Game of Thrones Afterthoughts

Tyrion Lannister

Obviously the season 4 of Game of Thrones has just ended and I am still excited about the show. We had some amazing moments with Arya and the Hound. I love the story of Brienne because she is just an amazing character. The antics on the wall just continues the craziness that is happening and just proves that Winter is Coming. Now there were a lot of things that I loved about this season and a couple things that I was not entirely happy with. Now I have read the books so my opinions are definitely biased by my experience of reading the books. Two scenes that I want to explore in this post are Tyrion’s trial and the Tyrion’s final scene of the season. These scenes in particular show a difference between how they showed things in the book and how things have been shown in the show. One I think is better than the book and the other one does not have the same weight as it does in the book and was even slightly disappointing to me. (Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 4 after the jump.)

Tyrion’s Final Scene

I am going to start with the scene that disappointed me the most and that is Tyrion’s final scene. Now I already warned of spoilers, but seriously now there will be major spoilers.

Tyrion gets freed from jail by Jaime and Varys, but instead of just escaping takes a detour to see his father Tywin. In the course of the events he ends up killing Shae and then kills Tywin. In the show they make it seem like he kills Shae because of her lying at the trial and because she is sleeping with Tywin now. Then Tyrion, in sadness over having killed Shae goes to find his father with a crossbow and holds a conversation with him and kills him for saying whore. The scene just comes off a little odd because it does not seem like Tyrion is that angry and we do not have a very good reason for why he goes and looks for his father.

This is in contrast to the book, where it is Jaime who gets Tyrion out of jail and forces Varys to help him. In the book Jaime does it in part to pay off a very, very old debt that when Tyrion finds out, it crushes him. In the book we hear the story of how Tyrion had married a whore named Tysha and was forced to not only watch her sleep with all the Lannister guards, but Tyrion is forced to join in. It ruins Tyrion in so many ways and is probably the reason he seeks out whores because obviously no real woman would love him. Then Jaime drops this on Tyrion in the middle of the escape.

“[Tysha] was no whore. I never bought her for you. That was a lie that Father commanded me to tell. Tysha was…she was what she seemed to be. A crofter’s daughter, chance met on the road […] For your gold, Father said. She was lowborn you were a Lannister of Casterly Rock. All she wanted was the gold which made her no different from a whore, so…so it would not be a lie, not truly, and …he said that you required a sharp lesson. That you would learn from it, and thank me later…” – A Storm of Swords

This breaks Tyrion. He is absolutely devastated at this news and his faith in Jaime is shattered. Tysha loved him, had married him, and Jaime helped his father to ruin that. This is the emotional state that Tyrion is in when he finds Varys and then decides to head to pay his father a little visit. He is not having a friendly chat with Jaime then goes searches for his father. He just found out that his father had him watch as his wife was violated, then forced him to join in. The confrontation with his father comes to a head when his father calls Tysha a whore, after Tyrion found out she wasn’t. He tells Tywin not to say that name again, but of course he can’t help himself and does not believe that Tyrion will actually do it. This is traumatic. In the book you feel the rage, hate, sadness, etc just coursing through every word that Tyrion speaks. It is obvious that he has finally reached his limit. The scene in the book is so powerful and the one on the show just felt lackluster in comparison. Some of it is that Tywin’s death is one of the iconic scenes from the book and so far the show has done a really good job with them. This is one moment that just did not strike the right chord for me.

Tyrion’s Trial

Now part of the reason I think Tyrion’s killing of Tywin lacked some of the rage is that they seemed to infuse it into the trial. Honestly one of the best moments for me was Tyrion’s trial. His reaction after Shae’s testimony is brilliant. It is interesting that his speech comes straight from the book, but the show just filled it with rage and it is brilliant. Part of it is that the trial in the book takes multiple days. In the show it happens in a much quicker succession, it feels like. In the show Tyrion gets so angry that he does not think about what he is doing and requests to have a trial by combat. The speech is great both in the book and in the show.

