Now that the third season of Game of Thrones has finally reached its conclusion, the production team must once again put their efforts into bringing us a similarly impressive fourth season. The most obvious question people may ask, in the wake of the Red Wedding among other events, is “What next?” Without explicitly giving away any book spoilers, it is quite safe to assume a number of things based on previous episodes.
The Night’s Watch – When last we saw Jon, he had narrowly escaped Tormund’s wildling party, being wounded by Ygritte in the process. Assuming that he survives, his arrival at Castle Black brings up a number of possibilities. How will they defend the Wall against Mance Rayder’s imminent attack, and with so few able men remaining? What will the older veterans of the Watch think of Jon turning his cloak and fraternizing with the wildling enemy? Will they let it slide, or will it be seen as a gross breach of the Night’s Watch oath? Similarly, how will Sam’s protection of Gilly play out? Is it possible that the other men of the Watch may become jealous that Sam is allowed to care for a woman?
The North – With Robb Stark and Catelyn Tully dead, along with the majority of the Stark loyalist forces, Roose Bolton was appointed Warden of the North for his part in contributing to Tywin Lannister’s war effort. It remains to be seen how Bolton’s treachery will be received in the North among the surviving lords and ladies, all of whom were fiercely devoted to House Stark. Roose may well find it difficult to consolidate his rule. Also, what becomes of Theon? When last we saw him, he was being systematically stripped of his identity by Ramsay Snow, Roose Bolton’s bastard son. Yara Greyjoy has disobeyed her father’s orders, and set sail with a strong force to lay siege to the Dreadfort, the seat of House Bolton. With all of this in mind, the Boltons may well find themselves in quite a difficult situation.
Beyond the Wall – Now that Bran has traveled beyond the Wall along with Hodor, Jojen, Meera and Summer, he is in immediate danger. By all of Sam’s logic, they should be heading south, yet he is convinced that it is his destiny-like quest to find the three-eyed raven. Whether the raven will help him hone his warging abilities to perfection remains to be seen, but Bran’s story promises to get more and more mystical. Also, Mance Rayder’s forces are amassing to assault the Wall, and could pose a threat to Bran and company. Ygritte and Tormund are still south of the Wall, however, and their part in the wildling attack will be interesting to follow.
King’s Landing – With the War of the Five Kings more or less over, affairs in King’s Landing look set to cool down somewhat. However, Jaime’s arrival should stir some things up. His oath to both Brienne and the late Catelyn Stark would have him release Sansa, but this brings up some difficulties. Sansa has been wed to Tyrion, and we know that Tyrion and Jaime both love each other dearly. Jaime would be reluctant to cause any affront to Tyrion, yet Tyrion may yet help Jaime, as he was vehemently against marrying Sansa in the first place. However, if Jaime is to honor his vow, what is he to do with Sansa? Winterfell is in ruins, her family members are either scattered or dead…things could become very difficult. Also, Jaime’s maiming may finally give Tywin the excuse he needs to have Jaime retire from the Kingsguard and inherit Casterly Rock. It still remains to be determined what will happen between Cersei and Loras, and whether they will be married at all. Also, where will Margaery fit into all of this, given Cersei’s open threat to her? The much talked about royal wedding is sure to happen very soon, and it promises to be a lavish affair. Given the announcement that casting for the Red Viper is underway, we will finally see the Martells of Dorne enter the mix. It will be very interesting to see how they fit into the politics of Kings Landing, given that Tyrion sent Myrcella to Dorne in season 2, yet the Mountain was the man who murdered the Red Viper’s sister during Robert’s Rebellion.
The Riverlands – When last we saw Arya, she brutally murdered a Frey man-at-arms after hearing him and his comrades mock the murder of her mother and brother. Completely unfazed by her viciousness, she remembered Jaqen H’ghar’s offer to seek him out in Braavos should she ever wish to train as a Faceless Man. This could very well become Arya’s objective, as she has no reason to believe she will ever be reunited with her remaining family members. Her motivation going forward would seem to consist purely of revenge. Where the Hound plays into this remains to be determined, but one thing is for certain; Arya is on a very dark path.
Dragonstone – By all accounts, it would seem as if Stannis has been convinced that the real war lies to the North, and it would seem that North is very much where he intends to go. This would bring him and his forces in direct proximity to the Boltons and the imminent clash between them and the Greyjoys, the remaining Northerns lords adjusting to the regime change, the imminent clash between Mance Rayder’s wildling army and the Night’s Watch, and the possibility of the White Walkers invading Westeros. It is clear that the situation in the North is about to get very messy. Whether Stannis will add to that mess or contribute in cleaning it up will become clear next season.
Across the Narrow Sea – Daenerys has managed to sack Astapor and conquer Yunkai in a short period of time, gaining an army of Unsullied in the process. She has just been proclaimed “Mhysa” of the freed slaves in Yunkai, and is hailed as their savior. Whether she will continue in her liberating/conquering mission will surely be revealed next year. However, despite everything looking up for here, tension is quite obviously strong between Jorah and Daario, and it will be interesting to follow how that relationship plays out. Despite having a large, elite army, and being loved by her people, all signs point to the fact that Dany will not be travelling to Westeros for some time yet, at least not until her dragons are grown. With this in mind, we can expect to see her possibly settling down in a city and attempting to rule her adopted people.
There are plenty of set pieces remaining in A Storm of Swords to make season 4 the most thrilling season yet, with the possibility of having at least one momentous event in each episode. Shooting is about to begin, and it won’t be long before Thrones is back on our TV screens. Until then, HBOWatch will keep you informed of any updates concerning the show. We expect it to premiere in Spring 2014 so start the countdown!
Cian is a student of Theology and History. He frequently confuses the real world with Westeros, and if he’s not talking about A Song of Ice and Fire…he’s talking about Game of Thrones. Mainly interested in old HBO classics such as Rome, Deadwood and The Wire, he currently maintains a vested interest in Boardwalk Empire, Treme and Game of Thrones.