Season 5 of Game of Thrones will certainly toss some plots from the books they’re adaptations of. This article attempts to guess at what happens in Season 5. Please comment with your thoughts and opinions on the probabilities. Spoiler warning: This article assumes you are caught up with the five published A Song of Ice and Fire books and the four televised Game of Thrones series. If you are not, consider this laden with spoilers. Addendum: The sequel to this post, wherein I talk about where I got guesses right and wrong, is here.
Game of Thrones Season 5 is going to be a rough, and intentionally not-complete, adaptation of the fourth, (A Feast for Crows or AFFC) fifth, (A Dance with Dragons, or ADWD) and parts of the sixth (The Winds of Winter, or TWOW) books of A Song of Ice and Fire, a rather lengthy fantasy book series. AFFC and ADWD are dense material, and 10 hours of television will not be able to cover them all, so some book plots have been confirmed or all-but-confirmed to not be present on the tv show adaptation. This article will attempt to cover plot probabilities from two main sources: things From the Books (FTB), which are plot threads being adapted from the novels, and things Not From the Books (NFTB), which are plot threads entirely or mostly invented for the show. These plot probabilities will be discussed by the way that seems most sensible to me: by characters. To not go overboard, I will limit myself to five plot probabilities per character. ... except when I cheat and write up more than five.
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FTB: We see Cersei’s prophetic past: As a child, Cersei had her fortune read by Maggy the Frog, who foresaw her queenship, her loss of queenship, the birth and death of her three children, and her death at the hands of her valonqar. Probability: 100%. This will be the first flashback on the show, which might help later seasons provide Bran with some material, now that he’s living under the trees. This flashback also helps impose constraints on the lifespan of her and her remaining children; Tommen and Myrcella must (?) die before she.
FTB: Cersei is bad at ruling. With her father dead and Tommen partially under her control, Cersei Lannister is the de facto ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. She does not rule well. She staffs the Small Council with her own lackeys, she suspects the Tyrells of complicity in Tywin’s death and Tyrion’s escape, she angers the Iron Bank of Braavos and the Faith of the Seven (and orders the murder of the High Septon!), she allows the High Sparrow to revive the Faith Militant, she becomes more and more paranoid and more and more alcoholic... Things go bad. Probability: 90%. Some of the particulars might not happen, but her general inability to rule will probably happen. Also GoT loves to let Cersei drink.
FTB: Cersei tries to get Margaery killed. Cersei uses her connections to get someone to falsely accuse Margaery of infidelity, which is a crime that the High Sparrow does not take well, imprisoning Margaery. Probability: 50%. If the show follows this accusations plotline, I’m not sure who would do the accusing. Maybe Lancel Lannister? But the show might go in a very different direction, perhaps having Loras Tyrell’s homosexuality be the issue that leads to friction between the Faith Militant / High Sparrow and the rulers of King’s Landing.
FTB: Cersei’s plan backfires, she gets imprisoned by the High Sparrow. In the books, this happens because the accuser of Margaery eventually admits to having killed the previous High Septon on the orders of Cersei. Probability: 90%. Once again the rough plot development will probably occur, but it seems unlikely to involve accusations and counter-accusations of infidelity. Cersei has done a lot of other questionable things on the show (e.g., helping kill Robert Baratheon) so there’s lots for her to get imprisoned for.
FTB: Cersei has a nude penance walk. After confessing to (some of) her sins, Cersei is still going to undergo a trial by the Faith. She is shaved of her hair, stripped naked, and forced to walk from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep. The assembled crowd throw words and filth at her as she walks. Probability: 100%. This plot has been confirmed to have been filmed.
Summary: The rough outline of Cersei’s plot from the books is going to be translated to the screen adaptation, although it sounds like the show will continue to drastically cut down on the number of extramarital relationships she has. Which is ... kind of surprising, given this show’s predilections. There is also the claim that Gregor Clegane’s actor was involved in a day or two of shoots, so... FrankenGregor confirmed?
