Fans of the Realm, this is not a drill...we repeat, this is not a drill.
Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin has been criticized by many over the agonizing wait for The Winds of Winter, the anticipated new, sixth book in A Song of Ice and Fire series on which the HBO show is based.
Well, he posted an unedited 6,707-word excerpt from the novel, which has no release date, on his website on Thursday, ten days before the April 12 season 5 premiere of the series. So lower those angry fists for a moment and start speed-reading!
Or, we could just tell you what it's about. (Needless to say, spoiler alert!)
The excerpt is a chapter focusing on Sansa Stark. (Again, we repeat: Spoiler alert!) In season 4 of the show, she was smuggled away by the crafty Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, who gave her a new identity, his adopted daughter Alayne.
He also got a little too close for comfort, which (obviously) led to homicide.
In the new book excerpt, there's a little PDA but it does not appear to be sexual and Littlefinger again mentions her late mother Catelyn Stark (sob!), who he's obsessed with.
Meanwhile, the teenage girl undergoes a physical and psychological transformation: She has now become what promises to be a formidable player in the game of thrones.
Following their recent family "loss," the two are now stuck with Sansa's obnoxious and sickly child cousin, Robert Arryn, aka Sweetrobin, who is the heir to the Vale and is quite the special snowflake. Seriously, he's just the worst.
In the excerpt, Alayne grits her teeth through another agonizing conversation with the little twerp, this time trying to manipulate him into thinking that she is so not worthy of being his wife, and her inner thoughts are hilarious.
"You are such a little fool," she thinks to herself.
Under the guidance of Littlefinger, "Alayne" embarks on an important mission—to seduce a man named Ser Harrold Hardyng who is the next heir in line. Sansa was taught a long time ago by the conniving Cersei Lannister what weapon serves a woman best.
"Charm him. Entrance him. Bewitch him," "Alayne" thinks to herself regarding "Harry the Heir."
And the best way to win a man's heart, apparently, is to make fun of his unborn child's name.
"Alayne" also mentions her long-long sister Arya Stark, late brother, Robb Stark (don't, we just can't talk about it yet), father, beloved character Ned Stark (RIP), saying that for the first time since his (very grisly) death, she "felt alive again."
...and, as is often seen in the book series, the excerpt features a lengthy (162-word) paragraph describing...food.
Martin has released and read excerpts from The Winds of Winter several times before. This latest one marks the first chapter told from the point of view of Sansa, aka Alayne, since novel No. 4, A Feast of Crows.
In terms of its timeline, HBO's Game of Thrones is lagging behind the books, which will total at least seven overall. Subplots from the previous season dipped into A Feast for Crows.
However, as with many shows, storylines are not fully identical and some appear to have been completely omitted (spoiler alert!). More importantly, those who survive in the books may not make it onscreen...