Arianne Martell art by Magali Villeneuve

When Game of Thrones returned for its sixth season, House Martell and Dorne’s plot... well, it certainly went some places, didn’t it? Well, in the next installment of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Martells are also preparing to strike, as you can read thanks to this newly released excerpt from The Winds of Winter.

Written from the perspective of Arianne Martell, these scant paragraphs focus on House Martell’s slow but certain movements to oppose the Lannisters and King’s Landing, as the Sand Snakes dispatch themselves across the land to meet up with a whole host of different rebel factions—including Jon Connington and “Young Griff,” the boy claiming to be the very-much-alive Aegon VI.

Nyrn and Tyene may have reached King’s Landing by now, she mused, as she settled down crosslegged by the mouth of the cave to watch the falling rain. If not they ought to be there soon. Three hundred seasoned spears had gone with them, over the Boneway, past the ruins of Summerhall, and up the kingsroad. If the Lannisters had tried to spring their little trap in the kingswood, Lady Nym would have seen that it ended in disaster. Nor would the murderers have found their prey. Prince Trystane had remained safely back at Sunspear, after a tearful parting from Princess Myrcella. That accounts for one brother, thought Arianne, but where is Quentyn, if not with the griffin? Had he wed his dragon queen? King Quentyn. It still sounded silly. This new Daenerys Targaryen was younger than Arianne by half a dozen years. What would a maid that age want with her dull, bookish brother? Young girls dreamed of dashing knights with wicked smiles, not solemn boys who always did their duty. She will want Dorne, though. If she hopes to sit the Iron Throne, she must have Sunspear. If Quentyn was the price for that, this dragon queen would pay it. What if she was at Griffin’s End with Connington, and all this about another Targaryen was just some sort of subtle ruse? Her brother could well be with her. King Quentyn. Will I need to kneel to him?

No good would come of wondering about it. Quentyn would be king or he would not. I pray Daenerys treats him him more gently than she did her own brother.

Oh dear. Well, suffice to say, Arianne won’t have to worry too much about bending her knee to her (now very crispy and dead) brother Quentyn—but it’s very noticeable how greatly Winds of Winter and Game of Thrones’ current arcs have already diverged. The show has yet to even acknowledge the Young Griff plot, but there’s so much more in this extract that is wildly different. Seems like there’ll still be plenty of surprises left for book readers by the time this comes along.

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Winds of Winter will hit bookstores when it’s ready. You can read the rest of the excerpt at the link below.

[Georgerrmartin.com]