Deviating from the source material has caused Game Of Thrones a few grumbles recently, but Oathkeeper did so with excellent results.
But first a criticism. Last week I defended the ‘rape’ scene between Jaime and Cersei and said it would be crucial to see what followed on from it. Unfortunately, this episode seemed to completely ignore it.
We did get a wonderfully frosty scene between the two siblings, but there was not even a veiled reference to what happened in the Sept, which felt like a missed opportunity to clarify what exactly it was. They both acted like nothing had happened.
Certainly it would have been a positive if Jaime’s guilt over it was one of the things that led him to send Brienne and Pod on their mission to protect Sansa from Cersei’s clutches, but if it was, again it wasn’t even alluded to.
Instead Jaime was acting very much like he did in the first two episodes, which would be fine if there hadn’t been the hint of something sinister last week. You can’t have it both ways and it feels a bit like it’s trying to. There’s time yet for it to fall into place of course.
The daft thing is that the Jaime/Cersei scene was really good, as were his scenes with Tyrion, Bronn and Brienne, with the latter particularly touching. It’s sad in a way that their burgeoning friendship has been broken up by her mission, but I’m already looking forward to the number of times Pod calls her ‘Ser’.
Another ‘Ser’ who made a big impact was Ser Pounce, Tommen’s cat, who helped him bond with his wife-to-be Margaery. That scene was a little awkward, even though he’s been aged-up compared to the books, but Margaery does have a sweetness along with her manipulative edge, so it worked fine.
The real deviations from the books took place up north, where Locke has joined up with the Night’s Watch on his mission to find Bran and Rickon for Roose Bolton. He didn’t take long to cosy up to Jon Snow and join the party heading out to kill the traitors at Craster’s Keep.
Led by the very sweary and sinister Karl, those traitors are still sitting pretty at the Keep, raping Craster’s daughters and drinking from the skull of Lord Commander Mormont, and along with capturing Bran and his friends (stop hurting Hodor!) they also sacrifice a baby to the White Walkers.
And this was a real departure from the books, showing us more of the Whites than before, including what they really do with the babies, which was more creepy than eating them (which is what I certainly assumed), seemingly turning them into more White Walkers. Well, White Crawlers for a while anyway.
Elsewhere, Daenerys’ story rolled along with another city captured, but showed the first signs of a change, with her claiming Meereen for House Targaryen and brutally executing the former slave masters rather than showing them mercy. Darker times are coming.
Oathkeeper might not have been a perfect episode, but that was mainly because of a flaw in the previous week. On its own merits, this was another great example of how the show is taking the great source material and making it work well for TV.