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article image10 things to know going into 'Game of Thrones' season 5

By Michael Thomas     Apr 7, 2015 in Entertainment
The fifth season of the HBO phenomenon 'Game of Thrones' premieres Sunday, but you'll be forgiven if you're having a hard time keeping all of the plotlines and characters straight.
Game of Thrones will see its much-anticipated season five premiere this Sunday, and it promises to be another bloody and exciting one. It will also be one in numerous locations: King's Landing, The Wall and Winterfell will be familiar to viewers, but the show will also take place in new locations like Dorne, Volantis and Braavos.
To help you keep everything straight, here are 10 things to keep in mind before watching the new season (spoilers from the previous four seasons to follow).
Jon Snow speaks to Mance Rayder
Jon Snow speaks to Mance Rayder
HBO
The Wall is in an upheaval and needs a leader
Jon Snow and a mismatched set of Night's Watch men successfully defended Castle Black from an onslaught of wildlings led by Mance Rayder, but only with the help of Stannis Baratheon. Though the wildling attack is over, the looming menace of the White Walkers remains, and Stannis no doubt has a reason for his coming to the aid of Castle Black. Additionally, there's a power vacuum — Lord Commander Jeor Mormont was killed by his own men, so the Night's Watch needs a new leader, and several men will be vying for the title.
Daenerys Targeyen in season five
Daenerys Targeyen in season five
Helen Sloan/HBO
Daenerys is still learning how to rule Meereen
With an army and a loyal council, Daenerys Targaryen is on her way to taking back Westeros. But for now, she's set up shop in Meereen, whose people she won over by freeing them from slave owners. However, Daenerys is still learning the ropes — she has proven in the past to be too harsh with her punishments, and her idea of justice may differ greatly from what her new subjects expect. And then there's her dragons, who are growing bigger and more unruly all the time.
Ellaria Sand gets angry at Areo Hotah
Ellaria Sand gets angry at Areo Hotah
Macall B. Polay/HBO
Dorne is set to become a new player
The arid nation has been mostly quiet politically, but that's set to change thanks to the death of Oberyn Martell at the hands of Gregor Clegane (the Mountain) in "The Mountain and the Viper." His death adds fuel to the fire of Elia Martell years earlier, who was also killed by Clegane. No doubt Oberyn's bastard daughters, the Sand Snakes, will want to respond.
Cersei Lannister and Ser Meryn Trant
Cersei Lannister and Ser Meryn Trant
Macall B. Polay/HBO
The Lannisters' influence is slipping
Tyrion Lannister unceremoniously killed his father, Tywin, in the shocking last few minutes of the season four finale, and it's no secret that Tywin is the leader many rallied behind. With his death, some families may be emboldened to make moves — conversely, they might also feel unsafe. And his death no doubt will have an effect on King's Landing politics, from the make-up of the Small Council to peripheral characters like the up-jumped Ser Bronn of the Blackwater. And then there's the Tyrells — queen-to-be Margaery; her brother, Loras, and their bumbling father Mace. Margaery will no doubt see the power imbalance as a good thing for her machinations.
Petyr Baelish and Sansa Stark
Petyr Baelish and Sansa Stark
Helen Sloan/HBO
Littlefinger's scheming is far from over
Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger) last season got away with the murder of his wife, Lysa, and now effectively controls the Vale. Sansa Stark has been his ocassionally unwitting accomplice, and her "transformation" at the end of season four shows that she is far less a child than she once was. Knowing Littlefinger, he won't stop at simply controlling one piece of land, and Sansa will no doubt have a role to play. Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne, meanwhile, continue to close in on her in their search.
Roose Bolton  Ramsay Bolton and Fat Walda
Roose Bolton, Ramsay Bolton and Fat Walda
Helen Sloan/HBO
Winterfell is occupied
As the Rolling Stone points out, Winterfell will continue to be an unsafe haven. Since Theon Greyjoy (now mentally "broken" and calling himself Reek) captured the castle, it changed hands again and is under stewardship by Roose Bolton and his formerly-bastard-son Ramsay, who was legitimized as Roose's natural heir. There is some tension between father and son, and how that will play into the new season remains a mystery.
Cersei Lannister and Jaime Lannister
Cersei Lannister and Jaime Lannister
Helen Sloan/HBO
Cersei and Jaime's bond is almost broken
The most infamous incestuous duo on television are no longer as close as they once were — Cersei had been continually used as a pawn by Tywin and Jaime has grown as a character since being freed by Catelyn and befriending Brienne. His new-found sense of morality has strained his close relationship with his sister, and Jaime may have a bigger role to play than just being a member of the Kingsguard.
Varys
Varys
Macall B. Polay/HBO
Varys is making a move from behind the scenes
Tyrion escaped the death penalty only because Varys, the former Master of Whispers for the king, freed him. Varys also arranged for a boat to whisk Tyrion away from the capitol. Varys has told many that he serves no king or queen, but the realm. So why did Varys agree to help Tyrion? The answer will undoubtedly be revealed this season.
Arya Stark
Arya Stark
Macall B. Polay/HBO
Arya's journey continues
Arya Stark has come a long way since King's Landing. She's learned to wield a sword thanks to Syrio Forel. She was on her way to the Wall but was instead captured. She escaped captivity and met the Brotherhood Without Banners. She was captured by Sandor Clegane (the Hound), only to watch him fall in battle with Brienne. When we last saw her, she was on a boat to Braavos, and her personal journey is likely far from over.
Prepare for more unexpected death
Those who have read the Song of Ice and Fire books no doubt notice as more and more events in the TV show have no foundation in the series text. In February, George R.R. Martin went a step further, explaining that several characters still alive in the books will be killed off in season five. This won't be the first time this has happened in the show, of course — just ask Pyp, Grenn and Jojen.
Stay tuned for Digital Journal's review of the season five premiere, which will go live on Sunday, April 12 at 10 p.m. EST.
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