Game of Thrones Season 6 vs. A Song of Ice & Fire: Round 1
WARNINGS: This article contains spoilers for all published books of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire series and most of the Winds of Winter chapters that have been released, as well as all aired episodes of the HBO show Game of Thrones that is based on that series. Additionally, there is some speculation about what’s to come in the unaired episodes of Game of Thrones Season 6. Please note that you also click all links within this article at your own risk.
This year I’ve waited until the last minute to write this first Game of Thrones Season 6 vs. A Song of Ice & Fire article, because as many fans know, the show has separated itself from the books quite a bit – and is now, in many respects, moving on from them in this upcoming season. It’s something that many fans are seriously concerned about; with all of the deviations (both the good, the understandable, and the downright crazy) Benioff and Weiss have already made, what’s going to happen when they have next to no source material to guide them?
Some months ago we got our first “glimpses” of Game of Thrones Season 6 – three battle banner teasers that were just CGI banners waving over CGI backgrounds, but still each gave us a tiny bit of the story to come. The Targaryen banner teaser was entirely in Dothraki, a man calling Daenerys “Queen of Nothing”; the Stark version featured Ramsay Snow’s voice, telling someone (likely in a letter), “Winterfell is mine now. Come and see.” The Lannisters didn’t fare much better – that teaser was voiced over by the High Sparrow. “Every last one of us is poor and powerless,” he states, while Septa Unella and her shame bell sound in the background, “and yet together we can overthrow an empire.”
The first full teaser for Game of Thrones Season 6, however, seemed like something of a jab at book readers who have known for some time what was at least supposed to happen, along with attempting yet again to convince people that Jon Snow is gone forever. Bloodraven – whom Bran “met” at the end of Season 4 – says, “We watch…we listen…and we remember,” before saying that the past is already written. All of the scenes in this particular teaser were from prior seasons – and some of them took place quite a while ago, such as Ned’s beheading, Jaime losing his hand, and Robb’s death. The real “gotcha” moment (and what makes me think this was more than a little jab at ASOIAF fans) was the teaser ending with Bran’s insisting, “They have no idea what’s going to happen.”
In that respect, they’re mostly correct. Even the Winds of Winter chapters that Martin has released (either on his website or in public readings) focus mostly on things that can’t really happen in the show, including Arianne’s journey and Barristan and Tyrion’s experiences in and just outside of Meereen. Additionally, while there are certainly ways that Sansa could end up in the Vale and/or simply put on the path to wooing someone else now that she has apparently (by all the gods, HOPEFULLY) escaped the Boltons’ clutches, I don’t really foresee that happening. As for Victarion, well, we know there’s going to be another Greyjoy in Game of Thrones Season 6, but at this point I don’t even know if there’s any way to speculate who the character will be based on or what he will do.
Admittedly, the “Hall of Faces” promo was thought-provoking, mostly because it featured several dead characters (again) and then used Jon Snow’s ‘dead face’ and his line, “The long night is coming…and the dead come with it,” to segue into shots of several faces of characters who aren’t dead [yet?] – including Tyrion, Daenerys, Sansa, Cersei, Arya, and Jaime. There have been some rumors that Tyrion and/or Daenerys will die this season, but I for one can’t believe that would happen any more than I believe that Jon Snow is really dead dead. You know, like, forever. And to be honest, the fact that his face and words were used to move from long-dead characters to ones who are still alive is [hopefully] telling. (It also helps that HBO seems to have backed off of their constant “Jon Snow is dead, guys” litany in recent months.)
When HBO finally treated us to a much longer trailer, I was suddenly [almost insanely] happy that I’d reached a point where I just didn’t care. After what happened in Season 5’s “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” I decided that while I wasn’t going to quit the show, I would no longer review it. (However, The Geekiary will still be covering the show – the lovely Admin Angel will still be reviewing Game of Thrones Season 6 on a weekly basis.) Instead my
rage thoughts will be contained to my three-round Game of Thrones Season 6 vs. A Song of Ice & Fire; this one, round two at mid-season, and round three after the season ends.
