On Sunday night (April 12), fans all over the world will have the world of Westeros back in their living rooms, as "Game of Thrones" returns for its fifth season. MTV News had the chance to screen the first four episodes of the season in advance, and here are eleven things we can tell you about the show -- which diverts from its source material in a major way -- without being murdered by the Faceless Men:
Things in King's Landing somehow get even worse.Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
Did you think the Lannisters would always be on top, the Tyrells somewhere in the middle, and the Starks way, way on the bottom with no hope for escape? Well, that will all change this year -- book four was called "A Feast for Crows" for a reason, as those who remain after Tywin, Robb and Joffrey's deaths metaphorically peck each other's eyes out to change their social positions.
And for some of them, it actually works! Count on at least one character who was on top at the end of last season falling fast, and another reaching the brink of a major upswing in their social status.
Two characters cross paths who never met in the books.HBO
We've known for a while now that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were going to diverge from George R. R. Martin's books "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance With Dragons," but we had no idea how far until episode two, when two characters meet who aren't even remotely close to each other in the source material. And this isn't a "Sam stumbles upon Bran at The Wall" type of meeting, either -- it alters one of the character's paths entirely, to the point where book readers will no longer have a single clue what is happening with this particular plot point ahead of time.
More trouble brews for Daenerys.Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
When we last left the Mother of Dragons, she was spending her time learning how to actually rule a difficult land instead of building up an army to take it over, like the rest of the contenders for the Iron Throne. However, we saw glimpses of Meereen's internal strife last year, and Dany's issues won't be solved overnight -- putting the Mother of Dragons and beloved members of her team like Grey Worm, Missandei, Barristan Semly and Daario all in danger.
The Wall sees some serious shifts in power.Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
Remember at the end of last season, when Stannis and Davos' army and Jon and the Night's Watch defeated the Wildling army, together? Well, now it's time to figure out what to do with those armies, and see how their goals do or do not align. These strange bedfellows working out their issues leads to surprising alliances, and an even more surprising nude scene in episode four.
Varys' true loyalties are finally revealed.Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
For years, the Spider sauntered around King's Landing, with no one -- remember Ned Stark? -- knowing which side the bald guy was on. He seemed to take a step in the right direction when he fled with Tyrion last year, and by the end of his first scene in season five, you'll know who he's working for, and why.
... While Littlefinger plays it close to the vest.Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
At this point, we've all learned to tread lightly when it comes to Littlefinger. His plans for Sansa up north are slowly but surely revealed in the first four episodes, but it's still nearly impossible to figure out exactly what he wants, and if what he's doing benefits anyone besides himself. (And we reckon Sansa feels the same way...)
Sansa goes dark, but Arya goes darker.Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO
Did anyone expect Arya to take up knitting when she crossed the Narrow Sea? Sansa's hair may have darkened a shade or two, but it's Arya's journey that goes to some seriously dark -- metaphorically and literally -- places once she arrives at her foreign destination.
Religion plays a major role.Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO
Religion has always been present on "GoT." Whether it's the old gods, the new, or the Lord of Light, many of our favorite characters have prayed -- with varying results -- to different deities throughout the year.
However, this season religious differences cause a major change not only for some of our main characters, but for all of Westeros. Some scenes even begin to mirror real life, as members of one religious group start to take its vengeful messaging more seriously than its "hey, you should totally help feed the poor" stuff.
There's a terrifyingly awkward sex scene.
Did you shield your eyes when Melisandre birthed that awful smoke monster-baby? Shiver when Cersei and Jaime got in on for the first time... or fiftieth? Cringe at that Littlefinger/Sansa kiss? Well, get ready for the ickiest "Game of Thrones" coupling yet to materialize in the bedroom, and spare no details!
Dorne become major players.Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
Sorry Pentos, but Dorne has officially replaced you as the "Game of Thrones" location in which we'd most want to live. The southern-most part of Westeros that formerly housed Oberyn Martell (RIP) will play a major part in the overall story to come, as Oberyn's brother Doran, his daughters the Sand Snakes, and his grieving lover Ellaria Sand all have various plans in motion when it comes to the Iron Throne.
Also, for readers out there who are mourning the absence of Arianne Martell, we feel you -- but know that Ellaria does a pretty solid job at bringing badass female leadership to Dorne.
Someone dies who is still alive in the books.
Much like our buddy Jojen Reed, here, someone meets their maker in the first batch of episodes in a spectacularly bloody way. It's upsetting.