Your official ‘Game of Thrones’ season 5 preview before the show debuts on HBO on Sunday night with everything from the events last season to all the new characters popping up this year, this is your one stop shop for all things ‘Game of Thrones’…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
‘Game of Thrones’ season 5 debuts this Sunday (finally!) and unless you’ve had time recently to binge watch season 4 all over again, it’s been almost 10 months since we visited Westeros, The Wall, Merreen and the other areas that make up the known world. So as a little refresher we’re here to go through all the major houses, characters, conflicts, stories and new folks we’re about to meet when this season kicks off on Sunday.
This will be your complete, handy guide if you need a slight refresher before watching Sunday night’s debut on HBO and then of course return to NerdcoreMovement.com for a recap of the episode. Without further ado, let’s look back/look ahead to prepare for ‘Game of Thrones’ season 5.
To start, we will go house by house and land by land to catch up with the major characters and storylines that dominated last season and what is expected or known going into the season 5. No spoilers for those who haven’t read the books but maybe a few hints for what may be coming. The thing is ‘Game of Thrones’ creators have already promised a few more deviations from the books written by George R.R. Martin so even if we wanted to tell you what is coming next, there’s no way to know for sure they haven’t changed it already!
HOUSE LANNISTER/HOUSE BARATHEON
King Tommen Baratheon
Where we left season 4: Tommen was officially installed as king following the death of his brother Joffrey. He is quickly betrothed to Margaery Tyrell and the two are expected to be married soon. Until that time, Tommen’s mother, Cersei, remains queen regent over the realm.
Where we pick up in season 5: Tommen’s reign will certainly be a rocky one so long as his mother is around, but he does seem to be rather enamored with Margaery. The two are expected to get married soon.
Where we left season 4: Tywin was murdered by two bolts to the chest courtesy of his son Tyrion before he escaped King’s Landing.
Where we pick up in season 5: Tywin is expected to appear in a series of flashbacks this season, but his death will send shockwaves through the kingdom as he was the real brains behind the entire rule of House Baratheon and Lannister.
Where we left season 4: Cersei enacted revenge on her brother Tyrion by putting him on trial for the death of her son Joffrey. She also came clean to her father about the ongoing affair she had with her brother Jamie while still refusing to agree to the arranged marriage to Loras Tyrell.
Where we pick up in season 5: With her father Tywin dead, Cersei will no doubt free herself from the promised marriage to Loras Tyrell while still doing her best to remove Margaery Tyrell from getting any closer to her son Tommen as well. Cersei is back in charge as queen regent, but we all know how well that has gone for her so far. She will also encounter a new religious element taking hold in King’s Landing during ‘Game of Thrones’ season 5.
Where we left season 4: Jamie originally promised to return to Casterly Rock to begin his reign as the rightful heir to the Lannister name, but the death of his father Tywin does away with that agreement. He freed his brother Tyrion, who was set to get beheaded, but instead of fleeing he stayed long enough to kill his father.
Where we pick up in season 5: Jamie is now concerned about the safety of his ill-conceived daughter Myrcella because she lives in Dorne and Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne just had his head cracked open like a coconut in season 4. He also grows more and more distant from his sister/lover Cersei in season 5.
Where we left season 4: Tyrion escaped King’s Landing with the help of his brother Jamie. He killed Tywin Lannister before making it on a boat to cross the Narrow Sea with Lord Varys, who helped organize his escape.
Where we pick up in season 5: Tyrion is working with Varys to get as far away from Westeros as possible. In one of the trailers, Varys hints that the key to taking back Westeros from his sister is by having faith in another queen — namely Daenerys Targaryen.
Other Lannisters in King’s Landing:
Season 5 could potentially re-introduce Lancel Lannister as a character this year. He is best remembered as the cousin Cersei took in her bed after Jamie was taken prisoner by Robb Stark. Lancel ended up serving Tyrion as a spy when he threatened to reveal their affair to the world.
Kevan Lannister, father to Lancel and younger brother to Tywin, who appeared in seasons one and two as a trusted right hand to his older sibling may also return this year. He has a vital part in the books, but as of yet he’s barely made an appearance on the show so it’s hard to tell what role he will or won’t play.
Where we left season 4: Helped Tyrion escape King’s Landing after he murdered his father, Hand of the King Lord Tywin.
