The night may be dark and full of terrors, but as of this Sunday, at least one night a week will be a little brighter. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is back this weekend, and we’re pretty excited about it. To mark this most auspicious occasion, we decided to have a little roundtable chat with a few of our most devout editors to talk about some of the pressing issues before Season 5 kicks off. Katie, Kirstie and Bridey have all read to different points in the books, so what do they think the future holds, both in the show and in the series?
Jon Snow: Whose Bastard Is He?
Kirstie: I personally think that Jon Snow’s mother is actually Ned Stark’s sister/Robert Baratheon’s son and that he is the real rightful heir to the throne. Thus Ned taking him in as his own. I don’t think he’d ever really cheat on Cat.
Bridey: You think he’s Baratheon?! I haven’t heard that one yet!
Kirstie: I think it’s possible.
Bridey: I’m Team Lyanna and Rhaegar.
Katie: Yes, that’s my working theory too Bridey. I think he’s a Targaryen/Stark.
Kirstie: Yeah, that one seems more feasible than my thoughts as it’s also the more popular opinion.
Bridey: Why do you think he’s a Baratheon?
Katie: I always got the feeling Baratheon never got a chance to tap that Stark ass
Bridey: Oh but he wanted to. He wanted that Stark ass BAD.
Katie: He wanted it so bad he lusted after a statue over her dead body.
Kirstie: But I was always baffled at why Ned would take on a son that’s not his, and his brotherly relationship with Robert is so strong, there is something more there, I thought.
Katie: Kirstie, do you think he might have been protecting his sister and Jon from being murdered as a Targaryen?
Bridey: Well, in the first few books they talk a lot about Lyanna’s bed of blood and roses. And that she made Ned protect something. My take was always that her Targaryen beebee needed to be saved.
Kirstie: The “black of hair” thing turns me away from the Targaryen theory a little, but hair color is such a small detail.
Katie: Does anyone else kind of wonder when Jon and Dany are going to meet up and if they’re going to do it like a Lannister and keep it in the family?
Bridey: She did see a blue rose growing through the Wall in the House of the Undying.
I sound like such a geek. So if Jon is a Baratheon, what do we think that means? What about Gendry?
Katie: Totally secretly shipping Gendry and Arya.
Bridey: Oh girl we all are.
Kirstie: ME TOO KATIE. Ugh but now that you mention it Jon DID have a real connection with that blind Targaryen on the wall. The old ass one. What’s his name?
Bridey: Maester Aemon.
Bridey: I hadn’t even thought about how Maester Aemon could be his great … uncle?
Kirstie: RIGHT! Like, that would be cool. And Aemon always seemed to know something about Jon that we didn’t.
Katie: I really wish the show would make it clearer that Jon is potentially not Ned’s bastard. It’s played up so much more in the books. You see Ned telling him he’ll talk to him about his mother the next time they met.
Kirstie: Yeah, I don’t think it’s clear enough.
Bridey: I did recently read that Sean Bean mentioned that he might not be done with the show. And they are doing a flashback this season.
Bridey: MAGGIE THE FROG, YO!
Katie: Are they going to kill him again? Because Sean Bean can only go out with a death.
Bridey: So it is totally possible that they could flashback to Lyanna’s death or the Tourney at Harrenhal (PLEASE).
Kirstie: THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.
Bridey: I KNOW RIGHT. I want the Tourney at Harrenhal so bad it’s not even funny. But yeah, so we might get a Ned Flashback. OH GOD WHAT IF THEY INTRODUCE HOWLAND REED. Okay, sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Kirstie: I think Jon’s the key to the show, one way or another. Him and Arya.
Katie: Jon Snow: Gives good head, likely going to tup his sister in the future, will finally get his balls unfrozen by dragons.
Kirstie: I think the Targaryen theory is more feasible because storyline wise it would be the only connection between the Stark and Targaryen family. All the other families are already connected.
Who Is The Rightful Ruler of Westeros?
Kirstie: There’s a quote about the rightful heir being female. I don’t think it’s particularly about Dany.
Bridey: That could be a couple people. Let’s not forget …. Joffrey has a sister.
Kirstie: Damn that bitch, off on a boat. I forgot about her.
Katie: That would be such a GRRM dick move. “Hey, I never talked about her, SHE’S GONNA RULE ‘EM ALL, SUCKERS.”