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FTB: Jaime turns down Cersei’s offer to be new Hand of the King. The series has so far followed a strict adaptation on how this office has been handed down, so it’s possible the series will follow this plot, which helps create tension between Jaime and Cersei. Probability: 50%. It’s a somewhat boring plot development so it might get dropped. The Hand of the King in the fourth book is a title passed by Cersei first to one relative unknown and then another so I don’t know if the show will just give it to Kevan Lannister in absentia until his appearance later in the season.
FTB: Jaime goes to the Riverlands with Ilyn Payne, helps stop Brynden Tully. The actor who plays Ilyn Payne had a cancer scare after the third season had filmed, and even though the cancer has since gone into remission, both the character and the actor have left the show, except for one quick mention last year. Also there is no indication that Brynden Tully has returned to the show for season 5. Probability: 0%. Ilyn Payne and Brynden Tully are both MIA.
NFTB: Jaime goes to Dorne with Bronn. To be economical and efficient the show is sending Jaime and Bronn to Dorne to negotiate the situation down there with established POV characters. Probability: 100%. The trailers are very emphatic that Jaime and Bronn are going to Dorne.
FTB: Cersei and Brienne both request Jaime’s help. Jaime refuses Cersei’s request for help in King’s Landing when things go south for her there. He does, however, acquiese to a request from Brienne, to meet Lady Stoneheart... Probability: 75% and 0%. Jaime might not be in a position to help Cersei if he is in Dorne and can’t get out. Depending on what Brienne is doing in her plot, she might not ever want to request help from Jaime.
NFTB: Jaime and/or Bronn dies. The show is unlikely to kill off Jaime Lannister, even if things in Dorne go badly. But Bronn is a lot more expendable... Probability: 0% and 33%. I think Bronn is more likely to survive than die but the show’s bloodthirstiness seems to result in minor characters getting offed. Bronn might be a sacrifice this season, perhaps being offed by the Martells when he and/or Jaime try to seize Myrcella.
Summary: Jaime’s plot is being very changed around, changing out going to the Riverlands to deal with Brynden and replacing going to Dorne to deal with Myrcella. His tv plot is sort of replacing the book plot of Arys Oakheart, although if anyone dies like Arys, it’ll be Bronn, not Jaime. The only thing protecting Bronn is the fact that his character is well-acted and funny, in a show that needs as many funny characters as it can get.
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FTB: Tommen gets married to Margaery Tyrell. In order to once again secure the Lannister-Tyrell alliance, Tommen marries Margaery. Probability: 100%. Apparently happening in the second or third episode of the season.
NFTB: Myrcella falls for Trystane Martell. Myrcella Baratheon, once in Dorne, realizes that the Martells are way less messed up than her family. Probability: 100%. Myrcella is definitely going to fall for Trystane and this show might have a romance plot, between young adults, which is not disturbing. How refreshing!
NFTB: Myrcella gets married to Trystane Martell. The show might make Myrcella’s conversion to the Martell side of the Lannister-Martell conflict by having Myrcella marry Trystane. Probability: 25%. While Myrcella is definitely going to fall for Trystane, I think their marriage is less likely to happen.
FTB: Myrcella loses an ear. Myrcella is wounded in a complex plot between rival factions in Dorne. Although there will probably still be rival factions in Dorne (Oberyn’s daughters v. everyone else?) I think the show realizes it has maimed enough Lannisters. Probability: 0%. No Myrcella Van Gogh.
FTB: Tommen is a rubberstamp ruler. Book Tommen is a bit younger than TV Tommen so this seems less likely to happen. But he will probably just go along with whatever Cersei says as long as Cersei is the Queen Regent. Probability: 90%. Ser Pounce approves.
Summary: Jaime and Cersei’s two children both have romance plots and courtly machinations that will be strengthened from what plots they had in the books, as the TV versions are older and more capable of handling themselves (and plotlines) than their book counterparts. The Lannister kids have always been fun to watch (anyone who claims Joffrey wasn’t fun to watch is lying) so this adaptation change should be for the better.
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FTB: Meets with Illyrio and Varys in Pentos. Well, Varys wasn’t there in the books, but close enough. While here, they put him onto his path towards Daenerys in Meereen. Probability: 100%. Trailers for Season 5 have already shown Varys and Tyrion chatting about Daenerys, and the show has been very blatant that Illyrio and Varys are Targaryen loyalists.
