In the letter George R.R. Martin sent to Harper Collins in October 1993, the American writer summarized his plan about his upcoming fantasy books. Martin's original plan reveals some huge dissimilarities from the Game of Thrones plotline we all know.

George R.R. Martin's original plan: the Starks

According to the letter, before Ned Stark is taken to be executed he manages to help Catelyn and Arya escape back to Winterfell. After Ned's death, the north is ripped apart by war, with Robb Stark leading the Northern men. Although Robb obtains several victories, in the end he dies on the battlefield, killed by the Lannisters. After Robb's death, Tyrion Lannister besieges and burns Winterfell, forcing Catelyn, Bran, and Arya to move north hoping to be protected by the Night's Watch.

Jon Snow's crazy love story

In Martin's original plan, Jon Snow is a ranger of the Night's Watch, not the Lord Commander's steward. When Catelyn, Bran, and Arya arrive at the Wall, Jon and Benjen Stark can't help them due to the "no family" oath taken by the men of the Watch, and the fact they can't be involved in the Seven Kingdoms' politics. This creates a bitter feud between Bran and Jon, but what really matters is that Arya "realizes with terror, that she's fallen in love with Jon," her sworn to celibacy half-brother.

Their love "will continue to torment Jon and Arya throughout the [books]", Martin wrote in the letter, until Jon's real parentage is revealed.

Things get even weirder

Jon's tormented love story with Arya becomes even odder when Tyrion, after a change of sides, starts to help out the Starks and fall in love with Arya Stark.

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The love is unreciprocated but really intense, and it leads to a "deadly rivalry" between Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister.

A selection of plans that played out differently

Here are some other remarkable dissimilarities from George Martin's original plan and the story depicted in Game of Thrones and in the A Song of Ice and Fire book series:

  • Jon never joins Mance Rayder as a spy.
  • Daenerys kills Khal Drogo to avenge Viserys' death.
  • Poor Sansa Stark gives Joffrey Baratheon a child.
  • After Joffrey is removed from the Throne, Jaime takes his place by killing the other pretenders and blaming Tyrion.
  • When Tyrion is exiled, he flees north to join the Starks instead of sailing for Essos.
  • In the letter there are no clues that Tyrion is a dwarf.
  • Before dying, Robb manages to mutilate Joffrey on the battlefield, but the young and cruel Baratheon/Lannister survives nonetheless.