Bridey: THRICE DAMN HER. So Marcella is a lady with a possible claim to power. Dany is a lady with a possible claim to power. And we’re going to talk the King in the North. Oh, and Stannis has a daughter to whom he wants his crown to pass.
Kirstie: Margaery is a lady with claim possibly. LADY POWER ALL THE WAY.
Bridey: A shit ton of lady power. BUT WHO SHOULD SIT THE IRON THRONE?!
Katie: Arya, because like Ned, she doesn’t want it.
Bridey: Arya would likely be a horrible ruler, though. I’m Stannis all the way. He’s harsh but just. And he’s actually fighting for the realm in the North.
Katie: He’s also a little insane in the membrane
Kirstie: Well is the question who should or who will?
Bridey: Who will is hard because GRRM could kill everyone. It could be the NEXT generation that actually ends up working it all out.
Kirstie: Stannis technically should.
Bridey: Damn straight.
Katie: I feel like Margaery would likely be sane, powerful, and do good.
Bridey: Margaery is what’s up.
Katie: Dany is likely cruising for a creepy power trip
Kirstie: I think that bitch has her strategy on LOCK. She’s the only one PLAYING the game.
Katie: Well, she already is on creepy power trip.
Bridey: Dany has some issues, though. She doesn’t understand “local culture” all that well.
Kirstie: Dany is too prideful now, I think, and her dragons will kill her.
Katie: She’s really enjoying being the “savior.”
Bridey: And I think that’s why I’m pumped for the Mereen storyline. She has power. What does she do with it? How do you guys feel about Tyrion?
Katie: I fucking love Tyrion.
Kirstie: I think Tyrion is fucking great.
Bridey: I know he’s kind of the darling of the show, but as the books went on I kind of lost love for him. Tywin’s murder was really a turning point for him in the books, and I wonder if they are going to follow him down that dark alcoholic hole.
Katie: I will say the show (re: Peter Dinklage) has done wonders for his character.
Bridey: Dinklage is a fucking dream.
Kirstie: BUT I think that killing his dad on the shitter is going to take him out of the running for any type of power.
Bridey: Tyrion circa Season 2 was probably my favorite Tyrion.
Kirstie: What about his technical marriage to Sansa and her off with that dickface? What happens then?
Katie: Well he’s had a lot of technical marriages now. And I’m curious to see Sansa start employing the lessons she’s learned at the skirts of Cersei.
Kirstie: Well she is finally playing the game, now. ‘BOUT DAMN TIME.
Katie: She wasn’t good at playing them in King’s Landing, but damn, girl has learned how to manipulate in the Vale.
Bridey: Sansa and Tyrion broke my heart.
Sansa: Love her or hate her?
Katie: I really like who she’s grown into.
Kirstie: I hated her, until she walked out all decked in black, hot as hell like, “I’MMA DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.”
Katie: I couldn’t stand her as a little girl.
Bridey: She was definitely not as likeable as Arya early on. But I fell in love when she told Joffrey that Robb would give her his head.
Katie: It’s interesting because Arya just gets more brittle as the show goes on but that makes her even more lovable.
Bridey: Yeah, Arya is complicated. She’s just up there killing people.
Kirstie: I think Sansa owning her womanhood and independence to do what she has to and take advantages where she can get them is what changed my opinion. Arya seems like she’s fading, but the posters of her for this season are really grown up and I think as she grows into a woman that will change, like it did with Sansa.
Katie: I really like how there are juxtapositions between the young Stark girls and the older female characters. I think Sansa really will come to be as powerful a player as Cersei in her own right. While we’ve seen Brianne who is what Arya always wanted to be when she grew up.
Bridey: Sansa has the quickness for the games. Arya I think less so. Arya has never had to play by those rules.
Kirstie: And the Stark girls are the only ones you really SEE grow up. The others you just see them as they are.
The Bolton Family
Bridey: The Boltons. Can we talk about how fucked up they are? Reek Reek, it rhymes with overwhelming depression.
Katie: Seriously, who pissed in their flayed Cheerios?
Kirstie: God damn they’re crazy
Bridey: Are we emotionally prepared to see them in Winterfell? Because I am not. I am going to weep.
Katie: Like you think you’ve seen the worst of the worst. You’ve watched the Freys and the Lannisters do some terrible shit. And then you meet the Bolton Bastard.
