George R.R. Martin’s scandalous fantasy epic Game of Thrones returns for its fourth season tonight on HBO; based on the second half of A Storm of Swords, the third book in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series — this season promises a slew of surprises and events that will make even the Red Wedding seem routine.
Of course, with a new season comes all new questions. Who will live? Who will die? Who will betray and who will become the betrayed? Who will lay down with the most harlots? Which royal family will stay on top and which will crumble? What’s in store for our favorite characters; here are some burning questions we’d like to see answered this upcoming season:
Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish
- Smuggling Sansa: Did Petyr offer to smuggle Sansa out of King’s Landing in Episode 3.03 “Valar Dohaeris” because he genuinely cares for her? Or was it all just some twisted “might as well bag the daughter because I could never get it in with life-long crush Catelyn Stark” fetish? (Then again, as Ros revealed to Varys, he did buy two beds for the ship.)
- Will Roose Bolton or Vargo Hoat/Locke, the guy Bolton left in charge of Harrenhal offer any resistance in handing over Harrenhal?
- Will Petyr even pop the question to Lysa Arryn as suggested or will he test his limits with the Lannisters now that he’s got Harrenhal all for himself?
- The Harrenhal Curse: Every house to occupy Harrenhal since King Harren’s death has suffered. Will House Baelish be the first to overcome the curse?
- Lysa Arryn’s inexplicably still-lactating teat: Will Petyr get his turn? Is guzzling breast milk the key to Lysa’s heart?
Jaime and Cersei Lannister
- Jaime’s new haircut: turn-on or turn-off for sister/lover/baby mama Cersei?
- Same question as above, only replace “Jaime’s new haircut” with “Jaime’s missing hand.” (New bedroom toy?)
- Speaking of Jaime’s missing hand: How will his pops Tywin react? With compassion? Or outright mockery?
- Jaime and Tyrion’s Lannister bromance: stronger now that they can share the handicapped parking spot at King’s Landing?
- Jaime Lannister, Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker: Out of those three, whose imitation hand will look best?
- Will Cersei be pushed further and further away from King Joffrey after the wedding to Margaery Tyrell?
- Another arranged marriage: What will Jaime’s reaction be to the arranged marriage between Loras Tyrell and Cersei? Will the Lannister siblings dare undermine their father Tywin’s authority?
“The Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.”
- His warning to the Lannisters: We saw Oberyn tell Tyrion that the “Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts” in the Season 4 trailer; what does his ominous comment imply? Will his thirst for vengeance be sated by taking on the Mountain, who raped and murdered his sister?
Or will it extend towards the man who gives the orders, Tywin Lannister? And the rest of the family as well? (Seeing Lannisters die over wedding invitation carelessness sure would be karmatic as all hell though, wouldn’t it?)
- Then again, to actually get vengeance, one must consummate the act. The Mountain, Gregor Clegane vs. Oberyn Martell: who ya got?
- Will we learn the deal behind his “Red Viper” nickname from braggadocio or him bringing it onscreen?
Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark/Lannister
- Political bun in the oven? How long before Tyrion is forced to break his vow (by father Tyrion) of not laying his hands on Sansa until she’s a willing bed partner?
- Will Tyrion become pushed even further to the wayside on the chain of command at King’s Landing by Hand of the King and father Tywin now that his brother Jaime has returned?
- Will the wedding of Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell harbor any surprises ala the infamous Red Wedding?
- How much longer can Joffrey’s delusions of grandeur continue? More importantly, how much longer will the growing number of powerful people around him allow his pernicious actions to continue?
- Speaking of delusions, how chaste is Joffrey’s future wife Margaery Tyrell, really?
- And does Margaery have Joffrey as wrapped around her little finger as queen regent Cersei believes? Or is she just being rightfully suspicious of the intentions of the Tyrells?
- Back-talking the King: Will Tywin Lannister continue with his sly putdowns of his grandson, the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms? (“The King is tired.”) Will Tywin be content playing as the Hand of the King, or will he make a play to take the Iron Throne for the glory of the Lannister name?
- Will Margaery still be able to keep Joffrey in check as we’ve seen her demonstrate thus far? Or will his deplorable nature consume even her and the rest of the Martells?
- “Little” Theon: So, uh… what did father Balon Greyjoy do with Theon’s severed pork sword, by the way? Will he have to “Pay the Iron Price” just to get it back?
- Will Theon’s supercilious nature change for the better now that he doesn’t have his other head doing the thinking for him?
- Starks be slippin’: Can the Starks mount a comeback with their great house on the verge of shambles?
- Beyond the Wall: What further demonstrations of Bran’s Wargen power will we see manifest in Season 4? What can he, Jojen and Meera Reed, and Hodor hope to do to impede the ever-advancing threat of the White Walkers? (Bran briefly took control of Hodor; could he do the same to the zombie-esque White Walkers?
- Valar Morghulis: Will we see Arya further develop into the proficient killer Melisandre predicts her to be?
- Will Arya ever make amends with the Hound now that he has saved her on several occasions?
- … like a woman scorned: Now that Jon Snow is back with the Night’s Watch at Castle Black, is he safe from what will surely be his Wildling flame Ygritte’s plan to sink more than just a few arrows in his back?
- Melisandre’s Magic: We’ve seen proof of Melisandre’s dark magic stemming from her faith in the Lord of Light? Have we seen the extent of those powers or are there more impressive feats waiting yet?
- Taking on the White Walkers: Will Stannis and his forces cross paths with Bran Stark, the Reeds, and Hodor, who are also travelling past The Wall to survey the very same threat?
- Will Davos continue to be a skeptic now that the Lord of Light “has plans for him”?
- Those Rascally, Rebellious Teenagers: Now that Daenerys’ dragons are growing older (and larger) will she still be able to keep them in check?
- Will mercenary and prospective lover Daario Naharis remain trustworthy?
- Will Jorah Mormont be overly suspicious of Naharis’ motives out of jealousy or will he truly do what is best for the queen if he is deemed a suitable ally?
Jon Snow and Bran, Rickon, and Arya Stark
Stannis Baratheon, Melisandre and Davos Seaworth
Which questions would you most like to see answered? Whose will be the first major death? What are you looking forward to most? Sound off in the comments section.