With Game of Thrones season four done and dusted, we’ve now got a few months to twiddle our thumbs and wait for season five to roll around.
As today marks the onset of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere that means winter is coming. Is there a better time to mull over what we’ve seen over the last ten-and-a-bit weeks and posit what the next season will have in store for us?
Of course, those of us who have read the books will have a pretty solid guess as to what’s coming up. Eagle-eyed fans who spotted Lena Headey’s infamous Instagram upload took this as a sign for the appearance of a certain character. While he (or she?) didn’t appear in the season four finale, but there’s nothing to suggest that he (or she?) won’t rear his or her head in 2015.
For the avoidance of making any obvious spoilers, we’re basing our predictions exclusively on what’s been shown on Sky Atlantic, or Now TV (or via illegal download if you’re a filthy, thieving pirate).
We’ve got signed first editions of A Dance With Dragons bitches – we could litter this post with weapons-grade spoilers if we wanted to but we’re giving viewers a fair chance.
One final warning, if you’ve not seen any of the Game of Thrones TV show so far, stop reading and don’t watch the video below. You’ve been warned.
1) The Revenge of House Martell
Despite murderee Elia Martell being namedropped throughout the first three seasons, the first time we actually get to see anyone from the ruling family of Dorne on-screen was season four.
Even then, Pedro Pascal’s Oberyn Martell didn’t stick around – things came to a head in the eight episode when the Red Viper squared up to the Mountain That Rides, Gregor Clegane.
Given that revenge was very much already on House Martell’s menu, how will those hot-blooded Dornish types react now two royal children have been killed by the same man?
2) An Absentee Dragon in Mereen
Season four ended with Daenerys Targaryen reluctantly shackling two of her three dragons. The fire-breathing beasts are growing up quickly and this season made it clear that Daenerys is struggling to control Drogon, the biggest of them all.
How will Daenerys keep the peace in the lands she’s conquered? Will the people of Mereen tolerate her rule now her black dragon has gone AWOL, killing sheep and peasant children left right and centre?
3) Is Melisandre as powerful as people think?
In the past, we’ve seen the sorceress Melisandre work some dark magic with royal blood. She is an undeniably powerful character but she’s not done much this season other than take a bath a deliver a pretty sick burn to Tara Fitzgerald’s Selyse Baratheon.
‘With one drop of these potions I can drive any man wild with lust.’
‘Did you use them on Stannis?’
Aside from that she seems to be more than a little obsessed with Shireen Baratheon, Stannis and Selyse’s sickly – but pureblood – daughter.
While we’ve yet to see any results of the blood ritual/Fifty Shades of Gray scene she performed with Gendry in season three (or have we?) it seems as though she might have to put a rather burning question to Stannis and Selyse later.
4) The White Walkers aren’t actually fond of baby back ribs
Until season four, it was assumed that the White Walkers either killed human children as part of some macabre ritual, or ate them. They are a rather hungry-looking bunch, let’s be honest.
However, a shocking moment from midway through this season reveals what actually happens when a White Walker gets their mitts on a sprog – a tap of a finger turns their eyes icy blue and they get press ganged into the undead army before they’ve even learned to walk.
How long have the White Walkers been doing this? How many new recruits had Craster sent their way all those years?
Mance Rayder and the wildlings are sure about one thing – what really lies north of the wall is much more frightening and dangerous than packs of brigands, reavers and cutthroats.
Those were our four standout plot points of season four – a series that was stuffed with controversy.
How do you think season five will pan out? Who or what is Stoneheart? Will Drogon return to his mother? Will the Mountain survive? What about Jorah the Andal? And what about Tyrion? Where’s he being shipped off to? Will Benjen Stark ever come back?
Even if you’ve read the books, you’ll know by now that David Benioff and Daniel B Weiss don’t strictly stick to the script. The only (legit) way to see how things pan out for sure is to keep twiddling your thumbs for the next nine months, clear some space on your Sky+ HD box/keep your Now TV subscription active.