Tag Archives: The Winds of Winter

Game of Thrones Books vs. Show: Everyone Else

I had initially intended this post to focus on House Lannister.  Then, I thought about it some more and realized that I basically already covered Tyrion, and there was no point on spending a whole post on two characters.  Instead I’ll just wrap up this series, book-ended below with the Lannister twins.  Here’s a Lannister sigil before we get into spoilers:

Jaime Lannister

The show has taken Jaime’s story so far from the books that it’s easy todeclare that none of his story from the show past Season 4 will be in the books at all.  Some elements will probably be in the books, but only as elements, not as full plot threads.  For example, Myrcella is a goner, but Jaime is so far from Dorne right now in the books that he won’t have much to do with that plot.

Does Jaime survive his encounter with Lady Stoneheart?  It seems that he probably will.  Having Stoneheart kill Jaime would be like if the show killed him during the dragon battle this season.  It would make some sense, but there just seems to be more for the character to do.  That’s about the only clue we have from the show.

The Freys

Maybe Arya kills Lord Walder, maybe Lady Stoneheart will.  One way or another the Freys are toast.

The Brotherhood without Banners

Whatever role Beric will play on the show going forward will probably be played by Lady Stoneheart in the books.  Otherwise, Gendry never fell out with the Brotherhood and Thoros is still there.  I could also see the Hound meeting up with them at some point (if he hasn’t already).

Brienne of Tarth

Brienne and Jaime are similar in that the show has moved their characters so far from their book counterparts that it becomes impossible to predict where they go from here.  It seems possible she might survive her Lady Stoneheart encounter because she’s still alive on the show, but when was the last time she actually did much of anything of importance on the show?

House Martell

Doran won’t go down so easily in the books, but he will probably go down.  His behind the scenes manipulation keeps failing.  Additionally, he’s about to throw his lot in with the Mummer’s Dragon – fake Aegon.

House Tyrell

George R.R. Martin has indicated that Loras’ two older brothers, who were written out of the show, have a big role to play in the books.  This would take the Tyrell story in a completely different direction.

Samwell Tarly

The show skipped over Sam’s long travelogue, but in the end, he got to the same destination where he’ll probably end up at in the books:  Winterfell by way of Oldtown.  I don’t see much evidence for any big differences here.

House Greyjoy

Euron is a big, scary bad guy in the books already, but the show has pretty much given him Victarion’s storyline.  The show hasn’t provided us with much evidence for how either of those stories will play out in the books.  Theon and Yara/Asha are captives of Stannis at the moment too, which would be a radical starting point for any of their show adventures since last season.

House Baratheon

Speaking of Stannis, he’s still very much alive in the books.  Ramsey probably defeats him after a time.  Beyond that, it’s hard to say what else happens since show Stannis didn’t bring his family with him to attack Winterfell.

Cersei Lannister

Finally, we have the other big Lannister character still on the board.  While some of the circumstances may be different, Cersei is in the same spot in the books currently that she was at the end of season 5.  Here’s where she goes from here, I think, with one of my bolder predictions.

First, Margaery wins her trial.  Sometime after that, Cersei convinces Tommen to pledge fealty to fake Aegon.  This sets up a coronation scene in the Sept of Baelor where Margaery and MaceTyrell, two of the three Sand Snakes, the High Sparrow, Fake Aegon, and Arianne Martell are all in the same room.  But wait, where are Cersei and Tommen?  That’s when the Sept blows up.  This will be Arianne Martell and/or Jon Connington’s last point of view chapter.

Myrcella and Tommen may die in similar ways that they do on the show, but I think the, “Cersei blows up the Sept and steals the Iron Throne” story plays out more or less the same.  The next question is how Cersei reacts to Daenerys and Jon, and there’s no evidence so far that it’s too far from the books right now.

Anyway those are my Winds of Winter/Dream of Spring predictions based on where we are on the show.

(c) 2017 D.G. McCabe

 

 

 

Game of Thrones Books vs. Show: House Stark

As promised, volume 2 will focus on the Starks. This will focus on four characters: Arya, Bran, Sansa, and Jon Snow. Spoilers abound below the sigil.

