Alrighty. Let’s do this!
Part 1 is here for those playing along at home…
Who else remains as a core, important character or plot as at the end of AFFC/ADWD?
SPOILER ALERT: I do refer to S6E1 in this post, so if you’re planning to remain completely unsullied…. don’t read.
The Lannisters Three
In Part 1 we covered the glorious reign of Tommen, Slayer of Beets and Protector of Kitties, but what about mother dearest? Or the other Lannister adult characters.
Cersei: the Mad Queen Regent
I’ve discussed at length before where I think Cersei’s plotlines are headed. At the end of ADWD, Cersei is shorn and shamed, but back ‘home’ in the Red Keep, with Qyburn’s monster Ser Robert Strong (i.e. Franken-Gregor, the reanimated corpse of Gregor Clegane, the Mountain that Rides, who died as a result of poison on Oberyn Martell’s spear tip in their epic battle for Tyrion’s trial by combat in ASOS.)
What will she do next? Has she learned some humility? Nah… despite the show toning down Cersei’s narcissism, Book!Cersei is too unwell to be able to see the problems her own behaviour has caused her and her family. It’s the nature of a personality disorder unfortunately – until you realise that your behaviour and inflexible thought processes that is the problem, you keep making the same mistakes over and over again. (Source: personal experience of borderline personality disorder!)
Whether in TWOW or ADOS, Cersei has been set up to fall even harder. She’s likely to light up King’s Landing by accident or design with Aerys’ lost wildfire caches, and is also certain to lose her remaining children, Myrcella and Tommen before she hits rock bottom. Will she survive the series? I’m not sure.
Jaime, the knight seeking redemption
Jaime’s arc of redemption through ACOK-AFFC is fascinating, and he is rightly a very popular character because of this nuanced and complex character development.
In AFFC, Jaime left King’s Landing and his sister’s mismanagement of Tommen’s regency to go out to the Riverlands and sort out his family’s mistakes. During this, he has lots of time to think about the unhealthy relationship he’s had with Cersei, culminating in him burning her plea for help, his failures as a father to his children, his failings as a knight and what his knightly vows mean to him now, and how the ruthlessness of Tywin Lannister has actually just left the Seven Kingdoms in a total shambles. Jaime tries to sort things out in the Riverlands, without undermining his father’s legacy, but when contacted by Brienne goes AWOL to uphold his knightly vow to return Sansa Stark to Winterfell.
The Brotherhood Without Banners, under Lady Stoneheart’s direction, are leaving a terrifying trail of deaths to all Freys and Lannisters throughout the Riverlands, and we readers know that Brienne was only freed from Stoneheart’s court to go and get Jaime for his sentencing. What will the pair do? Will they finally put the pieces together than Littlefinger has Sansa, and go to the Vale to free her, bringing Sansa back to her mother? That’s what I hope happens… but I fear that it won’t. It’s equally as likely that Brienne takes Jaime to the Brotherhood, and Brienne and Jaime are forced to a Trial by Combat, with one killing the other. Stoneheart wants vengeance, not justice, and she won’t care about Jaime’s growth. The only thing likely to shatter Stoneheart’s conviction is delivering Sansa to her… and neither Brienne or Jaime has shown any inkling of putting together the Littlefinger schemes and plots.
Tyrion, the lion growling amongst the dragons
Tyrion in ADWD was deeply embittered, soaking his woes in wine, and having adventures he would rather not have en route to Daenerys in Meereen. Now he’s there, but Dany isn’t.
It’s highly likely that Tyrion will find himself an advisor to Dany, once she gets herself back to Meereen to round up her dragons and forces, and sail to Westeros (courtesy of the Iron Fleet.) But what will his role be, exactly?
The hints in ACOK that Tyrion knows how to construct saddles are important. He had to figure out a design for a saddle that he could ride, and he provides plans to Robb and Bran Stark in Winterfell so that Bran can, one day, ride again despite his paraplegia. Why is this important? Because we know from the art and details of TWOIAF that the Targaryens and other Valyrian dragonriders used saddles to ensure the rider’s comfort and ability to control the dragon – something Dany is in serious need of having, as she struggles to control her dragons and rode Drogon by clutching him in fear, having no control over where he was going.
The Lost Queen
Daenerys, First of Her Name, is currently a lost girl in the Dothraki Sea, taken far away from Meereen by Drogon, her most developed dragon. But she can’t control him, and she has found herself surrounded by the Dothraki led by Khal Jhoqo, Khal Drogo’s former bloodrider who refused to follow Dany when she proclaimed herself Khaleesi of her husband’s band.
