George R.R. Martin releases a new chapter in The Winds of Winter

Contributed by
Apr 2, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

George R.R. Martin is slowly churning out The Winds of Winter, the upcoming book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, known to many as the basis of the HBO show Game of Thrones. But even though he's "not your bitch," as Neil Gaiman famously said, he's still sympathetic to the fact that we've been waiting since 2011 for TWoW. Toward that end, he's released a chapter, to keep us warm before we plunge into those wintry, windy nights.

This chapter concerns Alayne Stone, the girl formerly known as Sansa Stark. Here, she's a mature young woman who is learning to use her looks to her = and "father," Petyr Baelish's - advantage. Before her father's execution and Joffrey's cruelty, Sansa was a meek girl who dreamed of knightly honor. Now, she's playing the game of thrones.

The tourney, the prizes, the winged knights, it had all be her own notion. Lord Robert's mother had filled him full of fears, but he always took courage from the tales she read him of Ser Artys Arryn, the Winged Knight of legend, founder of his line. Why not surround him with Winged Knights? She had thought one night, after Sweetrobin had finally drifted off to sleep. His own Kingsguard, to keep him safe and make him brave. And no sooner did she tell Petyr her idea than he went out and made it happen. 

Viewers of the television show have disliked Sansa because they saw her as easily led, without her own ideas and her own voice. We see her as a different kind of strong: Like bamboo, she bends but does not break. Sansa may wear the cloak of Alayne, but inside, she's still a Stark.

Sadly, this means the previous chapter "Mercy"( another familiar character with a new name) has been replaced, as has the chapters that came before it: Barristan Selmy, Tyrion Lannister, Victarion Greyjoy, Theon Greyjoy, Aeron Greyjoy, and Arianne Martell.

To read "Alayne," visit GRRM's site.