What can we expect from Game Of Thrones season 5?

Feature Louisa Mellor 17 Jun 2014 - 07:00

With season 4 not even cold in its grave, we take a spoiler-free look ahead to what Game Of Thrones season 5 has in store…

Warning: contains major spoilers for the season four finale, The Children, but designed to be safe for non A Song Of Ice And Fire readers.

“Season five gives me nightmares”. It may not be the most inspiring quote from Game Of Thrones co-showrunner David Benioff, but as A Song Of Ice And Fire readers will tell you, his fears aren’t unjustified.

Book four of George R.R. Martin’s series - A Feast For Crows, the events of which would ordinarily be adapted for season five - is easily the saga’s least popular volume. Were season five to follow it slavishly, we wouldn’t see fan favourites Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow back next year as none features in the fourth book. Instead, Feast introduces a host of new characters destined to create more headaches for anyone having trouble keeping up with the series’ current thirty-odd regulars.

Benioff and Weiss have already solved the first problem. Just they did with season four by augmenting the events of the second half of book three, A Storm Of Swords, by cherry-picking storylines (Brienne and Pod’s pairing, Theon Greyjoy’s brainwashing into Reek…) from the next two instalments, season four will jump chronologically between A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons. That means we’ll follow the current regulars as well as meeting new faces and new lands.

So, avoiding book spoilers then, what else can we expect from the show’s fifth season?

A new location

Game Of Thrones is already a global enterprise, with units regularly filming in Croatia, Iceland, Northern Ireland and more. Another European country, Spain, is likely to be added to that list standing in for the Iberian-tinged coastal desert region of Dorne.

Location scouts have reportedly been investigating areas in Andalusian Spain to find their Dorne, which is home to Westeros' good wine, good weather, and of course, Martell royal family. Currently a ward - or perhaps hostage is a better word - of the Martells is also Cersei's daughter, young Myrcella Baratheon/Lannister.

Cersei vs. Margaery: round two

“If you ever call me sister again I’ll have you strangled in your sleep”. There’s no love lost between two of season four’s survivors: Cersei Lannister and Margaery Tyrell, and season five promises yet more political and personal rivalry between the pair, who have new territory to contest in the form of King Tommen.

With her father and little brother now out of the picture, and the growing distance between she and Jaime, the checks on Cersei’s wine-fuelled power in King’s Landing promise to be fewer and fewer in season five. One of Game Of Thrones’ perennial themes is the responsibility and suitability of those who rule. How will history remember Queen Cersei, we wonder?

Lots of new characters

“Time for negative population growth” was Dan Weiss’ ominous statement on how the Game Of Thrones showrunners would make room in the new series for the many new faces arriving from books four and five of A Song Of Ice And Fire. Before they can start swinging the scythe though, here are the characters we’re due to meet.

If it’s to be trusted, a leaked season five casting call announced twelve new names being added to the series. Five of them are Dornish characters, starting with Prince Doran Martell, the royal brother of the Red Viper, three of the latter’s bastard daughters, Obara, Nymeria and Tyene, known collectively as the “Sand Snakes”, and Prince Doran’s son, Prince Trystane (betrothed to young Myrcella). Also part of the Dornish contingent, though in the books he was originally from Essos, is the captain of Doran Martell’s guards Areo Hotah.

Other roles reportedly being cast are Wildling warg Varamyr Sixskins and Bronn’s wealthy but dim-witted wife Lollys Stokeworth, as well as King’s Landing religious folk Septa Unella and High Sparrow, the High Septon of the Faith of the Seven.

Further East, The Waif in the Braavosi House of Black and White is also on the list, along with slave owner Yezzan (a sort of yellow-eyed Jabba the Hutt). Finally, fortune teller Maggy the Frog is also on the list, along with a call for an actress to play a young Cersei Lannister. Which leads us to…


With talks about a prequel series adapting George R.R. Martin’s Tales Of Dunk And Egg ongoing, there’s every possibility that Game Of Thrones fans could be journeying into Westeros’ past at some point in the future. Following the rumour that fortune teller Maggy the Frog and a young Cersei Lannister are amongst the roles being cast for season five, that journey might be closer than we think.

Without spoiling anything, the Maggy/Young Cersei episode is a flashback in A Feast For Crows in which Queen Cersei remembers a pivotal event of her youth. Though Martin’s ASoIaF books regularly dip into flashback, especially regarding the events surrounding Robert Baratheon’s rebellion, the TV series has so far simplified matters and kept costs down by sticking to the present. If the Maggy/Cersei flashback happens though, could that pave the way for more flashbacks in the series?

