Firstly, I just need to get this out the way from the batting line: after watching the first episode of the new season, I was feeling a little uneasy on where the show was going to take us. It was a slow opener, with choices made I didn’t completely agree with (see Dorne rant post) and it just kind of underwhelmed me – what can you expect though eh? It was only the first episode after all, and it has the fun task of setting up the season, so nothing all that exciting could happen.
Well, I’m more than glad to say that after watching episode 2, ‘Home’, any ill feeling I had were quite simply quashed, and now I’m not ashamed to admit that I wake up every Monday morning (because I’m naughty and stream it) with a bigger twinkle in my eye than I would any other day. Yes, my faith has been restored and I can now revert back to my ways of talking about Game of Thrones non-stop and fan-girling over every episode.
Yes, episode 2 was nothing short of brilliant with some great reveals and nail biting moments (and my personal favourite: Ser Robert Strong) which I’m sure will keep those like me glued to every episode from now on and pining for more before the next one rolls around until the pointthat we have no nails left and are chewing at nothing but bloody stumps of fingers.
A part of being a Game of Thrones fan (a true fan that is) means sometimes comparing the show up against its source material. Now, I could go on forever about prefernces and which bits I liked better in both mediums but today I want to focus on just one detail, a detail which was revealed in the latest episode. Yup, while most people will have a bucket full of points and comparisons on what the book does right over the shows, now there is another for the small pail of what the show does right over the books. What is this point I hear you ask, well, to put it bluntly, it’s house Bolton.
In the books, the Bolton’s are just as cruel and coniving as they are in the show, if not more so and it’s very clear that House Bolton is made up of nothing but evil deeds, from their Lord to the soldiers that serve him. As of the last book, Ramsey holds Winterfell and gauds Jon into wanting to leave his brothers in black to go rescue what he believes to be his sister Arya – which is the reason for the notorious ‘for the watch’ scene within the books.
Obviously in the show, this is much different. Even though it seems their meeting is on the horizon, Jon has yet to interact with Ramsey and has (spoiler) just been revived from the dead. What we were treated to instead last episode was Ramsey’s ambition and determination being made flesh when he stuck a knife in his father and proceeded to murder his step-mother and baby brother. One can presume that Ramsey is now going to serve as the season’s main villain and it’s likely that we’ll also see his demise and the fall of House Bolton as a whole and I really think this is a good way to go.
In the books, Ramsey is little more than a mad dog; he’s large, brutish and lacks intelligence but he’s a useful tool for his father to use, and while it could still go the way of the show with Ramsey being the one to kill Roose, the show gave us a Ramsey that was more true to our own history, a cruel but cunning bastard son of a lord who is quite clearly just using him to his own end. Which is the same in the show, but Ramsey here is smart enough to see it.
Unfortunately for House Bolton however, he is still a mad dog, not caring what kind of repercussions might fall upon him when taking such drastic actions as planning to kill the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch but hey, looks like he’s going to get the karma he deserves and bring about the fall of the house he fought so hard to be a part of.
So why is this so brilliant? Well because when you look at the histories and lore of the Game of Thrones world, it’s clear that the Household Bolton has been second to the Starks of the North for a very long time – a fact that would have seemingly not changed due to the popularity of their liege lord. To achieve that power they so craved, they took what they saw as a golden opportunity to acquire such power. As you all know, it worked, Bolton betrayed Robb and became Warden of the North. But now, as Ramsey has taken over and will refuse to use diplomacy as method of power, we’re about to see the downfall of the house we’ve always hated.
Just think about it, what more fitting end could you imagine than seeing the entirety of House Bolton becoming nothing – it’s been the one house in the entire series that everyone can agree has no redeeming factors or characters; yeah Roose was brill and he had a voice that could hypnotize a cobra, but he was still a bit of a shit. We’ve heard him boast about rape, we’ve had Ramsey use dogs to tear apart a frightened woman and had Locke cut off Jaime’s hand. So far, the Bolton’s have been the truest antagonists throughout Game of Thrones.
And what’s even better is the fact this crash will be because of the House itself, without many outside factors – Ramsey killed his father and brother so that he would be the only Bolton, and now that he is, the name will die with him.
The Starks are the family that have had it worst on the show sure, but we know there’s still some of them left out there that will most likely come out on the other end of this and be there to continue the line. The Bolton’s however, will be thrown to the dirt and forgotten in the books of Westerosi history.
And to me, that is the perfect justice anyone could hope for (unless of course, you actually like Ramsey).
And who’s hyped for the muthafuckin’ Tower of Joy Scene next episode yo!