While Game of Thrones served no shortage of controversy this year, one thing that stuck out like a stone man at a Clinique demonstration is the notable absence of the Greyjoy family over at the Iron Islands. However, based on a reported Season 6 casting call, they could be preparing to prove that what is dead may never die. As one noteworthy character description reads:
Pirate, man in his 40’s to late 50’s. He’s “an infamous pirate who has terrorized seas all around the world. Cunning, ruthless, with a touch of madness. He’s a dangerous-looking man. A very good part this season.
WARNING: Book discussion and potential SPOILER material ahead!
Book readers who as of late have had their quasi-clairvoyance nullified this season thanks to plot deviations will no doubt suspect that this description could very well be referring to Euron Greyjoy, aka, Crow’s Eye. A pirate whose condition plays to stereotypes, thanks to an eyepatch he wears over his left-eye, Euron is the oldest of the never-before-seen younger brothers of Lord Balon Greyjoy (Theon’s father). In the books, he is portrayed as a cunning, heartless taskmaster whose one prerequisite for serving on his ship, “Silence,” is the removal of one’s tongue.
As surreal as it sounds, Game of Thrones Season 5 is quickly winding down to its final few laps. As the source material shifted to the most recent book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, A Dance with Dragons we knew beforehand that plenty of plot deviations were on deck. Yet, we got to the current point in the storyline remarkably fast for a notable reason: a great deal of the fourth book in the series, A Feast for Crows has been either altered or omitted completely. This fact especially becomes germane when considering that Feast contained critical point-of-view chapters from the Greyjoy family members, Euron, Vicatarion, Aeron and Asha (called Yara on the show, pictured below played by Gemma Whelan.)
The Greyjoy story arcs connected due to the mysterious death of Lord Balon. While that character, played by Patrick Malahide is, as far as we know, still alive in the TV continuity, a questionable accident saw him meet his end in the third book, A Storm of Swords, which climaxed with the “Red Wedding” we saw in Season 3. Thus, as we finish Season 5, Balon is living on borrowed time in TV land. That, however, could come to an end, since the entire point of the Greyjoy family squabbles surround the succession of Balon’s throne. Euron, Victarion and Asha each vie for the coveted Seastone Chair, with Aeron abstaining due to choosing priesthood. Much like the Baratheon brothers, this trio are willing to go through each other for the salty seat. There is plenty of bad blood to go around, especially between the enigmatic Euron and the prideful Victarion, but in order for any relevant drama to manifest on the show, we may have to send Balon off beforehand.
This is where things get interesting/confusing. Showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have hinted that the show might end up playing a bit of catch-up regarding book material that was initially skipped over. Clearly, the Greyjoy family feud is the most important of all these omissions. However, the timelines will have remained significantly altered and things will have already been sent in motion. One critical example of this is Euron Greyjoy’s eventual obsession with dragons, causing him to sail to Meereen and “claim” Daenerys Targaryen as his own, which will probably be rendered moot by the time we get there. Things on the show have already gone down in Meereen quite differently than they did in the books, rendering the possibility of Euron's arrival on the shores with his siege army completely altered in context.
Regardless, Game of Thrones should prove extremely interesting by Season 6; especially if George R.R. Martin will have not gotten around to releasing The Winds of Winter and the show finds itself possibly walking the line with original angles and book divergences. According to Watchers on the Wall, the show could be (reading into the vague descriptions,) adding more characters like Samwell’s cold-hearted father, Randyll Tarly, Sam’s mother, and even the eccentric old Septon Meribald, who, in Feast, serves as a guide to Brienne and Podrick during their roaming of the Riverlands.
However, when it comes to the Greyjoys, who we haven’t seen since last season during the ill-fated attempt by Yara to rescue her flayed and chopped brother, Theon from the Dreadfort, it could be a vastly more tangled web. Of course, that could end up making it all the more entertaining.