Has one man”s death ever set off a chain of events like Jon Arryn”s demise in “Game of Thrones”? Well yes. All the time. After all, George R.R. Martin”s fantasy epic is loosely based on the War of the Roses. But still. If not for the death of Robert Baratheon”s Hand, Westeros would look entirely different. Most fans agree it was only a matter of time before Arryn told the King about what the Queen was up to with her brother. Had he managed the task, Robert would still be alive, the Starks would still be in Winterfell, and the kingdom would be less ripe for the taking by the Night”s King. Meanwhile Cersei and Jaimie would be decidedly dead.
For being such an important catalyst, very little focus was put on Arryn himself in the HBO show. That was not always the case. Sir John Standing – who played Jon Arryn briefly in the “Game of Thrones” pilot as the corpse – recently spoke to a Spanish website Los Siete Reinos about his time in Westeros. The unaired pilot had quite a bit more backstory for the Hand of the King, including Arryn”s last moments. Standing explained what the director originally asked of him:
“I want you to get out of your bed and I want you to crawl across the room. I want you to put your hand up and there”s a bottle of ink on the table. I want you to take it as if you”re going to write something and the bottle of ink will come crashing down. You”ll be covered in ink. Then the Queen [Lena Headey] will come in and she”ll stamp on your fingers and you”ll die.”
Considering Arryn had been visiting Robert”s bastard children and had recently acquired the book “The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms” it doesn”t take much to put together that Arryn at least suspected Cersei of cheating on Robert with her brother. Cersei voiced that fear in the final cut of the pilot and it is this discovery that ultimately leads to Ned Stark”s death.
Of course we now know it was Lysa Arryn that poisoned her husband on suggestion from Littlefinger. But back in the early seasons this deleted scene would have served as a nice red herring. Coupled with Lysa”s letter to Catelyn accusing the Lannisters of killing her husband, it would”ve laid the blame squarely on Cersei protecting her interests and her children.
Even now, we still don”t know WHY Littlefinger chose to remove Jon Arryn from the board. The Master of Coin is playing a long game. He put the crown into serious debt, he”s pitted the major houses against each other, and he”s clearly moving the nobility like chess pieces for his ultimate gain. But what that goal is remains shrouded in mystery.
Not that it”ll matter once the Night”s King shows up…
“Game of Thrones” returns to HBO on April 24, 2016.