Game of Thrones Season 3 is long over, and fans are starting to look toward Season 4, which is already filming. Sure, it probably won't air until next spring, but at least we have these spoilers to tide us over until then.
While book fans have a good sense of what to expect next season, this article will stick strictly to spoilers about the HBO TV show — we'll round up info from the cast, crew, set, etc., but we won't pull anything from the books that isn't already referenced by someone associated with the show. (If you want to know more about what happens in the books, check here.)
Sound good? Then read on for all the intel about what you can expect to see in Season 4.
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It should be great. The showrunners and actors all seem to think this season could be the best yet.
Lots of action and blood. The battles will just get bigger and better.
New characters. As always, Westeros is going to get bigger next year. George R.R. Martin has already confirmed that the show is casting three major new roles: Styr, the Magnar of Thenn, another Wildling leader; Mace Tyrell, Margaery's father; and Oberyn Martell, AKA the Red Viper, a Dornish prince. We also know Oberyn's lover, Ellaria Sand will be in the season.
New actors. Oberyn will be played by Pedro Pascal, Ellaria by Indira Varma, and Mace by Roger Ashton-Griffiths. Sherlock and Doctor Who favorite Mark Gatiss will be joining the cast as an as-yet unknown character, though he has dropped a few clues. Joseph Gatt is playing another unknown character, possibly Styr.
There have also been a fair number of reported recasts: Tommen Baratheon (Joffrey's little bro) will reportedly now be played by Dean-Charles Chapman; The Mountain will now be played by Icelandic strongman Thor Bjornsson; and Ed Skrein has reportedly been replaced by Michiel Huisman as Daario.
Returning faces. While you can pretty much expect the whole core cast to be back, it's always less clear which secondary characters will or won't return. Here are some characters who are definitely returning: Ramsay Bolton, Lysa Arryn, nasty Night's Watchman Alliser Thorne,Rorge, Ser Dontos again (though not necessarily this season), Mance Rayder. Edmure Tully may or may not be back this year.
Expect more changes from the books. Those of you who haven't read the books can expect to hear more grumbling (and in some cases cheering) from book readers, as showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have hinted that they're going to have to make more cuts and changes as things go on (though that may matter more in Season 5, since it sounds like the major changes will start when they hit book four, A Feast for Crows).
Filming locations. So far, Northern Ireland, Iceland (during the summer!), and Croatia have been confirmed as filming locations. Interestingly, they're filming in Iceland in the summer, when in the past it was only used in the winter for scenes at the Wall; Maisie Williams (Arya) and Gwendoline Christie were both spotted there.
Directors. We know who will be filming each episode.
Changes in Arya? Maisie Williams thinks Arya "doesn't really have a goal anymore" and hints that we might see a "darker," less honorable side to the youngest Stark girl.
Jon (probably) lives. This is what actor Kit Harington has to say about the future of Jon Snow: "I don’t know who [Jon Snow's] mother is, I don’t know what is going to happen to him, I don’t know if he’s going to be in the sixth book. Not a clue." Of course, that makes it sound like Jon does make it through the fifth book. On the other hand, this season might not be so good for his relationship with Ygritte.
Exploring the Lannisters. Now that Jaime is back in King's Landing, all of the Lannisters — Tywin, his children, and Joffrey — are together in one place, as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime) points out. “I can’t wait to explore that," he says. "I hope to have a moment, a scene with the King, Joffrey.” We also know there will be some "interesting" things coming up between Tywion and Tywin.
Big climax. Neil Marshall, the man who directed the epic Blackwater episode in Season 2, will be back to direct Season 4's climactic Episode 9, which is rumored to take place "at the Wall, with Mance Rayder."
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.