the top, the other understated. One has long blonde hair and is clean-shaven, the other short dark hair and a beard. There was no attempt at all (other than keeping the name) to convince the audience that they were supposed to be the same guy. How hard would it have been to keep the blonde wig? It wasn’t even Ed Skeins’ real hair. It was a wig. Even just long enough to show him getting a haircut. They could have given MH a shave. He could have dyed it blonde or tried to match ES’s performance a little more (not too much, he’s still need to make it his own and I prefer him anyway). They should have done more to ease that very jarring transition. Especially since they had only just dramatically intruded and prominently featured the character in the last few episodes of the previous season.

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    35. Of the Night,

      I agree Daario was jarring at first, but when the show is finished in three years time, the fact is that the actor who first played Daario was only in 2 episodes out of the who knows how many the new actor will have been in. That’s the positive way I choose to see it, anyway. Pretty much a cameo, compared to what the role eventually becomes. That’s how D&D saw it; they said that they think the audience is intelligent enough to get it and get used to it. And didn’t we? The day Season 7 ends (or the day Daario dies, if he dies earlier), we’ll probably look back and barely remember that guy who played the character for literally a couple of episodes at the end of Season 3.

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    36. Luka Nieto,

      That’s true. However you do get the problem of new Daario, essentially a different character, never getting an actual introduction, just randomly appearing and being part of Dany’s team. I have an unsullied friend who refuses to believe they are meant to be the same guy and keeps asking where the new guy came from and when they are going to tell us what his backstory is. Now she’s pretty stubborn because I’ve told her it’s the same person, but there have to be countless unsullied who don’t have a sullied to explain it who are just confused
      by it.

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    37. Luka Nieto,

      For me, it wasn’t the recasting of Daario that mattered so much, it was how they did it. Rather than doing something intriguing that would redirect our thoughts, he was playing “patty-cake, patty-cake” with Grey Worm. That was the most jarring thing about his reintroduction for S4, imho.

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    38. Jordan:

      One last thing I’d say is that I think one of the biggest weaknesses/lack of foresight by the show is the lack of development of the Northern plot.It didn’t seem that much of a problem initially, but it ended up as a situation where Roose was Robb’s only bannerman and there seems to be a lack of room to retroactively introduce more people.I think to some extent this problem stretches back to the Greatjon’s actor not being available for the second season and then not being asked back afterward.

      I very much agree with this. It’s kind of distressing that we’re hearing absolutely nothing about Wyman Manderly at least, let alone Barbary Dustin, Robett Glover and the various Freys in the north during ADWD. I don’t care too much about the Iron Islands. I do care about the northern politics which seem to be getting more important. I care about the fate of Winterfell. I care about the fact that it’s getting increasingly impossible to separate Nightswatch politics and northern politics. The northern storylines were the absolute highlight of Feast/Dance to me and I’m not the only one who feels that way so it’s a little surprising that it seems to be getting neglected.

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    39. This was an absolute fantastic read. I felt the previous two items on this feature were a bit boring and safe to be honest with you, but this one was incredibly good, and a very interesting read, This feature exemplifies why WotW is vastly superior to WiC. You are all very knowledgeable on the subject matter, write well, and put your points across well (even though I slightly disagree with a couple of you). I much prefer occasional well thought-out articles than several mediocre ones that cover pretty meaningless topics. Thank you all, especially Marc. (Family, Duty, Honour. Family comes first.)

      In an ideal world recastings wouldn’t happen, but this is not an ideal world. The Mountain and Daario are the only glaring ones for me, whilst I completely agree with the others (Even Myrcella; Aimee might be a sweet girl, but I can’t see her being an actress in any world). I do sympathises with D&D when they have to make these decisions; it sure must be tough, but that’s why we pay them (indirectly).

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    40. WeirwoodTreeHugger: I very much agree with this.It’s kind of distressing that we’re hearing absolutely nothing about Wyman Manderly at least, let alone Barbary Dustin, Robett Glover and the various Freys in the north during ADWD.I don’t care too much about the Iron Islands.I do care about the northern politics which seem to be getting more important.I care about the fate of Winterfell.I care about the fact that it’s getting increasingly impossible to separate Nightswatch politics and northern politics.The northern storylines were the absolute highlight of Feast/Dance to me and I’m not the only one who feels that way so it’s a little surprising that it seems to be getting neglected.

      THIS! What happened to “the North remembers”?

      I’m still holding out hope for Manderly and his speech about how the North has not forgotten what happened to the Starks or the horror of the RW. I keep hoping to hear someone say that they want to “bathe in Bolton blood,” etc. And these sentiments and statements cannot be passed to another character like Jon or a revitalized Theon or whoever D&D believe is a substitute for Manderly/Dustin/Glover/Wull. The loss of the Northern storyline is troubling for me.

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    41. Good article and discussion. For me, it’s really hard to comment or judge the new season. It’s pretty clear that not all the character information has been announced for next season. Who will be returning that has been on the show previously but not in season 4? Which new characters have they added but not announced that haven’t been mentioned yet? The characters we know from the books that won’t be on the next season, do they exist in the show universe? Will they be mentioned in the show and introduced later in the game for the show than they were in the books? Will they just move some story lines back into season 6, essentially reshuffling the story but still including some of the missing parts from season 5? Point is, almost impossible to judge at this point since we really know nothing (Jon Snow)

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    42. For Manderly, they showed a large guy at the Red Wedding with their sigil pin on his chest. Just an easter egg for book fans or a sign that they’ll introduce him at some point in the story? Maybe later than usual or in a different capacity?? (Obviously, we’d all love for them to introduce him as they do in the books and I would think D&D would agree since they’re also super fans like us). For Greyjoys, it just seems likely that they may cut or merge some of the characters but in the end an uncle or 2 WILL be introduced. Why do I say this confidently? Well, Balon and Yara are still around, for one, and what happens after the bridge events of Pyke (in book 3)? The events that they have not shown yet in the show (but foreshadow as part of leach scene)?? The uncles come into play, which is why I believe they’ve been pushing back the bridge scene on Pyke because they want to wait until they can actually afford to introduce more characters and give them screen time. As far as Arienne goes, it just feels weird that they would cut her, but it’s possible they A)cut her because they feel she’s a little too close to Margaery except more sexuality less brains, or B)they didn’t want to introduce her and the Sand Snakes, so in order to save precious screen time they’ll introduce her later). For Griff and Young Griff, while disappointing we won’t get to see them interacting with Hugor Hill, it’s always possible that they also push his their story back as well. We have to wait and see what season 5 has in store for us, D&D have not disappointed us yet. Remember guys, they’re essentially super fans who read the books and pictured an awesome TV show at HBO. Lets wait and see what they plan to do with the material that wasn’t even really around when they decided to make the show in the first place.

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    43. I don’t know how much the recastings reflect a lack of foresight…I mean, when it comes to Beric, Tommen and Myrcella I don’t think D&D are looking back at that and saying to themselves “Boy we wish we thought that one through before we cast those stand-ins.” And with Conan Stevens, you can’t realistically expect them to predict what problems would come up with him (whether they were interpersonal problems or Hobbit related issues).

      That doesn’t mean all the recastings are good. Ian Whyte looked so different from Stevens that even I, a book reader, would wonder whether it was really Gregor that Tywin was talking to in some of the Harrenhal scenes. And while I like Michael Huisman a lot more than Ed Skrein, well, that just means they shouldn’t have cast Skrein in the first place.

