10. Hot Stannis-on-Melisandre Action
THE CHANGE: Are they or aren't they? That question hovers in the background of every scene involving King Stannis Baratheon and his right-hand wizard-woman Melisandre in the novel. Yes, they spend a lot of time alone together, and yes, the shadow baby Melisandre delivers looks a lot like Stannis, but it's up to characters like Ser Davos, and to the readers, to do the math. In the show, the relationship is sex-on-table-tops explicit.
THE VERDICT: Fair play. Stannis and Melisandre making the beast with two backs on top of the Baratheon battle board ("Gentlemen, you can't fuck in here – this is the War Room!") may not have happened before our eyes in A Clash of Kings, the series' second installment and the basis for much of Season Two…but it did happen, or at least something very much like it. The presentation was campy, yeah, but a little camp never hurt anyone. Meanwhile, Season One took the similarly subtextual relationship between Renly Baratheon and Ser Loras Tyrell and made it an open part of the show, to equally entertaining effect, and what's good for one brother is good for the other (well, for the most part).