[Warning: Dance with Dragons/ Season 5 Spoilers throughout]
By now, seasoned fans of Game of Thrones know that weddings in Westeros are rarely good news, but with Season Five quickly approaching, viewers may get more than they bargained for. The good-natured war between readers of A Song and Ice and Fire and show-only watchers recently reached a new high when rumors began to circulate that everyone’s favorite sword-wielding Arya Stark would be marrying the depraved Ramsay Bolton in the next in the next season. While many confused show-watchers quickly nixed this theory, observing that Arya had last been sighted on boat to Braavos, while Ramsay had been seen riding towards Winterfell, book-readers were not simply torturing those who watch the show with a red herring worthy of the Bastard of Bolton himself. As the show continues to adhere to the books–at least in some fashion, Ramsay will be wedding someone next season, but in light of recent casting news, it’s debatable who he will be marrying.
The good news for fans of the spunky Stark, Arya, is that the girl on the boat to Braavos is safe from the clutches of the sadistic son of Roose Bolton. However, readers of A Dance with Dragons will know that not everyone is as lucky. The Boltons, in an attempt to tighten their hold their newly acquired territory decide that that joining their house with a remaining Stark will cement their position as the new rulers of the North. With Sansa already wed to Tyrion Lannister, and the Ned Stark’s only other daughter, Arya, missing or dead, the Boltons hatch an elaborate plan to create a fake Stark.
By pulling a few strings, the Boltons manage to obtain Sansa’s close friend Jeyne Poole, who is virtually unseen in the show. In the books, she accompanies Sansa to Kings Landing, but is taken from her friend by the Lannisters after Ned’s betrayal. Jeyne disappears from the books for three more installments until she remerges in Dance with Dragons, a frightened girl provided by the Lannisters to play a fake Arya and wed Ramsay. Having grown up in Winterfell with the Stark girls, Jeyne is able to play Arya well enough to convince the rest of the North that she is truly Ned Stark’s daughter. What the Boltons don’t know is that the unassuming Jeyne will serve as the catalyst for Theon Greyjoy’s escape.
While Jeyne’s masquerade holds a critical political place in the series and plays an important role in Jon Snow’s plotline, perhaps her greatest contribution to the story is the effect she has on Theon. Defeated and broken by the Boltons, Theon has lost his sense of self and with it, his will to fight back. However, when Jeyne joins the story, the two form a tentative friendship that revolves around their shared experiences of imprisonment and pain at the hands of Ramsay. Jeyne ignites something in Theon that allows him to find himself and with it maturity and selflessness that he lacked before. Jeyne is a gentle personality, yet she embodies an amazing strength of character that inspires Theon to save both her and himself from the Boltons.
Jeyne Poole has yet to appear in the show, but viewers are beginning to doubt if they will ever see her at all. Instead, many suspect that Jeyne will be replaced by Ramsay’s paramour, Myranda. We see little of her, but she leaves a strong impression as Ramsay’s enthusiastic partner in crime whether in the dungeons, the woods, or the bedroom. Many fans questioned Myranda’s appearance in the show, pointing out that she is not a character found in the books and adds little to the plot other than opportunities for Ramsay to shed his clothes. However, with the confirmation that actress Charlotte Hope will reappear multiple episodes of Season 5, many have concluded that Myranda may play a more important part in the upcoming season, replacing Jeyne as Ramsay’s faux-Stark bride.
Viewers of Game of Thrones who also read the books are used to plot changes, character cuts, and a multitude of other alterations that make the story they see on TV somewhat different from what they read in the book. While many of these changes are justifiable, it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that a character that holds great importance in her purity and goodness could simply be replaced by a one-dimensional, over-sexualized one simply to raise the shock-factor of the show. It is an insult to the characters of both Theon and Jeyne that the woman who served as the inspiration for Theon’s greatest act of heroism and redemption might be replaced by a woman who not only abused him but also has no worth as a character other than to provide sexual tension for Ramsay where none exists in the book. Nonetheless,it is ultimately too early to make any lasting judgments. We must wait until Season Five is out to find out who will truly be depicting the fake Arya Stark.
Alright, Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire fans– what do you think? Will wedding bells ring again in season 5? Leave us a comment below.