The House of the Undying and Serious Repercussions

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Game of Thrones
Season 2 – Episode 10 “Valar Morghulis”

When adapting a book into the visual medium, there are items that need to be cut. It’s as simple as that. Usually the first thing to go is internalized dialogue (e.g. The Hunger Games) and Game of Thrones is no stranger to that. In the first season of Game of Thrones, information which many fans consider to be the most important subtext in the books is cut in the scenes of Ned Stark’s imprisonment. This internal dialogue and memory could have been shown in flashback and I wonder how later events of the series will progress without this information (or how they will communicate it in the future). What’s more interesting (and increasingly relevant as we approach the premiere of Season 3) is what happened in Season 2 Episode 10, “Valar Morghulis,” as Daenerys Targaryen entered the House of the Undying in search of her stolen dragons and the prophetic visions not shown in the series.

So let’s summarize Dany’s exploits in the episode. She gets the tower and enters the House of the Undying. She first goes through a door that takes her to the Throne room in King’s landing. The ceiling is demolished and the winter snow is falling all around the Iron Throne. While she feels called to sit upon the throne, the call of her stolen dragons breaks her away and takes her beyond the gate of the Wall. As she walks through the thick snow, she comes across the tent where she gave birth (from Season 1) wherein she sees the dead Drogo and her stillborn child. They romanticize for a bit and she leaves again at the call of her dragons who she finds in the next room, chained to a stone table. Pyat Pree (the creepy looking priest) starts taunting Dany, chains her up, and threatens to imprison her forever. Then Dany sets her dragons on the guy and he falls down in dragon fire. None of this is terribly prophetic and while the moment with Drogo is quite touching, the whole scene is very inconsequential.

On the other hand, the book provides a much more relevant conclusion to Dany’s story in A Clash of Kings. Simply put, when Dany enters the House of the Undying, she is given a series of prophecies in the form of visions. In total, there are 21 visions. Six are easy to understand, but wholly irrelevant. 5 are unknown but likely irrelevant. The other 10 are somewhat relevant to the story, but five of them are extremely important to the story arcs of the exceedingly long series.

***************SPOILER WARNING FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOT READ THE BOOKS ***************

Dany

The first relevant prophecy is a man sitting on a throne with the head of a wolf. The second is a man with similar features to Viserys telling his wife (and mother of his child) that their son’s will be, “A song of ice and fire,” and that “There must be one more… The dragon has three heads.” The third are a series of prophecies about Dany’s future: the fires she must light, the mounts she must ride, and the three treasons she will face. The fourth is the image of a “blue eyed” king without a shadow. The fifth is ten thousand slaves crying “Mother” to Dany. In order, those refer to: Rob Stark’s fate, Rhaegar Targaryen his son Aegon and the potential conflict of the entire series, a lot of things about Dany, Stannis Baratheon, and Dany’s successes in the next book.

Now obviously it is difficult to visualize prophecies, and none of these are completely integral the story (since four of them will happen on screen eventually), but as an avid fan of the novels I can’t help but feel like those who have only seen the show are missing something. Film is a visual medium and seeing even brief images of these prophecies would help add to the intrigue created by the magical nature of this world. It’s finding out that those who know the “higher mysteries” (as they are called in the show) hold a lot of power and sway in the world and that things are never as they seem.  But alas, they left us with one very vague prophecy in the throne room and a visually interesting ending as Dany leaves Qarth: leaving out another important aspect of the grandiose mystery that is the Song of Ice and Fire.

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