Three countries. Ten days on set. One show–perhaps the biggest TV series in the world. For the fifth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, EW undertook an epic adventure to join the fantasy hit’s cast and crew for a globe-trotting all-access tour of Westeros and Essos to discover how the acclaimed mega-production pulls off bringing author George R.R. Martin’s savage world to life—and what new twists season 5 has in store. We got to see Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey acting up a storm in Croatia, endured fan mobs and biting serpents with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Spain, and hung out with Emilia Clarke and witnessed the loss of a cast member in Northern Ireland—all while chronicling what’s certain to be a game-changing season.
“Worlds are colliding,” says David Benioff, who is showrunner along with Dan Weiss. “One of the things we’ve been most excited about from the beginning of the series is we’ve had all these far-flung story lines across Westeros and Essos which almost never cross. Now some of these characters start to head on a collision course for each other.”
And that new trajectory will have an unexpected body count. Characters that are still alive in the books will die this season (don’t worry, our coverage is spoiler-free). Key storylines will deviate from Martin’s narrative in controversial ways. There’s even another wedding. Or two. Actually three (gulp!). “With each season, the stakes get higher and higher and the war gets bloodier and bloodier,” says producer Bryan Cogman. “We’re in season 5 and there’s an expectation for big events and consequences.”
This week’s Entertainment Weekly cover story is a revealing must-read behind-the-scenes adventure for any Thrones fan, and just part of our mammoth coverage. We devoted an unprecedented 30 pages of this week’s issue to exploring the past, present, and future of Game of Thrones, with four unique collectable covers. Pick up this week’s issue on newsstands, or click here to get all four covers.