We know from S6E1 that the Dothraki don’t view her as a leader, and capture her to take her to Vaes Dothrak, to live with the dosh khaleen as a former khaleesi is supposed to do. Drogon has, unhelpfully, buggered off for the time being.
- Drogon catches up to his mother, and unleashes Fire and Blood, which serves the dual purpose of freeing Dany from the Dothraki, and uniting the khalesaars behind her, giving her the army she needs to take Westeros
- Will the Dothraki and Dosh Khaleen recognise Dany as the Stallion, or Mare That Mounts The World? Maybe, but it will take a phenomenal amount of cracking through the misogyny of the Dothraki to do this. But then again, maybe dragons have that effect?
- Jorah the Explorer in the books is still in Meereen, signing up with the Second Sons along with Tyrion and Penny. However, Show Jorah is off with Daario Naharis looking for Dany – will this be what Book Jorah does in due course as well, or is this just a plot excuse to give Iain Glen something to do?
- Greyscale. Show Jorah has it, book Tyrion might develop it in due course (remember – he keeps pricking his fingers and toes in ADWD to check, and book Jon Connington develops greyscale as a result of rescuing Tyrion from his fall in the River Rhoyne.) What will this mean for Dany’s quest to regain the Iron Throne? Or Tyrion’s quest for vengeance for his exile and discrimination?
The Dornish Master Plan… or not?
For years, fans of the Dornish characters have hoped and theorised that Doran and Oberyn Martell’s plans for a Targaryen restoration go deeper than stated in the books, and they are actively plotting against Varys/Illyrio’s plan to put a fake Aegon on the Iron Throne. Somehow or other, Doran wants Arianne Martell to be Queen on the Iron Throne in her own right, for Dornish law (which is more equal and less sexist than the other Kingdoms) to be implement across Westeros, and for the Lannisters to be brought crashing down and answer for their crimes against Elia Martell.
Others, and I’m in this bunch, think that Doran and Oberyn were too cautious and waited too long. They did and do want vengeance against Tywin Lannister for ordering the Mountain and Lorch to kill Elia and her children, but the marriage and political plots are just as stated in the books. Doran plans to add Dornish forces to Viserys, then Dany’s armies when they return, and in exchange Arianne, then Quentyn will be the ruling Targaryen’s spouse. That’s it. There is no Dornish Master Plan. Until Jon Connington and the Golden Company land in Westeros, Doran has no idea about “Aegon.”
Now, the latter view is supported by the released chapter from TWOW, where Arianne is sent by Doran as an emissary to this ‘Aegon’ to suss him out and figure out if he is her cousin/Doran’s nephew or if he is a fake. Arianne has history of acting without thinking or asking Doran to check if he has anything else up his sleeve – that’s her entire plot in AFFC.
So my predictions are:
- Arianne decides that Aegon is legit, or legit enough to be Dorne’s best chance of revenge upon the Lannisters
- She offers herself in marriage, thus forcing Dorne to back Aegon, the dragon who is already here, rather than waiting to support Dany, the dragon who has dragons.
- This will be an interesting dynamic for Arianne – she chafes against the Westerosi presumption against women inheriting, and ideologically has more in common with “I will be Queen in my own name” Daenerys. But Dany isn’t in Westeros, her dragons are considered a myth to many Westerosi and ‘Aegon’ is already here with the Golden Company, the most successful sellsword company in the Free Cities – will the immediate prospects of revenge and conquest be too tempting for Dorne?
But what are the Sand Snakes’ role in all of this?
The Dornish Master Plan suggests that Doran has the Sand Snakes under control. S6E1 would suggest he definitely does not.
In ADWD, Doran sent Tyene Sand to King’s Landing in disguise as a septa, ordering her to find out what is going on with the High Septon/High Sparrow and see if there are possibilities that Dorne can exploit with that movement. Sarella Sand is said to be in Oldtown, and it’s highly likely that we have met her in disguise in Sam’s POV chapters as Arellas. Obara Sand has been sent to guide Ser Balon Swann to find Darkstar and exact justice for his injuries to Myrcella (Book Myrcella is still alive, as far as we know, while Show Myrcella was killed by Tyene’s poisons on her way back to King’s Landing.)
I don’t know exactly what GRRM has planned for Dorne, but I’m pretty confident that there is no Master Plan, and Doran Martell won’t be shunted off as he was in the show. That said, Doran’s story is one of waiting too long for vengeance, and not comprehending the volatility and skill of his daughter and nieces. By not including them in his plans, he has ensured they will act on their own initiative… and it probably isn’t going to end well for Dorne.