SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t finished watching season four, stop reading.
Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been working hard to adapt George R.R. Martin’s prolific novels into a heart-stopping fifth season.
With the season’s debut just over a month away, it’s time to break down exactly what we know about Game of Thrones’ next chapter.
Come April 12, fans will embark on another bloody, all-consuming journey into Westeros. Until then, here’s what there is to look forward to…
Oberyn Martell’s daughters look awesome
Still haven’t recovered from seeing the Red Viper’s head get smashed in? Neither are we.
As a consolation prize for watching one of our favourite characters get pulverised comes Oberyn’s three bastard daughters, collectively known as the Sand Snakes.
Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes of Whale Rider fame), Nymeria (Jessica Henwick), and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) are three sword-swinging, sassy Dornishwomen set to shake things up and avenge their father’s death.
It’s not going to be like the books
The biggest clue the series was no longer going to stick to Martin’s novels was teaser footage showing Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in Dorne.
In the books, the Kingslayer doesn’t go to Dorne, suggesting this will be a major plot deviation.
What’s more, Lost actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was cast in the role of Malko, a character who doesn’t even appear in the books.
Martin, who is under pressure from fans to finish the A Song of Ice and Fire series, has made no secret of the fact the fifth season will deviate from its source.
It will probably be a heartbreaking blood bath
“People are going to die who don’t die in the books, so even the book readers will be unhappy,” Martin revealed at the Writers Guild West Awards in February.
“Everybody better be on their toes. [Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] are even bloodier than I am.”
New cast member Jonathan Pryce, who hasn’t read the books, told Fairfax Media even some of the actors were surprised by the characters killed off.
“I read the script and some of the others had to, but I know one actor who hadn’t read the script and he didn’t know what was going to happen to him,” Pryce said.
“He died and he wasn’t happy.”
Someone named High Sparrow will change the game
Pryce, who has previously starred in Pirates of the Caribbean, will play a character named High Sparrow, who is reportedly a key player in the upcoming season.
“If the role hadn’t been what it turned out to be for High Sparrow, I probably would not have been involved,” Pryce told Fairfax.
“I remember starting out and my agent said ‘does the character change the situation or is he just a functionary?’ and this character changes the situation.”
There’s a few big makeover moments
From the images released so far, it’s clear the costume designers are taking our favourite characters in another direction for season five.
Tyrion has a beard, Daenerys’ hair is even more elaborate and, apparently, Arya finally gets to wear a dress. About time.