lol I had no idea this thread existed …
Some of my favourite ideas about what's to come, more for them being fun than them being likely ...
I don't like the whole "Jon wargs into Ghost then somehow comes back" idea just because I've read almost exactly the same plot line in another book ... which GRRM has probably also read, so maybe he'd be averse to it also. But at the same time, Jon's definitely going to be nearly dead or close to it after that incident. So what happens if Jon's dead? Surely, the likes of Marsh and Yarwyck aren't going to be able to keep the wildlings in line, especially with their non-co-operative attitude. Same with Queen Selyse ... or anyone, really. They need Jon to hold them together, really. So it would be in their interest, eventually, to take back a somehow alive Jon. Annnnd, Jon's at the Wall, which is cold, which could help somehow (cryo? :p) and more significantly, there's that thing Aemon said - fire destroys, but ice preserves or whatever. He implied he'd only actually lived so long because the Wall was somehow sustaining him. So it could too with Jon to some extent. In any case, Smellisandre's still at Castle Black ... Stannis left her behind. So surely, she's there to revive Jon? It makes sense for her, since, even if she doesn't see Jon's full importance, she recognises him as an important piece for Stannis, whom she believes is Azor Ahai come again.
I think it's particularly conspicuous that Jon was elected 998th Lord Commander (... according to tradition, even though Sam says there were probably less). After all, if he's dead, they'll have another one elected, right? Then Jon can come back and retake command and he'd be the thousandth.
Arguably, Jon dying and being revived can loophole his vows somehow, and, having had to flee the Wall, he could do something in the North (like help Stannis or whatever) before going back to the Wall (which he'd surely do after deliberating for a bit out of a sense of HONOUR AND DUTY).
Victarion's timely arrival and Barristan rallying Meereen beats the Yunkish forces, plus Tyrion convinces Plumm to turn and either the Sons or the Windblown free the hostages ... Then Victarion, Moqorro, Tyrion and Barristan tame Rhaegal and Viserion to some extent (and Tyrion becomes a rider! Wait ...) which might well involve Victarion dying (see Moqorro's dodgy prophecy). Meanwhile, Daenerys manages to tame Drogon somehow, by like hunting down Jhaqo's Khalasar and eating them or something. Then she flies to Meereen and the Meereen group fly out to find her and they meet in the middle
And then the Volantene fleet arrive, or Daenerys leaves and meets the Volantene fleet at sea, and in either case, Daenerys incinerates them or something. Maybe in the intervening time, Meereen (with the aid of Victarion's fleet) harasses and/or besieges some or all of Tolos, Elyria and New Ghis.
Then Daenerys gets to Volantis and the slaves have taken the city and she meets Marwyn there or on the way.
Stannis finds out about Arnolf from Theon. Manderly finds Stannis and concocts a plan with him. He takes lightbringer and goes to Winterfell, claiming he'd found Stannis's snow-killed army and killed him etc. Ramsay sends the letter. Manderly forces, maybe with some of Stannis's mixed in, takes Winterfell from within.
Asha can then totally get Theon later, call the kingsmoot invalid on account of Theon not being there, call another one (maybe after Euron's dead) and then become queen. Err ...
- The Crownlands and Stormlands:
Surely Connington will march on King's Landing. Cersei might be able to retake power, and she has the Tyrell and Lannister forces kind of there (but Euron's drawn some away) ... but basically the Faith runs the city now. And surely they're the ones who can defend (or otherwise) the city should it come under attack. And there will be a sand snake on each hill soon enough. In any case, Loras on Dragonstone is pretty suspicious, and maybe there will be, idk, a Tyrell coup or something. If Aegon was already on the throne by the time Daenerys arrived, that would be interesting, wouldn't it ...
Sam has the Horn of Winter, because why not.
And he'll kill Euron with an arrow through his covered eye, because why not.
After Alleras = Sarella improves his archery, of course, because she's an ace. And somehow Lazy Leo and the Alchemist (whatever he's doing there ...) will be important. And maybe Sam will learn something about the Others in the Citadel for him to relate to people who matter or something.
Chapter 1: "Why do I have to be a tree? I'm sad."
Chapter 2: "Jojen died. I'm sad."
Maybe with some exposition about the Others thrown in.
--- Update From New Post Merge ---
Books 4 and 5 ARE the timeskip.
Books 4 and 5 are where the timeskip was going to be, claimed by George himself.
Although the timeskip was going to be much longer. Like 5 years? So it puts us in an odd position for some characters … Like Sam being in the Citadel forging his chain when there's not enough time for him to get more than a few links ... or Arya and Sansa's apprenticeship stages needing to complete and lead to some sort of resolution pretty fast ... or Daenerys still having an awful lot to do and an awfully large number of miles to travel to become relevant to everyone else ...