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[Book Spoilers] The Ripple Effect

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This thread is to discuss the changes made particularly in the last episode of season 3, and what sort of long-term changes to the plot are to be expected. Please, this is not about opinions of changes (past, present, or potential). This is to discuss how the plot is changed by this episode in regards to the books. Beware of spoilers from both the show and books.

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1) Yara vs. Bolton -- Yara Greyjoy is now planning to attack the Boltons from the East, and rescue her brother Theon (Reek).

  • In the books, Theon/Reek escapes Ramsay's custody by rescuing Jeyne Poole (fake Arya). They escape Winterfell and are found by Tycho Nestoris (of the Iron Bank of Braavos), who then brings them to Stannis and, by extension, Asha (who, for the sake of this discussion, is Yara).
  • What I expect to happen is a complete cut of the Winterfell marriage from the show. This does not mean the Winterfell segment is cut, simply that its context changes. Instead, we will have Yara end up rescuing Theon and as they escape, they are caught by Stannis. She will fight her way to Winterfell when she hears that Bolton and his bastard are there--maybe to rebuild parts of Winterfell or shelter from the snow while taking position to fight Stannis.

2) Stannis and the Wall -- Melisandre advised Stannis to go to the Wall because of the threat of the Others/White Walkers.

  • In the books, Davos is able to convince a rather powerless and hopeless Stannis (his force was defeated, many of his allies left him, etc.) that he needs to go to the Wall. He is able to do this by telling Stannis of the wildling threat at the Wall, and convincing him that as Westeros' king, it is Stannis' duty to protect his realm. After saving the Wall (which most readers did not see coming, so it seems they cut the surprise-factor out of the show), Stannis moves South under the advise of Jon to gather an army of Northmen (starting with the mountain clans) and fight Bolton's forces.
  • I expect this to drastically change the course of the series. Rather than the threat of the wildlings, we are told of the threat of the Others. This ties in with Melisandre's religious beliefs, hence her telling Stannis they must go to the Wall. I think that Stannis will (once at the Wall) venture South to build an army through the Northmen, but because he needs them to combat the Others. If he goes to the Wall as Azor Ahai, not King Stannis (which is what they did by making his reason for going to the Wall to combat the Others), he has no reason to pursue his crown while knowing of the White Walkers in the North (of the Wall).
  • ASIDE: The fact that the Aemon's letter is concerning the White Walkers, not the wildling army, is what I think a change in purpose. The show seems to be downplaying the wildlings' chances (as Jon directly tells Ygritte, "You'll all die"), and instead wants to emphasize the White Walkers/Others. Above you can see how I think this affects Stannis' story, but it is surely to have other ramifications.

3) The delay of Coldhands -- This is simple, I think. Coldhands has not been present as of yet, but we did a teaser through the ravens when Sam kills the Other.

  • In the books, Coldhands not only saves Sam from wights, but also escorts him to the Black Gate, has Sam deliver Bran & co. to him, and then escorts Bran to the cave of the Children of the Forest.
  • I expect Bran's party to be attacked by wights, and much like how he saved Sam in the books, Coldhands will save Bran and his group, and deliver them to the cave.
  • ASIDE: The simplification of the Black Gate just makes some things seem dumb, like climbing the Wall (which we saw earlier this season, and saw how risky it is). Not a big deal, but it must be in some viewers' heads and undermines the climb, as well as the intelligence of the free folk as a whole.

4) Jon's return to the Castle Black -- Jon returns to the Wall barely clinging to life, it seems, after Ygritte put at least 3 arrows in him.

