The fifth season of Game Of Thrones kicks off in a few hours' time and speculation is heating up on who will survive to the very end. In characteristically sadistic fashion, series creator George R. R. Martin has promised more shock deaths to come — including characters who are still alive in the books! We asked our resident GoT expert to speculate on who will die this season and why...
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HBO's adaptation of Game Of Thrones has a reputation for being even bloodthirstier than the books it's based on. Each season, a clutch of minor characters meet grisly ends in complete contradiction to their prose counterparts.
Examples include Daenerys’ handmaiden Irri (sealed alive in a tomb), the Dothraki warriors Rakharo and Mago (beheaded and throat cut, respectively), the Qartheen warlock Pyat Pree (dragon-immolation), Rob Stark's wife Talisa/Jeyne (slain at the Red Wedding), Jojen Reed (stabbed to death by wights) and Night's Watch brothers Gren and Pyp (killed by wildlings during the siege of Castle Black). In the books, all of these characters are alive and well; for the time being at least.
This predilection for mayhem isn't purely down to a sadistic writing staff. Rather, budget constraints and contract renewals often determine the fates of non-essential characters. As George R. R. Martin once explained to us: "Unlike my book characters, the actors expect to be paid money! Therefore, in order to introduce a new character at the start of each season, [the show] has to kill some of the old characters off."
Season 5 sees the introduction of the Dornish kingdom and its inhabitants, which required fresh gaps to be hewn out of the existing cast. George R. R. Martin recently confirmed that fans can look forward to further non-canon deaths in the weeks to come.
In addition, events are expected to overtake the books this season, which means the fates of principle characters are also hanging in the balance. Almost no one is safe.
Based on naught but pure speculation, these are the characters I think will meet the Many-Faced God this season; all of whom are still alive in the books. Valar Morghulis!
[Warning: Some spoilers from A Dance With Dragons follow. Confirmed book deaths are not mentioned, however.]
Missandei and/or Grey Worm
Missandei and Grey Worm (Deanery's scribe and bodyguard, respectively) are ideal candidates for the show's divergent hit list. As minor characters from the books, they can be summarily killed off without affecting the main plot. Plus, they are popular enough with viewers for their deaths to be impactful; especially when you take their budding romance into account.
Out of the two, I think the most likely candidate is Missandei — she's not as integral to the plot whereas Grey Worm is required for multiple action scenes. Plus, Nathalie Emmanuel seems keen to move onto bigger and better things (she recently starred in Fast And Furious 7, for instance). Expect to see the Unsullied eunuch crying over her beautiful corpse in a future episode.
Survival odds: 6/1
At the end of Season 4, Bronn reluctantly severed his bromance with Tyrion Lannister in exchange for a castle and lordship from the scheming Queen regent. In the books, Cersei then attempts to have the unruly henchman killed, but he survives the attack and continues to be a thorn in her side. I suspect his fate will be different on the show — if only to cement Cersei's abject ruthlessness.
Survival odds: 3/1
Much like Bronn, there's a possibility Margery could become a doomed plot device to ramp up Cersei's wickedness. Assuming she has no major role to play in future books, it makes perfect sense to off her.
Survival odds: 2/1
Theon's been having a rough time of it lately. Relentlessly tortured and taunted by the sadistic Ramsay Bolton, he has essentially lost all reason to keep on living. In the books, Theon's fate becomes entwined with an old Winterfell acquaintance who might just hold the key to his inner salvation. However, I wouldn't be surprised if this subplot gets excised from the show. This doesn't leave him with very much to do, except die. By this point, it will probably come as a relief.
Survival odds: 3/1
The greyscale-afflicted daughter of Stannis Baratheon is already a tragic character and I fear her story is about to become even sadder. Last season, the sorceress Melisandre dropped some none-too-subtle hints that she needed Shireen for her blood rituals. In short, she believes the princess' death will provide the magic Stannis needs to win the Iron Throne. By season's end, I'm 99 per cent certain she will end up tied to a funeral pyre — alive — while her grim-lipped father looks on.
Survival odds: 100/1
Davos Seaworth (AKA The Onion Knight)
Davos is one of the most decent and virtuous characters in all of Westeros — which practically guarantees he will come to a sticky end. In the books, Davos is captured and seemingly beheaded by the Manderlys; a Northern House who swore fealty to the Lannisters after the Red Wedding. However, they remain secretly loyal to the Starks and fake the execution. He is then sent on a mission to locate Rickon Stark; the child brother of Bran and Rob who was last seen skulking about with the wildling Osha.
I think there's a strong chance that this subplot will be erased entirely: most viewers have forgotten all about Rickon Stark and the Manderlys are an unknown entity. From a pacing perspective, it would make sense to kill Davos off for real and move on to a more important story line. (Plus, I don't imagine Liam Cunningham comes cheap, so there's that too.)
Survival odds: 4/1
In the books, the sadistic Ramsay Bolton continues to cause havoc in the North alongside an army of Freys and various Northmen of uncertain allegiance. Most of these characters have never appeared on the show and are unlikely to be introduced now. Instead, I think the Bolton subplot will be tied up quickly this season, culminating in Ramsay getting his just desserts. My money's on a sword fight with Jon Snow or a sneaky back-stab by Theon.
Survival odds: 6/1
Literally no one in the world cares about this character — particularly since Michiel Huisman took over the role from the far more charismatic Ed Skrein. I think Daario will spend most of this season wooing Danerys. He will then die while either saving her life or attempting to betray her. A grief-stricken/enraged Danny will then head to Westeros in full "wake-the-dragon" mode in a season cliff-hanger. You read it here first!
Survival odds: 5/1
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