Game of Thrones: "What Is Dead May Never Die" - A Novel Approach

at . Comments

"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...

GoT Novel Approach

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.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


I believe it is Sir Dontos in the novels who tells Sansa, "The Tyrells are exactly like the Lanisters but with flowers." It is hinted at the Tyrells all know exactly what they are doing and are just as power hungry as the Lanisters. Margery is portrayed in public as the sweet innocent girl, but don't be fooled. I like seeing her behind closed doors so we can see who she is underneath. There is the strong, intelligent woman we only catch glimpses of down the road. It makes her so much more interesting. I love it. I also have to say love the Maid of Tarth. Perfect casting. Really looking forward to what awaits these characters in the next few episodes.


I like Margaery's character here. I don't think she's a manipulative wench. I think she's a very smart young woman who knows what's going on around her, knows what her duty is in all of this, and prefers to be straightforward with the people she loves and trusts. Very practical. Very pragmatic. It doesn't matter to me whether or not she loves Renly. I think she likes him well enough, and loves her brother, and doesn't want to see either of them - any of them - injured by making stupid emotional decisions. And Theon's character - he doesn't really have any. He has so much buried resentment, a need to prove himself, if only with weaker women, and now he both longs to be his father's son and to prove himself. Unfortunately ...


You think Margaery was just a sweet, innocent girl? And that there were no hints of Renly and Loras in the book? Um... maybe you should re-read them before you keep doing these reviews?


It was minxes r's us in this episode. That "Anne Boleyn" sure knows her way around a king no matter what realm she's in. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Shae and if she stops nibbling Sansa's leftovers. Like you, hope that relationship will be allowed to flourish. Sansa needs to unload or confide in someone. Poor thing. Nicely done analysis!


Oh lastly, forgot to mention Shae. They are handling that part well too. Imagine the costs and screentime it would take to re-create the whole hiidng Shae thing from the books. Its much better this way. Shae was gonna end up being Sansa's hand-maiden anyway. I have absolutely no problems with the jump forward. Kudos to D&D!!! This season is going great!


I think all the changes were absolutely FINE! We already have a lot of Arya's character's feistiness and resilience and it was a good move to move the story forward to Harrenhal. Secondly, one of the MAJOR additions I think was Theon's grappling with the choices he was given. Going eitherway, he was losing something of himself, his honor and the people he loved. Its a weird and malicious tkae on coming-of-age. He grows from a 'smiler' boy (wink) into a true iron-born man. And along the way, he had to choose who to betray. the show makes that hard choice visible to us which is amazing. Love that character (or love to hate). Thirdly, Loras+Renly was no secret in the books either. They are not POV characters, and neither is Marge, so yeah, GRRM couldn't be explicit in the books. Eitherway, I think this insight into the inner world of Marge is again, excellently done. In the books we never know this. And what we have from the books is her outward persona. The Dormer Marge can thus be very consistent with the boko Marge. (P.S. This actor looks more Renly-like this season than the last one.I wasn't at peace with the casting before, I am now)


My biggest annoyance was them making Shae, Sansa's handmaiden. I also dislike how previously they were clearly hiding Shae in the Hand's tower. I wonder if they're trying to build up a twist to one of the relationships that develops in the 3rd book. The book also did reference a love between Renly and Loras, but when would HBO ever pass up on making a hint of gay character a full blown gay character. Also, being a fan of the books it is nice to have small differences. It keeps the show from getting too predictable. Thanks for the review as always, one of the many things I look forward to on my Monday's.

Avatar seriously didn't get any of the hints in the books that Renly and Loras ("Renly's little flower") were in a relationship? There are a ton.


I loved your review and the other comments were good. I made a big mistake by looking up information on the different houses...DAMMIT! I fully understand the phrase; "curiosity kill the cat" I came across two major characters who will die. I must say, the series is so intriguing , I must purchase the novel.


7slums Season 1 had only 4 places to deal with (the Wall, Winterfell, Kings Landing, the Vale and Dothraki). Season 2 has 9 places (4 from above, plus Dragonstone, Renly's Army, Harrenhall, Pyke, Riverrun) We haven't seen 2 of those places yet, or the characters involved with them.

Tags: ,

Game of Thrones Quotes

Tyrion: Let me give you some advice bastard. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.
Jon: What the hell do you know about being a bastard?
Tyrion: All dwarfs are bastards in their father's eyes.

I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth. And you will know the debt is paid.

Tyrion Lannister