I am back from HarmonyCon and I am ready to talk some shit about A Song of Ice & Fire, the (hopefully) ongoing fantasy series by George R.R. Martin. Those of you who are not of the reading disposition may know this series better through its television adaptation, Game of Thrones.
Now everyone and their mother has given an opinion on the final season of Game of Thrones and how much of a fucking catastrophe it truly was; an opinion that I agree with and thus feel I have little to nothing to contribute towards. But what some people may not know is that I actually think that there is an element of the George R.R. Martin's world that is born from the author's own mind that I actually think was a major missed opportunity and a failing on his part.
My problem stems from the Ironborn, the Viking inspired pirate civilization that lives on the barren rocks to the West of Westeros. Considered primitive and inherently untrustworthy, our most present viewpoint of Ironborn culture for most of the series stems exclusively from Theon Greyjoy, who is a prisoner (ward) of House Stark following a massive failed Independence movement perpetrated by Theon's father.
Theon's story soon expands to include several other characters that shift the focus of the story towards the selection of a new Ironborn king, which leads to Theon's uncle usurping his sister's position and placing both of them in potentially dangerous political waters, with implications that Euron Greyjoy has something very magical and dark going on in the background. In the books, this storyline has yet to be fully actualized; but the TV series did precisely dick-all with most if not all of the Ironborn plot (a fate seemingly shared by the Dornish).
But I think that there actually was a storyline that Martin could've made had he recontextualized Balon Greyjoy's independence movement and the general relationship between the Ironborn, their own history, and the Iron Throne as a whole. One that could've helped to build conflict between the Westeros as a whole and feed indirectly into the larger plot involving the Others.