For the most part of the show’s earliest seasons, writers were following Martin’s lead – adapting his epic A Song of Ice and Fire saga for the small screen. But it worked in reverse, too: when Martin saw one particular actor’s performance, he decided to change the way he wrote her. But she hasn’t actually been seen on the page since Game of Thrones began on HBO and Sky Atlantic – in which she was killed off (she was only passingly mentioned in the most recent novel, 2011’s A Dance with Dragons). So is he going to keep her alive in the books?
The character is Osha, and the actress is Natalia Tena.
Speaking way back in 2011 as season one was on the verge of premiering, Martin credited the performer with being “more dynamic” than he had expected.
He told Collider at the time: “The only actress who’s really made me rethink a character is Natalia Tena as Osha.
“She’s younger, more attractive and more dynamic than I had initially written that character.
“And, when Osha comes back into the story, as I hope that she will, I’m definitely going to take that into account.”
Osha was killed in the TV show by Ramsay Bolton in season six, but in the books she was written off as she left with Bran after escaping Winterfell in A Clash of Kings.
She was briefly mentioned in A Dance with Dragons – so could Martin be bringing her back in The Winds of Winter?
On if anyone else had a similar impact on his writing, he mused: “It does occur to me, while I’ve been finishing A Dance With Dragons, that I sometimes have these moments when I’m doing horrible things to characters, where the actor comes to me and I find myself thinking, ‘Oh, god, what am I doing to this perfectly nice person here?
“‘They’re going to have to act out this horrible scene that I’ve just written for them.’
“But, thankfully, most actors seem to thrive, the more you do terrible things to their character. It gives them a chance to really show their acting chops.
“So, I think that they’ll do just fine, when they get to some of this stuff.”
Indeed, A Dance with Dragons came out that same year, but it hasn’t been followed-up yet.
The Winds of Winter is the next, sixth book in the saga, and it will be followed by the finale, A Dream of Spring.
Martin recently said that he aims to have it completed by summer 2020, with some bookies reported to have offered slim odds on it seeing the light of day by the end of 2019.
Anticipation has kicked up a gear after the show aired its divisive finale, which left many fans disappointed.