Warning: Major spoilers for the "Game of Thrones" season finale are ahead.
Four days later, we're still thinking about that "Game of Thrones" finale — that killer crossbow, those chained-up dragons, Bran's new home, Jon's new friends. So much happened, and so much has changed, that the wait for season five is virtually unbearable.
It doesn't help that show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are already hyping the Seven Hells out of next year's round of "Game of Thrones" goodness, telling Entertainment Weekly: "Now that we're nearly finished with the first drafts of each episode, we see no reason why the coming season shouldn't be the strongest yet."
We see no reason why it shouldn't, either, especially given all the plot threads left dangling at the end of season four. Here are eleven reasons why we can't wait for the continuation of this story.
1. Chaos in King's Landing
Who is left to rule following Tywin Lannister's death? Does Cersei once again assume power over the Iron Throne, pulling the strings behind the young and malleable Tommen? Or does Tommen's future wife, Margaery, step up to start manipulating her young fiancé? Will someone else step into a leadership role? The capitol of the Seven Kingdoms will be in political turmoil no matter how it shakes out.
2. The Lion on the Run
After busting out of prison and killing his own father, Tyrion Lannister is officially one of the most wanted men alive. Given his melancholy state of mind after Shae and Tywin's deaths, and the fact that he's now traveling far away from Westeros, season five will feature a far more broken Tyrion than we've ever seen before — a very exciting prospect indeed, given the great range we know Peter Dinklage can play with his character.
3. The Spider Crawls
He sat on the sidelines for much of the season, but now, Varys is poised for a huge season five. He's accompanying Tyrion on his upcoming journey, totally blowing his cover in King's Landing as a result. We haven't seen Varys' true motivations in their entirety yet, but Benioff and Weiss say his interests "will become eminently clear" in the upcoming season.
4. All Wolves Must Die
Also sailing east: Arya Stark. After so much time on the run, most of which was spent wandering around the Lannister-filled river lands of Westeros, Arya is finally free of the Seven Kingdoms, with the future wide open. What will she do next? That's the big question, and it's an extremely enticing one.
5. Snow on Fire
Up at the Wall, Jon Snow's story is set to ignite in all-new ways. He's one of the key figures responsible for saving the Wall. He's positioned to make new relationships with the likes of Stannis Baratheon and Davos Seaworth. And even though Ygritte is gone, we see that Melisandre is already taking an interest in Snow, if only from afar. Expect Ned Stark's bastard son to have much more to do when season five returns.
6. The Boy and the Raven
Bran Stark's party spent way too long on the road, but now, they've reached their destination — sans Jojen, sadly. As promised, Bran's story has met its high-fantasy destiny in the form of the Three-Eyed Raven beneath the great weirwood tree. He's surrounded by Children of the Forest, what with their crazy firebombs and elvish appearance. He's been promised that he'll never walk again, but he will fly. The possibilities surrounding Bran's future are big and weird. Who could possibly want anything more?
7. The Two Mockingbirds
Littlefinger and Sansa Stark are in position to play the game of thrones all the way from the Eyrie. We already know Littlefinger is one of the savviest players of the game, and Sansa has clearly learned a thing or two, based on her final appearance in the season. With Baelish and Stark united under the same roof of the impenetrable Vale, it's hard to see how they won't become major players in the chaotic political wasteland of Westeros, especially following Tywin's death in King's Landing. After all, we know how much Littlefinger loves climbing that chaos ladder.
8. Dungeons and Dragons
Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Incarcerator of Dragons. She spent the past two seasons liberating everyone in Slaver's Bay, and ended season four as a jailer of her own "children." But dragons can't stay chained up forever, especially with Drogon still on the loose. With the Khaleesi no longer in total control of her dragons, who knows what's next for the almighty beasts.
9. Dornish Red
We lost the Red Viper, but we haven't lost his home. In fact, we haven't even seen it yet! Expect that to change with season five, as Benioff and Weiss have promised that we're headed to Dorne next season. We're down one Oberyn Martell, but up several Dornishmen. Not only that, but Cersei and Jaime's daughter is in Dorne; given Oberyn's death and the subsequent tensions between King's Landing and Dorne, one can expect that Myrcella Baratheon will only become more important as time wears on.
10. Rushing Forward
"Game of Thrones" is about to catch up with the books. Season five will draw heavily on "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons," the last two remaining published books in the series. There are two more books waiting to be published, but "Thrones" does not appear to be waiting for those books; we've seen the show move well beyond the published material already, what with the White Walkers at the end of "Oathkeeper." It's scary and exciting to think about "Thrones" moving into uncharted waters, areas that book-readers aren't even familiar with — but scary and exciting has always been what "Thrones" does best.
11. Because Waiting For New "Thrones" Is Like Dying At Your Own Wedding
In other words, it sucks. So even if season five can't match season four, any "Thrones" is better than no "Thrones."
What are you most looking forward to about "Game of Thrones" season five?