As of episode 4, the series has moved past the major opening events of A Game of Thrones, which will probably influence the color of my analysis somewhat. Not that there are no major events here. Not that there are no major events in “Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things” – we’re still seeing character introductions here, if at a lesser rate. No, what I mean is that the events that we are likely to see for the rest of the season are ones that I will not be able to draw simple parallels with the novel about (unless I actually flip to the right page), so unless a change is particularly jarring I will be less like to notice and comment on it. Though there is at least one change jarring enough about the series that I will be discussing it here.
Let’s start with the Targaryens. Viserys continues to act as deluded as ever, and gets his second warning: “The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands”. The jarring change that I mentioned comes with Viserys, although the part that’s changed is one that we’ve already discussed. I previously found it interesting that Daenerys had to ask Doreah to teach her about sex, when in A Game of Thrones the handmaiden was given to Dany as a gift for expressly that purpose. This episode seems to have forgotten that distinction, as Doreah discussed with Viserys her purpose of teaching Dany, which Viserys scoffs at and demands that she pleasure him instead. I don’t recall if he was screwing the former pleasure slave in the novel, though he probably was; he definitely is here, and she is the utmost professional about it. This scene also mentions something that I’m sure I blew off in reading the novel. Doreah mentions a “man who could change his face the way that other men change their clothes”, a skill that as of A Dance with Dragons, Arya Stark is working her way toward learning herself.
Samwell Tarly is the biggest character that is introduced, probably both literally and in terms of the plot. Sadly there’s not much else to say about him here. Actually, I take it back – he’s definite not the literal biggest character introduced here, because The Mountain Who Rides both appears for the first time and has his backstory told here. He’s also responsible for the first bloody death of the series, which I’m sure will result in the gore ramping up from here on out. The third character introduced is one that I thought nothing of when we first saw him, but will become embroiled in quite a few plots as the story progresses: Gendry, whose last name I presume is Stone but I don’t believe we’re given it just yet, discovered by Ned Stark as he investigates the death of his friend Jon Arryn. (Speaking of the Arryns, I find it amusing that I recently watched an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series in which an alien was described to be “Lord of the Eyrie”.)
The last thought I have for this episode is that the first bits of information are being dropped about Theon Greyjoy, as Tyrion gives the first bits of information about his past and the Greyjoy rebellion. That will be relevant next episode.