WARNINGS: This article contains spoilers for all published books of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire series, as well as all aired episodes of the HBO show Game of Thrones that is based on that series. Additionally, there is some speculation about what’s to come in the unaired episodes of Season 5.
HBO recently released the titles and descriptions of the first three episodes, as well as the third trailer, for Game of Thrones Season 5 – and today marks one month until the new season airs.
As an ASOIAF fan, I’m trying not to read too much into the changes that we already know about or that comment by Martin that we’re going to see characters die who are still alive in the books… but I have to be honest, it’s difficult to keep my head on straight when Sansa is being encouraged to avenge her family and Jaime is in Dorne. Dorne!
To begin, I’ll give a short breakdown of what we know – or can deduce – from the Season 5 trailers. There’s a bit of Cersei and Jaime, but only enough to show that Cersei is miserable and Jaime is, as previously mentioned, in Dorne. There are also several shots of what appears to be Hardhome. For those who haven’t read the novels, well, why are you reading this post again? But hey, if you don’t mind being spoiled, Hardhome is a place where some wildlings hole up after the battle at the Wall. The thing is, it’s only briefly mentioned in the books… but I for one am actually interested to see how this change is going to play out in the show.
It helps that Stannis is in the North, too, and the prevailing attitude – at least among my friends – is that we all want to know what’s going to happen with Stannis “the Mannis”. Will he be at Hardhome (if that’s even what we’re being shown)? Or will he just be hanging out at the Wall? Just some food for thought, but perhaps the season will end with him riding off to take back Winterfell…
We also catch glimpses of Arya in Braavos and Sansa in the Vale. So far Arya’s storyline seems obvious – she arrives at the House of Black and White, she ‘gets rid of’ Needle, and then she’s presumably in her role as “Cat of the Canals”. I think it’s safe to assume that we will see much – if not all – of her Braavos storyline this season. There’s even a chance that the show will move beyond what we know of Arya from the books; I don’t think that would be necessary, but it’s probably something to keep in mind.
Sansa, on the other hand, is a bit more of a mystery. At the end of Season 4 she switched up her attitude and her garb, so we knew big changes were coming. The question is, how big? I understand that the show had Sansa reveal herself to the lords and ladies of the Vale, but as I already pointed out, Littlefinger is urging her to make her own justice, to avenge her family. At this point, the chance of Lady Stoneheart existing in the show is almost nonexistent… so my question is, will they be doing away with that storyline altogether, or will they be giving it (or at least parts of it) to Sansa? To be honest, I’m hoping it’s the former but know it’s more likely to be the latter.
Certain things that popped up in the trailers are only worth a passing mention – for instance, we got our first look at Dorne, but there isn’t enough material to have a good idea of what’s happening there. On the other hand, between the trailers and the set photos, I feel like we’ve seen half of Dany’s and Tyrion’s story lines… and what’s probably almost all of the big-budget dragon shots.
The main thing I’d like to point out is Dany’s speech about the Great Houses of Westeros being the spokes of a wheel, a wheel that she’s going to “break”. We never see who she’s giving this speech to, but considering we know that at some point Tyrion joins her in Meereen, the best guess is that she’s talking to him. That said, she’s making a pretty bold statement for someone who is halfway around the Known World from Westeros – and by the looks of it, having just as difficult a time controlling Meereen as she does in the books.
In the end, the big question is what will happen in Season 5, Episode 9. Season 1 was Ned’s death; Season 2, the Battle of the Blackwater. Season 3 gave us the Red Wedding and Season 4, the battle for the Wall (and, I must add, that “Stannis Inquisition” that nobody expected). Set pictures showed Jorah in Daznak’s pit, so I think that’s a good bet, but there are plenty of other ideas out there. Some are almost scarily legitimate, such as Jaime taking the place of Arys Oakheart in Dorne, while some are a bit more far-fetched – like the idea that we could see the Battle of Ice this season.
One thing is for certain – even without the changes they’ve already made, and despite George R.R. Martin revealing that more characters would be killed off “early” in the show, at least some of what is planned for Season 5 will venture into new territory, even for us book readers. It may be difficult, but if you haven’t already asked yourself if you can enjoy the show as a separate entity, you should probably do so.
Game of Thrones has caught up with its source material, and there’s no going back now.
*Stay tuned for Game of Thrones Season 5 vs. A Song of Ice & Fire: Rounds 2 and 3, coming to you after episodes 5 and 10 (respectively) of Season 5!*
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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