Cue the “Winter is Coming” headlines: HBO’s hit high-fantasy drama Game of Thrones is back this Sunday, and speculation about the infamously unpredictable show has reached a fever pitch. Based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, the show’s massive cast, byzantine plot, and out-of-nowhere plot twists leave plenty of room for speculation. To help readers find their way through the rumor mill, we’ve compiled everything we know about Season 3, from chronology to guest stars to its soundtrack. Read on for a sneak peek at what lies ahead, and diehard fans be warned: there are a few minor spoilers.
It Will Follow the Books’ Chronology Closely (But Not Too Closely)
The show’s co-creators, co-executive producers, and co-showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have stuck to a one-book, one-season formula thus far, but since A Storm of Swords, the third book in A Song of Ice and Fire, is the longest and most action-packed yet, it’s split between Seasons 3 and 4 of Game of Thrones. That means Season 3 covers approximately the first half of A Storm of Swords, although Benioff and Weiss told Entertainment Weekly last year that each season is “really a continuation of our adaptation of the series as a whole,” meaning “moving some stuff forward helps a lot and moving some stuff back helps a lot.” Viewers who’ve read the books know that a few scenes at the end of last season, such as the finale’s excellent pairing-up of Jaime and Brienne, were taken from A Storm of Swords. As for Season 3, the most important change of timeline is the inclusion of what may be the series’ most shocking scene, which Benioff and Weiss have cited as one of the reasons they chose to adapt the books in the first place. We won’t give any spoilers, but suffice it to say that Game of Thrones won’t be losing its reputation for plot twists and bloodshed anytime soon.