'Game of Thrones': Where Will Season 5 Go?

The Showrunners, directors and writers weigh in on the dark paths Cersei, Arya and Daenerys are headed down for next year.
Helen Sloan/HBO

Game of Thrones has ended for now, and though the finale's departed characters are barely in their graves, what's the harm in looking ahead to season five?

The showrunners, directors and writers have dropped hints during previous interviews with The Hollywood Reporter, and we've compiled the best of them below.

1. Cersie will be "pissed off"

Director Alex Graves promises a very angry queen regent next year.

"Lena [Headey] is such a brilliant actor that I'm really into seeing what she’s going to do next," Graves says. "What do you think is going to happen when Cersei wakes up? Jaime set Tyrion free and he killed her father on the way out. She is going to be really pissed off. I don’t think I'm giving up anything if you think about what Cersei wakes up to in the morning."

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2. It will continue to explore plot beyond the books

Director Michelle MacLaren oversaw the first episode to stretch significantly beyond George R.R. Martin's novels. She credited the showrunners' vision: "It's exciting to see where they are going to go moving beyond the books, which is starting to happen more and more."

Showrunner David Benioff is a bit more guarded: "We have to make a show that succeeds on its own terms, and sometimes that means veering away from the books. Some people will be upset by that. Some people will like it. Obviously we hope for more of the latter, but if we ever write a scene (or avoid writing a scene) because we're afraid of pissing someone off, we're sunk."

3. The Boltons are in power

Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) is a Snow no more. He's officially Roose Bolton's (Michael McElhatton) heir, thanks to his role in capturing Moat Cailin.

"The Boltons have taken the North and they are now powerful. The man who helped carry out the Red Wedding has capitalized on his success in a very significant way," Graves says. "Ramsay and Roose — one of the things that really sets the tone for next year is they've really got some serious power going now."

4. Daenerys is in a "dark place"

Two of her dragons are imprisoned, Jorah is banished and even Daario is off in another city. In short, it's tough to be the queen.

"You are very much setting up next year, laying out that she is now alone. Everyone she had on the way up has been banished or sent away," Graves says. "She is in a very, very dark place that's going to lead into next year."

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5. Arya's choice with the Hound defines her next steps

In one of the more heartbreaking scenes of the finale, Arya did not grant the dying wish of The Hound, even after he begged for death. The scene sets up what's next for her, says Graves.

"It's really important to show her moving on. The story isn't that the Hound is presumably dead. The story is that she is now moving on to adulthood on her own in a seemingly dark way," he says. "That is an important story to tell. She is about to take off on a bigger journey than she's ever been on."

6. We'll meet Oberyn's family

WinterIsComing.net recently posted a leaked casting breakdown, which calls for members of the slain prince's family to be involved. It's a safe bet we will see Dorne in upcoming episodes.

7. The writers have plenty of anxiety

Think you're having trouble without Thrones? Imagine the pressure of having to write the show.

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"I'm terrified all the time. You're talking to me now as we're writing season five, and I'm at the stage where I think everything is going to be terrible," says writer Bryan Cogman. "I go through all seven stages of whatever a writer goes through. I'm a wreck when I'm writing the show. It's not until you see it air with an audience who enjoys it that you can finally relax."

Says Benioff: "If we're being honest, we worry about everything. Do you know how many anti-anxiety pills we chew every night?"

That's it for now, but stay tuned to THR in the coming months as more information comes out. Where would you like to see the show go next season? Let us know in the comments.

Email: Aaron.Couch@THR.com
Twitter: @AaronCouch