Game of Thrones Season 4 Finalé and the Books

As you might imagine from the title, this blog will contain spoilers for anyone who's not read up to A Dance with Dragons and, somewhat incredibly, also for anyone who's not seen the final episode of Season 4 of Game of Thrones, Ep 10. ..................................................................................................................................................................

Incredibly, after 20 episodes, they still haven't actually finished the third book, although they've managed to mine a large section of Book 5 and some of Book 4 in the process of getting here. They also managed to make some major departures from the text although what upsets me most is not having Jon's final chapters and not having the epilogue with Lady Stoneheart playing out.

The changes, I can live with: Jojen's death either means the show runners are going wildly off script but reckon they can cover any other things that happen to him via Meera, Hodor and Bran, and they probably can. However, I'd like to think that this really just confirms the Jojen Paste idea (here and that GRRM already told them Jojen was dead by this point so they elected to take him out in a BIG way.

The Hound meeting Brienne is also a bit too much but, again, I can live with it, mainly because I hope it's for the next season. In book 4 Brienne's quest was fairly annoying, not least because as a reader you knew she was always barking up the wrong tree due to Arya and Sansa being accounted for. It's a bit bumbling really and a little tedious. I'm assuming that now she will go searching for Arya all over that part of the land. Also, I'm guessing there is a tie-in with Lady Stoneheart missing (see below). My main gripe with the fight is that the Hound doesn't really have any reason to be sticking with Arya. I'm pretty sure the writers felt like letting Arya know Lysa was dead was important to why her character might just go off like she did, but in reality it just leaves you having to assume The Hound has decided to not be too much of a bastard or something. Moreover, there is a price on his head put there by Lannisters and yet he never once seems to think Brienne might be there to claim that. The fact that they appeared to set up his succumbing to an infected wound was just a blind for us book readers, I suppose.

Tyrion's bit...Tysha is so important in the books but only because Tyrion broods on her constantly. There's no way to bring this into the show in one episode and give it the importance is needs. It is odd, because it could have come up in place of the boring beetle monologue and then the reveal of the truth could have been here but, even then, I think the problem is that the audience only really connects with Shae so it's her they have to hinge it on. I think we've already established Jaime not believing Tyrion poisoned Joffrey and Lancel has been completely out of the frame so, again, it was probably too much to expect the full vitriol back and forth. Jaime and Tyrion being on terrible terms is still pretty much a given due to Tyrion killing Tywin, so from a TV point of view I doubt any viewers will feel the difference. It's a shame but there wasn't the setup to use the original idea.

Leaving out Jon's stuff... I think both Jon and Lady Stoneheart are probably victims of the desire to make sure every episode of the series ends on some kind of big thing. This season has had that more than the last one, IMO. They were gifted Joffrey's death to be early and they moved Lysa's Moon Door moment much earlier. I think maybe Stoneheart and final parts of The Wall happening in Book 3 are going to be used to end Eps 1 and 2 of Season 5 with a bit a of bang.

For one thing, we need to establish Stannis's desire for a King's heir again, something that they made a lot of in Season 3. We need to get a sense of what Stannis has to gain there so that Jon's actions become more important. With Lady Stoneheart I guess there is a problem for them in that they have no central character to write this stuff off, no one main who would be around Dondarion's party. However, Jaime is due to go out and try to end the Riverrun Seige and we know that later Brienne returns from whatever befalls her (it's not clear if she's replaced Catelyn as the undead servant or was saved at the last minute). Assuming Book 6 is both imminent and resolves these (or at the very least, GRRM has confided the resolutions to these points) I think maybe Jaime will leave King's Landing quickly and the Stoneheart plot will start to be resolved from that end and after Brienne's quest will join up with it.

Hopefully, anyway.