In 2015, a letter containing George R.R. Martin’s original 1993 pitch to his publisher for his A Song of Ice and Fire series leaked on the internet. Well, most of it—there was one paragraph at the end that had been redacted with black marker, followed by the words, “But that’s the second book…” Now, fans have deciphered (mostly) what was typed under those lines, and it’s one hell of a surprise… and maybe a spoiler.
If you’ve seen the letter (spotted via Winter Is Coming, but you can check it out here) or are just up on your GRRM lore, you’ll recall that his original plan for A Song of Ice and Fire was as a trilogy. The first book, A Game of Thrones, was going to be about the war between the Starks and the Lannisters, followed by Daenerys’ invasion of Westeros in A Dance With Dragons, and concluded in The Winds of Winter where the Others (a.k.a. White Walkers) would make their attack. The letter mostly detailed the many, many events that were supposed to be in Thrones, which were wildly different than in the finished novel, including:
- After Ned and Robb Stark’s deaths, Tyrion was going to lead a Lannister army to burn Winterfell to the ground. Catelyn was going to fleed with Bran and Arya to the Night’s Watch for protection, but Jon Snow was going to have to turn them away (no families allowed), forcing her to go beyond the Wall and seek help from the Wilding leader Mance Rayder. Then she was going to be killed by the Others.
- Sansa was going to be pregnant with Joffrey’s child, and side with the Lannisters against the Stark family. Tyrion eventually poisoned Joffrey because he sucked, but then Jaime was going to murder everyone else in the line of succession until he sat on the Iron Throne and would frame Tyrion.
- Tyrion would then have joined Bran and Arya, and fallen in love with the latter. Arya, meanwhile, would have been in love with Jon Snow, who she believed to be her half-brother. Not good on either count.
Again, that’s all in just the first book! And, using a fascinating process I do not understand but you can read about here, fans have uncovered most of what Martin wrote about the second book in that redacted passage:
“By the end of A Game of Thrones (the first novel)……………onto the Iron Throne with a bit……………premature death, Bran sits free. Yet his seat is hardly a comfortable one. In the North, Jon Snow is his bitter enemy. Beyond the Narrow Sea, Storm Daenerys prepares her invasion. And on the far side of the Wall, the Others are watching with cold dead eyes and gathering their strength.”
That sure as hell sounds like Bran Stark was going to end up on the Iron Throne by the end of A Game of Thrones, presumably with Tyrion’s help, which is wild. It seems like an utterly arbitrary development—just as arbitrary as it felt when Tyrion nominated him to be the new Lord of the Seven Kingdoms in the finale of the Game of Thrones TV series. This begs the question—did the show make its decision based on this original outline? Is Bran’s ascension still part of the author’s plan for A Song of Ice and Fire? Or has Martin changed his mind, whether because of how the story has massively evolved since he made the original pitch or because of how the TV series finale was received?
These are all great questions that will be presumably be answered when Martin’s publishes The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, hopefully within our lifetimes.
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