Each week, HitFix Harpy will be hosting the “Game of Thrones” book club. A safe space where readers of “A Song of Ice and Fire” can come to dissect the changes to the series and debate what will happen next. All without fear they'll accidentally spoil something for non-readers.
WARNING: THIS POST IS DARK AND FULL OF SPOILERS. DISCUSSION ALL THE WAY THROUGH “A DANCE WITH DRAGONS” BEYOND THIS POINT.
Last night, the quagmire of revolt boiled to a head on several fronts on “Game of Thrones.” From the disgruntled ex-slaves in Meereen and the Sand Snakes in Dorne to the army at Castle Black and Faith Militant of King”s Landing, war has come again the world of Westeros.
But it”s brought low some new victims. Are we seeing a divergence from the book material? Or spoilers for “The Winds of Winter”?
#1: Untimely exit of Barristan Selmy (and maybe Grey Worm).
In the books: Ser Barristan is alive and well. In the absence of Queen Daenerys, he is effectively ruling Meereen and training an army to defend against the hordes massing outside. Grey Worm is also doing fine, assisting Selmy and rising to the role of councilman for the city.
On the show: Barristan Selmy is dead. Grey Worm”s fate is in the air. Why would the show do this? I have a theory. In order to get Dany”s story herded in the right direction, she needs to be vulnerable. Removing one – or both – of her advisors will throw her off-balance. Perhaps enough to marry Hizdahr zo Loraq in order to keep the city from revolting. Removing Ser Barristan also leaves an empty spot on the Queen”s Council. One that might be filled by Tyrion Lannister. If Drogon reappears at season”s end to take Daenerys on a ride, that would leave Tyrion (and maybe Ser Jorah) to rule in her absence instead of Selmy.
#2: Ellaria goes to war.
In the books: Ellaria is straight up begging the Sand Snakes to let go of their need for revenge and end this vicious cycle. Meanwhile, the girls themselves are torn; some of them want Myrcella”s head, while the rest see her as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne as she is older than Tommen. In Dorne, girls can inherit and Arianne wants to bring that tradition to the rest of Westeros.
On the show: Ellaria Sand is an instigator, riling up the Sand Snakes against the Lannisters. Even if that means murdering Myrcella to spark the flames of war. With Arianne out of the picture, it seems the bid to make Myrcella queen of the Seven Kingdoms is being morphed into a pitched battle for the Baratheon princess”s life. Regardless, the only daughter of Cersei Lannister is still gonna end up with a nasty scar, only now her mother will blame her father.
#3: Shireen Baratheon is in danger.
In the books: Shireen and Patchface are off in the background of Castle Black, merely existing but not active players.
On the show: With Mance dead and no sign of his wife Dalla, “Game of Thrones” has a problem. There is no child of royal blood to sacrifice to the Red God before Stannis marches South to Winterfell…except Shireen. There”s a quick exchange between Melisandre and Selyse where the Red Priestess reassures the Queen that the blood of kings runs through her daughter”s veins. Which doesn”t bode well for young Shireen. After Stannis' declaration of love for his daughter, has the Red Woman finally found a battle she can't win with him?
#4: Littlefinger reveals his gambling nature.
In the books: NONE OF THIS IS HAPPENING.
On the show: Sansa Stark has returned home to Winterfell and Littlefinger is finally ready to reveal his plan. He knowns the Bolton”s can”t hold out against an attack by Stannis”s army. All Sansa has to do it hang in there until he gets there and declares her “Wardeness of the North.” To anyone who”s read the books and knows Petyr wants Sansa to himself, this seems extremely out of character. Especially since a man of Littlefinger”s means would have enough spies to know which Bolton is really the threat.
Odds & Ends Changes
• Having Tyrion and Ser Jorah travel to Meereen by boat (and see Drogon) seems to be completely supplanting the Griff storyline. While the youngest Targaryen may show up in future seasons, it probably won”t be living on the waterways.
• Sending Ser Meryn Trant to Braavos instead of keeping him in King”s Landing puts him directly in the path of a vengeful Arya Stark.
• Tommen goes to the Sept to confront the High Sparrow. Book!Tommen would never be allowed outside the safety of the Red Keep.
• Littlefinger stole Howland Reed”s tale of the Harranhal Tourney, though the pertinent facts remain the same.
• More information again about Greyscale. Stannis mentions the “Stone Men” who live in the ruins of Old Valyria.