OT- Game of Thrones EPISODE 9: The Watchers on the Wall

Submitted by Eastside Maize on June 8th, 2014 at 8:57 PM

Title says it all


Perkis-Size Me

June 8th, 2014 at 9:30 PM ^

It's the offseason, pal. Not much is going on now anyway. And GoT threads have been going on for quite a while on this blog. If the mods didn't like them, they would've been taken down by now.


June 8th, 2014 at 9:38 PM ^

Before the thread gets into spoiler territory: I have a question for the people who read the books as well as watch the show.

I started reading last summer, and get through Game of Thrones and Clash of Kings. I just started A Storm of Swords. I started watching the first season after finishing the first book, but I decided I would rather continue reading the story than watch what I had just read. Now I'm getting a little bit bored with reading (I love the books, it's just a lot to get through). Also I've read and heard the quality of books 4-5 isn't quite up to the standard of the first three. Should I force myself to finish reading all the books before starting to watch the series, or can I start watching seasons 1-3 after reading books 1-3?

Obviously, please avoid major spoilers. I know some things that it was unavoidable to miss, but there is still enough of a mystery that reading is enjoyable. Thanks!


June 8th, 2014 at 9:47 PM ^

I would finish storm of swords.  Absolutely fantastic in my opinion.  I'm not a show watcher so I can't comment on any sort of comparison between the two, but if you have read the first two I highly recommend finishing the third.

Fourth is indeed bit of a slog, fifth I thought was pretty solid, not as good as 1-3 but still worth reading.  If you are looking for a book cutoff point, though, end of third is definitely it.


June 8th, 2014 at 10:59 PM ^

Yeah, I have to agree.  From a literature aspect, I think AFFC is probably the best written book in the series (Septon Meribald's section are amazing).  However, because George RR Martin split up the characters between Feast and ADWD, so AFFC is missing several main characters, so it tends to go a bit slower.

If you're a new reader and really concerned with how the book may get, you can use THIS  website's combined chapter order for AFFC and ADWD (the two books take place during the same chronological time), so you can read all the POVs (instead of reading half  the people in AFFC, and the other half in ADWD)


June 8th, 2014 at 10:03 PM ^

Read the books and watch the show.  But don't do both simultaneously.  Either commit to reading and finish the books, or watch the show and hold off on the books.  I find it is hard to distinguish between what happens in the books only, and what happens in the show only, even having read the books entirely separate of the show.  I imagine that problem would only become worse if you do both simultaneously.

As far as books 4-5.  Most of the people that say that they are lower in quality are coming from the standpoint of having to wait 10 years to continue the storyline of their favorite characters.  Books 4/5 are mostly concurrent timeline wise, but focus on different characters.  As such, there are bound to be some haters.  However, I think I can point you to a "combined" reading where you switch between books 4 and 5 while still going chronologically through events, if you are interested in that.

In short, do both, but devote appropriate separate time to each.


June 8th, 2014 at 10:31 PM ^

Definately read if you've already started. You miss details, some bigger than others, when you only watch the show. The show sometimes glosses over what the books go into detail about and also necessarily omits some material. The show also details what the books only discuss through third parties. At that point it feels as if the show is offering 'extra' content if you've already read. 

While most point to book 4 as the weakest of the series, it is likely due to the fact that some of the most important characters are absent. The fifth book has become Martin's best work in my opinion. It is the most intelligent book in the series offering the most compelling character development and moral challenges. However, this was not apparent on the first read due to the sheer size of the book.

I was actually a little disappointed immediately after book five and it wasn't until closer examination and rereads that I realized how much GRRM had grown since the first few books. I actually consider, between books, reading if for a third time. Its that dense that it continues to reward me. Of course there are a series of essays that I attribute to my greater understanding. 

