I wrote a big thing for FanSided, they just published it within the last hour (it took a while in the editing), and I just want to share this much with you, right at this moment. When you’re reading a piece on a big website with lots of people working on the content, you can never tell which parts are from the original author, and which parts are from the editor. I’ll share this little bit as an example:
One of the first ruptures in the Stark family bonds occured in early Season 1, when a fight involving the Stark girls, Prince Joffrey, and Mycah the butcher’s boy led to Ned Stark having to slaughter Sansa’s direwolf, Lady, and the Hound was instructed to chase down and kill Arya’s friend Mycah. The body count that resulted from the children’s fight drove a wedge between Sansa and Arya, and they did not get back on good terms before Ned was executed and Arya fled the city with the Night’s Watch recruits. Since then, hardly anyone in the Seven Kingdoms has learned that Arya Stark is still alive. Her sister Sansa, especially, seems to still be under the impression that her sister is buried in an unmarked grave somewhere.
Season 5 was no easier on the Starks than Season 3, but there was one minor victory for the family, when Sansa unwittingly pushed Theon Greyjoy to confess to her that he hadn’t killed her younger brothers, which was the story he’d fed everyone else. Now she knows Bran and Rickon may still be alive, and it’s likely she will want to get them in hand as soon as she gets herself to safety. What about her sister? How would she feel about learning Arya was seen alive and healthy, not too long ago, traveling with the Hound? Now that she knows she still has brothers, has the time also come to find out she still has a sister? And if Brienne is nearby, she may have a chance to learn that, too.
See that last sentence there? That wasn’t mine. I wrote out that question without mentioning Brienne. Of course I’m hoping readers will start thinking, “Oh, yeah, Brienne and Podrick are the nearest ones who could tell Sansa about Arya!” but I didn’t want to make a display of arguing in favor of the protection assignment. My editor, Dan, put that part in. And I’m not complaining about that! Just observing: it seems Editor Dan is a protection-assignment advocate, too.
AND, WAIT, I THOUGHT OF SOMETHING ELSE.
Just after I pasted my slideshow questions and all their context into the New Post box at FS, it finally occurred to me: wait, I wrote up all those questions and didn’t even think to do one about Dorne? I have that many questions focusing on the Littlefinger-Boltons-Sansa-Theon contingent, and nothing about the Martells? And, honestly, I don’t feel bad about that, because if it didn’t occur to me until that late a stage, probably no one else wants to think about the Martells and Sand Snakes, either, so fuck it. My responsibility with this article, as I see it, is to inspire discussion, and I think I’ve done enough of that. But seriously? I could have merged a couple of the Sansa-Theon questions together to make space for a Dorne question. We’re not done with the Dorne peeps. Season 5 started shit, and Season 6 will have to clean up the mess. WITH THAT IN MIND: What are the Sand Snakes up to now? Where are they hiding, and what other sort of mischief are they starting? How does Doran Martell intend to avoid a new war, now that Ellaria Sand has killed Princess Myrcella out from under him?
Now here’s another angle, which is based on filming leaks only tangentially and I don’t see anyone else talking about it, so this can’t be called a spoiler: HOW ABOUT THOSE TYRELLS? They’ve been working on making Margaery the queen since Season 2, and as long as she’s Tommen’s queen, they can’t very well betray the Lannisters, but actually? Margaery being queen isn’t an end unto itself. The end goal is for the Tyrells to have 50% control (or better) over the running of the Seven Kingdoms. Preferably with Mace as Hand of the King. Since their alliance with the Lannisters is screwing them over, is it possible, maybe just a tiny bit, that they’ll start seeking allies elsewhere? Like, with another paramount House with a history of antagonism with the Lannisters? And, perhaps, work with them to help bring another ruler, with a different name, to the Iron Throne? In the books, it’s extremely unlikely that the Tyrells will cozy up to the Martells, but the show seems to have skipped over the Tyrell-Martell antagonism, and having Olenna buddy up with Doran would be a way to streamline some developments that seem likely in Book 6. Like, if they can’t rescue Margaery from the Faith Militant and extract her from the Lannisters, then…perhaps the next idea will be for the Tyrells to team up with the Martells to facilitate Daenerys’s return to Westeros. Prince Trystane could be offered to Dany as her new husband, and in case they don’t have any children together (Dany seems to think she can’t have any more children after Rhaego), they make Loras their heir, and in the meantime, Mace Tyrell is the new Queen’s Hand. They staff the Small Council with Tyrell buddies. You know? That’s how they save themselves from riding the lion off a cliff.
Oh, and also, too, maybe I should’ve put in something about Sam and Gilly? Except I can’t really think of what to say about them that doesn’t rely on filming leaks. Is Sam gonna be seasick the whole way to Oldtown? Will Gilly jump his bones again? I can’t express my thoughts on the Sam/Gilly biz in the form of an unanswered question. Good luck on that voyage, kids!