There are some important differences between the Riverrun sub-plot in A Feast for Crows, and what they appear to be filming at Riverrun in S6. The most obvious difference is context: the Riverlands events taking place on the show are happening after certain events in King’s Landing, not before. Ergo, some characters will have different preoccupations than they had in the books. The real departure we’re seeing so far, however…
…is that in the book, the siege of Riverrun never actually became a siege. The Tullys were ousted from the castle without bloodshed.
Back when Jaime was a prisoner of the Stark/Tully forces, and Catelyn let him go, she put the point of Brienne’s sword to his throat and made him swear certain vows. At the time, Jaime’s attitude was basically that he’d say whatever it took, in the moment, to get out of that cell. The vows she demanded from him included that he would “never again take up arms against Stark or Tully.” This is quite a lot to ask of a member of the royal family and the primary military commander of the Stark/Tullys’ greatest adversary. It’s the sort of vow that’s likely to be subjected to a lot of interpretation.
However, months later when Jaime is long out of his shackles and back on the job, he’s trying to take his vows seriously, so when Cersei sends him up to the Riverlands to sort out the Riverrun situation, he really wants to get the matter settled with a minimum of violence: so that he doesn’t have to take up arms against Stark or Tully. And he manages to do it!
First, there’s a parley with Ser Brynden the Blackfish just outside the castle, in which Blackfish makes insinuations about the Red Wedding and taunts Jaime about his cripple status. It’s a colorful encounter, but not a very productive conversation where the Lannisters are concerned. So Jaime needs to try something else.
He borrows Edmure from his Frey captors, sits him down in his tent, has a little talk with him, and offers him a choice: A) he can convince Uncle Brynden to surrender the castle without a fight, in which case everyone inside will be allowed to leave in varying states of autonomy, depending on their role, and Edmure and his wife and child (Roslin is pregnant at this stage) will go to Casterly Rock as Jaime’s captives, OR, B) he can decline to surrender the castle, in which case the Lannister army will basically tear it to the ground, though at some point in the siege Jaime would send Edmure his newborn child… “with a trebuchet.”
Meanwhile, Jaime assumes that Edmure understands that “…and make sure your Uncle Brynden brings his fish ass out here and surrenders to our custody” is implied as part of the deal. Yeah, well, Edmure decides to play smart-ass about that. The Tullys surrender the castle to fabulous Aunt Genna’s tedious Frey husband, and nearly everyone comes out with their hands up, but Uncle Brynden is already long gone. After another round of colorful threats from Jaime, Edmure admits that Uncle Brynden swam away under the Water Gate during the night. Which is still a problem for the Throne, and Jaime is thoroughly annoyed at their predicament, but ultimately Edmure goes to Casterly Rock as a nicely-handled hostage than as a torture victim.
When everyone has packed up and moved along from Riverrun, Jaime is pleased with himself:
“And he had done his own part here at Riverrun without actually ever taking up arms against the Starks or Tullys. Once he found the Blackfish, he would be free to return to King’s Landing, where he belonged.”
With me so far? There are lots of soldiers gathered outside Riverrun, there are siege engines, there’s a war council, but ultimately the castle changes hands without anyone being killed, maimed or injured except for this one Frey whom Jaime slaps upside the head with his gold hand. (He’ll recover.) All this works out because Jaime has leadership skills, and because he takes his vows to Catelyn Stark seriously.
Whereas, on the show, it looks like there’ll be some fighting. For instance, we’re told that Ser Brynden will be shooting flaming arrows. That’s not so peaceful. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the Lannisters actually use those siege engines they’ve built. (I’m sure they won’t put a new baby in a trebuchet. Big rocks are more practical.)
With this in mind, let’s look at the new round of Big Honking Spoilers courtesy of Winter is Coming!
There is a beautiful shot of the Riverrun courtyard, first off.
Looks like the inside of Riverrun, complete with Tully trout emblems. Our source also gave a few details about the scenes being filmed in the area. It seems that Mark Mylod is the director on set, so these scenes are for episodes 7 or 8 (or both).
Okay! Mark Mylod! Thank you.
