Poisoning, beheading, stabbing, gouging, lancing, “crowning” and death by rat – these are just some of the ways some 133 characters have met their end in HBO’s epic adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones”.
But as the fifth season of the medieval fantasy series begins on Sky Atlantic, anyone hoping for the series to take some of a respite from the blood and guts we have come to expect can think again.
In fact, Martin has most recently gone on the record to promise that the latest batch of 12 episodes is almost certain to feature a surprise death or three along the way.
And as fans of the show have learned from the early demise of Ned Stark to the more recent bloodshed of the very literal “Red Wedding” it can sometimes pay to expect the unexpected.
That’s certainly the case at Ladbrokes this time round, with the bookmaker taking the unprecedented step of offering odds on the next major character to be offed.
After perusing the odds on offer, it would appear that form has some bearing on proceedings though with Stannis Baratheon the favourite to die next at 2/1.
Having already seen his brother Robert killed early on in the series in a rather suspicious “hunting accident”, Stannis hardly helped matters when he decided to use priestess of the Lord of the Light Melisandre to summon a rather odd looking “smoke ghost”.
Said spectre was then dispatched to kill his brother, and rival to the Iron Throne, Renly in a sequence that made it two down and one to go for the Baratheon boys.
Elsewhere, with the House of Stark suffering their fair share of misfortune having seen Ned, Robb and Catelyn killed off in recent times, backing either one of the surviving sisters of Sansa (12/1) and Arya (25/1) to go next offers value.
Of the dominant Lannister clan, meanwhile, it’s Cersei who appears as a front-runner at 3/1, having seen her son, and former King, Joffrey meet an untimely end few mourned in the last series.
Dragon-wielding Daenerys Targaryen is the rank outsider to die next at 40/1 given the amount of focus placed on her journey thus far, but the dark horse to be next to go may be lurking the wings – where’s he’s kind of always been.
Little Finger’s cunning and guile should see him safe for now but it’s his fellow schemer Lord Varys who looks the value pick at 7/1.
Having helped Tyrion Lannister escape execution by shipping him off in a crate bound for Essos, Varys is likely to be the one that suffers in the fallout from Tyrion’s quick detour before escape.
Killing his father Tywin Lannister with a crossbow while he is on the toilet, both Tyrion and Varys ultimately fleed after the murder but it is the latter who looks the more likely to suffer a comeuppance in the not too distant future.
It may therefore be the case that fans of ‘The One True King of Westeros’ can therefore rest easy…but they had best not get too comfortable.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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