Is winter ever actually coming? According to the show, it sure looks like it.
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Fans of the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones" know that the show is very different from the books. Huge characters have seemingly been cut from the series (The North remembers, Lady Stoneheart), and storylines have had drastic changes (Just hang on, Sansa). Despite all this, George R.R. Martin has said on his blog that things are meant to "arrive at the same place" in the end. This actually makes the changes even more intriguing.
At this point, the series has pretty much caught up with the books. Keeping in mind that the books and the show are supposed to get to the same place in the end, and the fact that the show needs to often condense events and characters down to just the essentials, it appears the major changes, exclusions and inclusions may hint at what we can expect in Martin's upcoming books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Here are some interesting moments that stand out:
Note: These "Game of Thrones" speculations are based on what we know from the books and the show.
1. It looks like Valyrian steel will help defeat the White Walkers, thanks to that one big fight.
If you watched the Season 5 episode "Hardhome," you know one of the biggest moments came when Jon Snow took on a White Walker in combat and his sword didn't break. Whaaat? The White Walker shattered another guy's weapon just moments ago. How did this happen? Don't even bother asking Jon Snow. The dude doesn't know a lot.
In Martin's novel A Feast for Crows, one particular exchange between Sam and Jon explains how this could occur. (FYI the White Walkers are more commonly called the Others in the books):
"I found one account of the Long Night that spoke of the last hero slaying Others with a blade of dragonsteel. Supposedly they could not stand against it."
"Dragonsteel?" Jon frowned. "Valyrian steel?"
"That was my first thought as well."
Though some redditors speculate that Valyrian steel and dragonsteel may not be exactly the same, we can derive from the fight with the White Walker that they appear to share similar properties. According to a video on the history of Valyrian steel from the "Game of Thrones" DVDs, it's thought to have been forged with magic and dragon fire, and the events in "Hardhome" seem to support that.
2. We might finally know where White Walker babies come from because of that Night's King scene.
HBO didn't wait until Season 5 to possibly spoil the books. Back in Season 4, the series introduced us to the Night's King, who turns babies into new ice people.
As io9 points out, the series actually tells us more about the White Walkers than the books ever have. Though the novels don't explain what the White Walkers are doing with the babies, their fate is speculated on. The specific scene where a baby appears to turn into a White Walker seems particularly telling.
3. Cutting out Aegon means he's probably not a Targaryen.
A new, controversial Targaryen seems like an important role on "Game of Thrones," but apparently not, based on the fact that a character from the books is not appearing in the show this season.
In Martin's novels, Aegon Targaryen is thought to be Daenerys' nephew. Varys supposedly switched him with another baby before the Mountain was able to kill him in the Sack of King's Landing, but perhaps that's not actually what happened.
Even in the books, there are a lot of doubts about Aegon's legitimacy, and totally excluding him from the show appears to confirm that he's either fake or a total non-factor.
Also, in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Martin didn't cite Aegon as one of the characters he was disappointed got cut from the series, so take that for what it's worth.
4. Westeros could have an outbreak of greyscale thanks to what happened to Jorah.
Since Aegon's been cut, it seems his guardian Jon Connington won't appear this season either. This made it seem like the greyscale storyline would be cut, since in A Dance with Dragons it's Connington, not Jorah Mormont, who contracts the disease while saving Tyrion.
Now that Mormont has the disease, speculations of an outbreak in Westeros seem to be back on the table.
5. Cutting all those Martells means they are probably less important then we thought.
No Martells, mo' problems.
The future ruler of Dorne sounds like an important part in "Game of Thrones," but that hasn't been the case with Arianne Martell. In the books, she appears to be a huge character and has a big plan to name Myrcella as the ruler of Westeros, but all that was cut in Season 5. Instead, we just got a bunch of sand snake scenes:
Oh gosh. Make it stop.
Arianne's younger brother, Quentyn Martell, also seems to be cut. This casts doubt on the book theory that he was successful in his attempt to steal one of Daenerys' dragons, which obviously would've been huge. Instead, it appears he actually did die in the attempt.
The exclusions also puts a chink in the armor of the Dornish master plan theory, which says Dorne has been secretly pulling the strings for pretty much everything all along.
6. Daenerys Targaryen will probably take Tyrion Lannister into her service in future books, much like what happens in the show.
Season 5, Episode 7 has a moment "Game of Thrones" fans have been anticipating for a long time. Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen finally meet. This hasn't happened in the books yet, but Martin has teased that "Tyrion and Dany will intersect" and the former "has decided that he actually would like to live." So, from the show, it appears he may be living to help Dany take the throne.
7. Hizdahr may have been revealed as the Harpy.
The identity of the Harpy in the books is still a mystery (or was, anyway). But Imgur user Piranha Plant points to one particular moment in Season 5, which may reveal that Hizdahr zo Loraq is the true mastermind behind all the killings by the Sons of the Harpy.
Piranha Plant cites the scene where Dany threatens the masters with her dragons as evidence:
Note the other masters. Almost all of them are on their knees, begging, but not to Danny -- to Hizdahr. They are asking him to admit to being the Harpy so that they (the innocent ones) may be spared from being dragon fodder. His answer? "All Men Must Die."
8. "R + L = J" is basically confirmed. Jon Snow isn't Ned Stark's son.
Martin has said he might reveal Jon Snow's real parents in The Winds of Winter, but why wait that long? The show appears to have already confirmed what many fans have come to suspect: Jon Snow's parents are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.
The truth about Snow's parentage is strongly hinted at in Episode 4, "Sons of the Harpy." In addition to Lyanna being mentioned in the episode and Melisandre possibly revealing that Snow has King's blood, Selyse Baratheon remarks to Stannis that Snow's mother was some "tavern slut." Stannis replies, "Perhaps. But that wasn't Ned Stark's way," making "R + L = J" supporters everywhere immediately pledge their loyalty to House Baratheon.
To make a long story short, that's why Stannis is the man-nis!
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