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  1. Agree that AFFC and ADoD doesn't easily lend itself to good TV. GRRM could merrily put aside half the characters for a whole book and return to them - GoT couldn't just ditch half the cast and storylines for a year. Some stuff definitely had to be cut and streamlined. So I get D&D's difficulties - they did a bad job at choosing what to adapt (I'll never know why they cut the resistance against the Boltons/Freys in the North/Riverlands etc.) I wonder if an alternative to making Feast & Dance into two seasons, is making s5 and s6 slightly say 12 episodes each and reducing book plotlines. Imo on stuff to cut: "Aegon" and Jon C - comes so out of the blue and is such a sprawling mess - plus it reduces the impact of Jon's identity. (and per a lot of @FictionIsntReal's points about lack of investment in Aegon & the Martells). In connection to that, the Dornish plot could be streamlined, though not ditched completely. Reduce the Iron Islands cast - you could cut Aeron and Victorian, and make Yara/Asha the main viewpoint character. There's some capacity to introduce new plots/characters, but not to the extent the books did. What the show did right imo, was introduce Dorne in s5 and then Euron/The Iron Islands plot in s6, so it was paced out. (The problem was the writing itself). For s6 Iron Islands: Yara, we'd know well enough to bump up to a main character by this point - spend time establishing Euron as a proper threat through her eyes. In the first half of the season, him taking over rule of the Iron Islands, raiding/attacking the Reach and hints of his more mystical connections to Valyria, warging etc. If you merge him with Victorian, he could head off to Essos in the second half of the season to court Daenerys or possibly steal her dragons. Note: I know it hasn't been confirmed to happen in the books, but Euron managing to steal Viserion and/or Rhaegal, before Dany makes it back to Meereen would be a hell of a cliffhanger to s6. Also solves the problem of Dany being way so powerful when she arrives in Westeros and they had to bend over backwards to justify why she didn't defeat Cersei in like, one day. She'd come chasing Euron to get dragons back, as well as to take Westeros. For s5 Dorne: This one is hard. But if you've cut Aegon, then you could streamline the Dornish plot and characters. Best move would be remove Quentyn & Arya Oakheart and make Arianne the show's main Dornish character - taking on aspects of book!Quentyn's role and show!Ellaria/Sand Snakes; but reduce her Queenmaker plot. The real issue is whether you send an existing main character to join that story. Jaime's character would is much better served heading off to the Riverlands for his book plot - could he go to Dorne for the first half of the season and the Riverlands for the second? Arianne could be introduced with Oberyn & Ellaria visiting KL in s4 so audiences know who she is earlier. In s5, Doran sends Arianne to accompany Myrcella back to KL against Arianne's protests and suggestions to make Myrcella queen. (And Sand Snakes wanting to kill her). Myrcella is killed due a bungled rescue attempt from Cersei who doesn't believe the Dornish won't kill her. Arianne escpaes but sees Myrcella killed. End s5 with Arianne confronting Doran about not standing up to the Lannisters (and suspicions he's putting her aside for Trystane in this version) and Doran reveals his 'fire, blood' plan, and says he was going to marry Arianne to Viserys, but now wants to ally with Daenerys. Arianne heads off to Meereen to meet Dany But make sure that plot doesn't take up too much screentime & sets. E.g. Don't need the Water Gardens or much of a Dornish set. Cersei's bungled rescue attempt could be in say, an inn on-route while Arianne and Myrcella are travelling to KL. Ellaria & Sand Snakes are only needed in one episode near the beginning when everyone argues about what to do with Myrcella. Idk, still not totally sure it works though.
  2. I'm so glad you started this thread @Jabar of House Titan! Kings Landing/Cersei I agree that Cersei's storyline could easily be spread over s5 and 6: Use s5 to show more of her incompetence and how paranoid she is. I'd also keep her plot to have Margaery arrested the same as in the books (the blue bard, accused of adultery etc.) rather than the plot about Loras being arrested for being gay. That also keeps the Sparrows role more about representing the common folk and their grievances against the crown rather than being driven by their homophobia. Like you said, end s5 with her being arrested and save her interrogation, walk of shame etc. for s6. Dorne/Jaime Having a Dorne storyline in season 5 and Riverlands storyline in season 6 makes sense. And I do get that there's some logic in sending a known character to introduce Dorne - if it was done well and the Riverlands plot got more space in season 6. The four way tug of war over Myrcella works, establishing Arianne as a major character who can carry her own plots in future seasons. and keeping Ellaria in-line with her book self. Winterfell/Theon/Ramsay's Bride All the Northern plots are definitely the gnarliest bits (but also the most untapped potential from the books imo). I get that Jeyne Poole is such a minor character that it would have been random for her to pop up in s5. One idea that’s been discussed before is merging Jeyne Westerling and Jeyne Poole: For a start, have Jeyne Westerling rather than Talisa. Keep her as a fairly insignificant girl from minor noble house and her marriage to Robb is in-line with their book storyline rather than show. Cast someone who looks similar enough to Jeyne Poole/Arya – skinny, dark-haired etc. Jeyne isn’t present for the Red Wedding and is taken hostage by the Boltons to be married off to Ramsay as fake!Arya. Few recognise her because all of Robb’s supporters who were down south to meet were massacred; like Jeyne Poole few would care about her because she’s from a minor house and her family has betrayed her so she’s easy for the Boltons to control. They also feed her lines about the Northeners blaming her for Robb’s downfall (whether true or not) so she believes even revealing her identity as Robb’s wife wouldn’t help. She’s someone who will know about the North, the Starks and Arya specifically from spending time with Robb – though obviously her knowledge is patchy. This also gives her a significant relationship with Theon and brings the Theon/Robb relationship to the forefront – Robb slept with her (kicking off his downfall) because he heard about Theon killing Bran and Rickon. She’s sure as hell going to have some words for Theon. Theon is wracked with guilt and grief over Robb’s death, and Jeyne is someone who also loved Robb and a connection to him. He also has to witness her being abused by Ramsay and knows it’s also indirectly his fault. Theon ultimately saving her, is a way to redeem himself and ‘make up’ to Robb in some way by saving his wife. Meanwhile, the benefit of her being fake!Arya is you can keep the book plot of Jon angsting over his little sister and wrestling with his vows vs saving her, linking the Northern plots together more. The real issue is mapping out the Northern timeline with exactly how Winterfell gets retaken and juggling all the plots, with Jon/The Wall; Stannis and his forces; Davos finding Rickon; and whether Sansa and the Vale forces come into play. With extra time there could even be options of Arya hearing about fake!Ayra/Jon trying to save her, returning to Westeros, gathering her wolf pack in the Riverlands and also coming to help.
  3. AryaUnderfoot33