They are located here: 

start on Dany's essays


June 8th, 2014 at 10:53 PM ^

See to me book four and five is where the series starts to unravel. He can't stop himself from reaching into multiple irrelevant storylines and exploring them and it feels like he's lost control. Kind of like how the middle of Robert Jordan's series played out, I just hope it doesn't take him dying to finally get the series moving again.


June 9th, 2014 at 10:16 AM ^

I think that a lot of the seemingly irrelevant storylines are more relevant than it appears on initial reading and/or going to become a lot more relevant over the remainder of the books.


A lot of the criticisms I've heard from others are sort of similar to my own feelings the first time through, but it's amazing even what a trip through the forums at westeros.org or a listen to a good podcast will do for making everything fit together.  Honestly, I was a little angry with myself for missing as much as I did the first time I read them once I heard all the nuggets of information that other readers had caught that I'd missed.


I still understand the frustration with the book splitting and the omission of key characters from AFFC, but other than that it was a much better book the second time through.


June 10th, 2014 at 2:10 PM ^

NOTE:  Am killing myself to discuss issues with the books and avoid spoilers, but if I inadvertently let something slip I apologize,

I get that some people love the deeper exploration of the world and that when you have years between books it's easy to dive into the details, but there are a ton of storylines that to me are just dumb and I think ways of extracting himself from a couple of corners he wrote himself into.  I could have cared less about missing out on people in book four if I didn't have to waste my time reading about someone on a horse riding through the countryside so George RR could eventually have his Vietnam war protestor "America has turned against it's ideals" Soapbox moment, or a ton of other people who have storylines that can be addressed off-screen and through updates to the Throne from the Council, or to Danaerys via Ser Barristan.  There's just too much that didn't need to be shown and a lot of times I thought I was reading all about Perrin's search for Faile again(something that I think was an easy way for Jordan to keep writing through viscous writer's block).  I think the same things happening to Martin, he's got writer's block and so writes about something to at least re-prime the pump and then can't bear to part with it.  






June 9th, 2014 at 10:48 AM ^

Given that Martin has reportedly discussed the final plot with others, I'm wondering if he is thinking of passing the writing torch to someone else.  

From Martin's perspective, that might make sense.  It would allow him to relax and enjoy the rest of his life, and it would allow him to collect a portion of royalties on work he's not writing.

Avant's Hands

June 8th, 2014 at 11:07 PM ^

I guess I can't speak to how well written they are, but it really enjoyed the fourth book. The look into Dorne was awesome IMO. I thought the fifth book was terrible, though. Currently I'm going through the books again so maybe I will enjoy it more the second time. But I had a hard time getting through it. Just seemed really boring and like several characters were just treading water. On the bright side the sixth book must cover a lot of ground to set up the finale.


June 9th, 2014 at 1:34 AM ^

Well.. two things... first of all, some people haven't read the first books in over a decade... so there's value in rereading. Secondly, I don't know about other people, but myself, when I read something a second time, I use an rsvp reader. It increases the wpm I'm able to read by a lot. Second readings usually take less than half the time of the first reading for me. 

Valar Morghulis

June 9th, 2014 at 2:00 AM ^

I am somewhat in the same position as you, just about a year ahead of you.  I decided to start reading while the series is going and I don't regret it.  Whatever course of action you decide, you should do what other posters have already said and finish book 3 regardless.  It's still fresh in your mind and, unless you want to start a massive book over again, you'll forget little details that you've already read.  I've done this plenty of times and I read it somewhat regularly.  Plus, if I remember correctly, the show really starts to deviate from the last half of ASOS and it's really interesting to compare while it's fresh in your mind. 

I started reading about midway through season 2 and am about 100 pages from finishing AFFC.  In my opinion, I liked being behind the books because it was much more enjoyable for me to have a scene in mind while I read it and think "that's what really happened"... as opposed to now when I watch the show all I can think of is "that's not right, the book does a way better job of explaning and has so much more detail."   With that being said, I don't think it's ruining either experience for me.

