The question of whether or not HBO's Game of Thrones would surpass the published novels in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series has loomed over the show since it began. There have, of course, been the usual changes adaptations must make, but last season Game of Thrones began to take even more liberties with the novels' original narrative.
Inserting scenes and encounters which hadn't occurred in the novels aren't the only changes Game of Thrones is making either. Only recently, GRRM hinted that characters who are still alive in his novels will die in season 5, meaning that no character on Game of Thrones is ever truly safe, no matter their fate in the novels.
Yet, there are a few characters who won't need to worry about getting offed this season, and that's Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), Hodor (Kristian Nairn), and Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick). Not because they hold any special spot within either GRRM or showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss' hearts, however, but because they won't be appearing in season 5 at all.
Fans have been questioning if Bran and his adventures beyond The Wall would return in season 5 ever since he finally met the infamous Three-Eyed Raven in the season 4 finale, effectively bringing his character's journey to the same point we've left off with Bran in the novels. Nairn spilled the beans early on that Hodor wouldn't be in season 5, and Benioff and Weiss have since stated they hesitate to push Bran's story further until other characters' narratives have caught up.
But if you were still holding out hope Bran might make an appearance in Game of Thrones season 5--don't. Hempstead-Wright confirmed in an interview today with The Huffington Post he's taking a break this year, but will return again in season 6. He goes on say just how weird that was, too:
"It’s been bizarre, more so because I’ve spent my first full term at school, which has been quite a shock. I usually have my entire summer eaten up by shooting. But it’s been nice to have this year free because I've had some important exams at school."
Yes, let us not forget these young actors must somehow juggle working on what's arguably the hottest television series in the world with attending school. Yikes!
Game of Thrones left off with Bran just as his journey to fully understand his supernatural abilities was getting really interesting, and learning that it'll be another year before the show checks back in with him will no doubt irritate some fans. But as Benioff and Weiss teased earlier, when we meet Bran again he'll have learned a thing or two from the Three-Eyed Raven, and getting to see that transformation should hopefully be worth the wait.
Are you upset Bran, Hodor, and Meera won't be appearing this season on Game of Thrones? With such a massive cast, do you suspect they won't be the only characters missing this season? Sound off in the comments below!
Game of Thrones season 5 premieres on April 12, 2015 on HBO.