"What Is Dead May Never Die" followed the written word fairly closely, with three pretty major changes. It's those changes that I'll address tonight.
I know there are others, such as poor Theon being given only one ship while in the book he was granted 10, but that's hardly enough to argue about now, is it? Read on for a take from a George R.R. Martin expert and then check out my Matt Richenthal's Game of Thrones review of the same episode, written from the view of someone unfamiliar with the books...
The first of the changes could lead to substantial storytelling differences down the road. Yes, it is true that Tyrion dearly wanted his beloved Shae to stay within King's Landing and be close to him, but not so near as to draw the attention of Cersei. For that reason, he would never have suggested making her Sansa's handmaiden. Shae was a handmaiden, and that took her away from Tyrion, something that made him miserable.
Until Tyrion admitted he planned on Shae working for Sansa, I thought the little minx just did it on her own. Couldn't you imagine Shae just picking a destiny and knocking on the door to prove to Tyrion she could be better than a scullery maid?
Tyrion entrusting Shae to Sansa shows just how much he cares for both girls. They are both outcasts and without friends. Could two more unlikely people actually be good for each other? I think so. I was touched when Sansa took out her pain on Shae saying she didn't have time to teach someone how to be a handmaiden as she was on the verge of tears. And then she just wanted Shae to brush her hair.
I have no idea what this could mean going forward. It's unwritten. But it could be great for Sansa to have the trust of someone so close to Tyrion. Although it came out of left field, I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out, and I hope they don't just let the relationship fester and die.
We finally had the pleasure of meeting Renly Baretheon and his lovely bride Margaery. In the novel, these scenes were written from the point of view of Catelyn, so there wasn't a lot about the personal life of Renly that we took away from the experience.
Yes, Loras was Margaery's brother, and it was essentially known that Renly was perhaps homosexual, but there was no indication that he and Loras were lovers. There was most especially no way we would have imagined Margaery to have known her husband was fooling around with her brother.
Now I know why they chose The Tudors' Anne Boleyn, Natalie Dormer, to play the part of Margaery. Margaery Tyrell was sweet and kind. Without an actress possessing Dormer's feminine wiles, it would have been difficult to turn her from a caring young girl into a manipulative wench. I couldn't even tell if she had feelings for Renly other than to get his seed into her.
The callous way in which she talked about sex and sharing the encounter with her brother was not the way Margaery was written. Given what I know of the rest of the series, it will be interesting to see this new nature affects her future relationships with other characters.
Finally, Arya and Gendry are being tossed all over the place. Large, character-building chunks of story are just being written out to move the story forward. They combined a few chapters and had them witness Yoren's death, which they didn't have to suffer through in the novel. A group of marauders did come through, but they weren't looking for Gendry, and Arya didn't use Loomy's death as a way to get them off of his scent. That does ease up the pressure on them somewhat, if they believed her.
At the rate they're skipping through her story, I'd imagine Arya won't be seen for a while so they can get Danaerys out of the Red Waste, and focus a bit more on some of the other characters. There is still so much more to tell. How much will change? I guess we'll find out more next week, as we take another walk through A Novel Approach.