George RR Martin has been working on “Game of Thrones” for over twenty years. But every epic saga has humble beginnings. posted the original outline that Martin sent to his publisher. At the time, only 170 pages of the first novel were complete, so the author sent along a rough outline — subject to change — about where his protagonists were headed and what trials and tribulations awaited them.

Martin is quick to point out in the beginning of the letter that despite his tentative plans, “I want the reader to feel that no one is ever completely safe, not even the characters who seem to be the heroes. The suspense always ratchets up a notch when you know that any character can die at any time.”

The core of the books is visible, the original plan was a much simpler affair.


Well, that was an intriguing look into what Martin set out to do. Of course, over the next 23 years some of those plans changed. But there’s hints as to where we might be going…and how some characters might have sprung into existence out of necessity.


The five original central characters of the story are still alive — there is no way Jon Snow isn’t around, even if he had to warg into Ghost — and are slowly circling the plot towards each other. Popular fan opinion holds that Daenerys and Jon are two of the three heads in the dragon prophecy, and a lesser known fan theory hold Tyrion is Targaryen by way of the Mad King’s rape of Joanna Lannister. If Ayra and Bran are meant to survive as well, perhaps it is as Azor Ahai and Bran as the avatar of the Old Gods?

• If Martin ONLY introduced Gendry as a way to avoid a second pseudo-incest love story, that would be good enough for me. Arya Stark doesn’t need to be in the middle of a love triangle. She’s twelve.

• At some point, Martin decided to swap out Jaime grasping for the throne with Cersei’s Machiavellian cloak-and-dagger with the Tyrells…saving Tommen from death by dad-uncle.

• Instead of Stockholm Syndrome, Dany originally saw Drogo as the enemy throughout their marriage, biding her time until she could kill him and escape. Kinda wish that idea had made the final cut. She still could've hatched the eggs in a fit of rage and despair at the loss of her son.

 Joffrey being hurt in the heat of battle? HAHAHAHAHahahahahAHHAAHAHA!

• If Catelyn Stark was willing to run to Jon Snow for help in the original draft, she must not have lorded his “parentage” over his head as much. It also means her original fate might have been a clean death instead of Lady Stoneheart.

• Speaking of, this letter all but confirms L+R=J.

• Just from Martin speaking of his series as a straight-forward trilogy, it shows how quickly the sub-plots snowballed. There’s no mention of Dorne, or Oldtown, or the Freys. Not a peep about the Ironborn throwing a wrench into the works or Samwell Tarly on his way to becoming a wizard, or Littlefinger manipulating just about everything. And there’s definitely not anything about setting up the final showdown between three major religions, perhaps involving actual gods.


Mom. Wife. Geek. Gamer. Feminist. Writer. Sarcastic. Succinct. Donna has been writing snark for the Internet in one form or another for almost a decade. She has a lot of opinions, mostly on science-fiction, fantasy, feminism, and Sailor Moon. Follow her on Twitter (@MildlyAmused) for more of all these things.