OK, so The Winds of Winter is probably coming out this year. This is not a drill, people. As the real world descends into a Westeros-style political nightmare (but with fewer dragons), we might finally get our hands on the sixth installment of A Song of Ice and Fire. Now, we can't know for sure what's going to happen in The Winds of Winter, even though the sixth season of the HBO show Game of Thrones has given us some pretty solid hints. But will the book stick to the same exact plot? Has the show ruined all of dramatic tension? Is George going to troll us for several hundred pages and then kill Tyrion? Here are a few things that could ruin the next Song of Ice and Fire book.
Now, obviously this could just be a list of all the characters we don't want to die in book six. But, as much as I hate to say it, part of the reason we like A Song of Ice and Fire is that GRRM is totally comfortable with offing our favorite characters every few chapters. If none of the good guys ever bit the dust, there wouldn't be nearly as much tension (but if anything happens to my precious son Poderick Payne, I will be writing a very strongly worded email).
So, setting aside a massacre of all our faves, here are a few things that could ruin The Winds of Winter:
1It’s exactly like the TV show
Love the show or hate the show, but I think we can all agree that The Winds of Winter will be pretty boring if it's just a novelization of season six of the HBO show. Not that there's a huge danger of that — HBO has switched up a lot of story-lines and bumped off a whole host of characters and plots that are still relevant in the books. We can probably count on the broad strokes to be similar, but the books have so much more to work with, including Zombie Catelyn, Dorne drama, Mance Rayder, at least one extra Targaryen.
2There are no Daenerys or Tyrion chapters
None of that Feast for Crows nonsense, George. We deserve more than that, George. You had better throw some chapters on Dany and Tyrion our way. And even some chapters on Bran hanging out with the trees. No one is here to read a whole book of Greyjoy chapters. Please include the main characters of your book series in the actual books in your series, thank you.
3Jon is dead forever
Yeah, I know I just just said that the book shouldn't be exactly like the show... but I did not slog through five books of Night's Watch chapters for Jon to be stabbed to death. If Catelyn gets to come back from the dead, then I should certainly hope we get to see our favorite sad sack bastard come back from the dead, too. Or at least warg around as Ghost for a while. Jon has to stick around until he discovers his true parentage and makes out with his Aunt Daenerys, at the least!
4Daenerys decides not to invade Westeros anymore
Like, OK, yes, Daenerys would probably be happier in the long run if she dropped this whole "invade Westeros" thing (it wasn't even her dream, it was her brother's dream) and went back to the house with the red door in Braavos. But I paid to see dragons fighting snow zombies. So Daenerys had better start packing for Westeros by the end of book six, because if this series has not been leading up to the wall crumbling during a dragons vs. snow zombies battle, then I don't even know what we're doing here.
5All of the Greyjoys survive
Somebody, please, do us all a public service and kill a Greyjoy. But not Asha. One of the boring ones. No one is shipping Dany with any Greyjoys. No one is rooting for the Greyjoys to win the Iron Throne. We definitely don't need three Greyjoy uncles arguing over the Seastone Chair for another entire novel. That is two Greyjoy uncles too many.
6Sansa marries Littlefinger
NO, no, please, god, no. Sansa is probably going to end up married to the hunky Harry the Heir, and she's still technically married to Tyrion. That's plenty of marriages for a thirteen year old. Please don't let Littlefinger's little fingers anywhere near Sansa (it would be so him to have her marry Harry, then kill Robyn and Harry and marry her himself). The ladies of A Song of Ice and Fire have been through enough already, thanks.
7All the direwolves and dragons get killed
The show has been picking off the direwolves, one by one. In the books so far, we've lost Grey Wind and Lady (and Nymeria is kicking it somewhere in the forest). And who knows—we might lose a dragon with Euron's wacky dragon horn thing. But if we have to lose a bunch of beloved characters, let's at least leave some of their pets alive? Yes?
8Lyanna and Rhaegar are not Jon’s parents
After all that speculating and obsessing and fangirling, it would be a huge letdown if Jon turned out to actually be Ned Stark's bastard. It seems like GRRM is setting us up for a massive reveal that Jon is actually the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, but GRRM does love a good red herring. Let's hope that this fan theory pans out, because we could always use another rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
9The Hound won't get to kill (or re-kill) the Mountain
OK, so maybe this won't ruin the book... but I think we all know that Robert Strong is some kind of Frankensteined version of the Mountain (potentially missing a head?). And I think we all suspect that the Hound is still alive as a grave digger on the Quiet Isle. And GRRM has been teasing us with the possibility of a Clegane vs. Clegane brawl since book one. So I'm declaring The Winds of Winter absolutely ruined if we don't get to see someone defeat their zombie sibling (heck, I'll settle for Edmure Tully taking down Lady Stoneheart).
10Stannis wins the Iron Throne and everyone’s cool with it
How disappointing would that be? Sure, Ned Stark meant for Stannis to take over as the rightful king, once he realized that Robert wasn't the father of Cersei's creepy blonde kids. And the Red Woman thinks that Stannis is the magical fire prince from the prophecies. But... Stannis has all the personality of dry toast. Both Dany and Jon have a much better chance of being the Prince(ss) Who Was Promised. Let's hope that Stannis has his fun beating up the Boltons and doesn't make it to the Iron Throne (although I've got a nasty feeling that Tommen won't be sitting there too much longer).