Season 5 of Game of Thrones promises to both make major changes from George R.R. Martin’s novels and venture into material that has not yet been touched on in the books.
This has received mixed reactions from fans; some are critical, others understanding. But everyone is curious to see what exactly this season has to offer. This week’s episode, The Wars to Come, offers insight into what awaits. The following Contains Spoilers.
Where are Sansa and Littlefinger Going?
Sansa’s story may prove to be more drastically altered than any other character’s. The show has all but caught up to the books for the oldest Stark girl and unlike Bran (who will not be appearing this Season), screen time will be improvised rather than avoided.
In the books, Sansa is still in the Vale, but already in the first episode of the Season, she and Littlefinger are embarking on a journey. Though their destination is not specified, Littlefinger does mention to Sansa that they are headed to “a land so far from here, even Cersei Lannister can’t get her hands on you.”
But where, exactly, could that be? Winterfell seems a likely answer. Without Jeyne Poole being cast as a character for the show, someone must be fulfilling her role in Ramsay Snow’s wedding to “Arya”. Although his lover Myranda is a probable candidate, Sansa is certainly possible. And even if Ramsay’s female companion poses as Arya Stark, someone will still need to act as Theon’s savior. Not a likely character development for Myranda. But seeing her childhood friend reduced to Ramsay’s plaything may inspire sympathy in Sansa. If this is the case, her lessons in deceit from Littefinger may prove useful.
Is Mance Rayder really dead?
Events in A Dance with Dragons did in fact cover the execution by fire of the Wildling King, Mance Rayder. But it was later revealed that the man who was burned was the another Wildling: the Lord of Bones, disguised as Mance by Melisandre’s magic.
But will this revelation take place in the show? Seeing as the Lord of Bones has not appeared on screen since Season 3, his sudden reappearance will feel convenient or forced if he were to take Mance’s place at the stake.
Furthermore, Jon Snow’s merciful arrow shot to end Mance’s suffering (which doesn’t take place in the books) hints at the finality of this scene; a softening to an otherwise horrific end. The Wildling King may be dead for good.
Has Cersei’s Prophecy been altered?
The opening scene of Season 5 depicts a young Cersei receiving a prophecy of her future from Maggy the Frog. Much of this was taken directly from the books, almost word for word. But there is a striking omission that carries implications about what lays in Cersei’s future, and how her story in the show may ultimately differ from that in the books. The final words Maggy speaks to the future Queen are, “when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
Valonqar is the High Valyrian word for little brother. Which is a strong prediction of Cersei meeting her end at the hands of Tyrion (though technically Jaime is younger as well, making him a possibility). But with these words having gone unspoken in the show, will Cersei meet a different fate? Time will tell.
Littefinger quote taken from Season 5, Episode 1 (29:20)
Maggy the Frog quote taken from A Feast for Crows chapter 36