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Ghost7272

25 "What If" turnings points in the show

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Posted (edited)
Here are some What If's for discussion.
 
How would the story of this "world" and its characters have gone differently, now that we have the whole context of the entire story?
 
We are NOT discussing how the showrunners would have proceeded differently. We're thinking of this in-universe, as if this was a real world and we were talking alternative history timelines. We are also talking specifically about the Show, not the Books, though if it isn't contradicted by the show then any extra content from the books can help inform the discussion.
 
 
Season 1
1. Lysa Arryn felt regret, and wrote to Catelyn, telling her Jon Arryn died because of Littlefinger trying to start a war between the Starks and Lannisters... and Catelyn therefore didn't capture Tyrion.
(How would this change everything?)

2. The witch had been killed before Daenerys ever saw her, Khal Drogo didn't die, Rhaego was born, and the dragons never hatched.
(How would this change everything? When and how would the Dothraki cross the Narrow Sea and invade? How would it go? What would Daenerys's role be?)

3. Instead of confronting Cersei with the truth, Ned immediately tells King Robert.
(What would happen to Cersei and the children, how would Tywin react, how would Littlefinger & Varys react?)
4. Joffrey didn't have Ned beheaded, instead sending him to the Wall (with Arya still tagging along without the Lannisters knowing).
(Would Robb still rebel? Would Sansa be converted to the Lannisters' side? Would Jon learn the truth about his heritage sooner? What about Theon's and Arya's storylines?)

5. Jorah loses the fight with the Dothraki bloodrider, and Daenerys dies the same day as Khal Drogo, and the dragons are never hatched.
(We know what it means for Essos. What would it mean for Westeros? Especially Varys, Tyrion, Cersei, Jon, and the White Walkers?)

6. Robb didn't capture Jaime (though still won that battle).
(How would that change everything?)
 

Season 2


1. Stannis & Melisandre hadn't used blood magic to murder Renly.
(Stannis would probably lose the battle, and then what for him/Melisandre/Davos? And how about the war in general, with King's Landing, or the potential alliance with Robb?)

2. The Tyrell's hadn't joined with Tywin, and Stannis had taken King's Landing.
(What happens to Tywin, how does he react to the deaths of Cersei, Tyrion, Joffrey, Tommen and the loss of King's Landing? How does Jaime (currently a captive of Brienne) react? How does Robb react?)

3. Robb hadn't married Talisa.
(What would it mean for the Frey's and the Bolton's, for the war?)

5. Jon never went with the Halfhand and was never captured by the Free Folk, and instead stayed with Sam and Jeor Mormont, and survived the Battle at the Fist of the First Men.
(How would his arc change, the battle change, the mutiny and its results? Is there more?)

6. Sansa had left with the Hound, and they reunite with Arya on the road.
(How would this change the arcs for Sansa, Arya, the Hound, Littlefinger, Tyrion, Joffrey, Margaery, etc.?)
7. Theon didn't betray Robb, pretended he would but instead managed to escape back to him and warn about his father's plans.
(How would Robb react? How would Bran's arc continue? How would the Bolton's behave?)
 

Season 3

1. Robb was warned of the treachery of the Bolton's & Frey's ahead of time, and believes them.
(How would he proceed, with these fake "allies" and with military strategy?)

2. Jaime never lost his hand.
(How would that change his journey? What else would it change?)

3. Rickard Karstark didn't disobey Robb and kill the Lannister boys.
(Would Robb and the North have fared differently? Would this change Roose Bolton's calculus on if Robb was the winning side?)

 

Season 4

1. Cersei and Tywin were poisoned at the same time as Joffrey.
(How would this change everything?)

2. Oberyn killed the Mountain and survived.
(What would happen to Tyrion? What would happen between Oberyn/Tywin?)

3. Qyburn couldn't "save" the Mountain... and in Season 6, Cersei was forcibly brought to her trial before the High Sparrow and Queen Margaery.
(What would be her sentence, and the consequences? How would King Tommen, Queen Margaery, and the High Sparrow have dealt with Daenerys and how would she deal with them? How would Jon deal with them, and they with him and his warning of the White Walkers?)

4. Tyrion did not take a detour, and did not kill Shae or Tywin.
(How would Tywin react to the High Sparrow, if he's empowered at all? How would Tywin react to Daenerys? How would Tywin react to Jon's news of the White Walkers?)

5. Arya didn't go to Braavos, and did decide to go north to the Wall instead/
(How would Arya and Jon's arcs be different?)

