Game of Thrones has covered almost everything from the book series, but there are still a few plot lines left for them to adapt.
Here we are five seasons into HBO’s Game of Thrones, and five books into George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. For the most part, the two have mirrored each other pretty closely. Sure the show has cut some characters and plot lines and condensed others. But for the most part, both the books and the show are getting to a similar place in similar ways.
But not everything has made the jump from literary inspiration to on-screen action. Here are six plots Game of Thrones hasn’t used yet that play a big part in A Song of Ice and Fire and could still impact the show in a major way. Book spoilers and spoilers for Season 5 follow.
#6 – Lady Stoneheart
The first plot, and perhaps the one most clamored for by fans of the books, is the Lady Stoneheart story.
Catelyn Stark had her throat slashed at the Red Wedding but in the books she still alive…sort of. She’s a zombie of the late Catelyn Stark, and she’s going after anyone remotely involved with the Red Wedding without mediation or remorse. The Brotherhood Without Banners is on her side and carrying out her bloody will. In the books, she is the doom of at least three of our main characters (though admittedly, that’s a pretty big pool to be drawing from). Lady Stoneheart is already a force to be reckoned with, but in the final two books of the book series she will likely play an even bigger role.
We haven’t seen Catelyn’s corpse so she could conceivably still show up in Season 6. Fingers crossed.
#5 – Brienne in the Riverlands
Ok, I hear some of you already. “Wait, what are you talking about? Brienne’s been all over the show since season 2!” Patience, young padawan.
Brienne and Podrick spent most of Season 5 standing outside Winterfell waiting for Sansa to light a candle only to run off on some other mission (killing Stannis) about ten seconds before she did. In the fourth novel, A Feast for Crows, Brienne spends most of her time searching for Sansa and Arya in the Riverlands, which is nowhere near Winterfell. But since they killed Mance Ryder, the King Beyond the Wall, on the show, they needed someone else to try and rescue the only Stark left in Winterfell.
A Feast for Crows is probably the worst of the five books just taken on its own, and most of this plot feels like setup for stuff to come. Sure, Brienne gets in a few scrapes, but more important than that is her meeting with the Elder Brother. Brienne’s meeting with the Elder Brother provides the basis for the Gravedigger theory, which suggests that the Hound is still alive and coming back. Assuming we got Ian McShane’s role right, (the Elder Brother), then we will have to see at least some of Brienne’s Riverlands excursions next season.
#4 – Young Griff
A character who shows up in A Dance with Dragons known as “Young Griff.” Young Griff claims to be Aegon Targaryen, son of Dany’s brother eldest brother who died in Robert’s Rebellion. He was just an infant when Robert Baratheon overthrew the Mad King and the Targaryens, and most people in Westeros believe Aegon was killed by the Mountain during the Sack of King’s Landing. (He was one of the children Prince Oberyn was screaming about in the season 4 episode “The Mountain and the Viper.” “You raped her, you murdered her, you killed her children.”) But Varys claims (in the books) that he switched Aegon with another baby that the Mountain then killed. Supposedly Griff/Aegon has been hiding in Essos ever since.
There is a lot of debate among book readers about this character. It seems odd that such a potentially influential character would show up this late in the game, rather than pinning the Targeryen hopes on Danaerys (or even Jon Snow or Tyrion). Also it seems odd Varys would make a swap of babies rather than just, you know, fleeing with the baby. Many fans believe that Young Griff is actually a Targaryen like he claims, just not Aegon. Instead, they say he’s of the Blackfyre line, an bastard offshoot of the Targaryen succession that caused a civil war a century before the events of Game of Thrones. If this is the case, Varys might not be so team Targaryen after all. Or maybe the spymaster was deceived.
The character of Young Griff was introduced in the novels when Tyrion was crossing from Westeros to Essos (with Varys, on the show) to go find Dany. Since the show already covered that period and Young Griff wasn’t there, it may be that he is being cut completely. But season 5 was jam packed with action, and introducing Young Griff might have made it feel too over stuffed. So he could still show up later. The show does like to wait to introduce major characters until they’re immediately relevant.