Where we pick up in season 5: Varys is with Tyrion as they travel across the Narrow Sea and it appears he’s determined to find a queen worthy of sitting on the Iron Throne.
Where we left season 4: Margaery married King Joffrey but then he died at their reception so now she’s expected to marry King Tommen instead.
Where we pick up in season 5: Margaery is expected to marry Tommen this season, but she may want to watch her back because his mother, Queen Cersei, isn’t ready to hand over the reign of the Seven Kingdoms to her much less allowing her to actually manipulate her youngest son. That’s Cersei’s job after all.
The Rest of the Tyrells
Mace Tyrell was a judge at Tyrion’s trial and now he’s expected to take on a larger role in King Tommen’s rule. Hand of the King anybody?
Lady Olenna Tyrell was the person who poisoned King Joffrey with help from Petyr Baelish. She leaves King’s Landing for her home in Highgarden now that her granddaughter Margaery is set to marry King Tommen, a much more suitable heir.
Remember Tywin’s words from last season — with the gold dried up in Casterly Rock, the Tyrells are now the family with the most money in the entire Seven Kingdoms so they have a lot of power but just don’t know it yet.
BEST OF THE REST
Bronn declines to be Tyrion’s champion when he demands a trial by combat and instead accepts a marriage to Lollys Stokeworth, the second daughter of the wealthy House Stokeworth. Bronn is expected back in season 5 but what he’ll be up to remains anybody’s guest.
Qyburn was the maester who helped save Jamie Lannister after his hand was severed by Roose Bolton’s men. He’s now working closely with Queen Cersei. At the end of season 4 he attempted to save the life of Ser Gregor Clegane after he was poisoned in his battle with Oberyn Martell. Qyburn was expelled from the grand order of maesters for performing experiments on subjects so there’s a better than average chance he may resurrect ‘The Mountain’ but as he said last season — he’ll never be the same again.
ACROSS THE SEA
Where we left season 4: Daenerys took the city of Meereen but now has to fight back against the former slave owners who continue to rise up against her. She had to lock up two of her dragons after a child was killed but her biggest ‘child’ Drogon remains free over the skies of Meereen.
Where we pick up in season 5: Daenerys is beginning to look across the Narrow Sea towards her eventual goal of conquering Westeros but with uprisings happening in both Meereen and Yunkai, she’s forced to deal with troubles closer to her current home as we pick up in season 5.
Where we left season 4: Jorah was exposed for spying on Daenerys when he first came into her employ and despite his pleas that he stopped serving his masters in King’s Landing some time ago, she still has him banished with a threat of death if he ever returned.
Where we pick up in season 5: Jorah is confirmed to return in season 5 and he’s more determined than ever to get back in Daenerys’ good graces. What is he willing to do to regain her favor? The answer is anything.
BEST OF THE REST
Daario Naharis was able to get into Daenerys’ bed last season before being sent off to Yunkai to retake the city from the masters who are attempting to regain control after they were tossed out by the ‘Mother of Dragons’. Daario is an important commander in Daenerys’ army in season 5 as well.
Hiszahr zo Loraq is a name to watch in ‘Game of Thrones’ season 5 after he was able to convince Dany to allow him to pull his father off the walk of punishment and bury him per his family’s own rituals. He’s a potentially powerful ally or enemy to have in the city of Meereen. He was sent to Yunkai as an ambassador on behalf of Dany at the end of season 4.
Where we left season 4: Jon Snow was able to lead the charge to fight back the advances of the Wildling army before attempting a peace treaty with Mance Rayder. Eventually, Stannis Baratheon showed up and conquered Mance’s army before meeting Jon for the first time. Jon acknowledged that Stannis was the one, true king because his father Eddard died trying to prove that very fact.
Where we pick up in season 5: Jon is becoming a very popular figure amongst the brothers of the Night’s Watch and with the Lord Commander gig still open, he might want to throw his hat in the ring. He also has to navigate some kind of truce with the Wildling army because while they are defeated, they still number over 100,000 and if they stay north of The Wall, they may all eventually join the army of the dead. Expect Jon to also encounter ‘The Red Woman’ Melisandre, who has taken a liking to him after they meet.
