(Season Five/ A Feast For Crows spoilers below)
As winter descends in its true force, many of us find ourselves longing for warmer climes, and in the world of Westeros, few places are more temperate than Dorne. While most of us may not be able to escape to a land of sunshine, sand, and snakes, the news of the upcoming storyline in Dorne can serve to warm us as we wait through the long winter for Season 5. Viewers of the TV show Game of Thrones were introduced indirectly to Dorne by way of the larger than life Oberyn Martell who soon became a fan favorite in the last season. Those who mourned the untimely death of the Red Viper may be glad to hear that many of his friends and relations will joining the new season as the show introduces a new locale, brimming with vibrancy that even King’s Landing lacks. While show-watchers will be enthralled by the twists and turns of the plot in Dorne, perhaps none will be as shocked as those who have read the books as the storyline threatens to deviate ever farther from its original source.
Readers of A Feast for Crows will know that Dornish plot is filled with interesting new characters and a healthy dose of intrigue. In sum, the Prince of Dorne, Doran Martell is being pressured by Oberyn Martell’s many bastard daughters, the Sandsnakes, to gain justice for their dead father. Elsewhere, Doran’s own daughter attempts to crown Myrcella Baratheon queen of Westeros, but is thwarted by Doran. This series of events leads to increasing tensions between Dorne and the Iron Throne, as well as between the charismatic Sandsnakes and the prince, Doran Martell. This plot acts as a catalyst for future events that will lead to increasing unrest and drama throughout Westeros.
With a new location and different culture, Dorne offers a fresh perspective to viewers too long bogged down in the darkness that is brewing in the north. Many of the qualities embodied by Oberyn Martell that fans came to love are exhibited in greater force throughout Dorne. There is less stigma, more bravado, and a great deal more freedom of expression in Dorne than in other parts of Westeros. While it is by no means utopian, the plotline in Dorne offers a welcome relief from the darkness that is so evident in other parts of Westeros.
Leaked pictures of the filming for Dorne have lead to great excitement among fans, largely because of the appearance of one character who should not be on set at all. People were perplexed to see Jaime Lannister in scenes set in Dorne, despite the fact that in the books, the character never visits the region. Many wondered what role Jaime would play in the upcoming season, a question few had the answer to. Fans concluded that Jaime had gone to Dorne on behalf of Cersei to reclaim Myrcella. However, it was still puzzling why the character would be in Dorne at all. Most rationalized that it was to give viewers a friendly face in a foreign country, otherwise populated by strangers, but it was still unsettling that a character with an established plotline elsewhere would appear so casually in a completely different location.
Waiting for a new season can be difficult, but reconciling with major plot changes can be even more so for book-readers. When a show is based upon a book series like Game of Thrones is, it can be both a blessing and curse. On the one hand, those who choose to read the books can have an exciting preview of what is to come and deeper insights into the stories and characters they have come to love. On the other hand, it can be frustrating and confusing when the show makes such major changes from the storyline in the books. One has to decide if they will enjoy the show for what is, or if they will constantly compare and contrast it with the books. This decision is a personal one, but it could greatly change one’s perspective and enjoyment of both the books and the show. Hopefully, a happy medium can be found where one can enjoy both the show and the books without allowing one’s appreciation of either to conflict with each other.
There is much to look forward to as Season Five approaches with its new lands and new characters. Spain sets the stage for Dorne as we found out earlier in 2014. As you wait for sunnier weather in both fact and fiction, are you looking forward to the changes ahead or dreading them? Comment on your perspective below.