A handy Series 5 cheat sheet for the understandably bewildered Game Of Thrones viewer.
Arya’s off to assassin school
Maisie Williams is taking a break from her busy social-media schedule to head east to the fictional continent of Essos. She’s set for Braavos, which, despite sounding like a fantasy Ayia Napa, is home to the Faceless Men, the shadowy assassin’s guild, one of whose number she befriended back in Series 2. This schooling should come in pretty handy, given she has a death list bigger than many other shows’ entire casts.
Dany has been the approaching conqueror for a while, and her dragons are only getting bigger. Can she learn to ride them, and head across to burn her enemies like she’s the heroine of the greatest Iron Maiden song never written? Or will this season be yet more of her conquering slave cities only to sit on her hands and ogle hunky swordsman Daario Naharis? We do know her trusted adviser Ser Jorah was kicked out last season for not being so trustworthy, which should save the livers of anybody who takes a drink when someone says “Khaleesi”.
Stannis will glower
Misery-guts and religious fundamentalist Stannis Baratheon closed out Series 4 defeating the similarly cheery Mance Rayder’s wildling army at The Wall. It’s likely he’ll turn south, with murderous sourpuss Roose Bolton, his nearest real rival, now occupying Winterfell – but we still don’t know what his frowning adviser Davos Seaworth and human sacrifice-loving sidekick Melisandre will make of this. A bigger mystery is quite how Jon Snow’s going to lighten all this up. By learning to juggle?
Tyrion’s on the run
Everybody’s favourite boozy-horndog-turned-unlikely-hero has been bundled across the Narrow Sea by the wily eunuch Varys. Given he’s fresh from shooting his dad on the loo and strangling the woman he loved as she lay in said father’s bed, it’s fair to say he needed a fresh start/new bearded look.
King’s Landing will be just as awful
Poor old Ned Stark called the capital a “nest of vipers”, and events have sure proved him right. Expect Cersei and Margaery Tyrell to be at each other’s throats pretty sharpish, given the huge power vacuum left after Tywin Lannister bought it and left power to a teenage king who’s less interested in ruling than he is in his cat, the brilliantly named Ser Pounce.
Vengeance. Lots of Vengeance
There are more grudges between the families of Game Of Thrones than between Lancashire football clubs, with almost every character miffed at half the other characters. Chief among these are the Sand Snakes – Obara, Tyene and Nymeria, the newly introduced daughters of fan favourite Oberyn Martell and reported dab hands with knives, whips, poisons and much else. Given the fate their dad met at the hands of the Mountain in the previous series, they’re likely to not be in the best of moods. Here’s hoping awesomeness is hereditary, too. Also worth noting that showrunners have admitted a character that’s still alive in George RR Martin’s books will be killed off this series.
It’s going to get religious
Have you heard the good news? Religion has been an increasingly large part of the show in recent times, so it makes sense that the show introduces the High Sparrow, who’s essentially the Pope of the mainstream pagan Faith Of The Seven many of the characters subscribe to (not the one with the weeping trees). If you’re expecting a fairly relaxed figure along the lines of Pope Francis, might we remind you that this is Game Of Thrones we’re talking about…
Bran’s not in it
Face it, Bran’s travels with two child actors and the mighty Hodor have been the scenes where you’ve headed for the kettle for a while now. The good news is, Bran’s Luke Skywalker-ish underground training will not appear in this series. Hodor!
(Images: Sky Atlantic)