With the show producers now referring to the books as mere “source material”, last season saw some major deviations from the original literature on which the series was based. Fans of the series are ready to leave the books behind and are instead taunted by the multitude of teasers and rumours that emerged online following Season 4’s gripping finale.
Fans of HBO’s hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones must piece together their predictions from the occasional leak and scraps of dubious internet speculation for Season 5. So we’ve called upon our little birds and scoured the Seven Kingdoms and beyond for any little whispers we could find.
It goes without saying- SPOILERS IMMINENT
Back in June it was already confirmed that Lady Stoneheart, the vengeful zombie reincarnation of Catelyn Stark, would be cut from the new season. Fans of the book series awaited her arrival in the season finale but were sorely disappointed. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Michelle Fairley confirmed her character will not return. But fans can take solace in knowing that other character’s story arcs are set to benefit from the cut.
The Dog Has Had His Day
The finale proved that lady knight, Brienne of Tarth is not to be messed with, felling the Hound in a brutal final battle. In the books, Lady Stoneheart has a large part to play in Brienne’s story arch, but the series saw her abandon her quest to locate Sansa and go after Arya. It’ll be interesting to see what the writers have planned for Brienne, but as we saw with the finale, deviation from the books can bring about some awesome viewing and in the writers we trust.
Tale of Two Cities
Big changes are ahead for Arya. The finale of season 4 saw her set sail for the Free City of Braavos after leaving the injured Hound to die in agony. Images leaked from the set show Arya sporting the latest in Bravosi fashion, leaving behind her boyish leathers and opting for a long skirt and blouse. Her presence in Braavos means we’re likely to see Arya’s narrative remain fairly close to the books – which have her seek the Guild of the Faceless Men and navigate the canals of Braavos, honing her sword skills. Actress Maisie Williams, who plays the youngest Stark daughter, says her character will be “unrecognisable” in the new series. We’ve already seen her darker side as she leaves the Hound to die in pain, but in Braavos she becomes the Cat of the Canals, a ruthless trainee assassin. For Arya, season 5 is certainly going to be exciting.
Everyone’s favourite half-man, Tyrion, having fled Westeros after murdering his father and ex-lover, is also due to return next season. Not the most inconspicuous of characters, Tyrion will also go through an image change next season while he hides in Essos. In this picture straight from the set we see him cloaked and bearded, and if book-based rumours are anything to go by, he could find himself pairing up with recently banished Jorah Mormont. That’s certainly a pairing we’re eager to see.
It has been confirmed that Bran and Hodor, much to the dismay of fans, will not be returning for the next season as they are on a year’s hiatus. The finale saw their storyline just get plain weird as they travelled further North beyond the Wall. An attack by zombie ice warriors left Jojen dead, while a creepy forest child led them to an old man under a giant tree. Maybe a break from this madness will be welcomed; after all, Bran was getting a little annoying. The year break also allows Hodor actor, Kristian Nairn to focus on his DJ career, Rave of Thrones. No joke. Look it up.
Two new orders are set to stir things up in King’s Landing. These are the Faith Militant, orders dedicated to the High Septon and the faith of the Seven. The first order to look out for is the Warrior’s Sons. Those who have read the book will know they are a militant group who have renounced their titles and wealth to fight in the name of the High Septon. They are also known for their silver armour and rainbow cloaks, so some fabulous costumes (as ever) are in store.
The second group are the Poor Fellows (pictured). They are another religious brotherhood dedicated to upholding the faith of the Seven. These guys aren’t going to be popular next season; their militant fanaticism and blind piety will chill to the bone, and are set to threaten fan favourites. A leaked video from the set in Croatia appears to show Ser Loras fighting off a band of Poor Fellows on the streets of King’s Landing.
In fact season 5 has a lot in store for heartthrob and known pillow-biter, Ser Loras. In a deviation from the books, he looks set to remain in King’s Landing, instead of participating in the Siege of Dragonstone, which appears to have been written out. At the end of the last season, ice-queen regent Cersei agreed to marry Ser Loras, (much to her chagrin), but with her father now dead and chaos in the capital maybe they’ll both get out of it.
From the look of the new casting list, the primary focus of next season will shift away from King’s Landing to Dorne and the Martell family. After the death of beloved Prince Oberyn at the hands (literally) of the Mountain, the Martells are keen for revenge. Next season we will see Oberyn’s eight illegitimate daughters, his beloved Sand Snakes, come to honour their dead father with fatal consequences. Oberyn’s elder brother, Doran, Lord of Sunspear and Prince of Dorne also becomes a major character. The powerful prince is not happy with the Lannisters and his influence will certainly shake the Seven Kingdoms. Myrcella Baratheon is also due to return with her husband Trystane Martell, youngest son of Doran.
But what about Dany? How will she cope without Jorah? Was it wise to chain up her beloved dragons? What about the Wall and the Night’s Watch? Where is Jon Snow going? We’ve not even mentioned Stannis and Melisandre, nor House Greyjoy. What about Ramsey and Theon/Reek? Well as we’ve found out, it’s anyone’s guess. No longer can we rely on the books as an accurate source of speculation. The teasers just raise more questions but the only thing we can be sure of is HBO have a lot to live up to.
Game of Thrones is due to return to our screens in April to June-ish 2015, so there’s plenty of time for more teasers for those who can’t bear to wait that long.