Do not read this if you have not read Clash of Kings and do not want me spoiling it for you.
I wasn’t prepared for how different Game of Thrones, Book 2 was from Game of Thrones, Season 2. It was nothing like that in the first book. The first book and first season were very similar with the only major differences being the age of the characters. They are a lot younger in the books. Dany is only 13, Jon Snow is 14 and even HBO is not going to show kids that young having sex.
Most differences in the book are better, but not every one of them. In the book, we learn the names of all three dragons. The green one is Rhaegal, named for her dead brother, the gold one, Viscerion, named for her other dead brother, and the black one, the one we know from the show. His name is Drogon. Drogon, that sucks. Dracarys is so much cooler.
In the show, they have Tyrion going to Pycelle for medicine because, as he puts it, he hadn’t had a proper shit in six days. And that was the end of that. But in the book, we see Tyrion took the medicine and used it in Cersai’s drink to make her sick so she’d be bedridden and he could get rid of Pycelle. It’s not very important to the plot, by why bother showing the first bit without showing the second bit?
They did the same thing with Arya when she was in Lord Tywin’s service. Littlefinger came in and recognized her. But again, there as no payoff. There is no way Littlefinger would not have used that info. It didn’t happen in the book because Arya was never in Lord Twyin’s service. She was in Roose Bolton’s service. I liked how they did it in the show because the two actors who play Tywin and Arya were so great together, but if they had shown Bolton, I might have known who the hell he was in Season 3.
Ser Jorah’s second wife looks a lot like Dany. That helps explain his attraction to her, although I imagine her being young, blonde and hot doesn’t hurt, either. We meet Jojen and Meera Reed early on in Book Two, when they don’t even show up to the third season on TV. The book had Renly dying before the shadow was even born, and in the book, she had a second shadow birth. (ewww.) Sam didn’t find the dragonglass; Jon did, but I guess they have to give these actors something to do. Ygritte’s part was much larger on the show. We had no flirting in the book. Not yet, anyway. But again, if you’re going to use an actress you got from Downton Abbey, you need to give her a storyline. You can’t have her show up for a few lines in the second season, then say we’ll get back to you in 3. That’s OK by me because Ygritte is a world class flirter.
When the Blackwater battle was over, King Joffrey, the tool, named Littlefinger Lord of Harrenhal. Why? We had no idea what he did to merit that. But in the book we see he brokered the deal down south, getting House Tyrell to join with the Lannisters and forging a marriage between Joffrey and Margaery. All of which was Tyrion’s idea. Margaery was much more aggressive in the show and the homosexuality of her brother and Renly was only hinted at. Tyrion’s heroics in the battle were much broader in the book. He was one hell of a badass, but he looked pretty badass on the show, too.
In the book, there was a group planning to fight in the battle called the Antler Men, who were rich merchants from King’s Landing who were secretly in league with Stannis. Joffrey found out about them from Varys, captured them, stripped then naked, nailed antlers into their heads and catapulted their corpses into the battle. One landed at Tyrion’s feet. It was pretty wicked in the book and maybe just as well they didn’t film that.
We learned a lot more about Roose Bolton’s bastard, or at least who we think is Roose Bolton’s bastard from the book. That would have been helpful because I had no idea who that guy was who was torturing Theon in 3.
It made no sense to me why Arya would name Jagen H’ghar as her third name during the show but it made a lot more sense in the book. In the show and the book, she wasted her choices when she could have done so much damage, but then the books would be over.
A lot of season 2, the show is devoted to the love story between Robb and the Hot Doctor, whose name I am too lazy to look up where nothing of the sort showed up in the book. I can’t begrudge HBO their sex scenes.
None of these really add up to a hill of beans, but the readers know a lot more from Book 2 than the viewers even know after Season 3. (Hint: Magic is coming from unsuspected people.)
I thought the final scene from Season 2 was great, with Dracarys burning the wizard then setting Dany free. It paled so much in comparison to that scene in the book. She didn’t just disappear into the House of the Undying by walking around it. The wizard took her to it. Easy enough to do since no one stole her dragons and she had no reason to hate him. Just a lot of reasons to fear him. You can’t enter the House of the Undying without following the rules. The first one is to drink nightshade, so you get hallucinogenic visions, which explains why she saw her dead husband and child on the show. Not that they explained that to us. The House is a maze, and you have to always take the last door on the right and when you come to stairs, you always have to go up. They showed her many things to tempt her from taking the proper path, but in the last room, she was given three prophesies. I forget the first one, (which I should look up but I left the book at work.) Three mounts you must ride: one to bed, one to dread and one to love. Three treasons you will know: one for blood, one for death and one for love. They seems so epic while reading them and I pondered them a long time until I realized the showrunner found them so meaningless, he never told the TV audience. See? This is why I read.
On to Book Three, a mere 1128 pages. I’m gonna need a few weeks.