Though the sixth season of Game of Thrones is rolling full-speed on HBO, it’s not the televised version of the story of Westeros that’s caught fans’ attention today.
Author George R.R. Martin dropped a chapter of The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the original Game of Thrones series, the Hollywood Reporter reports. While some might have been expecting to see some of the newer TV scenes translated into text, they’re likely to be sorely disappointed–and maybe even a little confused–if they went ahead and took a look.
Not only did today’s chapter feature a scene with completely different characters, ones that have never shown hide or hair in the HBO version; the plot itself is made from a litany of others that never made their way to the small screen.
In the chapter, the narrative belongs to Arianne Martell, daughter of the literary Prince Martell–who, of course, is very much still breathing in the book world–and sister to Tristayne Martell, who is also waking up with every morning sun (as is his betrothed, Myrcella Baratheon, who only suffered a face injury from a battle rather than death by poison as the show depicts).
The chapter spends time in Arianne’s mind as she sorts through possibly forging an alliance with Aegon Targaryen, the less-and-less-secret other living Targaryen in the world as well as Daenery’s nephew. By law, Aegon–the son of Elia Martell and Rhaegar Targaryen who everyone thought to be murdered by the Lannisters–is actually the rightful heir to the Seven Kingdoms, and since he’s half Dornish, Arianne sees joining Aegon’s cause as a move that she should maybe make.
All of this completely defies the road HBO’s Game of Thrones has taken. In the show, there is no Arianne Martell, and, frankly, it’s completely likely that Aegon might never exist as well (after all, does anyone really want their precious Mother of Dragons to take the backseat?). The chapter also makes references to other characters who never reached television–Elia Sand, Daemon Sand, Lord Connigton, and so on.
Generally, it’s become clear that the books and the show have hit the fork in the road, and for fans of both, times ahead are going to be a little confusing.
Anyone who’s actually found the time to read the Game of Thrones books, A Song of Ice and Fire, knows that the exhaustively-long blocks of time between each novel can be excruciatingly painful; especially since the sixth book, Winds of Winter, still hasn’t been finished, let alone edited and released.
Keep in mind that the fifth book, Dance with Dragons, hit the shelves in 2010.
Thankfully, HBO’s version of Game of Thrones can coax fans of the written form through the painful waiting, and for a long time, the general plotline was pretty much identical. But going into the sixth season, fans of the books and show knew that the HBO version was surpassing the plot of the books. Some have speculated that George R.R. Martin and the Benioff-Weiss duo have collaborated extensively–that maybe even the secretive author has told the show-runners who is going to sit on the Iron Throne in the end–but after today’s reveal, that possibility is melting away as if it were blasted by Queen Daenerys’s dragon-fire.
Now, thanks to this excerpt today, it seems that the books and show may never meet again. Anyone who’s read the books and think they know who’s safe and who’s not? Those days might just be over.
This might mean Tyrion could fill in Aegon’s role as one of the possible future dragon riders; maybe Shaggydog was never meant to die, but now he has; Jon Snow might have escaped an eternity of being trapped inside Ghost, or worse, as a White-Walker. This might also affect the “R+L=J” theory that last Sunday’s episode proposed. Perhaps in the show world Jon Snow might be confirmed as half Targaryen, and maybe in the books, he never will.
So where does that leave fans of both book and show?
It seems as though that particular class of fan will just have to wait two years to see in the show, and possibly forever for the books.