 

Season 5/6

1. Stannis didn't burn Shireen but did win the battle against the Bolton's, with Roose and Ramsay killed or executed.
(What would this means for the North, for Sansa/Littlefinger and their next moves, for Melisandre and Jon, for King's Landing, and what would his next moves be?)

2. Yara was chosen as Queen of the Iron Islands, Euron tried to rebel but was killed.
(How would this change Theon's arc, or the storylines with Daenerys and with the North?)
3. Ellaria and the 3 older Sand Snakes are executed by Doran Martell, Myrcella is not murdered.
(How would this change the Lannister storyline? And if Tommen still dies in the same way, would Myrcella become Queen first, and how would that go?)

4. Rickon survived the Battle of the Bastards, the arrow missed and Jon brought him far behind friendly lines before rejoining the battle.
(How would this change the politics of the North, post-battle? What else would it change?)

 

Season 7

1. Littlefinger didn't try to pit Sansa and Arya against each other, kept a low profile until Jon returned with Daenerys, and survived that battle of Winterfell.
(How would he have manipulated Daenerys, Sansa, Jon, Cersei, the Northern lords. etc.? How would the endgame be different?)
 

Season 8

1. Daenerys spotted Euron's fleet, and wiped it out then and there, killing him, and preventing the death of Rhaegal and the capture of Missandei.
(How would that change the endgame?)

 

 

I hope this leads to fun and interesting discussion!

 

Edited by Ghost7272

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6 hours ago, Ghost7272 said:

and the dragons never hatched.

The whole story line is impossible to happen without dragons. I don't think think it makes any sense to discuss "A Song of Ice and Fire" without fire.

6 hours ago, Ghost7272 said:

Instead of confronting Cersei with the truth, Ned immediately tells King Robert.

Possible other paths to lead to the same outcome. Depends on whether Robert dies at hunting anyway or not. Ned's stupidity to bluntly tell Cersei was not decisive for the whole story, but it was a fine example of how honor and stupidity sometime go hand in hand.

6 hours ago, Ghost7272 said:

Daenerys dies the same day

Again, I believe this story without one of the major characters does not make a lot of sense. They would need to drop the entire Essos plot lines and only focus on Westeros vs. Nightking and maybe Westeros vs. Southern King then. Quite shallow.

6 hours ago, Ghost7272 said:

Robb didn't capture Jaime

Possible. Would require a different approach to introduce Brienne/Jaime plot or drop it. Not much else.

6 hours ago, Ghost7272 said:

Daenerys spotted Euron's fleet, and wiped it out then and there, killing him, and preventing the death of Rhaegal and the capture of Missandei.
(How would that change the endgame?)

That is the only realistic and sensible "what if" here, I reckon.

A better compromise would be to discover some of his ships, destroy them, being attacked by scorpions but without injury. During the attack of King's Landing they manage to win, the bells sound to surrender but Rhaegal is shot down by a scorpion anyway. Daenerys snaps and the same end...

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Posted (edited)

For me, the most plausible turning point would be Ned bringing 30  Stark guards (as close bodyguard since they know him best) augmented with 50-100 White Harbor Knights (since they fit in culturally with KL, could pick them up along the way, and as he was investigating Jon Arryn murder, having more guards should have occurred to him), and he doesn't fritter his men away. This way he could easily have a fighting chance. 

Edited by Br16

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On 6/6/2019 at 6:34 AM, Kajjo said:

The whole story line is impossible to happen without dragons. I don't think think it makes any sense to discuss "A Song of Ice and Fire" without fire.

Possible other paths to lead to the same outcome. Depends on whether Robert dies at hunting anyway or not. Ned's stupidity to bluntly tell Cersei was not decisive for the whole story, but it was a fine example of how honor and stupidity sometime go hand in hand.

Again, I believe this story without one of the major characters does not make a lot of sense. They would need to drop the entire Essos plot lines and only focus on Westeros vs. Nightking and maybe Westeros vs. Southern King then. Quite shallow.

Possible. Would require a different approach to introduce Brienne/Jaime plot or drop it. Not much else.

That is the only realistic and sensible "what if" here, I reckon.

A better compromise would be to discover some of his ships, destroy them, being attacked by scorpions but without injury. During the attack of King's Landing they manage to win, the bells sound to surrender but Rhaegal is shot down by a scorpion anyway. Daenerys snaps and the same end...

 

You're ignoring the premise of the thread.

 

"We are NOT discussing how the showrunners would have proceeded differently. We're thinking of this in-universe, as if this was a real world and we were talking alternative history timelines."

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8 hours ago, Ghost7272 said:

You're ignoring the premise of the thread.

Well, not really. What is the sense of in-universe thinking without the major milestones?

