WARNING: Spoilers for the Songs of Ice and Fire series and “Game of Thrones”, the show, ahead.
Thrones, Thrones / Game of Thrones, Thrones / Game of Thrones, Thrones (The lyrics to the “Game of Thrones” theme, in my head)
The time has come. No, not winter. Game of Thrones the television series has run out of source material from Songs of Ice and Fire. George RR Martin has recently announced that the sixth book in the series will not be released before the premiere of the sixth season, as previously suggested. I’m not surprised. The books are really involved and I wouldn’t expect Martin to do a rush job. I’m pretty sure the showrunners saw this as an eventuality as well. Either way, for the first time Game of Thrones is venturing into completely new territory, and fans of both the book and show can only take wild guesses as to what will come next.
Random aside, I recently tried to explain the “R+L=J” theory to my husband, who has not read any of the books. Oddly enough, my thoughts aren’t as well put together when I’m speaking as they are in writing. It’s also really hard to talk about the books or show without a list of characters in front of you. All this to say book readers have had an advantage in watching this show that other fans didn’t have. Will our viewing experience be different now?
Well, there are still some plot lines that the show has yet to explore. I see it as a means of simplification. The show already has tons of characters and adding more to the mix may make it hard to whittle it down to 10 hours a season. As more people die off, though, I think we’ll pick back up on some of these. I’ve seen some casting announcements pop up that make it look like we’re finally going to explore the Iron Islands story some more. I really hope we get to see the “queensmoot”. It will also bring on some awesome raiding sequences that will be a joy to pirate fans. We also haven’t seen much of Bran or his adventures beyond the wall, lately. I wonder what the tree dude is going to look like.
Oh, and are they going to bring back Lady Stoneheart?! It’s been a while since the red wedding. With Catelyn out of play for so long, I don’t think they would go there, but I’m remaining hopeful. I could see them adding Beric Dondarrion’s brotherhood into the mix at this point, which would be a good sign for the Lady. Other established characters/stories from the books that could easily fill out the sixth season: Aegon/Young Grif – Tyrion’s journey bypassed their meeting, but it would be odd to completely ignore another contender to the throne. His landing at Griffin’s Roost is one of the stories I really wanted to follow up on in the next book; on that note, the different sellsword companies can be explored a lot more; Sam’s got some stuff to do at the Citadel; the wildlings brought inside of the wall. There’s also Quentin Martell, but with Dany already out of Meereen, it doesn’t make much sense for him to show up at this point. There’s a ton of material in the books to start to get into now.
I have a list that’s kind of the opposite of Arya’s list. I think there are 5 characters that are probably going to make it to the end of the show. It’s probably a bad idea to make this kind of bold statement about a show that can kill off your favorites at any time. It just makes sense that the next generation and players in the game are going to be significant in the future. Jon, Arya, Sansa, Bran and Daenerys. I could literally go on about this forever. So, I’ll try to wrap it up by checking in with where they were at the end of last season.
Let’s get the big one out of the way. Jon is alive and that’s what I’ll believe until I see otherwise. Even people who haven’t read the books know that it’s more than a coincidence that Melisandre rode up to the wall right as the mutiny was about to happen. What we know from the books is that her powers are way more extensive than anyone could imagine. She’s definitely got a better handle on blood magic than the maegi who brought back Drogo in season one. The Mance/Rattleshirt trick she pulled makes me believe she is the key to Jon’s survival. I worry that she may hold some sort of power over Jon if she does use her magic. But Jon is the key to everything, so obviously he can’t die. I really hope I’m right about this.
The “girl” formerly known as Arya has just lost her sight and hasn’t really gotten into much of her training at the house of white and black. The upside of her story being so removed from the rest of the action is that it’s sort of a life boat for those of us who are holding onto the knowledge we have from the books. I can’t see why her story wouldn’t follow her chapters in A Dance with Dragons at this point. Bran has just met the children of the forest and I think that’s where we left him. Looking forward to seeing him train with the 3-eyed crow. Dany’s plot fast-forwarded to being found by a khal. I was annoyed to have spent so much time with her struggling in the Dothraki sea (knowing it was the final chapter of the last available book), but I see now how it was helpful to making her discovery more affecting. She’s on the verge of death and found by a group of people who want her dead. I have no idea where this could go and, as usual, I’m most excited to see what happens with Dany in the coming season.
Lastly, there’s Sansa. Of the core characters, she’s probably the farthest from where the book puts her at this point in the story. Again, this is probably a case of lessening confusion. The real Sansa actually marries Ramsay (ending in a scene I won’t even talk about because it’s so disturbing). Poor Sansa can’t catch a break. First she’s engaged to a psychopath, married to the laughing stock of King’s Landing (speaking from a character’s perspective, of course; I love Tyrion), rescued by a creep who probably sees her mother when he looks at her, and now this. At this point, she has the back story of a future badass and you could see her starting to decide enough was enough. At the end of last season, she escapes with Theon (I assume Reek is dead after this act of defiance), just like Jayne does in the book. Hopefully, the first conversation they have once they get a safe distance away starts with “hey, so, I didn’t really kill your brothers.” Otherwise, it will be an even more tense journey to wherever it is they’re going. Riverrun? The Wall?
Game of Thrones season 6 premieres April 24th, which gives me two more months to obsess over all the different ways this could go. Maybe I’ll write another speculation post to ease some of the tension.