Update: Now that the finale has aired, we?re reviewing our predictions to see what we got right?and what we missed.
Readers of George R.R. Martin?s A?Song of Ice and Fire series have grown accustomed to HBO?s adaptation, Game of Thrones, taking occasional departures from the text. But in Season 5, the series pretty much went off-road completely, leaving the books behind in the dust. Whether it was Sansa returning to Winterfell and marrying Ramsay or Tyrion and Daenerys having a meet-and-greet, series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss firmly established that they are taking Martin?s story in their own direction. Still, there are a few threads from the last published book in the series, A Dance With Dragons, that are still a part of the show and may or may not pop up in the June 14 season finale. Here are some of the book-related plot points we expect to see, we hope to see, and we know we won?t see. (Warning: Spoilers ? or maybe not? ? follow.)
WHAT WE EXPECT TO SEE
Cersei?s Walk of Shame
Looking to end her High Sparrow-mandated incarceration, Cersei agrees to confess to some (though not all) of her crimes and, as punishment, walks from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep clad only in her birthday suit. And while she strains to project her usual regal, prideful air, her strength ebbs with each step she takes. Photos of Lena Headey recreating Cersei?s walk on the streets of the Croatian city of Dubrovnik leaked last October, so we knew we?d be seeing this scene at some point during Season 5. Looks like they?ve saved it for the grand finale. [Point: Us! The ?Walk of Shame? was just as intense unpleasant as Martin described on the page.] ?
More of the Mountain
When last we saw Gregor Clegane in the flesh on Season 4 of Game of Thrones, he had been taken down ? but, crucially, not taken out ? by Oberyn Martell. After violently dispatching his opponent, the Mountain himself supposedly succumbed to the poison on the end of Martell?s spear. But Cersei turned his body over to maester-turned-mad scientist Qyburn for experimentation. And, in the hands of this medieval Dr. Frankenstein, the supposedly dead Clegane has likely been reborn as Ser Robert Strong, the eight-foot tall Kingsguard knight who is never glimpsed outside of his white armor. Earlier this season, Game of Thrones provided a quick glimpse of Gregor?s sheet clad body in Qyburn?s lab. Chances seem likely that Qyburn will welcome his Queen home with a mountainous gift. [Point: Us! The Mountain ?lives? again.]
Daenerys in the Sky With Dragons
When last we saw the Mother of Dragons, she had climbed on her son Drogon?s scaly back and the two rocketed out of Meereen?s fighting arena, narrowly escaping assassination. In one of the book?s concluding chapters, she?s dropped off in the wilderness and once again crosses paths with the Dothraki, specifically Khal Jhaqo, the man who seized the khalship after Drogo?s downfall. Jhaqo has only been mentioned, rather than seen, in the world of the show, so it may not be him that Daenerys meets. But we?re betting that she reconnects with her former tribe in some way.[Point: Us! Still no Jhaqo, but we expect to meet him in Season 6.]> ?
WHAT WE HOPE TO SEE
The Return of the White Walkers
If the amazing eighth episode, ?Hardhome,? is the last we?ll see of the approaching zombie army this season, as least they went out with a bang. Still, the White Walkers have typically contributed at least a small cameo to the previous season finales. We?d love to get one last look at their scary frozen faces before the year-long hiatus. [Point: The show. Apparently, they used up their zombie effects budget on ?Hardhome? after all.] ? ?
Jon Snow?s Julius Caesar Moment
All season long, the Lord Commander?s bold decisions about the (lack of) separation between the Night?s Watch and the Wildlings have made a certain segment of his soldiers uneasy. In the book, Jon goes one step too far when he decides to march off and face Ramsay and his enemies literally stab him in the back, Brutus-style. We?re left wondering if he?s alive or dead? although we?re pretty sure Martin isn?t through with him yet. (And heartthrob Kit Harington most definitely isn?t going anywhere anytime soon.) [Point: Tie. We had a feeling this was coming, but we may have been too hasty in predicting that Jon would survive. That certainly looked like a definitve death, even though Martin was a bit more coy in the book.]
WHAT WE KNOW WE WON?T SEE
She?s Got a Heart of Stone
Time for book lovers to accept it: Lady Stoneheart ? the name gifted to the resurrected Catelyn Stark ? isn?t going to be part of the show?s universe. Benioff and Weiss don?t seem down with the idea of bringing characters back from the dead unless they?re White Walkers. They could still surprise us, but for now, Mama Stark is gonna stay in what?s hopefully a better place with her headless hubby, Ned.[Point: Us. If she hasn?t been introduced by now, she likely never will.]
Blind Girl?s Bluff
As part of her training to be a faceless assassin, Arya is given a gift by her hosts, the Faceless Men: a prolonged case of blindness. During this time, she adopts the identity of ?Cat of the Canals,? and learns how to pass unnoticed along the teeming docks of Braavos. Part of this story has been written into the show ? specifically her selling seafood along the docks ? but Maisie Williams gets to keep her sight. ?[Point: The show. We assumed that the showrunners had skimmed over this part of Arya?s story, but instead they just delayed it a bit. That gives Maisie Williams a few months to research how to play a blind person, preferably by not watching Scent of a Woman over and over again.]
Final Score: 4-2 (plus one tie) in our predictive favor. Next season is truly going to be uncharted territory, though.
Game of Thrones airs its Season 5 finale on Sunday, June 14 at 9 p.m. on HBO.