I am not going to discuss the Arya story right now. If you are anything like myself you have probably read more than enough of Arya analysis pieces over the past week. I will focus on the plot developments at Riverrun.
On the whole, I was slightly disappointed by the TV series depiction of those scenes. Although Jaime Lannister’s conversation with Edmure Tully was undoubtedly interesting (‘The things we do for love’ quote from Jaime being particularly appreciated), I felt the TV series had destroyed the beautiful cinematic quality of the George R. R. Martin’s writing of that scene.
In the TV series, the conversation cuts, and then we see Edmure Tully safe and sound in front of the doors of Riverrun. Jaime Lannister is very much ‘the good cop’ to the Freys ‘bad cop’.
I will remind you of the same scene in the books. Jaimie asks Edmure to co-operate. Edmure refuses. Jaimie exits and a bard starts singing The Rains od Castamere and CUT.
For a glimmer second I really thought that Jaime Lannister had proved to be his father’s son, as ruthless as he was effective. In that scenario the next time we would have seen Edmure Tully as his head was catapulted into the besieged Riverrun.
Instead, Jaime attempted to be diplomatic and let Edmure negotiate a surrender from the fortress with terms very similar to what has happened in the films.
My point in narrating all of this to you is— George R. R. Martin’s writing was far more suited to the structure of a TV series than what David Benioff and D.B. Weiss actually gave us. He left us aching for more information. He also left us longing for the evil power of the Lannisters gone by.
There are a few differences between the surrender in the books and the films, but the most crucial one is the death of the Blackfish. In the TV series he refuses to leave Riverrun and is killed by Jaimie’s soldiers. In the books he has escaped the surrendered city and Jaimie is desperately trying to locate him. There’s a neat little article in The Independent summarizing why the TV writers chose to kill the Blackfish. link to the article from ‘The Independent’
Yet there is still room for doubt here. We remember how many times Kit Harrington assured us that Jon Snow was really dead and not coming back. In a TV show as gory as the Game of Thrones a death that takes place off-screen is highly unusual. In fact, it leads me to suspect that it might not have been a death at all. The only other off-screen death we know of is that of Syrio Forel. And most of us are not entirely sure he is dead either.
The timing of the scenes at Riverrun between Jaime and the Blackfish, oddly enough, matches the book chronology for Brienne’s almost being hanged in A Feast for Crows. Coincidence?
Having dwelled on the differences between the books and films, I would like to say that I was really glad that the TV series reintroduced the romantic tension between Brienne and Jaimie at this point. Especially as it is definitely present in the books‑yes, I know we think Brienne might kill Jaime soon‑ but just look at those two together, trying to control their feelings…
I realize Tormund would be far better for her, of course. I just delight in watching a complicated love-life developing for one of the very few female characters who doesn’t walk around naked. It’s possible!