That said, as I already mentioned, the first lengthy trailer mostly just made me happy that I’ve finally reached a point where I can view this show as a sometimes decent, sometimes not good, sometimes really shitty fanfic that is loosely based on the story I grew to know and love so many years ago. Instead of going off on his own and abandoning Cersei, Jaime is shown facing off with the High Sparrow, and then Cersei insists that he lead their armies, that he “Show them what the Lannisters are…what we do to our enemies.” And they weren’t the only Lannisters featured – Tyrion had a nice long clip at the end, telling Missandei and Varys that “Dragons do not do well in captivity.” “How do you know this?” Missandei asks, and the every-quippy Tyrion replies, “That’s what I do. I drink, and I know things.”
I’m not much of a Tyrion fan myself (okay, you got me, I don’t like him) but damn, sometimes I have to admit that he’s really on the ball. Unfortunately, that first trailer wrapped up with him going to visit the dragons, and one of them breathing fire – a salute to Quentyn Martell, perhaps, or just overly convenient editing?
Other than Arya and the explanation that although blind, she’s being given a second chance, most of the other characters pictured in that trailer were relegated to mere glimpses – Sansa, for one (a character who has a very large and passionate group of fans lamenting everything that happened to her in Season 5), as well as
Asha Yara, the Night’s King and some White Walkers, Melisandre in the North, a moving moment between Margaery and Loras, and more. But not to worry – they’ve already released the first three episode names and the premiere’s description for Game of Thrones Season 6. Sunday’s season premiere is titled “The Red Woman”, and while it’s possible that we may meet the new Red Priestess who is apparently going to be part of the action in Meereen (at least for a little while), only Melisandre is mentioned in the episode’s wiki page. At least that same page lets us know that Sansa and Theon are still on the run, though it also gives me the feeling that events elsewhere are in a bit of a rut.
Unfortunately, all we know about episodes two and three is that they’re titled “Home” and “Oathbreaker”. I’ll be surprised if “Oathbreaker” doesn’t feature Jaime quite a bit, and a lot of Brienne and Podrick time, as well. Considering that Brienne and Pod one of my GoT/ASOIAF BrOTP’s, I’m really hoping that’s the case…while also keeping my fingers crossed that they still somehow end up in at least a similar situation as the one in the books. (Yeah, I know, I’m probably getting my hopes up too much. Good thing I don’t care anymore, right? Right?)
Another trailer was finally released this week, and despite being only thirty seconds long, it afforded some new clips. They were brief, but we got to see Ellaria Sand as well as some Targaryen soldiers (which I believe are likely to be from the rumored Tower of Joy flashback). This came on the heels of the news that Lothar Frey was recast, and as he was named as the person responsible for Talisa’s death in Season 3’s “Rains of Castamere” episode, I imagine that the Freys will be of some importance again this season. The problem is, the showrunners have made it very clear that Lady Stoneheart wouldn’t be making an appearance – is this another “Jon Snow is really dead!” fraud, or will we be getting Lady Stoneheart – or some version of her?
My bet is on the latter. Sadly, at this point in the show it would actually be a bad decision for them to bring Catelyn back. That doesn’t mean it’s definitely not going to happen – Benioff and Weiss have made dicey writing decisions over and over and over again – but I believe it’s more likely that we will see a living Sansa fulfilling the Lady Stoneheart role.
The tag line for the most recent trailer was Tyrion’s: “Whoever you are, wherever you go…someone wants to murder you.” The content itself didn’t tell us much, but then, it clearly wasn’t meant to. As the trailer says, “The Wait Is Over” – or at least, whittled down to just a few days. And understandably, they need to keep us [mostly] in the dark until Sunday.
You can view all but the most recent Game of Thrones Season 6 teasers and trailers on the official website. But this book reader really wants to know – do you think The Winds of Winter will be ruined for us after this season? How do you think they’re going to juggle all of the changes they’ve made already with the new ones they are sure to write in? Will Sansa be Lady Stoneheart? How long will we have to wait before Jon Snow is alive? (Alive again? Less dead? Who even knows.) Why hasn’t Jaime abandoned Cersei? Where the hell is Rickon? Will we at least get to see Hodor and Meera?
I would say “That’s all the questions I have for you today”, but that’s not exactly true. Those are just the only ones I’m willing to ask right now, as I mentally prepare myself for the Game of Thrones Season 6 premiere.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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