While most Game of Thrones fans are mourning the loss of treasured characters, as a longtime admirer of George RR Martin, I wonder how the great man would have written the wedding the fans have been cheated of -- Jon Snow and Ygritte. Would the happy couple have ridden off into the sunset and bred a large family? Or would they have been slaughtered in a repeat of the Red Wedding. So, with apologies to the great GRRM, here is my tribute to arguably every GOT fan's favorite love birds -- now their watch has ended. Hopefully this chapter will ease the pain of grieving fans.
Jon Snow and Ygritte forever.
Thick and Tart. Jon Snow knew the taste of air before a battle and, tonight, the winter air had all the makings of a blood bath. He was surrounded by pageantry, warriors tall and proud in polished armor and stiffened tunics. A gallery of ladies swathed to their teats in garish finery, eager for a show.
Sam shook Jon from his glum daze. "Jon? Did you remember?"
"I did." Jon patted his hip. "It's right here."
Sam reached down and felt the hilt of Jon's sword beneath his tunic. "Not your sword, you bloody fool, the ring! You're gettin' married, remember?"
"The ring!" gasped Jon.
Sam held it up with a grin. "Calm down, Jon. And no one should have a hand on your sword this day except the lady Ygritte when you retire for the evening as man and wife!"
Jon sighed. "Of course you're right, my friend." He looked at the gathered crowd of guests. "But there's more bad blood out there than I care to think."
"Keep calm," said Sam as Ygritte appeared at the back of the hall with her court. "Even bad blood likes a good party."
As Ygritte made her way down the aisle toward Jon, the guests snapped to attention. Armor clanked as esteemed knights jostled for a closer view. Jon stiffened.
The wedding felt like a betrayal, but Jon was determined to marry the woman he loved. Jon's vows to the Night's Watch were not as strong as his duty to avenge the massacre of his family. Perhaps, if he had never fallen in love with Ygritte, he would have remained on the Watch. Yet, as he gazed into her beautiful face, a vision of fire amid the frost, he realized that she was the worth his status as a deserter.
"Do you, Ygritte, take Jon Snow...?"
"I, Ygritte, take Jon Snow..."
Moments later, Jon had exchanged his old vows for new. He kissed Ygritte, hugged Sam, and shared a roar of approval of his wife from the guests.
Yet only a pitiful number of friends had gathered to cheer the newlywed couple. All but a handful of the Night's Watch abandoned Jon after he accepted Stannis's offer to join forces. And, still many Free Folk were angry with Ygritte for forgiving the man who betrayed them. The wedding hall was mostly filled with Stannis's army. Soldiers always do, of course, excel at merriment.
The Wedding that Never Was.
There was no shortage of ale, flowing freely from silver goblets, and what food the icy north could provide was laid out as a splendid feast. Those remaining friends of Jon's on the Watch joined Stannis's soldiers in song.
Ygritte squeezed Jon's hand and gestured at a young Watchman arguing with a knight over a pitcher of wine. "These crows of yours are not so bad once you get some drink in them!"
Jon kissed his wife and laced his fingers through her hair. A train of guests snaked to the head table, bearing gifts for the newlyweds.
There was jewelry, gems, leatherwear, ceremonial weapons, ornate flasks and clothing, spiritual trinkets and more. Jon found this part of the ceremony tedious. Thank goodness for Ygritte's poise. Ah, to be alone with her now, Jon thought. Ygritte caught his sly grin and responded in kind before sliding back to her duties.
It was deep into the night and deep into the ale, when an exotic woman with amber skin reached the front of the gift line. She was streaming in shimmering silks that struggled against her suggestive figure. In her hands, an oblong orb of dull luster, the size of a man's head.
"My lady," she said, "please accept this humble offering from my family."
"Your family?" said Ygritte. "Please forgive me if your face and dress are not familiar to me."
"Mine is a distant family," she purred
"Distant? How so?"
She cast an eye to Jon and then held Ygritte fast with her stare. "Beyond your walls. Beyond your lands. Beyond the ice."
"Beyond the ice?" mused Ygritte.
Jon glanced at the doors of the hall. Where were the guards?
Ygritte absorbed the tension unfazed. "As intrigued as I am by your homeland, I'm more so by this gift you bear."
