Fair warning: my final essay contains significant Winds of Winter Spoilers. Beware!
“Light your fire, and tell me what you see.”
Moqorro’s dark eyes seemed to shine. “I see dragons.” (TWOW, Victarion I)
The Winds of Winter will be George RR Martin’s bloodiest book. I make that prediction despite some incredibly violent books. I believe that there will be events in The Winds of Winter that will cost more human lives than all of the seminal events combined. George RR Martin, himself, stated that he will open The Winds of Winter with two huge battles. The first will be the Battle in the Ice, that is the great Battle of Winterfell between Stannis Baratheon and Roose Bolton. The second and focus of this essay series is the Battle of Meereen, the battle of fire. All of the events from the Meereenese Knot from A Dance with Dragons led up to it. More than half of the chapters that George RR Martin has read or released from The Winds of Winter have centered on the planning and opening acts of the battle itself. I predict that it will be the largest, most violent battle that GRRM has ever written. But who will lay dead in the field? What will the outcome be? What impact will this have on the story large?
As stated above, George has released a number of sample chapters from TWOW on this battle. In this section, I’ll be using the following sample chapters on what we know about how the battle starts:
- Barristan I & II
- Tyrion I & II
- Victarion I
However, as GRRM has indicated that he won’t be releasing any more sample chapters before the publication of The Winds of Winter, I’ll be doing a lot of speculation on the outcome of the battle. By necessity, I’ll broaden the scope from The Winds of Winter and talk about what I think is some foreshadowing found in other volumes of the series. There will be points where you might think that I’ve gone into crackpot territory with my ideas, but I hope you’ll at least consider them. But, of course, that part of the essay will be my SWAG, that is a “Scientific, Wild-Ass Guess.”
All said, this will be a pretty deep-dive, and it’s the longest essay I’ve written on ASOIAF. I considered splitting this into two parts, but I wanted to deliver the essay in its integrity. So strap in!
As stated above, there are significant The Winds of Winter spoilers in this essay. If you’re attempting to read The Winds of Winter unsullied by any of the pre-released or read chapters, read no further!