Features and Columns · TV

Game of Thrones: Bold Season 5 Predictions Based on Early Episode Titles

By  · Published on March 9th, 2015


Late last week, HBO finally released the episode titles and plot summaries of the first few episodes of Game of Thrones season 5. And as is our annual custom, it’s time to read way too far into these summaries and try to draw some conclusions as to what we’ll be seeing in the first few hours of the new season, which airs April 12.

This, of course, does mean that we’ll be using some book knowledge and speculation, so if you are averse to spoilers, please don’t read the analysis portion at the bottom of this article. That’s not for you.

First, let’s look at the summaries:

Episode 501, “The Wars To Come”: Cersei and Jaime adjust to a world without Tywin. Varys reveals a conspiracy to Tyrion. Dany faces a new threat to her rule. Jon is caught between two kings. (Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by Michael Slovis.)

Episode 502, “The House of Black and White”: Arya arrives in Braavos. Pod and Brienne run into trouble on the road. Cersei fears for her daughter’s safety in Dorne as Ellaria Sand seeks revenge for Oberyn’s death. Stannis tempts Jon. An adviser tempts Dany. (Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by Michael Slovis.)

Episode 503, “High Sparrow”: In Braavos, Arya sees the Many-Faced God. In King’s Landing, Queen Margaery enjoys her new husband. Tyrion and Varys walk the Long Bridge of Volantis. (Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by Mark Mylod.)

Episode 504: “The Sons of the Harpy”

This raises a few questions for book readers (spoiler warning starts below Walter White Walker, Lord of Spoilers):

1. Will we have any fun at Lord Tywin’s funeral?

Remember how Tywin Lannister died? On the privy, that’s how. And at his funeral, we get a great little one-liner from Lady Olenna Tyrell about it in the books. This hopefully means the return of Diana Rigg for one last great Queen of Thorns quip. You’ll note that Olenna told Margaery late last season that she is returning to Highgarden, so this might be our last chance to spend time with this wonderful character. The episode summary gives us no indication, obviously, but here’s me being cautiously optimistic.

2. Tyrion’s story has been drastically changed from the books, hasn’t it?

Absolutely. Tyrion’s journey appears to be getting a major streamlining in the adaptation from book to screen. Which is fine, as much of what we get from Tyrion in the books is internal dialogue and observations of scenery as he travels toward his final destination. Having him paired with Varys will give him someone to talk to for a while, at least. Shortening his journey means that he will remain a relevant part of the action throughout the season and get to the point of his travels abroad much sooner. This is all good and as book readers may have guessed, this eliminates a few red herring characters from the books. Is it possible that we will meet Griff and Young Griff at some point? I suppose, but it seems unlikely. As the show has informed us numerous times before, these characters probably don’t amount to much, anyway. The same goes for the dragon chasing Quentyn Martell. One hopes that there’s still time to save Doran Martell’s other children for some screen time, but let’s not get our hopes up.

3. Who will mentor Arya at The House of Black and White?

HBO also confirmed this weekend that Tom Wlaschiha, who played Jaquen H’ghar in season two, is returning. We will most likely see him appear in episode two, where we find the first summary mention of Arya in Braavos. Our best estimation at this point is that he will take the place of the kindly old man who becomes her instructor in the ways of the Faceless Men. This solves the TV problem of having to introduce a new character and gives the show runners an excuse to bring back a character audiences previously enjoyed. All that’s left is for Arya to keep calm and murder everyone.

4. When does all the high drama begin?

I’m glad you asked. It appears as if the most dramatic political battles of King’s Landing will begin early, especially with Margaery specifically mentioned in the episode three summary and the title being “High Sparrow.” We’re likely going to see Cersei’s rule become pretty absolute early on, leading to multiple confrontations with her new daughter-in-law and the most exciting new characters in King’s Landing, Jonathan Pryce’s High Sparrow and his Faith following. On the other side of the world, it appears as if Daenerys is going to be in the thick of it early on, as well. Episode 4 only has a title thus far, but “The Sons of the Harpy” speaks volumes as to its focus.

5. What about the stuff at The Wall?

Here’s my bold prediction for all the shenanigans between Jon Snow, Stannis and Melisandre at The Wall: it will play out pretty close to what happens in the books. And if I had to make a call on a big early season death, I’d go as far as to predict a major burning in episode 1. Nothing like kicking the season off with something that will surprise non-book readers.

6. What’s the most intriguing element of these summaries?

Episode 502: “Pod and Brienne run into trouble on the road.” As has been discussed thoroughly by myself and my co-hosts on A Storm of Spoilers (which is coming back soon, by the way), the Lady Stoneheart may never exist in the show. We’ve come to terms with it after going an entire season without even a hint. But these silly show runners keep drawing us back in with stuff like this little line. What kind of trouble will Brienne and Pod meet on the road? Will there be mystery and magic? Or will they perhaps just run into Beric Dondararrion and Thoros of Myr (which, in my opinion, would be just plain cruel). It still seems like a lot of setup work was done in season 3 with Beric, Thoros and the ability to resurrect the dead. Too much even, when you consider the fact that there may not be any major payoff to this Red God’s trick. Barring the appearance of Lady Stoneheart, the show wouldn’t need this information to be relevant until early season 6 at the earliest. And even then, it would be Melisandre doing the work. Why have Thoros of Myr in the show at all? I’m just saying. We shouldn’t take Lady Stoneheart’s vengeance off the table just yet.

On the whole, season 5 is simultaneously exciting and terrifying for book readers. We’re well into uncharted territory at this point, which means that future books are about to be potentially spoiled. Turnabout is fair play, I suppose. We book readers have spent the last several years silently giggling while our non-reader friends have squirmed through beheadings, weddings of all bloody colors and some head squishings. It’s time for us to travel boldly into that dark night, full of terrors. We know that there are big moments on the horizon – the introduction of the Sand Snakes in Dorne, Cersei’s stroll through King’s Landing, Dany in the arena – but much of the rest is unknown.

And that’s exciting, right?

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)