FTB: They send him on a slow boat to Meereen. While on the boat, Tyrion interacts with some interesting people. This group of people includes Jon Connington, a former Hand of the King, and Aegon Targaryen, the long-hidden heir to the currently deposed Targaryen dynasty. Probability: 0%. The show appears to be excising Jon Connington and Aegon from its storyline entirely, which obviously makes all of us bookreaders confused on what this says about (f)Aegon.
NFTB: They send him quickly to Daenerys. I’m not entirely sure how Tyrion is going to get on Danerys’s trusting side quickly, but he’s apparently going to be trusted enough by her to be at her wedding. So. Yeah. He will move from Pentos to Meereen in half a season at most, probably seeking a boat at Volantis, which has been shown in the more recent trailer. Probability: 100%. Maybe Tyrion can add the Hand of the Queen to his extensive résumé.
FTB: Tyrion is drinking and whoring a lot. In the novels, Tyrion “deals with” the pain of killing his father and lover by doing a lot of drinking and whoring. The show will probably include the drinking to some degree (it likes to let Dinklage drink) but not to the same degree. As for the whoring, well, GoT does like having random whore characters so... Probability: 50%. He’s doing less drinking and whoring because Tywin and Jaime didn’t make him remember Tysha, but still drinking and whoring.
FTB: Jorah meets, and captures, Tyrion. After visiting a brothel in Selhorys, Jorah captures Tyrion. Probability: 0%. From all shown Season 5 footage, it looks like Jorah’s plot involves being a slave, whereas Tyrion’s doesn’t, so their paths might not cross until Daenerys’s wedding. I’ve read claims that somehow Jorah’s story is being hidden and he does capture Tyrion in Volantis but that claim sounds wrong.
Summary: Tyrion’s story in Season 5 looks like it will be extremely more efficient than his story in Book 5. This has a very definite downside (in that an interesting contender for the Iron Throne is being excluded) but it has a very definite upside (of increasing the speed of Daenerys’s plot).
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NFTB: They go to the Bloody Gate. In the show, they were on their way there when they met Arya and Sandor. Probability: 100%. As good of a place as any for them to look for Starks.
NFTB: They encounter Sansa. Rumors abound that a group of people from the Vale (including Sansa) meet up with Brienne, either in the Vale or in the Riverlands. Probability: 80%. This sounds like it’s happening, and that Brienne is going to be (very shortly) a captive of Arryn forces, who tell her and Podrick to be quiet about Sansa.
FTB: They return to the Riverlands. Probability: 100%. Someone’s plot has to be in the Riverlands this season, and it looks like Brienne is the one. I don’t know if that means she will go towards Tully lands or not...
FTB: They are captured by the BwB. The Brotherhood without Banners captures them while they are searching for Starks. Probability: 0%. The actor for Beric Dondarrion is apparently not appearing in Season 5, nor the actor for Thoros of Myr, and Gendry was taken out of the BwB in Season 3. So this group seems to be gone from the show.
FTB: They encounter Lady Stoneheart. Probability: 0%. The show has been very insistent that this character does not exist in the show’s universe, so let’s move on shall we?
Summary: It sounds like Brienne will find Sansa Stark but then be told to not tell anyone that she found Sansa Stark. What happens after that seems to be more up in the air. Maybe she will be helping shore up support for the Bolton overthrow?
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FTB: Bran trains. The un-televised parts of Bran’s story in ADWD is primarily him learning how to use the weirwoods to see things in the past, present, and future. Probability: 0%. Not happening, the show would much rather that in Season 6 that we just see Bran with super magic powers, rather than have him train in Season 5.
FTB: Bran says hello to Theon. While Theon is in the Godswood of Winterfell for a wedding, he thinks he hears his name being said... Probability: 50%. I just think this would be really cool. That of course doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.
Summary: Although Bran, Meera, and Hodor are apparently sitting this season out, there’s always the chance that Bran helps Theon redeem himself.
