HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has officially overtaken the books on which the series is based in Season 6, but author George R. R. Martin is still chipping away at the next installment in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, titled “The Winds of Winter.”
Fans of the books have expressed concern that the show’s pace might spoil their reading experience, once Martin eventually releases the final two tomes, but a new excerpt from “The Winds of Winter” illustrates just how far the show has already deviated from Martin’s novels — since it focuses on a POV character who doesn’t exist on-screen, along with numerous other supporting characters who have yet to (or might never) be introduced on the series.
The chapter follows Arianne Martell, daughter of Prince Doran and sister to Prince Trystane of Dorne (both of whom were killed in the Season 6 premiere, but are still alive in the books). In Martin’s novels, the Martells are still hell-bent on getting revenge for the murder of Elia Martell (Doran and Oberyn’s sister), who was married to Rhaegar Targaryen before being raped and murdered by The Mountain, Gregor Clegane, during Robert Baratheon’s rebellion — a crime the Martells still blame the Lannisters for, since The Mountain was acting on Tywin Lannister’s orders. Elia’s children, Rhaenys and Aegon, were also supposedly murdered during the sack of King’s Landing, although in the books, rumors abound that her son Aegon may have survived (thanks to a plot by the always sneaky Lord Varys) and that he intends to reclaim the Iron Throne as his birthright.
In the show, Oberyn’s lover, Ellaria Sand, and his bastard daughters, the Sand Snakes, are the main instigators of the Dornish plot against the Lannisters following Oberyn’s death. In Martin’s novels, Ellaria is a gentler character who fears for her daughters’ safety, while Prince Doran and his children — Arianne, Trystane and their brother, Quentyn — are a much more pivotal part of the political machinations going on in the war for the Iron Throne. Quentyn, another character who hasn’t been adapted for the show, is currently attempting to propose to Daenerys Targaryen in the books, while Arianne is investigating whether the rumors about Aegon are true.
Confused? Below is an excerpt from the new chapter, in which Arianne ruminates about her cousins, the Sand Snakes, and the whereabouts of her brothers — click here to read the whole chapter.
Nym and Tyene may have reached King’s Landing by now, she mused, as she settled down crosslegged by the mouth of the cave to watch the falling rain. If not they ought to be there soon. Three hundred seasoned spears had gone with them, over the Boneway, past the ruins of Summerhall, and up the kingsroad. If the Lannisters had tried to spring their little trap in the kingswood, Lady Nym would have seen that it ended in disaster. Nor would the murderers have found their prey. Prince Trystane had remained safely back at Sunspear, after a tearful parting from Princess Myrcella. That accounts for one brother, thought Arianne, but where is Quentyn, if not with the griffin? Had he wed his dragon queen? King Quentyn. It still sounded silly. This new Daenerys Targaryen was younger than Arianne by half a dozen years. What would a maid that age want with her dull, bookish brother? Young girls dreamed of dashing knights with wicked smiles, not solemn boys who always did their duty. She will want Dorne, though. If she hopes to sit the Iron Throne, she must have Sunspear. If Quentyn was the price for that, this dragon queen would pay it. What if she was at Griffin’s End with Connington, and all this about another Targaryen was just some sort of subtle ruse? Her brother could well be with her. King Quentyn. Will I need to kneel to him? No good would come of wondering about it. Quentyn would be king or he would not. I pray Daenerys treats him him more gently than she did her own brother.
It remains to be seen how much of this Dornish subplot will be included in “Game of Thrones,” given that the producers have made attempts to streamline the story by cutting out or combining characters. If none of the characters in this chapter make it onto the screen, it may hint that this story thread is a misdirect from Martin and won’t have an impact on the overall outcome of the narrative, or that the book and show could potentially have different endings. Perhaps the Sand Snakes will take over Arianne’s plot, and Aegon might still make an appearance in Season 6 — but we’ll have to wait a while to find out for sure.
Do you think Arianne, Aegon or any of the other characters mentioned in Martin’s new chapter will make it onto the show? Share your theories below.