Arya

Arya’s Braavos storyline will probably be pretty similar in the books. The pre-release chapter describes her time with the mummers and her dispatching of Meryn Trant. It follows that the Faceless Men would then try to kill her for going rogue and she would fight them off, earning the right to quit.

However, the Waif-fight sequence feels like a show contrivance. It would be out of character for the Faceless Men to kill for their own purposes, and hard for them to get the drop on Arya, who is a warg in the books. It’s more likely they just kick her out.

That’s where her plot becomes hard to predict. Maybe she finishes off Walder Frey, but the Northern Lords might take him out first. There’s no Great Northern Conspiracy on the show after all. She’s been warging Nymeria since A Clash of Kings, so a meeting probably will be unnecessary. Finally, this season’s conflict between Sansa and Arya feels like a show-only thing, although there might be some tension when they meet in the books.

Sansa

The show threw out Sansa’s story from the books and gave her Jeyne Poole’s in Season 5. That was a shortcut rightly savaged by critics at the time. Instead, except her to continue climbing the ladder in the Vale, eventually turning the Lords of the Eyrie to her side. Robin isn’t quite as gross in the books either, he’s like 6. I think she dispatches Littlefinger long before heading North too.

From there her story could match up well. She might save Jon’s hide, become Lady of Winterfell, and be there when Bran and Arya return.

She’ll be there when Davos brings Rickon to Winterfell too I’d suspect. Yeah, he’s not going to die due lack of zigzagging in the books. I predict that was a shortcut to stop paying two actors. Shaggydog might be fine too for similar reasons – no need to decrease the direwolf effects budget in a book.

Bran

Bran’s story probably matches up okay. I suspect the only show contrivance so far was the “let’s kill the mutineers” sequence from Season 4.  He’ll continue to train with the Three Eye-Raven/Brynden Rivers until something happens forcing him to flee.  Hodor will die holding a door.  Jojen will probably die somehow too.  Summer may or may not.  If he does, he’ll die doing more to protect Bran.

Otherwise, Bran hasn’t done much on the show.  It’s hard to predict how his story would play out in the books beyond the part where he’ll have to escape the tree cavern for some reason.

Jon Snow

Here’s one of the predictions you’ve probably been waiting for.  The key thing to remember about Jon Snow in the books is that he’s significantly more intelligent and less impulsive than Jon Snow on the show.  He’s been called more dull in the books too, so maybe the show made him more impulsive to liven things up.  He can also warg Ghost.  With that understanding, predicting Jon’s actions in the books becomes a bit easier.

Warging Ghost will have something to do with how Jon survives his assassination.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the a chapter or two with him inside the direwolf.  His body might still be resurrected by the Lord of Light, or it might be another kind of magic.  Also, expect Val to play the Davos role for a while.

Once he’s back, he will execute the traitors and hand off his Lord Commander role to someone else.  That’s a bit more complicated since Castle Black is  crowded at this point with Stannis’ people. Additionally, Jon has sent his closest allies to man other castles.  Jon won’t just impulsively hand over the duties to Ed, he’ll take the temperature of the remaining Night’s Watchmen first.

I think Ramsey’s letter is legit in the books.  Jon will have to gather his forces and fight the Boltons.  To make this work, the Great Northern Conspiracy would have to fail to a certain extent, and Stannis would have to lose the Battle in the Ice.  Jon’s depleted force might be on the brink of losing too, until Sansa rides in with the Lords of the Vale to turn the tide.

Don’t expect Jon to rush the Bolton lines himself or do anything dumb in planning the battle.  The books have proven him to be a competent strategist.  He just won’t have the manpower to outmatch the combined Bolton/Frey forces without the Vale coming in to save the day.

After Jon and Sansa take Winterfell, he may be summoned to Daenerys.  Some of their interaction seems Martinesque in Season 7, so it might track fairly closely.  I would not, however, expect a dumb plan to capture a wight and bring it to Cersei, that screams shortcut.

