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Spoiler Alert: Before embarking on a breakdown of several key events from the fantasy novels that would ideally come to pass in the next ten installments of HBO's drama, this is my issuance of a spoiler warning, as the rest of the article will discuss plot points that have yet to play out on the small-screen.
One of the most interesting aspects that happens with any television (or film) adaptation is the dividing line created between fans whose devotion extends all the way back to the source material and those who only know and love the new creation. Neither approach is inherently superior and this article is in no way implying that readers of George R.R. Martin's “Song of Fire and Ice” saga are better than the people in step with the series, choosing instead to tune in on Sunday nights and watch the Game Of Thrones unfold in 'real' time. I wish I had that restraint, but the second I saw the ninth episode of the first season, I had to know what was going to happen next and, five tomes later, I'm here to discuss the events from the novels that we readers hope, as well as should expect, to see in Season 3.
For those who don't have the time to rewatch all of Game of Thrones in prep, here's a great recap for those simply seeking out a recap of the events of the first two years in anticipation of the weekend's third season premiere. It has become common knowledge, thanks to the creators and network perpetuating the falsehood, that the extra large third novel, A Storm of Swords, has been split in half to provide the plot for Season 3 and 4. While that's mostly true, it leads into the first expectation. The last chance to avoid spoilers ends now.
1. The Novels Are Just A Blueprint
As we've seen over the course of first two seasons, HBO's Game Of Thrones is not afraid to deviate from the source material with D.B. Weiss and David Benioff crafting the story in a way that best serves the show. Whether that means introducing new characters or shuffling around events, the co-creators of the series have made changes while trying to remain respectful to George R.R. Martin's vision. This brings me back to the 'myth' that Season 3 will simply be the first half of A Storm Of Swords (also known as Steel and Snow, since the book was split for publication in some countries) I'm confident calling it a myth because we've already seen some events of the third book play out on screen (Jaime and Brienne), not to mention that characters from A Clash of Kings have been held back to the third (those Reeds) and, according to the trailers, even plot points from the fourth and fifth novels will also be incorporated into the upcoming season. That's right. If you think you're ahead of the game having read Swords, think again.
2. Jaime And Brienne
A little infidelity in an adaptation is good—it keeps things exciting. One of the best Storm of Swords threads started last season follows the adventures of Sir Jaime and Lady Brienne. This sounds like a proper medieval legend, however, their relationship is anything but conventional and one of the most rewarding of the saga. Jaime is the best character, in my opinion, with Brienne not far behind and I can't wait to see some of the juiciest moments of their journey appear on the small screen in this season of Game of Thrones. Like I said, we got a taste of their banter last year but the two fighters' real trials and tribulations are still to come, some of which will definitely happen in the next ten episodes. Some things to look forward to seeing from the couple this season will be the sword fight, the run in with the Brave companions, the epic amputation, an unusual experience in the bathtub and, finally, Jaime returning to save Brienne from the bear pit. All of these memorable moments, save the bath, have been teased in the extended trailer but how long it will take to get these moments is still unidentified.
3. Little Dany Goes To War
Yes, that's a Three Amigos reference. Unlike the Jaime and Brienne storyline, Daenerys' Season 3 journey will begin with events drawn from the end of A Clash of Kings. Having just emerged from the House of the Undying, Dany is supposed to come across two fan favorites, Arstan and Strong Belwas, that equip her with ships from a former friend, Illyrio of Pentos. Something tells me that these two new allies might suffer the same fate as the Reeds and have their introduction delayed until a later season. We will see Khalessi board some ships; regardless, those could easily come from anyone in Qarth frightened by her badassery. And after acquiring the ships, her slave-freeing, war-waging narrative should dominate the rest of the third season, including her crafty (and ruthless) deal to acquire the Unsullied and the ensuing march of conquest across the Free Cities. Will Jorah attempt to get out of the friend-zone? Will Arstan and Strong Belwas appear? How far will the war take her in ten episodes? Yunkai, Astapor, Meereen? We do know that sometime this season she will find some love, well, lust, since Daario is coming this year.
4. Reek, Reek, Rhymes With Back This Week
I'm sure some of you have been a bit skeptical since I mentioned that the third season would not be contained to the first half of A Storm of Swords but also include events from the fourth and fifth novels, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. You didn't think they were going to forget about Alfie Allen's Theon Greyjoy for a full two years did you? Beyond that, I'd say the casting of Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Snow (Botlon! Don't hurt me!), not to mention this ominous image from a few of the teases, suggests that Reek's storyline (beginning in Dance with Dragons) has possibly been brought forward to play out at the same time as the various narratives in Swords. However, the show might have decided to show the full evolution of the master and slave relationship that develops between Ramsay and Theon instead of catching up with the Greyjoy heir after his mental and physical deterioration. As the best POV character inA Dance with Dragons, I have no complaints with getting into Reek's journey ahead of schedule.
There are more than two weddings in A Storm of Swords but the 'Red' and 'Purple' are obviously the most talked about set-pieces from the sprawling novel and it's been highly debated whether or not we'll see even one, let alone both in Game of Thrones's third season. I think it's safe to say that the ninth episode, titled "The Rains of Castamere," will be dedicated to the events of the Red Wedding and therefore usurp "Baelor" as the most devastating installment of the series to date. And that's most likely where the Swords split will occur, the final episode picking up the pieces after the shocking event and setting up what's in store for the characters, next. That means you shouldn't hold your breath and expect to see the Purple Wedding this season. Even though Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell will surely become betrothed (leaving Sansa to find a more kind suitor in Tyrion), I highly doubt we'll see that ill-fated ceremony or any change when it comes to who sits upon the Iron Throne.
Of course, these five are just the beginning of the discussion since it's impossible to cover all the amazing situations and characters from the novels that will make their way into the upcoming season, from Whitewalkers North of the Wall to The Brotherhood Without Banners. What do you expect or want or need to see from the third season of Game of Thrones? Season 3 premieres on Sunday, March 31 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. The series stars Peter Dinklage, Kit Harrington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Oh, and be sure to Join the Realm.