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The Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire community is one of the strongest in the history of fandom. Both the HBO series and the original novels serve to further inform and expand their counterpart, making a fully formed universe. Of course, many fans are novel purists, and therefore have strong opinions on how the TV adaptation should function. Luckily for them, George R.R. Martin just released a new chapter from his long-awaited novel The Winds of Winter.
This new chapter focuses on the character Arianne Martell, who is noticeably absent from Game of Thrones. Is this a jab by George R.R. Martin at the series which left her out? Check out a section from that chapter below:
Prince Trystane had remained safely back at Sunspear, after a tearful parting from Princess Myrcella. ‘That accounts for one brother’, thought Arianne, ‘but where is Quentyn, if not with the griffin?’ Had he wed his dragon queen? King Quentyn. It still sounded silly. This new Daenerys Targaryen was younger than Arianne by half a dozen years. What would a maid that age want with her dull, bookish brother? Young girls dreamed of dashing knights with wicked smiles, not solemn boys who always did their duty. ‘She will want Dorne, though. If she hopes to sit the Iron Throne, she must have Sunspear’.
This small segment shows just how starkingly different the Dorne storyline in the novels is when compared to Game of Thrones. There is a lot going on in this new chapter, so let’s get into how it related to Game of Thrones.
To start, this chapter shows just how separate and seemingly disconnected the Dorne plot is in Game of Thrones. George R.R. Martin features House Martell as a cunning and very real player in the game. Arianne, who does not even exist in the TV show, is the heiress of Sunspear who longs to overthrow the Lannisters. She attempts to use Cersei’s daughter Myrcella (who is still alive and kicking) as a challenger to the Iron Throne after Oberyn’s death. Women can rule in Dorne, so Myrcella would have more of a claim than Tommen since she’s older. It’s basically yet another challenger to the Iron Throne.
Game of Thrones; however, features a useless Prince Doran who does whatever the Lannisters want. Arianne doesn’t even exist, with his son Trystane (once again, still alive and kicking in the books) being the boring heir. Now the Sandsnakes have randomly killed the Martells- making Sunspear without a ruler, and the three bastard women having no right to the throne. It all seems a bit self-sabotaging and nonsensical to me.
The above segment also shows how Dorne is invested in Daenarys’ quest for the Iron Throne. They’re aware and prepared players in the game, rather than being a dissociated side plot like Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones has been the subject of a fair amount of criticism for its handling of the Dorne plotline. With one of the coolest and most feminist characters cut and replaced by a bunch of lifeless fighters, it seems that Game of Thrones might have made an error. Then again, there are already so many plots and characters that another strong family might oversaturate the series.
What do you think of the Dorne plotline in the novels and TV series? Sound off in the comments section below.