Fans have deciphered George R.R. Martin’s redacted letter outlining A Song of Ice and Fire, revealing why the Game of Thrones ending failed. Unfortunately, Game of Thrones’ final season didn’t turn out how HBO planned. Though the series repeatedly broke its viewership records, the backlash to the final season took over the narrative online. Fans and critics complained about everything from the Game of Thrones episodes being too dark to modern water bottles accidentally appearing in the show. However, story issues drew the biggest complaints. The series seemingly ignored its own logic during its final run, littering its season 8 episodes with inexplicable plot holes. For instance, the show nearly eliminated the Dothraki during a battle against the White Walkers in season 8, episode 3. Then HBO brought them back without an explanation in season 8, episode 5.
In 2015, a letter that contained Martin’s 1993 outline for A Song of Ice and Fire made its way around the internet. The original plan encompassed what Martin thought to be a trilogy at the time, and it contains several plot points that he eventually discarded. For instance, Arya would be in a love triangle with Jon Snow and Tyrion, and Sansa would be pregnant with Joffrey’s child. However, several significant plot points, such as Daenerys’ impending invasion of Westeros, were still present. And, interestingly, the letter has one blocked-out paragraph giving details about Martin’s second book.
Fans have now deciphered part of the redacted paragraph from Martin’s letter, and it shows why the Game of Thrones ending didn’t work for HBO. A Reddit threat (spotted via Winter is Coming) attempts to decipher the blocked-out text. According to the fans, the paragraph likely says “Bran sits free” on the Iron Throne, “Jon Snow is his bitter enemy” in the North, “Daenerys prepares her invasion,” and “the Others are watching with cold dead eyes and gathering their strength.” Though the storylines would undoubtedly change, the original outline seems to reveal why HBO’s Game of Thrones ending received significant backlash.
If the deciphered paragraph is correct, it shows that HBO might’ve messed up the details of the Game of Thrones ending. According to Martin’s original plan, Bran would have been on the Iron Throne long before the end of the series. Fans criticized the show’s decision to place Bran on the Iron Throne because HBO didn’t correctly set up the story in the series’ abbreviated final season. However, if Bran would’ve ascended to Westeros’ power seat before the final episode and the White Walker/Others’ attack, the choice could’ve made more sense for confused fans. Also, the show drew criticism for breezing past the White Walkers in season 8, and the original outline shows Bran, Jon Snow, Daenerys, and the Others could’ve had a much different showdown together.
The original outline also inadvertently reveals another reason HBO’s Game of Thrones finale received backlash. Regardless of Martin’s original plan, the author recognized that the story needed time to develop. So, to rectify the situation, Martin turned his trilogy into a seven-book series. Likewise, Martin realized HBO’s show needed more time to develop storylines, and he supposedly begged the company to add more Game of Thrones seasons. But, of course, that story also had a disappointing ending.