Last night continued my viewing of the third season of Game of Thrones and my first viewing of the History Channel’s Vikings.

Episode two of Game of Thrones show the high standards set by the first episode have not gone away.  Once again I found myself focusing on all of the things that made it different from the book. I had mentioned more than once that I was interested in the way all of the changes from the first two seasons were beginning to snowball and this episode was an excellent example of this. The most notable thing about this was the introduction of the Reeds who appear far later than they do in the book. The other is the first appearance of Sandor Clagane, the Hound who appears much earlier than he does in the book and serves the purpose of outing Arya to the Brothers without Banners instead of a former Stark retainer. Also while the book has a cast of thousands HBO can only afford hundreds because of this many minor characters are removed or merged together. The biggest example of this was mixing the Brave Companions with House Bolton (a side note on that one; whoever designed the Bolton’s flayed man banner for the show was brilliant!)

The list goes on. Not in a bad way… Just interesting.

Other interesting scenes abound most notably the interplay between Margery Tyrell and King Joffrey  (considering I had to have nearly half of the ways she played him I have to pray I never fall in love with a woman like her.)

Vikings was a case of letting my interest in history, especially an era of history I was familiar with, took away from my enjoyment of the show. While the story was good this show was about Vikings the way Xena: Warrior Princess was about ancient Greece. There were so many details they were getting wrong that I couldn’t focus on it. (To the producer’s credit there were no horned helmets but unfortunately that didn’t help them)

All in all Vikings was enjoyable as a fantasy piece, which is being passed off as historical fiction. But if I wanted televised fantasy I’ll stick to Game of Thrones.