Jon will be King in the North too, but it won’t be just because everyone loves him that much.  In the books Robb wrote a will legitimizing Jon and making him heir to the North.  Robb’s wife, Jeyne Westerling, is still alive too, and might play a role in delivering said will to Winterfell.

Anyone, next up are the Lannisters.

(c) 2017 D.G. McCabe

 

Game of Thrones Books vs. Show: An Introduction and House Targaryen

Another season of Game of Thrones is in the books (no pun intended).  There is only one more season of the show left, but eventually, maybe, supposedly, if the legends hold true, we’re due for two more novels.  The reality is that a good chunk of the major plot points of the future books have already been revealed to us on the show.  But how much, and what are they?

I should point out that eventually I’m going to get into major spoilers from the show and the books.  If you’re interested in keeping either unspoiled you should stop now.

The show began diverting from the books in a major way in season two.  In seasons two through five, and to a lesser extent season six, it was readily apparent what was changed from the source material.  Most notably, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons (books 4 and 5) were collapsed into one season.  Whereas creative license was taken in adapting A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, the adaptations of books 4 and 5 completely re-arranged characters and storylines.  Some of these edits had creative justifications such as fewer travelogues.  Other edits had clear financial/Hollywood reasons, like cutting new characters so they could pay the current cast more money, and reducing the role of the direwolves to save special effects money for dragons.

With the changes in the television adaptation, patterns have emerged.  My central hypothesis is that we can separate what plot developments from the last two seasons are probably from George R.R. Martin and what are probably the show’s writers/showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

Generally, the different writers have different flaws.  Martin is great at character development and world-building, but not so great at crafting concise plots.  The show’s writers are good at big, flashy set pieces and great images, but not as strong on characterization and world-building.  Their plotting is flawed for a different reason than Martin’s – whereas Martin meanders too much, the show’s writers have a tendency to take shortcuts and rush things along.

Now, let’s take some of the main groups and try to predict what’s going to be in the books from seasons 6 and 7 and what is probably a show-only development.  If I try to do everything in one post, it’s going to be take forever, so I’ll go one group at a time, starting with House Targaryen.

Here are the major developments in seasons 6 and 7 for Daenerys and Company:

  • The Dothraki

Daenerys needs the Dorthraki to wrap up her story in Meereen and expand her army for Westeros.  However, I don’t think Daenerys will do so by burning the khals.  When she meets the Dothraki in the book she has a healthy, menacing Drogon right by her side.  There will probably be no need for any further demonstration of power.

  • Tyrion

Most of Tyrion’s season 6 plot is given to Barristan Selmy in the books (more on him in a moment).  Tyrion still hasn’t met up with Daenerys at the end of A Dance with Dragons, although he’s getting closer.  Besides it doesn’t make sense for Tyrion to get into Daenerys’ good graces so quickly when she still has Ser Barristan by her side.  However she returns to Meereen, we can expect a long series of interactions between Tyrion and Daenerys before she places her trust in him.

  • Ser Barristan

Ser Barristan may not be long for this world in the books, but I doubt he goes out so easily as he did in Season 5.  The way the show’s writers dispatched him didn’t make a lot of sense for his character and felt like one of their shortcuts to 1) trim the cast and 2) make way for Peter Dinklage to take a more central role.  He may even make it back to Westeros.

  • Grey Worm and Missandei

As all book readers know, this entire subplot is new on the show and impossible in the books.  Grey Worm isn’t much of a character in the books and Missandei is like 12.  This just isn’t going to happen, and was probably developed whole-cloth to give the actors something to do.

  • Daario

Daario may not even be alive right now in the books.  If he is, however, it  does kind of make sense for Daenerys to leave him in Meereen.  She has other allies in the books to take up the administrative slack, so she won’t give him as much power, but it doesn’t make sense to take the sellsword to Westeros for the same reasons she articulates  on the show.

  • The Battle of Meereen

Pre-released chapters of The Winds of Winter indicate a much longer, more complex battle than portrayed on the show.  Daenerys might join the fray at some point, but it won’t be as simple as the three dragons roasting some ships.

