We don’t know where Season 5 of Game Of Thrones is going to end up. That’s one of the most exciting things about this season for me. Book-readers knew what would be happening at the end of each previous season. The first two followed the books fairly directly, with Ned’s execution and the Battle Of Blackwater serving as the climaxes.
The split of A Storm Of Swords into two halves was a little more iffy: we knew the Red Wedding would almost certainly be the climax of Season 3, and Tyrion’s trial would be the end of Season 4. The two big questions were where the royal wedding and Mance Rayder’s attack on The Wall would be placed.
But now? Now we don’t know. I asked what people thought in our new forums to see what you thought, and added some options of my own. Here are ten different possibilities for Game Of Thrones climax in Season 5:
INCREDIBLY MAJOR SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP
SERIOUSLY. FULL SPOILER ALERT.
Option 1: Cersei’s Atonement Walk
Pros: We know that it’s happening, unlike anything else here. Cersei is probably the most important character in A Feast For Crows, and her walk of shame is the most crucial point in her story
Cons: So far Game Of Thrones has liked its climactic scenes to be violent, and usually with plot twists. This is definitely not the former, and, in the books, is presented more as an inevitable consequence of Cersei’s behavior than a shocking twist.
Prediction: We’ll see this in the last three episodes, but I don’t think it’ll be considered the main event.
Option 2: The Watch’s betrayal
Pros: For most readers, watching Jon Snow, the most traditional hero in the story, getting betrayed by his own and left dying on the ground was the big shock of the last two books. The show’s reputation for shockingly violent moments happening to beloved characters makes this an extremely strong contender.
Cons: Practical more than conceptual. First, Jon’s story still has some important events from A Storm Of Swords left to cover, and he’s very busy in Sam’s flashbacks in Feast and his own story in Dance. There’s a lot of ground to cover in an already-busy show. Second, Game Of Thrones has liked to put its twists in the ninth episode, with the fallout occurring in the tenth. If it does that, it’ll almost certainly have to answer the “Is Jon really dead?” question before the books do. Alternately, it could do this as the last scene of the season, which would…cause a slight reaction from the fanbase, I think.
Prediction: I’m leaning yes, but the tenth episode. The show seems to take a certain glee in its violent twists, and this would be a pretty big mockery of audience expectations.
Option 3: The Meereen coup
Pros: Despite her position as the other traditional hero, Dany hasn’t had a major violent conflagration be the center of the season’s climax yet. The Meereen uprising, in which Hizdahr appears to attempt to assassinate Dany and take control of the city, would certainly count—especially if combined with the freeing of the dragons and Tyrion’s near-connection with Dany.
Cons: Dany’s story is already slightly ahead of the books, so it may take some wheelspinning to get this to work. The lack of Strong Belwas (sigh) and non-mention of the casting of peripheral characters—Penny, Quentyn—means that there will likely be story changes at some key level.
Prediction: I think this’ll be it. An episode of a return to gladiatorial combat, the twist of the betrayal, the violent appearance of the dragon, and Dany nearly finally meeting another major character? Plus there’ll be aftermath available in the next episode, with her arrival in the Dothraki Sea. It’s violent, it’s twisty, it fits the structure, and Dany’s due.
Option 4: Jaime, Brienne, and Lady Stoneheart
Cons: I’m starting with the cons because this one would require some finagling. We don’t know if Lady Stoneheart will return. Brienne’s story is already different and potentially ahead of where it was in Feast, while Jaime appears to be going to Dorne instead of wandering around the Riverlands.
Pros: Whether it’s Brienne or Jaime, we’ll have something apparently bad happen to a major character, and Lady Stoneheart is still a huge twist
Prediction: I don’t understand why Lady Stoneheart hasn’t made an appearance, and without something like this, I don’t know what on earth Brienne has to do this season. Maybe they’re just letting Gwendoline Christie film Star Wars and she’ll be back in Season 6? At any rate: something like this has to happen at some point, but I have no idea when and doubt a major deviation from the books will be the climax.Alexander Siddig, cast as Doran Martell
Option 5: The Dornish confrontation
Pros: We know that Dorne is definitely being included this season, and Jaime apparently being sent there implies an escalation of its importance. In the novels, its story of an attempted coup is self-contained, and could easily fit the season.
Cons: The lack of Arianne Martell casting news means that whatever happens here would be a huge change from the books.
Prediction: They’ve cast enough characters here that I’m sure we’ll see something important, but I don’t think it’ll be the center of the climax.
Option 6: Nothing
Pros: What if Game Of Thrones fully embraces the disjointed storyline of these books, as well as the power of its ensemble cast, and doesn’t have any single event serve as the climax of the season?
Cons: The show seems to like its form, both for the ease of organizing its story, and for having Big Events that Everyone Is Talking About.
Prediction: I think this’ll happen a bit, inasmuch as we won’t see a single event take over the ninth episode as in Seasons 2 and 4. But we’ll still see something be a major set piece.
Option 7: The Battle In The Ice
Pros: As A Dance With Dragons winds down, it’s clear that there are two major battles about to occur. The first takes place in the North, with Stannis’ armies bearing down on the Bolton forces in Winterfell. With several major characters, and potential for a shocking twist, this fits better than most other options. Also, I feel like it would be weird for the show to have a battle like this not occur late in the season.
Cons: The show would have firmly moved in front of the books at this point. I also think that Martin deliberately wants the Ice battle to run concurrently with the Fire battle, and I think that’s far less likely to occur. The big issue: the lack of casting news about Wyman Manderly. The show has ignored Northern lords like Manderly before, in Season 2, but his role in this battle seems too potentially important to simply ignore.
Prediction: Honestly, after the Meereen coup, I think this is the second-best option. I’m less likely to believe that the show’s producers agree with me, but still think it’s plausible it could be separated from the other battle, and put here.
Option 8: The Battle Of Fire
Pros: See above. This is the climax of several storylines, has several major characters, and includes three major factions: Meereen, the slavers, and the Ironborn, with a possible fourth in the Dothraki. It’s huge.
Cons: The lack of any kind of casting news for the Greyjoys would indicate that a tremendously important part of this story is lacking. Either D&D don’t think it’s important—which would be bigger than Lady Stoneheart, in my opinions—or it’s not happening.
Prediction: It’s not happening. This feels like the climax of Season 6.
Option 9: Griff’s invasion
Pros: While many think Jon’s death is the big twist of Dance, I think the revelation that Aegon Targaryen is still alive, and making a move against the Seven Kingdoms, is the really exciting new part of the story.
Cons: There’s a twist, yes, but no real violence to this storyline, so it doesn’t entirely fit. More importantly, we haven’t heard any casting news for the Griffs.
Prediction: I think we might see the Aegon reveal, but the lack of casting news suggests this ain’t happening.
Option 10: Something new
Pros: I wouldn’t have expected anything outside of the above until discovering that Bran’s plot was continuing, and it’s possible that The Children were being cast. The story might be moving far enough outside the books that we could see something totally unexpected.
Cons: The story hasn’t moved someplace totally unexpected enough, and there’s more than enough other options.
Prediction: It’s possible we’ll see something totally unexpected, but it would be shocking if it was a centerpiece of the season.
So what do you think it’s gonna be?