Bridey: Ramsey like actually scares me. I’ve skipped his segments before because he terrifies me.
Katie: He also scares me because he looks like Rob Thomas and I can never listen to Matchbox 20 again without being worried I’m going to be skinned. I also have this feeling that the Boltons are just going to slink underground. I feel like they’re so evil they won’t get their comeuppance.
Bridey: This season we’re meeting the Martells.
Kirstie: Apparently they are really important, according to my boyfriend who’s caught up on all the books. Bridey, can you vouch?
Bridey: Yes. They are so important. They are so fucking important.
Katie: We know they’ve got a bone to pick.
Bridey: They have SERIOUS bones to pick. Oberyn is dead, Elia was a Martell. And the Martells have Marcella.
Kirstie: So Marcella will be back apparently this season.
Bridey: Yes. They recast her to make her older. Yeah, the Martells are like playing their own game over in Dorne.
Kirstie: Not sure I’m prepared for it.
Bridey: They are awesome. I fucking love the Dornish. They inject a lot of life back into the story.
Kirstie: Right, like it’s interesting to me how important they are but they have been so under the radar the whole series, until last season.
Katie: I’m wondering if that’s where our storylines are going to start to collide. I feel they have to start weaving together sooner or later.
Bridey: They are a major player from here on out assuming the show follows the books even semi-closely. Dorne is over in … desert Wales? Like if there was a hunk of Morocca hooked onto Wales. I think.
Kirstie: Will the audience that haven’t read the books be open to that? Or pissed that the story no longer revolves around their favorites?
Unanswered questions, like “WTF happened to Ned Stark’s bones?” & “Robb’s succession”
Bridey: WHERE ARE NED STARK’S BONES?! Tyrion sent them north in Season 2, and they are just like nowhere to be found.
Katie: Wait, in the show Cat sent them to Winterfell before the Greyjoys took it.
Kirstie: That’s what I thought too.
Katie: So aren’t we to assume they’re there?
Bridey: OH GOD. I’m crossing the books and the show. But they never got the bones in Winterfell before the Greyjoys got there. And in the books, as of the end of book 5 the bones are still floating around in Westeros.
Bridey: Robb’s succession. So he made Jon his heir. So is Jon the King in the North? Or does the crown pass to Sansa?
Katie: Well once you take the black you can have no inheritance. BUT once you become the King’s Guard you can’t either and that’s not stopping the Lannisters.
Kirstie: Doesn’t Jon need to KNOW he’s the heir in order to be King in the North? And the Boltons kind of seized the power in the north, right?
Bridey: Kind of…
Kirstie: Like via crazy, but still.
Bridey: But if the King in the North can rally his bannermen, can he fight back?
Katie: But are there even bannermen left? Because toward the end, Robb I think had half of his men.
Bridey: Would the North rise up with Jon Snow?
Kirstie: Well that depends on the bastard-ness, I think. No one ever really valued him as a Stark to begin with.
Bridey: But Robb made a declaration, signed it, sent it north.
Bridey: So could the North rise again?
Katie: I feel like whoever defeats the White Walkers has got to be the one who becomes head honcho.
Bridey: That sounds very fair.
Kirstie: I guess if Jon was to rally the Wildlings with the bannermen and defeat the White Walkers then totally.
Katie: And it feels like the dragons (seeing that it’s only dragon glass that can kill them) are going to be key to that.
Bridey: THE SONG OF ICE AND FIRE
Kirstie: JON AND DANY, I mean, It’s kind of in the title.
White Walkers and Winter
Bridey: Winter is coming. It’s snowing, it’s getting cold, the harvest is in. The Walkers are making creepy Walker babies.
Katie: The Starks would be smug, if they weren’t all dead.
Bridey: THRICE DAMN YOU!
Kirstie: WHEN IS WINTER, THO!
Bridey: I think it creeps up on you.
Katie: Anyone else wondering if Margaery will have to cover her boobs once winter hits and is kind of sad about that?
Kirstie: LOL yes Katie.
Bridey: She’ll flee to Highgarden, boobs and all. As of book five, there are heavy snows at Winterfell.
Katie: How long has it taken for winter to fall?
Kirstie: Like a billion Ned Stark memes.
Bridey: It was snowing as of the very first chapter, because Jon saw the snowflakes melting in Robb’s hair. EMOTIONS.
