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misterID
 Rep: 462 

Re: A Song Of Ice And Fire

misterID wrote:

George R.R. Martin says he wouldn't let HBO cut Rickon Stark from 'Game of Thrones' because he had 'important plans' for him



For a new oral history about HBO's "Game of Thrones," titled "Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon," Entertainment Weekly editor-at-large James Hibberd spoke with author George R.R. Martin about the show's original, unaired pilot episode.

When showrunners David Benioff and Dan "D.B." Weiss took their first swing at adapting Martin "A Song of Ice and Fire" novel series, they missed the mark in several key areas. (For a deeper look at what went wrong, you can read a longer analysis here.) This led them back to the drawing board.

"The biggest thing was Dan and David called me up and had the idea of eliminating Rickon, the youngest of the Stark children, because he didn't do much in the first book," Martin told Hibberd in this excerpted chapter of the new book. "I said I had important plans for him, so they kept him."

But what important plans? In the show, Rickon's story culminated with the underwhelming deaths of both him and Osha under Ramsay Bolton's cruel rule in the North.

So let's take a closer look at how Rickon's story in the show differs from his journey in the currently published "A Song of Ice and Fire" books, and why Martin's next planned book will likely reveal more about those "important plans" that never made it into the show.


Rickon's story in the first three seasons of "Game of Thrones" tracks very closely with his journey in Martin's first two "A Song of Ice and Fire" books.

At the end of season three, Rickon and Osha split up from Bran, Hodor, and the Reed siblings. Bran told Osha to take Rickon to House Umber's castle, the Last Hearth. Then two whole seasons went by without any appearance from Rickon and Osha. In season six, with Ramsay Bolton now ruling the North from Winterfell, it's revealed that the Umbers have forsaken loyalty to the Starks.

Osha and Rickon (along with Rickon's direwolf, Shaggy Dog) were killed off. Rickon didn't even speak in the sixth season.

In the books, not only are Rickon and Osha still presumed to be alive, but Rickon's separation from Bran plays out slightly differently. It's Maester Luwin who tells Osha to take Rickon to safety — but he doesn't specify where.

Rickon hasn't been directly seen or heard from in the books ever since.


Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" books use alternating point-of-views (POVs) for each chapter. This means that sometimes information about a character's fate comes by way of message or rumor to one of the POV characters while we're reading from their perspective.

So Rickon hasn't been seen by any POV character since his departure from Winterfell at the end of Martin's second book, "A Clash of Kings." Most of Westeros believes both Rickon and Bran are dead because Theon Greyjoy staged their executions at Winterfell using two smallfolk children.

But in the most recent book, "A Dance with Dragons," Ser Davos Seaworth has a POV chapter in which he's told that Rickon is alive and had been brought to an island called Skagos.


In the books, Davos gets caught up in the fight between Stark-loyal Northerners and the Boltons. While the show largely ignored this storyline, Martin's novels include an entire covert Northern rebellion against the Bolton's rule in Winterfell.

One of the lords, Wyman Manderly, is faking a new allegiance to Roose Bolton while working to undermine him. You can read more about the fan theories and analysis around this plot in many places, but a great spot to start is the series of essays on "The Grand Northern Conspiracy" here.

The important takeaway for non-book-readers is that Martin, in his last published book, was setting up for a much more complex battle between the Boltons and Stark loyalists than what we saw play out in the show — and Rickon Stark plays a key part in that.

In Ser Davos' last POV chapter in "A Dance with Dragons," Manderly tells Davos to go to Skagos and retrieve Rickon Stark. With Robb Stark dead, and Bran Stark missing (he's really just beyond the Wall), Rickon is the heir of House Stark. For the Northern lords, he's the key to reestablishing Stark rule in the North.

Surely Martin's "important plans" for Rickon are only just beginning in the books. So why didn't any of this play out in the show?

Benioff and Weiss had to chart their own path for Rickon when they overtook Martin's published books

As we already explored in great detail here, the more it became clear that Martin wouldn't finish his last two books ahead of the show, the more Benioff and Weiss starting speaking more openly about how the show and books might end differently.

Back in 2013, Benioff and Weiss sat down with Martin and he told them certain "broad strokes" plans he had for the ending to his story. Then, in seasons four and five, Benioff and Weiss drastically trimmed the books' storylines and almost fully caught up with the published material.

