Warning: Spoilers from Seasons 1-4 included below.
Tyrion Lannister Season 4 was an emotional roller-coaster for both Tyrion and HBO viewers. After being falsely accused of the murder of his nephew Joffrey and betrayed by the woman he loved, Tyrion went on a killing spree, first strangling the traitorous Shae, then dispatching a crossbow shaft into his father Tywin (who died on the toilet). Now we’re left hoping the hunted Tyrion can stay alive—and in the Seven Kingdoms, life’s pretty damn cheap already.
Arya Stark She went from praying for justice to dispensing it, showing real killer instinct as she ruthlessly slayed Polliver with her sword. After her captor the Hound was killed by Brienne of Tarth, Arya boarded a ship for Braavos (the land her swordplay teacher, Syrio Forel, came from). Arya’s eventual transformation into a major badass appears to be coming soon.
Daenerys Targaryen Let’s face it: For a fantasy-based series, there’s been a serious lack of dragon action so far. But we think that could change in Season 5. When last we saw the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys was chaining up two of her creatures upon learning that one had killed a child. Which means there’s one big, angry dragon out there somewhere. Given the Targaryens’ history of riding dragons into battle, can a dragon-riding Daenerys be far behind?
Jon Snow He successfully defended Castle Black from the wildlings, captured Mance Rayder and buried the woman he loved, but we get the feeling Snow’s biggest challenges are yet to come. After all, things tend to go badly for his family, the Starks, who are all either dead or missing. And then there’s that whole thing about his true parentage, which should continue to be a huge source of discussion among fans this season.
Theon Greyjoy Theon has turned out to be one of the show’s most intriguing characters, first betraying the Stark family at Winterfell, then becoming a slave to Ramsay Bolton. The things Ramsay has done to Theon are largely unprintable, and now he’s a shell of a man who calls himself Reek. Given that Reek is on his way back to Winterfell—and now does Ramsay’s bidding—we’re both terrified and fascinated to see what he does next.
Game of Thrones Sundays, 10 p.m., HBO. Season premiere April 12.