I'd really like to hear your thoughts about the oldest Tyrell siblings. GRRM has said that the showrunners cutting them out was a huge mistake that will come back to haunt them. Garlan is suggested in the books to be a badass warrior but the family never uses him. And Willas is the bookish/intellectual son and they always have an interesting role in ASOIAF. What do you think could be in store for them?
Hi anon! Great question, I’ve often wondered about that as well. It really surprised me when GRRM came out swinging for Garlan and Willas, as I never would’ve guessed they’d be so central to his plans.
Which is not to say I don’t love them. Garlan’s a BAMF, no question, but more importantly, he’s one of the most thoroughly decent characters in the series:
“I see why they name you Garlan the Gallant, ser,” she said, as she took his hand.
“My lady is gracious to say so. My brother Willas gave me that name, as it happens. To protect me.”
“To protect you?” She gave him a puzzled look.
Ser Garlan laughed. “I was a plump little boy, I fear, and we do have an uncle called Garth the Gross. So Willas struck first, though not before threatening me with Garlan the Greensick, Garlan the Galling, and Garlan the Gargoyle.”
It was so sweet and silly that Sansa had to laugh, despite everything. Afterward she was absurdly grateful.
“My lady wife is most concerned for you,” he said quietly, one such time.
“Lady Leonette is too sweet. Tell her I am well.”
“A bride at her wedding should be more than well.” His voice was not unkind. “You seemed close to tears.”
“Tears of joy, ser.”
“Your eyes give the lie to your tongue.” Ser Garlan turned her, drew her close to his side. “My lady, I have seen how you look at my brother. Loras is valiant and handsome, and we all love him dearly… but your Imp will make a better husband. He is a bigger man than he seems, I think.”
“No, my lady,” Ser Garlan said. “My lord of Lannister was made to do great deeds, not to sing of them. But for his chain and his wildfire, the foe would have been across the river. And if Tyrion’s wildlings had not slain most of Lord Stannis’s scouts, we would never have been able to take him unawares.”
His words made Tyrion feel absurdly grateful, and helped to mollify him as Galyeon sang endless verses about the valor of the boy king and his mother, the golden queen.
As far as his family under-utilizing him, I’ve argued that Lord Mace (the most underrated player in the game, and among the most successful) gains and keeps power by preserving his military assets, rather than expending them. And Garlan did come in rather handy at the Blackwater, what with taking down Guyard Morrigen and fronting as Renly reborn and whatnot.
While we’ve yet to meet Willas, everything we’ve heard about him (see Garlan’s story above) suggests he’s just as pure a cinnamon roll. I’d ship him with Sansa so hard if I weren’t already a fervent acolyte of the SanSan cult.
Anyway! We can conclude from GRRM’s warning that there’s a big plot point(s) involving these bros that the show can’t afford to leave out. I was honestly baffled as to what this might be…until the recent casting call for Season 6 revealed that the show will feature Euron Greyjoy after all.
So now I think that Garlan and Willas will be central to Euron’s downfall, or maybe just the full reveal of his nature and plans. But how so? My guess is that Willas and Sam team up at Highgarden in A Dream of Spring (the latter having fled Oldtown, the city consumed by Rhaegal’s fire as wielded by Euron and/or whatever Lovecraftian abomination Damphair inevitably calls from the briny deep).
So the two of them get an awesome Research Montage (papers flying, candles melting, heated arguments over which of Highgarden’s many signature pastries taste best), with Sam applying what he’s learned about the maesters’ metaphysical mission as mentioned by Marwyn. (Can I get paid to alliterate?) Hopefully Sallera survives to join in, and why not, Hoster Blackwood somehow ends up in the library as well; maybe Tyrion even flies in on Viserion to lend a hand, and a dragon’s presence helps put the final pieces together. Book lovers unite to save the world, basically, and the more martial Garlan applies their theories to bring down the Crow’s Eye. (Before Jon shows up to claim Rhaegal and tearfully reunite with Sam, that is.)
To speculate further…the showrunners of course are aware that GRRM thinks they’ve painted themselves into a corner here. Maybe their way out can be found in the other major addition to next season’s cast: Randyll Tarly. I can totally see Benioff & Weiss manufacturing a Very Special Moment where Randyll sees how vital his son’s book-learnin’ really is to the true war, sheds a manly tear, and dies using Sam’s findings to fight Euron. (Horn Hill stands in for Highgarden in this scenario, given that the show is apparently going to include the rest of Sam’s family as well.)