As you may have heard via the wailing and gnashing of teeth from long time readers, Game of Thrones‘ fifth season is set to take some radical departures from the path set by George R.R. Martin in his books. Not only that, but David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have confirmed that the show will finish before the books, spoiling the end for readers!
It’s a bit of a no-win situation. Switch things up, piss off the readers. End things according to GRRM’s blueprint, piss off the readers. This season represents the fork in the road where the show will either forge its own way or fall off the rails completely. For those who want a sneak peek at some of the major differences between Season 5 and the remaining books, here’s what has been gleaned from casting news and trailer footage thus far:
Beware the path we tread! The night is dark and full of spoilers!
Jaime & Bronn Go To Dorne
In what will hopefully be an adventure on par with Harold and Kumar going to White Castle, Jaime is headed south to Dorne, presumably to make sure the remaining Martells don’t hold Princess Myrcella responsible for what happened to Oberyn at the end of Season 4. Bronn will be his right hand man, a larger role than he received in the books where he marries into minor House Stokeworth and then murders his way up to lord.
No Justice For Lady Stoneheart
In the books, Jaime heads to the Riverlands instead of Dorne, setting things up for a confrontation with the reanimated corpse of Catelyn Stark, also known as Lady Stoneheart. Possibly one of the biggest gripes amongst fans leading into Season 5 is the removal of this character. Take a few members of Dany’s entourage out, and people will grumble. But dropping what many consider the best character from A Feast For Crows from the show? Inconceivable!
Sansa Returns To Winterfell
Sansa and Petyr Baelish spend the majority of the remaining books camped out in the Eyrie, playing a much smaller game of thrones with the various lords of the Vale. Based on what we see in the previews, Sansa is about to take a trip back home to Winterfell, giving fans a fit at the thought that she may be set up to marry Roose Bolton’s sadistic son Ramsay. That was the fate of Sansa’s handmaiden Jeyne in the books, and you don’t need to be a maegi to imagine how that worked out for her.
Tyrion And Daenerys Meet
A big complaint about the recent books was all the fiddle faddling among characters, travelling across continents, but never actually moving forward plotwise. From the moment Tyrion fled across the Narrow Sea, Game of Thrones readers have been waiting for him to finally meet Daenerys Targaryen. That wait has now lasted 15 years, but HBO has decided to drastically speed things up, with early photos from the set revealing the two characters together. In what capacity remains to be seen, but it certainly underscores the fact that the show isn’t afraid to start outpacing the books.
The Greyjoys Do Not Sow
A large chunk of the last two books has to do with the Greyjoy family, Balon’s brothers raising a fleet to join Daenerys and Yara’s attempt to take the Seastone Chair (the welfare Iron Islands equivalent of the Iron Throne) by Kingsmoot. While Yara may still moot it up, no major new Greyjoy family members have been cast, leaving that particular chunk of George R.R. Martin’s story torn out and tossed aside.
Regardless of what makes it into the show and what doesn’t, there’s no doubt that this season of Game of Thrones will be the most popular yet… and the most controversial.