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FTB: Sam helps get Jon elected. When Stannis calls for an election for a new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Sam helps sway the contest Jon’s way. Probability: 100%. If there is an election, Sam will help Jon win. If.
FTB: Gilly’s baby gets traded. Gilly’s baby gets traded (without her permission) with that of Mance Rayder, so that Mance’s baby is far away from Castle Black. Probability: 0%. Mance has no baby. Baby-swapping seems to be one of the moral lines that the show is not going to cross.
FTB: Sam, Aemon, and Gilly visit Essos. Jon sends the three of them (and a minor, so far unseen Crow) to Oldtown so that Sam may become a maester. They stop in Braavos on the way, and Sam almost (!) meets Arya. Probability: 0%. Of the tv characters who have been seen in Braavos, Sam, Aemon, and Gilly are not amongst them. And Aemon’s main role in this plot is to conclude that Daenerys is the Prince that was Promised, which doesn’t seem to be a thing that the show needs him to say, with Varys now being Team Daenerys rather than Team Aegon.
NFTB: Aemon dies as a blood sacrifice. In the books, Aemon dies on the journey to Oldtown. In the books, Melisandre burns some people to death while she’s at Castle Black. Probability: 50%. The show seems to be hinting that someone with the blood of kings is killed at Castle Black by Melisandre. Some people think this means Shireen Baratheon, and I agree that it’s possible that Shireen will be offered up by her very crazy mother, Selyse. But ... Aemon is also from the blood of kings, he himself passed on being a king. It’s possible he’s going to get burned alive.
FTB: Sam and Gilly become lovers. In the books, this happens after Maester Aemon has died on the voyage to Oldtown. Probability: 20%. In the show, they’ve kissed. Other than introducing unnecessary drama (...which the show does like) I don’t see why the show would have Sam and Gilly, while at Castle Black, go any further with their relationship.
Summary: Sam’s plot in AFFC primarily happens so that someone can be in Oldtown and in the Citadel. The show seems less interested in this part of the world, so instead Sam hangs out at Castle Black. It’s less expensive that being on a boat, but it raises major questions of what exactly Sam the Slayer is going to be doing other than helping fix elections. He hasn’t been seen in any of the Hardhome scenes, so unless he’s learning the dark arts from Melisandre (please let this happen) I don’t know what he is going to do.
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FTB: Stannis burns (f)Mance. Mance has broken the vows of the Night’s Watch, Stannis doesn’t like traitors, Mance gets burned. Probability: 20%. The topic of “what to do with Mance” has already been brought up in the show, and it seemed like mercy was going to be granted by Stannis. ... but it is Stannis, who is a rather grim guy.
FTB: Melisandre glamours Mance. In order to save Mance, Melisandre uses a glamour to make someone else appear as Mance. Probability: 20%. In the book, Rattleshirt (AKA the Lord of Bones) is who gets burned instead. But in the show, Rattleshirt is not at Castle Black. Tormund is in Castle Black, so maybe he will take the proverbial bullet. But, on the other hand, the show hasn’t spent much time with characters pretending to be other characters, i.e. there was no Ramsay playing the role of Reek in Season 2. So this entire subplot might get scrubbed.
FTB: Davos goes to White Harbor. While there he negotiates with Wyman Manderley, who says he will join with Stannis if Davos finds Rickon. Probability: 0%. No indication whatsoever that Wyman Manderley is in this season, nor that Rickon is even going to be mentioned.
FTB: Stannis captures Deepwood Motte. While on his way south, Stannis captures Deepwood Motte, which was last mentioned in Season 2 as a castle captured by Yara Greyjoy. Probability: 80%. It hasn’t been shown in the trailers but it is sort of along the route from Castle Black to Winterfell.
NFTB: The Battle of Ice. Stannis’s forces fight the forces of the Boltons, near or in Winterfell. Probability: 80%. The trailers sound like the Boltons might be going north to meet Stannis in the field, so some Stannis-Bolton battles may occur north of Winterfell, which may end with one or both sides scoring key victories...
