far from its source material this season. In fact, in the latest episode, “Hardhome,” there was only
plot line that cleaved pretty closely to the books. (That would be Cersei’s rough time in the Black Cells.) The book divergence didn’t lessen the episode any. In fact, it’s my opinion that this was one of the very best episodes in five seasons of
But that doesn’t change the fact that in the books Sansa never goes to Winterfell, Tyrion and Dany haven’t met yet, Jorah isn’t on some harebrained quest to re-enslave himself, Arya isn’t stalking that shady insurance broker, Jon never goes to Hardhome and has yet to meet the Night’s King. All those changes don’t mean Dan Weiss and David Benioff have forgotten about the book readers. Here are five shout-outs this episode made just for you die-hard book fans. Mild-to-major spoilers below for the cautious among you.
Are they gone? Good, let’s start with the mild.
when Maisie Williams said the word “canals”? In case you’ve forgotten, in the books Arya goes by the name Cat at this stage in her training. In the show she chose the name Lana. I assume the writers made this switch to avoid any confusion between Cat and Arya’s dead mother Catelyn. (Just as they changed Asha Greyjoy’s name to Yara to avoid confusion with Osha the Wildling.) It’s too bad, the phrase “Cat of the Canals”—a chapter title in
: Speaking of which, hopefully you noticed this little Book 4 title drop from Ramsay Snow. I know Cersei mentioned the “game of thrones” (Book 1) in Season 1, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers worked in the phrase “a clash of kings” (Book 2) somewhere along the way. But did they manage to squeeze “a storm of swords” (Book 3) in there? Doubtful. But for those of you paying close attention, next week’s episode is titled “The Dance of Dragons” which is awfully close to Book 5.
Secret Targaryens: Speaking of dragons, it’s pretty great that in this scene Tyrion claims Daenerys is that last Targaryen. (R.I.P. Aemon.) In the books, however, the place is crawling with secret Targaryens. There’s Dany’s brother Aegon (who we suspect to be a fraud), Jon Snow (surely you’ve heard of R+L=J by now), and, of course, Tyrion himself. Prevailing theory has Jon, Tyrion, and Dany as the three fabled dragon riders of
. If Jon is a secret Targaryen, this scene is pretty cute. If
have wondered if Tormund shouted “Run! Run! To the sea!” Or maybe they thought it was a layered
reference. But, no, that giant is Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun referred to as “Wun Wun” by a character named Leathers in the books. This Wun Wun probably won’t be as much of a fixture at Castle Black as the book version is (technical logistics and all), but he
still be the one to cause a distraction when the mutiny at Castle Black goes down.
Jon Always Comes Back: Speaking of which, this week’s episode pretty much confirmed the theory that the show-created character Olly will be the one to lead the mutinous attack on Jon. In fact, with Dolorous Edd firmly on Jon’s side now, Olly
just act alone in this. At any rate, the threat of an Olly stabbing is looming for Jon. We have some ideas of how Commander Snow might survive that attack, but there was never any doubt among most book readers that Jon Snow—probable secret Targaryen and dragon rider—
survive. (Never mind that Kit Harrington has signed on for two more seasons.) But lovely Samwell Tarly pretty much confirmed Jon’s resurrection, didn’t he? Have you been fretting about Jon Snow during the four years since
came out? Don’t worry, he always comes back.
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