Before we begin this year’s prognistications for the next season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” let’s how I did with last year’s, shall we?
Daenerys Targaryen didn’t stay in Qarth or become its Queen, but she did get several new possible suitors to vie for her attention alongside Jorah Mormont, with Berristan Selmy, Grey Worm, and Daario Naharis all proclaiming their undying love and loyalty. Plus, at least one person who didn’t meet her incredibly high standards was summarily extinguished by Drogon fire. (Accuracy: 50%)
Theon Greyjoy didn’t acquire his own crew of jaunty seamen or sail anywhere near Dragonstone, because he didn’t really do much of anything this season. But, at least I was right that his future goals would change — by his unexpected emasculation — and that his sister would eventually come to his rescue, with her band of jaunty seamen to boot. But is it too little, too late? (Accuracy: 25% and still possible)
Robb Stark, poor, doomed, stupid Robb Stark. It was easy to see that his marriage to Talisa would cause complications with both Roose Bolton and Walder Frey, but I never expected his entire army and his only known surviving family would perish alongside the King in the North. While his fate wasn’t nearly as, er, lighthearted as I described, I came a lot closer to the truth than I’m comfortable with. (Accuracy: 50%)
Jon Snow did indeed have to face trials as a Wildling recruit: proving himself to Mance Rayder, delivering inside intel to the Giantsbane, surviving the Wall climb, and ultimately failing to kill that northern farmer. He doesn’t get to stay with Ygritte, but he did become her “love slave” for a period. (Accuracy: 75%)
Bran and Rickon Stark may not have made it to Castle Black, but that was their intended direction for the season and Bran does, indeed, finally make it to the Wall. I suppose the only mysteries they solved were the vague meanings behind Bran’s visions, but that was more or less served to them on a silver platter by the Reed siblings, Jojen and Meera. (Accuracy: 25%)
Arya Stark went in a completely different direction from King’s Landing, and toward Rivverun, but she did join forces with the Hound for pretty much the reason I stated. To paraphrase myself and Sandor Clegane: “One Stark b*tch is as good as another.” But, Jaime and Brienne did eventually make it back to the Westeros capital; and with nobody dying there recently, as well as the addition of the Tyrells and only Littlefinger leaving to marry the widow Arryn, the Red Keep is quite the “full castle.” (Accuracy: 50%)
Altogether, that’s not such a bad track record. You might quibble with my self-determined accuracy ratings, but they mathematically put me at just under 50% for the season. For somebody who hadn’t read any of the books and avoided all spoilers beyond A Clash of Kings, but has seen a TV show before, I’m fairly proud of myself. I’ve still only read up to the second book and I’m not sure if I’ll start the third, A Storm of Swords, before season 4 begins or wait until this section of the story is completely adapted before getting into it. (Any book readers’ non-spoiler opinions on where to stop reading Storm would be greatly appreciated.) I’m still mostly unaware of what happens next, but because figuring out how a story arc ends is much different than predicting where the next story arc will begin, I’m probably going to go a little beyond where I think the next season can logisitically go in a few of these entries.
Like last year, if you’ve read George R.R. Martin’s books, please do not spoil the HBO series for the rest of us by fawning over my precog abilities too much. That’s what Joanna’s posts are for. But a little fawning is fine and to be expected. First and foremost, enjoy!
On their journey beyond the Wall, Bran, Hodor, and the Reeds will meet the three-eyed raven, who is actually the long lost Benjen Stark! Who is also a warg! Who escaped his dying body, just like Orell did in “The Rains of Castamere!” Ravenjen will teach Bran and Jojen (whoa, Benjen and Jojen? Obviously!) how to be the wargiest wargs who ever warged. Bran will warg into a giant at some point, carrying a wounded or exhausted Hodor on his back, like some sort of mystically reversed The Mighty. Eventually, Bran will be able to go into battle, warging from one soldier to the next in battles, respawning in the most tactically sound spots like a vitriol-spewing 11 year-old savant on XBox Live (who has aimbots or something, for crying out loud).