“That is where you err, my lord. I have been on trial for being a dwarf my entire life.” [Tyrion]
“Have you nothing to say in your defense?” [Tywin]
“Nothing but this: I did not do it. Yet now I wish I had.” He turned to face the hall, that sea of pale faces. “ I wish I had enough poison for you all. You make me sorry that I am not the monster you would have me be, yet there it is. I am innocent, but I will get no justice here. You leave me no choice but to appeal to the gods. I demand trial by battle.” – A Storm of Swords

Now the big difference between the book and the show is when this speech happens. In the show Tyrion know the trial has been stacked against him and Jaime has told him that if he confesses he will be sent to the wall. Tyrion agrees, but then essentially rescinds once he hears Shae’s testimony because he is so upset. In the book Tyrion’s uncle comes and offers him the wall and then a little while later Prince Oberyn offers to be his champion in a trial by combat, which happens after Tyrion has asked for trial by combat in the show.

Tyrion essentially rolls the dice with his fate in the show due to a blind rage. In the book he already knows that he has Prince Oberyn willing to fight for him and therefore does not need to take the offer of the wall. His comments come off much more sarcastic and bitter, but still very calculated during this scene in the book. This then contrasts nicely with the rage felt when he is actually facing Tywin at the end. They reversed the emotional resonance of these two scenes, which I don’t know how I feel about. The trial was amazing, but the escape and death of Tywin is like being punched in the gut when you understand what happened to Tyrion. It makes Tyrion seem much more spiteful to something he seemed to have accepted for a long time now.

One other minor thing is that Tywin is killed with one bolt blow to the groin area. I know that is probably a bit more gruesome and harder to show, but there is something brilliant about him getting killed by a bolt to the groin.

Here is SourceFed Nerds reaction to the final episode of Game of Thrones, which discussed some of the same issues I mentioned here.

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6 responses to “Game of Thrones Afterthoughts

  1. Pingback: More Game of Thrones Afterthoughts | Comparative Geeks

  2. I never read the book so you just illuminated for me one of the most annoying parts of the season finale, when Tyrion kills his father. It seemed like it came out nowhere, but now I can see the real reason why.

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    • Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I knew it was coming so it did not feel so out of nowhere to me, but I knew it did not work how they presented it in the show. It almost felt like they needed it to happen, but had changed so much they weren’t sure how to do it.

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  3. Pingback: Catching Up on our Big List of Things | Comparative Geeks

  4. Great analysis of best and not so best.

    At some point, I’ll have a In Defense of Shae post where I talk in general about show-Shae vs. book Shae, but I’ll bring up some small points here.

    It’s unexplained but not inexplicable why Tyrion went to see Tywin, but it’s clearer to book readers I think than to show watchers. I also noted the absence of the motivating factor that got Tyrion up the secret passage to get Tywin.

    Once Tyrion saw Shae, I was curious how it was going to play out. Book Tyrion was so full of rage already, choking Shae seemed inevitable. On the show, they opted to have Shae pull a knife on Tyrion to make it seem more like he was acting in self-defense, but I don’t think that gets Tyrion off the hook. There are people who might not be able to handle rooting for Tyrion as a ruthless ex-girlfriend murderer, and if they want to cling to this idea of self-defense, I won’t argue with them too much, but we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    I think you’re right about how the two crossbow bolts just don’t work as well as the one to the groin. Again, I was missing the Tysha discussion, but the conversation I felt was a good approximate putting Shae in the Tysha role. Tyrion’s unspoken accusation was “dad, I totally just murdered my girlfriend, thanks to you.”

    I’m not saying this exhonerates Tyrion, I’m just trying to intuit his frame of mind and connect what emotional beats were in the show with the beats in the books.

    ————————-

    I was also thinking about the difference in the partings between Tyrion and Jaime. The part on amicable terms on the show, so I suspect that Jaime will take it much harder when Tywin is found dead.

    I think in the future, should we get a Jaime/Tyrion reunion, it’ll play out very interestingly.

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    • It will be interesting to see the direction the show goes as compared to the book. A lot of people were unhappy with Shae’s death as another senseless killing if a female character. I think one thing that they are missing a bit from the book that shaped some of Tyrion’s story is this idea of where do whores go? It is what his father said about Tysha and I think also reflected a regret over the rage endives killing of Shae.

      I agree that him going to find his father was not completed uncalled for, but the scene definitely did not have the same weight as the book and I think that is some of the problem.

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