Game of Thrones Season 5 Adaptation Choices: Griff, Young Griff and the Stone Men

A warning to people who haven’t read any of the books in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, this post contains book spoilers from the fifth book in the series, and possibly from the fourth, and I’m going to speculate on how the series is going to adapt these events in regards to Tyrion’s storyline. I’ve only read the series once, so I’m by no means an expert. The events in the fourth and fifth instalments of Martin’s series, A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons take place simultaneously. The world of Westeros and Essos had grown so large that Martin saw fit to place half of the point-of-view characters in the fourth book, and the other half in the fifth. Tyrion is not seen at all in A Feast for Crows, so readers don’t catch up with his story until A Dance With Dragons. Tyrion’s storyline in the television series Game of Thrones is similar, but also markedly different from the books.

Varys helps Tyrion cross the Narrow Sea, and he is also part of a movement that seeks a Targaryen Restoration to the Iron Throne, but after he gets Tyrion to Illyrio Mopatis’ house, he whisks off into the night, not to be seen again until the epilogue. Tyrion makes his way to Meereen, but not with Varys, and not for Daenerys. He travels on a ship to Volantis with The Golden Company, a group of ex-Westerosi sellswords. Among the Golden Company are two travellers called Griff, and his ‘son’, Young Griff. Tyrion, being the smart man that he is, figures out who they are. Rhaegar Targaryen, Dany’s older brother, was slain before Robert Baratheon took the Iron Throne, as was his wife (Oberyn Martell’s sister) and their baby boy, Aegon Targaryen. Except a switch was performed at the last minute by Griff, aka Jon Connington, a friend of Rhaegar’s, so another baby was killed in Aegon (now known as Youn Griff)’s place.

HBO’s Game of Thrones appear to have excised Griff and Young Griff from Tyrion’s storyline, which is probably a good decision for efficiency’s sake. The most that storyline offered was an alternative to Daenerys as the Targaryen heir; as Rhaegar was the Mad King’s firstborn son, Aegon is first in line to the Iron Throne. Because he has no offspring, Dany is in fact second. What seems strange is that the show has mentioned greyscale and the Stone Men in the two most recent episodes, “The House of Black and White” and “High Sparrow”. Last week we had a scene with Gilly and Shireen Baratheon, where the wildling asks Stannis’ daughter about her very contagious disease. When any of Gilly’s sisters contracted greyscale they were isolated in a separate hut and left to die. This week, when Tyrion and Varys are in Volantis, one of the red priestesses is speaking about the Stone Men, men who are in the late stages of greyscale so that they look like they’re made of Stone. In A Dance With Dragons, the ship on which Tyrion and the Golden Company are travelling to Volantis passes under the Bridge of Dreams where the Stone Men congregate. The Shy Maid is attacked, and one of the Stone Men pulls Tyrion into the water, and he is saved by Griff. In Griff’s chapters of the book it is revealed that he has contracted greyscale, but he has not yet told anyone about it.

This week, Tyrion is in Volantis, where he hears the Red Priestess talking about the Stone Men, but he also visits a brothel and is captured by Jorah Mormont. Jorah is taking him to “the Queen”, which in the books means Dany, and Tyrion was already headed to Meereen. I don’t keep an eye on casting, so I have no idea if the show has cast Griff and Young Griff, but I’m wondering why they’d mention greyscale and have a man capture Tyrion to take him where he’s already going. Why the mention of Greyscale? Will we come across Griff and Young Griff on the way to Meereen? If we do, why doesn’t Varys know of their existence? We know that the season 5 promotional poster for Game of Thrones is Tyrion meeting a dragon, so does he make it to Meereen or did he get waylaid by Drogon? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but the adaptation choices made by Benioff and Weiss are certainly intriguing.

Other thoughts:

  • I also like the adaptation choice made with Sansa at Winterfell, it’s making that storyline much more interesting, and it seems like we could end up with Sansa, the Boltons, Stannis and Brienne all at Winterfell.
  • My brother doesn’t like Sansa and thinks she’s annoying, which he’s wrong about (he also wants Jon Snow to end up on the Iron Throne for some reason). It’s true she was a bit of a brat in the first season, but then her fiance had her father beheaded, and I love the way she’s become Littlefinger’s apprentice in skulduggery and politics.
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