I am a huge Game of Thrones fan, and my husband is as well. We've been watching this series since it premiered. Toby has read all of the books twice now, and loves to see how the show will differ from the books. We have Spencer Blohm guest posting today about his predictions for Game of Thrones Season Five. Welcome, Spencer!
What’s in the Cards for Game of Thrones Season Five?
by Spencer Blohm
The season five premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones drew a staggering eight million viewers back to the land of Westeros. The show's success isn't all that surprising, considering the popularity of fantasy-driven shows and novels. It also builds on the mainstream appeal for cinematic fantasy generated by Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, and it brings a built-in fan base to the show: the readers of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels, on which the show is based.
The differences between the book and the show so far this season are numerous, and they're not small changes but major reinventions of the story. Littlefinger, who smuggled Sansa Stark out of King's Landing last season and is now tutoring her in subterfuge, plans to marry her to Ramsay Bolton, who currently resides in Winterfell. In Martin's novel A Dance With Dragons, it is Tywin who arranges a marriage between Ramsay and Jeyne Poole, in an attempt to pass Jeyne off as Arya Stark. Both the book’s and show’s plot line concern Roose Bolton's attempt to control Winterfell through Ramsay by marrying him to a Stark. Theon Greyjoy is currently in Winterfell in the show as well, having been Ramsay's captive for some time now. He grew up there with Sansa, and it seems likely they will plot something together, since both of them have ample reason to hate the Boltons.
In addition to these differences in Winterfell, major changes have happened in and around King's Landing as well. Instead riding off to take Riverrun back from Brynden Tully as he did in the books, Jaime Lannister sails with Ser Bronn of the Blackwater to Dorne in the show. His mission is to sneak his illegitimate daughter Myrcella out of the Water Gardens, believing she is not safe there after Dornish prince Oberyn Martell was killed in King's Landing. In the fourth book in the series A Feast for Crows, it is Arianne Martell who tries to move Myrcella out of Dorne, in an attempt to crown her under Dornish law.
Arianne is nowhere to be found in the show. In fact, a great number of narrative threads from the novels have been excised altogether—Quentyn Martell and his trip to Essos, the reemergence of Rhaegar Targaryen's son Aegon, and anything going on in the Iron Islands, which dominated much of A Feast for Crows through two distinct characters.
Jaime and Bronn's visit to Dorne should prove highly entertaining. They are bound to viciously clash with the Sand Snakes, Oberyn's pugnacious bastard daughters, and Ellaria Sand, his vindictive paramour. The loss of Jaime's sword hand has lowered his skill, and he'll have to find other ways to be effective in battle.
Book readers know that Cersei Lannister's story will be at the forefront this season. The show writers have wisely chosen to add scenes developing her son King Tommen and his newly wed Queen Margery, who are not point-of-view characters in the books. This change gives more weight to their relationships and increases the emotional stakes of the politics being played in King's Landing.
While some purists decry these changes as unnecessary or even harmful to the show's integrity, they streamline the plotting, which contributes to better pacing—a key element in any successful television show. The fifth season of this highly anticipated series has already made fans yearning for more and racing to their television sets as new episodes premiere (check here for listings or here for the latest recaps). As Game of Thrones moves ahead of its source material, and the showrunners demonstrate their willingness to make radical changes, the element of surprise comes into play for readers and non-readers alike, resulting in a fresher, more exciting fantasy-driven experience.