Will the winds of winter change the ending of Game of Thrones for the better?
For years, fans assumed Ramsay was a liar, and Benioff and Weiss have ironically confirmed it since revealing Martin told them he was planning Stannis to sacrifice his sweet daughter Shireen Baratheon to the Lord of Death. Light. And on the page, Stannis left Shireen, along with his wife and the Red Priestess Melisandre, at the wall where Jon was murdered.
All this to say that instead of Jon waking up and finding a simple, dry reason to avenge his own death, and then being encouraged by his long-lost sister, Sansa, to take back Winterfell, he’ll find a political maelstrom in which a supposed ally will return to the wall and attempt to sacrifice a little girl – and her own – under Jon’s protection. The snowball effect of these different circumstances could be significant as Jon will have command over the loyal men of the Night’s Watch, the free people, and even some men of Baratheon when it comes to a head…all the more so. that, according to Ramsay’s letter, Stannis’ retreating army will contain what remains of Theon Greyjoy (the “Reek” Ramsay demands back) and a woman who claims to be Jon’s sister….
Winterfell, Stark Sisters and the whole North situation
One of the most important points where game of thrones intentionally diverged from “A Song of Ice and Fire” is when Sansa Stark returned to the North to marry Ramsay Bolton. On the page, she has yet to set foot in Winterfell despite her burning desire to find her lost home. Rather, it’s Sansa’s childhood friend, Jeyne Poole, who the Lannisters and Boltons attempt to pass off as Arya Stark (whom they presume is dead), and thus the key to supposed legitimacy in the North.
Yes, on the page the character remains a young girl that Theon/Reek and the readers knew when she was growing up. Ramsay also still does monstrously indescribable things to her on their wedding night (as bad as the scene is in the show…it’s worse in the book). However, she is neither Sansa nor Arya, which means that as far as the North is concerned, the only living Stark child is the bastard Jon Snow, at least until the other four are found alive.
Also, unlike the series, the North really remembers what happened at the Red Wedding. While Stannis may have been defeated by Bolton’s forces at Winterfell in the book, most of the Lords of the North who seem to grudgingly accept Roose Bolton’s authority as Warden of the North perpetuate a plot to betray the Boltons. . Lord Wyman Manderly, the portly patriarch of White Harbor, strongly hints to Reek that this is a “whisper farce” that will soon end, and the book would seem to suggest that Manderly has already killed several Freys and men. who attended the Red Wedding and served as meat pies to unsuspecting fathers and Boltons at Ramsay’s wedding feast (who game of thrones adapted live Titus Andronicus cry with Arya feeding the most guilty Frey sons to Walder Frey in the series).
So to recap: the Boltons believe they are holding Winterfell while surrounded by enemies inside, Stannis has survived his defeat and is returning to the Wall, presumably with Theon, and Jon Snow will be resurrected in time to see Stannis attempt to sacrifice his daughter for the same red god who beckoned him from beyond the grave.