  • In the books, Jon returns before the attack on Castle Black, and warns the Night's Watch. He fights of the attack from the South, and then commands the defense of from the North, the real wildling army. After the battle, he is arrested for turning sides (as he was with the wildlings) due to the influence of Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne. He is sent on a suicide mission to assassinate Mance under the guise of a parlay. It is then that Stannis surprising arrives, and saves the Night's Watch as a hero.
  • It seems that Jon arriving full of arrows nearly dead earned him the good graces of the Night's Watch. Sam's early return will also add Jon some "good points". I think this means that the Thorne/Slynt plot will be cut, and instead Jon earns back the trust of whomever mistrusts him by his defense of the Wall. I expect that the parlay will not take place and, instead, Stannis' rescue comes while the black brothers are defending against wildlings from the Wall.

5*) Ygritte's one-on-one with Jon -- While Jon is attempting to return to Castle Black ahorse, Ygritte (somehow) catches up on foot. After they have a brief romantic departure/discussion, Ygritte hits Jon with at least three arrows as he rides away, proving that he knew nothing.

  • In the book, Jon does not talk to Ygritte after the events outside of Queenscrown until she dies during the attack on Castle Black from the South. In this, they have a touching conversation where they are both not hurt emotionally over Jon's switch, but still very much in love. She dies in his arms.
  • Earlier, we had Tormund's force killed off by Jon and the direwolves (Shaggydog and ((Bran))Summer). All that seemed left was Tormund and Ygritte. I think that this means they will not attack the Wall from the South, but instead make their way back to Mance to join with the main attack--which makes sense since we need Tormund to be North of the Wall. This could mean that this was the last time Jon and Ygritte get to talk before her death.

6*) Jaime's early arrival at King's Landing -- Jaime Lannister arrives at King's Landing. His oath was forced upon him at sword-point by Catelyn Tully Stark. When released, Jaime was to be taken by Brienne of Tarth to King's Landing, where he would then return the Stark girls (Arya and Sansa) to the Starks. Basically, an exchange of hostages. Sansa, though married to Tyrion Lannister, is in the city still held by the Lannisters.

  • In the books, Jaime does not arrive in King's Landing until after the Purple Wedding, and Sansa is already snuck away from KL to the Eyrie by Littlefinger. Her location is unknown to the Lannisters, and the rest of the realm. Jaime, intent now on keeping his oath, gives Brienne his new Valyrian steel blade (a gift from Tywin), naming it Oathkeeper, and bestows the retrieval of Sansa to Brienne.
  • The show, by making Jaime's arrival earlier, will actually have Jaime break the oath (or at least not fully keep it). They may have him make attempts to try and free Sansa, surely to be shot down by Tywin. We saw Davos save Gendry, knowing he would face death for his actions. Viewers will likely have this in mind when Jaime fails to take action in freeing Sansa. The only way I could see Jaime sticking to the oath, is by having a part in sending Sansa away with Littlefinger. This would be a major deviation from the books, but it is certainly a possibility.
  • ASIDE: What this does for Brienne is very unknown. I assumed much of her story from AFFC would be cut or at least reshaped to give relevance to the main stories (given readers basically watched her wander, looking for Sansa where we knew Sansa would not be).

7*) Balon and the Kingsmoot -- Balon still lives and made a choice to abandon Theon to Ramsay's knife. Yara Greyjoy takes a different attitude and vowed to rescue Theon with her force. attacking from the East.

  • In the books, Balon is dead by this point (even before Robb). His death is suspect and, given certain info from the Ghost of High Heart, we are led to believe a Faceless Man was hired to assassinate Balon. Euron Greyjoy arrives the next day, returning from exile, to sit upon the Seastone Chair. Upon the kingsmoot, none of the Greyjoys--Asha, Victarion, nor Aeron--are able to sway the ironborn. Instead, Euron wins them over with a prized dragon horn, one he claims to have pulled from the wastes of Valyria. The ironborn support Eurons claim, Asha retreats into Deepwood Motte, and Victarion is given a mission by Euron to use the horn to claim Daenerys' dragons.
  • In the show, this can go many ways. I fully expect the moot to be delayed, and perhaps even cut. When Yara is all the way to the East, I expect Balon to die and Euron to appear (maybe season 4 content). Euron may initially be questioned, and this is where his moot content could come in--the dragon horn. Victarion is very much connected to Euron's plot, as Euron is his reason for going to Essos and for having a dragon horn in his possession. Also, given the change from Asha to 'Yara', I believe the show-runners are willing to take much more freedom with the character, and deviate more from the books.

