I’m always frustrated when I see George on television; attending premieres, leading at comic con panels, doing interviews, etc. I’m like “GO HOME GEORGE AND FINISH THE DAMN BOOKS WE’VE WAITED LONG ENOUGH!”. But, I’m also relieved that he’s taking his time to carefully construct the last 2 books because they SHOULD BE FOOKIN EPIC! 😀
With respect to Tolkien and the genre that he mastered, A Song of Ice and Fire IS the best epic fantasy volume ever written since LOTR. You disagree? Go graze other pastures, you don’t belong here. #bye 😀
But the series isn’t complete yet. Out of the seven books Martin is aiming for, he’s published only five, the last of which is the A Dance with Dragons book. Currently, he’s working on The Winds of Winter which, hopefully, will come out before 2017. But that’s cutting it too close, George Fookin Martin doesn’t believe in deadlines. #sob My kids will probably attend their high school prom before the series is finished.
Anyhoo, I’ve been rereading A Dance with Dragons because a) it’s too awesome, b) it’s the last book published, and c) it’s just too awesome. But despite all the awesomeness, there’s a lot of dangling storylines that definitely need to be sorted out in the next book.
So, here’s what I think will happen in The Winds of Winter:
Daenerys and her Khalasar
In ADwD, Daenerys is last seen feasting on animal flesh when Khal Pono and his bloodriders see her, Drogon arriving just in time like the badass that he is. in TWoW, Dany wins back her khalasar, uniting every Dothraki under her leadership. Remember, the Dothraki follow only the strong. You can’t get any stronger or more epic than when you’re feasting on burnt horse flesh with a massive black dragon behind you. You just can’t.
With Drogon and her khalasar, Dany returns to Meereen in time to help vanquish the siege forces and save the losing Ironborn army, lead by Victarion. There’s bound to be some epic battle sequence there, badass Ironborn and Targaryen loyalists fighting the slavers and rebels.
Possible deaths might include Barristan Selmy (he’d probably go down like Boromir in LOTR, an eternal badass!), Victarion Greyjoy (he could die fighting too), Daario Naharis (he might end up betraying Dany for gold and then die), and of course Hizdhar zo Loraq.
Towards the end of the book, Daenerys will be on her way to Westeros (passing through Asshai, of course) with her army of 8,000 Unsullied, Ironborn, 40,000 Dothraki, sellswords, the riches of 3 slaver cities, and 3 grown up dragons, Yep, I’m rooting for the Targaryen queen. #MotherofDragons
Aegon, the False King
Quaithe’s always-cryptic prophecy provides us a lot of clues. “Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun’s son and the mummer’s dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal.”
The pale mare refers to the plague that will overcome most of Dany’s subjects, the kraken the Greyjoys (duh!), Tyrion the lion (or it could be the long-lost Gerion Lannister), Jon Connington the Griffin, Quentyn the Sun’s Son, and Aegon the Mummer’s Dragon. As for the perfumed seneschal, it would be too easy if it is indeed Reznak mo Reznak. Remember, Varys is often POVed by other characters as “always smelling of perfume”. Vary’s “switch” of baby Aegon during the Sack of Kings Landing may not have happened, in which case baby Aegon did die.
The “fake” Aegon could either be a Lynese who knows about the conspiracy or he could be a secret Blackfyre who was brought up thinking he’s a Targaryen. Either way, I think ultimately Varys IS a Blackfyre, plotting years worth of revenge on the Houses that belittled their illegitimate claim to the throne. Maybe that’s why his head is bald? To hide his silver hair? Maybe Illyrio is also a Blackfyre? That’s why he had the dragon eggs in the first place?
Aegon’s claim to the Iron Throne isn’t valid, but if Dorne and the Golden Company (mainly an army of Blackfyres) remain on to his side, he might actually have a chance at bringing down the Lannister-Tyrell alliance. After all, he’s already conquered the Baratheon stronghold, Storm’s End.
The end of the Lannisters
Speaking of House Lannister, The Winds of Winter will definitely draw a stunning turning point for the Lannister legacy of butchery, conspiracies, and treachery. The first part of this epic saw the rise of the Lannisters to power (Cersei being queen, Joffrey crowned as king, the Lannister and Tyrell alliance, and the destruction of Houses Baratheon, Stark, and Greyjoy). However, leading up to ADwD, everything the Lannisters have built imploded dramatically. Tyrion committed patricide, the head of House Lannister died, Jaime lost his swordhand, Joff died, Myrcella is held hostage, Tommen is under investigation of being bastard-born, Pycelle is murdered (a known Lannister loyalist), Kevan Lannister is murdered by Vary’s ilk, and Cersei is under trial for incest, fornication, and murder.