But OK, let's got:

  • Without Daenerys surviving the Drogo funeral pyre, the Essos story would have ended.
  • Without Daenerys hatching the dragons in the funeral pyre, the Essos story would have ended.

Without the Essos story line, Westeros would have had to sort out the Northern threat on its own. Maybe they would have all dies. Maybe Arya would have killed the Nightking anyway. Who knows.

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Kajjo said:

Well, not really. What is the sense of in-universe thinking without the major milestones?

But OK, let's got:

  • Without Daenerys surviving the Drogo funeral pyre, the Essos story would have ended.
  • Without Daenerys hatching the dragons in the funeral pyre, the Essos story would have ended.

Without the Essos story line, Westeros would have had to sort out the Northern threat on its own. Maybe they would have all dies. Maybe Arya would have killed the Nightking anyway. Who knows.

 

Your answer is "who knows" but that's what I'm asking people to speculate on.

 

There's also several other plot points to choose from, if you don't find those interesting.

Edited by Ghost7272

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Apologies to the OP, but I have had an alternate time-line in my head for a while, so thought I would share it. 

 

What If: Robb Stark refuses to marry a Frey girl?

My thought is that Robb's ultimate objective is to rescue his father. So, he baulks at the thought of marrying a Frey girl and decides to push on towards King's Landing - hoping the Lannister army is tied up besieging Riverrun.  Instead he encounters Tywin's host at the Green Fork. Unlike Roose Bolton, Robb doesn't march overnight and has a much bigger force than the original timeline. As a result Tywin's original plan works, the left flank (with Gregor Clegane and Tyrion) of the Lannister formation collapses, the Stark's try to flank on the left, however, Kevan Lannister, commanding the middle wheels his force around to push them into the river with support from Tywin bringing up the reserve. The consequence is that the Northern forces are pushed into the river with many many killed, drowned or captured. 

If you want to add some extra flair to this timeline, perhaps the Frey's don't sit out the conflict but realise they need to pick a side. In my imagination they send a force out after Robb, either taking the Northern army by surprise in the rear, or by dispatching survivors fleeing the Lannister routing.   

A few possible consequences: 

1. Tyrion, Bronn or the Mountain are potentially killed when the left flank collapses. 

If Tyrion dies, then Tywin's chances of survival later go up somewhat. However, with Tyrion not sent to King's Landing, potentially the naval battle goes much better for Stannis. On the other hand if Tywin goes straight to King's Landing after the battle, perhaps he is able to fortify the city in a similar or even better way. 

Additionally, if Tyrion dies, he is no longer able to marry Sansa. 

If Bronn dies, he is Tyrion's Hand (in effect) and puts Tyrion's plans to good effect, but if he dies potentially Tyrion could just replace him. On the other hand, if he can't replace him, then Bronn doesn't protect Sansa from being beaten, or assassinate Symon Silver Tongue who is blackmailing Tyrion or put up the chain that stops Stannis's fleet from escaping the wildfire. So, Tyrion has all these great ideas but can't implement them. 

If the Mountain dies, then consequently he can't kill Oberyn Martell. He won't go on to become Ser Strong and Cersei may face a much more uncertain future as he can no longer defend her in trial by combat.

2. If the Stannis loses the Battle of the Blackwater then Sansa is replaced by Margery as future Queen. 

In this scenario if Tyrion is still alive she may be married off to him to prevent her marriage to Willas Tyrell. However, I think it is more likely she is married to Willlas or Loras (as a reward to the Tyrells) and sent back North to reclaim Winterfell. Alternatively, she is married to an ambitious surviving Northern Lord (e.g. Roose Bolton) or a Manderly in return for the North's allegiance to the Iron Throne. 

3. Tywin potentially still dies by crossbow - but is killed by Varys instead. 

There is still plenty of chaos in the Seven Kingdoms. Stannis may still be alive and the Greyjoys are still in rebellion. 

The caveat here is that with an easy victory over the North, and if everything else goes the Lannister way (Riverrun surrenders, Littlefinger brings in the Vale and the Reach, and if the Mountain dies and relations with the Dornish thaw). Also, with competent replacement hands like Kevan waiting in the wings, Varys may decide killing Tywin is ultimately pointless. 

 

4. The Tully's 

In this scenario I imagine Catelyn is either executed or perpetually held hostage somewhere. If the Frey's side with the crown I imagine they are probably made Lords Paramount of the Riverlands and Edmure is married off to a Frey girl. If the Frey's remain neutral I could see someone like Cersei being married to Edmure instead. 