A return trip to Braavos

The city of Braavos, recognisable for its Rhodes-Colossus-alike Titan statue, was added to Game Of Thrones’ opening credits map for season four episode The Laws Of Gods And Men. That episode was our first visit to the free city, as we followed Stannis and Davos Seaworth’s attempts to secure financial support from the famed Iron Bank (presided over by none other than Mark Gatiss as Tycho Nestoris). As such, we saw little other than some steam baths and a posh Braavosi office, but season five promises a much closer look at the city that gave us swordmaster Syrio Forel and Jaqen H’ghar.

We last saw Arya Stark buying passage on a ship bound for Braavos, using the coin given to her by the mysterious Jaqen. A Song Of Ice And Fire readers of course, have some idea of the adventures Braavos will be to host to. Is Ayra the only one heading East?

More impressive CGI creatures

With the potential arrival of Wildling Varamyr Sixskins in season five would come the arrival of the snowbear (think polar bear), shadowcat (a black and white tiger/mountain lion cross) and three wolves he is able to warg into. They don’t call him Sixskins for nothing.

Season four’s The Watchers On The Wall gave us a good look at the mammoths ridden into battle by giants, and The Children introduced us to some fierce skeletons and the Children of the Forest North of the Wall. Season five can only mean more from the impressive White Walkers and their ilk.

The creatures we certainly want to see more of are currently under lock and key inside the great Meereen Pyramid, following some child-charring action in the season four finale. Well, two of them are at least. The largest and most vicious of Dany’s dragons, the errant Drogon, evaded capture but is surely due a dramatic return.

The Iron Islands?

Though they don’t number amongst the rumoured cast list for season five, another royal family becomes central to A Feast For Crows: the Greyjoys of the Iron Islands. It’s likely that Benioff and Weiss are planning to push the Greyjoy storylines - in which we meet brothers to Balon, Aeron, Euron and Victarion - to a later season, or at least to trim them significantly to make room for the existing character’s plots. If not, then prepare to spend some serious time with the Krakens.

Further cameos

Game Of Thrones is no stranger to the Easter Egg cameo. Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Rós could be glimpsed momentarily at Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding in season four, as were Coldplay drummer Will Champion and Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody in season three.

Long-time Game Of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman told the Game Of Owns podcast that he played a waiter at Dragonstone in season four, and was planning another background cameo in season five. The cameo the show is really waiting for though, is another by writer George R.R. Martin, who played a guest at Dany and Drogo’s wedding in the unaired pilot and has been teasing another background appearance ever since.

The same talented creative team

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are signed up to perform their current showrunner duties until the end of the sixth season at least, but realistically, those guys are going nowhere until the final buttocks have settled upon that Iron Throne. Almost as constant a presence on the writing team is Bryan Cogman, who has told the Game Of Owns podcast that he will be back writing two episodes in season five, despite also having been hired to script in-development movie, Magic: The Gathering. George R.R. Martin is expected to hand in a season five script as usual, too.

Director David Nutter has told Comic Book Resources that he’s returning to direct episodes nine and ten of season five. We’d like to see another episode at least gifted to the talented Neil Marshall (Blackwater, The Watchers On The Wall), and more from Game Of Thrones directing stalwarts Alex Graves and Michelle Maclaren.

More recasting?

Now on its third Mountain, Game Of Thrones has proved itself happy to recast roles for the good of the show. Hence the arrival of Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis in season four, as a replacement for season three’s Ed Skrein.

Season four also introduced a new Tommen Baratheon/Lannister in Dean-Charles Chapman ageing up the role from original actor Callum Wharry. (Eagle-eyed viewers will have recognised Chapman as having previously played Martyn Lannister, one of the two young squires treated by Talisa then executed at Riverrun in season three.)

We’re expecting the return of the third Lannister child, Myrcella, in season five’s visits to Dorne, but will she still be played by Aimee Richardson, not seen since season two?

More face-meltingly exciting action

The Watchers On The Wall was nothing short of a marvel of choreography and direction. It may have suffered in the eyes of some following comparisons to Neil Marshall’s previous episode, Blackwater (really though, how is an non-Tyrion episode ever going to best a Tyrion one in the eyes of fans?), but in terms of action and scale, it stands unsurpassed in Game Of Thrones.

Its success though, and the many, many shocking events of season four, presents a problem for season five. After Joffrey’s poisoning, Prince Oberyn’s skull-crushing, Tywin Lannister’s encounter with that crossbow…, how much bigger can you go? The issue of escalation is a real one if Game Of Thrones’ creators don’t want season five labelled as anti-climactic. A Feast For Crows undeniably has fewer spectacular events than the previous book, though A Dance With Dragons has its fair share. Benioff and Weiss haven’t let us down yet, so we’re betting season five will climax on a show-stopping number.

