Last night’s episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones (First of His Name) definitively proved three things:
1) Hodor is awesome.
2) Brienne and Pod may well be the next Tyrion and Bronn in terms of comedy on the show.
3) One important ASOIAF character from the books may not ever make an appearance on the GoT television show.
So allow me to explain.
First, in case you haven’t figured it out, Hodor is extremely strong but quite gentle, even childlike. He is unlikely and perhaps even unable to fight. We saw this on the show when Bran, Meera, Jojen and Hodor are captured by the Nights Watch mutineers at Craster’s Keep. Even when he is being poked and prodded with spears, Hodor does not resist. So when Bran starts warging into Hodor, using Hodor’s massive size and strength to fight, that’s pretty awesome. It happens in the books in completely different circumstances than it did in the show (more on that later), but it was still pretty cool.
Second, I was glad to see that Brienne and Pod become a team, although (again) it happens under very different circumstances. In the books Pod secretly follows Brienne around for some time because he does not know where Tyrion is, and he hopes that Sansa (whom Brienne is searching for) will lead him to Tyrion. In the show, the fantastic portrayal of Pod by Daniel Portman hits just the right note, I think, in terms of being a really awkward but well-meaning young lad. He is always trying so clumsily to be a good squire, when in truth he has not even had a lot of proper training. Neither Tyrion nor Brienne are actual knights, and no one else seems to have bothered to teach him about horsemanship, swordsmanship, or anything that a normal squire would know. But it looks like the two are going to be an even odder pairing than Brienne and Jaime Lannister, perhaps more so than even Arya and the Hound.
Third, I am thinking that Coldhands is not going to appear on the show. I am not sure why he has not made an appearance, but so far there have been three scenes (Sam and Gilly making their way to Castle Black; Bran, Hodor, Meera, and Jojen making their way north of the Wall; Bran warging into Hodor to fight) that involve Coldhands in the books but have been portrayed on the TV show without him. So I am thinking they are not going to have him. Maybe having a good wight or dead character or whatever is too confusing for TV? Maybe he is a casualty of storyline streamlining? Who knows. But it is true that the whole expedition to Craster’s Keep does not take place in the books at all, so already we are seeing some deviation from the books this season. And by the way, the final scene in the previous episode, in which Craster’s last son is transformed by a White Walker, is not really a spoiler for me. They had already hinted at it in the books, when Gilly talks about “Craster’s sons” coming back for the baby. All they did was spell it all out. That’s just my opinion, for whatever it’s worth.