      But neither the casting of Whyte or Skrein has anything to do with lack of foresight, it’s just miscasting.

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    44. Jordan,

      When it comes to the Northern plotline, I’m not as worried about how their absence beforehand affecting future appearances. They definitely simplified Robb’s group of bannerman to essentially being the only important ones at the time (Roose an Karstark). But if Manderly’s role is actually important or necessary, which it might not be, it would be pretty easy to bring in a lord who didn’t actually travel with Robb but who sent troops and had a son who was killed in the RW. I tend to think he’s cut but again, I don’t think that’s an issue of foresight. They always knew that if they wanted to introduce Manderly or other lords later, they easily could. If Manderly or any other Northern lords are cut, it won’t be because of their decision to feature only Bolton and Karstark in Seasons 2 and 3.

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    45. I too would like to see Manderley. Even if we lose Frey Pie, which I think we will, then he turns into a fantastic one-episode cameo (BRIAN BLESSED!!).

      Glover is unimportant. He’s like 4th Northern Lord from the left.

      Barbary Dustin has one peevish speech to Theon, and otherwise isn’t worth anyone’s time. I don’t get the interest in this character.

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    46. Much ado about nothing.

      Myrcella had two lines. We’re supposed to be upset about the (seamless) change because Richardson is likeable on social media? Come on. The show itself is no worse for it (at all) and in a year literally no one will care.

      The only recast worth discussing is Daario. It’s the only change anyone who isn’t intentionally pick-pick-picking at the show would actually notice or care about.

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    47. The Hound,

      I don’t have a quote, but I seem to remember that Alex Graves spent about (might be slightly more, or less) 100 days filming last year. He directed 4 episodes (with four being simultaneously shot). That is eight, so to do 10 in about the same time seems remarkable. I do hope it isn’t because of shorter episodes, because they’re really not going to be able to fit everything in the already crammed season if they cut valuable time.

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    48. The Hound,

      That doesn’t have to be the case. For season 2 and 4, the production spent an entire month shooting Blackwater and Watchers on the Wall respectively. With this season lacking a battle of a similar scale, that might allow for a much more efficient shooting schedule.

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    49. Greatjon of Slumber:
      I too would like to see Manderley. Even if we lose Frey Pie, which I think we will, then he turns into a fantastic one-episode cameo (BRIAN BLESSED!!).

      Glover is unimportant. He’s like 4th Northern Lord from the left.

      Barbary Dustin has one peevish speech to Theon, and otherwise isn’t worth anyone’s time. I don’t get the interest in this character.

      It’s because of the Great Northern Conspiracy theory. Here’s a good summary of it.
      http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/77828-the-great-northern-conspiracy-reexamined/

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    50. Boojam:
      Sean C.,

      It’s true, that’s why GOT is HBO’s highest rated show of all time.

      Because ratings are an indicator of quality, for sure – look at NCIS, it’s right up there with The Wire and The Sopranos in the television canon, right?

      I’m certainly never at a loss for criticism of the show and some of the choices D&D have made, but I don’t really have any issues with the recastings thus far. The scale of the production is just so huge, it’s unavoidable that situations would pop up where they need to recast, and it’s very lucky that none of them have been major roles. It’s definitely a shame about people like Conan Stevens and Clive Mantle who really embodied the characters, but some of the situations just weren’t preventable. The drawback for Unsullied fans is that it’s likely created confusion for some, and total lack of understanding for others that these two different people are portraying the same character. If I hadn’t known from reading the books and production news, I doubt I’d have understood that the Daario in season 4 was the same guy with the long hair from season 3.

      I do agree with those that have said the bigger shame at this point is the lack of casting for the northern plot line. Maybe none of those lords/ladies were ultimately necessary, but I will sorely miss Wyman Manderly and I think Davos and Theon’s story lines will suffer for it as well. It’s surprising to me that they haven’t seemed to pay more attention to the north, particularly because of their love for Theon, but I guess we’ll see where they take it.

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    51. When you saw the adaptations of those books to the screen, what was changed or cut out was very minimal, especially when it came to the characters

      heh, both Tolkien and Potter fans would strenuously disagree with you there! Of course, they strenuously disagreed with each other: some Tolkien fans envied the Potter franchise for including “all” of the characters, plot lines, etc; some Potter fans envied the Tolkien franchise for the same. When T-fans rebutted P-fans with the list of cut characters (or vice-versa), the reply was always some variant of: “Oh, I meant important characters.”

      No doubt they would say the same about the cut characters for SoI&F. I mean, Arianne can hardly compare in importance to the sheer scale of a Goldberry or Ludo Bagman, right? (Tolkien fans right now are thinking: “Wait, did you just lower Goldberry to some Harry Potter character I cannot remember? Are you mad?!?!? You clearly misunderstand Tolkien as badly as Jackson does!” And the Potter fans are thinking: “Goldberry? Is that one of the Elf Queen’s names? I’m still convinced that Bagman was a key Death Eater and that Rowling rewrote that because that idiot Kloves couldn’t figure that out.” And everyone here is thinking: “Did you READ ASOI&F?!? The implications of Arianne for the Dornish political system are HUGE!!!! And you are comparing her to two characters I don’t even remember?!?!?”)

      🙂

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    52. Mine is the Furry,

      Ah, but Fatty was in the extended edition!

      As for Sauron defecating, I’ve always assumed that the Dark Lord and his minions did not understand the concept. I mean, given how much Hobbits eat, the Nazgul should have just followed the Hobbit droppings and caught them before they got to Bree.

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    53. Regarding Ed Skrein:

      He got offered the lead in a movie franchise and they didn’t have him tied down in a contract. You can’t blame anybody other than HBO for that and fair play to him, the lead role in a big movie franchise is a big deal and one you wouldn’t pass up.

      And I thought his Daario was much more like the book character. He’s supposed to be sleazy.

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    54. ffiferoo: I think Davos and Theon’s story lines will suffer for it as well.

      I doubt that either story line will suffer, particularly Theon’s. For Theon, it is all about three characters: Reek, Theon and Ramsay. Everyone else is just a prop. Moreover,

      Manderly is just another bitter Northern lord playing along with minimum grace: the audience does not need to know who they even are (and it matters naught to Reek or Theon); just put a lot of hair on some burly guys with Highland type accents, and the audience will probably think that it’s the same bunch as Season 1! 🙂

      As for Davos, the issue is more complex. His story is

      kill the smuggler, become the Hand: and that can be done just as well at the Wall or venturing to Hardhome, etc., as it can elsewhere. As it is, Martin is dovetailing Davos’ storyline with the Return Lord Rickon to Winterfell plot line; however, Rickon being so much older on TV than he is in the books obviates the need for that plot line.

      But you do touch on the issue that should be of paramount importance: adapting Martin’s story so that it’s communicated on the small screen! Obviously, who plays the roles is not very important: nobody is going to realize that Myrcella is being played by a different girl, just as nobody realized that Tommen had changed. The potential difficulty is that Crows/Dragons presents a very different story from the first three. Now, I would argue that B&W nailed each of the first three stories: but each of those was about conflicting views in the here and now (conflicting values for Season 1; conflicting loyalties for Season 2; and love-hate relationships in Seasons 3-4). Crows and Dragons presents an entirely different type of internal conflict story: trying to be someone that you have not yet become. Sticking to established characters will help: the audience will have a much easier time seeing the dynamic development in already developed characters than they will for “new” characters: consciously or subconsciously, I think that a big reason why so many of us were dissatisfied with Crows and Dragons was that the new players seemed out-of-place, and in a story that was about trajectories, it really helps to know where characters have begun!

