All the smug bastards (their last name would be 'Readers') that have poured over every word of George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" don't want recaps of the previous seasons of Game of Thrones, they want to talk about the future of the HBO fantasy and analyze all the advance looks (like trailers one, two, three and four). What big events will fans get to see in Season 4? What changes have showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss made in their small-screen adaptation of the second half of "A Storm of Swords?" How much from "A Feast of Crows" and/or "A Dance with Dragons" will be included? And, of course, who will live and who will die? All men must die. A few women too. Winter is coming. And so are SPOILERS. If that wasn’t clear by now.
One more chance. The following article is ALL SPOILERS...
King’s LandingThinking about the upcoming year made me realize that this season will probably have the highest body-count of named characters yet with King's Landing serving as a particularly deadly location. And those that don't die, make sure to get the hell out of dodge. The second episode, "The Lion and the Rose," will feature the Purple Wedding and fans all over the world popping champagne bottles when King Joffrey takes his final sip. The wedding will also function as a way to bring a bunch of new characters to the series and their arrival in the capital will shake things up in the short and the long term.
More Tyrells will take up residence in King's Landing, including Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Mace. The most exciting addition, however, has to be the envoy from Dorne with Pedro Pascal's Prince Oberyn 'The Red Viper' Martell and Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand coming to stir things up in the Lannister controlled territory. Sorry, Baratheon. Oberyn and Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane's fateful showdown will occur in the seventh installment (aptly titled "The Mountain and the Viper") which means Tyrion will be in chains with Cersei at his throat from sometime in the third until, well, that's a good question.
Will Jaime and Varys help him escape before the season is over? If so, both Tywin and Shae will also bite the dust unless she isn't involved in the betrayal in the Benioff and Weiss version. Oh yeah, and Tommen becomes the little King! Jaime will also get his hand on a new golden hand as well as start to sour on his sister when his newfound morals get in the way. He'll spend the entire season in King's Landing working on his sword-fighting with Bronn (a great replacement for Ilyn Payne) but not before sending Brienne off with Oathkeeper to find Sansa. Right. At this point, Sansa will have already left the Westerosi capital with the ‘help’ of Littlefinger...
The EyrieA lot of the fourth season action will take place in King's Landing but a lot of characters will also be leaving the capital, some for greener pastures and some, well, because anything is better than being a Stark in the city after the regicide. Not that Sansa was having the best go of it before Joffrey got a taste of his own venom. So she'll be smuggled out and soon become Alayne Stone of The Eyrie.
I know what you're thinking (or at least what I'm thinking), that means we're going to have to hang out with Lysa and Lord Robert for a good while. They are the worst. It's like a Lucille and Buster Bluth origin story that's not played for laughs. It also means we're going to have to watch the "Mockingbird" (also the title of the seventh episode) hit on Sansa for most of the season until Lord Baelish tosses Lysa out the moon door. That's got to happen this year, right? But how far do Littlefinger's schemes go before the finale? Little Robin will still be around though. The worst. I want to see him fly.
The RiverlandsAt first I thought that we might get to see Arya in Braavos this season but her boarding the boat and becoming Sally seems like scene best saved for a finale not to mention that her relationship with the Hound is great to watch. I imagine that Benioff and Weiss will want to get all they can out of the odd couple (like they did with her and Tywin) as they make their way to the Eyrie. Then to find the Blackfish (wherever he turns up after making an unscheduled appearance at the Red Wedding). Then to the Saltpans.
Yeah, there's a lot of stuff, including torture and the reclamation of needle, to get to before Braavos. Another big question about the goings-on in the Riverlands is whether or not we will get to see Lady Stoneheart this year. I was in the group hoping that she might have been including in last season's finale (you know, since it was titled "Mhysa," or 'Mother' in Ghiscari) but that obviously didn't happen. We know that Brienne will be sent on her journey to locate Sansa, so I'm hoping that at least the reveal of the Brotherhood’s new cold hearted leader happens this year.
DragonstoneDragonstone probably won't prove to be the most exciting of locations for this season of Game of Thrones. It's basically going to be more Melisandre whispering things in Stannis' ear while Davos gets punished for having some sense. Of course, there will be more to it than this but we know, not to get into the Wall's business too early, that the big battle at Castle Black is scheduled to take place during the ninth episode so the triangle won't be leaving his home for a while. That's going to mean a lot of burnt bodies, what do you think?
