With filming in Spain scheduled to start next week, and the Dozens of Dornish that have been added to the cast this year, there’s a question that’s been rattling around in my head. Where are the Ironborn?
Book 4 of A Song of Ice A Fire introduces a lot of new characters and landscapes that we had not visited in the first three books. The first is Dorne. Not only do we go down to meet the late lamented Oberyn’s family, but we have a full series of adventures over the course of the next two books, where it is revealed….well, let’s just say, we learn why Dorne has cut themselves off from the rest of Westeros in these last few decades. In fact, there’s so much set in Dorne, I started referring to their chapters as “Those Damn Dornishmen” because it felt like they were taking over the story.
The second landscape we visit for the first time involves the Iron Islands. In our travels past the Pike to the Island of Old Wyk, we meet Theon’s extended family of Greyjoy uncles, plus many of their followers. We also get more acquainted with Yara’s crew. (Or “Asha” as she’s known in the books.) We also meet some minor Lords as well. In fact, there’s so much set in the Iron Islands, I started referring to their chapters as “Those Idiot Ironborn” because it felt like they were taking over the story.
Which is why, when the casting for Season 5 was announced, and there was only a rasher of Damn Dornishmen announced, I was curious. We were leaving the Idiot Ironborn until next season?
Spoilers and speculation below.
Clearly, I am not a big fan of either of these story lines, and my apologies to those that enjoyed them. To be fair, I liked the Dornish characters as individuals, but I resented how much page time was devoted to them. On the other hand, I was not a fan of most of the Ironborn we met, either as characters or in terms of how many pages were devoted to them. At first, when I saw only Dorne had been cast, I thought perhaps the Ironborn were being pushed to Season 6. That was, until I took another look at the show’s version of the Greyjoy Family tree.
In the books, Theon and his sister (whatever you want to call her) have extraneous uncles who all come forward to claim Balon Greyjoy’s crown when our fourth claimant in the War of Five Kings bites the dust under somewhat mysterious circumstances. Uncle Aeron is a priest of the Drowned God, and something of a Evangelical Born Again. Uncle Euron is a psychopath who cuts out the tongues of all his crewmen, and wears an eyepatch. Uncle Victarion is both religious and a calm warrior, and in his bio, George R.R. Martin refer to him as “dumb as a stump.” There’s also another uncle, known as Urri, but he’s dead long before the events of our story unfold. All these uncles gather together with Asha/Yara after Balon’s death, along with a few minor lords who also want a shot at the crown, to hold a Kingsmoot.
As you can see from the show’s version of the Greyjoy line in the above picture, most of these uncles no longer exist. As much as I disliked these characters, I had to admit to a bit of disappointment when I realized this. After all, in Season 2, when Theon goes home, and Balon Greyjoy announces his intention to through his sigil into the War of The Five Kings race, we see a Drowned God Priest giving blessings. The theory at that time was that this was Aeron, who would become important later. Apparently that is not the case.
So what exactly is going to happen to the Ironborn, now that there’s not a bunch of squabbling uncles to stand around trying to hold a Kingsmoot? As far as we know, Balon still lives on the show. His death in Book 4 is tied back to prove that Melisandre’s leeches of Robert’s son’s blood being thrown into the fire kill off all the extraneous claimants to the throne. (In the show it’s Gendry. In the books, it’s a different bastard.) It is also suggested that perhaps his death was due to a Faceless Man, but that’s never proven or referenced directly. There are in fact, a couple of theories on the death of Balon Greyjoy, if you’re in the mood to go down that rabbit hole*.
(*Please Note: There are casual spoilers at that link.)
Another thing the Kingsmoot triggers is Asha/Yara deciding to take off for the mainland, after her gender disqualifies her in the eyes of all her uncles from ruling them. But this is unnecessary for Game Of Thrones, as the show decided to have her defy her father, and ride to rescue Theon after Balon disowned him. In the books, the Kingsmoot is mainly directed by Aeron, with the hopes of crowning Victarion. Since neither of these characters exist now, is there really a reason to have one at all? Since Euron manages to win anyway, it’s far more streamlined to simply have Balon die, and Euron take the throne.
Will Balon’s death still happen in Season 5? Or will we push this whole plot line (or what might remain of it) off until Season 6? One argument for any Ironborn activity being held off for another season is the lack of casting for Euron at this time. There’s quite a few characters still missing who I was expecting to see cast for this season–perhaps with the decision to introduce all the Dornishmen at once, Benioff and Weiss have put several characters off until Season 6?
There’s only one snag in choosing to nix the Kingsmoot altogether. Once Euron wins the throne, he orders Victarion to sail for Meereen to entreat Dany with an offer of marriage. Exactly what this will accomplish (if this will accomplish anything) is unknown at this time, since Victarion barely reached Meereen by the end of A Dance With Dragons. But one assumption is that his boat, along with a magical artifact, is a perfect deus ex machina to sail her and her dragons back to Westeros. If there’s no Ironborn ship handy for her to sail back, how exactly will Dany return to her homeland? Perhaps that’s why the Second Sons have taken hold of the Meereenese fleet in the TV show, which I don’t remember happening in the books. (More importantly, who gets to find and possess said artifact? Is it still Euron’s?)
Anyone got any better theories? Are we happy the Idiot Ironborn are cut? Were you looking forward to the Kingsmoot? Are we sorry not to have the ravings of Aeron entertain us? Do we think the intrusions of the Dornishmen will feel less like they overtake the narrative if the Ironborn are removed? Sound off in the comments!
from WinterIsComing.net http://ift.tt/1rv8dMx