The visitor set it gently before Ygritte. "It is a treasure unique to my home."
The guests were crowding around for a closer look and Jon felt his pulse rise.
Ygritte shook her head. "... Forgive me, but, what is it?"
A light chuckle rose from the crowd.
"A dragon's egg."
"I'm sorry," interrupted Jon, "what did you say your name was?"
Without a glance Jon's way, she continued. "You won't find one in all your kingdom or anywhere in this realm. I would hide it, if I were you."
Jon stood. "My lady ..."
"From whom?" said Ygritte, showing her growing impatience.
The woman grinned and slowly pointed her finger behind them to a trail of smoke, rising from the fire. A massive glistening form uncoiled from the shadows of the ceiling beams high above the hall. Silence fell. Claws settled silently about the bottom beams. A studded tail longer than the dinning tables drifted from the dark into the light of the hall.
"A dragon? What have you done?" hissed Ygritte.
THWACK! Sam's sword took off the stranger's head and left it wobbling on the table next to the egg. "She was a witch. I hate witches."
"TO ARMS!" bellowed Jon, dragging Ygritte under the table with him.
You can't have GOT Without a Dragon
The room erupted into chaos. The sound of freshly drawn steel rang out, tables crashed, nobles shrieked. The dragon wailed and smashed through the beams as it sprang to the floor, crushing a knight fumbling for his sword.
When the first belch of flames came from the beast, a throng of terrified guests was madly pressing for the doors. The wave of fire left a smoldering mass of melted dead and dying smeared down the center aisle.
Jon and Sam were at the dragon's tail as the flames receded, but Ygritte struck first with an arrow from her bow. It sunk deep into its neck, sending the beast whipping about in pain.
Jon spun on Ygritte. "Get out of here!"
Jon threw himself to the floor as the dragon's tail crushed a group of guests huddled under a table. The dragon spat a ball of flame that charred dozens of people, burying the exit in broken burning debris and bodies. The room was thick with burning hair and flesh and the stone floor was slick with blood. Desperate calls to action and pleas for mercy joined with the dragon's thunderous rampage to rattle the old stone hall.
The dragon raised up to fill its lungs. Its wings splintered beams and crumbled the brick walls. Its tail sent screeching soldiers tumbling through the air smashing into walls and tables.
Before the dragon could draw another fiery breath, Jon roared and hacked off two of its toes. The beast shrieked and whipped around on Jon, but another arrow from Ygritte found its mark at the base of its neck. The dragon foamed with rage as dark blood splashed across the floor and walls.
Jon saw his chance. He jumped on a table and leapt through the air toward the dragon's belly, sword poised to strike. The dragon swatted him from the air and bit an attacking knight in half. Sam bellowed and charged head-long at the beast.
"NO!" demanded Ygritte.
Sam slid to a stop through a puddle of blood.
The dragon loomed, chest heaving, tendrils of smoke slithering from its nostrils.
Sam turned to see Ygritte poised over the dragon egg with a battle axe. Her dress was splattered with blood and matted with ash and sweat.
The great dragon recoiled to its full height, sword quills sprang erect down its neck and back. Its eyes smoldered yellow and crimson.
Groups of huddled survivors whimpered in corners, small fires crackled.
"Take your egg, and go," said Ygritte.
The dragon wheezed and snarled but did not move.
"I know you understand my words. Take your egg and go."
The dragon lumbered slowly through the carnage, its head swaying back and forth and its eyes locked on Ygritte. She could hear its teeth grinding together and smell its foul blood leaking hot from its wounds.
Slowly, the beast crouched and took the egg in its massive jaws and in a wash of air, it swooped up through the beams and crashed out through the roof.
Ygritte and Sam scrambled to Jon's side, lying flat on the floor. Ygritte took his head in her lap as he regained consciousness. "It's okay," she said.
Jon smiled wearily and looked at Sam.
"I'll admit it," Sam said, "You were right to keep your sword close by."
Jon smiled at Sam and then looked lovingly at his wife.
"What other gifts did we get?" said Jon.
LJ Charleston is an Australian author & journalist who loves GoT and George RR Martin and hopes he forgives her for writing a chapter that can never, ever really happen but might lessen the heartache of his fans. @ljcharleston