Summary: The trailers so far haven’t shown much of who stays at Castle Black and who goes south with Stannis’s army. If Melisandre goes with his army, then she can’t be at Castle Black near the end of the season to perform some magic. If Davos goes with Stannis’s army on land, what tactical advice does he have to give? Stannis is definitely going to be heading south, but whether his two strongest allies are with him, and what they’ll be doing if they’re not with him, is up in the air.
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FTB: Arya enters the House of Black and White. Once in Braavos, Arya is allowed to begin training to be part of the guild of the Faceless Men. Probability: 100%. The trailers have shown her in front of the doors multiple times.
NFTB: Arya is trained by Jaqen H’ghar. In the books, her instructor is referred to as the kindly man. In the show, Jaqen H’ghar’s actor has been cast. Probability: 85%. Maybe she just meets someone with Jaqen’s face. But most likely, to consolidate characters, the show will have Jaqen train her in the arts of being a Faceless Man.
FTB: Arya is blinded. While she is blinded, she might further develop her warging abilities, at some times using the sight of a cat while she herself is blind. Probability: 70% on blinded, 50% on warging. This season the ability of Starks to warg could be played up, or not, depending on whether a particular plot development will occur.
NFTB: She kills Meryn Trant. Meryn Trant is on Arya’s List, and he is going to appear in Braavos. Probability: 90%. It hasn’t been confirmed yet but it’s likely to happen if Trant is going to be in Braavos. If it does happen, this “selfish” killing on her part could be what causes her to get blinded.
FTB: She wears a face. In ADWD, for her first assigned killing, she travels to the lower chambers of the House of Black and White and is assigned a face. Probability: 90%. This special effect was already done in Season 2, so having it reappear isn’t out of the technical abilities of the show, and most fans thought it was cool back then, so it would be cool now.
Summary: It seems like Arya’s tv plot, much like Cersei’s plot, is going to mostly follow the same rough strokes as her book plot. It seems unlikely that she will be going to Westeros before Season 6, but both her book and TV selves will probably really really want to.
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NFTB: Robin leaves the Eyrie. The trailers seem to be showing Robin actually outside the Eyrie, maybe at a tournament being held by the new Lord Protector of the Vale, Petyr Baelish. Probability: 100%. Robin Arryn continues to be the much less sickly adaptation of the book’s Robert Arryn.
NFTB: Sansa Stark is (f)Arya. The trailers have shown Arryn soldiers riding into Winterfell and Sansa in the Crypts of Winterfell, so it seems like Sansa Stark is going to Winterfell. There are two big rumors on what role she might play there. One is that she will marry Ramsay Bolton in the role of Fake Arya. Probability: 40%. I think it makes absolutely no sense for Sansa to be placed into a position wherein she might get (very badly) injured by Ramsay, so I don’t think she is going to be (f)Arya.
NFTB: Sansa Stark serves Frey pie. The other rumor is that Sansa will emulate Wyman Manderly and serve up meat pies at Ramsay’s wedding, pies that are full of meat from dead Freys. Probability: 60%. A tournament in the Vale would be something the Freys could get invited to. All that’s next is Sansa chopping them up, baking them into pies and bringing the pies to Winterfell. This seems like it could happen, and having Sansa be the bearer of cannibal pie is a somewhat dark turn for her character.
NFTB: Petyr goes to King’s Landing. Photos have shown Baelish’s character being filmed in King’s Landing. Probability: 100%. He’s either there to help out Cersei (unlikely) or the Tyrells (much more likely) when the Lannister-Tyrell conflict comes about, or attend the wedding of Tommen and Margaery. Probably more likely the latter.
NFTB: Sansa kills Roose, Ramsay, or Reek. If Sansa is taking a truly dark turn this season, there’s three people in Winterfell who have seriously done her family wrong, and whose deaths would help even the karmic scales. Probabilities: 10%, 50%, 50%. I think Roose is going to be leading the army against Stannis, so he’s not likely to be in Winterfell. Ramsay and Reek are much more likely to be in Winterfell, so either of them could be in Sansa’s crosshairs.