5. Purple Wedding, Myrcella betrothed to Tystane Martell probably still happen in some form or the other. 

The Tyrells are still motivated to kill off Joffrey. Meanwhile, the Lannisters will likely still want secure the Dornish alliance via marriage.  

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On 6/6/2019 at 12:34 PM, Kajjo said:

The whole story line is impossible to happen without dragons. I don't think think it makes any sense to discuss "A Song of Ice and Fire" without fire.

 

Did you even watch Season 8?
The dragons turned out to be completely irrelevant to the story of the show And the song of ice and fire was just the title of "Maester" Sam's scrapbook.

 

Quote

2. The Tyrells hadn't joined with Tywin, and Stannis had taken King's Landing.
(What happens to Tywin, how does he react to the deaths of Cersei, Tyrion, Joffrey, Tommen and the loss of King's Landing? How does Jaime (currently a captive of Brienne) react? How does Robb react?)

That's particularly a scenario that I thought about very much at the time. Cersei poisons Tommen, and quite possibly herself, Tyrion dies fighting, Joffrey is either sent to the wall or executed.
Sansa probably survives barred up in her room and becomes Stannis' hostage next in a bid to make Robb back down from that ridiculous "King in da NORF *grimybigdumbNorthmalegrowl*" Littlefinger and Varys might quite possibly be done away with.
Jaime might snap and become an outlaw in the King's Wood. Tywin might make an (useless, doomed to fail) attempt to join forces with Dorne and crown Myrcella as Queen. 
The court becomes very dreary and cheerless and Mellisandre starts burning things.
 

The more important question really, what will Stannis do about getting himself an heir?

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2 hours ago, Orphalesion said:

Did you even watch Season 8? The dragons turned out to be completely irrelevant to the story of the show

Did you watch episode 5?! My goodness, be serious please. The dragon was decisive for the entire finale. 

2 hours ago, Orphalesion said:

The more important question really, what will Stannis do about getting himself an heir?

That's the least problem, I guess. Enough women to impregnate.

 

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23 hours ago, Kajjo said:

Did you watch episode 5?! My goodness, be serious please. The dragon was decisive for the entire finale. 

 

I am serious. If Ding-Dong-Dany didn't have a Dragon at that point she would have just led her unsullied and asexually multiplying hordes of Dothraki to massacre the population.
 

Quote

That's the least problem, I guess. Enough women to impregnate.

And he's married to one who can't give him any and is ( or at the vary likes to think of himself as) very devoted to his various "duties" including the marriage one. 

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On 6/12/2019 at 1:42 PM, Orphalesion said:

she would have

How you know? "Would have" is nonsense. She used her dragons and the dragons were important or S8E5. Keep honest and serious. Don't phantasize.

On 6/12/2019 at 1:42 PM, Orphalesion said:

And he's married to one who can't give him any and is ( or at the vary likes to think of himself as) very devoted to his various "duties" including the marriage one. 

He impregnanted Melisandre, even if it only came to be a shadow. He even burned his daughter. Not so much duty and love there. He could simply take another woman and have children. 

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On ‎6‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 8:40 PM, TheFirstofHerName said:

What if Bran had died from his fall?  

jon would have not found out about his heritage, him and dany would have been married and she would have not nuked KL as jon would have not left her, he would have helped her through her losses. she would probably got pregnant too.

how this would affect the NK tho as bran was 'bait' lol for him, sure they would have found another way.

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7 hours ago, Kajjo said:

How you know? "Would have" is nonsense. She used her dragons and the dragons were important or S8E5. Keep honest and serious. Don't phantasize.

Again I am serious and it's pretty clear they wanted Dany to become a villain and massacre people, so they would have made her do that, no matter if she had a dragon or not.
All the dragon did was provide special effects. The theme of "Dany is coocoo and is murdering relentlessly" would have been the same if she had just led Greywom (who was totally on board with the murdering innocents, as we saw) and her Dothraki screamers (who we also saw attacking civillians, such as in the scene when Arya tries to save the mother and child) through town. Her madness had already "justification" (such as it was) with the murder of Miss Sunday.
And the title of Sam's scrapbook could still be justified due to the words of Dany's house.

And if the sole important role of the freaking dragon was "incinerating children so that Dany becomes the bad guy"....then that's an incredibly sorry reason to even put a dragon in there and put so much supposed importance on the reptile. 

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15 hours ago, Orphalesion said:

All the dragon did was provide special effects.

Yes, but I still don't see your point. Dragons were important for building up Daenerys and they were an important weapon, but yes, dragons are not all-important and decisive for the whole story. Why should they be?!

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