OK, so now that I talked about what happened in the North last Sunday on Game of Thrones, I thought I would take the time to talk about the bit that really threw me off. I suspect that my friend Patrick already knew what I was going to talk about next.
Since I have read the books, there really aren’t a lot of times that the TV show does something that makes me jump out of my seat and say “WHAT THE… ?!?!?” Because a lot of the really shocking moments in the show are the same ones in the books – the Red Wedding, the death of Oberyn Martell, etc.. But it is safe to say that what happened in Dorne in this last episode made my jaw hit the floor. I didn’t see it coming. I really didn’t. Of course, in hindsight, there were plenty of clues to point at what was going to happen, but I still didn’t see it. I think I was blinded by my “I read the books” bias, because for some reason I was still thinking that Ellaria Sand in Game of Thrones (the show) was still pretty similar to the Ellaria Sand in the books. Oh, how very, very wrong I was.
You see, in the books, Ellaria Sand is appalled at all the threats of more violence and seems to be satisfied now that everyone who was involved in the death of Elia Martell is dead. She fears the coming of war to Dorne, and she thinks that the “eye-for-an-eye” mentality of revenge will just keep feeding the violence. Speaking to the oldest of the Sand Snakes, who seem intent on avenging the death of their father, she says “Is that how it goes, round and round forever? I ask again, where does it end?”
In the books, the one who is scheming for war is Doran Martell’s daughter Arianne. She is a POV character in A Feast for Crows (Book 4) and in the upcoming The Winds of Winter (Book 6). She is the presumed heir to Dorne, and was promised to Viserys Targaryen in a secret marriage pact. In fact, in the books, it is revealed that Prince Doran is still a Targaryen loyalist and has been scheming to avenge Elia and her children for a long, long time. But in the show, Arianne does not exist and Doran seems to want to avoid conflict. The streamlining of the storylines involving Dorne has eliminated quite a few characters, and thus it seems that the condensed storylines that are kept are being assigned to other characters that are in the show. So I guess in the streamlined storylines of the TV series, the House of Martell no longer exists. Their line has ended, as surely as the Baratheons. Because ultimately, that is what has happened now in the show to both families. The only members left, if you can call them that, are bastards. For the Baratheons, that means only Gendry is left (if we ever see him again). For the Martells, that means only the Sand Snakes are left.
So yeah – two of the major houses of Westeros are now basically extinct. Neither of whom is yet extinct in the books.
Now, I am assuming that GRRM has told Benioff and Weiss which characters die in the series, and which don’t, and so the Duo of Death feels completely free to kill off characters on the TV show that have not died (yet) in the books. Or perhaps they are killing characters that are minor enough that whether they live or die makes no difference whatsoever to the ultimate resolution of the show. But some of the other characters that are dead on the show (but still alive in the books) are some great characters: Ser Barristan Selmy and Grenn and Pyp come to mind immediately. I didn’t see their deaths coming either.
Well, let’s see who else gets killed this season.