Summary: In AFFC, Sansa is being established as a character who will, in Book 6 or maybe later, be a player in the Game of Thrones. Season 4 of GoT established this, meaning that Season 5 Sansa can be enacting plots of her own and/or with the help of Baelish. How murderous these plots are (e.g., will she take over Winterfell?) is up to this season to decide.
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FTB: Balon Greyjoy dies. The book is not entirely clear if he dies of naturally falling off a bridge, or if he is pushed. But his death sets up a power struggle on the Iron Islands. Probability: 100%. I’m unsure on if his death will occur on, or off, screen, but the death of Balon Greyjoy is a plot point that has been sitting unused since late Season 3.
FTB: A kingsmoot is held. Two living brothers of Balon, Euron and Victarion, and Balon’s daughter Yara, all compete to capture the will of the Ironborn and become the next King of the Iron Islands. Probability: 10%. One episode in Season 1 had Tyrion mentioning Theon’s uncles, which would be a reference to Euron and Victarion. Since then, there has been no mention of Balon having brothers. So. Euron and Victarion might not exist. With Balon’s death, and the Ironborn probably not recognizing Yara’s claim to the throne, the kingship might pass to someone else. This might all happen off-camera.
FTB: Yara is captured by Stannis. After Deepwood Motte is attacked and taken by Stannis’s forces, he tracks down and captures the fleeing Ironborn, including Yara. Probability: 10%. At the end of Season 3, Yara was in Pyke. In the middle of Season 4, Yara was at the Dreadfort. Would she randomly be at Deepwood Motte again in Season 5? Sure, why not. But this assumes Yara is even in the show this year, of which there is no evidence so far.
Summary: After having a fairly strong usage of the Ironborn in Season 2, subsequent seasons have used less and less of them. Season 5 does not look to have a strong usage of the Ironborn, and most of their actions might not be adapted into the show. Maybe next year? Or maybe never. Victarion is still awesome even if the show doesn’t want to talk about him. The Greyjoys not Theon might be entirely off-screen this season.
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FTB: Ramsay gets married to (f)Arya. This wedding, of the last (believed) surviving member of House Stark to House Bolton, is meant to consolidate the claim of Roose Bolton as the new Lord of Winterfell. Probability: 100%. It’s one of the three weddings that is said to happen this season.
NFTB: (f)Arya is Myranda. In the books, (f)Arya is played by Jeyne Poole, who came south with her father with Eddard Stark to King’s Landing, and then is sent north from King’s Landing by Baelish and the Lannisters to serve as “Arya”. In the show, Jeyne Poole briefly appeared in the first episode and has never appeared again. Someone who has been around Ramsay a lot is Myranda, who does have dark hair, like a Stark would. Probability: 60%. (f)Arya is either Myranda, or Sansa, or, much less likely, someone else entirely. I think Myranda is the choice that makes the most sense as far as who would put up with Ramsay. But speculators are very very opinionated about this issue, because of the Reek problem.
FTB: Reek flees from Winterfell. In ADWD, Reek, with help from Mance Rayder, gets himself and Jeyne Poole out of Winterfell. Probability: 40%. I don’t think this is happening. I don’t know if Mance is being sent to Winterfell. That depends on if he gets killed by Stannis or glamoured by Melisandre, and it depends on if Melisandre sees “Arya” in her visions and sends Mance south. I do mostly suspect that if Myranda gets treated badly by Ramsay that Reek will do something to save her. Theon’s actor is hinting that Theon does achieve some form of redemption...
FTB: Ramsay sends Jon a letter. The Pink Letter is one of the things that ASOIAF readers know about, because it’s rather intense. In it he makes claims that can’t all be true but which are unnerving nonetheless, and which probably mean he captured and tortured Mance Rayder. Probability: 50%. Is entirely dependent on whether Mance’s plot puts him into Winterfell.
NFTB: Reek kills Ramsay and/or vice versa. Such a development would be completely not from the books. Probabilities: 30% dead Reek, 20% dead Ramsay, 50% dead both. I think that the show is going to have the two of them come into conflict somehow; that Theon being Reek will slip, and Theon will want revenge against Ramsay. In terms of being a moment “that will really blow people away”, that would definitely count. Whether Theon will survive attacking Ramsay is something else entirely.
