While fans of HBO's Game of Thrones are rejoicing over the first few episodes of season seven, fans of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire are still in the middle of a seemingly endless vigil of waiting for The Winds of Winter to hit the bookshelves. Any day now, George. While we wait, though, we might as well be grateful that we already have five books in the series, since GRRM's original pitch was only for a trilogy. And that wasn't the only major thing that shifted from his original plans for the series, because A Song of Ice and Fire would have been very, very different with all of these cut plot-lines.
In 1993, George R.R. Martin wrote a pitch for the high fantasy trilogy he wanted to write. He claims that he "doesn't outline his books" (I refuse to believe that he just remembers all those character names), but he did have a vague idea of what would happen, at least at the start of the series. And boy is it...different. The broad strokes of the Westeros we know and love are definitely there, but we almost got a very different series, featuring an evil Sansa, a much more warlike Daenerys, and a forbidden romance between Jon Snow and Arya Stark. Yikes.
Here are a few of the plot-lines that didn't make the final cut:
1Sansa and Joffrey were going to have a kid
YIKES. The original game plan was to actually marry Sansa off to Joffrey. They would have a kid together and, when tensions between the Starks and Lannisters got too high, Sansa was going to choose her husband and child over her parents and siblings —“a choice she will later bitterly rue,” according to the pitch. Sansa's never had much luck with suitors, but it's hard to imagine her ever siding with Joffrey.
2Arya, Jon, and Tyrion were going to be in a love triangle
NO THANKS. Originally, the plan was to have young Arya fall madly in love with her half-brother, Jon. The pair were going to be tormented by their forbidden love until (SPOILER ALERT) the reveal of Jon's true parentage, making them cousins instead of siblings... which is a little better, I guess? Tyrion was also going to be in love with Arya, but his love would be unrequited, fueling a bitter rivalry between him and Jon.
3Dany was going to get to Westeros by book two
If only. The plan was to have Daenerys and her Dothraki horde show up in Westeros by the second book of the trilogy, ready to fight. Instead, we have several books' worth of Dany chilling out in Qarth and Meereen before she even thinks of hooking up with the Dothraki again and (hopefully) heading west.
4Tyrion was going to burn Winterfell
Instead of Theon being the worst and sacking Winterfell with his Ironborn, Tyrion was going to be the one to take over the Stark castle. Which...doesn't really seem like Tyrion's style. The Greyjoys weren't in the original pitch at all, and Tyrion was going to give the order to have Winterfell razed, scattering the Starks all across Westeros. At least then Catelyn would have a really legit reason to have him arrested and start the war of the five kings?
5There was no Red Wedding
One of the most iconic plot-points in the whole series wasn't in the original plan. Robb Stark was going to die in battle, instead of at a wedding, and Catelyn was going to be killed by an Other after venturing beyond the wall. Robb was going to get to maim Joffrey in battle before he bit the dust though, so...that's something.
6Tyrion was going to murder Joffrey
In the books, Tyrion has to leave Westeros after being falsely accused of murdering King Joffrey. But in the original pitch, Tyrion was going to actually murder King Joffrey. The Tyrells don't seem to be in this alternate universe, so I guess someone had to kill Joff? There was also no Tywin in the pitch, but I think we can all agree that Tyrion shooting his father on the toilet is a stronger move than Tyrion poisoning his bratty nephew.
7Dany was going to murder Khal Drogo
I mean...Drogo's not exactly a nice guy, but he was originally going to be way more evil. In the first draft, Dany stumbles across some dragon eggs while wandering around the Dothraki Sea, murders Drogo in revenge after he kills her beloved brother Viserys, and takes all the Dothraki on a road trip to Westeros. It seems like she might actually get to do that last part in the next book, but her relationship with Drogo ended up being far more complex than the original plan.
8Jaime would have taken the Iron Throne
With no Tywin in the picture, Jaime was going to be the default evil Lannister. Jaime would have succeeded Joff on the throne after killing everyone in his way, and he and Tyrion would have had a bloody rivalry, ending with Tyrion switching sides. It seems like George decided to give Jaime a bit of a more complex character arc in the end, though, and to give Cersei a much larger role as a wannabe ruler.
9The Starks were going to stick together for longer
Those poor Starks are pretty much dispersed after book one. Originally, though, Catelyn would have escaped King's Landing with Bran and Arya and made it back home. Then all three would have escaped the sacking of Winterfell, traveled all the way to the Wall, been refused help by Jon Snow of the Night's Watch, and then headed beyond the wall, where Cat would get offed by a White Walker and Bran would presumably still turn into a psychic tree.
10Five characters were going to make it to the end
GRRM was always planning to write a book with many, many POV characters and many, many major deaths. But in his original plan, five main characters were going to make it to the bitter end: Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, and Jon Snow. But if we knowing anything about George R.R. Martin, it's that he loves to lull us into a false sense of security...so who knows if those five are still truly safe. We'll just have to wait for the next book to find out.