Series four of Game of Thrones may be a way off yet, but there’s never a bad time to talk about one of the best dramas on TV, and with news of new characters, re-casts and the odd on-set still, speculation abounds as to what to expect in the upcoming season of what will undoubtedly be another ten episodes of freezing cold, fiery hot, and generally incredibly gripping television. The show has an impressive method of translating the book series’ content, distilling dialogue and somehow fitting in pretty much all the major plot points and locations, and with season four set to adapt roughly the second half of A Storm of Swords (as well as incorporating significant aspects of succeeding novels), it’s possible to predict some of what will surely be the upcoming series’ greatest elements. Nothing too spoilery here, rather a quick glance for those of you intrigued and in need of a little tantalising post season 3, however, if you want to go into the new season next year with no information at all, you might want to lock yourself in one of the Red Keep’s black cells for half a hundred days. Maybe more. So here goes…
1. THERE’S ANOTHER WEDDING
Hooray, Game of Thrones weddings always go well don’t they? Remember Dany’s marriage to Khal Drogo in the very first episode? That actually did go relatively well. And no doubt some people are still in a haze after the bloody mess that was the ceremony at The Twins in season three episode nine, talk about rain on your wedding day. What a shambles. Well we know that Margaery Tyrell of the Tyrells of Highgarden (who will feature more in the new series, especially with the casting of oaf Lord and father to Margaery Mace Tyrell) is betrothed to King Joffrey Baratheon, and that this celebration is forthcoming. Can we assume it will be a disaster? Well, whilst the last wedding may have been something of a sucker punch combined with knife-in-the-back combined with a visceral nightmare, it’s important not to forget just how unpredictable Thrones can be, and it’s possible things will simply go according to plan and it will be a splendid day for all involved. It also depends on how you would define ‘disaster’. Either way, get yourself on the guest list, it’s going to be a memorable day.
2. SPECTACULAR DEATHS
Saying there are going to be a load of deaths in a series of Game of Thrones is kind of like saying there’s going to be some posh people in Downton Abbey, or that there is going to be a wire in The Wire. So loads of people will die, but that’s not a surprise. What there is to look forward to however, is just how great the deaths in this season are going to be. I mean, several really spectacular fatalities. People you like will die. People you don’t like will die. Major characters will get it, and in major ways. So pour yourself a glass of Dornish red, and prepare to drink to the mortality of friends and enemies, this might just be the most morbid season so far, and the most shocking and entertaining for it. Valar Morghulis.
3. THE RED VIPER!
Of the number of badass characters in Thrones’ extensive selection, Prince Oberyn Martell might take the crown. The Martells of Dorne are the only one of the nine major houses yet to be featured on screen, and they are no doubt going to make a serious impact through Oberyn’s arrival in King’s Landing, where he takes a seat on the king’s small council in place of his sickly elder brother Prince Doran. Oberyn’s sister Elia Martell was married to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, son of the Mad King (who was dethroned by Robert Baratheon), and she was murdered during the sack of King’s Landing. So, naturally, Oberyn might have plans at court besides advising the king. He is an acid-tongued, quick witted and sexually indiscriminate warrior, with the black eyes of a viper, a masterful knowledge of poisons, medicines and possibly darker arts, and is said to use poison on his weapons, hence the nickname ‘Red Viper’. Of the vast quantity of characters seeking vengeance in some way or another, Oberyn’s story is one of the most interesting, and a particular scene from A Storm of Swords featuring the Red Viper of Dorne promises to be one of the series’ all time best.
Remember that Valyrian steel dagger with the dragonbone hilt? The one that was used way back at Winterfell in an attempt to assassinate Bran? Catelyn Stark was able to trace the dagger’s ownership to Lord Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, who claimed to have lost the blade to Tyrion Lannister, aka The Imp, betting on the outcome of a tourney joust. This led to the whole pickle with Tyrion being accused of attempting to murder Bran and being imprisoned in a sky cell in The Eyrie in season one, and eventually the case of the ownership of the blade as well as the identity of the assassination attempts author being unknown. The riddle lay somewhat dormant for a time. But in case you had forgot about the blade which contributed towards the start of a entire war, season four is quite likely to solve this case, or at least shed some startling revelatory light on the mystery. And if you thought that was shocking, it turns out that Phil Mitchell was actually shot with a Valyrian steel bullet. Speaking of Littlefinger, where in the Seven Kingdoms has he been? The last we saw of him the new Lord of Harrenhal was off to seduce Lysa Tully at The Eyrie to win around The Vale to the crown, although a mockingbird like Baelish seldom does entirely or even remotely what he says, and we can expect his involvement in the shows’ fourth season to be his most deceptively twisty and exciting yet. I’m talking quite literally about a cliff-hanger, but, before you go imagining Aiden Gillen hanging off Aegon’s High Hill by his little finger, we’ll stop at that.
So, Game of Thrones season four might be the best yet. Even though we’re not going to see it for a while, let’s take this time to reflect over all the simultaneously brilliant and awful stuff we’ve been put through over the past three seasons, and rejoice that next year we’re going to get even more blood, death, duplicity and nudity, oh yes, they’ll probably be some nudity as well.