[This article contains SPOILERS for Game of Thrones up through season 4.]
Filming is currently underway on the next season of HBO's hit fantasy drama, Game of Thrones. The series films all around the world - from Iceland and Northern Ireland for the North and beyond The Wall, to Croatia for King's Landing, and now Spain as season 5 travels south to Dorne.
This world tour has helped Game of Thrones maintain a somewhat grounded tone, favoring real world locations over in-studio sets. Filming so publicly, however, has also given rise to set leaks, and already a few upcoming scenes and moments have been revealed by overzealous onlookers.
Through set photos we've already learned of a few characters' whereabouts come season 5. We've also learned of a character who we initially heard wouldn't be appearing in season 5, but may in fact appear after all. And of course, there's still plenty of speculation over another character many expected to show up last season, but word is still out on whether or not they'll ever appear on the show. (Yes, we're being very secretive about all this, but when it comes to Game of Thrones that's usually the best approach.)
While filming in such exotic locations the cast and crew typically find time for interviews - and during a recent Q&A between David Benioff, Dan Weiss and Spanish film students, the showrunners dropped another clue about season 5.
The following quote - translated from Spanish and not attributed to a specific showrunner - comes from Entertainment Weekly:
By making the first season, we set a rule: No prophecies, dreams or flashbacks. We failed the first two and this season the third. So yes, this season will finally have flashbacks.
You'll note the translation says "flashbacks," as in plural, but EW was only able to confirm one flashback scene. They are also reporting this scene will serve as the opening sequence for season five, but that could still change during the editing process.
Games of Thrones has certainly referenced the storied past of Westeros before, but never have we seen an event depicted on screen that wasn't happening in the present. Apparently, that changes this season and it has us wondering what could have made Benioff and Weiss break their last vow (given that the show has thus far successfully illustrated past events without the use of flashbacks).
As was mentioned earlier, this season will see the series traveling to Dorne - a location that's been mentioned since the beginning, but only became significant to audiences last season with the arrival of the Martells. It's possible that in order to bring viewers up to speed with Dorne and its rocky relationship with the crown, we could see a flashback to past events like Elia Martell's marriage to Rhaegar Targaryen or her and her children's murder at the hands of The Mountain.
Yet, those events have already been covered repeatedly - and like with Lyanna Stark's death, audiences should already have a strong grasp on how those past events impact the current political climate of Westeros.
If the flashback(s) don't involve Dorne, then there's a chance a character like Bran - who may not have as large a role to play this season - could be seen further studying his unique abilities with the Three-Eyed Crow. Though, this doesn't necessarily sound like a scene that would be depicted in the past, but rather the present considering where we left Bran at the end of season 4.
By far, the most likely scenario requiring flashbacks concerns Cersei's childhood, since her arc for this upcoming season will deal heavily with her growing suspicions of a prophecy she heard as a child. Without spoiling too much for those who haven't read the book, Cersei will undergo drastic changes this season and in order to fully appreciate her motives, audiences will need that crucial back story.
There have also been comments from Tywin Lannister actor, Charles Dance, implying we haven't seen the last of him (his death on the toilet notwithstanding). Papa Lannister appearing in a flashback revolving around his daughter would be plausible, but so would any scene that allows a return from a fantastic actor like Dance.
What do you think about Game of Thrones finally using flashbacks to tell its complicated narrative? What scene from the past do you imagine we'll see? Sound off in the comments! But please, clearly mark any spoilers.
Game of Thrones season 5 begins airing on HBO in Spring 2015.