Fact: “Game of Thrones” doesn’t care about your feelings. Never has, never will. What show kills off its main character in the first season? “Game of Thrones” does.
After a total of four seasons (and a trail of bodies), watching this brutal fantasy drama is sort of like having a panic attack — every week. But we keep coming back: The show is now the highest-rated drama on HBO.
Oh, and before an angry fan who isn’t caught up threatens us with violence like a drunk Dothraki, let’s get one thing out of the way: Spoiler alert!
Last season came to a close with the poisoning of the twisted King Joffrey (finally!). Season 5, premiering April 12, promises to be a heavy one, with several story lines converging in dramatic, bloody fashion. And for the first time, the series’ story line will diverge from George R.R. Martin’s novels — which means no one is safe.
So use this survival guide to bring yourself up to speed on the carnage of Westeros. Because in the “Game of Thrones,” you either win or you die. (Odds of survival are based on a 10-point scale, with 1 being “death is certain” and 10 being “see you next season.”)
After killing his father, his lover and now on the run after being framed for killing the king — Tyrion has grown a beard, crossed the sea in a wooden crate and his only friend is a eunuch. This is an all-time low, even for someone widely known as “the imp.” Cersei would love to see him dead, but when has he ever done anything his sister wanted? Odds of survival: 8
Now that her drunken husband, her spoiled child and her overbearing father are dead, Cersei finally has what she always wanted — control of the Iron Throne. But with new rivals already lining up, how long will she be able to keep her seat? (Or her head?) Sooner or later, every evil queen gets what is coming to her. (But we bet later.) Odds of survival: 5
Jamie started the series as one of the most-hateable characters in Westeros. But since losing his hand (and the favor of his sister/lover) he’s turned over a new leaf — and is trying to do right by his king and country. Most of the time. He’s still a Lannister, after all. The Kingslayer has really turned around as a character. Just in time to die a hero? Odds of survival: 3
Arya has been on the run since seeing her father executed in Season 1, most recently learning lessons of life and death from the Hound. What is in store for our little bird now that she’s on her own and headed for Braavos? Valar morghulis. Arya has learned how to take care of herself, but she keeps landing in the worst situations. Odds of survival: 6
The would-be princess has come a long way since Winterfell. Forced into a marriage with Tyrion and wanted for her part in the king’s death, her choice of traveling companion — a power-hungry man obsessed with her dead mother — leaves much to be desired. The Lannisters are after her, and Littlefinger is her escape plan? She’s not in a great place. Odds of survival: 4
Bran hasn’t had it easy. He was crippled in the first episode. But it’s not all bad: He’s figured out he can take over the body of his pet dire wolf, or his half-giant pal, Hagrid ... err, Hodor. He’s currently holed up inside a tree, learning how to control his newfound abilities. Producers say Bran will take the season off and return. He’s the only sure bet in Westeros. Odds of survival: 10
Never quite fitting in with the Starks, Snow found a family among the Night’s Watch and love north of the wall. He took the death of his leader hard, and the death of his lover harder. Now, with the armies of two kings at his door, he must learn how to lead. He seems to be destined for greatness, but will that keep him safe? We know nothing. Odds of survival: 5
Stannis truly believes he is Westeros’ one true king and has taken his remaining army north to the wall to prove it. If he can merge his forces with the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings, he might just stand a chance. Fate has not been kind to the Baratheon brothers. Anyone wearing a crown is a target. Odds of survival: 2
Originally forced into marriage with a barbarian Dothraki, she has since become a beloved conqueror and liberator of the slave nations. She now eyes her rightful ascension to the Iron Throne. Her three fast-growing dragons will come in handy. The Mother of Dragons should be safe, but we thought the same about Ned Stark. Odds of survival: 9