      It also will be interesting to see how audiences react. These type of audiences eat-up the internal-conflict stories. However, this one is a bit different that usually done on these sorts of TV series.

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    55. Wimsey,

      Manderly is not “just another bitter northern Lord”, he is key to 3 of the best set pieces in the northern storylines, ties them together with eachother and the Kings Landing storyline and has the best lines in the fifth book by far.

      Or to use your new favourite parlance:

      He is: Kill the Freys, become the walrus.

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    56. Greatjon’s (and other bannermen) absence really cheapens the Northern plot. Season one did a great job by having prominent northern lords on screen even if they didnt have dialogue, Maege and Glover are in most of Robb’s campaign scenes and the Greatjon is given a fair amount of screen time. Come season 2 they’ve disappeared altogether and Karstark and Bolton are apparently the only banner-man and show only viewers don’t get context to all the dying Northmen during the RW.

      Too late to fix all that now :/ maybe a Telltale game following the Northern lords during Clash could fill in the gap!

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    57. James:
      “D&D have not disappointed us yet.”

      Based on most of the reactions after Season 4 Episode 10 on westeros.org/IMDb/IGN/Twitter/Youtube….I’m sorry but this is laughable and not true at all. At least 50% of the asoiaf community has already been disappointed with the changes they’ve made. I assume by saying “us” you’re talking about the hardcore fans

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    58. ctid: He is: Kill the Freys, become the walrus.

      Heh, actually, he would be more “kill the fat man, become 2-3 thin men instead” if he lost a bit of weight! However, that sort of emphasizes the deal with Manderly: he is not a protagonist with any sort of character arc. He isn’t trying to go from what he was in Swords to something different by the end of Crows/Dragons. Instead, he is just a foil for one protagonist (Davos) and a background character for a second (Theon). (I don’t know which protagonist in Kings Landing has a storyline involving Manderly in any way, but maybe I’m just blanking.)

      The show almost certainly is abandoning the plot line that requires a foil for Davos here: but there are plenty of ways of telling Davos’ story without him going on that quest. And, as far as Theon is concerned, Manderly is just another angry Northerner. It could have been anyone, really: Martin was just sticking to the tried and true strategy of using a “continuity extra.” There is nothing unique to anyone there except Ramsay that is critical for Theon’s storyline. Ultimately, Theon’s storyline needs to parallel Tyrion’s:

      both men are at absolute nadir’s as a result of betraying family or proxy for family, both men are essentially slaves at one point, and both are trying to become the man that they were.

      davyJones: only viewers don’t get context to all the dying Northmen during the RW.

      Um, yeah, the show viewers got the context just fine…..

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    59. Jared,

      .

      A few recasts, cuts, and minor inconsistencies are a small price to pay to visit such a vividly realized version of Westeros. They’re only human, after all, and fanbases are more passionate, attentive, and demanding than ever – especially this one. If people want to question the wisdom of adapting a massively complex, geographically diffuse, unfinished book series from a notoriously slow writer at all? Well, that’s a separate (and valid) issue to debate. But I’m just happy that Game of Thrones exists, and is as good as it is. We’ll see about the larger deviations, but I’m optimistic.

      This. Totally agree with your other comments as well.

      Marc N. Kleinhenz,

      Marc, I love your work; . I for one can be patient; if you can’t do every month I’ll appreciate the articles as they come. Sending healing thoughts for your dad and hope all goes well

        Quote  Reply

    60. Jared,

      WeirwoodTreeHugger,

      ash,

      Thanks, guys, for your well wishes and way-too-nice sentiments — they’re all greatly appreciated. Being able to bury my head occasionally in Westerosi sand (even though it’s not necessarily the most therapeutic of landscapes) has been a wonderful method of escapism, and I couldn’t be happier taking the plunge with all of you.

      🙂

      ~M.

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    61. Tony Stark has had 3 different dads in the Marvel movies. He also changed a sidekick in Rhody. None of the changes bothered me. And Marvel has so much planned out and they aren’t perfect here. Does it bother people seeing Obi-Wan Kenobi change actors when watching the series in order?

      The only change in GoT that is jarring is Daario. The change to a dark haired actor makes me think there is a secret identity there. The rest of the changes are fine. For such a huge series D&D have done shockingly well with keeping the core actors in tact.

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    62. Wimsey,

      I see where you are coming from and you are correct, he is a foil for key characters and doesn’t necessarily have his own personal journey arc but the same could be said for Stannis, the Hound, Littlefinger, Marjorie, the Boltons, Freys and other key characters. What Manderly does, which no other character does, is bring back hope for the original protagonists of the series, the Starks and in a major and very cool way.

      He is involved in the Cersei intrigue in AFFC, she thinks in her hubris that the northern lords have submitted to the Boltons entirely as soon as he sticks Davos’ head and hands on a pike and you hate him for it. He helps demonstrate Cersei’s dichotomy of both misplaced paranoia at Tyrion and misplaced overconfidence at Manderly.

      His son is also freed by Jaime.

      He is the one minor character I look for in casting announcements.

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    63. The problem is with the source material not D&D. A good story doesn’t introduce a whole new set of characters half way through and put the main ones on the back burner. This is what the books do. If they did it for the TV show the fan base would hate it. This is why so much is being cut or changed. The show is about following the story arcs of 10 to 15 characters. Everything else is just noise….

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    64. If Manderly’s main purpose now would be to serve, somehow, as the linchpin for Davos’ quest to find Rickon, that could be delayed to the sixth season, and as I’ve said, reduce his role to a one-episode wonder. Good reasons to do it would be to once again send Davos on a journey – as befits the character – and have him be shepherded to White Harbor by (of course) Salladhor Saan, so another excuse to have Lucian Msamati in the mix for his typical one-scene-per-season thing. And while Davos is a great foil for Melisandre and the way in which he and her represent the competing visions of Stannis Baratheon, and while he too will probably be a strong added presence in Castle Black, I can see them sending him off late in the season for the purpose of bringing this part to bear. Especially because his scenes with Gendry, and of course, Salla, show he’s a versatile character, and a great one to use to throw in a room with unfamiliar characters.

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    65. Yeah, Conan Stevens got a pretty raw deal with The Hobbit. He was originally supposed to play Azog (a main villain), then Bolg (another main villain), but ended up playing neither of them.

      His only appearance is in the first Hobbit film, during the Battle of Azanulbizar (brief flashback battle outside Moria), in which he appears in one shot, for literally 1 or 2 seconds, fighting the dwarf Dwalin.

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    66. The only re-casting that jarred to me was Daario. The actors don’t have a single thing in common as far as I can tell, and it’s never explained away. They couldn’t have Dany say “Oh, you’ve cut your hair..” or something in passing?
      The easiest one was Beric. The two actors look similar enough for a few years, five deaths/re-incarnations to explain away.