Season five ended with the same big cliffhangers left in "A Dance with Dragons." Jon Snow was assassinated by a group of mutinous Night's Watch men, and Dany escaped from the dragon pit in Meereen on Drogon's back. But there was no word of Rickon.

As the years pushed on, we started learning that Benioff and Weiss were diverging from Martin's plan as outlined in that 2013 meeting.

"Certain things that we learned from George way back in that meeting in Santa Fe are going to happen on the show, but certain things won't," Benioff said in a 2017 interview with Time.


Season six had aired by that point, and Rickon was dead in the show. So were the Boltons, for that matter. The question of House Stark's rule fell instead to Jon Snow and Sansa Stark. By the end of the series, Sansa was named Queen in the North while Bran Stark ruled the other six kingdoms from King's Landing.

The last time Martin spoke publicly about the end of "Game of Thrones" was in a January 2020 interview with German news site Welt.

"People know one ending — not the ending," Martin said. "The makers of the TV series overtook me, which I didn't expect. Nevertheless, I'm still doing what I have been doing for years: I'm still trying to finish the next book 'Winds Of Winter' first, and then the follow-up novel 'A Dream Of Spring.' That's what I'm focusing on. After that, we'll see what happens."

Isaac Hempstead Wright says Benioff and Weiss told him that "King Bran" came directly from Martin.
But Queen Sansa? And a dead Rickon Stark? Those aspects of Martin's story are still fully up in the air. And anyone who was disappointed by Rickon's fate in "Game of Thrones" should prepare themselves for that character to engage with a much more important story in the books, especially now that we know Martin had big plans for him from the start.

Martin has been working on the sixth book in "A Song of Ice and Fire," titled "The Winds of Winter," for close to 10 years now. There's no planned — or expected — publication date yet. If and when it comes, we'll be eager to see the continuation of Rickon Stark's story.

Randall Flagg
 Rep: 122 

Re: A Song Of Ice And Fire

Martin doesn't have a fucking clue what he's doing.  He thought in October 14 he could have the book out by end of year.  We're now at the end of 2020, and he's no closer.  Book ain't getting done, as it's been delayed longer than Chinese Democracy at this point.  And like CD, it'll never live up to the hype.  Not to mention he still would have an entire 7th book to finish.  I never got into the Wheel of Time, but Martin will be remembered as a bigger fuck up than Jordan.

misterID
 Rep: 462 

Re: A Song Of Ice And Fire

misterID wrote:

I'd say the book is done from how he's talking about it, but he can't stop tinkering with it (ahem, Axl). And 1,500 pages is ridiculous. He said a while ago he was resisting breaking it up.

Randall Flagg
 Rep: 122 

Re: A Song Of Ice And Fire

misterID wrote:

I'd say the book is done from how he's talking about it, but he can't stop tinkering with it (ahem, Axl). And 1,500 pages is ridiculous. He said a while ago he was resisting breaking it up.


What makes you think that.  Do you read his NotABlog site?  Just a few weeks ago he was talking about writing chapters for Arya and Tyrion.  I hope he is done, but I have no reason to think so.  Are you all caught up on the books yet?  He's called his diversion into Essos his "Meereenese knot".  The show brushed through Dany dealing with the Dothraki and leaving Slaver's Bay.  Selmy is still alive and Tyrion is outside the gates of Mereen as a Soldier about to start the battle.  Finishing that story in one book and getting Dany to Westeros at the End is a tall order in itself.  To say nothing about Jon's line and everything that has to happen in the North with Stannis, Mance, and the Boltons.  Cersei just had her Walk of Shame, and Jamie is in the Riverlands.  Aegon just landed at Storm's End and Arianne Martell is waiting to meet him.  All these stories need to be resolved in one book building to the final battle with the Others and the aftermath.  That's quite a tall order.

misterID
 Rep: 462 

Re: A Song Of Ice And Fire

misterID wrote:
Randall Flagg wrote:
misterID wrote:

I'd say the book is done from how he's talking about it, but he can't stop tinkering with it (ahem, Axl). And 1,500 pages is ridiculous. He said a while ago he was resisting breaking it up.


