New “Winds of Winter” Chapter Highlights the Dorne Changes from Book to Show


Are you watching Game of Thrones and wondering what the heck is going on in Dorne? So are a lot of us.

You don’t have to have read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series – the books on which Games of Thrones is based – to know that there are some pretty major differences between the two. Although, if you’ve managed to watch the show and navigate the internet without stumbling across at least one embittered book fan like myself grumbling about the latest alteration, you deserve a prize.

There are characters who are dead on the show who are still alive in the books (Pyp, Grenn, and Jojen, just to name a few). Some characters have been combined in order to keep the cast from ballooning to ridiculous proportions (Gendry – still rowing – ended up with Edric Storm’s subplot). Some characters (Olly, Talisa) were created entirely for the show, while some (Quentyn, Strong Belwas) were eliminated entirely. And some characters are on completely different paths (Sansa, Jaime) than their book counterparts.

Warning: Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 6.

Nowhere have the book-to-show changes been more evident than in Westeros’s neighbor to the south, Dorne. The Dornish plot has been staggering forward in spurts and, in my opinion, doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. The Martells were far from my favorite family in ASOIAF, but I fell in love with Oberyn, and Arianne’s story had me pretty intrigued. Show!Dorne barely resembles book!Dorne, though, and that is one of my biggest issues with the show recently.

Earlier today, on his blog, George R.R. Martin released another sample chapter of the upcoming sixth book in the ASOIAF series, The Winds of Winter. Superfans might have recognized that the chapter is not exactly new. He originally read the chapter for fans at WorldCon in 2011. The important thing to notice, though, is that this chapter is from the POV of Arianne – Doran’s daughter, who isn’t in the show at all. Ellaria Sand seems to have taken over Arianne’s plot…sort of.

You see, while the Martells do want justice for Elia (Rhaegar’s wife, who was raped and killed – along with her children – by the Mountain aka Ser Gregor the Undead), Arianne’s plan in the books wasn’t to kill Myrcella; it was to crown her queen. Dorne is the only place in Westeros that allows women to hold power and inherit (Arianne is the heir to Dorne in the books, Trystane is much younger – but then so was Myrcella), and they wanted to punish the Lannisters by making them choose a side between Tommen and Myrcella. All told, I find it a better and more empowering plot than a group of women who murder an innocent girl and stage a bloody coup. (Speaking of, a group of people have opened up a Kickstarter to “fix” the show!Dorne plot.)

With show!Dorne and book!Dorne so drastically different, fans are left to speculate if a) they could have potentially different endings or b) none of it has any impact on the end game. What part, if any, of this plot will be integrated into the show? People are also wondering if GRRM releasing this particular chapter is meant as a response to last week’s episode of Game of Thrones, which inexplicably killed off three of the Dornish characters (Doran, Trystane, and Areo Hotah).

Mostly, I’m just wondering when this book is going to be finished. Oh, hey, speaking of that, GRRM also gave an update as to his progress on finishing The Winds of Winter; basically, he isn’t done yet.

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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