  • Hizdaar

Hizdaar is dispatched quickly and easily on the show.  It won’t be so easy in the books.  He’s still alive and might have tried to murder Daenerys.  He’s also already married her, so there would be that thread to untangle.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the Meereenese nobleman that Daenerys fries with Drogon like the she did to the nameless, redshirt one on the show in season 5.

  • Allies

The alliance situation is far more complicated in the books.  Doran Martell, who in the books is a brilliant puppet master rather than a lame sad-sack, wants Fire and Blood, but he won’t soon forget that his son got fried.  The released Arianne chapters show that Doran is going to be in the Aegon camp, at least for the time being.  As for the Tyrells, there has been no indication that they will ally themselves with Daenerys.  The Iron Born on the other hand, might end up following a similar story-line, with Victarion replacing the Theon/Yara one on the show.

  • Invasion of Westeros

This will be longer and more complicated in the books.  The entire Aegon story-line was cut from the show, so  it’s unclear how that will play out.  What I can predict is that the fight to bring Cersei to heel will be longer and bloodier than the shortcuts taken on the show.

  • Daenerys and Jon

It’s inevitable that we’ll see some version of this coupling in the books.  They’re both the Blood of the Dragon after all.

  • Ice Dragon

The entire “let’s get a wight and bring to Cersei” feels like a contrivance to rush along the plot, a hallmark of the show’s writers.  I seriously doubt it happens at all in the books.  Additionally, the book has the Horn of Joramun, which the White Walkers are searching for.  They won’t need a dead dragon to bring down the Wall.  Additionally, the books have the “dragon has three heads” prophecy and have mentioned legitimate ice dragons.  It is unclear to me that Viseron will die and be resurrected by the White Walkers, or if he’ll even need to be.  If it does happen, I expect it to be under completely different circumstances.

Next time we’ll talk about the Starks.

(c) 2017 D.G. McCabe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game of Thrones Power Rankings, Season Six, Episode Ten, “The Winds of Winter”

Well, that escalated quickly.  Although in Daenerys’ case, it escalated extremely, extremely slowly.  In any event we end the season with four bases of power in Westeros – Targaryen in the South, Stark in the North, Lannister in between, the Night’s King lurking beyond the wall.  Let’s see how this affects our final power rankings for the season:

Stark-2

1. House Stark (Last Week, #2)

For a while, George R.R. Martin’s working title for the upcoming “The Winds of Winter” was “A Time for Wolves.”  We’re starting to see why. We also get confirmation that Jon is indeed NOT the illegitimate son of Ned Stark but the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.  He may, or may not be legitimate after all, but with only one and a half Targaryens left in the world, it may not matter.  Additional props to Arya for ridding us of the disgusting Walder Frey.  They may not have dragons, but they finish the season on top.

Targaryen-2

2. House Targaryen (Last Week, #1)

Daenerys seems to have everything in place – if this were a year ago. Winter is here, and there’s a good question about how her Dothraki and dragons will fare in cold weather.  She needs to move quickly if she’s going to be in a helpful position when the real war comes.

Lannister

3. House Lannister (Last Week, #7)

When you murder most of your enemies in one day, you move up the Power Rankings.  The scariest part is that, even though her tactics evoke memories of the Mad King, Cersei isn’t crazy – she just doesn’t care anymore.

Arryn

4. House Arryn (Last Week, #3)

The Knights of the Vale were in the room when Jon was proclaimed King of the North.  However, there remains the uncomfortable questions of Littlefinger’s hold on Robin Arryn and the influence he might have on Sansa.  Tread lightly, Jon Snow.

Martell-2

5. House Martell (Last Week, NR)

The Martells have been wisely patient this season.  I thought one of the Sand Snakes was going to whack Tommen, but instead they returned home and made alliances.  Not bad for a season’s work.

