George R.R. Martin once revealed his original A Song of Ice and Fire outline, and it shows how Game of Thrones failed Jon Snow. A letter that contained Martin’s 1993 outline for A Song of Ice and Fire made its way around the internet in 2015, and the document had several exciting reveals about the series. In his original plan, Martin thought the series would be a trilogy. It’s now set to contain seven books. The letter also contains several interesting plot points which the author eventually dropped. For instance, Arya would be in a love triangle with Jon Snow and Tyrion, and Joffrey and Sansa would have a child. However, several plot points, such as Daenerys’ invasion of Westeros, were still present. The letter also had a paragraph that someone censored to protect secrets.
The final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones wasn’t as beloved as the company would’ve liked. Despite crushing its ratings records, a consistent backlash marred season 8. Fans complained about the story feeling rushed and HBO sidelining various characters in the abbreviated season. In addition, production mistakes, such as modern water bottles and a coffee cup appearing in scenes, quickly went viral. A petition to redo season 8 even gained popularity, earning more than 1.8 million signatures online and getting a response from HBO and the show’s stars.
In the years since George R.R. Martin’s letter hit the internet, fans have seemingly deciphered the censored paragraph, revealing that HBO failed when it came to Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) storyline. A Reddit thread (spotted via Winter is Coming) attempts to decipher the blocked-out text in the letter. According to the fans, the paragraph likely says “Bran sits free” on the Iron Throne and that “Jon Snow is his bitter enemy” in the North. If that’s the case in Martin’s story, HBO dropped the ball with Jon Snow.
The possibility of Jon Snow becoming Bran’s enemy adds layers that the show’s final run needed. Throughout season 8, HBO sidelines Jon Snow. In the Battle of Winterfell, he’s a non-factor, with Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) coming out of nowhere to destroy the Night King (Vladimír Furdík) in the name of shock value. However, if Jon Snow were Bran’s (Isaac Hempstead Wright) enemy, it would’ve provided a more interesting season 8 finale. After all, Bran is somewhat manipulative to earn his place on the Iron Throne, possibly even knowing about the devastation that would have to occur for him to take the Westeros power seat. Yet, he did nothing. Putting him at odds with Jon Snow makes the season 8 storyline more interesting. And with the paragraph also showing Bran sits on the throne, as he does in the show, the storyline with Jon Snow turning on his brother is still possible in the novels.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that Jon Snow will become Bran’s enemy in George R.R. Martin’s books, but the outline nails an essential point where Game of Thrones went wrong. Jon Snow is one of the story’s most captivating characters. The truth of his Targaryen parentage is the biggest secret in the series, yet it amounts to nothing in the final season when he’s sent to the Wall to live amongst the Night’s Watch. Martin knows there’s more to Jon Snow than a hero who has nothing to do, and the outline proves that. Whether or not he’s Bran’s enemy in Martin’s books isn’t even the point.