Some days, you wake up and there’s dog poop in the living room. Other days, you wake up to find that George R.R. Martin has released a preview chapter for his long overdue book, Winds of Winter! That day is today. No poop + new chapter = yep, it’s gonna be a good day. Let’s kick back with whatever’s in your morning AleHorn and dig in.
Spoilers for GoT Season 6 ahead – so go catch up and come back!
The new chapter is from the point of view of book-only character Arianne Martell, the heiress to the Dornish throne, which is still held by Doran Martell, who was recently written off the show. (Although is death really the end? You gotta question everything!)
Fans of Dorne in general and the Martells in particular haven’t been very happy with what showrunners have been doing to the Dornish family line lately, so that could be the motivation behind GRRM’s choice to release this particular chapter. In this section, we see just how wide the gap is becoming between the show storyline and the books.
A little background on Arianne Martell
As the eldest daughter of the ruling Prince of Dorne, Arianne was expecting to someday rule Dorne, but then came across a letter to her younger brother implying that her father had other plans. She misinterpreted this as him looking her over, which eventually led to her to grow up thinking he hated her.
In actuality, he and Oberyn had arranged for her to marry Viscerys (Daenerys’ total asshole of a brother) so that Dorne could support the Targaryen claim to the iron throne, and in the end, she would end up being the Queen of Westeros. Cool plan, but lots of miscommunication between her and her father bred her into a rebellious and defiant teenager.
Now, the strong-willed sometimes-seductress is playing nice with the Lannisters while in truth her support is with the Targaryens.
What’s in the Chapter?
As you might expect, there’s not much new information for those caught up on ASOIAF, unless of course you count people being alive as a spoiler. It seems machinations are well in place for a move against the Lannisters in King’s Landing, and Arianne mentions that her bookish brother Quentyn has a crush on Daenerys, who would need the Martells to exact her claim on the throne.
In A Dance With Dragons, a boy who claims to be Aegon Targaryen (previously thought to be dead), entered the game with hopes of marrying his aunt Daenerys. In this new chapter, Arianne’s mission is to find out if it’s true. Is “Young Griff” actually her cousin, the son of her own aunt Elia Martell and Rhaegar Targaryen?
In the end, she hasn’t found out if Aegon is really Aegon, but she has found out that his forces are marching on the Tyrells, and that she doesn’t have any other choice than to join them.
So, what’s GRRM got to say?
In a blog accompanying the new chapter, he says:
“You want to know what the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran, Areo Hotah, Ellaria Sand, Darkstar, and the rest will be up to in WINDS OF WINTER? Quite a lot, actually. The sample will give you a taste. For the rest, you will need to wait.”
And, not to leave any doubt on the matter, he’s heading off “any bullshit rumors” at the pass by adding that he is not in any way done writing the book.