What makes you think that.  Do you read his NotABlog site?  Just a few weeks ago he was talking about writing chapters for Arya and Tyrion.  I hope he is done, but I have no reason to think so.  Are you all caught up on the books yet?  He's called his diversion into Essos his "Meereenese knot".  The show brushed through Dany dealing with the Dothraki and leaving Slaver's Bay.  Selmy is still alive and Tyrion is outside the gates of Mereen as a Soldier about to start the battle.  Finishing that story in one book and getting Dany to Westeros at the End is a tall order in itself.  To say nothing about Jon's line and everything that has to happen in the North with Stannis, Mance, and the Boltons.  Cersei just had her Walk of Shame, and Jamie is in the Riverlands.  Aegon just landed at Storm's End and Arianne Martell is waiting to meet him.  All these stories need to be resolved in one book building to the final battle with the Others and the aftermath.  That's quite a tall order.

Yup, I'm through it. I think George is rewriting chapters at this point. He mentions finishing chapters and working on others, some being really finished, others needing more work, which means he's rewriting. I saw an interview a couple years back where he suddenly decided to give a character who is dead in the show but alive in the books a pretty significant new twist. And there's no doubt "1,500" pages has been surpassed by now.

Don't forget Euron, either. And the Riverlands. He's spoken most about Arya recently.

misterID
 Rep: 462 

Re: A Song Of Ice And Fire

misterID wrote:

Does anyone think the sword of Dawn is lightbringer? If Euron really has Valyrian steel armor that kind of negates Long Claw. Martin has said dawn is the most powerful sword in the series.

The more I read about the Dayne's the more interested I am. It's pretty clear Ned was in love with Ashara, they may have even had a daughter together, but she flings herself out a window when he returns dawn after killing her brother.... But he continues staying in Starfall after all the tragedy he brought down on their house...And the Dayne's seem to be cool with it, even naming a kid after Ned.

Randall Flagg
 Rep: 122 

Re: A Song Of Ice And Fire

misterID wrote:

Does anyone think the sword of Dawn is lightbringer? If Euron really has Valyrian steel armor that kind of negates Long Claw. Martin has said dawn is the most powerful sword in the series.

The more I read about the Dayne's the more interested I am. It's pretty clear Ned was in love with Ashara, they may have even had a daughter together, but she flings herself out a window when he returns dawn after killing her brother.... But he continues staying in Starfall after all the tragedy he brought down on their house...And the Dayne's seem to be cool with it, even naming a kid after Ned.

Yes, Dawn is clearly light bringer. Their names are synonymous. Dayne’s are also of proto-Valyrians so who knows what magic they have.

There’s a theory I don’t accept, but it’s based on the idea Ashara Dayne is Quaithe, and or Jon is Ned and Azhara’s baby. 

You should check out Preston Jacob’s on YouTube if you haven’t come across his theories already.

misterID
 Rep: 462 

Re: A Song Of Ice And Fire

misterID wrote:

I don't think she's Quaithe, but it would make so much sense of she was Jon's mother, but it's pretty clear she isn't. Dark Star will probably bring Dawn into the story.

I've listened to Lucifer means lightbringer, his theories are pretty out there, but he knows a lot of the history. I'm still curious who Cold Hands is. I have some suspicions. Maybe even the Last Hero, or some Stark/Dayne from that period.

misterID
 Rep: 462 

Re: A Song Of Ice And Fire

misterID wrote:

WOW spoiler -- probably nothing anyone didn't already know, it was shown in the show, but it's still pretty big as it negates a lot of theories people had about the books and Jon's ressurection.


Hidden Text:

Per the new book "Fire Cannot Kill A Dragon" Stannis will indeed burn Shireen. So all the Mel theories about her burning Shireen to bring back Jon go out the window. I do wonder if it has to do with Grayscale, Val makes a point of saying the girl is death and the disease will return. So it would seem Stannis makes it back to the wall.

Here's the quote from the author:

The fabled three big things GRRM told Dan and Dave that they used in the back seasons were Hodor's death (and origin story), Stannis burning Shireen and "who ends up on the Iron Throne." The only thing I can say aside from that is there will be some rather big differences.

misterID
 Rep: 462 

Re: A Song Of Ice And Fire

misterID wrote:

Could Stannis lose the Battle of the Ice? Roose is hiding in Winterfell while sending out everyone else's armies to meet Stannis. I starting to think it's going to come down to Jon sneaking into Winterfell -- Bran knew secret passages in and out of the castle.

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