Words by Jordan Villanueva
Ah, spring. You know what I love about spring? Not much and this spring has been—well, just bewildering!
Allergies prevail, I start perspiring in places I haven’t since summer, birds start chirping at an ungodly hour—need I say more? On the bright side, spring heralds the glorious return of HBO’s Game of Thrones. If you’ve lived in a cave for the last couple of years, Game of Thrones is an epic medieval fantasy series based on George R.R. Martin’s (GRRM) book series A Song of Ice and Fire. The plot follows several families, or houses, in the land of Westeros and their struggles to win the Iron Throne. Dangers loom from outside of Westeros as well—north of the Wall (literally a wall of ice, 700 feet high and 300 miles long), otherworldly armies approach with unclear and most likely hostile intentions.
Season four is airing right now, and as a worshipper of the books, I feel it’s my duty to guide you through a few of the key characters (the ones who are still alive, anyway).
Bran is a VIP in the series, the second-youngest son of House Stark (in the north). He not only demonstrates the capabilities of a greenseer1, but he’s also a warg2 and the heir to Winterfell. He’s attempting to meet a three-eyed crow from his dreams—a crow that is not, in fact, just a strange bird anomaly. Bran’s mission beyond the Wall makes him a huge player in the fate of Westeros and its inhabitants.
Quite possibly every viewer’s favourite member of the Stark clan, Arya has some really cool things coming her way (cue hand slapped over my mouth). Currently, Arya is travelling with The Hound to the Eyrie where he will exchange her for gold and provisions. I can’t say too much without revealing all, but I can say this: her skill with a sword will come in handy.
Cersei Baratheon (n?e Lannister)
Is anyone else in a love/hate relationship with the beautiful former Queen Regent? In the books, Cersei is the central POV (point-of-view) character for everything going on in King’s Landing. She makes it a point to know everything about everyone, making her very powerful and paranoid. Her paranoia fuels some bad-decision making, which catapults her into a… well, you’ll see.
Personally, Daenerys is my favourite not-so-favourite character. In the books, she’s an annoying 13-year-old princess who governs herself on the principle that she has the only rightful claim to the Iron Throne. That may be true, but she still makes some questionable choices on her journey as she attempts to get back to Westeros. But hey, she has dragons and an army that would make a khalasar3 run for their lives.
I can hear ladies across the land swooning! Jon Snow4, the alleged bastard son of Ned Stark, is an interesting character, and GRRM and the show’s producers have a keen interest in him. Who are his real parents? There are a few interesting theories circulating online and they’re all convincing, however the show seems to favour a more popular theory: R(haegar Targaryen) + L(yanna Stark) = J(on Snow). And if this is true, could he be the “song” of ice and fire as the title suggests? Who knows? Certainly not Jon Snow.
Tyrion is one of my favourite characters. Not only is he witty but he’s fiercely intelligent and a tactical thinker. In the books, things take a strange turn for Tyrion. And after the Purple Wedding, I’m hoping the producers stay true to his adventures. He meets some seriously interesting characters with some brow-raising claims. His POV is essential in determining who gets the throne.
There are so many other characters I wanted to include. Every POV character in the books contributes to the overall plot. It’s important to remember that GRRM doesn’t mention anything just because—he throws in plot elements to distract us from where we think the story’s going and he mentions details that seem unimportant but should be closely examined.
Bottom line: GRRM is a big tease. It is known.
1 Greenseer: A wise man of the Children of the Forest, who possesses magical abilities like power over
nature and prophetic visions.
2 Warg: Someone who can project their minds into an animal to experience what it experiences.
3 Khalasar: A band of Dothraki people who follow a khal or horse lord.
4 Snow: The surname for bastards born in the north.
All photos courtesy of HBO.