HOUSE BARATHEON OF DRAGONSTONE
Where we left season 4: Stannis is able to rebuild his army with a loan from the Iron Bank of Braavos before he attacks the Wildling army north of The Wall and defeats Mance Rayder.
Where we pick up in season 5: Stannis still wants to take back the Iron Throne, but his first mission is to retake the North from House Bolton, who usurped control after they betrayed Robb Stark.
Where we left season 4: After burning some of Stannis’ relatives alive, she eventually goes with him north of The Wall where he conquers the Wildling army.
Where we pick up in season 5: Melisandre is enchanted by the blood of kings so she takes a big interest in Mance Rayder and Jon Snow this season. Rumor has it, Melisandre has designs on making Jon Snow break his vows once again. What is it with that dude and red heads???
HOUSE BOLTON OF THE DREADFORT
Where we left season 4: Lord Bolton was able to take back the vital parts of the North from the last remaining holdouts from the Iron Islands and he legitimized his bastard Ramsay as the new heir of House Bolton.
Where we pick up in season 5: Roose will certainly get word of Stannis Baratheon arriving north of the Wall so expect him to go on the offensive before long. He also knows that Bran and Rickon Stark are actually alive so he’s doing everything in his power to gain all possible control over the North before they possibly resurface
Where we left season 4: Took back Moat Cailin for his father and was legitimized as his son so he’s no longer Ramsay Snow, he’s now Ramsay Bolton.
Where we pick up in season 5: Ramsay still has Reek aka Theon Greyjoy as a servant and he’s going to be a vital part in his father’s battle to finish conquering the North while also fighting back against Stannis Baratheon’s potential attack.
Where we left season 4: Bran FINALLY made it to the goddamn tree where he’s been traveling for the past three seasons and he met up with the Three-Eyed Raven after escaping some undead soldiers before being rescued by ‘The Children’.
Where we pick up in season 5: Nowhere. Bran Stark is beginning his training as a warg so he’s out of season 5 all together as are Hodor and Meera Reed.
The White Walkers
Where we left season 4: The White Walkers are still quietly building an army of the undead to presumably attack Westeros at some point. The Night’s King, a long talked about character may have been revealed in season 4 when he turned the last of Craster’s male children into one of the undead soldiers.
Where we pick up in season 5: The White Walkers are ever looming in the story but where they will appear remains a mystery. Their army is growing and they want to conquer Westeros and if the Wildling army isn’t brought south of The Wall, there may be 100,000 or more undead soldiers for them to claim.
THE VALE OF ARRYN
Where we left season 4: She marries Petyr Baelish but quickly gets chucked out the moon door where she falls to her death after ‘Littlefinger’ betrays her.
Where we pick up in season 5: She’s dead but her milk-drinking son Robin is now lord of the Vale and he’s being cared for by Petyr Baelish. That can’t end well.
Where we left season 4: Sansa flees King’s Landing after King Joffrey is murdered. She is suspected in the crime, but Petyr Baelish takes her away to the Vale where she assumes a secret identity as his niece. Oh and she shares a kiss with Lord Baelish because their relationship wasn’t creepy enough already.
Where we pick up in season 5: Everybody seemed to love the big reveal of ‘Dark’ Sansa last season and that will continue this year. In one of the trailers for season 4, Baelish is heard telling Sansa that it’s time she enacted her revenge against all those who wronged her and her family. Will she begin to plot against the Lannisters in King’s Landing or possibly House Bolton and House Frey, who are responsible for the death of her brother Robb and her mother Catelyn? Sansa finally has some power as we kick off season 5.
Where we left season 4: It’s finally revealed that he organized the death of Lord Jon Arryn, which in many ways was one of the catalysts that started the War of the Five Kings. He married and then killed Lysa Arryn and also played a large role in the conspiracy to kill King Joffrey.
Where we pick up in season 5: Baelish was found innocent in Lysa’s death and now he’s acting as lord protector over Robin while also keeping Sansa Stark close to him. Chances are Baelish is plotting to expand his power base and that means putting Sansa in her rightful place as the true heir to Winterfel and the North considering she’s the only Stark that anyone actually knows is alive.
Where we left season 4: Arya was told her last known living relative Lysa Arryn was dead and then she ran into Brienne and Podrick, who arrived out of nowhere offering to rescue her. ‘The Hound’ protected Arya but got himself nearly killed as well and she escaped. Arya’s journey took her to a boat bound for Braavos where she cashed in her ‘Faceless Man’ coin given to her back in season 2.
