Back in 1993, a little-known author named George R.R. Martin wrote a three-page letter to his publisher outlining a planned trilogy (Ha!) entitled A Song of Ice and Fire.
Twenty-two years later, those books have captivated millions of fans, inspired the most-watched show in HBO history, and swelled into a seven-part series that might not be completed before the sun explodes and engulfs the earth.
Recently, a British bookseller tweeted and deleted Martin's letter, which includes some major differences between the original outline and the eventual completed books, but also some clues as to where the story might be headed from here.
Of course, Game of Thrones spoilers pop up online every day and they often turn out to be bogus, but this latest round comes straight from the raven's mouth.
The outline mainly describes events that have already taken place (or have been drastically changed), but there's a major reveal in the letter that could answer the question of which characters will survive until the end of the story.
First the major differences between the outline and this final drafts:
- Robb Stark and King Joffrey do battle, and Joffrey is severely disfigured. He marries Sansa and she gives birth to his evil spawn.
- Jon Snow falls in love with Arya Stark (!), but he must compete with a lovestruck Tyrion for her affections (!!!)
- Speaking of Tyrion, he removes Joffrey from the throne, and the crown is then handed to Jamie Lannister. Jamie double-crosses his brother and has Tyrion exiled after blaming him for Joffrey's crimes.
- Daenerys kills her husband Khal Drogo to avenge the death of her douchey brother, Viserys, becomes the Khaleesi only after stumbling upon some dragon's eggs while fleeing from the Dothraki
The whole Jon-Arya thing bolsters the popular fan theory that Jon Snow is not really Ned Stark's son. (Not that GoT is above a little incest.)
The big reveal, of course, is the five characters who will supposedly survive the events of ASOIAF/GoT. They are: Tyrion, Daenerys, Jon Snow, Arya Stark, and Bran Stark - fan favorites, all. So maybe Martin doesn't hate his readers?
Ultimately, much of this could prove meaningless, as the last two books are not yet completed and the GoT showrunners have already demonstrated a willingness to stray from their source material.
Plus, the last paragraph of the letter is blacked out, so you can rest assured GRRM still has a few Red Wedding-esque shockers in store.
Yes, despite all that we've learned from the outline at the end of the day, when it comes down to who will live and die, we know nothing, Jon Snow.
Watch Game of Thrones online at TV Fanatic to hold yourself over until the April 12 premiere of season 5.