I guess it’s not-so-monthly now...but still, I will be providing my thoughts and predictions for one storyline every month until the show’s return. Since I have read the books, I know what should happen, but several plots seem to be taking turns away from the original material, while others are almost spot on. I will examine these apparent changes/accuracy, and do my best to avoid spoilers in “A Monthly Dose of Westeros”.
Renly Baratheon is dead. Robb Stark is dead. Balon Greyjoy is an afterthought. Everybody hates Joffrey. So who left to root for but Stannis Baratheon? Well, there’s always the Mother of Dragons (ha) but Stannis is the only option not located on the other side of the world.
That being said, I am not rooting for Stannis. While he has a better claim than Joffrey, Stannis would probably end up being a worse king. He trusts his red priest Melisandre more than anybody else and let himself become a follower of the Lord of Light. He locked his wife and daughter away in a tower. He imprisoned his most loyal follower, Davos Seaworth, because he saw Melisandre for what she truly was. He lost the Battle of the Blackwater. He produced a shadow monster to kill his brother Renly. He inspires no trust or loyalty. Stannis is NOT the king Westeros needs.
That being said, Stannis is no idiot. He got very lucky that Davos learned to read, because without it he would not have learned that the Night’s Watch is asking for help. Since the amount of support he has is terribly low, Stannis knows the best way to gather more is to help at the Wall and battle the wildlings. Davos is the POV character for Stannis’ story in the books and Davos is out of chapters at this point. The group does appear later in the book, obviously, since they’re travelling to the Wall, but they will be out of screen time at this point.
Stannis and Melisandre’s story has basically gone exactly the same as in the books and Melisandre is still a minor character at this point, so there is not much to say about her. Davos, meanwhile, has had a decent change to his story. In the books, Gendry remains with the Brotherhood without Banners and does NOT travel to Dragonstone with Melisandre. Instead, a boy named Edric Storm is brought to Dragonstone and used in exactly the same way as Gendry. In the show, Gendry is basically a prisoner until Davos puts him in a boat and tells him to return to where he came from. But Edric Storm is Stannis’ “guest”. His daughter is told about Edric and the two form a cousinly relationship, to the point where Shireen does not want Davos to free Edric. The two learn together and play together, while Gendry never met Shireen.
My predictions for Stannis’ storyline is basically that the writers will make some stuff up. Davos is out of chapters and Stannis doesn’t appear until close to the end of the book, so I believe the writers will put Stannis’ voyage onscreen and include a stop to do a very important thing that we don’t see in this book. In my opinion, Stannis’ return in the book will occur in the show’s ninth episode, so we will see a lot of made up stuff for the group this season, until they become a central part of another storyline in the next season. Davos and Melisandre will travel North with Stannis but they shouldn't really have much to do in this season either. The end of this season will probably begin using material from A Feast for Crows, so we could so some important stuff later on.