Game of Thrones potential spoilers - TV show vs. books
June 10, 2012 1:31 PM   Subscribe

Game of Thrones: I recently finished watching the second season of the HBO show. Does the second book in the series contain any spoilers for what might happen in the third season of the TV show?

I realize the definition of "spoiler" in this context is a bit tricky. I read book one after watching season one and there were a bunch of minor details that didn't make it into the show. So I'm generally talking about bigger things—major plot developments or key pieces of information that appeared in book two but did not appear in the show yet could conceivably appear in season three.

Oh, and please don't give any actual spoilers away in this thread! :) Thanks so much.

P.S. If this question looks familiar, it's because I asked a similar version after the conclusion of the first season. (The consensus in that thread, which I ultimately agreed with, was "no spoilers in book one for season two.")
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not that I can think of - in fact, TV series 2 dips ever so slightly into book 3 - in that it documents Tyrian's regaining consciousness after the battle.
posted by scolbath at 1:40 PM on June 10, 2012

Possibly. Theon's story is playing out slightly differently in the show than in the books, and there is a pivotal character in book 2 who won't show up until next season. Same with Bran's storyline-- two new characters. One of those two characters makes prophecies that will probably be included next season.

Dany's visit to the House of the Undying includes prophecies that weren't in the series. Her storyline progresses just a bit further in the book as well. (I believe the producers said that those prophecies will be included in season 3.)

North of the wall, the show actually gets a bit further than the second book, I believe, but only with the very last scene of the season.

For the most part, though, no, not really. Nothing major (even though that sounds like a lot).
posted by supercres at 1:41 PM on June 10, 2012

Nah, you're good, you can read it without fear. The second season of the show doesn't stick to its book as closely as the first season did but they end up in roughly the same spot.

A couple of minor plot points that were left out may turn up in the third season of the show but mostly we're talking details, deeper explanation of character motivation, a couple of prophecy-ish things, and introduction of tertiary characters. There is one Theon-related thing that they left out but it seems like if they're going to use it in the third season they will have to do it differently now anyway.

[IIRC, don't Jaime & Brienne also start their trip down the river in the third book, not the second?]
posted by bcwinters at 1:45 PM on June 10, 2012

There's some content from book 3 in season 2 (Jaime's journey with Brienne and the last bit in King's landing) and lots of differences between the second book and the second season. This means that no matter what 'spoilers' you read, there will still be lots of suspense, because events in the book play out quite differently than they do onsreen.

That said:

-As supercres pointed out, the lists of roles they are casting for season 3 imply that some book 2 content that was left out of season 2 will show up later when the charaters involved appear. There is also an already-cast character who has almost certainly had a chunk of book 2 story moved to season 3 - this may or may not be a spoiler if you read the books, since it's unclear how this will play out on screen.

-There are also 2 major things (that I can think of) that are left ambiguous at the end of season 2 on TV which are not at all ambiguous in book 2, and one big reveal about a character's identity which didn't happen in season 2 but does happen in book 2.

-There are also 2 big mysteries in the series - one solved as of the end of book 5 and the other with an answer strongly hinted at but still not resolved as of the end of book 5 - that have hints and foreshadowing scattered throughout books 1 and if you read book 2 and do some thinking, you may end up spoiled IF the series gets that far and IF these aspects of the books aren't changed or eliminated for the screen.

I hope that's all vague enough to be spoiler free!!
posted by Wylla at 1:59 PM on June 10, 2012

I would feel free to read the whole series, since there's no assurances that your favorite (or disliked) parts will be included in the show. The producers seem to have indicated that the show is a different enough story arc to still be enjoyable. There's already some seemingly major sword-clashing parts that haven't been included...

Or, to put it this way, either way one is going to "ruin" the other. I recommend enjoying each as its own work; the show can't go as in depth as the books and, personally, I like the show because it gives the subtle tone and facial expressions to the mood the books create.
posted by DisreputableDog at 2:18 PM on June 10, 2012

I take it that your goal here is to have the tv series tell you the "story" and advance the plot (and thus experience all the 'a ha' moments with fans of the show), and supplement this with the books?

If so, you're fine. W/r/t the timeline the book doesn't leap ahead. Season 4, my guess, is where this trend will break down.
posted by Patbon at 2:30 PM on June 10, 2012

Patbon: "I take it that your goal here is to have the tv series tell you the "story" and advance the plot (and thus experience all the 'a ha' moments with fans of the show), and supplement this with the books?"

posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 6:54 PM on June 10, 2012

Nthing everything above. The show was different enough from the books this season that nothing can truly be considered a spoiler in book 2. The absolute worst that could happen is some things that were ambiguous in the show would be made much clearer by the books, but again, with the changes they made, it's entirely possible these things were left ambiguous because they're going in a totally different direction.

Plus, the second book has loads of great stuff that didn't make it into the show. I think you'll be very, very surprised by just how different Arya's arc is (even though it ends in, roughly, the same place.)
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:04 AM on June 11, 2012

As several commenters have noted, season two diverged materially from book two in ways that season one/book one really did not, so it's harder to assess "spoilers." There are definitely some things that happen in the book that really can't happen now on the show, just because the plot has advanced in particular ways. And as per usual with Martin, the book makes a number of things more explicit where the show leaves things vaguer (which I prefer, at least when first encountering the material).

But as someone who tends to be fanatically anti-spoiler (enough that I've now asked this question two years running!), I don't feel like there's anything seriously "spoiled" for me when season three rolls around. Thanks for all the answers!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:02 PM on July 5, 2012

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