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    67. He is the one minor character I look for in casting announcements.

      ctid,

      I was hoping for Darkstar for this season. He’s actually pretty funny if you read all his lines in a sarcastic voice in your head.
      But I’ve really been keeping my eyes open for a casting for Aerys and Rhaegar. I was convinced when Mark Gatiss was cast he’d be Aerys, or possibly Damphair. Gutted when I found out he was Tycho, seems a bit of a waste for a man who can do such good grotesques.
      My hopes for an eventual Rhaegar casting have been dampened by the images of him in the World of Ice and Fire. I have the horrible idea they’re angling for Chris Hemsworth based on that picture, and I’d much prefer someone who can act.

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    68. Fall_Of_Byzantium: My hopes for an eventual Rhaegar casting have been dampened by the images of him in the World of Ice and Fire. I have the horrible idea they’re angling for Chris Hemsworth based on that picture, and I’d much prefer someone who can act.

      TWOIAF’s artists have nothing to do with the show.

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    69. Fall_Of_Byzantium:
      The only re-casting that jarred to me was Daario. The actors don’t have a single thing in common as far as I can tell, and it’s never explained away. They couldn’t have Dany say “Oh, you’ve cut your hair..” or something in passing?

      They probably didn’t want to draw attention to the change in actor.

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    70. monsieurxander:
      Much ado about nothing.

      Myrcella had two lines. We’re supposed to be upset about the (seamless) change because Richardson is likeable on social media? Come on. The show itself is no worse for it (at all) and in a year literally no one will care.

      I’ll care. So… already wrong.

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    71. Another nontopic so people can piss on Dan and Dave. The Mountain? I don’t think that guy had a word of dialogue until season 4, who gives two fucks that he was recast? This place is looking more and more like Westeros.org every day. It’s disappointing.

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    72. Wimsey: However, that sort of emphasizes the deal with Manderly: he is not a protagonist with any sort of character arc. He isn’t trying to go from what he was in Swords to something different by the end of Crows/Dragons.

      Leave the arcs to Noah! :-p A character doesn’t need an arc to be a compelling, distinct, fully-rounded character integral to the plot – Manderly ticks all those boxes. He is the personification of “The North remembers”. It is an important, central conceit to the story. He is a central strategist in

      plotting revenge against the RW conspirators and bringing down the Boltons

      – that makes him one of the most cheer-worthy characters in an otherwise bleak book 5.

      It would be madness to leave him out. I can only assume (or rather hope) that they have made a conscious decision to shift a lot of the north and riverlands stuff to season 6.

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    73. Lex:
      Yeah, Conan Stevens got a pretty raw deal with The Hobbit. He was originally supposed to play Azog (a main villain), then Bolg (another main villain), but ended up playing neither of them.

      His only appearance is in the first Hobbit film, during the Battle of Azanulbizar (brief flashback battle outside Moria), in which he appears in one shot, for literally 1 or 2 seconds, fighting the dwarf Dwalin.

      Do we know why that is? I heard something about him being very difficult to work with. He was supposed to have more scenes in S1 of GoT too.

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    74. The Hound:
      James:
      “D&D have not disappointed us yet.”

      Based on most of the reactions after Season 4 Episode 10 on westeros.org/IMDb/IGN/Twitter/Youtube….I’m sorry but this is laughable and not true at all. At least 50% of the asoiaf community has already been disappointed with the changes they’ve made. I assume by saying “us” you’re talking about the hardcore fans

      I don’t like appealing to argumentum ad populum, but since you started it… 4×10 has 9.4 on IMDB. The show has also reached its best viewing figures during Season 4. So I’d say that, no, the vast majority of people haven’t been disappointed by David and Dan at all.

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    75. No doubt this has been said many times before but I think it’s probably worth repeating: writing a story for a book as opposed to television/films is very different. A book author’s only real limits are their own imagination, whereas producing something that can be filmed (and is watchable) has vastly more constraints on it, from budget, legal issues and the availability of actors/locations, to the more mundane but none-the-less unavoidable stuff like the laws of physics.

      If the story had been written with tv in mind in the first place it would almost certainly have a very different structure – far fewer characters and storylines and much less general epicness, for want of a better phrase. Part of the problem may be the attention to detail, it looks amazing – far more like a film than a programme because a huge amount of effort and money has been spent on small details that most casual viewers probably wouldn’t even notice. That in turn obviously affects what can be included, how many episodes a year are feasible etc. Quality vs quantity starts to come into play here.

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    76. ctid: What Manderly does, which no other character does, is bring back hope for the original protagonists of the series, the Starks and in a major and very cool way.

      True: but it is not as if there is something unique about Manderly that makes only him able to do this. Moreover, I think that the show will be better off sticking with letting the protagonists pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Ultimately, I think that this is a literature vs. cinema issue. Manderly is a type of character that can work very well in the literary medium. He’s a “continuity extra” that you can use in multiple plots when you are not too worried about having multiple plot lines. (One might argue that Martin should have been a little more worried about that, but that’s another issue.)

      However, cinema is much less forgiving of multiple plot lines than literature is. Moreover, trying to use continuity extras across multiple plot lines often bogs down cinematic storytelling: you then have to take the time to explain who this person is. The minimum effort required to develop the character cinematically is much greater relative to the length of time you have to tell a tale than it is in literature.

      ctid:she thinks in her hubris that the northern lords have submitted to the Boltons entirely as soon as he sticks Davos’ head and hands on a pike and you hate him for it.

      Did we really read in Crows that Davos was dead?!? Something about that book induces severe amnesia in me! At any rate, I obviously never blamed Manderly for that: even if I caught it at the time, then his name meant nothing to me as he didn’t get even rudimentary development until Dragons. I certainly was not “dreading” his going to find Manderly in Dragons. (I find Davos to be an interesting character: I’d hate to see him go.)

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    77. Lulu’s Mum: A book author’s only real limits are their own imagination

      That isn’t quite true: there is the additional limitation imposed by how much words can communicate. A picture really does paint 1000 words, after all. Moreover, the ability to communicate with words is a real talent: some people are much better than are others. Finally, there is the limitation imposed by the readers: some people simply won’t get what an author is trying to communicate because they cannot grasp subtle distinctions in words or because they are imposing their own preconceptions/moralities/etc. on characters or plot devices. Cinematic presentations often have much less problem with the latter two issues: what an author cannot describe well or a reader cannot comprehend well, actions can plainly communicate.

      Instead, it is better to state that there are different limitations on literary and cinematic storytelling. Some things are easier to do with words than visually: in particular, the thoughts of protagonists are much easier to communicate with words. Some things are easier to do with enactment than literally: in particular, gestures, reactions, movements, details of landscape, etc.

      There also are differences in ones ability to communicate subjectivity. In books, two people can look at the same young woman and provide different descriptions of her hips based on their subjective models; on screen, the young lady has her hips. On the other hand, on screen you can show people being misled by misinterpretation and make it clear that is so.

      Again, this is the shark vs. tyrannosaurid analogy: doing the same thing in fundamentally different media means accommodating different restrictions on one hand and taking advantage of different assistances on the other hand.

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    78. Wimsey,
      You’re right, and good at explaining these things, I was just trying to briefly outline why adapting something which (presumably) wasn’t written with the intention of being watched may be a lot less straight forward than people imagine.