    Arya character arc

    I really hope we get an Arya being more loyal to Jon and supporting him even from a distance. It will be very in character for book!Arya and fill in the gaps of the absent Jon/Arya relationship they've ignored for a lot of the series. (And the Jon-Gendry meet up happens, that would be a very natural way to bring up Arya and have them reminisce). And yesss a Lyanna-Arya friendship would be amazing, let Arya reconnect with all the badass Northern women. I think D&D will have to add time jumps. It will be super anti-climactic if the Long Night is over in like six months. The question is how. Theoretically, the war against the others could last a year or two over the length of a normal season, and then the show jumps forward years in the future to when winter itself fades away and summer comes? But then the walkers/winter are connected so it would make sense that when one is defeated the other goes away? And I suspect the war will end with seasons going back to the way they're supposed to/explaining what happened to make seasons last years. Or s8 will start already several years in the future? Idk, this season is already suffering from the shortened length and rushed pacing. The Dany vs. Cersei war that should be lasting ages is zipping through in a matter of weeks. (In comparison to the War of the 5 Kings which was spread over 20 episodes). They need to space out next season. I worry that the "same ending" is having a broader and broader meaning. I'm concerned the ending for Westeros/the war might be the same but different characters are involved. The ending could be say, the Iron Throne is melted down and the kingdoms split up. But in the books Bran rules the North, while in the show it's Jon. Or the ending is reform and a more egalitarian society developing, but in the books Arya's advocates for the smallfolk, while in the show it's Sansa and Arya dies in battle. And the writers still classify that as the "same ending" because Westeros changes and the Stark lines continue. And while for Asoiaf Arya is central, D&D may not view her as such. It's things like replacing Jeyne Poole with Sansa and using her to suit less significant characters (Ramsay and Theon's stories), and killing off Stannis so ignominiously that makes me think that being a "big/central character" doesn't mean your plots are the same. You can be altered for the plot rather than vice versa. Granted, Stannis isn't as major as Arya. And I worry Sansa might "take" Arya's - or Bran's for that matter - ending in some way, because GRRM may not have her ending as set in stone, given she wasn't one of the original characters and was created later). But idk, do you have ideas for Sansa's book end game? [Seriously, I'm very open to nice metas that completely disprove all this and are reassuring that Arya's ending will be the same. I definitely don't want any of it to be true] Re: marriage for Arya...Not impossible imo. The original outline had romance - with Jon - as a central part of her story. She wasn't designed as a character who could never have a relationship. But she's so young in the books that an outright marriage doesn't seem likely until there's a time jump into the future. I think the final book will depict quite a long time after the Long Night and explore how Westeros recovers. GRRM will want to portray the realism of it, not "and they battle ended, they lived happily ever after." So if we go into the future, there's a chance Arya will be married/with someone imo. (Though certainly not a traditional marriage and not a proper love story that will take up lots of page time. If you want a happy relationship in the series your best bet is to be off-handily mentioned not depicted in detail. If there's detail, GRRM will end it badly/tragically). Gendry is the only real romantic teasing she's had. Given we're 5 books and 7 seasons in, I think there's not much page time to develop another love interest unless Jon is still on the cards. So the optimist in me hopes that Arya and Gendry will reunite, probably both be involved in the fight against the others, Gendry won't die (ha), there's hints of something more and in a flashforward there's a passing mention they got married or something or just "and then Princess Arya and Gendry put in smallfolk reforms together". It does have some symbolic meaning in a Baratheon/Stark match finally working. But that seems overly idealistic, I'm interested what other people think beyond "Arya is too damaged to love anyone ever and will die/wander off/be a lone wolf forever/become No One" which seems to be everywhere.
  4. AryaUnderfoot33

