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Game of Thrones’ Epic Battle of the Blackwater Gets Its Due

Posted on May 30, 2012 AT 10:58am

There are two types of Game of Thrones fans, just like with any literature that is taken from book-to-screen. There are fans that have been a part of the journey from the very beginning, who read the first book when it originally debuted. There are fans, like myself, who didn’t hear about the books until the show premiered, but bought all the books and read them. Then you have the fans who are just watching the show.

In my own way, sometimes, I feel sorry for those who don’t like to read the source material. They miss so much detail and intricate parts of the story. As a reader and as a viewer, I understand the need to leave out details to keep a show or movie from becoming too convoluted. Sometimes, though, there are some details that should be at least touched upon rather than left out all together. A prime example for me is Tom Bombadil from Lord of the Rings. I would never have known of his existence if I had not read The Fellowship of the Ring, but I digress.

I, along with the rest of the readers, have been patiently waiting to see just how the Battle of the Blackwater was going to appear on screen. I was very happy to hear the George R. R. Martin, himself, wrote this episode.  *SPOILER WARNING* There were quite a number of changes. While wildfire is definitely used on the ships, a major player in this battle is left out. In the books, Tyrion has a large chain rigged that Bronn is, in part, charged with raising. This chain traps Stannis Baratheon’s fleet in Blackwater Bay. Instead, with the absence of the chain, Bronn is charged with launching the arrow that alights the wildfire. The chain’s non-appearance doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would since the rest of the episode holds up extremely well without it.

I had also been wondering how the show would handle Tyrion’s injury. In the books, Tyrion is described from the get-go as grotesque. The injury he receives in the books makes him even more so. Being that Peter Dinklage is quite the opposite of that description, a major injury, such as losing his nose, would not go over well with the public. His subsequent slash across the face is handled well, as the budget for the show is not the greatest and should make for a decent scar.

Another big change is the appearance of “Renly’s Ghost”. This appearance is what turns the tide of the battle. Almost all of Renly Baratheon’s men went over to serve for his brother, Stannis, upon Renly’s death. In the books, when what is perceived to be “Renly’s Ghost” appears, many of those men turn their cloaks on the spot and fight against the army they were just fighting with. Readers and viewers alike find out that it is not “Renly’s Ghost” that appears on the battlefield, but someone dressed in his armor. On the show, it is shown to be Loras Tyrell, but in the books, it is Loras’ older brother, Garlan, who dons Renly’s armor as Loras does not fit the armor.

There are a few other changes, but all-in-all, I was satisfied with the portrayal of the Battle of the Blackwater. The best surprise that I received about Game of Thrones this week appears when Bronn is drunkenly singing  this in the brothel and also in the end credits. One of the major themes in A Song of Ice and Fire is music. Any time a character walks into an inn or there is a wedding, it is always accompanied with music. Until this weekend, none of these songs have had an official tune to them.

I had seen a tweet over the weekend (before “Blackwater” aired) about the release of the Season 2 soundtrack and that there was now a recorded version of ”The Rains of Castamere”. This is a fictional folk ballad that originally materialized as only lyrics in a book and had now made it into being an actual song. I was completely blown away. The National concocted a completely haunting composition. To close out my rambling, here are the lyrics and the official version of “The Rains of Castamere”:

And who are you, the proud lord said,
that I must bow so low?
Only a cat of a different coat,
that’s all the truth I know.
In a coat of gold or a coat of red,
a lion still has claws,
And mine are long and sharp, my lord,
as long and sharp as yours.
And so he spoke, and so he spoke,
that lord of Castamere,
But now the rains weep o’er his hall,
with no one there to hear.
Yes now the rains weep o’er his hall,
and not a soul to hear.


Amanda "Mandie" Marron is a US Navy Veteran, Gamer, Reader, Poet, Xbox Community Ambassador, Battlestar Galactica Aficionado, Wine Connoisseur, and all around geek. Follow me on Twitter: @Caprickah

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