(Warning: Spoilers for the 5th and 6th season of "Game of Thrones, as well as "A Feast for Crows" ahead)
A couple weeks ago, fans of the popular HBO show, “Game of Thrones” launched a Kickstarter requesting internet citizens to contribute towards their humble goal of 20 million dollars. Save for maybe a lifetime supply of special edition MTG cards, what would a group of fantasy nerds possibly want with all that money? Well…
If you were too lazy to click play, let me sum it up for you — they want 20 million dollars to fix the Dorne subplot in “Game of Thrones”. And you know what? A part of me hopes they somehow achieve their goal.
If you’ve never seen “Game of Thrones” or dropped the show before the 5th season, this may seem like a clear case of overreacting, even as a joke. Maybe it’s just some book purists who got their panties in a bunch because side character #3 was cut out for the sake of time. Well. Time could be spent describing the sheer difference in quality the Dorne plot had in comparison to the rest of the show, but in cases like these it’s just better to just let script speak for itself:
For those of you who think they’re hearing things because there’s no way a line that awful could have possibly made it onto cable television—you’re not. It’s as if someone copy/pasted a scene out of a discarded and unedited Syfy script.
The Sand Snakes are almost universally regarded as three of the most one dimensional characters in the show, being motivated by seemingly nothing but vengeance and misplaced grrrrl power. The individual characters themselves — Obara, Nymeria and Tyene – are distinguished more by their trademark weapons than they are by like, character development and stuff. In any case, the Sand Snakes being one-dimensional bloodthirsty warrior women on a quest for vengeance could still be fun to watch… If their plans for vengeance weren’t so petty and so awfully bad.
But what makes the Dornish plotline so frustrating, so mind-boggling in its unintentional campiness, is that there was a perfectly good storyline waiting for them in the books. Usually, I’m not one to regard a book as the infallible Word of God when it comes to TV/film adaptions—I can understand when a network needs to cut some minor plot points out because of time constraints and space. But the fact is that the Sand Snakes and the Dorne subplot, as it was explored in the “Song of Ice and Fire” series, was intriguing. The central character in the novels’ Dorne storyline is Arianne Martell, Doran’s eldest daughter and the heiress to Dorne.
If she doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because they cut her out of the show completely. In the novels, she and the Sand Snakes are still out for vengeance — by declaring Myrcella queen of Westeros. When plan fails due to Doran’s interference, Arianne confronts Doran and essentially dubs him weak. However, she soon realizes that he’s been plotting vengeance for the death of his sister quietly behind the scenes for decades.
I’m sure that my blurb doesn’t do the plotline justice, but the matter of the fact is, Arianne and the Sand Snakes were interesting in the novels. They were a diverse group of women with diverse opinions, talents and appearances. Most of all they were characters who desired vengeance, not one-note characters defined by it.
I will always be bitter about the erasure of Arianne Sand, but I would have been much more forgiving if the Sand Snakes in "Game of Thrones" were treated with the same nuanced and distinct characterization that they were given in the books. The show clearly failed in that regard, by giving the Snakes interchangeable personalities and mindsets. And while this particular project doesn't seem to mention bringing back Arianne Martell, they do mention bringing Obara, Nymeria and Tyene closer to the characters they were in ASOIAF. Ellaria, who seems to be the in-show replacement for Arianne, "will be torn between her patriotism, her slain lover’s memory, and her desire for vengeance."
In conclusion, yes - pissed off fans raising 20 million dollars to fix a TV show subplot? Sounds like clickbait. But if by some sort of divine intervention, the Kickstarter succeeds, you can watch the all new Dorne scenes by 2018.