The Hound

Time for a Game of Thrones big rumor rundown. Below are eight misconceptions about the HBO hit’s fifth season (and the show in general) that have been debunked to varying degrees.

Disclaimer: Fans who read plenty of online Thrones coverage may already know these points as they’ve all been previously reported on and beyond. Who appears (or doesn’t) in the season is discussed, but I’m deliberately not including any plot spoilers from the new season that have leaked, or otherwise adding anything new to the rumor mill.

Still, if you wish to know absolutely nothing about season five before it starts next spring then you might consider a Night’s Watch vow of online Thrones coverage celibacy. And now, let’s tackle those rumors and assumptions:

1. Bran Stark will appear in season five: A perfectly reasonable assumption. But an actor leak revealed that Bran and his traveling companion Hodor have been benched during season 5. (UPDATE: Here’s why Bran is out).

2. Tywin Lannister is alive in season five: Charles Dance spilled to an interviewer that we haven’t seen the last of his character, which prompted at least one major outlet to report that Tywin is not really dead. The Lannister patriarch firmly died in the season four finale. Though producers have revealed season 5 will have the show’s first flashback scene, Dance is more likely to play Tywin’s corpse.

3. Season 5 will include the Iron Islands subplot from A Feast for Crows. An assumption among some readers of George R. R. Martin’s novels is the watery Iron Islands subplot will be explored. While the Dorne-based subplot will be in season five, producers have previously indicated the Iron Islands subplot has been omitted. This makes sense as the show already has so many characters and settings to juggle, plus is adding the Dorne scenes. Unlike in AFFC, where Martin could bench half his major characters to take on two major subplots, a TV series must stick with its cast members (and contractually has to use its actors or risk losing them).

4. Game of Thrones was prevented from shooting a season-five nude scene by a church in Dubrovnik: The scene in question was shot on schedule. Thrones occasionally has to rule out first-choice locations due to various objections; it’s a common hurdle for any project filming in historic locations.

5. [Spoiler] is being resurrected: Book readers know who this is, and some purists get perturbed (to put it mildly) when her name is mentioned. Yet whenever this person fails to appear on the show, some fans kick their expectation farther down the field. (“Well, maybe next season?”) Producers have remained mum on the subject, but indications from others suggest it is not happening.

6. Thrones will have to stretch its story to wait for Martin’s next book: If anything, Thrones is speeding up. The first and second seasons followed Martin’s first and second books. The third and fourth largely followed Martin’s epic and amazingly well-plotted third book. But producers have previously said to expect season five to use much (though probably not all) of the story content from books four and five.

7. The Mountain and The Hound are both definitely dead: Last season, Gregor Clegane was seemingly mortally wounded in the arena; his brother Sandor Clegane was left seemingly mortally wounded on a hillside. Both could be dead. But neither have been confirmed dead.

8.HBO refuses to give Thrones more than 10 episodes a year. A frequent claim in the reader comments. Martin himself has publicly lobbied for Thrones to have 13 episodes like other cable dramas. But producers have been adamant that doing more than 10 hours would be impossible as Thrones is an intensive year-around job that’s more like filming at 10-hour film rather than a TV show. Also: Not a rumor/misconception but ICYMI: Martin will not write an episode for season five to focus on working on the next ASOIAF novel.

For ongoing Thrones coverage and more, follow me on Twitter: @james_hibberd