There’s plenty more to predict and chew over in terms of what’s to come in season five over the ten month wait. More fights, more weddings, more disguises, more deaths, more extended family members to meet, and even the potential return of some old faces. Being respectful to those who haven’t read ahead though, please try to keep the comments section free of book spoilers.

Read our spoiler-filled review of the season four finale, The Children, here.

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There is one thing season 5 NEEDS to have: Lady Stoneheart. The finale definitely suffered without her.

"please try to keep the comments section free of book spoilers"

In fairness, that's only a spoiler if you know who she is.

There's one slow-burning leech out there. Did Melisandre put the fire out before she went north?

I really hope the Maggy/Young Cersei rumour isn't true. The show has yet to use a flashback, preferring to have characters talk to each other, and doing a flashback in the 5th season is just weird to me.

They have quite a job turning A Feast for Crows into something watchable as the book was quite a chore at times. I got quite bored trying to get through the chapters where Brienne was sort of aimlessly wandering around. Books 4 and 5 are definitely not as good as 1,2 and 3.

What's a ColdHands?

could we not have a bookwalkers version of this article too?

As interesting as Tyrion is, he is not the be-all and end-all of the series and series 5 might be all the better for him not being around as it will give us time to learn more about the Martells, the Greyjoys, certain spoiler characters who I won't mention, more of Arya and Stannis! Stannis! But I imagine they will be too scared not to have Tyrion in it much like an X-Men film without Wolverine, it just won't happen.

They've pretty much done Brienne's book 4 story already, although with a lot of changes. I think some of the developments in the later Brienne chapters will happen early on in season 5.

A correction - Arya isn't going to Bravos. The ship was originally going to go to Bravos, but when Arya gave the captain her coin he agreed to take her north, to the Wall.

I'm looking forward to the "Queensmoot" and Penny.

They can add a lot of meat there. They can also add stuff from Winds of Winter to fill more gaps.

At this point they will that for Bran's story since it's pretty much done now. More so than Brienne's.

No, it didn't.

You misunderstood. She's going to Braavos.

Yup, definitely Braavos.

The fire where?

We had better bloody get to the bloody Greyjoys (I'm pretty sure I'm still the only Greyjoy fan on the internet). And some better CGI that those wights that Bran and his pals dealt with.
And please, I can't have been the only one who was desperate for a different, more cliff-hanger ending to last night's finale? Damn Lena Headey and her Instagram teasers. But I guess cliffhanger endings aren't GOT's style.

I believe the 'young Cersei' is not for a flashback scene, but that of recasting Myrcella.


I love Tyrion and Dinklage does a fantastic job playing him but yes I agree some time without him would be a welcome change, not the whole of season 5 mind but just a few appearances so we can keep track of where hes going, less might be more in the case of Tyrion for next season

Well, he WILL be around, though perhaps in a less prominent role for a while. Remember: Tyrion is a survivor--even his despicable Father admired him for THAT

I dont know that it suffered(as you obviously know she only makes a brief appearance in Book 3), though I agree that I expected to see her as a "whammy" ending to the season

"And some better CGI that those wights that Bran and his pals dealt with." Eh? Really?

they have to combine Books 4 & 5--you cant do this show with just half of the established cast for nearly 2 seasons, despite all the new characters that will be showing up

in the hole!

She will not be able to stop thinking about that. If she sends a crow is anyone home at Dragonstone o let her know? Thing about being on a rock is their are no neighbors who can have a look in.

I'm with you. I really liked that whole storyline while only really liking Asha. Maybe Victarion a bit.

I think the CGI in GOT is generally quite good but I think what the issue was is that their was a heavy nod to Ray Harryhausen and films like Jason and the Argonauts. Plus making impossible things look real must be a difficult job.

Yep Kim is right you misunderstood.

Yep. To clarify, compared to the quite frankly AWESOME CGI elsewhere in the series, this was pretty naff. It's not a comment on the CGI generally, just this example.

Oh I agree, generally the CGI is incredible. I didn't realise that there was a nod intended - thanks for the insight!
Re the making impossible things look real comment, I would suggest that they do a good job of making dragons and the White Walkers look 'real', but the fact there they are decidedly not real does work to their advantage. Walking skeletons, while 'not real', are based on real existing things and thus I guess will never look quite right.

I don't know for sure about the nod it seemed quite homagey to me.

I thought they were spectacular. The movement and the interactions with the human actors was easily some of the best CGI on TV and up there with the best movies. I just can't understand the logic of a negative reaction to that scenes effects.