8*) Gendry to King's Landing -- The Brotherhood Without Banners sold Gendry to Melisandre for gold. He was leached, and the three leaches were thrown into the fire as Stannis named Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and Joffrey Baratheon usurpers. After the death of Robb Stark, Stannis is more convinced of the power the sacrifice could bring. Stannis has his doubts, which he confesses to Ser Davos, but Melisandre is able to sway him. With his mind made up on burning Gendry, Davos smuggles Gendry out, sending him on a rowboat to King's Landing. Gendry acknowledged that he had never been on a boat, nor could he swim (though I think these could be irrelevant).

  • In the books, Edric Storm, an acknowledged bastard of Robert's, was captured after Storm's End surrendered. Though a prisoner, he was treated well (not thrown in a dungeon) because he is kin to King Stannis. He even grows to be friends of his young cousin, Princess Shireen Baratheon. He was to be sacrificed in the flames, as Melisandre preached the power a sacrifice of king's blood could bring. This was until Davos smuggled him out to be sent to the Free Cities, free from Melisandre's grasp. The show had Gendry absorb the character of Edric Storm.
  • In the show, given the increase in the role of Gendry, they may have him replace Pod as one of Brienne's companions in her search for Sansa Stark. Pod has been a character with no depth or personality, where Gendry has been very well fleshed out as a character. Gendry could also provide emotional impact to Brienne, as she feels guilt over Renly's assassination. In the books, Gendry is described as looking like a young Renly (and in turn, Robert). Whether they have Brienne see the "resemblance" or Gendry simply tells her (since in the show, he is aware of who his father was) is unknown, but it gives the show-runners an excellent opportunity to bring emotion to Brienne's (rather emotionless) campaign in AFFC. Gendry would also be better-served in combat, given he is strong and comes from a family of strong warriors, in comparison to little, shy Pod.

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Feel free to contribute. Just remember that we are not here to discuss whether the changes are good or bad, just what changes they bring with them for the long-term plot. I will add to the list of changes (in the format I have used: what the show did, its comparison to the books, and what this likely holds for the future of the show) as we discover/discuss more.

* denotes ETA for a section.

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Good idea for a post. I'm particularly interested in what it will mean for Brienne's storyline the fact that she arrived in KL when Sansa is living life as usual in the Red Keep. To be honest though, I won't miss her AFFC storyline.

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I don't think the Stannis storyline changes.

There is no telling what they might do with "Yara" and the Boltons.

I don't think they are going to have Coldhands at all, but I don't know that this changes the storyline....I'm still wondering why/when/where are we going to get the Liddle and when in the hell are we getting the WOLVES WILL COME AGAIN line?

Jamie and Brienne getting to KL while Sansa is still there seems to be the biggest problem from a plot and motivation standpoint...now they are there in time to do something for Sansa...but we know that Sansa will end up in the Vale w/LF...so that means there is a big change here.

Either they don't try to help her.

She refuses their help.

They are somehow involved in her leaving KL w/LF.

None of these work very well to me.

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Good idea for a post. I'm particularly interested in what it will mean for Brienne's storyline the fact that she arrived in KL when Sansa is living life as usual in the Red Keep. To be honest though, I won't miss her AFFC storyline.

Maybe they will have Loras accuse her of killing Renly and keep her in a tower cell until after the Purple Wedding?

Great post OP.

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Also, Gendry...he knows he's a Baratheon, unlike in the books, he's been betrayed by the BWB, unlike in the books, he's met Mel and Stannis, unlike in the books and now is rowing toward King's Landing.

So, this plotline could also really go anywhere.

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Maybe they will have Loras accuse her of killing Renly and keep her in a tower cell until after the Purple Wedding?