Re-watch the introduction of Jojen and Meera Reed, who are sort of important to Bran’s plot. Super clunky, right? That’s because they were introduced in the books much earlier, so they had to find some way to bring them in at the last second. Game of Thrones could easily do this with Young Griff. Even if he’s not actually Aegon like he claims, he could be another stumbling block for Daenerys.
#3 – Murder in King’s Landing
The last we saw of Varys on the show is his arrival in Meereen to help Tyrion rule in Dany’s absence. In the books, he never left King’s Landing, and he’s been hiding there in the secret passageways. He appears in the epilogue of A Dance with Dragons and murders two major characters. Well, Varys and his “little birds,” members of his network of spies do the deed together, but that’s splitting hairs, I think.
These murders will cause tensions between the Lannisters and the Tyrells to escalate. This seems like a pretty major plot point to not include on the show at some point. But on the other hand, the Lannisters and Tyrells are already at each others’ throats, so maybe this really does end up being a plotline the show will skip.
On the other hand, it’s generally expected that Daenerys will be turning her sights towards Westeros this season, so maybe this will still happen. Varys using his spies in King’s Landing to cause more chaos could be just what Dany needs to finally take the Iron Throne.
#2 – Cersei Losing Her Mind?
Believe it or not, Cersei is actually way more paranoid in the books. A Feast for Crows is the first book where she is a point of view character (meaning there are chapters that “follow” her and her thoughts instead of just seeing her from the perspective of other characters), and she has some serious issues. She is so worried about the secret passageways in the castle, which Tyrion used to murder Tywin and then escape the capitol, that she burns down the Tower of the Hand with wild fire following Tywin’s death. Remember the Battle of the Blackwater? Wild fire is really dangerous, and Cersei is willing to risk it to burn down part of the castle she lives in. This and some of her other actions could foreshadow Cersei’s descent into insanity, which will likely only be exacerbated by her recent imprisonment and Walk of Shame.
#1 – The Greyjoys
The Greyjoys didn’t make it into Season 5 (aside from Theon/Reek), and in fact we haven’t seen Yara (Theon’s sister) since midway through Season 4 when she tried to rescue Theon from Ramsay. Their father, Balon, has been missing since Season 3, when they received a box of containing Theon’s favorite toy. Well, the Greyjoys have been largely missing because Balon’s supposed to be dead.
Remember way back in Season 3 when Stannis threw three leaches with Gendry’s blood into the fire and said, “the Usurper Robb Stark, the Usurper Joffrey Baratheon, the Usurper Balon Greyjoy.” Oh, you forgot? Understandable since Stannis is already dead and all. Well, you may have noticed the first two are dead. In the books, Balon died before Robb Stark and the circumstances of his death of his death are actually a point of conversation at the Red Wedding, minutes before Robb is murdered. The fact that Balon is still alive on the show is actually sort of baffling, except that they must plan to cover it this season.
In the books, Balon’s death creates a power vacuum in the Iron Islands. We meet some new Greyjoys, there’s a Kingsmoot, and eventually their ships go to war…against an unexpected enemy. We already know Pilou Asbaek has been cast as Euron Greyjoy, Theon and Yara’s uncle, who arrives suspiciously quickly after Balon’s death. So this plot is coming in Season 6.
That may seem like a lot to work with, but remember the creators have had to adapt some pretty massive books. Season 6 will be the first time the show steps out fully ahead of the timeline in the books, so but it could still pull in elements of plots left on the cutting room floor to this point.
Each season of Game of Thrones has gone a little further off books (season 5 killed Stannis who is still very much alive in the books and delivered Tyrion to Dany already, which hasn’t happened yet for readers), so get ready for some craziness come April. Winter is coming, and then eventually there will be a new season Game of Thrones. And we will rejoice.