It's time for us book readers to swallow our pride and and simply accept that Game of Thrones Season 6 is set to overtake George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. While Martin is still able to keep a few key details up his sleeve, saving some true surprises for the readers, and he is hoping to even finish the books before the show is done, the real thrust of the story will now be handed over to David Benioff and DB Weiss.
That's a hard pill to swallow for anyone who loved the books, and felt them to be a more thorough experience than watching the show. Still, we can take solace in knowing that Game of Thrones has been liberally changing things from the books for some time now. Perhaps once the book timeline is overtaken, the story we see will in no way resemble what we've read. Although the show runners are allegedly aiming to end on the same note Martin does, many details could change between now and then.
Without a dedication to source material, the show could be freed up hugely. Changes could be made that would be unthinkable to George RR Martin. So let's speculate. What radical alterations might fans want to see once the show is ahead?
OBVIOUS BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD!
A focus on minor characters
Reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series is a great experience, and it's staggering to see just how many characters are well rounded and established. That said, only a fraction of them are POV characters. Some fans of the show are almost surprised to find out Theon has his own chapters, even after Ramsay has systematically broken him physically and emotionally. It's harder to perceive which characters get this priority in the show, and there's a reason for it.
From the start, Game of Thrones has been aiming to blur the lines between POV and background characters, and make each person as important as the next. While this has only been slightly successful, it may allow the show to indulge some perspectives that readers weren't permitted. For example, the books see Bronn rise to being a lord, and defend his keep and title against Cersei's every effort to oust him. All of this is conjecture in the books, yet could make for a fun arc in the show. Whether Bronn will be in this position come Season 6, we just don't know. Another storyline in the books sees Loras Tyrell lay siege to a Stannis-less Dragonstone. All details of it are simply heard by Cersei, but in the show it could make for some excellent spectacle.
It's not like Games of Thrones has ever shied away from casually adding entirely new characters to the mix, so why wouldn't they up their game once the books are no longer the model to follow? I'm not quite convinced that this tactic would work well, for while Benioff and Weiss have been very good at fleshing out, amplifying or altering existing characters, their original creations have not been quite as captivating. Anyone remember Talisa and Ros? I sure wish they'd been around longer...
What makes this extra unlikely is the fact that Game of Thrones Season 5 has been combining existing characters and eradicating others completely from canon. For example, Arys Oakheart is now just Jaime Lannister. I doubt the show will bolster it's huge roster any further when it doesn't need to.
Daenerys lost in Westeros
This is where the speculation for Season 6 can get a bit heady. It's still unclear whether Benioff and Weiss will opt for this change, though they're no strangers to going bigger and bolder when it comes to adapting Martin's more fateful moments in the story. In A Dance With Dragons, after an attempt on her life is foiled by her dragon, Drogon, Dany is whisked away by the beast and not seen for the rest of the novel. She is later revealed to be wondering aimlessly in the Dothraki sea with nothing but the clothes she wears to her name.
My suspicion is that the show could see Drogon fly not only across Essos, but all the way to Westeros, where Dany has been aiming right since the beginning. Perhaps this will happen with Drogon flying over Asshai, thus fulfilling Quaithe's prophecy in the second book. The coolest thing about this possibility is the irony that Daenerys will finally reach her homeland, but be a nobody. She'll have no army, no attendants, and no one to back up her claim. Oh, but she will likely have a dragon, so at least that will be interesting.
The white walkers and the Iron Throne
Someone at HBO needs to finally decide if they're going ahead with the white walkers plot line, or simply keeping it as a vague threat off in the distance. My suspicion is that Martin never had that much conviction with the white walkers anyway, and kept them to give a sense of immediacy to his incredibly deep lore-filled toy-box. Well by the time we get Game of Thrones Season 6, we don't exactly need convincing that the story works. It's been six years and I only get the impression that the white walkers are the most dithering uncommitted layabouts in Westeros.
As for the Iron Throne, something should probably be done with it as a plot device. Yes, everyone likes Tommen, and he's a thousand times more interesting than in the books, but fans could lose interest if there's absolutely no contest for ruling the seven kingdoms. How about someone interesting with at least some claim vying to take Tommen's place? Myrcella Baratheon, Sansa Stark or even Shireen Baratheon would all be great potential queens!
Obviously these are all only ideas, and me not elaborating on them is the reason I'm not currently writing for HBO (that is definitely the only reason). I'm just saying, Benioff and Weiss. You eradicated the story arcs of Lady Stoneheart, Quentin Martell, Jon Connington and Young Griff. You'd better replace them with something pretty damn good!