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    79. Mr Fixit,

      I don’t care about IMDb ratings since they mean nothing (thanks to the trolls and the fanboys) but a 9.4 for the most antipated episode of GoT ever should not be taken as an exemple. Even Too Far Gone from the Walking Dead has a 9.7 and many episodes from others shows are over 9.8
      Anyway it doesn’t matter the episode was the biggest disappointment I’ve ever had with Game of Thrones, the last three episodes in fact. Huge expectations means huge letdown if not done right.

      For Season 5 I expect nothing more than Season 2 quality, this way I wouldn’t be disappointed .

      Things that worry me the most about Season 5 :

      Dorne will become the new Qarth. I just hope that Alexander Siddig, Jerome Flynn and Nikolaj will save this one. (That’s why I don’t mind Jaime in Dorne)
      King’s Landing was always the strong point of the show and this will not be as good as the previous years because all the great characters are not there anymore. I expect it to be a bit boring at times.
      Dany storyline will be even worse than Season 2 except for the last few episodes

      Other than that I think The North will elevate this Season. Finally some proper screentime for Stannis and Melisandre.

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    80. I think there’s a very contestant theme her… Daario did NOT come across to the unsullied as the same character. I do think that’s a shame, and I don’t think it was particularly necessary. I sullied ALL my unsullied with the one thing I was afraid will be jarring… and it didn’t help them at all.

      “Guys, you know the Fabio-guy flirting with the Dragon-Queen right? (Everyone certainly knew who I meant, kudos to the old version for being memorable) Well… to warn you his character’s name is DAARIO and he’s been recast… ”

      And all I got was different versions of “Who’s the poet guy with the flowers?” And I still don’t think any of my unsullied associate him at all with the guy who brought Dany a bundle of heads…

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    81. The Hound: Anyway it doesn’t matter the episode was the biggest disappointment I’ve ever had with Game of Thrones, the last three episodes in fact. Huge expectations means huge letdown if not done right.

      The point is that the audience wasn’t let down. You were let down. Maybe other hardcore fans were let down. But that is a tiny, tiny fraction of the audience. Moreover, nobody cares if the hardcores don’t like it. The world learned one critical lesson from Lord of the Rings: if an adaptation of a fantasy work is any good, then the hardcore fans will hate it. They learned a similar example from the first two Harry Potter films: if the hardcore fans like it, then it’s not very good.

      Lady Wolfsbane: Daario did NOT come across to the unsullied as the same character. I do think that’s a shame, and I don’t think it was particularly necessary.

      Of course it was necessary: the actor got a better offer to do something else, and that means that he needed to take that offer. That happens in this business. The idea that they could plan on this is naive. If they insisted on language in contracts forbidding this possibility, then the quality of actors and actresses that they could sign would plummet.

      At any rate, it really isn’t all that important that they know that Daario II is Daario I. They need to understand what Daario II is next season there and then. That shouldn’t be too tough to (re)develop.

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    82. Wimsey,

      Who said anything about the show planning ahead? I didn’t. So you believe the way they treated the character change was a good way to approach the problem? When I think we can say with every other recast there was an attempt to hide the recast? The decision to go with long dark hair, the lack of any reference I can think of to Daario’s past since the recasting…. heck, a super-short haircut and the old wardrobe might have been enough to give people a chance to think they were the same character…

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    83. Wimsey: True: but it is not as if there is something unique about Manderly that makes only him able to do this. Moreover,I think that the show will be better off sticking with letting the protagonists pull themselves up by their bootstraps.Ultimately, I think that this is a literature vs. cinema issue.Manderly is a type of character that can work very well in the literary medium.He’s a “continuity extra” that you can use in multiple plots when you are not too worried about having multiple plot lines.(One might argue that Martin should have been a little more worried about that, but that’s another issue.)

      However, cinema is much less forgiving of multiple plot lines than literature is.Moreover, trying to use continuity extras across multiple plot lines often bogs down cinematic storytelling: you then have to take the time to explain who this person is.The minimum effort required to develop the character cinematically is much greater relative to the length of time you have to tell a tale than it is in literature.

      Did we really read in Crows that Davos was dead?!?Something about that book induces severe amnesia in me!At any rate, I obviously never blamed Manderly for that: even if I caught it at the time, then his name meant nothing to me as he didn’t get even rudimentary development until Dragons.I certainly was not “dreading” his going to find Manderly in Dragons.(I find Davos to be an interesting character: I’d hate to see him go.)

      They tarred a head that looked like Davos and put it on a spike. That convinced the Freys that Wyman Manderly had made good on his threat, and they released his son, who was imprisoned by the Boltons. He then detained the Freys, had them slaughtered, and ground up into what many refer to as “Frey Pie.”

      And what Ross says is correct – it is cheer-worthy, and it’s a fun scene, especially as Wyman is trying to save face in front of the Freys and has to throw his granddaughter out of the room for mouthing off. It’s a hysterical bit, and makes for a great use of Davos as well. But it’s also something that could be delayed.

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    84. Lady Wolfsbane: o you believe the way they treated the character change was a good way to approach the problem?

      Actually, yes. The best thing to do in that circumstance was just to plow ahead and pretend that it never happened. Now, if it had been the case that it become critical to either story or plot that viewers connect Daario II to Daario I, then things would have become a lot trickier. However, nothing did.

      At any rate, Daario II will certainly be just as useful for telling Dany’s story in Season 5 as Daario I would have been. They didn’t need to be the same person in the first place: this simply was a parsimonious solution for Martin.

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    85. I remember reading that Conan Stevens wanted to ad-lib his part, and tried to get D & D on board with his thoughts for Gregor, rather than simply acting the part as written. He was upset that they wouldn’t allow him to make the changes he wanted. I imagine that would have something to do with him not being asked back. From what I read of him online, he didn’t seem like all that nice of a person.

      Good grief, it is not like he was a well known, award winning actor. Just do your part and shut the f**k up.

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    86. Wimsey,

      With so many years between books, fans have been driving themselves crazy with elaborate conspiracy theories and stalker-level fascinations with certain characters.

      What bothers people show-wise is that D&D know which plotlines are ultimately important to the end game of the show and which are just side plots. And a lot of the conspiracy stuff revolves around things that are ultimately distractions. People are finding out that their pet theories aren’t true before reading as much on page.

      For example, people had crafted elaborate theories that Jeyne Westerling had switched places with her sister and was pregnant and heading north with the Blackfish so as to reestablish the King in the North or something. Except Talisa died at the Red Wedding in the show so clearly, it’s not *that* important a plotline.

      All these details that people had been obsessing over for years and that they were CERTAIN they were EXTREMELY IMPORTANT… and D&D are spoiling them that, no, not only is that detail not really important, they didn’t even understand it to begin with.

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    87. WeirwoodTreeHugger:
      In theory Manderly’s role could go to some other character, but why?He’s a huge fan favorite almost as beloved as Oberyn.

      I don’t agree. What other main character can carry out Manderly’s role? My crackpot theory is Sansa taking over his role but that is not happening. Manderly’s role will most likely be cut instead of given to someone else

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    88. Darkstar:
      I remember reading that Conan Stevens wanted to ad-lib his part, and tried to get D & D on board with his thoughts for Gregor, rather than simply acting the part as written. He was upset that they wouldn’t allow him to make the changes he wanted. I imagine that would have something to do with him not being asked back. From what I read of him online, he didn’t seem like all that nice of a person.

      Good grief, it is not like he was a well known, award winning actor. Just do your part and shut the f**k up.