Summary: The all-but-absence of Jeyne Poole from the show complicates the ability to faithfully adapt the Bolton and Theon storylines from ADWD. That’s not that big of a deal, it just changes things. My guess is that the change means that Theon redeems himself, rather than having (f)Arya’s torment be the moral event horizon that he crosses which finally causes him to betray Ramsay. The show invested a lot of time on Ramsay and Theon’s relationship in Season 3; having Theon redeem himself by pushing Ramsay off the walls of Winterfell seems like a good return on that investment. But, this being a show where no one has a good day, Theon is also likely to die, either as retribution for his killing Ramsay or just because Ramsay sometimes breaks his “toys”.
Image by Veronica V. Jones, via westeros.org
FTB: Jorah travels to Volantis. In AFFC, Jorah is on his way westward from Meereen, after being exiled by Daenerys. Probability: 100%. The last we saw of Jorah, he was on horseback leaving Meereen. It’s unlikely he would go north, towards the Dothraki. It’s unlikely he would go southeast, towards Qarth. So I guess he would go west, towards Volantis. Or maybe he trades his horse and takes a ship to Volantis.
FTB: Jorah gets captured at sea. After capturing Tyrion, the boat Tyrion and he is on gets captured by Yunkish slavers. Probability: 50%. I’m just not sure why he would be on a boat. Is he sailing to Westeros to Take the Black? Is he sailing to Meereen because he bought Daenerys some more dragons?
NFTB: Jorah gets captured on land. Jorah Mormont did help defeat the military of Yunkai, so if Yunkish slavers encountered him on land, they might not hesitate to capture him. Probability: 50%. The trailers have shown Jorah in Daznak’s Pit, a fighting pit in Meereen, where most of the fighters are slaves. So Jorah has to be a slave. So it’s just as likely he is captured on land as on a boat.
NFTB: Jorah dies. Either in Daznak’s Pit or relatively close to it, Jorah Mormont suffers a mortal wound and dies. Probability: 75%. In ADWD, once Jorah gets taken into slavery, his quality of life plummets, with beatings a daily or near-daily torment. Of characters likely to die in TWOW, he is high on the list. So it seems like the show is going to “rush” his death, and have it happen in Season 5.
Summary: Jorah does not have a happy time in ADWD, and he will not have a happy Season 5. The show might try to do something “good” with his death; maybe he dies helping keep Daenerys alive. Or he might just die in the fighting pits, while his Khaleesi watches. I don’t know which is more likely.
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FTB: Jon Snow becomes Lord Commander. After gaining a reputation during the Battle of Castle Black, Jon Snow is voted in as the new Lord Commander of The Night’s Watch. Probability: 100%. This is one of the big plot details of A Storm of Swords which has yet to translate to the show. In Season 4, Thorne mentioned that this election is going to happen. Casting clues (such as someone cast as a Mallister supporter) all-but-confirm that this will happen in Season 5, and Jon will win.
FTB: Jon Snow beheads Janos Slynt. Janos Slynt refuses orders from Jon. The punishment for refusing orders is beheading. Jon offers Janos more chances, Janos refuses, Jon cuts his head off. Probability: 100%. This is all material from the books, and it involves killing off a minor character. The show is very likely to keep this plot point since it is bloody, it shows Jon is serious about being a good Lord Commander, and it kills off a minor villain.
NFTB: Jon goes to Hardhome. Northeast of Eastwatch, the wildling village of Hardhome is being attacked by the White Walkers. Jon leads the Night’s Watch to save as many Wildlings as he can. Probability: 100%. Lots of promotional material shows that Jon is going to Hardhome.
FTB: Jon Snow gets stabbed a lot. A faction within the Night’s Watch thinks that Jon is traitorous for working so much with the Wildlings and with Stannis. So they stab him “for the Watch”. Probability: 99%. I think there’s a very small chance that the show will not use this plot, but that’s a very small chance. This is one of the WHAM moments of ADWD, and if the show doesn’t use this then I might eat a hat.
