As part of the promotion of season two of Game of Thrones, HBO is using the phrase “The North Remembers”. I am ... disappointed by this, because I feel it loses a lot of impact this way.
If you have read all the books, you’ll know that this phrase does not appear in A Clash of Kings. In fact, a quick check suggests that it is never used before A Dance with Dragons. I do not think this is a coincidence. This phrase shows up at the darkest hour for the North and the Starks. It promises that the wrongs that have been done will be set right or at least that someone will attempt to set them right.
The show is many, many gruesome events away from this darkest hour. The phrase does not have the same resonance when all it really can refer to is the death of Ned. It should have come at a time of true despair for the future of the North and the Starks, that is what made it so very powerful in A Dance with Dragons.
In a way, it represents my core concerns about the show: I get the impression that there’s a desire to provide viewers with faster gratification than the books actually deliver. I am not saying viewers should have to wait as long between each season as the books took to write, but it seems even a season a year isn’t fast enough. There’s got to be more action, Dany’s got to be more assertive right off, her dragons have to be played up as a threat, we have to actually see the Others again, and so on.
I am sure many readers thought that A Game of Thrones promised dragon-fuelled action and invading Others in the very next book, but its part of the uniqueness of the books that this did not happen.