Any sign of casting calls for Young Griff & Jon Connington yet?

They better not recast Myrcella. Aimee Richardson is perfect.

It didn't even work in the books. A Feast for Crows was the only book in the series that was hard to get through.

I agree. Major missed opportunity. But it kinda sounds as though they aren't going to feature her at all. At least in Season 5...

That would be awful. Aimee Richardson is so great on Twitter and Vine and she really is invested in her character.

NO--she is going to Braavos--that was a coin from the Faceless Men assassins that Jaqen had given her as a way to get to Braavos if she changed her mind

I immediately thought of Harryhausen as well--cool stuff

Greyjoys please. Pleeeeaaaaase. They're obviously important. There's a whole book named for a quote from one of them! I hope they aren't cut entirely.

I'd stop trying to second guess anything with this show. We all know how well that worked out for the the last series end. Although if I wanted to predict anything its that we won't get the epilogue at all this season. That particular character would be incredibly difficult to depict on screen as its written, any difference in its appearance will be attacked, and its doesn't have a storyline as yet. So why would the show bother?

I personally hope that the more overt fantasy elements will be kept firmly in check (white walkers, giants, mammoths - or god knows what else), save for the dragons which I’d like to see more of since I feel they have been very underused at present and could have a real part to play (and maybe they do, I have not read the books).

We need an article for forgotten characters. I was under the impression that Gendry was important but can't remember the last time I saw him. Same goes for the frankly awesome Beric Dondarrion.

And just think - That hump GRRM made us wait +10 years between Tyrion, Delicious & Jon during the vast gulf between Book 3 & Book 5!

Season 3 episode 8

Nah I love the Greyjoys too. Bring on Euron, Victarion and the Damphair.

I have a completely different take on Arya not killing the Hound. IMO Arya is not showing indeference or compassion, but she is punishing the Hound to suffer and die a slow painful death. After-all it would have been merciful to end his pain.
BTW Neverending Story!

BTW. In regards to a flashback... I would love a season of flashbacks. At the pace Martin writes, the HBO show will be caught up before he finishes writing the books. Would not mind a season of flashbacks to introduce us to the Targaryans, a young Robert and Ned, and see who Jon Snow's Mother is. Not including Ned's sister and Brother, and young Pyter. Could absolutly get a full season out of that.

A whammy ending to Season 5 perhaps?

Maybe that's all to come.
Personally I think Martin has finished the last two books and is just holding them back to tie in their release with the show. If not, either one is going to spoil the other.

I haven't forgotten Gendry or his shirtless blacksmithing. Most impressive ...
Seriously though, the's show's not over yet, so it's possible that these characters will pop up again in future eps.

I don't. I'm loving the fantasy elements. But I do wonder if budget is a large factor in the lack of dragon action. Or perhaps they're building up to something big in later seasons.

Yeah Lady Stoneheart, vengeance must be satisfied over that bloodied Red Wedding.

You can't argue that it would have been a great scene just before the credits, maybe a hooded figure with the Brotherhood Without Banners....camera pans round to reveal who she is? BOOM

It appears that Vayrs is going to take JonCon's role.

I'd rather put the fire out in her hole, if you know what I mean ;P

Huh? Appears where? Got a link?

There is no proof, but the idea has a lot of support on the relevant threads at reddit, asoiaf, etc.

D&D really, really need to cut characters if they are going to make it through the muck of AFFC/ADWD. In the books, the number of active POV's and characters about doubled.

The whole Aegon subplot could go away for all I care. What a stupid and conthrived twist, that would turn out to be pointless anyway because GRRM will probably kill him unceremoniously. Nothing ever go as planned, remember?

Getting rid or pushing the whole Greyjoy succession subplot and Euron is a dumb move imo. Gone Tywin and Oberyn the audience needs new, larger than life charismatic characters and I don't believe they're gonna get that with Mereen or Dorne.

I think its a knee-jerk reaction to the inherent cheesiness of fighting skeletons, specially fast moving ones. Pop culture has taught us that every animated skeleton its supposed to look crappy because well, its a friggin walking skeleton, that's his thing. Although the CGI here was tecnically excellent and they were integrated seamlessly with their surroundings, as any professional would tell you. But you know, everyones a critic.

'The inherent cheesiness of fighting skeletons' is a great band name

LOL, whats really REALLY funny is George RR Martin will not have book 6 finished for filming in time for any release in our lifetimes.....the man just doesnt write that fast....

FYI peeps....no book 6 for about 3 years and book 7.... - maybe, MAYBE 5 years after that.....This man doesnt write very fast.
so you are all in for one hell of a wait to find out who wins the GOT lol

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