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This preview will contain spoilers for the previous seasons of “Game of Thrones”, but it won’t spoil the books or what is about to come.

“Game of Thrones” is the best thing on television – hands down, no competition. I love “Hannibal”, and “True Detective” was awesome last year, but “Game of Thrones” has consistently entertained and maintained its quality over four fantastic seasons. The other two shows are early in their life cycles, and the first season of “Hannibal” was very lacklustre, so neither show has shown that they are at the same level as the greatest fantasy epic of our time. “Game of Thrones” scratches an itch for fantasy that many of us have, and it has also made the genre mainstream, bringing people who are otherwise indifferent to dragons and magic a sense of wonder that they haven’t felt since “The Lord of the Rings”. With the fifth season fast approaching, and set to catch up the book (overtaking it as far as certain characters are concerned), things are about to get very interesting, and I really can’t see the showrunners making a misstep.

All of the protagonists are at interesting points in their respective journeys, and I am genuinely excited to see where the characters end up. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is still at The Wall, no surprise there, but instead of simply plodding around and fulfilling his duties, he now has to try to keep peace between the Wildlings and Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), whilst also fending off the White Walkers and probably Melisandre (Carice van Houten). I hope that his story catches up with the books by the time the season is over, because frankly I want to know what happens next, and if it does get to the point that Martin’s books are at then his arc in this season could be one of the best.

Arya (Maisie Williams) is heading towards Bravos, hoping to reunite with Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha), because she has no one else to turn to. Her skill set will fit in nicely in Bravos and her story has the potential to be very entertaining. What I like about where Arya is headed is that it means that the version of Westeros that the show has built will become more diverse and fleshed out, because we haven’t seen much of Bravos in previous seasons. I don’t know whether or not Arya’s storyline will follow the books exactly, but if it does it could be quite cool. I’m not overly keen on her storyline, and I think it will take time to adjust now that she’s left The Hound (Rory McCann) behind, but the show has the license to change things up a bit and make it more exciting.

Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is in a great place this season, as we should expect given that he’s such a brilliant character – he could be heading for the land of mathematics and I’d still be expectant! Last season belonged to Tyrion, Peter Dinklage is amazing in the role and he lights up the screen whenever he’s on it, so what could possibly go wrong? This time around Tyrion is on a literal journey, rather than an emotional one, and his character has learned a thing or two about the world, having to adapt and become more vicious than he was before. Previously he has been able to get by on the back of ruthless pragmatism and intellect, but now he’s had to act and become like everyone else, so it will be interesting to see how he copes with what he’s done. He’s no longer commenting on the Game of Thrones with disdain, he’s having to play, which is fantastic news for everyone but him. From the trailer we have some kind of idea where he is headed, and if he gets there by the end of this season I think I might wet myself. Seeing Tyrion and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) in the same scene is something that I’ve been waiting for since the series began, so fingers crossed that it finally happens, but the intrigue within his journey will be more than worth tuning in for anyway.

Daenerys’ story plateaued last season, because the show had to get everyone else’s stories moving along while she stayed in the same place. Because everyone else had to develop, and Tyrion had to leave King’s Landing, she couldn’t gallivant around Westeros, she had to stay in Meereen. That’s fine with me because it makes sense for the character; she’s the good guy after all, everyone wants her to take the Iron Throne and save the world! To do that she can’t just use her dragons and her Unsullied army to become a conqueror. She isn’t Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), she knows that the throne isn’t the end game – there’s more to leadership than brute force. You can seize power with fire and blood, but to lead you need tact and experience. Therefore, she needs to learn what it is to be a queen, and that’s what her story is all about right now.

This time around things will hopefully be more entertaining, because Daenerys has enemies and if the show follows the book then we’ll see her make a lot of difficult decisions that will ultimately shape who she is going forward. I’m happy for her to take her time as long as she develops as a character and becomes the person that we all want to her to be. The only issue I have with the story in Meereen is that Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) is a waste of a character and takes time out of the show, but I’ll have to stomach his inclusion to enjoy everything else.

One of the more interesting things about Daenerys in this season won’t be what she actually does, it will be what happens in the fighting pits. I don’t think that mentioning them is a spoiler because again they appear on the trailer, and they look awesome. I want to see violence and bloodshed and I also want to see how Daenerys reacts to it. There’s also the small issue of Jorah (Iain Glen) attempting to win back his place in Daenerys’ heart (and her bed, but we all know that won’t happen). I can see a “Gladiator” like journey for him on the horizon, and I think that he’ll definitely find himself in the fighting pits during the season, and ultimately back at Daenerys’ side. I could also see that spelling the end for Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney), but I think that Daario will stick around for a while. There have to be a few deaths in the season and I think that at least some of them will be within Daenerys’ group.

Just as a side note, my dream scenario for Daenerys is that she makes it all the way to King’s Landing and is about to take the throne, but just before her victory Jorah slits her throat for all the times she’s rejected him. I think that Jorah will still have connections and that anyone that wants Daenerys dead in King’s Landing could definitely try and sway him to betray her. I really hope something like that happens because although I like Daenerys, I think it would be far too obvious for her to win in this story. She can’t survive if she doesn’t become queen, because in the Game of Thrones you really do either win or die, and I think it would be too easy if she got the victory.

There are plenty more characters that I could spend time digging in to, particularly Sansa (Sophie Turner), Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen), and Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), but I’m not quite sure what will happen to them and I don’t have a bundle of ideas. That makes it all the more exciting to find out where they go in this season, so I have no complaints, but I don’t want to waste time on a guessing game.

Again, a dream scenario for Sansa and Littlefinger would be that they get to Winterfell (because it looks like that’s where they’re going in the trailer) and from there they meet Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) head on (because that’s where he’s headed also if you think back to last season). In my mind Theon (Alfie Allen), a.k.a. Reek, sees Sansa and remembers who he once was, flays Ramsay alive and returns the favour below the belt. I don’t think that’s what will happen, because it doesn’t make sense of what goes on in the books, but you never know!

Jamie is headed for Dorne, you can see that in the trailer if you’re watching carefully enough, and he’ll probably get himself mixed up with the Martells. I’m not sure if I think that he’ll have a good season, but just like with Arya, I’m happy that the series is heading to a new part of Westeros and I am enthusiastic for what is to come.

I don’t see how these character arcs wouldn’t excite a fan of the show, so I really don’t think that “Game of Thrones” will take a backward step. The acting is of such a high standard, the writing is brilliant, and it just looks awesome. Everything about it fills me with glee and leaves me jumping for joy at its impending return to our screens. There’s an added bonus in that we aren’t going to see much of Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), and Drogon is lurking on the periphery, promising to return in a blaze of glory. There’s nothing quite like this show, it’s amazing, it’s pure gold, and I love it with all my heart.

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