'Game of Thrones' Book Club: Sansa is out of the abuse frying pan and into the abuse fire
Each week, HitFix Harpy will be hosting the "Game of Thrones" book club. A safe space where readers of "A Song of Ice and Fire" can come to dissect the changes to the series and debate what will happen next. All without fear they'll accidentally spoil something for non-readers.
WARNING: THIS POST IS DARK AND FULL OF SPOILERS. DISCUSSION ALL THE WAY THROUGH "A DANCE WITH DRAGONS" BEYOND THIS POINT.
1) Sansa Stark goes home to Winterfell.
In the books: Sansa is still tucked away at the Eyrie, playing whatever political game Littlefinger is engaged in. Her old friend Jeyne Poole, still a hostage at King’s Landing, is dressed up like Arya Stark and sent North to by Tywin Lannister to help the Bolton’s bolster their hold on the North. Both Roose and Ramsay are aware that Jeyne is not Arya, but neither of them care if it keeps the Northern lords from rising up against them.
On the show: Other than for the briefest of moments during Season One, Jeyne Poole does not exist. If you hoped this meant “Game of Thrones” would dispense with the “Ramsay Bolton is a sadistic psycho to his new bride” subplot, then once again we’ve learned never to have hope when it comes to this series.
During an interview last year, Sophie Turner cryptically said, “"There was one scene that I did do which was super, super traumatic, and I love doing those scenes. It was just really kind of horrible for everyone to be on set and watch.” With Sansa in the grasp of Ramsay Bolton, speculation on what she meant can be laid to rest. Or at least narrowed down to the scene with Theon or the scene with the dog.
Bringing Sansa back to Winterfell is going to have an immense ripple effect on the show. Having an actual Stark in the North instead of an imposter means Theon has the opportunity to share his misery with someone. While Sansa will not take kindly to her brother’s betrayer, I’m sure she’d be happy to learn that at least two of her siblings — Bran and Rickon — are alive.
After Tywin’s death, Cersei blames Littlefinger for setting the Bolton’s up with a fake Ayra. Now, instead of lying about her father’s machinations, she can legitimately hate Petyr for this betrayal.
With Mance dead, Brienne will now become the savior of the new lady Bolton. Considering what happened to Mance and his women, I’m slightly fearful for Pod’s life but hopefully (there’s that word again) Brienne can train him with a sword well enough to survive a flaying.
After Brienne’s declaration this week that she will avenge Renly’s death by killing Stannis Baratheon, it seems only logical to keep the structure of the Jeyne Poole plot in place. So Brienne will take Sansa to Stannis’s oncoming army. When last we saw Stannis in the books, he was headed to a Napoleonic Russian death. A battle with Brienne would definitely be more compelling.
If Lady Stoneheart is to appear later on, and considering she has either the magic blood or the magic sword of the Lord of Light surely she must, having a confrontation between Brienne, Stannis, and Catelyn Stark in front of young Sansa would make one of the best cliffhangers of the show.
Cutting Jeyne out for time makes sense. You have to trim the plot fat. But does this mean Alys Karstark will also be scrapped? And if so, will Sansa step into her shoes as well? I truly believe Lady Stoneheart has to reach Jon Snow at some point to give him the sword/blood, as per Melisandre’s vision. Going with her daughter would be icing on the story-weaving cake.
Odds & Ends Changes
• In the books, Tommen is far too young to consummate his marriage.
• Without the House of Black and White being a public temple with lots of stairs, Ayra is forced to hide Needle under some rocks instead of a loose stepping stone.
• Jorah of the books opts to have fun with a “Khaleesi” instead of a random brothel patron.
• Tyrion’s inability to perform with his new friend could’ve had more layers if Tysha’s storyline where still intact and Tyrion was searching for “where whores go.”
• Having Ser Jorah already capture Tyrion means either we’re skipping completely over Young Griff — and outing him as a red herring in the books — or the show is shuffling the chronology of the side plots a bit.