Winter is coming, but the seasons turn slowly in the world of HBO drama Game of Thrones - and as the show moves into its fifth season, winter has yet to take hold. There's trouble ahead, however, as Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons continue to conquer the East, an army of White Walkers descends from the North, and in the South the bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell - warriors known as the Sand Snakes - are less than happy about their father's death.
The Sand Snakes who will appear most prominently in Game of Thrones season 5 are the three eldest sisters: Nymeria (Jessica Henwick), Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti-Sellers). They'll need to be suitably armed for what lies ahead, of course, and in a new featurette focusing on the weapons of Dorne Game of Thrones weapons master Tommy Dunne goes into detail about what each of the sisters - and Doran Martell's right-hand man Areo Hotah - will be wielding next season.
Areo's famed longaxe has been created with "opulent" style: set with diamonds and filigree. The design features snakes, as do all of the Dornish weapons that Dunne discusses in the featurette. Obara carries a slightly different version of the spear that her father used in his final duel last season; Nymeria uses a whip with a snake design in the handle and the whip itself protruding from the snake's mouth; finally, Tyene's double daggers have hilts constructed from two snakes intertwining, giving her four snakes on her side in a fight.
The first set photos of the Sand Snakes caused a bit of a stir when fans noted that they were wearing what can only be described as "nipple armor" - a source of painful flashbacks for Batman fans. Game of Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton told NYMag last year that this was actually a mistake due to the rushed production not leaving enough time for the armor molds to be sanded down completely.
"I didn't notice them when I was there. And sometimes you can’t go back and change things... It was a bad move," Clapton admitted, though she said that the armor's distracting shape is less visible in other lighting situations. Perhaps it can be written off as an odd quirk of Dornish fashion.
Another featurette following the making of Game of Thrones season 5 made it clear just how tight the production schedule is, to the point that at times there will be three different units filming simultaneously in three different countries. Nipple armor aside, the production values achieved despite the time and budget limits are hugely impressive, and it's not wonder that Game of Thrones fans keep coming back for more.
Game of Thrones resumes on April 12th, 2015 on HBO.