From the Maester’s Desk is a weekly column about the book-to-show adaptations of the characters, world and other elements from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books. Apart from analyzing the differences between the two mediums, it offers bits of trivia, speculation and educated guesses about the future of the story in both the books and the TV show. The article contains spoilers from ASOIAF.
Gendry: I’m not whinging.
The Hound: Your lips are moving and you’re complaining about something. That’s whinging. This one’s been killed six times. You don’t hear him whinging about it.
Last Sunday’s episode was proof that while both the books and the show will eventually reach the same destination, the road will certainly be a different one. And I’m not talking about traveling distances or the airspeed velocity of non-unladen dragons (now, are we talking Westerosi or Valyrian dragons? The Bridge Keeper may want to know), but rather how unlikely is that we’ll see that same scenario in the books, considering the characters.
Beric Dondarrion is already dead in the novels, after giving his life force to Catelyn Stark. Can you imagine Lady Stoneheart fighting alongside Jon against a swarm of wights? Probably not, but it’s something I’d like to see fan art of.
The Brotherhood’s origin is the same in both the novels and the show. Lord Eddard Stark sends a force commanded by Lord Beric to deliver the King’s Justice to Gregor Cleagane and his men, who are terrorizing the innocent people from the Riverlands.
Beric fails this mission and gets killed by the Mountain, but is accidentally revived by Thoros of Myr, a red priest who regains his faith after said event.
After the deaths of both King Robert and Lord Eddard, Beric decides to assume command of his ragtag band instead of surrender, and to keep fighting for the common folk, who provide the Brotherhood with food and shelter in exchange for their protection.
It’s after Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie meet them when the paths start to diverge.
In the books, Gendry is allowed to join the Brotherhood’s ranks, but in the show, he’s given to Melisandre in exchange for gold. This proved somewhat controversial, as it turned the Brotherhood into a decidedly less noble version of their literary counterpart, but I thought it was a clever way to merge the Edric Storm subplot (a considerably minor character who was going to be sacrificed by Melisandre for his “king’s blood” and is subsequently rescued by Davos) and to make the character bond with Davos Seaworth.
This not only gave Davos something to do while Tyrion went to meet Jaime in “Eastwatch”, but also made the return of Gendry feel more satisfying (RIP all the “Still Rowing” memes).
The loss of Beric and the turning of Stoneheart as the Brotherhood’s de facto leader accelerated the band’s corruption, to the point that Thoros even laments they are no better than common criminals. Many members desert as a result, not agreeing with Stoneheart’s revenge-driven campaign, since she hangs anyone perceived as a traitor, no matter if they are actually underage and/or innocent and didn’t take part in the Red Wedding. Such is the case of Brienne of Tarth, her squire Podrick Payne and Ser Hyle Hunt (a knight who joined Brienne’s quest of looking for Sansa), who are sentenced to death unless Brienne kills Jaime Lannister.
Gendry is still with the Brotherhood, working as a smith at the Inn at the Crossroads, the place where Hot Pie is working as a baker in the TV show. In the books, the original owner was hanged by Tywin Lannister, as revenge for allowing Tyrion to be taken by Catelyn Stark. In the books, the inn is now seemingly under control of the Brotherhood, who use it as a shelter for orphans. The place is now run by two of the original owner’s nieces (Jeyne and Willow).
The future of both the Brotherhood and Gendry in the books seems hazy. I think it’ll depend in part in how Brienne’s plan plays out. I don’t believe she’ll kill Jaime or turn him in to be made a prisoner of the Brotherhood, but she wouldn’t abandon Pod and Hyle either. Either they’ll trick or convince Stoneheart to be released, or they’ll kill her and the Brotherhood.
It does seem cruel to bring Catelyn back only to be killed again soon after that fact, not to mention pointless, so I doubt she’s going to die by either Brienne’s or Jaime’s hand. It is true that Thoros could revive her, but why would he, considering he’s unhappy with the direction she’s taking the Brotherhood. If anything, her demise would probably come as a relief to him.
Gendry is a small enough character in the books that I doubt he’ll have a big role to play out in either The Winds of Winter or A Dream of Spring. He’ll most likely remain low-profile, but I’m expecting to be surprised by Martin.
In Game of Thrones, Sandor made it clear to Beric that he’s now in his last life, after Thoros was killed by the undead polar bear (how badass was that? An element from A Storm of Swords that I didn’t expect to ever see in the show). We can safely assume that he’ll remain near Jon to battle the Night King’s forces, and will probably go down doing so.
Even if you’re a fan of Lady Stoneheart, can we agree that keeping Beric and Thoros around are among the best decisions the showrunners have taken so far? Their banter with the Hound and other characters has been pure gold for me. And it doesn’t hurt to have the help of someone who wields a flaming sword.
As for Gendry, the Baratheon bastard is one of the few characters who I picture making it to the very end of the story. He could very well be a casualty of the Great War that’s looming, but I think there’s a good chance he’ll survive and be legitimized as a Baratheon. So that noble house that seemed to go extinct after Stannis’s death could come back from the ashes and reforge its old alliance with House Stark.
The season finale is almost here, and then there’ll only be six more episodes to go. But what a ride it has been so far, right? For me it was really exciting to see many of my favorite characters joining forces, despite their very valid reasons to hate the guts of each other. It’s like Jon told Dany- they’re fighting together against a common enemy. Together.