      That report of Conan Stevens is false. The source for Conan wanting to adlib came from forum commenters. Also, the same argument has been made for nearly every recast. It’s bullshit.

      Conan Stevens left to film the Hobbit without letting his agent work out a deal with GOT first. Hence he was replaced.

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    89. Wimsey: Actually, yes.The best thing to do in that circumstance was just to plow ahead and pretend that it never happened.Now, if it had been the case that it become critical to either story or plot that viewers connect Daario II to Daario I, then things would have become a lot trickier.However, nothing did.

      At any rate, Daario II will certainly be just as useful for telling Dany’s story in Season 5 as Daario I would have been.They didn’t need to be the same person in the first place: this simply was a parsimonious solution for Martin.

      I disagree. The best solution imo would be to create a brand new character for Daario #2 and write off Daario #1 from the story. I’m shocked they didn’t give Daario #2 a new name considering he’s so different from Daario #1

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    90. Darkstar:
      I remember reading that Conan Stevens wanted to ad-lib his part, and tried to get D & D on board with his thoughts for Gregor, rather than simply acting the part as written. He was upset that they wouldn’t allow him to make the changes he wanted. I imagine that would have something to do with him not being asked back. From what I read of him online, he didn’t seem like all that nice of a person.

      Good grief, it is not like he was a well known, award winning actor. Just do your part and shut the f**k up.

      That is false.

      Conan wanted to film a flashback of the Kings Landing scene between Gregor and Elia Martel. However, he was unprofessionally insistent that the scene be more romantic with extra cuddles and tickle rubs in order to showcase his “softer” side as a caring and tender love maker. This caused an altercation with director Alex Graves as he felt that this change would render his rape scene ambiguous and it would be misinterpreted by the fandom. He then complained to D&D and Conan was immediately let go.

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    91. The Hound:
      Mr Fixit,

      I don’t care about IMDb ratings since they mean nothing

      Neither do I. I simply responded to your assertion:

      “Based on most of the reactions after Season 4 Episode 10 on westeros.org/IMDb/IGN/Twitter/Youtube….I’m sorry but this is laughable and not true at all. At least 50% of the asoiaf community has already been disappointed with the changes they’ve made.

      It was you, not me, that took IMDB/other online resources as proof that the majority of our fandom has been disappointed with the show. I pointed out that even using your argumentum ad populum metrics (for which I otherwise don’t care), it’s not really true.

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    92. lol: For example, people had crafted elaborate theories that Jeyne Westerling had switched places with her sister and was pregnant and heading north with the Blackfish so as to reestablish the King in the North or something. Except Talisa died at the Red Wedding in the show so clearly, it’s not *that* important a plotline.

      Yeah, I was sort of making fun of that idea in a different post. However, suppose that the show kept Jeyne and had her meet Jaime: that would have discredited the idea to the same degree. (The fact that they could use, oh, I don’t know, maybe Rickon to re-establish the King in the North seems to have been missed by those people!)

      In general, Occam’s Razor (= the Principle of Parsimony) is a great principle to apply to problems in all facets of life. Do not multiple explanations without need. What most of these ideas do is multiple explanations ad nauseum. Harry Potter fans made much the same mistakes: but the fans who held to the simplest ideas (that is, the ideas that explained the most outstanding questions) turned out to be correct. In the end, almost all of the outstanding questions were explained by: 1) Harry’s scar was a piece of Voldemort’s soul; and 2) Snape had been in love with Lily Evans. (And you would be surprised how many hardcore HP fans hated those ideas, although I suspect that 90% of the general readership saw them coming a mile away.)

      Now, Martin’s stories are a bit more complicated has he has several protagonists, not just one. Correspondingly, the plots are going to be more complicated: although, again, I would look for them to anastomize in the next two books.

      However, if Martin does pull out a lot of complex and convoluted explanations in the end, he’ll get hammered: if he writes it properly, then a lot of us should anticipate the big “solutions,” and thus the general resolutions to both stories and plots.

      (Along these lines, I do hope that he lets us know once and for all who Jon’s mother is in Winter: that way, the show can do it in Season 7 without anybody caring; if they end the show without answering that, then the viewers are going to be pissed!)

      Lulu’s Mum: You’re right, and good at explaining these things,

      My blushes! Credit goes to an ex-girlfriend from my grad school days a quarter of a century ago! She was studying literature and managed to communicate more to me about the nuances of storytelling than any class I ever took could. (I do wonder what she would have made of SoI&F: but I’d basically fallen out of touch with her by the time the book series came out.)

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    93. Um, yeah, the show viewers got the context just fine…..

      all nameless men and the houses are never mentioned. Theres certainly fan service with the banners in the back and a shot of wendel manderly. But in the end to show only viewer its stark men getting slaughtered, not stark, umber, mormont, glover etc. The only two other stark bannerman in the season defect. It’s too late obviously but hopefully we get a complete northern story-line this season that can fill in the gaps.

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    94. davyJones: all nameless men and the houses are never mentioned.

      Sure: but, so what? As for who was getting slaughtered, it was the Northerners. However, that was never the impact: the impact was the brutal killings of Robb, Talisa and Catelyn. Everything else was a drop in the bucket. Remember, it’s even worse on TV than in the books: in the books, only one protagonist is killed: because they elevated Robb to a protagonist on TV, they just killed two protagonists in one go. (And they killed Ned Stark again….)

      davyJones: but hopefully we get a complete northern story-line this season that can fill in the gaps.

      There isn’t a “northern story.” There are protagonists in the north, yes. However, the deeds in the north are just plot for driving their stories.

      Now, filling in details about the northerners is fine and even necessary in the books: novels have to paint backdrops with words, names, etc. Novels can only tell, and they cannot show. However, this would be death on TV: what is background in the books would have to become foreground on TV, and that would totally undercut the stories that are coming up. That is why enacted storytelling going back to the oldest plays has used the Greek Chorus approach: the general mass of people representing some group. Of course, this would be death on written story telling: but it is very effective on stage and on screen (big or small). What the show needs is a North Chorus.

      Now, the North is going to be an important backdrop given where Martin is almost certainly headed. We’ve probably got a 3-way Stark face-off coming up. Sansa has learned her lessons and is (as Clapton puts it in one of the other articles today) taking charge. Arya has been hell-bent on revenge since, well, before she actually needed to be: and the two sisters don’t see eye-to-eye. Moreover, both believe Rickon to be dead: but as the last surviving male Stark who isn’t undergoing apotheosis, he is the one that many will consider the rightful heir. (Don’t be surprised if this parallel plays out elsewhere.)

      What that means is that in the end, the Northerners are going to be an important cog for the “Three heads of the Wolf.” The Northerners will also be an important cog for the Battle for the Dawn that’s coming up, too. A North Chorus can communicate that well; bogging the narrative down with details about the Umbers, Manderlys, Mormonts, etc. will actually hinder communicating that.

