George R. R. Martin Originally Planned a Love Triangle Between Arya, Jon, and Tyrion
Electric Lit relies on contributions from our readers to help make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. Please support our work by becoming a member today, or making a one-time donation here.
Every writer knows that novels have a way of turning into something you didn’t expect. That’s part of the joy of writing. But it is always interesting to see how an author’s original idea for a work changed, especially if the work is as massively popular as George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (and it’s HBO adaption Game of Thrones). Fans of the show and book now can get a peek at Martin’s original plans after the Waterstones bookstore Twitter leaked it online. (It was removed, but fan site Winter Is Coming grabbed it.)
The original plan, submitted by Martin to his publisher over 20 years ago, included the broad outlines of the story that we know: “the enmity between the great houses of Lannister and Stark” with a background of “plot, counterplot, ambition, murder, and revenge, with the iron throne of the Seven Kingdoms as the ultimate prize.” Meanwhile, “the Dothraki horselords mass their barbarian hordes for a great invasion of the Seven Kingdoms, led by the fierce and beautiful Daenerys Stormborn” and way up north “half-forgotten demons out of legend, the inhuman others, raise cold legions of the undead and the neverborn.”
Martin’s letter is for “the first volume in what I see as an epic trilogy with the overall title, A Song of Ice and Fire.” Of course, every fan knows the plan for a trilogy quickly expanded and the book series is now planned for 7.
But so far, so familiar.
* Jaime Lannister was going to murder his family and become king: “Jaime Lannister will follow Joffrey on the throne of the Seven Kingdoms by the simple expedient of killing everyone ahead of him in the line of succession.”
* Sansa was going to side with Joffrey over her family: “Sansa Stark, wed to Joffrey Baratheon, will bear him a son, the heir to the throne, and when the crunch comes she will choose her husband and child over her parents and siblings, a choice she will later bitterly rue.”
* Arya, Jon Snow, and Tyrion were going to have an bitter series-long love traingle: Arya “realises, with terror, that she has fallen in love with Jon, who is not only her half-brother but a man of the Night’s Watch, sworn to celibacy. Their passion will continue to torment Jon and Arya throughout the trilogy.” Meanwhile, Tyrion falls “helplessly in love with Arya Stark while he’s at it. His passion is, alas, unreciprocated, but no less intense for that, and it will lead to a deadly rivalry between Tyrion and Jon Snow.”
* As Winter is Coming notes, the number of players in the game of thrones is much simpler with basically the Lannisters, the Starks and Dany as the only major players. No mention of the Boltons, Freys, Baratheons beyond Joffrey, or most of the other houses who’ve had a major impact.
***** POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****
There are also some possible spoilers in the letter.
* Martin said the story would center around five characters who would be there in every book: Tyrion, Daenerys, Arya, Jon, and Bran. This isn’t much of a spoiler, since most fans would expect all five of those to make it to the last book. Still, it seems extremely unlikely that any of those five will die in The Winds of Winter. (On the other hand, as the books went along it seems Sansa has overtaken Arya as the most prominent Stark sister.)
* Originally, Daenerys finds dragon eggs and regains a Dothraki horde to invade Westeros with. The end of book 5 implies part of this will happen, so again not a major spoiler for anyone who has read all five books.