I will say that AFFC and has been mildly disappointing, but I'm not sure if that has to do with the way I read and watched them or because I don't like the characters as much.  To me(a very casual reader) it's a bit slow and seems like it's plodding along.  I do get a sense that all of these events are leading up to something, but I just haven't reached it and it's not as engaging as the first 3 books.

tl; dr version:  I'm not sure it matters, just make sure to finish ASOS because it's really well written and gives fine details and betters the events.   


June 9th, 2014 at 11:05 AM ^

Should I force myself to finish reading all the books before starting to watch the series, or can I start watching seasons 1-3 after reading books 1-3?

That is entirely up to you. As a book reader, I am VERY happy with the adaption fo the books to screen, and now is as good of a time as ever to start watching the show if they are indeed going to streamline the bloated fourth and fifth books (which desperately needed it, IMO).

Probably don't need to note this but, my friend has not read the books and loves the show. He binge watched the whole series in 3 days a few weeks ago.


June 8th, 2014 at 10:03 PM ^

IMO: That was the worst (seasonal) penultimate episode of the series yet. Instead of being the Wall's version of Blackwater, it felt like I was just watching the end of LOTR: The Two Towers again.


June 8th, 2014 at 10:05 PM ^

They had opportunities to extend the fight to earlier in the season, but did not.  Instead, they are extending it towards the end.  Didn't feel quite as fulfilling, even though we did get a "win" with the NW holding off for one night at least.


June 8th, 2014 at 11:03 PM ^

Saying its the worst 9th episode in GOT is like saying you're the worst Heisman winner from Michigan.  Even if you are, you're still a REALLY DAMN GOOD football player.  That being said, I think I liked this one more than I liked Blackwater—more emotional moments, some amazing actions, Grenn's last stand was incredible.  It's close though.  But when the competition is Baelor (Neds Death), Blackwater, and The Rains of Castamere (Red Wedding), even if its worse than those, its still an amazing hour of television.


June 8th, 2014 at 11:10 PM ^

Right and that's why I phrased it as such- the penultimate episodes have historically, IMO, been the very best. Hence, with those elevated expectations, I found it to be disappointing. It was, to me, an hour long battle who've I've basically already seen in LOTR. Just my opinion, but as an Ep 9 it felt lacking.


June 9th, 2014 at 11:40 AM ^

I agree that the episode was a little bit of a let down, for the simple fact that it was so anticlimactic, and I have never been a fan of the goings on at the wall.   The wall stuff is always the worst part of this show, and Jon Snow is such a bore.  With that being said, the ep had great action and some eic moments, and like someone said, the worst GOT episode is still better than 95 percent of anything else on TV.  The finale should be great though.  I wish it was 2 hours.  With so much about to go down, I hope it doesn't feel rushed.


June 8th, 2014 at 10:06 PM ^

I'm glad they are finally giving Jon some more material to work with.  That said, I think I will agree with some other commenters and say that it's not as good as I feel it could have been.  It did feel like we were watching the siege of helm's deep or minas tirith instead of the conglomeration of events leading up to this moment in this series.

I'm still glad I watched it, and there were some awesome sequences (breaking the wall to fall on the climbers was pretty epic).  I'm anxiously looking forward to next week.


June 8th, 2014 at 11:35 PM ^

Just saying that, I felt I wasn't quite in westeros at times when they were showing it.  I'm as big a fan of the show as anyone.  Just saying that I was looking for a little more from the episode.  It was indeed incredible as far as action goes for TV, I don't think there's a comparison.  Therefore why I can only liken it to a hit movie trilogy in terms of action.


June 9th, 2014 at 12:54 AM ^

The giants shooting the bow and arrow and flinging the crow over to the other side was not In the books and was a bit (err a lot) like lotr. I can't recall the hero arc for Jon snow going like it did (huge book departures there) or the giant anchor either but it was seemingly some gratuitous Peter Jackson editorial flare there...but I am the kind that likes that sort of thing so long as it doesn't overwhelm.