The revenge arc on the Lannisters is going to go full scale. The Starks? They’re definitely going to be avenged #theNorthremembers by the Umbers and Manderlys (obviously House Bolton and House Frey will have a tragic end, although Roose may still survive). There’s also House Martell, whose careful placing of Obara, Nymeria, and Tyene right in the middle of the action at Kings Landing involves them in the plot to end the Lannisters. To conclude the revenge arc, Arya’s turn as a Faceless-man-slash-badass-assassin and a possible reunion with Nymeria and her wolf pack is the best form of retribution for the Starks.
Cersei’s storyline is the most interesting of the Lannisters, perhaps. The prophecies she heard when she was a child might come full circle. The first is about her death at the hands of a “valonqar”, or little brother. Despite her assumption that it will be Tyrion, I think she’ll ultimately die at Jamie’s hand, after which Jaime might kill himself too. That way, they’ll both exit this world the way they entered it, together #sweetbutcreepy The second prophecy is about a “younger and more beautiful queen overthrowing her”.
Margaery is the logical candidate here, but Sansa’s storyline has a bigger possiblity of crossing this thread. Despite being under the protection of Littlefinger at The Vale, Sansa will realize that her survival depends on her trusting no one and learning to play “the game”. She’ll pull a student-becomes-better-than-the-master on Littlefinger and will probably kill him herself. Plus, she’s Lady of Winterfell and Lady of the Vale, also a possible heir to the Riverlands. There’s a big big chance of her becoming Queen of the North, if she plays it well.
So remember Dany’s visions at the House of the Undying about a blue rose growing at a chink in a wall of ice? Yep, that’s definitely Jon Snow. Either he’s being referred as a blue rose because he’s a Stark (blue roses grew on Winterfell) or because he’s Lyanna’s son (blue roses are Lyanna’s thing). Either way, Jon Snow’s “death” on ADwD is unlikely permanent.
My prediction is that Jon will warg into Ghost, using his direwolf to survive while his human body heals from the stab wounds. Melisandre will have a big part in bringing Jon back to life, kinda like the Thoros and Beric Dondarrion dynamic.
I’m also more convinced that Jon is Azor Ahai. By Clash of Kings, Daenerys was my bet as the prophesied savior; she was born in Dragonstone during the biggest storm ever, a combination of salt (sea) and smoke (wind). Azor Ahai is born amidst salt and smoke and will bring the end of The Others.
Now, I’m thinking this could be Jon. For one thing, when Melisandre asks her god Rhollor to show her the face of Azor Ahai, all she sees is “endless snow”. And although Melisandre is still technically with Stannis’ cause, it’s obvious she’s gearing Jon up for something bigger, probably prompted by something she saw in the fires.
Also, when Jon was being murdered ala Ceasar, he could only see snow and smoke and he could taste salt in his mouth. This might refer to him dying and being reborn amidst salt and smoke.
Lastly, being Lyanna’s son he could only be fathered by Rhaegar (why would Ned hide Jon if he were Robert’s? Wouldn’t Robert protect his own and the son of his beloved Lynna?), making him both a Stark and Targaryen.
This brings us back to Dany’s storyline; “the dragon must have three heads” prophecy. Dany is Drogon’s rider (obviously 😀 ), Jon is Rhaegal’s rider (once he’s revealed to be a Targaryen, probably with Howland Reed’s help), and Bran is Viserion’s warg.
Why Bran? Bran’s storyline doesn’t just end with him warging trees and ravens. The “you will never walk again, but you will fly” thing? Yep, Bran’s powers will definitely grow more badass and enable him to warg a dragon. And why Viserion? Among Dany’s dragons, Viserion is the most gullible, he isn’t as fierce as his brothers. A warg overpowering his dragon senses won’t be illogical. Thus, Bran will fly.
Do all these make sense?
There’s a lot of what-ifs here; the little breadcrumbs Martin leaves on his books have room for many interpretations, all of which could lead to different storylines. However, considering the most logical result of such clues, I’m hoping that what I mentioned here will indeed come full circle when The Winds of Winter is published.
If it’s not, then Martin wins (again!). 😀