NFTB: Jon is reborn. It hasn’t happened in the books yet (he is, right now, Schrödinger’s Snow), but the book and show are both hinting that Melisandre brings him back to life somehow. Probability: 50%. I think this would be a fantastic last scene of Season 5: it would end the season on a combination of hope and WTF, and the audience would love it. But for it to happen one or two main dominoes have to be established: Melisandre has to stay at Castle Black, and possibly Jon has to have some warging abilities with Ghost. If either or both of those plots get touched on in Season 5, then the probability of this jumps to 100%.
Summary: There’s things that the show adaptation of Game of Thrones has done with Jon Snow that have been somewhat confusing; some of his material in Season 4 seemed to be “filler”, for lack of a kinder word. In this season, he’s being given more active material than his book counterpart, which should lead to more of an audience reaction when he gets turned into a corpse. But he’ll get better (probably).
Image by Marc Simonetti, via Westeros.org
FTB: The Sons of the Harpy emerge. A militant group of Meereenese resisting the Targaryen rule, they target supporters of the Khaleesi, including the Unsullied. Probability: 100%. They’re seen in the promotional materials.
FTB: Yunkai and Qarth both make war on Meereen. In the books, Yunkai raises an army and takes over Astapor before starting to turn toward Meereen. Qarth sends Xaro Xhoan Daxos as an emissary with the offer of 13 ships to send Daenerys to Westeros. She refuses, and Qarth joins the war. Probabilities: 100% for Yunkai, 50% for Qarth. Xaro Xhoan Daxos is dead on the show, so the show might just skip over Qarth’s war against Meereen.
FTB: Hizdahr and Daenerys marry. Hizdahr offers marriage, and Daenerys agrees if the Sons can be stopped. The Sons stop (how... coincidental), and they marry. Probability: 100%. The show has promised us three weddings this season, and this will be the one that Tyrion attends. But he won’t be accused of poisoning anyone at this wedding, because Strong Belwas isn’t there to be poisoned with spiced locusts.
FTB: Dragons are loosed. Daznak’s Pit reopens to celebrate the wedding, the noise and blood draws in Drogon, Drogon sets people on fire, Daenerys exits Meereen, on Drogon. After she leaves, Viserion and Rhaegal are let loose. Probability: 100% for Drogon, 30% for Daenerys leaving, 50% for Viserion and Rhaegal. It’s all-but-confirmed that Drogon shows up at Daznak’s Pit. Daenerys leaving Meereen on Drogon seems less likely to occur; the show is trimming down on “extraneous” plots, after all. If she’s able to “tame” Drogon again, then Viserion and Rhaegal can also get “tamed”, and Daenerys is now in control of three large dragons. If she’s not able to “tame” Drogon, then it’s likely that the Sons of the Harpy release the other two dragons, just to break Meereen some more.
NFTB: The Battle of Fire. Yunkai begins their siege of Meereen. Possibility: 30%. Much like the Battle of Ice, this is content that was pushed into TWOW after ADWD ended up being a monster of a book. It’s possible it might be, at least partly, included in Season 5. Or it might just be all for Season 6. Too early to tell.
Summary: Season 4 already started adapting Daenerys’s ADWD material, so the adaptation in Season 5 shouldn’t really change much of what’s left. The biggest change is that Quentyn Martell is not involved, meaning that the damage he causes (because he’s an idiot who releases two dragons) will either be caused by someone else, or be prevented entirely. I don’t know which will be more likely to occur.
FTB: Pycelle and Kevan die. At the end of ADWD, Varys shows up after hiding in Westeros somewhere. He kills Pycelle, shoots Kevan with a crossbow, and as Kevan is dying, Varys tells him that his death will cause King’s Landing to fall into further chaos, allowing the Targaryens to more easily take Westeros. Probability: 70%. I don’t know how Varys gets back to King’s Landing, but it could happen. But will the show kill off two Lannister patriachs in two subsequent season finales? Hmm...
For a brief period of time I thought about updating this with weekly updates, saying what things had and hadn’t happened on the show. But I abandoned that idea and instead just wrote a sequel post.