With the imminent return of Game of Thrones just over a month away on April 12, fans are more excited for the show’s new season than Sansa Stark would be for lemon cakes baked with Lannister blood. So, we figured now was as good a time as any to take a look at some of the characters we know have been added to the new season who will potentially be making an impact in the awe-inspiring brutality that is George R.R. Martin’s mythos.
Coming into Season 5, we are put in the somewhat unprecedented situation where both fans who have read the extravagantly long books AND casual fans of the show will both seemingly be left in the dark as to how things will play out. It seems that George R.R. Martin’s notoriously slow pace at finishing the latest book in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, The Winds of Winter, has left the show’s masterminds, David Benoif and D.B. Weiss, to make serious alterations to the literary storyline, which should move past the point of the source material, soon. In fact, deaths that did not occur in the books will apparently happen in the show this season. With that in mind, here are 5 important new characters that we're most looking forward to seeing in Game of Thrones Season 5.
Keep in mind, there are some SPOILERS in the coming paragraphs. We didn't go into a ton of details, but information from the "Song of Ice and Fire" books is explored.
The often-mentioned, but never-seen head of House Martell and Prince Sovereign of Dorne, Doran (Alexander Siddig) will be a serious player in Season 5. The older brother of the late Oberyn, Doran has been become somewhat of a recluse after being debilitated by a long ordeal with gout. However, he is still very much in tune with the shifting political landscape of Westeros and seems to know that things are coming to a head, specifically with the Lannisters. Or does he?
The Prince is portrayed in the books as an individual who keeps his cards close to his chest. This apparent dilatory mindfulness will put him in direct odds with Oberyn’s daughters, The Sand Snakes, who are outright attempting to get a war effort going in reaction to their father’s death. However, Doran is not making any moves and, in an angle in the show that dramatically alters events of the books, he even welcomes a visit from Jaime Lannister. He will arrive in Dorne to see his niece/daughter, Myrcella Baratheon (recast with Nell Tiger Free), who was sent to Dorne by Tyrion during his run as Hand of the King in what was not only a move to gain leverage against Cersei, but an attempt to bolster a potential alliance with Dorne by marrying her to Doran’s son, Prince Trystane Martell. However, Doran is a calculating individual and his true motives remain hidden, for now.
The Sand Snakes
It was pretty clear from what we saw of “The Red Viper,” Prince Oberyn Martell in Season 4, that he was an unapologetically hedonistic individual that never hesitated to get busy with anything with a pulse. Thus, he has graced the Kingdom of Dorne with bastard daughters who have become collectively known as The Sand Snakes. While the “Sand” part is a reference to the mythos’ geographically-influenced surnames for bastard children (like Jon Snow), the group of girls certainly earned the “snakes” part notoriously in their own right.
Based on what we know of Season 5, the show will focus on only 3 of the 8 daughters in the books, (pictured left to right) Obara Sand (Keisha Castle-Hughes), Tyene Sand (Rosabell Laurenti) and Nymeria Sand (Jessica Henwick). However, what clearly will be retained from the books are their irascible temperaments, fueled by news of the (we daresay, mind-blowing) death of their father back in King’s Landing, and their impeccable fighting skills for which they have been training practically since birth. The fuming femme fatales want Lannister blood and all-out war, going against the seemingly passive reaction of their Uncle, Doran. It will be up to his enforcer, Areo Hotah to keep them in check, lest his secret plans get ruined by their explosive anger.
Deobia Oparei has been cast as this bulky, brooding badass enforcer of Prince Doran Martell of Dorne. While there isn’t enough info to determine how he will be portrayed on the show, book readers know the character to be a loyal, stoic servant, who has no bones about being a stone cold killer to just about anyone when duty demands. Oparei’s role reflects an ethnically-blind casting choice, since the character was described as Caucasian in the books. However, it won’t likely impact that basic character profile on the show in any way. Instead, it is his interaction with the daughters of Doran that will provide the key to his role.
Hotah has been a servant of Doran for several years and has seen all of his daughters grow up, practically raising them himself. He is also a stern taskmaster and his loyalty to Doran and his various political machinations trumps any paternal softness he may have developed. While this dynamic will likely change since it doesn’t appear that all of Doran’s bastard daughters, “The Sand Snakes” or his direct heir Arianne will be in the show, Hotah’s role as Doran’s unmovable, brutal enforcer will likely remain in place.
Hizdar zo Loraq
We’ve actually met Hizdar zo Loraq (Joel Fry) in Season 4 over in Meereen with Daenerys, when the seemingly humbled heir of one of the executed former slaver masters of the city asked to have his father’s crucified body buried properly. However, that brief appearance as a supplicant will become the seed from which an important angle could potentially grow in Season 5.
By this point in the books, we see Daenerys quickly beginning to lose her grip on Meereen as the changes in her forced occupation, such as the abolition of slavery, create waves of rebellion amongst the populace. This results in serious tumult as a group calling themselves “The Sons of the Harpy” reveal themselves in uncouth ways. (The Season 5 trailer hints at this storyline.) In order to quell the growing insurgence, the new Queen of Meereen requires some help, potentially from Hizdar zo Loraq. Unfortunately, his motives may not have Dany’s best interests in mind.
The show has cast the incomparable Jonathan Pryce for this most critical of roles. For fans who have longed to see Cersei Lannister get her just desserts, the arrival of High Sparrow signals the beginning of something that may fulfill that desire.
While High Sparrow (whose name refers to a group of religious extremists called “sparrows”) carries himself as a humble man-- his piety incites him to wear the plainest, most basic of clothing and perform manual labor around the Sept--he is actually a snake in a plain wool tunic and he has his sights set on the goings-on in The Red Keep. He should be backed by an army of proverbial Kool-Aid drinkers who will make a huge impact, creating a shift of power that will affect King's Landing and all of Westeros.
While the circumstances of his coming into power will probably differ from what was depicted in the books, I predict High Sparrow will find himself as the head of the Faith of the Seven by Season 5 and what he sees in the scramble for the Iron Throne is clearly contradictory to his extremely zealous beliefs. We may not get too far into his story, but one thing is for sure, High Sparrow will facilitate some events for which Cersei haters (who are many) will be eternally grateful.
You can catch Game of Thrones when it hits HBO's schedule on April 12 at 9 p.m. ET.
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