Game of Thrones Valar Dohaeris Review. Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 1: Valar Dohaeris, like season 4 of Prison Break, began with a sizable let down between seasons. The let downs’ origin occurred between the ending of the previous season and the beginning of the new season. Something big was supposed to happen at the beginning of each show’s new season (season 3 for Game of Thrones and season 4 for Prison Break) yet Prison Break‘s led up to storyline was altered between seasons and Game of Thrones‘ was completely omitted.
I am aware that Game of Thrones does not have a big budget (e.g. a Rome type budget). Here is my question: Why herald some a large and incredible battle (zombies against The Night’s Watch) then not show it? I read the book so I know what was cut out and it is a shame that it was too expensive for HBO to film. The Fist of the First Men battle would have been a spectacle that put Blackwater (reviewed here: TV Review: Game of Thrones: Season 2, Episode 9: Blackwater, pictured here: Game of Thrones: Season 2, Episode 9: Blackwater Photograph ) to shame: an army of the undead, including animals (I don’t want to spoil it if you have not read it), versus swords, spears, and arrows. It was gory and things happened during it that the Game of Thrones viewer would have loved and never expected, especially its resolution.
Everyone sees how popular The Walking Dead is now. Such a battle (zombies against The Night’s Watch) would have only ameliorated the status of Game of Thrones e.g. fictitious headline: Game of Thrones is The Sopranos set in Middle Earth plus army-sized sword versus zombie battles.
That can not be said now because of this storyline omission.
One curious note is that Ghost is not with Jon Snow (Kit Harington). In the book, when Ghost is not hunting, he is usually in the vicinity of Jon or he eventually tracks him down. Ghost completely abandoning the person it grew up with for a bunch of friendly strangers makes now sense.
Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen) is far less intelligent and duplicitous in the book versus his TV incarnation. Baelish does not even let himself be seen with Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) in the book during the time period represented now on the TV show. In the show, he is brazenly seen with her in the open instead of through a proxy. With only ten episodes per season, there is no time for clever subterfuge.
Ros (Esmé Bianco) and Shae (Sibel Kekilli) continue to be examined and their separate situations bolstered, benefiting the show in small ways. Even “the little people” get representation during this series.
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)’s story is one of heart break and hate. Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) was shown to dislike and not respect his son in season one of Game of Thrones. Valar Dohaeris showed that Tywin hates Tyrion as much as Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) does, maybe even more since the love of his life died the day he was born.
The only thing Tyrion had left after his demoralizing tongue-lashing from his father was his pride. There was great face acting in that moment by Dinklage.
The Unsullied’s introduction was good as it gets though their castration was only mentioned in passing.
Seeing how A Song of Ice and Fire material is condensed on Game of Thrones is aggravating at times. An example of this was what writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss did with Ser Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) in Valar Dohaeris. Selmy kneeling and the restrained smile on Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)’s face were a pleasure to witness though it felt like a joke whose punch line was delivered far too quickly.
The TV version of Game of Thrones eliminates the intrigue of the book and the lingering question marks then asks and answers a question coterminous.
Mance Ryder (Ciarán Hinds)’s introduction was the second best in the episode behind The Unsullied. There was good back and forth between Mance and Jon Snow including the threat of death that eventually hung over their conversation. The Wildling King trusted Jon Snow a little to easily but his reason for it was understandable. He wanted Jon to be telling the truth.