Game of Thrones Season 4 may have just wrapped up, but plenty of fans are already looking forward to the next season. While the fourth season finale did an admirable job of wrapping up each of the season's plot threads, it also opened doors to new possibilities for several of the show's characters (as a good season finale tends to do).
Thanks to the magic of books, it's possible to read ahead and get an idea of what's in store for these characters in Game of Thrones Season 5. Keep in mind that Season 4 made clear that the showrunners aren't going to stick to the exact letter of George R.R. Martin's novels. That said, if you feel the need to get an idea of what's coming next year (but can't seem to find the time to read the books yourself), here's a few hints.
Obviously, this article is full of potential SPOLERS for Game of Thrones Season 5.
Arya goes to Braavos
In the Season 4 finale, Arya finally trades in the iron coin given to her by Jaqen H'ghar when they were both at Harrenhal to book passage on a trade ship headed to Braavos. Once there, Arya will find her way to the House of Black and White and begin training to become a Faceless Man, like Jaqen himself. Basically, having lost her family, Arya is training to become the Punisher of Westeros. It's exactly as awesome as it sounds.
Things get complicated at the Wall
Thanks to the timely arrival of Stannis Baratheon, the Night's Watch managed to survive the siege by Mance Rayder's Wildling army. As they say, keeping the peace is sometimes more difficult than winning the war. With the immediate threat passed, it will be time for the Night's Watch to choose a new Lord Commander to replace Jeor Mormont. This will obviously put Jon Snow, who has gained considerable popularity thanks to his recent acts of bravery and leadership, into even greater conflict with acting Lord Commander Alliser Thorne, who has never respected Jon to begin with. On top of that, the Watch needs to figure out what their relationship to King Stannis and his priestess, Mellisandre, is, not to mention what to do with the surviving Wildlings. All of this will bring at least a bit of King's Landing style intrigue to the Wall.
The rise of the Faith
With Tyrion gone and Tywin dead, Cersei is firmly in power at King's Landing as Tommen's regent. Her only real competition is Margaery Tyrell and, vicariously, Olenna Tyrell, but even they are at a disadvantage now that Cersei is unchecked by her other family members (Jaime is still present, but has never been one for politics). A new challenge will arise in the form of a new High Septon, usually referred to as the High Sparrow. With the War of Five Kings having taken a toll on many of the less fortunate in the realm, Westeros sees a renewed devotion to the Faith of the Seven. Many knights throw down their family sigils to become part of the Poor Fellows and defend the homeless. Soon the Faith and the High Sparrow will have their own army, the Faith Militant. This upstart faith threatens to overthrow everyone in power in King's Landing, including Cersei and the Tyrells.
House Martell is revealed as a major player in the Game of Thrones
Until Season 4, House Martell was the one Great House of Westeros that went unrepresented in the show. Season 4 introduced us to Prince Oberyn Martell, but his role is clearly over. The showrunners have already confirmed that the show will be taking a trip to Dorne in Season 5. There we will be introduced to Oberyn's family: his brother, Doran, and his bastard daughters, the Sand Snakes. While not at the forefront of the series' narrative (or the books') so far, it will become apparent that House Martell, long allies of House Targaryen, have been playing a long game to return the Iron Throne to whom they believe its rightful heir to be.
Varys smuggled Tyrion Lannister out of King's Landing before Tyrion could be executed, but where are they headed? The series has dropped plenty of hints that Varys' true allegiance is to Daenerys and House Targaryen. Varys recognizes Tyrion's value, having seen how well he served the realm while he was the Hand of the King. Varys plans to send Tyrion to Dany to help her rule Meereen and, hopefully, convince her to move on towards Westeros. Of course, nothing is ever that simple in Game of Thrones. Along the way, Tyrion will meet a boy who may the third Head of the Dragon, travel disease infested waters, be forced into show business as a dwarf entertainer, and run into a certain knight exiled from Dany's service.