6 Book Plots the Game of Thrones TV Show Could Still Use
I sincerely hope HBO doesn’t decide to shrink the last two seasons of Game of Thrones after Season 6. Unless there are MAJORLY decisive developments in this upcoming season, I don’t see how Game of Thrones could end in just 23 more episodes! And, by that, I mean Daenerys actually makes landfall in Westeros with her Dragons in tow, or Sansa gets a power base to rival the Boltons, or Bran is able to project some knowledge to the Night’s Watch that can stop the White Walkers. Something signaling the approaching climax of the whole series.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Even though the Game of Thrones TV show is breaking completely new narrative ground with most of the main characters storylines, there are still parts of the books that the show hasn’t included yet. They range from parts that could be vitally important in the show as well as the books, to parts that fans are clamoring for being in the show just because of cool factor.
It’s possible that the show and the books could diverge even more, especially since each will be debuting at separate paces. But just maybe, there’s room and design in the show for these plots to appear yet, or at least elements of them. Here are six arcs from A Song of Ice and Fire that could still be used in Game of Thrones.
Quentyn Martell the Dragon Suitor
Dorne has had a lot more going on in the books than season 5 was able to include, including one clandestine plot with pretty far reaching implications. Rhaegar Targaryen’s wife was Elia Martell of Dorne. When the Lannisters betrayed the Targaryens and the Mountain butchered Elia and her children, the Martells swore a secret pact with the Targaryens in exile to one day restore House Targaryen.
The plan was that when Viserys had come of age and built up an army of his own, he would wed Doran’s daughter, Arianne. Their power base would grow from there to retake the Iron Throne. But, of course, there was a hiccup in that plan. Viserys’s arrogance got him killed by the Dothraki whom Daenerys had wed into and she had unexpectedly become the promising Targaryen scion. Fortunately, Doran had a son willing to fulfill this pact, Quentyn Martell.
In the fifth book, Quentyn sails for Meereen to court Daenerys with this proposal. But just like in the show, Daenerys is being tugged every which way and is dealing with all kinds of threats from within Meereen and without. She refuses Quentyn’s hand. Determined to win her over, he descends to the catacombs where Viserion and Rhaegal are kept. He thinks he can tame the two dragons but suffers fatal burns and dies in Meereen. With that, it would seem that any hope for a Martell-Targaryen alliance is now dead. At least until Daenerys arrives in Westeros on her own.
I don’t expect Quentyn to appear in the show, but there are two elements from this plot line that could be used. It’s been built up even in the show that the Martells had the strongest connections to House Targaryen out of all the remaining major houses. They could still covertly support Daenerys. Also, in the books, Quentyn’s meddling is what finally leads to Viserion and Rhaegal escaping the catacombs. A similar foolhardy errand could be used in the show to reunite Daernerys with all her dragons.
The Last Tully Holdouts
In the books, the Red Wedding isn’t the end of House Tully. Riverrun, their House seat, holds out against a siege by the Freys for several months. Jaime actually spends book 4 negotiating with the Tully’s to surrender. Their holdouts are led by Brynden the Blackfish, uncle of Catelyn Stark.
Jaime resorts to some pretty cruel and unusual threats to get the Tully’s to surrender. Remember, before the betrayal at the Red Wedding, Catelyn’s brother Edmure Tully wed Walder Frey’s daughter Roslin. Edmure’s been a hostage of the Frey’s ever since. Jaime gets nowhere negotiating with the stubborn Blackfish. So instead he threatens Edmure with sending switched Rivermen to siege Riverrun, and hurling Roslin’s child into Riverrun with a trebuchet once it is born.
Pretty callous, but the threat does get Edmure to talk Blackfish into yielding Riverrun avoiding more protracted deaths. Although just as at the Red Wedding, Blackfish escapes to parts unknown again.
The show has probably moved Jaime past the point where he’ll have the chance to deal with the Tullys. He’ll have too much business to attend to in King’s Landing now with Cersei standing trial and Myrcella dead. Perhaps the Tullys will reemerge under different circumstances. It would always be nice to see and old loyal Stark character.
The Prophesy of the Prince that was Promised
This prophesy has been the main motivator for several important characters in the books, including Rhaegar Targaryen, Maester Aemon and Melisandre. Their motives in their show counterparts have been maintained, but this prophesy has not been mentioned in connection with it.
The first time it appears in the books is during Daenerys’s visit to the House of the Undying. There she has a vision of her brother Rhaegar with his wife Elia and their son Aegon. In the vision he says; “He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.” TITLE DROOOOOOOP!
In universe and in Fandom, much speculation has taken place as to whom the prophesy refers. Maester Aemon actually gives the reader the most information about the prophesy in a conversation with Samwell Tarly. Melisandre also describes a few criteria.
The prince must have the blood of the dragon, be born amidst salt and smoke, be heralded by a bleeding star, and involve dragons. The exact meaning of the criteria has been skewed by various characters to favor whoever is convenient for them. In a literal interpretation, Daenerys could be the most likely candidate. Melisandre believed that Stannis Baratheon is the one the prophesy describes.
Now in the show, this prophesy has not yet been mentioned. They did have a red comet appear in the sky, visible in Essos and Westeros after Daenerys’s dragons were born, but no prophesy mentioned. Not even as part of her visions in the House of the Undying. Melisandre has only described Stannis as Azor Ahai reborn, which is a separate prophesy more to do with her own faith in the Lord of Light. With Stannis dead in the show now, we can only guess how Melisandre will continue her mission.
With the books being first published before the new millennium and prophesies hadn’t become as tired a trope as they are now, it’s possible the showrunners decided to nix explicitly including this prophesy. Also it may be too late to make this prophesy meaningful in the show like it has been in the books. On the other hand a few more elusions to the prophesy could add weight to the destinies of our favorite characters.
