HBO is preparing to launch the Game of Thrones season five premiere episode in over 170 countries and territories around the world simultaneously next month. It's a testament to just how popular this fantasy TV show has become, eclipsing that of its source material: George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire book series. The fanbase may only continue to swell after this new season, given the big developments that lie ahead in Westeros and Essos.
Previews such as the newest teaser (embedded above) make it clear: life isn't going to become any easier for those who've managed to run the gauntlet and survive this long on Game of Thrones. Interestingly enough, even as the next stage in the "Game" unfolds (ahead of the "War to Come," as Varys describes it) and the television show's world continues to expand, several characters are now on the precipice of crossing paths for the very first time.
A new Game of Thrones season five featurette highlights the series' growing universe. Specifically, it examines the production/set design work (as well as real-life shooting locations in countries such as Spain) utilized in order to bring previously-unseen parts of the show's world to life. Dorne, a land that's been frequently referenced but never seen in seasons past, is perhaps the most intriguing of these locations debuting in the episodes ahead - as are its inhabitants, for that matter (see: the Sand Snakes).
For that and more, check out the latest Game of Thrones season five featurettes, embedded below.
The second video calls attention to what looks to be a prominent theme on Game of Thrones season five: characters stripping away their former identities, in order to keep evolving and staying alive in their dangerous world. This is easiest to observe in the radically-different appearances of such people as Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) during this new season. Similarly, both characters will be traveling to new places, in order to (literally) leave their old - and shattered - lives behind them.
However, even players like Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryan (Emilia Clarke) are now much more experienced and hardened in spirit than they were before, despite appearing mostly unchanged in appearance. These (for better or for worse) changed characters are now better equipped than before to get by in the series' often brutal, frequently violent, and otherwise generally dangerous setting.
However, with so much uncertainty surrounding what lies ahead on Game of Thrones, it's best that fans not suddenly change tactics and become too attached to any one player. Not just yet, anyway...
Game of Thrones season five begins airing on HBO starting next month on Sunday, April 12th.