Good point. One of the factors in Brienne's storyline was that she had never seen Sansa so wouldn't have recognised her necessarily. It also rules out Brienne using a fake Sansa when she lures Jaime away with the Hound story as Jaime will now also be able to recognise Sansa.

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Don't think they'll cut out the Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne subplot, seeing as Slynt already played a somewhat prominent role in the first two seasons.

And of course it would be great to see Jon behead Slynt on screen and see some payback for betraying Ned and being a total scumbag.

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Jaime and Brienne - She's kept under guard after Loras accuses her of murder. So what with that and Jaime dealing with Cersei and the Kingsguard there's time for the PW and Sansa to be off with Littlefinger.

What's more troubling to me is that Jaime isn't there in the books for Joffrey's wedding. But I suppose it adds to the drama.

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Also, Gendry...he knows he's a Baratheon, unlike in the books, he's been betrayed by the BWB, unlike in the books, he's met Mel and Stannis, unlike in the books and now is rowing toward King's Landing.

So, this plotline could also really go anywhere.

Though true, I do not see this to be a major problem since Gendry has a very minimal role from what we have seen so far--saving Brienne when she fights Rorge and Biter. From what we know, Gendry's role in the show may be over since neither Edric Storm nor Gendry has much content after this point (Edric Storm being shipped away).

Don't think they'll cut out the Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne subplot, seeing as Slynt already played a somewhat prominent role in the first two seasons.

And of course it would be great to see Jon behead Slynt on screen and see some payback for betraying Ned and being a total scumbag.

I expect the second part to remain. Remember, Slynt was killed for refusing orders from his Lord Commander Jon Snow. This will likely still occur, I just believe the politics leading up to Jon's election will be largely cut.

ETA:

Good idea for a post. I'm particularly interested in what it will mean for Brienne's storyline the fact that she arrived in KL when Sansa is living life as usual in the Red Keep. To be honest though, I won't miss her AFFC storyline.

Thank you. I forgot to mention this in the OP. It has been added.

Jaime and Brienne - She's kept under guard after Loras accuses her of murder. So what with that and Jaime dealing with Cersei and the Kingsguard there's time for the PW and Sansa to be off with Littlefinger.

What's more troubling to me is that Jaime isn't there in the books for Joffrey's wedding. But I suppose it adds to the drama.

To me, the real issue is that Jaime had no choice when he arrived and Sansa was gone. Now, he will consciously break the oath, or the show will try to make an excuse to 'pardon' him.

ETA2:

Regarding Loras and Brienne--

Didn't Loras say in a conversation with Margaery that he didn't believe it was Brienne? My memory of season 2 is fuzzy because, to be honest, much of it I wanted to forget. But after Renly's death, still outside of Storm's End, I think he says something like that to Marg.

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1) Yara vs. Bolton -- Yara Greyjoy is now planning to attack the Boltons from the East, and rescue her brother Theon (Reek).

  • In the books, Theon/Reek escapes Ramsay's custody by rescuing Jeyne Poole (fake Arya). They escape Winterfell and are found by Tycho Nestoris (of the Iron Bank of Braavos), who then brings them to Stannis and, by extension, Asha (who, for the sake of this discussion, is Yara).
  • What I expect to happen is a complete cut of the Winterfell marriage from the show. Instead, we will have Yara end up rescuing Theon and as they escape, they are caught by Stannis.

So they would just give up Theon in Winterfell, one of the most intersting arcs of the entire series?I don't think so.

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So they would just give up Theon in Winterfell, one of the most intersting arcs of the entire series?I don't think so.

No, but the wedding would be cut. And instead, they would simply have Roose there to maybe rebuild or in preparation to meet Stannis. They have had no problem expanding Roose's role, and have even featured him. To be honest, I wouldn't mind them doing this because I rather enjoy the actor and character for TV Roose.

ETA: I should also mention that I expect them to expand the role of one of my favorite minor characters: Wyman Manderly. Viewers will love some Frey Pies.

