- What Could Have Been: Vanity Fair went to the WGA library and dug out Martin's early draft for "The Lion and the Rose" (a.k.a. the Purple Wedding episode). Unlike Martin's other scripts, it differs notably from the version finally produced:
- The episode would have settled the question of who was behind the Season 1 assassination attempt on Bran much earlier than the series ultimately did, with the same guilty party the books imply: Joffrey. Tyrion would have realized this when Joffrey said, in response to getting the Valyrian steel sword as a wedding gift, that he was not unfamiliar with the material ... and in turn Tyrion makes remarks to Joffrey suggesting he'd figured out from this that Joffrey had tried to have Bran killed, explaining why Joffrey is so cruel to him during the wedding scenes, and why Tyrion is framed for Joffrey's murder, developments that make less sense in the finished episode.
- This also makes Tyrion more honest with Shae about why she should leave him if she wants to live, with him warning her rather graphically about how brutally Tywin could have her killed ... and better setting up her later betrayal. Likewise, Varys would have informed Tyrion that Tywin knows about Tyrion's relationship with Shae not in a quick, furtive conversation on a garden path, but in the dungeons ... with Varys "appear[ing] as a denizen of the dungeons; clad in leather and mail, an iron helm on his head, heavy boots on his feet, a whip coiled at his side. Even a BEARD".
- Bran's first vision is much more extensive, to the point of giving us our first glimpse of the Night King and setting up the psychic connection between the Stark children and the direwolves. A handwritten note suggests the plan in season 5 or 6 was to eventually have the direwolves battle Ramsay's dogs. Since at the time of the writing Stannis and Ramsay are still alive in the books, this has led to speculation about what happens to Ramsay in the books may well be very different from his onscreen fate. It also would have foreshadowed Arya's studies with the Faceless Men in the next two seasons.
- Roose Bolton tells Ramsay of his plan to marry him off to ... Arya, who would actually be Sansa's friend Jeyne, the plotline from the books that was later shelved in favor of having Sansa herself marry Ramsay.
- Theon would have looked a lot worse for the wear at Ramsay's hands, much more like he does in the books, with some clearly missing fingers, and prematurely white hair.
- Many of the minor characters who are in the book's wedding scene were also present,note as well as all the dishes prepared for it.
- The dialogue about the famine in the Riverlands reflected the plan, at the time, to follow the books and have Jaime go there, a plotline replaced with the ill-fated Dorne trip and only used in much more condensed form in Season 6.
- The scene where three of Stannis's underlings are burned alive as punishment would have shown more directly the hand of the Lord of Light. At a certain point the flames would have suddenly increased and changed color ... with apparitions of the three dead seen, blissful and younger-looking, briefly above. Melisandre's conversations with Shireen would also have foreshadowed some events that ultimately happens some seasons later in the show.
- Joffrey's death would have been gorier ... the poison would have made him slash away at his face and neck as well as cough up blood.
Trivia / Game of Thrones S4E2: "The Lion and the Rose"