    Arya character arc

    Aww, I didn't know that. Really wish they'd kept that in, instead of focusing both Arya's reunions on her list. Basically yep. As much as I complain about them butchering Arya, she's fared much better than a lot of other characters. I mean Jaime who is now almost the exact opposite of his book counterpart and his most defining/best decision of his life (killing Aerys to stop the wildfire) has been thrown aside for him to follow Cersei. Then there was Stannis who in the books was a subversion of the evil uncle King in his rocky fortress, but actually had a lot of honour, duty to the kingdom and a justified claim. Meanwhile, the writers took it at face value. (They really missed the entire point of the Renly and Stannis contrast). So really I should probably be relieved Arya isn't much worse. (D&D seem to struggle with realising that GRRM's characters often deconstructions and reconstructions of character archetypes, putting them in the real world and giving them complexity: the rebellious princess (Arya), princess classic (Sansa), the young king/avenging his father (Robb), the "good" King (Renly). But too often D&D just play the stereotypes straight and miss all the layers).
  5. AryaUnderfoot33

    Arya character arc

    You're right, I was thinking about her first conversations with Bran and Sansa being all about her list rather than pack/family which was super off putting. But her choosing home over killing Cersei was a great moment and did establish her true priorities. And Hot Pie calling her pretty gives me hope they're going to treat her more as a woman with feelings and interpersonal relationships not just a killing machine. Edit: @DutchArya we posted at the same time, but yes the lady/pretty comments hopefully suggest a more nuanced writing of Arya! Her reaction to hearing Jon took WF and Sansa acknowledging that Jon loved her the most does suggest that they might put some effort into the Arya/Jon reunion after all. Their relationship has been downplayed from the books - partly because you don't get the characters internal narrative - but it was interesting that the writers chose to go with Arya finding out Jon (not Sansa as well or "the Starks") took back the North and her reaction was focused on him.
  6. AryaUnderfoot33

    Arya character arc

    Yes to literally everything in this post. Book!Arya is complex, empathetic, multi-skilled, her main arc is about finding her "pack" and her story is saturated with leadership imagery particularly with Nymeria and the wolf pack. Show!Arya is just a vengeful badass whose whole focus is finishing her list (which was a coping method in the book). The books really seem to be pointing towards Arya being a big player in some way: Leading the wolf pack as a warg with Nymeria, a battle tactician/leader of some kind in the War of the Dawn, representing/championing the smallfolk as a leader after the war, (a kind of spiritual successor to the Brotherhood without Banners?), her language skills, stealth and lie detection/manipulation skills would make her a great spymaster or even politician of some kind in rebuilding the kingdom. She also has a lot more connections to the North and the Northernmen which could set her up for leadership of the North. So many options. But the show has removed all of that, just made her a warrior and ended up giving Sansa a greater role in the North, a closer relationship with Jon, a place as leader and be the one uniting "the pack" which was Arya's thing. So I really worry that they'll give a version of Arya's endgame to Sansa and kill Arya to make things more tragic because they don't think she'll have a role after the fighting is done. Which is urghhh. (They've also reduced Bran's role and his connections to WF, possibly they're giving that to Sansa as well). I know GRRM said the main ending points of the story would be the same but 1) While he views Arya as a main point and central character the show doesn't and 2) That was a long time ago, and the show has kept deviating further away from the books. Unfortunately the show has barely portrayed Arya and the importance of a "pack" to her, even though it was her driving force in the books. They even gave Sansa Arya's "the lone wolf dies but the pack survives line." I do think the show has suffered from not having the books as a guideline. In previous seasons they had a rough framework and a lot of scenes pre-written and they just moved bits around. The overall arc was there for them. When they've had to write their own storylines things have fallen apart logically and it's just a mess. To be fair, GRRM takes years putting the plot together, they don't have much time. But the difference following his story arc in previous seasons vs. their own plot later on shows. I think if the books were already written than Arya's endgame wouldn't be likely to change, as it would be pretty glaring. But as no one knows about her fate D&D can just do what they want. (For the record I really, really hope I'm wrong and Arya does live and does amazing things).