Drogon did what?
Keeping up with what's going on in Game Of Thrones can be a Sisyphean task. Just when you think you're on top of it all, BLAM, dragon. Westeros is a minefield of potential plot twists, just waiting to trip you up.
So you'd be forgiven for having trouble remembering exactly what happened in season four. After all, it's been the best part of a year. There's been a lot of TV watched since then, and none of it has taken place in the Seven Kingdoms. But fear not, for you can catch up right here, right now, and be ready to rock when season five finally rolls into view.
Let's start in the North and work our way down. Beyond the wall Bran has finally reached the end of his journey, losing Jojen Reed along the way to a bunch of fighty skeletons. However, the sacrifice was probably worth it – he's found the ethereal, fire-throwing children of the forest, and the Three Eyed Raven, who turned out to be a vaguely sinister ancient man sat on a throne beneath a heart tree. What does it mean? It's anyone's guess, but anticipate much strangeness with Bran's storyline in season five. And plenty of Hodor, obviously. Hodor.
At the Wall The Night's Watch has been pretty well decimated, with Jon Snow standing in as leader until a new Commander can be appointed. He may know nothing, but he's got a pretty good handle on how to fight the Free Folk, or whatever else comes down from beyond the Wall.
Plus, he's got Stannis and a not insignificant army on hand to help him now. The last surviving Baratheon has abandoned the war in the South to fight the good fight with the brothers at Castle Black, and he's brought Melisandre with him. There's only some glances over a fire to go by, but it looks like R'Hllor's priestess has got something in mind for Jon Snow. And we all know he's got a weakness for redheads...
Meanwhile Roose Bolton has cemented his position as Warden of the North, and made Ramsey Snow a full Bolton to boot. Theon – or should that be Reek – remains Ramsey's prisoner, although there are increasingly fewer bits of him to keep chained up. Flaying, it turns out, is not a sustainable practice if you want to keep your captives alive.
Winterfell is still a smoking ruin, although technically Tyrion has a claim on it through his marriage to Sansa. The eldest Stark daughter is still in the Vale with Littlefinger, and it would seem she's starting to play a game of her own. Maybe she's learned something from being around the show's biggest backstabbers all this time.
She's got some serious dirt on Littlefinger after watching him fling Lysa Arryn out the Moon Door, but she's thus far protected him from the lords of the Vale, saying Lysa killed herself. After Littlefinger kissed her last season, we could well be seeing the early stage of a slightly weird alliance – and a damned powerful one to boot.
Elsewhere in the Vale, Brienne and Pod, he of the magical pants region, are still wandering around looking for Sansa and Arya. They've not been entirely unsuccessful, having stumbled into Arya and the Hound, but naturally Arya got away. The Hound took an almighty beating from Brienne, and Arya left him looking a little bit dead. Don't bank on that being the end of him though – Cleganes are hard to kill.
Arya, meanwhile, took off on her own and is now on a boat to Braavos. She paid her way with the iron coin that Jaqen H'ghar gave her, and now she and Needle are heading away from Westeros to forge a bold new plot line elsewhere. Expect exciting, violent things ahead for the younger Stark sister.
Down in King's Landing the populace is still shaking from the shock of the Mountain doing terrible things to Oberyn Martell's head. Cersei has ordered the incredibly suspicious Qyburn to save the big man, who is suffering from poisons the Viper had cleverly coated his spears with. In other Cersei related news, she's back doing the bad thing with Jaime, who is mixing incest with running the King's Guard. Which is nice for him, probably.
Tommen (remember him?) still sits on the Iron Throne, and is betrothed to the ever-tricky Margaery. We should expect to see more of him in season five, what with him being king and all. We may even see the return of Myrcella, the sister that Cersei sent off to the Martells all that time ago, although in the wake of the Viper's death, the Martells might not be best disposed toward the Lannisters. And who could blame them, really?
Of course, the fact that Tywin Lannister is dead via a crossbow bolt to the nether regions might help diplomatic relations somewhat. Tyrion took him out on the toilet in one of the least spectacular and yet most significant deaths of the season. The Imp also took care of Shae after finding her in his father's bed, and now he's on the run.
We're not sure where Varys has sent him, only that he's going there on a ship. It seems a fair guess that Tyrion is headed to Essos, where he might have more luck hiding from angry Lannisters than he would in Westeros.
Not that Essos is an entirely safe place to be right now. Dany's biggest dragon, Drogon, is proving tricky to handle. Tricky in that he's burning kids alive and generally being a menace. Which is something of a spanner in the works for Daenerys, who was forced to lock up her remaining two dragons as a precaution.
Dany is still ruling in Mereen, although she's made so many enemies in the region she'll likely be moving on soon. She'll be doing it without Jorah of course, who was revealed as a traitor and sent into exile, but she's still got a crack team including Misandei, Grey Worm and Barristan Selmy to look after her.
So there you have it. Season four was truly epic: we saw giants riding mammoths, the death of Joffrey (hooray!) and more blood and guts than you can shake a sword at. The major houses have all been put through the ringer, and the balance of power is once again shifting. The moving parts of the Game of Thrones are many, but that's why we love it. Roll on season five....
Guest post from Rob Power