Over the next six weeks, I will be presenting a series of articles previewing the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. The first edition takes a look back at where each of the principal characters were as the last season came to a close.
You may want to consult a doctor or psychologist if you forgot the image of Tywin Lannister, the man pulling all the puppet strings in Westeros since season 3, sitting on a toilet dead with two arrows in his chest from a crossbow shot by his youngest son, Tyrion. For all his strengths, Tywin’s downfall proved to be his greatest weakness; his underestimation of the dwarf son he despised. Now, Tyrion is in a crate on a boat likely headed across the Narrow Sea with Lord Varys, who appears to be fleeing himself.
Jamie proved to be the key cog that sprung Tyrion loose, freeing him from prison in the first place. But he is still Lord Commander of the King’s Guard and the man primarily responsible for his son…I mean nephew, Tommen’s protection.
And speaking of our young king, the death of his grandfather also opens up a key position of influence for Cersei and Margaery to fill. Margaery is pledged to be married (for the third time) to Tommen and I’m sure these two ladies will be in full agreement of how to manage the young king in the future.
Sitting on the operating table is a lifeless Mountain. Though he defeated Oberyn Martell in a brutal trial by combat, the poison from Oberyn’s spear as left him near death (and I am sorry the show didn’t make this clearer, but the Red Viper got his nickname from the poison in his spear). But Qyburn has a solution not approved by Grand Maester Pycelle that might return the Mountain to life.
Dark-haired Sansa!!!! The young lady who came down the steps to greet Petyr Baelish exuded far more confidence than the naïve, frail red-haired girl who’s been mostly tortured since the show started. But Littlefinger owes her for not testifying against him during his trial over the death of Crazy Aunt Lysa. And now they are ready to head out across the Vale with “Brave Ser Robyn” (que the Monty Python music) to rally the region to their cause.
Meanwhile, Brienne and Pod were on their way to find Sansa for Jamie. They likely had no idea how close they were to Sansa when they ran into Arya and the Hound, and the brawl of the ages ensued. Brienne came out victorious, but Arya slipped away. So will Brienne and Pod continue their course towards the Vale and Sansa, or will they seek out Arya, heading in a completely different direction?
As for Arya’s escape, she left the Hound for dead (we think?) and is aboard a ship headed for Bravos. The ship captain dismissed her until she presented the coin Jaqen H’ghar gave her at the end of Season 2. I will say more about the importance of that coin as Season 5 unfolds.
Roose Bolton now rules the North. The Boltons warred with the Starks from many years before bending the knee. Now the Stark betrayer from the Red Wedding back at the end of Season 3 has finally fulfilled his house’s desire to lead the North. And he will do it reluctantly with his bastard son, Ramsey, who can now officially carry the name of Bolton instead of the north bastard name, Snow.
Theon (or should I say Reek) had a hand in “uniting the North” for Ramsey and his father and finished season four entirely at the will of his torturer. He even spurned an attempt by his sister to rescue him out of fear of what Ramsey would do to him. The overconfident prick from the first two seasons is a distant memory.
Beyond the Wall
We have our first true super team in Westeros (well not sure how much of a “team” they will end up being, but it’s pretty cool to have all these characters in one place). The war with the Wildlings appears to be over as Stannis and his men arrived to aid the men of the Night’s Watch and defeat Mance Rayder. Now Jon Snow, Stannis, Melisandre, Mance and Tormund Giantsbane are all at the wall (!!!!!) with plenty of issues to settle.
We hear (and I emphasize hear, because we didn’t actually see any of it) that the slave cities along Slaver’s Bay that Daenerys freed are in chaos as the former slave masters have tried to regain their power. She sent Daario (the one she had sex with) and Hizdahr zo Loraq (he appeared once pleading for mercy for former slave masters for Dany, so you many not remember him) to settle things down.
The mother of dragons also started having her first issues controlling her dragons. One of her dragons, Drogon (the largest of her dragons) has escaped and apparently burned a young child alive. The burned bones of the child’s body forced Dany to chain up her other two dragons. With all these issues emerging around her, Daenerys must move forward without her most trusted advisor, Jorah Mormont, who was banished from Meereen after Daenerys discovered he had been spying on her back in season one.
Questions moving forward:
-Will Daenerys move closer to her original goal of claiming back the throne of Westeros for the Targaryens? Or will the unrest in Slaver’s Bay unravel her plans?
-Who will fill the power vacuum left by the death of Tywin Lannister in King’s Landing?
-How close will Sansa and Lord Littlefinger become and who can really trust who in their bizarre relationship?
-How will everyone now at the Wall coexist and what will the relationship dynamic be between them all?
-What direction are Tyrion’s and Arya’s stories heading as they shift to new locations and, presumably, interact with new characters?
Next week: Religions in Westeros and their importance in the upcoming season.
(This article was written by 4LN GoT expert, Jeff Merrick.)