The third season of Game of Thrones, the televisual phenomenon based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire series, is now upon us. Airing on HBO in America on Sunday nights and on Sky Atlantic in the UK the day after, the show is likely to continue attracting viewers in droves, as it has done for the past two years.
Whilst the series’ first season was mostly true to its literary source material, season two featured a number of deviations (a subject I covered earlier this week). The decision by the writers to change several elements of the story has been justified in places, but ill-advised in others, as their desire to create tension and speed up the storyline’s of some characters has led to plot holes and inexplicable developments, such as the four that are subsequently listed in this article.
Obviously, spoilers for the first two seasons of the show will follow.
4. Why Did The White Walkers Leave Sam Alone?
In the final scene of season two, Night’s Watch members Samwell ‘Sam’ Tarly (John Bradley), Grenn (Mark Stanley) and Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton) are foraging for animal dung to burn as fuel in their expedition’s camp. They hear the blast of a horn, a common occurrence that signals the return of patrolling rangers, before hearing a second blast, another reasonably common occurrence that indicates the appearance of wildlings. They then hear the sound of a third horn, something that hasn’t been heard for thousands of years, which signifies the appearance of the supernatural White Walkers.
Grenn and Edd then proceed to flee in terror, as the rotund Sam finds himself falling behind, losing sight of his friends in the blizzard. He then bears witness to the emergence of a huge group of White Walkers and their undead servants (known as wights), who notice his presence, yet proceed to walk straight past him.
Why Doesn’t It Make Sense?
Though it was ostensibly designed to end the second season on a tense and ominous note without prematurely killing a main character, the decision to have the army of White Walkers ignore Sam goes against everything that we have learned about these terrifying mythological beings.
Generally regarded as fictional by most of Westeros, the Walkers were the original foe of the Night’s Watch. The Wall that they man was originally built thousands of years prior to the beginning of the series to protect the realms of men from their return, yet this has been all-but forgotten as the Watch has switched its focus over time to the wildling ‘threat’.
The Walkers are first glimpsed in the first episode of season one, where they are seen killing a Night’s Watch patrol. Later in the season, another group of dead rangers are found in the wilderness and brought back to the Wall, where they are reanimated as undead wights, attempting to kill Lord Commander Mormont in the process.
In addition to this, Craster is seen sacrificing his newborn sons to the beings to ensure his own continued safety, whilst wildlings such as Winterfell servant Osha makes it known that they have fled south or united with Mance Rayder in fear of them, yet a massive horde of them explicitly notice the terrified Sam and do nothing at all.
It’s a scene that wasn’t in the books and feels very out of place in the series, making the beings seem unthreatening when they are meant to be amongst the most horrifying things in existence. The only possible explanation is that in the series, the Walkers will always leave one man alive to spread fear amongst others. In a way, they did this with the attack in season one, in which the ranger Will was allowed to flee from them only to desert the Watch and be executed by Ned Stark as a result.
This article was first posted on March 30, 2013