The finale of the third season of Game of Thrones featured a whole bunch of major developments, including Arya going full murderer on some minor Freys, Dany taking Yunkai, and Jaime Lannister’s less-than-totally-joyful reunion. But it also ended a season that made significant changes to George R.R. Martin’s novels, both in the moment, and in terms of the implications of this season for events that Martin hasn’t yet resolved in prose. For those of us who have read the novels, here are five questions that the third season raises both for Martin’s novels, and for how events will play out in subsequent seasons.
1. What happens at Joffrey’s wedding? In Martin’s books, Jaime Lannister makes it back to King’s Landing after Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell, not to celebrate, but to mourn the death of his unacknowledged son with his sister Cersei, after someone poisons Joffrey during the nuptial feast. That timing means that Jaime can’t do much to avenge Joffrey’s death in the moment, except to visit his brother Tyrion, the main suspect, in prison. But even though Jaime’s been maimed, it’s hard to believe he wouldn’t want to take immediate action to try to keep Joffrey alive, or to exact violent revenge against whoever he suspects of killing his son. This is, after all, a guy who pushed a little kid out a window as one of the “things I do for love.” What’s the wedding going to look like now?
2. Will there be a Kingsmoot? And if not, what happens to Yara Greyjoy? In the novels, Yara Greyjoy (there named Asha) doesn’t set out from the Iron Islands until after the Kingsmoot to replace her father, Balon Greyjoy, who was one of the kings cursed by Melisandre. Now that she’s set sail for mainland Westeros to avenge her brother, I have to wonder if she’s up to something different. A Kingsmoot’s a big, expensive setpiece to stage, and it means introducing a major new set of characters for a television audience to keep up with. I could understand if the television show cut it, though eliminating a number of the Greyjoys also means that their role in the novels is likely to be a red herring, in one of the many ways the television show is now spoiling the books.
3. Is Lady Stonheart in the picture? And if not, what happens to the Brotherhood Without Banners and Brienne? I think many of us expected the third season of Game of Thrones to end with the epilogue to A Storm of Swords, in which it’s revealed that Catelyn Stark was resurrected by Thoros of Myr after her throat was cut at the Red Wedding. Given the that seasons of the show are no longer corresponding directly to the books, it seem possible that Lady Stonehart could still make an appearance. But if she’s gone, where does that leave the Brotherhood Without Banners, the group she becomes the leader of? And what happens to Brienne of Tarth, whose search for Arya Stark leads her into Lady Stoneheart’s hands.
4. Will we ever see Gendry again?: In Martin’s novels, Edric Storm, the Baratheon bastard whose blood Melisandre uses to curse Stannis Baratheon’s rivals, is essentially a non-entity, who presumably plays no significant role in the rest of the war for Westeros. But in the television show, we’ve come to know and care a great deal about Gendry, Robert’s bastard, and Arya Stark’s friend. Now that Davos Seaworth has sprung him from Dragonstone and sent him back to King’s Landing, is it too much to hope that we’ll see him again? And maybe get him reunited with our favorite pint-sized killer?
5. What’s going to happen to Shae? The opportunity Varys gave Shae to leave Westeros, and Tyrion’s gift to Shae of gold chains are clear foreshadowing of one of the most shocking events of the novels: Tyrion’s murder of Shae after he finds out she’s taken up with his father. I still expect that to happen. But given the outsized role that Peter Dinklage’s performance as Tyrion has won both him as an individual actor and the show as a whole, I wonder if Game of Thrones, a show that’s stabbed a pregnant lady in the fetus, will turn one of its few sympathetic remaining characters into a monster like everyone else.