If there’s one thing HBO’s “Game of Thrones” isn’t lacking in, it’s characters — thanks to author George R.R. Martin and his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of novels.
While figures like Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targeryan (Emilia Clarke) will remain strong central characters, there’s plenty of room in Martin’s sprawling fantasy universe for other characters to expand their roles and make more of a mark.
Last season, Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) came out of nowhere to steal the show, for instance. And though he went as fast as he came, and with at least three seasons to go for the series, opportunity abounds for surprises from other players.
What new survival tactics will Sansa employ to cheat death this season? Will Melisandre find a new victim to channel her ambition through? Where on Earth is Dany’s lethal dragon Drogon?
TheWrap picks nine new and previously supporting characters who could make big moves and steal scenes in Season 5. Let’s just hope they all get a chance to shine before they’re inevitably killed off.
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner)
The elder Stark daughter has survived thus far by playing demure and obedient, but at the end of Season 4, it was clear that she was ready to mix up her tactics a bit. Now under the thumb of Littlefinger, who killed her aunt right in front of her, Sansa is clearly ready to show her inner strength a bit, and isn’t afraid to use her burgeoning beauty and likeness to her late mother to her advantage.
The Sand Snakes
Oberyn Martell came in and stole the show in Season 4, and now his daughters might be about to do the same. With much of the storyline shifting to the Martells’ domain of Dorne, the bastard daughters of Oberyn are now poised to take over the story and steal some scenes. The eldest of the eight sisters, Obara Sand, is probably going to have the largest role, since HBO cast Keisha Castle-Hughes of “Whale Rider” fame to play her.
Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman)
The kinder, gentler
Lannister Baratheon, Joffrey’s little brother is now king of the Seven Kingdoms. Which means he’s already susceptible to assassination attempts and powerful influences — perhaps none more so strongly than from his soon-to-be wife, Margaery Tyrell, and his mother, Cersei. Little Tommen clearly has no clue that he’s about to be caught at the center of a very powerful tug-of-war.
Hizdahr zo Loraq (Joel Fry)
A nobleman and former slave owner in Daenerys’ new city of Meereen, book readers should be well aware of the significance of Hizdahr’s role in the Mother of Dragons’ future. For the non-spoiled, suffice to say his presence will have major implications for Dany’s political ambitions as she juggles trying to rule her new land and her desire to set sail for Westeros, which she believes rightfully belongs to her.
Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen)
Daenerys’ loyal knight was exiled after she found out he wasn’t always so loyal, but that dismissal is definitely not the last time we should be seeing Sir Jorah Mormont. As the show deviates from the books more and more, trailers and behind the scenes footage have shown Mormont in unexpected company, though the how and the why should be enough to keep even the most spoiled fans watching for him in Season 5.
Varys (Conleth Hill)
In another deviation from the books, the sneaky and manipulative King’s Landing eunuch was last seen boarding a ship bound for … somewhere with Tyrion Lannister, who had just murdered his lover and his father in one fell swoop. It’s anyone’s guess what they’ll be getting up to, but fan-favorite Varys will certainly be playing a bigger part than he did in the books.
Melisandre (Carice Van Houten)
The Red Woman has continued to gain power, puppeting the oblivious Stannis Baratheon toward conquering the Seven Kingdoms, and this season she will most certainly cross paths with Jon Snow, another pivotal character in the mythology of the books and show. Will he fall under her charms as easily as Stannis did? Might there even be romance ahead? There certainly have been hints, and Melisandre will probably use whatever opportunity she gets to further her own ambitions.
Myrcella Baratheon (Nell Tiger Free)
Last seen shipped off to Dorne by Tyrion, the other
Lannister Baratheon offspring could finally be getting her own moment in the spotlight as Dornish royalty seek to make her the legitimate heir to Joffrey. They believe in a matriarchal society, and feel that Tommen, who’s younger, shouldn’t be next in line. The two siblings could be bitter rivals for a crown they don’t necessarily have any clue what to do with.
The largest and scariest of Dany’s dragons, Drogon has been roaming free since last season, while his siblings have been chained up in a damp dungeon to keep their mother’s kingdom safe. Where has he been? What’s he been up to? Expect this big guy to pop up in a fiery spectacle at any moment.
“Game of Thrones” airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO