Some exciting new alliances are cropping up on Game of Thrones in Season 6, but one of the most powerful from the books has yet to be explored on the show. The latest chapter from Winds of Winter by George R. R. Martin focuses on Arianne Martell — a character who does not appear in the HBO series. However, the chapter reinforces the alliance between House Targaryen and House Martell on Game of Thrones that I think could emerge on the television show in other ways.
Arianne is the daughter of Prince Doran, the niece of the late Oberyn Martell, and the heiress to Dorne. In the new chapter, Arianne is off to meet the man claiming to be Aegon Targaryen, the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell. It's all very "Grandma, it's me, Anastasia" and therefore a bit suspicious. However, as Arianne reminds the reader in the chapter, this is not the only attempt that the Dornish have made to form an alliance with the remains of House Targaryen. Arianne's bookish brother Quentyn Martell went to Slaver's Bay to try and marry Daenerys. She was even supposed to marry Viserys back in the day, but thankfully that worked out in her favor. However, unbeknownst to her, poor Quentyn was killed when he went to visit the Dany's two chained-up dragons. So this alliance is still in development, so to speak.
How could we see this adapted on the HBO series, since neither Arianne nor the latest "Secret Targaryen" seem to exist? It seems as if Ellaria Sand has taken the helm of Arianne's story, though they have drastically different personalities. Ellaria Sand is much more driven by revenge and (literal) manslaughter. I'll never forget that in the books, Arianne planned to put Myrcella and Trystane on the Iron Throne using feminist Dornish customs that allow elder daughters to succeed, whereas on the show Ellaria had both teenagers killed. So rude!
The last time we saw Ellaria, she and her daughters took over Dorne and promised Still, I would not be surprised if the Sand Snakes reached out to Daenerys Targaryen before heading to King's Landing. In theory, they have history together and the strength in numbers to become a powerful threat. I'm sure that Dany's "burn everyone" style is appealing to Ellaria as well. As long as she doesn't take on Quentyn's destiny... that would be a bit sad.
On a grander scale, I'm now envisioning these alliances as a macrocosm of the "R+L=J" theory, in which it seems as if an alliance between the Targaryens and the Martells are what Westeros needs, but destiny lies with the alliance of House Targaryen and House Stark. I know that it seems like Winds of Winter is going in a completely different direction than Game of Thrones, but they could find their way back together. Dorne and the Martells may hold that key.
Images: Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO (2)