As we knew already, both Gwendoline Christie (Brienne) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime) have been in the area to shoot material. Apparently, they even share a scene in Jaime’s tent. Their conversation does not go well, and Brienne storms out. If I had to speculate, this may be due to Brienne siding with the Tullys (our source also says she’ll be sharing a scene with the Blackfish) while Jaime is, well, besieging them.
THEY SHARE A TENT.
In light of the book/show divergence that appears to be developing, I can think of some reasons why Brienne may be angry at Jaime.
It also sounds like the source either choose not to tell the WiC people what happens when they’re in the tent, or the source doesn’t know any more than that they go inside the tent for a while and Brienne eventually storms out. I can think of a scenario in which Brienne angrily storming out of the tent isn’t what it seems.
If she really is angry at him, though, I hope that’s not the last they see each other for the season. At the same time, I can think of some ways he might get back on her good side.
And I can imagine what sort of business she might have with the Blackfish, too. Something along the lines of, “If you have your grand-niece Arya hiding in that castle, now would be a good time to send her out to me. I have a message to her from her sister.”
Aw, hell, I’m just sitting here thinking, “OMG, she goes into Jaime’s tent! She takes off her armor while she’s in there, yes?”
As you may recall, their sidekicks, Bronn and Pod, also knew each other, and from the sounds of it, Bronn is pleased to see Pod again. Reportedly, the mercenary even sneaks up behind Pod in one scene and pretends to attack him. Somehow I think Pod might not like that.
YES. THANK YOU. Someone has FINALLY told us they’ve seen Podrick at Riverrun! I was getting some really weird ideas in my head regarding what exactly Podrick was up to, based on where Daniel’s been visiting and how long we’d gone not hearing about him showing up in Riverrun scenes with Brienne. Someone stop me before I embarrass myself.
But the part about Bronn pretending to attack him? That’s where I feel a mite skeptical. It strikes me as uncharacteristically unprofessional behavior from Bronn. He put that double-edged axe in Podrick’s hands, remember? And he knows Pod once put a spear through a Kingsguard knight’s head. Bronn is a “bloodthirsty bastard,” in Tyrion’s words, but when has he ever been so stupid as to pull that kind of stunt on a fully able-bodied, armed young man? Sounds weird.
It also sounds very funny, I’ll give them that much.
Everyone’s really talking about the news about the big Northern battle, though. What is the news today?
Our source also noted a detail about what we’ve been calling “The Battle of The Six Armies,” the massive battle the production filmed in Saintfield, Northern Ireland for weeks on end. Sadly, that name is too clever (or two Hobbity) for the production to use. It seems people on the show are calling it “The Battle of the Bastards,” with Ramsay on one side and Jon Snow on the other. Makes sense. Ramsay may bear the Bolton name now, but once a Bastard, always a Bastard. It would be even cooler if Jon was donning the Stark name here, too, so it’s really the battle of the ex-bastards.
But there are details that suggest Jon Snow is not using the Stark name. Because if he was, the Karstarks and the Umbers would surely join him. However, our source heard that both families side with Ramsay, while Jon is supported by the wildlings. This is the detail that shocked me the most. I could believe that the Karstarks might side with the Boltons, as they do in A Dance with Dragons, but the Umbers? Is Ramsay using Sansa’s name to bring them to his side (despite Sansa, you know, not actually being there anymore)? Are they refusing to follow Jon because he is a Snow and not a Stark? Are they going undercover? Is this just a mistake? Also, where does that leave this Northern host?
If the Umbers appear to be siding with the Boltons at first, they’ll turn over to Jon Snow and the wildlings when it really counts.
Oh, one more thing:
And finally, our source said that there are “definitely more white walkers this season.” Hoo boy.
That may be the answer to the supposedly super-amazing special effects we’ve been promised.
We usually get these big, juicy spoilers from Watchers on the Wall, who generally have more reliable and more informative sources. I remain open to hearing from Sue that the above is half nonsense and half lucky guesses. But it could just as easily fall into the territory of, “we can’t tell you whether this is true because our source will become unemployed.” In which case we’ll just have to sit here and wait for the new season.