Culture

Game of Thrones Fans Launch $20 Million Kickstarter to 'Fix Dorne'

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Fans are livid over the treatment that Game of Thrones gave its southern storyline in Seasons 5 and 6, and they have every reason to be. Now, a few true believers who are professionals in the entertainment field have launched a campaign to remake pivotal scenes from the show, in order to add the depth this storyline “deserves.”

David Panfilo, who wrote questions for the official Game of Thrones trivia game, writer/director Sean Ireland, “ideas guy” Vincent Pezzutti, and artist/writers Teela Wyman and Jonathan Ying launched a Kickstarter campaign, shooting to raise $20 million (!) to remake the unpopular plotline.

Game of Thrones is based on the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. In Martin’s fictional continent of Westeros, the south is known as “Dorne,” and it features a very powerful family, the Martells. The show largely scraps their story. In what might be a veiled rebuke, Martin this week released a new chapter of his forthcoming book The Winds of Winter which features Arianne Martell, a complex character the show cut out entirely.

One of the major points of intrigue centers around Arianne, eldest daughter of Prince Doran Martell. Doran is slow to act, but has a very elaborate plan, which book readers are convinced will play a major role.

(Spoiler Warning!) In the show, Doran is killed off in Season 6 by the “Sand Snakes.” These murderous ladies are “strong female characters” who are simultaneously underdeveloped and overhyped. Somehow, they are able to orchestrate an effective coup, and the guards don’t even try to stop them.

Game of Thrones often has very complex female characters whose motivations make sense and who change throughout the story. In the books, Arianne Martell is one such character. While she feels deprived of her birthright, Arianne nevertheless maintains her loyalty to her father, even as she attempts an ill-fated power play. The Sand Snakes are a grievous departure from that excellent record. In fact, they articulate one of the worst lines in the entire show — “You want a good girl, but you need the bad p*ssy.”

This isn’t just anti-Feminist, it’s bad story-telling. That’s why Panfilo and crew launched their project “Fixing Dorne.”  While it may seem absurd to try to remake key scenes in a TV show — especially one as successful as Game of Thrones — the campaign is determined to try.

“The costume and set designers for the show did a fantastic job with the Dornish culture,” the campaign concedes, but “many of our qualms come from strange writing choices and what seemed like a misallocation of creative resources.” This is an understatement. After the show created the southern kingdom, it largely scrapped the entire storyline early in Season 6.

The Martell house words are “Unbowed. Unbent. Unbroken,” so the “Fixing Dorne” campaign has its own slogan: “Un-Bending. Un-Bowing. Un-Breaking.”

“Enthusiasts will rejoice to know that these scenes will ‘plug and play’ with the existing episodes, meaning that all they have to do is watch the episodes are usual on HBOGO or blu-ray, pause whenever the show’s ‘Dorne’ comes on, and play the next supplemental scene in its place before skipping to the end,” the campaign explains. To watch their version, fans will have to use two screens — one for the original Game of Thrones — and another for the “fixed” Dorne.

Next Page: What the alternate storyline would look like, and how much money they’ve already raised.

The artists are not book purists, and do not plan to remake the scenes entirely in adherence with A Song of Ice and Fire. “While we’ll draw heavily from the books to remake the Sand Snakes, we’ll be sticking to the show for decisions such as having Bronn be a singer and Areo Hotah hail from the Summer Isles,” they explain.

In the books, the Sand Snakes are bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell (a popular figure in both books and show) by very diverse mothers. In the show, all of them look roughly the same, but the Kickstarter version would have them look different and have very different character decisions. The new version would bring back this diversity and character development, and make the story of Jamie Lannister and Ser Bronn of the Blackwater more … logical.

Kickstarter Screenshot Credit: Teela Wyman

Kickstarter Screenshot Credit: Teela Wyman

In the show, Jamie and Bronn head to Dorne to rescue the princess Myrcella. They acquire Dornish garb and easily infiltrate the Water Gardens, where Myrcella is, leading to an anticlimactic fight with the Sand Snakes, who also simplistically infiltrate the same location, attempting to kill the princess. Dornish guards arrest them all, and the rest is silly.

In this new version, it would be more difficult for Jamie, Bronn, and the Sand Snakes to infiltrate the Water Gardens. The two groups might actually meet in a way that makes sense, and features better action and compelling intrigue.

The campaign has only raised $24,410 so far, and the deadline is June 4. It seems the Game of Thrones fans who made the show the most pirated show of 2015 may not be willing to put down the cash necessary to make this alternate version.

Nevertheless, complainers now have the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is — albeit rather expensive.