Fanboy updates that George R.R. Martin is skipping appearances and script writing commissions so he could focus on finishing The Winds of Winter is always welcome to me, and I assume to most ASoIaF fans too. His last book A Dance with Dragons left us all reeling and salivating for more of the keenly detailed universe Martin has painted so vividly for us. However, that was 2011, almost 4 years ago. And like any fan would know, it takes good ole Georgie around 5 to 7 years to publish his sequels. I’d like to complain, but I can accept the delay due to the fact that quality story telling really does take time.
Recent news reveals that Martin is opting to skip out on his usual “chores” so he could focus on wrapping up The Winds of Winter and, hopefully, have it out by next year.
Even then, it’s still highly probably that the show will catch up to the books and that audiences might have to watch Game of Thrones on HBO before they’ve read the books. For me, that is alarming. I don’t want to spoil the source material by watching the show before I’ve read the actual tome, it’ll ruin the whole experience for me.
But setting aside that worry, The Winds of Winter will definitely be the highlight of my year once it hits the bookstores. I’ve been anticipating its publication since reading A Dance with Dragons, the best volume so far. As dedication to its upcoming release (OMG OMG OMG!!!), here’s a list of story arcs that could happen in the book.
8. Aegon Targaryen VI Sacks Kings Landing
It was revealed in the middle of ADwD that Aegon Targaryen, Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell’s son, survived the Sack of Kings Landing and was brought up as “Young Griff” and has been under the protection of Jon Connington (Rhaegar’s close friend). When Tyrion puts two and two together, he ultimately manipulated the boy by convincing him against meeting Daenerys Targaryen in Meereen, advising him instead to prove his worth as a Targaryen by raiding Storm’s End. Impressively, Aegon led his Golden Company to Westeros and conquered the seat of House Baratheon.
At this point, he is bound to become self-entitled and arrogant of his leadership and military skill (note that Martin has always been punishing his characters for being arrogant). He might move his pursuit of power by taking Kings Landing by force. This storyline could be very unpredictable, despite the mass consensus that having another Targaryen contender for the Iron Throne is a good thing. Besides, who’s to say that this boy is even truly Rhaegar’s son?
7. The Fall of the Lannisters
Cersei’s ultimate death is nearly unarguable at this point, the only question remaining is, how will she die? With the immediate threats to her life being the Tyrells, Aegon VI, the High Septon, and the outcome of her trial by combat, I’d say that it could be Aegon’s forces or assassins who’ll off the blonde ex-queen.
It wouldn’t be easy, especially with Ser Robert Strong (formerly The Mountain?) always at her side. However, it’ll be the perfect vengeance for the Targaryens if the Lannister rule on King’s Landing will be sacked by a Targaryen heir. To complete this tragic fall of the Lannisters, Cersei will have to watch as Tommen is killed by a mob or the Faith Militant.
Or better yet, I’d like to think that Arya will return to Westeros to assassinate Cersei as a Faceless Man and slowly work her way to the North, killing Freys and Boltons in the process.
6. Arya’s Vendetta is Realized
By the end of ADwD, Arya has completed her trials at the House of Black and White. Our little she-wolf has surpassed her training and has become a very cunning assassin and warg. Her last chapters signed her as an apprentince off to Izembaro, which I’m assuming will take her back to Kings Landing. And though it’s highly unlikely the Faceless Men will instruct her to assassinate Cersei and Tommen, she may still disobey her vows to fulfill her own vendettas.
But her first assignment remains an interesting mystery. I’m thinking that it’ll be Qyburn or Ser Robert Strong. Necromancy clearly violates the philosophy that is aggressively advocated by the Faceless Men, thus they’d use Arya’s personal knowledge of Kings Landing’s dungeons and tunnels to assassinate the violators. And wouldn’t it be perfect if Arya ended Robert Strong? A David-and-Goliath-esque bloody showdown?
5. Sansa Joins the Game
A few hints were given regarding the Sansa POVs in TWoW, specifically that they were “sure to be controversial”. It’s tricky to guess how this controversy exactly plays out, but I’m guessing it has something to do with her inevitable sexual involvement with the men in her life. I’m more inclined to the idea that she’ll bed Harry the Heir to further her position of power and assume full control of the game. Surrendering her maidenhead would be her sacrifice and prove that she’s been disillusioned of her “happy ending notions” and grown into a formidable woman.
And do you remember the prophecy that has always been reiterated to Cersei? That she’ll be overthrown and destroyed by someone younger and more beautiful? It’s definitely going to be Sansa, a small revenge for the tragedy on the Starks.
