By Logan Cutter | IG: @cuttypants
Readers of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy novel series will be put in a precarious position when they tune into this season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. How will readers react to watching their cherished storylines unfold on screen in April before they get a chance to experience them through written word? For those not privy, this season of Game of Thrones will include storylines from his unpublished sixth book. The Winds of Winter was scheduled to be released earlier this year but Martin has since delayed the novel. The release date has yet to be announced. This means HBO will be taking Martin’s narrative and moving forward without the guidance of his complete manuscript. Fans of George R.R. Martin’s novels have always had the option of reading the story first and then watching HBO’s adaptation afterwards. That option will no longer exist. The storyline overlap is an unprecedented situation and a huge challenge for everyone making the show. Martin has certainly been heavily involved in keeping the plot on the rails but as a fan of his novels I was originally uneasy when I discovered the show narrative would pull ahead of his writing. I’m over it now. Martin’s story is in good hands.
The TV show has been a pop culture phenomenon for a few years now. You can argue Jon Snow theories with your Starbucks barista or discuss last week’s episode with your Uber driver. Everyone watches. There’s a reason. It’s the best show on TV. It has everything you’d want in a drama. The casting and acting have been superb. Their massive budget has allowed them to create the best sets, costumes and special effects money can buy.
The way Martin weaves his story together in the A Song of Ice and Fire series is magical. His characters have more depth than Robert Downey Jr. playing Kirk Lazarus playing Sergeant Lincoln Osiris in Tropic Thunder. Every character is a distinctly different shade of grey and he takes you into the mind of several of them using his unique use of multiple viewpoint characters.
Watching a powerful television drama unfold on your screen and reading an intense saga, such as Martin’s, are entirely different and enjoyable experiences. There’s no reason one should spoil the other. They’re two distinct art forms that can be appreciated separately or together in any order.
Too many fascinating storylines will unfold on our screens this spring to let the writer’s procrastination get me down. Some of them will be entirely new narratives that everyone will experience for the first time on screen. Some of them will be narratives that the novel has already covered. Personally, I’m hopeful that the Greyjoy family sees extended screen time because they are some of the most captivating characters from the fourth and fifth book the series.
Let’s get you primed. Here’s everything you need to know and a few predictions for the upcoming season six of Game of Thrones. I’ll cover all main storylines and characters with a plot score because scoring things is fun. The overlooked situation created by the timelines coming together is that readers and viewers will be exposed to events of the story at the same time. No need to worry about pesky spoilers anymore!
Plot Score: 10
The last time we saw him: lying dead in the snow
When I read the Jon Snow death scene I was certain he was dead, for good. I was devastated like everyone else. But when I watched the scene on TV, some years later, I wasn’t so sure.
Here are the facts. Kit Harington was carrying Game of Thrones. HBO has already released several season six teaser trailers featuring Jon Snow heavily. He’s been sighted on set. Jon Snow was integral in most of the major plotlines of the story. The Lord of Light religion has been shown to have the power to bring people back to life in the TV show and the novels (Beric Dondarrion, Lady Stoneheart). Melisandre has this power. Melisandre was present at Castle Black when Jon Snow was murdered.
There are three likely scenarios;
- He’s actually dead.
- He’s resurrected by Melisandre.
- He becomes a White Walker.
He’s not dead.
My bet is on scenario B. He will become an undead through the Red Priestess’ magic like Beric Dondarrion and Lady Stoneheart (Lady Stoneheart has only been brought back to life in the novels and has not yet appeared in the show - we’ll leave her identity a mystery for now). Melisandre sees something in Jon Snow and she wouldn’t hesitate to use her power to bring him back to life. She’s been backing Stannis since day one and he’s dead now. There’s a vacancy there.
Jon Snow as a White Walker is a little farfetched although it is interesting. He could become evil like the rest of the White Walker’s or be a sort of damned hero and bring them down from within.
Will he be the same Jon Snow? Probably not. He’s not going back to the Wall. His Night’s Watch Brothers betrayed and killed him, however, I don’t expect him to seek revenge. George R.R. Martin doesn’t operate within the black and white lines of storytelling. No character is either a hero or a villain. But if a hero does exist in Martin’s story, it’s Jon Snow. Ned Stark, the original hero, has taught him everything he knows.
