[WARNING: This post will contain SPOILERS for 'Game of Thrones' through season 4 and previously-released sample chapters from 'The Winds of Winter.']
The relationship between novel and adaptation is going to get even trickier, now that Game of Thrones' producer David Benioff has confirmed that the HBO series will spoil events from the as-of-yet unpublished novels on which it is based. The warning upset some fans - particular those who would rather experience what comes next on the page than the screen - but given just how slowly author George R.R. Martin releases his novels, the conflict wasn't entirely unexpected.
It was previously confirmed that the sixth novel in Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series would not release this year; in fact, Martin has not penned an episode for season 5 (having previously written one episode per season) and may skip San Diego Comic-Con altogether in order to focus on completing his next novel, The Winds of Winter.
Either to satiate fans or simply to prove he has indeed written some part of The Winds of Winter already, Martin has made a habit over the years of releasing chapter excerpts from the unpublished novel. Some are available online, while others have been read aloud by Martin at convention appearances and later transcribed by fans (for those interested, Tor has an updated listing of all the released chapters and where to find them).
Today, Martin released yet another excerpt to coincide with the premiere of Game of Thrones season 5 in a little over a week. This latest chapter comes from the point of view of Alayne Stone - better known to television viewers as Sansa Stark.
Contrary to what happens on the show, Sansa assumes the identity of Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish's bastard daughter, instead of his niece. Her true identity has not yet been revealed, and she will continue masquerading as Alayne until Littlefinger decides the precise moment to reintroduce her as Sansa Stark, heir to Winterfell.
Read an excerpt of Alayne's chapter below:
“Come,” Petyr said, “walk with me.” He took her by the arm and led her deeper into the vaults, past an empty dungeon. “And how was your first meeting with Harry the Heir?”
“The world is full of horrors, sweet. By now you ought to know that. You’ve seen enough of them.”
“Yes,” she said, “but why must he be so cruel? He called me your bastard. Right in the yard, in front of everyone.”
“So far as he knows, that’s who you are. This betrothal was never his idea, and Bronze Yohn has no doubt warned him against my wiles. You are my daughter. He does not trust you, and he believes that you’re beneath him.”
“Well, I’m not. He may think he’s some great knight, but Ser Lothor says he’s just some upjumped squire.”
Petyr put his arm around her. “So he is, but he is Robert’s heir as well. Bringing Harry here was the first step in our plan, but now we need to keep him, and only you can do that. He has a weakness for a pretty face, and whose face is prettier than yours? Charm him. Entrance him. Bewitch him.”
“I don’t know how,” she said miserably.
“Oh, I think you do,” said Littlefinger, with one of those smiles that did not reach his eyes. “You will be the most beautiful woman in the hall tonight, as lovely as your lady mother at your age. I cannot seat you on the dais, but you’ll have a place of honor above the salt and underneath a wall sconce. The fire will be shining in your hair, so everyone will see how fair of face you are. Keep a good long spoon on hand to beat the squires off, sweetling. You will not want green boys underfoot when the knights come round to beg you for your favor.”
You can find the full text of the new chapter on Martin's website.
Over the course of the show, Sansa has grown quite a bit from the young, naive girl who first arrived in King's Landing. Since then she's witnessed her father's beheading, been beaten and humiliated, and wed against her will to a Lannister. Her experiences have far from broken her, and Sansa is quickly proving herself a very capable player in the dangerous game of thrones.
Some of that credit, however, belongs to Littlefinger and his tutelage in the ways of manipulation. The pair's relationship will continue to evolve over the course of season 5, something that actress Sophie Turner admits will seem "very creepy" to some viewers. Don't worry too much for Sansa, however, because before too long she may prove capable of outwitting even Littlefinger and securing her own position as a powerful figure in Westeros.
Game of Thrones premieres April 12th, 2015 on HBO. A release date for The Winds of Winter has not yet been announced.
Source: George R. R. Martin