Tyrion and Jaime Lannister
First things first, now that Jaime is back in the Westeros capital, his season 3 handicap will have to be turned into something less than a liability. Tywin won’t have another broken son, Cersei won’t reciprocate a broken lover, and Joffrey doesn’t want a broken Kingsguard. Thus, sword hand, ala Merle’s from “The Walking Dead.” But Jaime won’t ever be the perfect man he once was, except, perhaps to Tyrion, and their brotherly bond will bring them closer than they ever have been before. Especially when Shae is eventually discovered to be more than Sansa’s handmaiden and is summarily executed by a glowering Tywin and a gleeful Joffrey. This will be prove too much Lannister loyalty to bear, and Jaime and Tyrion will join forces with their maidens fair, Brienne and the aforementioned Sansa, as they scheme to pit the Hand and the King in a metaphorical death match against each other. Though, a literal gladiatorial one would also be pretty cool.
After the season 3 finale, it appears that Stannis, Melisandre, and Davos will be on a new mission to winterize Westeros, trying to unite the remaining families and their bannermen (perhaps in Dorne, which we’ve yet to see?), as well as the Brotherhood Without Banners, to fight the oncoming menace from the far north. Perhaps Stannis will even pledge fealty to the Lannisters, only to use the Red Priestess’s magic to usurp the Usurpers and retain their military strength. After all, Even Tywin would admit there’s no better way to fight the White Walkers than to put a final, bloody stop to the War of Five Kings without wasting too many lives. Well, claiming divine right and Constantining it up once Stannis sits the Iron Throne could help, too. Technically, I already predicted this, but I’m sticking to it. It just makes historical and narrative sense, whether the Lord of Light exists or not.
Mance Rayder claimed very early in season 3 that he was going to “light the biggest fire the North had ever seen.” We’re still waiting for that to happen and I except to see it early, but Wildlings and the Watch waging another war is really the last thing any of them needs. Now that Jon has spent equivalent time with both the Nightswatch and “Kingdom” Beyond the Wall, maybe he can bring these disparate forces together under a banner of peace rather than mutually assured destruction. Maybe he turns Mance’s big old bonfire into the George R.R. Martin version of the Burning Man festival? Give peace with the Wildlings a chance, just in time to join up with Stannis’ mission for god and glory, and then maybe Westeros stands a chance of surviving Winter. If Snow manages to pull that off, I think it’s fair to say we’d have a new, hippie-ish, candidate for King in the North, if not the whole damn country.
Dany’s arc has put her well on the way to becoming the Abraham Lincoln of Essos, and the fawning praise she received in this season’s finale places her squarely on the Jesus point of the savior spectrum. So, things are coming up Stormborn at the moment, which means she’s likely due for a fall and a betrayal. The latter already happened when Judas Mormont acceded to the Robert Baratheon’s pre-posthumous request to have the Last Dragon killed, and though he stopped it, he has not yet paid the price and surely his frustration at being systematically cut out of Dany’s inner circle is going to come to a head. This will all play out when Dany sets her sights on recliaming her Khalasar, a promise she made back in season 1, and conquering the Dothraki. It won’t be nearly as easy as she excepts and the tension will tear her band apart. I agree with Brandon, can a dragon death be far behind? Hopefully that won’t be Jorah’s last act.
Well, it’s about time, Arya. Fans of the books and the TV show have been waiting to see their favorite Stark take her rightful place as the First Avenger of Westeros for far too long, and stabbing that dude who put your brother’s dire wolf’s head atop his de-headed shoulders was a lovely way to start. But Arya is smarter than trying that tactic on Walder Frey and knows she’ll need the good word of her old murder pal, Jaqen H’ghar if she’s to enroll in Braavosi Murder School to achieve her epic revenge. On her way, she’ll convince the Hound to become her Mr. Miyagi, her Yoda, her Billy Connolly and when they reunite with Gendry, he will no doubt join their mission to take bloody revenge on everyone who’s wronged them and their families. Which is, well, pretty much everyone. But no matter how good she gets at killing her enemies, there are still White Walkers and the true heir to the Iron Throne to contend with. Of course, if Dany is to become a real Khaleesi again, she’ll make her way back to the western shores of Essos, which is, relatively, not far from Braavos at all.
Does this mean Arya has a chance to become one of Dany’s Dragonriders in the future? You bet your butt it does. Let’s just hope that, since this is HBO and years down the road, that scene doesn’t look too much like this:
Or maybe Bran wargs into a dragon and saves the day at the last minute?
One of the two, surely.
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. As long as dragons, giants, and ice zombies play a bigger part in later books/seasons, he’ll be satisfied.