Where we pick up in season 5: Arya will arrive in Braavos this season where she will meet the Faceless Men, a society and school for the craftiest assassins in the world. Expect her old friend Jaqen H’ghar to pop in at some point to pay her a visit.
‘The Hound’ Sandor Clegane
Where we left season 4: Beaten and nearly dead from his battle with Brienne and as he stated without a maester near by to patch him up, he’d be gone within a few minutes.
Where we pick up in season 5: Presumably dead because ‘The Hound’ will not be in season 5. There’s always a chance he will pop back up at some point in the future, but as of now don’t look for him this season.
Brienne of Tarth
Where we left season 4: Charged by Jamie Lannister to find Sansa Stark and protect her but she accidentally runs into Arya Stark instead. She’s one of only a few people in the world who know Arya is even alive.
Where we pick up in season 5: Brienne’s mission will continue this season as she hunts for Sansa Stark. Her story in the books goes in a direction that’s virtually impossible in the show because the show runners have already stated one key character won’t be appearing in the series.
NEW PLACES AND NEW FACES
This season we will travel south to Dorne for the first time in the show’s history. The area has been mentioned in every season of the show, but really came to the forefront last year during season 4 when Prince Oberyn Martell arrived to take his brother’s place on the small council and to attend Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery.
Unfortunately, Oberyn was killed in the trial by combat against Ser Gregor Clegane and now much of his family is looking for payback.
Throughout Westerosi history, Dorne has been recognized as one of the most difficult areas in the world to invade and/or conquer. The land is made up of huge mountainous ranges as well as desert area and extreme temperatures. The ruling family in Dorne are the Martells, who were loyal to the Targaryen reign through the very end of Robert’s Rebellion because Elia Martell was married to ‘The Last Dragon’ Rhaegar Targaryen.
A few of the new people you’ll meet in Dorne this season:
Prince Doran Martell
Where we left season 4: He was mentioned by name only in season 4 because he sent his younger brother Oberyn in his place to attend King Joffrey’s wedding because he was dealing with a case of gout.
Where we pick up in season 5: Prince Doran will appear this season with actor Alexander Siddig cast in the part. He will have to deal with a garrison being sent from King’s Landing in hopes of retrieving Myrcella Baratheon, who is currently living in Dorne and expected to marry his son Trystane Martell.
Myrcella Baratheon hasn’t been seen on screen since season two when she was shipped off to Dorne by her uncle Tyrion to marry Trystane but she will pop up in this season.
Trystane Martell is a new face and the betrothed future husband to Myrcella.
The Sand Snakes are a trio of Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters but as he described in season 4 of the show, in Dorne the bastards of noblemen aren’t treated with such ill will as those in the rest of Westeros. Also the bastards in the rest of Westeros get the surname ‘Snow’ in Dorne they are known as ‘Sand’.
Obara Sand is the oldest and she’s well trained in the spear, the same weapon her father used in combat. Nymeria Sand is the daughter of a noblewoman from Old Volantis and very proficient with a whip. And finally there’s Tyene Sand, the daughter of Oberyn and his paramour Ellaria Sand and she’s known for using daggers in combat.
A RELIGIOUS AWAKENING
Religion has always played a part in the Seven Kingdoms most notably by the phrase that’s heard throughout the series ‘by the old gods and the new’. The old gods are worshipped in the North as witnessed when Jon Snow takes his vows at a Weirwood Tree when he joins the Night’s Watch. The Faith of the Seven (new gods) is a single god with seven different faces or aspects and it’s the most wide spread religion in Westeros.
This season will see the introduction of The High Sparrow (played by Jonathan Pryce) and he’s the new High Septon (think of the High Septon like the pope in Catholicism), who is anointed after the last religious leader for the Faith of the Seven is killed. The High Sparrow is a very pious man who returns to humble roots while reigniting the faith throughout King’s Landing in season 5. The High Sparrow will end up at odds with Queen Cersei Lannister this season, that much you can guarantee.
And there you have it folks, anything and everything you need to get ready for ‘Game of Thrones’ season 5. The new episode debuts on Sunday night at 9pm ET on HBO. Valar Morghulis.