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    95. Turncloak,

      I guess I’m with you on this one… it really COULD be another character at this point. So why isn’t it? Call Daario #2 Brown Ben Plumm or something…

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    96. Liked the S1 Mountain. Fortunately s4 mountain looks similar enough to just about get away with it. S2 forgettable

      Dondarrion is OK, fortunately they can say his experiences explain the drastic change

      Huisman a much Better Daario, ask rein just came across as ridiculous although his swagger was a bit better than huisman

      Tommens is fine, Myrcella has spent some time offscreen, they might just be able to get away with it as the usual child-teenager personality changes. Depends if they are trying to re-mould her from sweet to scheming or something

      Would like to see Greatjon back, am glad they didn’t recast, better to have him out a couple of seasons and being him back when available, could and should have used him in season 3 but may have been an artistic clash with the Blackfish, ie they are too similar and confusing and the Blackfish needs space to be introduced

      Hope to see both of the above but given the streamlining I’m not counting on it

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    97. lol,

      Yeah I’ve only just recently read the books, some things fans have pointed out are great, eg I missed the Frey pies

      But people are over-complicating things with some of their theories, they have too much time between books on their hands and over think things. I think there is a Euron = Daario theory for example which is absurd

      GRRM puts webs and conspiracies etc in there but he also throws in some obvious clues and foreshadowings. He is at the stage where there are 2/3 books left so things have to start winding down and coming back together. So they aren’t going to be more complicated and in essence it is all rather simple

      There is a bit of a chiasmus thing happening:
      Eg Jon Snow starts off as illegitimate and disliked but slowly slowly we see his rise first as an individual (Longclaw) to recognised and prominent leader first among NW and then NW/Wildlings and then in WoW I reckon the north and in ADOS Westeros

      Dany starts off as a beaten little sister of a near extinct house, gains some status via marriage and slowly rises, begins the resurrection of her house (Dragons growing), holds a city and next will have her own Khalesar rather than authority via marriage etc and will have the Targaryens in position of power in ADOS.

      Theon basically starts off as rejected by his people for being a de facto northerner, his destruction of old Winterfell is in line with descent I to Reek but he is re ascending as a Theon once again which is in line with the re-ascension of the North, but through the plan already revealed will be the Ironborn get-out clause from Euron who represents a distortion/Asshai corruption of what he Ironborn are. I reckon he got that captains daughter of Myraham pregnant who will be legitimised so the Greyjoy line continues etc

      Bran is broken but instead of dying he is remade as an all-powerful Old God

      There’s more but this isn’t the time or place

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    98. I love Manderly, but he’s not essential, and they’re not going to split up Davos and Stannis just for a fun cameo.

      They have been necessarily brutal in cutting storylines from the massive FeastDance. One of the easier ways to cut down on that number is by not splitting up main characters. Why establish two separate storylines, one starring Stannis and the other starring Davos, when you can easily keep them together and save a bit of precious time? I tend to think they’ll keep the two together, and I tend to think they’d prioritize Stannis’ interactions with Yara over Davos’ with Manderly, so I think he’ll be cut despite being a fun character.

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    99. I don’t have a problem with changes made due to logistics, budget or the necessities of adaptation.

      The one aspect that has bugged me is where certain small iconic moments, dear to the fans, which have no impact on any of the above, get cut. Maybe this is the same as the ‘Easter Eggs’ someone referred to above. Why would anyone want to ditch that sort of quick win? There are many examples of this – Renly’s peach is the most obvious one – I don’t intend to make a long list – but the most botched one is Arya’s leaving of Harrenhal, which they even had the gall to put back into the show in a much more contrived manner, later on.

      The only recasting that has really jarred with me is the Mountain.

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    100. Andrew,

      You’ve hit on the main unifying theme of the protagonists: as a group, they represent “bastards, dwarves and broken things.” (In this world, “women” sort of fit in all of those categories as they are considered to be less than “true born” men.)

      Hardcore fans complain about particular details being omitted, but the show has been very true to the protagonists’ story lines and to the stories that those unite to create. The costumes, dragons, violence and sex obviously make the show more enjoyable to a lot of viewers: but what’s hooked them almost has to be the character arcs, because they can get those other things on shows with much lower ratings. The stories that social “lessers” struggling to answer “who am I?” can create can be powerful ones.

      thremnir: the most botched one is Arya’s leaving of Harrenhal, which they even had the gall to put back into the show in a much more contrived manner, later on.

      I’ve been a book fan since last century: but I have no idea to what you are referring! Both on the show and in the book, Arya escapes by ruthlessly and cleverly converting Joquen’s debt into even more than it was. It was trading on margins in a way that the most unscrupulous hedge fund manager would be proud. Moreover, they haven’t used anything like that since then.

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    101. Wimsey:

      thremnir: the most botched one is Arya’s leaving of Harrenhal, which they even had the gall to put back into the show in a much more contrived manner, later on.

      I’ve been a book fan since last century: but I have no idea to what you are referring! Both on the show and in the book, Arya escapes by ruthlessly and cleverly converting Joquen’s debt into even more than it was. It was trading on margins in a way that the most unscrupulous hedge fund manager would be proud. Moreover, they haven’t used anything like that since then.

      Actually, Wimsey, Book!Arya escapes by committing her first murder, after dropping the coin in front of the guardsman. She only uses Jacquen to help her free the Northmen in her “Weasel soup” plotline, which was completely separate from her attempt to escape Harrenhal.

      It is not a minor change, and certainly something I noticed immediately, as it changes the entirety of Arya’s arc from ACOK. Instead of her using her wits, and then violence, to facilitate her own escape, she just shows up at midnight to find like twelve Lannisters with spears through their heads in all sorts of unrealistic ways. As if by magic. Very un-book like.

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    102. Wimsey,

      Further, D&D did bring that little scene with the coin back in Season 3, when Arya was riding with the Hound and came across some Frey soldiers. It was out of place and cheaply done, as thremnir stated.

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    103. Matt: Actually, Wimsey, Book!Arya escapes by committing her first murder, after dropping the coin in front of the guardsman. She only uses Jacquen to help her free the Northmen in her “Weasel soup” plotline, which was completely separate from her attempt to escape Harrenhal.

      It is not a minor change, and certainly something I noticed immediately, as it changes the entirety of Arya’s arc from ACOK. Instead of her using her wits,

      Sorry, but this is basically like saying: “sure, they remembered the $100 bill, but they forgot the nickels and dimes.” Blackmailing Jacquen into doing more than just one more killing utterly dwarfed everything else that happened. What that showed us was a young lady who was both clever (and that was far and away the most clever thing that she did in this sequence) and ruthless. Arya was willing to use an ally both figuratively and literally to accomplish her goals. She showed us both tactics and strategy there.

      This major step forward in character development has propelled Arya’s character arc (both in book and on TV), and it almost certainly will be huge in the final character conflicts to come. It’s one of the reasons why her character is so popular among TV viewers and with so many book readers and even book fans. (10+ years ago, there was an odd cadre of Sansa fans who seem to hate Arya and was convinced that she was becoming “evil” because of these things; however, I’m not sure if these fans still exist anymore, and they were a minority of the online fandom in the late 1990’s-early aughts.) One key lesson of the Game of Thrones is that ruthlessness is necessary: and Arya has that. At any rate, this is a case of paying too much attention to the trees and too little attention to the forest. The fact that it communicated the forest so well is why Arya’s character is so popular with viewers.

      (Incidentally, Arya’s first murder will be her next murder. Yes, she has committed homicide: but killing people who are imprisoning you without just cause isn’t murder, it’s war. Saving her first killing for one of the people who had been torturing her friends was much more apropos. It was also good to hang the gun of “killing machine” on the wall for Arya’s future.)

      Matt:
      Further, D&D did bring that little scene with the coin back in Season 3, when Arya was riding with the Hound and came across some Frey soldiers.It was out of place and cheaply done, as thremnir stated.

