While book fans have a good sense of what to expect this season, this article will stick strictly to spoilers about the HBO TV show. We've rounded up info from the cast, crew, set, etc., but we haven't pulled 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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New characters. As always, Westeros is going to get bigger this season. There are a lot of new faces joining the cast. Some of the most notable additions are: Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell, a prince of Dorne; Indira Varma as Ellaria, his lover; Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Mace Tyrell, Margaery's father. Also of note: Michiel Huisman is replacing Ed Skrein 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, and it sounds like we'll see plenty of changes this year.
Directors. Here's the skinny on who directed each episode.
Yes, there are deaths. Duh, it's Game of Thrones. what did you expect?
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. Whatever happens, Jon fans should be happy to know this is his biggest season yet, and he starts to take on more of a leadership role. Oh, and he'll be around buddy Sam again. That's nice, at least.
Tyrion in trouble. Things aren't going as well for this fan fave, who faces tough times this season. At least he'll have brother Jaime back in King's Landing, though. They are the only Lannisters with a normal, healthy, positive family relationship.
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. She's not sure if fans will like the changes in her character or not. This is a big season for Arya.
Sansa becomes a "powerhouse character." According to Sophie Turner, we will see Sansa take more control of her situation.
Cersei keeps scheming away. Meanwhile, Cersei keeps scheming, as she tends to do. Her latest target? Margaery Tyrell.
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." That said, people involved with the production think that, unlike past season, there are a lot of climaxes throughout the season, not just one big one at the end.
The dramatic royal wedding. One potential early climax comes in Season 4, Episode 2 ("The Lion and the Rose"), which will feature the lavish royal wedding between Margaery and Joffrey. We're not positive if blood will be spilled, but expect quite a spectacle. This is Joffrey's wedding, after all. If there's one thing he likes, it's people making a big deal over him.
Game of Thrones airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.