Katie: The Maesters at the Citadel sent the raven saying the long summer is over right after Ned died.
Bridey: THAT TOO.
Kirstie: So it’s been coming for a while, like years.
Bridey: And it could last for years. The last book is supposedly going to be titled “A Dream of Spring.”
Kirstie: OOH OOH, and it’s totally NOT a coincidence that the dragons come back after all this time when winter is finally coming.
Bridey: OH MY GOD. I never made that connection!
Kirstie: ME EITHER. Not until this very moment.
Katie: Well there have been winters since the Targaryen’s dragons died, haven’t there?
Bridey: Not serious winters. Not Long Nights, because Bran was born at the end of the most recent winter. And there was the false spring when the Tourney at Harrenhal was held. But the Long Night, the last time the Walkers came, was something that only Nan remembered. When she said, “Oh my sweet summer child, what do you know about fear?”
Katie: That’s true. We know she was Nan to Ned. I’m just ready for the Starks to get their own back. And be real fucking smug about winter. Like they all move back to Winterfell and just put a sign on the gate saying, “We fucking told you so.”
Expectations for the coming season
Kirstie: As I mull the wine and roast whatever large slab of meat I have on hand in preparation for this season’s “Game of Thrones,” I find myself feeling that this season is going to center around characters that have previously flown under the radar as well as crushing the previous notions we had about characters we’re already familiar with. The Martell family is going to be in the forefront and we’ll all be asking (and cursing) ourselves as to why we didn’t pay closer attention to their subplots as Marcella, Cersei’s daughter, should be heading back from Dorne. Will she be all grown up and ready to rule or will she fall back on men and wine à la Mama Cersei Lannister? I feel some major mother daughter tension coming. Margaery will surely add to the drama as she inappropriately comes onto a young boy for power, but really who wouldn’t want to be Tommen? I wonder who Tyrion will find an ally in, as he’s been betrayed by his love and ostracized from his family for shooting his dad with a crossbow. Clever comebacks and a quick wit won’t save him now. Or will it…? In Meereen, we’ll find out how well Dany and her dragons actually rule and see if she can keep it in her pants long enough to focus on her new people. On the Stark side of things, Arya and Sansa are both growing up into very, very different versions of the young girls they once were. With Sansa playing the game and Arya thirsty with blood lust, I’m excited to see how these ladies separately take over a family previously dominated by men. Aside from wolf-boy Bran and the youngest Stark, Rickon, Jon Snow will have to make a choice—stay with the Night’s Watch or leave to carry on the family fight? As always, some will win and some will die, but one thing is for sure- GRRM has surprises in store.
Katie: There’s never really much change in what you can expect from a “Game of Thrones” season. It’s a guarantee there will be a lot of blood, boobs, and battles, the only question is who is manipulating those things and who is falling victim to them? In season 5 I think we’re finally going to see a lot of things that have been slowly building come to fruition, and the ladies are going to take the limelight. Daenarys is cruising for a fall as her ego and savior complex grows stronger. Arya has finally crossed the line and a name off her list and is on her way to Bravos, giving up on ever seeing her family again. Sansa is channeling her dark roots and years at Cersei’s whims and becoming a power contender with the master of manipulation, Little Finger. Margaery has proven no one is immune to her boobs and it doesn’t matter how many times she’s been left a “virgin” on her wedding night, she’ll just keep running through kings until she gets her crown. Cersei is mourning, pissed off, and her father (both her biggest ace in the hole and enemy) is dead. Something tells me that when she’s backed into a corner she’s only going to get more vicious. I can’t wait to see how these ladies play their own game of thrones separate from the men this season!
Bridey: Having read all the books, I can say that in the series this is the part of the story where I became enamored. Based on the trailer, I’m so excited for the High Sparrow, Arya in Bravos, and the flashback to Maggie the Frog. I’m less excited about the Bolton’s in Winterfell and more Reek—seriously. It breaks my heart. I’m hoping that we see Jaime leave Kings Landing, which is one of my favorite developments in the books. I am nervous though, since we know that at this point the show is deviating pretty significantly from the books. My biggest fear is that a death in the show means an eventual death in the books; think Jojen Reed, killed in the last season and therefore probably not going anywhere in the books to come. More than anything, though, I’m just glad the show is back. It may be an emotional rollercoaster, but I need my fix.