What We Know About Season 5 of Game of Thrones So Far
Mild spoiler alert: If you want to enter the season in a state of blissful ignorance, don't read any further (also, why did you click on this story?).
We're going to Dorne. Dorne is the southernmost of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and home of beloved dead Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) before he got his head Gallagher'd by Ser Gregor Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). Dorne has strong ties to House Targaryen—the wife of dead Targaryen prince Rhaegar was Oberyn's sister. We'll meet Oberyn's older brother Doran (Alexander Siddig), Doran's son Trystane (Toby Sebastian), and Oberyn's bastard daughters, the lethal Sand Snakes (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, Jessica Henwick, and Keisha Castle-Hughes). Oberyn's ex, Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), has returned to demand Doran make war on the Lannisters for killing (by proxy) her lover; Doran is not so much into that idea.
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn)—sorry, Ser Bronn of the Blackwater—will head down there to fetch back Princess Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free), who was sent to the capital of Sunspear to hang out with her betrothed, Prince Trystane, away from the myriad awfulness unfolding in King's Landing.
Tyrion and Daenerys will meet up. Thank the Seven. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) will arrive in the Free City of Pentos in the premiere and begin a journey across Essos to the Dragon Queen in Meereen (Emilia Clarke). After all, now that she's dismissed Ser Jorah (Iain Glen), she could use another counselor, and Tyrion's one of the smartest people on either continent (when he's not trying to drink himself to death).
Bad times ahead for Cersei. Tywin Lannister truly was the glue holding the Seven Kingdoms together. He's dead, leaving Cersei (Lena Headey) and her son Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), the new king, to continue his work. Neither is up to the task: Tommen is too young and malleable, and Cersei is coming apart at the seams. Her unraveling began as far back as Season 2, during the Battle of Blackwater Bay; her subsequent attempts to hold onto power have gotten more desperate and dumb each time. She'll create a couple of monsters this season in an effort to keep control of her son (and thus the Seven Kingdoms). The problem with monsters, as Dany "I Can't Train my Dragons" Targaryen could have told her, is that they seldom have any compunction about biting the hand that feeds them. (No, not literally, in Dany's case—you didn't miss her joining Jaime's One-Handers Club.)
We're out of Bran. The second-youngest Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is chilling in an underground cave way up north with the Three-Eyed Raven he's been seeking for the last couple seasons. That's not the most enticing story for TV, so it makes sense executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would just have him sit out this season.
People who are still alive in the books will die. This has happened a few times before—and the show is straight-up ignoring a few big storylines, at least for the time being—but now we're talking major, major departures from George R.R. Martin's tomes. And not just deaths, but whole new journeys for those lucky enough to survive (see: Jaime heading to Dorne, Tyrion and Daenerys hanging out). That means book scholars can finally experience the thrill/horror of unexpected stabbings, guttings, and burnings-alive, hooray!