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So they would just give up Theon in Winterfell, one of the most intersting arcs of the entire series?I don't think so.

Great point. I can't see the Theon in Winterfell arc being cut, especially considering Walder Frey asked Roose if he plans to move in now that it's burnt down and unoccupied.

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No, but the wedding would be cut. And instead, they would simply have Roose there to maybe rebuild or in preparation to meet Stannis. They have had no problem expanding Roose's role, and have even featured him. To be honest, I wouldn't mind them doing this because I rather enjoy the actor and character for TV Roose.

The wedding is the impetus for a lot of things...most especially for Jon's need to save "Arya" if there is no wedding then that whole angle goes away. As well as why al the various feuding Northern lords are at Winterfell, which in turn is the impetus for why Roose sends them out in the vanguard when Stannis comes calling.

Of course they've already created a ripple on that score by having Mel and Arya meet so they'll have to figure out how Mel could possibly make the mistake she makes about "Arya" in the snow.

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I disagree that the Winterfell marriage will be cut. Balon has yet to die, but when he does Asha will return to Pyke for the Kingsmoot, setting her storyline straight. I think D&D invented "Mission Impossible: Dreadfort" to give viewers something touching and positive for which they can hope.

Cutting the Winterfell marriage would remove a huge part of A Dance with Dragons: no "The North Remembers," no "Ghost of Winterfell," no Manderly/Frey strife, no "Battle of Ice," etc.

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For major changes, I suppose the benevolent Tyrion could always ascent body and soul to heaven next season before resurrecting as Azhor Ahai :dunno:

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Loved the post, great, great post. You forgot to mention however, that whilst Yara is sailing all around Westeros to the Dreadfort, how will the Kingsmoot play out? I think that Balon will die, Euron will become King, no Kingsmoot, with the possibility of Victarion and Aeron cut. (I know Aeron 'baptized' Theon in season 2 but he realy has no real importance, I also love Victarion, but to be honest he could be merged with Euron with no huge deviations)

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Cutting the Winterfell marriage would remove a huge part of A Dance with Dragons: no "The North Remembers," no "Ghost of Winterfell," no Manderly/Frey strife, no "Battle of Ice," etc.

This.

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The wedding is the impetus for a lot of things...most especially for Jon's need to save "Arya" if there is no wedding then that whole angle goes away. As well as why al the various feuding Northern lords are at Winterfell, which in turn is the impetus for why Roose sends them out in the vanguard when Stannis comes calling.

Of course they've already created a ripple on that score by having Mel and Arya meet so they'll have to figure out how Mel could possibly make the mistake she makes about "Arya" in the snow.

Well, we know what happens to Jon, so that part doesn't seem to matter in the long run. I don't see any huge consequences of cutting the wedding.

Like I said, the Winterfell segment would not be cut--just the wedding. Instead we have a blank slate on which to have these characters collide: Roose, Ramsay, Manderly, etc. Perhaps a celebration feast at Winterfell (renovation mode), which is a central location in the North. Or, like I said before, simply a place to hold out while the snow hits Stannis.

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Loved the post, great, great post. You forgot to mention however, that whilst Yara is sailing all around Westeros to the Dreadfort, how will the Kingsmoot play out? I think that Balon will die, Euron will become King, no Kingsmoot, with the possibility of Victarion and Aeron cut. (I know Aeron 'baptized' Theon in season 2 but he realy has no real importance, I also love Victarion, but to be honest he could be merged with Euron with no huge deviations)

Good point, I will add a bit in. I imagine instead the moot will be delayed. Euron will rule unopposed while Yara is out and about. They'll let her get on the other side of the continent when her father is assassinated and instantly replaced by her uncle Euron. Euron rules unopposed while Yara is getting Theon, and the moot takes place later between only Vic and Euron maybe. Many possibilities here given the changes, but especially since I think they are willing to take many freedoms with 'Yara' since she is indeed not Asha.

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