However, the controversy might be Littlefinger raping Sansa, a tragic and shattering event that will certainly be a step too far, even for George R.R. Martin. But then again, this is George we’re talking about, certainly the most brutal modern high-fantasy writer in his time. It’s not too far-fetched come to think about it.
4. Tyrion Signs Up for #TeamDragon
Our favorite dwarf’s last chapters placed him with Brown Ben Plumm’s Second Sons. Tyrion will definitely manipulate Brown Ben to rally to Daenerys’ side with the promise of being rewarded with some of Casterly Rock’s riches. Because of course it’s Tyrion.
This will be Tyrion’s playing card at winning the Mother of Dragons. It won’t be easy trying to convince her that she can trust him, let alone request for an audience with the Dragon Queen, but Tyrion’s wit and past crimes including the murder of Tywin Lannister will at least have Daenerys hearing the Little Dwarf’s plight. Pretty soon, I like to think that Tyrion will become Daenerys’ most trusted adviser and he will have a chance to gain the seat of power at Casterly Rock.
But will Tyrion truly play #TeamDragon? Tyrion is definitely someone who’ll always be #TeamTyrion. Why else would he convince Aegon VI to head West instead of East and thereby prevented the two Targaryens to meet and rally to Westeros? I think Tyrion is just biding his time and siding with whoever is strongest. He’ll eventually pull the rug on both dragons and betray them at some point.
3. Jon Snow is Azor Ahai
Okay okay this might be a little too early a prediction. However, there has been a lot of clues laid out that Jon IS Azor Ahai. Whenever Melisandre asks to see the prophesied savior, she’d see snow, endless snow. And Jon is a Stark (also a Targaryen?) and a warg, so it’s not too far fetched. And the “reborn amidst salt and smoke” part of the prophecy? Jon’s wounds smoke as Bowen Marsh cries (salt). Also, Jon Snow once dreamed he was fighting the Others with a red sword burning in his hand. Finally, Jon sort of sacrificed Ygritte and his love for her by choosing the Night’s Watch instead, similar to the actual Azor Ahai who had to sacrifice his beloved wife Nissa Nissa to complete Lightbringer.
However, Jon Snow’s apparent death could very well translate as final. As tragic as that may seem, Jon could still warg into Ghost and take that as his final form (given that the prevailing theme and prologue to ADwD was about how warging worked and how wargs could escape death by climbing into the skin of animals).
2. Daenerys Takes Back Her Khalasar
At the end of ADwD, Daenerys rides Drogon (this is a very cool fact because riders can only ride one dragon in their lifetime and Daenerys has been chosen by the biggest and baddest of her 3 dragons). Her last chapter placed her on Drogon’s back while they’re found by Khal Jhaqo and his bloodriders.
If you can still recall AGoT, Khal Jhaqo were one of Drogo’s bloodriders, that is until Khal Drogo fell ill and each of the bloodriders took khalasars of their own. Also, Daenerys’ long overdue vendetta on Khal Jhaqo and Mago (a confirmed POV in TWoW) has been hinted at repeatedly. Remember Eroeh? The Lazarene girl who was brutally raped and killed by Jhaqo and Mago and other Dothraki? Well, Dany remembers and she has vowed that their deaths will not be quick.
And by killing the khal of the biggest Dothraki khalasar (Jhaqo’s is the biggest), Daenerys Targaryen will prove her worth as a Khaleesi. “The Dothraki follow only the strong.” What’s stronger than a former khaleesi riding a massive black dragon? Nothing. Daenerys now possesses the biggest military force consisting of 8000+ Unsullied, Second Sons, freemen from the Slaver cities, Dothraki, Ironborn (if Victarion Greyjoy arrives just in time for the Battle of Meereen), Targaryen loyalists, the Golden Company (if Aegon rallies to her side), and of course her three grown dragons.
1. The Wall Collapses
If the title is any indication, winter will definitely be the weather forecast at Westeros and more nightmares will come that will bring the kingdom to heel. I’m definitely convinced that The Wall will collapse through some form of sorcery by the White Walkers and they’ll bring darkness, cold, and death with them.
The fight for the Iron Throne, vengeance for the Starks, the Battle of Meereen, the Battle of Winterfell, Storm’s End, the Manderly plot twist; all of these storylines will seem petty compared to the inevitable horror that will come with winter. And if the title stays true to itself, which it usually does, the winds of winter will not be kind to anybody.
What do you think will happen in The Winds of Winter? What story arcs will prove the most interesting? Which of them will come full circle? Which of them will blow our minds with an intense plot twist because of course this is George R.R. Martin?
I’m super excited for The Winds of Winter, if only to have one more epic material to add to my bookshelf. George, hurry it up! 😀