It’s still ages until Game Of Thrones returns to our screens, but news is starting to drip through about what we can expect from the show in Season Five, which is currently being filmed.
Surprisingly, Kristian Nairn, the actor who plays Hodor, revealed that both he and Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who plays Bran Stark, will be absent from our screens next year as the show tries to avoid eclipsing the books.
"We [Hodor and Bran] have a season off and we have a year's hiatus, solely because I imagine our storyline is up to the end of the books," he said in an interview.
When we last left Bran and Hodor, they had travelled North Of The Wall and reached the elusive Children Of The Forest, small, elfish creatures who could throw fire and lived underground.
What happens next, though, is still a bit of a mystery, as Bran’s storyline hasn’t progressed much further in the books which the show is based on.
Here’s what else we know about Game Of Thrones’ fifth season:
1 | One character will be making the ultimate walk of shame
Last month it was reported that a huge scene from Game Of Thrones’ fifth book was in jeopardy after interference from film commissioners and religious groups.
A scene where Cersei Lannister is forced to walk fully naked from the church through the streets was condemned because it was considered disrespectful.
Much of the King's Landing scenes are shot in Croatia, and the Crotian film commissioners are heavily influenced by the local church.
After heavy negotiations, however, it looks like both sides have reached a compromise, and the planned scene will be going ahead.
2 | Set photos show Arya interacting with some surprising cast members
Last we saw of the Arya Stark, she left The Hound to die a painful death and hopped on a ship to Braavos, one of the Free Cities across the narrow sea.
As well as Arya being spotted at Kastel Gomilicia, the Croatian location for the Braavos storyline, Mace Tyrell, father of Queen Margaery, and Tycho Nestoris from the Iron Bank, who we met in Season four, have both been seen on set.
It suggests Arya’s storyline is going to move incredibly quickly next year, as these characters have little interaction in the current books, or that they’re going to dovetail a few smaller storylines together to buy some time until the next book comes out.
Season Four relied on that tactic and made hugely compelling moments in doing so, so whatever they’re planning, it seems to be working.
3 | The action will be moving south to Dorne
Last year’s standout addition to the cast was Pedro Pascal as Prince Oberyn Martell, a deadly warrior whose family have a long-standing blood feud with the Lannisters.
Next season some of the action turns to Dorne, the south most of the seven kingdoms, as House Martell react to Oberyn’s grizzly death at the hands of Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane.
So far confirmed to be joining the huge cast: Alexander Siddig as Oberyn’s older brother, Doran Martell, the ruling lord of Dorne; Toby Sebastian as Trystane Martell, Doran’s son, betrothed to Cersei’s daughter Myrcella; three of Oberyn’s bastard daughters, Nymeria, Tyene and Obara Sand, and Areo Hotah, the long-serving captain of House Martell’s palace guard.
How they choose to react to the growing tensions throughout the realm will form a huge part of the narrative in Season 5.
4 | Myrcella Baratheon has been recast
In season two, Tyrion ensured peace with House Martell of Dorne by bethrothing Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella, to Doran Martell’s son Trystane.
And as the action is heading south, Myrcella has been recast, and will now be played by Nell Tiger Free. Both Myrcella and her future husband have been cast much older than their book counterparts in a similar way to Margaery Tyrell, Sansa Stark and Daenerys, suggesting that a heavier focus on the burgeoning romance between members of the feuding families could be a major part of Season 5.
Notably, as mentioned in Season 4, Dorne’s laws state that the eldest daughter has the right to the throne. So with her younger brother Tommen crowned king, there could be a revolution on the cards.
5 | A hugely popular storyline has been cut – completely
Most fans expected the mysterious character Lady Stoneheart to appear in the Season Four finale, so much so that when she didn't, the character's name trended on Twitter due to a huge volume of irate tweets.
Sadly though, producers have confimed that the storyline, which involves a shocking character making a re-appearence, has been cut, and they're not planning to feature it in any way.
At several points last year it had been hinted that Stoneheart would appear, but sadly that ship seems to have sailed. We've kept details scarce anyway, because nobody likes spoilers, even if the storyline is on the cutting room floor.