Game of Thrones Season 4 was the season that proved all men really must die. The body count was insane; even after the Red Wedding this year manages to surprise us with exactly how brutal it got. Will Season 5 somehow top even this bloodbath?
While we don't know exactly what the showrunners have in mind for next year, we can make some educated guesses based on what goes down in A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons, the next two books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. These books run concurrently, so in all likelihood plot points from both will be incorporated into Season 5, though it's impossible to know exactly how far the show will go, or what they might hold over for Season 6.
So for those of you who want to be forewarned — or just need a brush up on your book knowledge — here are the big name deaths that could be headed our way in Season 5, or, if not, then perhaps in Season 6.
Warning: This article contains spoilers from the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. Click away now if you don't want to know!
Balon Greyjoy. The Greyjoy patriarch is dead by this point in the books, and his death has some major plot implications, so we assume this has to happen at some point soon. Right?
Beric Dondarrion? In the books Beric trades his life, permanently, to resurrect Cat. Yep, you read that right. However, the unCat reveal happens at the end of the third book. Obviously it didn't happen at the end of this season. Does that mean it's being cut, or just held over to next year? We'll have to wait and see.
Maester Aemon. The wisest man at the Wall meets his end in A Feast for Crows. He dies of chill (and generally being really freaking old) while on a sea journey with Sam.
Janos Slynt. The cowardly Janos — the guy at the Wall who hid out with Gilly instead of helping during the big battle — is killed by none other than Jon Snow, who has by that point been made Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Jon orders Janos's execution mostly for because he's completely untrustworthy and a troublemaker; Jon does the deed himself because he's Ned Stark's son and all that.
Kevan Lannister. Kevan hasn't had a very notable part on the show so far, but in all likelihood we'll be seeing more of this likeable Lannister, who, in the books, ends up clashing with Cersei in the wake of Tywin's death. After Cersei gets herself into major trouble, Kevan takes over as Regent, and actually does a decent job. However, he finds himself at the wrong end of Varys's crossbow for reasons that are entirely political, not personal.
Note: King's Landing has one of the most extensive plots throughout AFFC and ADWD, and this comes at the very end of ADWD, so we would not be surprised if Kevan's death doesn't happen until Season 6 (assuming the character isn't replaced altogether)
Grand Maester Pycelle. Pycelle also dies at the hands of Varys, around the same time as Kevan; again, the reasons are political.
Arys Oakheart. A knight of the kingsguard whom we haven't met on the show, Arys gets increasing prominence after he's sent to Dorne to look after Myrcella, but ends up dying after taking part in a rebellion to support Myrcella taking the throne instead of Tommen. (Yep. Things get complicated, yo.)
Note: This is another character who may or may not get cut, and another case where this plot could easily stretch into Season 6.
Quentyn Martell. Another character you haven't met yet, Quentyn goes on a journey to Essos with the goal of winning Dany's hand in marriage, since back in the day there was a plan to have Arianne Martell, Quentyn's older sister, marry Viserys, and with Viserys dead the Martells think this is a fair trade. Long story short, things do not end well for Quentyn. We kind of hope this entire plot gets cut (because it is majorly yawn-worthy), but who knows.
Loras Tyrell? In the books Loras is gravely injured in a siege, and it's unclear whether or not he's still alive. However, not only is Loras's book status still unknown, but his plot on the show appears to be going in a different direction; in the books he joins the Kingsguard and is not engaged to Cersei. At this point it's very hard to know what's going to happen to him in Game of Thrones-verse.
Jon Snow? So, here's the thing: A Dance With Dragons ends with Jon being stabbed, brutally, by members of the Night's Watch who don't approve of his actions as Lord Commander. But is he really dead? At this point his status is unknown, but most people assume that he either survives the attack or will die but then be resurrected, perhaps by Melisandre. It seems highly unlikely that he'll really just die and stay dead at this point, though with this story, you can never really know.
Catch the Game of Thrones Season 4 finale on June 15, 2014, at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.