Showrunners reveal why they almost cut Dorne completely out of Game of Thrones

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Jan 11, 2016, 4:28 PM EST (Updated)

Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss (as well as producer Bryan Cogman) have sat down with Entertainment Weekly, and in their latest lenghty interview, they discussed the upcoming fifth season and talked about some of the major characters driving the story forward all over the A Song of Ice and Fire map. Benioff said of the new season:

"Worlds are colliding. For so long, we’ve been in separate continents, and finally this season we’re starting to see some crossover. Tyrion and Arya—at end of season 4, we saw two major characters bound for Essos. That changes everything for us. It’s exciting to see our familiar characters in unfamiliar locales and interact with each other, and hopefully we’ll see more of this as the story progresses."

But what was interesting to learn, was that the show was oh-so-close to cutting the entirety of the Dorne storyline — a plot that becomes a major part and a key player in George R.R. Martin’s epic saga — from the HBO series; just like they cut off the whole Ironborn storyline, including most of Theon Greyjoy’s (Alfie Allen) uncles, and the entire Kingsmoot sequence. Weiss said:

"We were so happy to be able to include it. We didn’t know if it would fit, to be honest—because of budgeting, scheduling and story reasons. There were a lot of ways we had to cram it in. But it’s such an important place. Of all the places in Westeros you’d ever want to live, the Dornish seem to have figured out the right approach to life. It’s the one most aligned with what our approach to life would be if we weren’t making this show. It’s our Brazil—we dream of Dorne and the way they do things down there. And Indira Varma [who was introduced as Ellaria Sand last season]—once you have someone of her caliber, you want to double down on that casting strength. Also the Sand Snakes are such a fun, exciting addition to that world. [Prince Oberyn Martell] opened up a tiny window into this world last season, and now you get to go through that window and see what kind of world this is that made this person we loved so much."

It’s a huge relief to see the show actually went ahead to include most of the juicy Dornish stuff to come with Prince Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig) and the Sand Snakes. (Although we can’t help but think: Where is Princess Arianne? Will we get to see her in season 6?) And with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) heading to Dorne instead of Harrenhal (another major book departure) this season, essentially meshing all the happenings of Kings Landing to those of Dorne together much, much sooner, going to Dorne has never looked more fun. Are you glad the powers-that-be ultimately managed to add Dorne to the fifth season of Game of Thrones?

(EW via Winter Is Coming