Greyjoy

6. House Greyjoy (Last Week, #4)

Yara and Theon have also made some good decisions this season.  What drops the Ironborn in the rankings is their crazy uncle.  He’s the ultimate wildcard, and it’s unclear what his next move is now that he won’t be marrying Daenerys any time soon.

The Others

7. The Others/White Walkers (Last Week, NR)

The Wall remains standing.  For now.

Tyrell-2

8. House Tyrell (Last Week, NR)

The Sparrows are dead and gone, and so is most of House Tyrell. The key word here is “most of.”  The Queen of Thorns has nothing to lose, and that makes her dangerous.  Although, I’d like to point out that Sam’s visit to The Reach showed that her bannermen are hardly ready for any war, much less a war against the dead.

Also Receiving Votes: Lyanna Mormont, Ser Pounce, The Hound, Fast Travel, Meera Dragging Bran Around Again, and Ten Months of Waiting.

(c) 2016 D.G. McCabe

 

(c) 2016 D.G. McCabe

Games of Thrones Pre-Season 6 Power Rankings

It’s that time of year again!  Time for your weekly Game of Thrones writeup/power rankings.  As a re-cap from last year, and to set the stage for this coming season, I present to you pre-season Power Rankings:

Sparrows-1

1. The Faith of the Seven/Faith Militant (End of Last Season – #5)

There’s chaos in King’s Landing.  Right now, the High Sparrow has all the cards, and the two most powerful families in Westeros at his mercy.  This being Game of Thrones, this could change any moment, especially with a wounded Cersei back in the Red Keep.

Lannister

2. House Lannister (End of Last Season – #6)

Even with an ascendant Faith Militant and a weak king, the Lannisters aren’t in a bad position.  Kevan is squarely in charge at the Red Keep, and Cersei has a new, pet monster.  Even Jaime has some additional, although tragic, motivation right now.

The Dothraki

3. The Dothraki (End of Last Season, NR)

Daenerys is currently a “guest” of the horselords.  They aren’t exactly known for their hospitality, even towards widows of dead Khals.

Bolton

4. House Bolton (End of Last Season, #4)

Even though they just lost two major hostages, the Bolton army mopped the floor with Stannis.  There really isn’t any force in the North to oppose them right now.

Lannister in Exile-2

5. House Lannister in Exile (End of Last Season, #1)

How does someone drop from 1 to 4 when nothing has happened?  The Power Rankings are a fickle mistress.  Besides, Tyrion is about to have a host of problems trying to keep the Meereenese in check.

Meereen-2

6. The Meereenese (End of Last Season, NR)

Speaking of which, the Meereenese aren’t going to go away without additional fighting.  The TV version of the Sons of Harpy are a lot more dangerous then their literary counterparts.  In addition, how many Unsullied are there left at this point?  The only reason they are ranked behind Tyrion is because Tyrion is in the big pyramid.  For now.

The Others

7. The Others (End of Last Season, #2)

The dead are coming.  They’re obviously the most dangerous threat in the world but 1) there’s still a big wall between the Realm and the White Walkers and 2) they can’t be #1 every week.  Until they make their move, they’re on the back end of the Power Rankings.

Martell-2

8. House Martell (End of Last Season, #8)

I don’t know what to make of the show’s version of the Martells.  The writers don’t seem to really know what to do with them at this point.  They still control Dorne, so I can’t drop them off the rankings just yet.

Stark-2

9. House Stark (End of Last Season, #3)

Sansa has escaped, but things aren’t looking so great for Arya at the moment.  We’ll see what Bran’s status is once we catch up with him.

Targaryen-2

10. House Targaryen (End of Last Season, #7)

Daenerys still has a dragon out there somewhere.  Otherwise, she’s as good as dormant until she either gets away from the Dothraki.

Also Receiving Votes: House Greyjoy, House Arryn, The Night’s Watch, the Wildlings, The Faceless Men, House Tully, House Tarley, House Tyrell, Ser Pounce, making peace with the fact that no books are coming anytime soon, Three Eyed-Ravens, something to watch on Sunday nights, and of course, Jon Snow.

(c) 2016 D.G. McCabe