How will Game of Thrones split books four and five?

Feast and Dragon

Each week, readers Bob and Ivey discuss ‘Game of Thrones’ from the perspective of those who have read the books. This week we discuss how books four and five will fit into the seasons. Spoilerphobes beware!


Those in the United States looking forward to celebrating Memorial Day by watching the colorful wedding together of Houses Tully and Frey were sadly disappointed, as HBO delayed the airing of the ninth episode. As great of a film as “Behind the Candelabra” might have been, I think most of us would have preferred HBO airing “The Rains of Castamere” instead — especially considering they’ve not avoided Memorial Day weekend in the past.

Without a specific episode to discuss, this week’s Beyond the Wall will look forward a couple of seasons. While nothing beyond Season Four has been officially announced by HBO, the ratings for next year would have to take a significant hit for them to decide to not continue. The plan for the show’s fourth season is logically the second half of the A Storm of Swords. But what about beyond that?

If you didn’t once wonder why many of your favorite characters disappeared for an entire book, you should probably skip this post.

Like all installments of Beyond the Wall, beware of spoilers. This column is for readers of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels that Game of Thrones is based on. So if you didn’t once wonder why many of your favorite characters disappeared for an entire book, you should probably skip this post.

Ivey: OK Bob, you and I have been disagreeing for weeks about how Game of Thrones will handle the timing of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. Next season should be fairly straightforward: whatever story is left from A Storm of Swords will be fair game. Beyond that, however, things aren’t nearly as simple.

Much of Feast and Dance’s timelines overlap, so it is logical that whatever seasons end up portraying them, the novels will likely be interwoven. I actually suspect we’ll see some of those storylines begin to creep into the end of the fourth season; we’ve already seen a precedent set for that when Jaime and Brienne’s story from Swords began in the later parts of the second season of the show.

Clearly, the show is not going to put Tyrion, Jon, Dany, and Bran all on hold for an entire season.

Bob: Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of either book creep into next season. Clearly, the show is not going to put Tyrion, Jon, Dany, and Bran all on hold for an entire season. It would be impractical and unpopular — almost as much as the move was in the novels. Instead, I believe that we are going to see the events of the two novels play out simultaneously over what will most likely be three seasons, maybe even longer. There is a lot of story to tell in those two books.

Ivey: I guess one of the great upsides to not having read the books until a couple of years ago is that I missed most of that upheaval. But you’re right … there’s no way that Benioff and Weiss will repeat Martin’s mistake. But the pacing of that shift might be a bit odd: two seasons to cover the third book, then two seasons (my theory) to cover the next two. Hence, why starting the stories from Feast and Dance a touch early.

There’s no way that they’ll introduce a great many new characters so late in the season, so starting the storylines based in Dorne and the Iron Islands make poor candidates. I’ve thought for a while now that the show will approach Meereen differently than the books did. I actually theorized that Yunkai would serve as the location for both its story and the Meereenese story from the book, but I’ve given up on that. What I do suspect, however, is that Dany will learn of Jorah’s treasons sooner rather than later, perhaps in the final moments of this season.

Whenever Dany sends Jorah away, the show’s either going to have to create new material for character, or he — and actor Iain Glen — will disappear from the screen for a great deal of time. Why not get that started sooner, allowing for more of whatever new story might be in store for him. Else, Dany’s story this season is not going to end on the great “exclamation” point we’ve been trained to expect. Heck, the capture of Yunkai won’t be nearly as exciting as Astapor was (Another reason combining Yunkai and Meereen made sense in my head before: how many times can we see Dany take a city and it still be interesting?).

I think the big Dany moment could be her consummating a relationship with Daario.

Bob: I think there are several moments the writers could turn into the big Dany moment. Certainly there is the sacking of the city itself, and the freeing of all the slaves (the finale is, after all, called “Mhysa” — could the Ghiscari word for mother also be alluding to something with Catelyn? A resurrection, perhaps?). I do think that we are going to see Jorah ousted, as they have introduced Barristan and made sure to remind the audience of Jorah’s spying earlier in the season. I doubt they are going to drag that on. It will be interesting to see what happens with Jorah after his departure. Finally, I think the big Dany moment could be her consummating a relationship with Daario.

We need to get back on topic here. Our main disagreement is the number of seasons moving forward. With A Dance with Dragons being every bit as long as A Storm of Swords (which easily has filled more than one season), I can’t imagine how you would cover that novel, plus another one in two seasons. No, I think three or four will be necessary to cover all the material.

Photo Credit: Bantam Spectra

2 Comments on “How will Game of Thrones split books four and five?

  1. We now know that some of the stories that will be covered in Season 4– GRRM revealed over the weekend that casting has begun for the Magnar of Thenn, the Red Viper, and Mace Tyrell (with Ellaria Sand a possibility as well).

  2. For what it’s worth… Martin was quoted in March on just this topic.

    “And then I have book 4 and book 5, and those are gigantic books which have to be recombined because they’re actually parallel. I’m hoping those will be at least two seasons, maybe three.”

    Of course, he is ‘hoping’ they’ll be more seasons because the prospect of the series catching up to the books is becoming more and more of a possibility.

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