"Game of Thrones" fans have a lot to be excited about. A brand-new 10-episode season is set to premiere Sunday night, bringing viewers back to the wicked world of Westeros for the first time since poor Ned lost his head in the spring of 2011. With the series' de facto protagonist dead and gone, it's time for other characters to step up and fill the void — such as the heroic Robb Stark, the villainous Joffrey Baratheon, and even the morally ambiguous Tyrion Lannister. As "Thrones" moves further along in author George R.R. Martin's original "Song of Ice and Fire" timeline, fans can expect more and more cheers, jeers and flat-out dumbfounding shocks all season long.
All of which is to say that, yes, many "Thrones" fans are hopeful about the new season ... but there are also legitimate concerns to consider. If the series is willing to behead its central character with a full episode to go before the first season finale, who knows what could happen next to the most beloved of characters?
For your reading pleasure, the MTV News team's most devoted "Thrones" fans joined together to share their hopes and fears for the coming season. Read on to see if you share their joys and concerns.
Small People, Big World
Starting with the biggest highlight of "Game of Thrones" — Emmy winner Peter Dinklage's turn as Tyrion Lannister, naturally — our resident Westeros worshipers are all very excited to see not just Tyrion's next adventure, but also the bastard Jon Snow's travels north of the wall.
"Jon Snow's plotline picks up after a boring first season on the Wall. He finally travels north into the Haunted Forest, and he'll definitely encounter some pretty nasty things," said producer Stacey Sommer. "As for Tyrion, he'll certainly have his hands full with a crumbling King's Landing this season, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of Peter Dinklage on the small screen."
Hands Off Our Imp
Speaking of Dinklage, everyone with even the faintest appreciation for "Thrones" can agree that the show would not be the same without Tyrion in tow. But we probably could have said the same thing about Sean Bean's Ned Stark before season one reached its end, couldn't we? To that end, our team was in complete agreement with a Chris Crocker-inspired plea: Leave our Imp alone!
"If the first season of 'Game of Thrones' taught us anything, it's that no one is safe — no matter how beloved or seemingly significant their character is," said Amy Wilkinson, editor of Hollywood Crush. "So please, please be careful, Tyrion Lannister. We can't do without your witty one-liners."
Off With Joff's Head
Turnabout is fair play, they say. With that in mind, there's one character that everyone wants to see dead before much longer. "All I want from my 'Game of Thrones' season two is for Joffrey Baratheon to die a miserable, painful and gruesome death," staff writer Kara Warner offered. "I've never wished for a fictional character's demise more than Joffrey, except for maybe Viserys. God, those two are awful."
"Is it too much to ask for Joffrey Baratheon's head on a stick?" agreed Amy. "But seriously, vengeance for Eddard Stark's brutal beheading needs to be swift and savage and preferably at the hands of Robb Stark. Or, even better, young sister Sansa."
MTV News producer Ade Mangum chimed in: "I would enjoy a spoiler alert with news that Joffery won't be around much longer. I don't doubt that the directors of 'Thrones' told [actor Jack Gleeson] to channel Draco Malfoy, and maybe even my bratty little sister."
Creedence Blackwater Revival
You'll find no spoilers regarding Joffrey's ultimate fate here, Ade, but at least this much is true: War is coming. There's one particularly epic battle coming up called the Battle of Blackwater, and while it's easily a highlight in the books "Thrones" is based upon, our team is concerned that the scene won't be nearly as epic on the small screen.
"My one nagging fear is that the Battle of Blackwater is not going to be as epic and awesome — and Tyrion-centric — as it was in the book," said MTV Movies Blog contributing writer Terri Schwartz. Stacey echoed those fears: "The entire season leads up to this moment, so it would be a shame if they shortchanged the action. I would love to see an entire episode dedicated to just the battle! "
(Psst: Considering that the season's ninth episode is titled "Blackwater" and is written by "Ice and Fire" author George R.R. Martin, you just might get your wish, Stacey.)
Fire And Blood
Finally, going into season two, there's one particular cliffhanger that everyone's excited to see more of: wandering queen and khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen's newborn dragons. The return of dragons for the first time in centuries is a major plot point in the continuing tale of "Thrones" — a risky proposition not just for viewers who've become accustomed to the relatively low-level fantasy world of Westeros, but for creators pinning so much importance on a trio of computer-generated characters.
"I think my biggest fear of all is that the dragons are going to look terrible," Ade said. "I just hope the CGI team is working overtime on season two."
If I can break down the fourth wall for a moment: I've seen the first four episodes of season two, and they're glorious, dragons and all. Dany devotees, if no one else, have nothing to be concerned about in the dragon department.
What are your biggest hopes and fears going into "Game of Thrones" season two? Let me know in the comments section or hit me up on Twitter @roundhoward!