      I have no memory of the coin scene in the book, which means it was inconsequential. Again, trees vs. forest. I do dimly remember the “weasel soup” stuff, but, again, that was a dime on the $100 of extorting Jacquen. At any rate, the scene with the Freys worked fine on the show. It did remind me of things I’ve seen in other shows or films, but not anything from the books. (Of course, if Martin did use this, then it was old at the time: but, then, some times the old tricks are the best ones, and it’s one that a child or woman could use on men who didn’t take them seriously as threats.)

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    104. Wimsey,

      You are kind of a fan of ridiculous over-statements which serve to (almost always) demean book readers when you so choose, no?

      “I have no memory of the coin scene in the book, which means it was inconsequential.”

      Um, okay.

      I only wrote what I wrote in defense of thremnir’s point, which you of course demeaned by saying, “I’ve been a fan of the books since before the dawn of time, but I’ve no recollection of the insignificant details you’re referring to, which means they either didn’t happen, or you’re wrong about them anyhoo”, or some such nonsense.

      The fact is, irrespective of how much BS-ballyhoo-pretentious verbiage you try to throw at it, you were wrong about how Arya escapes Harrenhal, and how it was changed in the show. That is all. I was attempting to correct the record of your memory, and you responded with enough bombast for an episode of House of Cards. It’s okay to admit you have a faulty and selective memory, and that, in this case, you got some details wrong.

      Weasel Soup (and the tricking of Jacquen that precedes it), and Arya’s escape are two totally different events, in different chapters, separated by literally hundreds of pages. Saying that tricking Jacquen LITERALLY DWARFS EVERYTHING else, so much so that the details of her escape are literally not worth remembering, is like saying you don’t remember what happened to Tyrion after his freeing by Jaime, because the revelations of their conversation were so strong, and so obviously the meat of Tyrion’s character arc.

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    105. Matt,

      Regarding the macabre progression/education/transition of Arya…I always thought of Jaqen as her enabler (if you will) who showed Arya the brutal possibilities for her revenge. She ramped up hesitantly (like the child she was) but eventually took full advantage of the convoluted “gift of three kills” logic presented to her. She was indeed darkly transformed by this “power.” Perhaps Jaqen saw something in her as well, which the coin symbolized.

      Her killing of the Harrenhal guardsman gave Arya a direct taste for blood. She was able to use her wits, her sword/dagger training/coordination from Forel, and she proved to herself she had a knack for it. The BwB, and subsequently the Hound, further enabled her (and fostered her revenge/hate control – like Stockholm Syndrome?) so when she killed the Tickler (and his squire), she was letting go of her old self and fully moving toward her faceless, “merciless” existence.

      The show did things a bit differently (her first “practice” kill came a bit later and emphasized the Hound’s support a bit more) but everything has come full circle. Needle has come back to her and the Hound proved to be a major enabler/mentor. Like the book, it was just her, Needle and the coin getting on the ship at Saltpans. I fully believe she has left the young girl Arya in Westeros and S5 will cover all her AFfC/ADwD ground in Braavos.

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    106. Wimsey: Sure: but, so what?As for who was getting slaughtered, it was the Northerners.However, that was never the impact: the impact was the brutal killings of Robb, Talisa and Catelyn.Everything else was a drop in the bucket.Remember, it’s even worse on TV than in the books: in the books, only one protagonist is killed: because they elevated Robb to a protagonist on TV, they just killed two protagonists in one go.(And they killed Ned Stark again….)

      I don’t agree in that the show’s version of events is any more brutal, Robbs as important of a character then Catelyn, sure he doesn’t have a POV but that doesn’t really mean much. I don’t really get how nameless deaths are more impact full then minor characters who’s death carry the weight of their houses.

      Wimsey:
      There isn’t a “northern story.”There are protagonists in the north, yes.However, the deeds in the north are just plot for driving their stories.

      lol what? Theon’s POV, battle of Winterfell & fArya, the entire Manderly Davos exchange and ramifactions of it all constitute a Northern Plot.

      Wimsey:
      Now, filling in details about the northerners is fine and even necessary in the books: novels have to paint backdrops with words, names, etc.Novels can only tell, and they cannot show.However, this would be death on TV: what is background in the books would have to become foreground on TV, and that would totally undercut the stories that are coming up.That is why enacted storytelling going back to the oldest plays has used the Greek Chorus approach: the general mass of people representing some group.Of course, this would be death on written story telling: but it is very effective on stage and on screen (big or small).What the show needs is a North Chorus.

      Now, the North is going to be an important backdrop given where Martin is almost certainly headed.We’ve probably got a 3-way Stark face-off coming up.Sansa has learned her lessons and is (as Clapton puts it in one of the other articles today) taking charge.Arya has been hell-bent on revenge since, well, before she actually needed to be: and the two sisters don’t see eye-to-eye.Moreover, both believe Rickon to be dead: but as the last surviving male Stark who isn’t undergoing apotheosis, he is the one that many will consider the rightful heir.(Don’t be surprised if this parallel plays out elsewhere.)

      What that means is that in the end, the Northerners are going to be an important cog for the “Three heads of the Wolf.”The Northerners will also be an important cog for the Battle for the Dawn that’s coming up, too.A North Chorus can communicate that well; bogging the narrative down with details about the Umbers, Manderlys, Mormonts, etc. will actually hinder communicating that.

      The show has spent much of its time making the world the characters inhabit a large and busy, I don’t understand how streamlining for the sake of streamlining it is any good especially if they have time for invented plots. They did a great job of showing the minor characters and book content during Robb’s campaing (s1 glover, greatjon and maege) would loved to have seen that past season 1, at the very least increase the fan-service like Wendel being onscreen and Ser Pounce being mentioned, acknowledging these minor details go a long way.

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    107. I’m super late to this party (been afk) and I apologize because I have not read all the comments before posting, but…

      I love this post so much! Nice to discuss this topic and to hear everyone’s opinion as a murder. Would love to have more of this when news is slow 🙂

      Changes I didn’t mind/barely noticed: Beric, Tommen, Rakharo. No problems here from me. Both new actors have been really good and the Dothraki are kind of missing for a while so I didn’t notice Rakharo in particular wasn’t there.
      As for Myrcella, I liked Aimee Richardson and I’m sure she’s a fine actress but from what I’ve read on this site Myrcella is going to be sexed-up a bit next season and maybe that’s not a good fit for her as she seems much more innocent (like book Myrcella).
      Re-cast I found the most jarring: Daario. But, I really did not like Ed Skrein and am drooling over Michiel Huisman so, no complaints here 😉
      I really loved the Greatjon so I’m glad they didn’t recast the actor but maybe this is an issue for the North… I hope he can return!

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    108. On Conan Stevens’ quit I have only second-hand information, but I guess that’s better than nothing:

      I once talked to one of the stuntsmen of the shows and he informally told me that Conan did certain things to certain ladies in his resident Thailand that HBO deemed unacceptable and fired him upon learning it, the Hobbit-story was just a cover-up that came in handy.

      I would like to post a disclaimer here, as it might only be behind-the-scenes hearsay, but nonetheless that’s what he told me…

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    109. lol reading this at this point of time was fun 😀
      If I could send a comment to the past I’d say:
      spoilers! the show finishes before any other book comes from grrm and d&d end up having to make up the whole conclusion.

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