Two whole seasons have come and gone that were the target window for the introduction of Lady Stoneheart. In the books she’s introduced in the epilogue of book 3. After cutting her throat at the Red Wedding the Frey’s cast her body in the river. A few days later, The Brotherhood without Banners recovers Catelyn’s corpse and Beric Dondarrion gives his life to revive her.
Unfortunately, the resurrection isn’t perfect. The decay and damage to Catelyn’s body made her grotesque when she was revived. She is unable to speak but for gargling grunts and only if she covers her slit throat with her hand. She’s also completely hell bent on revenge. She has the Brotherhood indiscriminately execute anyone she thinks had the slightest connection to the Red Wedding or to the Freys or the Lannisters. She even almost has Brienne executed because she accepted Jaime’s Valyrian steel sword as a gift.
So far in the books, the point of Lady Stoneheart’s arc hasn’t become clear beyond capturing and redirecting Brienne. The show has clearly set Brienne on a different arc than in the books and the Brotherhood without Banners hasn’t appeared since season 3. Without knowing what purpose Lady Stoneheart would ultimately serve, it’s mostly just cool-factor inspiring fans to want her in the show. I mean, could you imagine Michelle Fairley’s righteous fury turned up to 11 as Lady Stoneheart?
Perhaps with Bran’s growing greensight powers, we might get a glimpse of some book nods that the show couldn’t fully incorporate. We can already expect him to have visions of the past concerning the Tower of Joy.
Aegon VI Targaryen
It’s a quintessential part of the backstory of the books and the show that the Lannisters murdered the infant children of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell. Robert Baratheon’s vengeance spared no Targaryen heir that he could get his hands on.
Fortunately for House Targaryen, Varys’s scheming proved merciful, in this instance. He did not want to see infant princes murdered and he did not trust that a non-Targaryen dynasty would bring lasting peace to the realm. Before the Mountain got his hands on the infant Prince Aegon, Varys switched the babies with an unwanted peasant boy and smuggled Aegon across the narrow sea. The whole realm was convinced that the Targaryen heir had been killed when the corpse was presented before Robert Baratheon even though it was mutilated beyond recognition.
Flash forward to the present day and the adult Aegon VI Targaryen has in fact returned to Westeros was the legendary sellsword host called the Golden Company supporting him. In the books Tyrion actually encounters Aegon in disguise, but he deduces his identity. Since Tyrion hasn’t yet joined up with Daenerys in the books we don’t know this knowledge of another Targaryen heir will affect either of their campaigns.
Also in the books, word of Aegon’s arrival has reached Dorne. Doran sends Arianne on a mission to meet with this supposed Aegon and see if he is who he claims to be. If Doran is satisfied that he is in fact Aegon VI Targaryen, then the Martell Targaryen royal alliance may be reborn yet.
Since season 5 has already prevented Tyrion from meeting Aegon, it’s difficult to imagine how the show could introduce Aegon now. Unless we skip right to Aegon having returned to Westeros and the show does an exceptional job reminding us who he is and building him up again. Perhaps Doran can send one of the Sand Snakes to meet him.
The other factor for the show is if the show has room for another Targaryen claimant to the Iron Throne. Each season only has so much screen time. And we already have plenty of separate point of view characters we’re following. It could make a pretty interesting dynamic between Aegon and Daenerys in that they should be allies but could be rivals.
Davos Tries to Find Rickon Stark
Remember Rickon Stark? Ned and Catelyn Stark’s youngest son? No not Bran, the even younger one. Both Bran and Rickon were the only Starks left at Winterfell by the end of the first season. In the second season they were forced to flee their home when Theon Greyjoy captured the castle for his unresolved Daddy issues.
The third season of the Game of Thrones TV show saw Bran and Rickon Cross paths with Jojen and Mira Reed. By the end of the season, Bran separated from Rickon to continue his journey north of the Wall and the Free Folk woman Osha took Rickon to Last Hearth. Last Hearth is the seat of House Umber, loyal bannermen to House Stark. Presumably they’ve been there ever since.
Rickon’s arc in the books is similar except for the fact that he and Bran separate much sooner and Osha plans to takes him further South. Rickon isn’t mentioned again until Book 5 and it’s thanks to Davos that he becomes relevant to the story again.
Stannis is still alive and campaigning by the end of Book 5 and has sent Davos on a mission to win the allegiance of House Manderly. Lord Wyman Manderly makes a very elaborate show of appeasing emissaries of House Frey and by extension Cersei by refusing Davos and locking him up. However, after a decoy copse is sent to King’s Landing Manderly secretly meets with Davos and says that he will pledge his support to Stannis on one condition. Davos must rescue Rickon Stark from the Isle of Skagos.
How Rickon ended up in Skagos, a notorious Island in the Bay of Seals East of the Wall, is unclear. But Manderly says that he knows the Boltons are traitors. If Davos can return Rickon to the proper Northern country, The Manderlies could exalt Rickon and rally the North behind the last heir of Ned Stark again.
In the show we have things set up a bit differently. Stannis dead, but that could mean that Davos need to find a surviving Stark heir is even greater. Davos could go in search of Rickon although he would need to learn of his survival somehow. Most of the realm still thinks that both Bran and Rickon are dead. Theon knows the truth though. It’s possible that if Davos encounters Sansa and Theon they could reestablish House Stark’s claim on the North.
The don’t call A Song of Ice and Fire a doorstopper series for nothing. There’s so much left over from the books and so much left to tell that hasn’t been published yet! We’ll have to see how HBO decides to tell the remainder of their version of Martin’s story. Were there any other characters or plots from the books you’d like to see in the Game of Thrones TV show? Let us know in the comments!