I see a few possible paths for him now that he has seemingly been released from his duties as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He could set his sights on bringing down The Others (alternate name for the White Walkers) in some hero-like fashion or restoring order to the Seven Kingdoms – or both. Admittedly, this would be very much unlike Martin but there needs to be some kind of heroic and climactic moment at or near the conclusion for Jon Snow, right? Maybe not, but the viewers all want this for him.
Plot Score: 9
The last time we saw her: blinded by Jaqen H’ghar as punishment for murdering Ser Meryn Trant
Royal-birthed tomboy turned faceless assassin. Her adventures have taken her everywhere and she has a head start on her siblings in exacting revenge on those who have wronged the Stark family. Surely she can get back across the narrow sea and start picking off Lannisters.
Plot Score: 6
The last time we saw him: Season Four
Bran’s plot score should get much higher this season. He’s about to learn magic. Bran finally found the Three-Eyed Raven with the help of a couple of forest kids and Hodor in season four. His storyline took a hiatus in season five and will continue this season.
The Three-Eyed Raven is an ancient forest wizard that possesses all sorts of magical powers that he is about to bestow on Bran. We don’t really know the extent of the Three-Eyed Raven’s powers yet but he’s taking Bran to Hogwarts. In Bran’s final scene he tells him “you’ll never walk again but you will fly” (preferably on a broom chasing the golden snitch).
Plot Score: 7
The last time we saw him: watching his daughter die in his arms
Jaime’s character arc is easily my favorite. He’s gone from despised jerk off to the most endearing dad on the show, if you can get past that whole incest thing. His huge moment comes after having his hand lopped off in season three. He’s talking to Brienne in the bath pits and tells the story of how he came to have his famous nickname, “The Kingslayer”. Not many in the Seven Kingdoms know the real story so it’s a big deal that he trusts Brienne enough to tell it. The Mad King had become power drunk and paranoid. He ordered the crown’s pyromancer to destroy half of King’s Landing via the same Wildfire substance used to rip Stannis’ army apart in season two. He gave the order right in front of Jaime who was his Kingsguard at the time. Jaime killed the king and the pyromancer to protect the citizens of King’s Landing. From that point on, Jaime’s honor is called into question even though he saved thousands of lives by stabbing the king. What’s cool about Jaime is that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks or says about him, he embraces the role of villain despite his heroic deeds.
I’m not sure what they have planned for Jaime but I’m certain Cersei will blame him for the death of Myrcella. Jaime’s fatal flaw of loving his own sister will come into play in season six. His storyline seems like a good candidate to end sooner rather than later. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cersei decides to have her own brother killed.
Plot Score: 4
The last time we saw her: walking naked through the streets of King’s Landing
Cersei is pissed and she hasn’t even found out her only daughter is dead. She’ll be taking it out on the High Sparrow, the Tyrell’s and the Martell’s all season.
Plot Score: 5
The last time we saw her: surrounded by a Dothraki horde
Daenerys is still trying to figure out how to rule and she’s taking her sweet time. Everyone is waiting for her long anticipated invasion of the Seven Kingdoms, but for every step forward she seems to take two steps back. After hopping on her dragon and riding out of the fighting pits, she stumbles upon a Dothraki horde. I assume they will take her captive and a rescue mission will ensue by her posse and/or dragons. Having Tyrion’s wits on her side certainly bolsters her cause when and if she ever crosses the Narrow Sea.
Plot Score: 9
Last time we saw him: watching Dany fly away on her dragon
Tyrion just recently teamed up with Daenerys Targaryen as part of her ruling council. There’s also a new vacancy for the ruler of Meereen since Dany is on holiday with Drogon. Tyrion will surely take the opportunity to sharpen his diplomatic skills and strengthen the partnership with Dany.
Sansa Stark / Theon Greyjoy:
Plot Score: 5
The last time we saw them: jumping to their death to escape the Bolton’s
Well not really, I hope. Surely they’ll survive that 50 foot jump. Both of these characters have much to accomplish and at least one of them is highly motivated. Sansa Stark, like all Starks, covets revenge on those responsible for the deaths of her father, brother and mother. She also recently found out that she is not the only remaining Stark in the world. Theon let her in on the secret that he actually did not kill her brothers, Bran and Rickon. It’ll be interesting to see if she seeks revenge or sets her sights on finding the rest of her family. My guess is both.
I think everyone is rooting for Theon. How can you not? He finally mustered up the courage to do something – killing Ramsay’s side chick and helping Sansa escape Winterfell. Let’s hope he parlays that into more redeemable actions.
The sixth season of the HBO series, Game of Thrones, returns April 24, 2016.