I guess Davos will also continue to learn to read thanks to Shireen's teachings. We might also get a few more of Patchface's prophecies out of her as well. Hm. Maybe the time spent on Dragonstone won't be a total bore. No offence to those that worship the Lord of Light. I wonder how (or if) they plan to make Melisandre more sympathetic since they don't have the benefit of the books' POV structure. That was always the most fascinating part about this storyline but, then again, I've also never been Team Stannis. So, things get set on fire and then they finally arrive at The Wall to save the day just before the season ends. The night is dark and full of terrors.
The NorthBefore getting to the aforementioned battle at the Wall, there's a bit of business in the North to attend to first and for this storyline the show will need to pull from both "A Feast for Crows" and even "A Dance with Dragons." Game of Thrones made the wise decision not to get rid of Theon for an entire season or two but that means moving the events involving him and Ramsay Snow, sorry Bolton, Ramsay Bolton forward.
After the Red Wedding, Roose Bolton is made Warden of the North but he and his (bastard) son both know that the people of the region will disregard his title and rally around the Starks if any one of the children were to reappear. Ramsay also knows that Bran and Rickon are alive, they made a, uh, point to show Theon divulging that information so he might send some of his dogs in that direction. But we all know what his real plan is and we'll likely see Reek convince the remaining Ironborn to surrender. And then get flayed. Will Ramsay's plan to wed the show's version of Jeyne Poole also occur? I bet we see it hatched and Winterfell come back into play. There's still too much that needs to happen at the Wall.
The WallIt's no secret that the entire ninth episode, "The Watchers on the Wall" is devoted to the fight for Castle Black and HBO has once again hired Neil Marshall to direct. The filmmaker should be familiar to fans of Game of Thrones because of his work on "Blackwater" and now he's back to helm the biggest battle yet. And the showdown won't only be action packed but likely pretty emotional given that Jon will have to say goodbye to Ygritte. That’s going to be a tough one.
Of course, a ton goes down at the Wall before the siege, with Jon returning from his stint undercover with the wildlings to find the Night's Watch in disarray. The first few episodes of the fourth season will be spent with him getting shit for his actions while he was with the wildlings but by the fourth, he and Sam are looking for votes. I'd expect to see Lord Commander Snow before the year's half over. Then yeah, he'll lose one red woman and gain another, the latter becoming surprisingly invested in his fate and the fate of the wildlings. Especially their king. Will Jon ever not know nothing?
North of the WallNorth of the Wall is not only where the threat to the Night's Watch is coming from, in the form of Mance, Tormund and the newly added Styr, Magnar of Thenn, but also where soon to be Lord Commander Snow's younger brother is headed. As for his other younger brother, well, Rickon, Shaggydog and Osha went off in their own direction and probably should have been included in the 'North' section. Oops. Oh well, they will eventually wind up on Skagos but I don't expect to see much from them unless Benioff and Weiss come up with material not in the books.
As for Bran, he's continuing his 'chosen one with nature' journey with Hodor and the Reeds and, going by the title of the season finale, "The Children," they are going to make a lot of progress. Yep, will we get to see a child of the forest, not to mention the three eyed-crow and Coldhands. Many people thought we would get to see the much speculated about and mysterious character last year but, after seeing what he looks like in trailers, they probably didn't have the budget. This year HBO really opened up the wallet. Good thing too because three other creatures are also growing in both size and screen-time.
MeereenFinally, we arrive at the "Breaker of Chains." Sorry, I just wanted to slip in that nickname for Daenerys because it's the name of the third episode of the fourth season. Anyway, the 'Breaker of Chains' was given that name because she goes around freeing basically any slave she encounters. First, it was trying to transform the Dothraki culture and now she's got the Unsullied behind her as she moves around Slaver's Bay. If she thought changing the slave culture of a region with a body of water called 'Slaver's Bay' was going to be easy, she was as naïve as a teenage queen. It's all fun and games being a liberating mother of dragons but now she has to bring stability to the region.
Why that region and not Westeros? That's a questions she must ask herself and her trusted advisors, one of which will soon be getting the big stinky boot. I'd say poor Jorah but he had it coming. There's also a new Daario (Michiel Huisman) and, going by pretty much every trailer, he's going to be filling in for Strong Belwas as champion upon arriving at Meereen. She's also going to have to deal with her growing 'children' and the fact that they like to eat real children. What's a mother of dragons to do? Do they get locked up at the end of the season? She takes Meereen, struggles with the Sons of the Harpy and then that's the big finish? It's too early for another wedding. Or Martell.
Who knows? Maybe they changed everything.
The fourth season of Game of Thrones premieres with “Two Swords” on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Based on the novels by George R.R. Martin, the TV series was adapted by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and stars Peter Dinklage, Kit Harrington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.