game-of-thrones-season-5-jon-snow-399x600We know what you’re thinking. A shocking death on ‘Game of Thrones?’ Isn’t that about as “shocking” as snow in winter? Perhaps, but under normal circumstances a character’s death is more likely to highlight existing divisions in the ‘Game of Thrones’ fanbase. That is to say, fans who are only familiar with the show are shocked whereas those who’ve read George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ novels tend to revel in that surprise, the textbook example being the phenomenon of Red Wedding reaction videos.

But it seems the upcoming fifth season may be setting out to level the playing field a bit. It’s been known almost from the outset that the series would have to chart its own narrative path sooner or later, owing to the sometimes glacial pace at which Martin produces his still unfinished fantasy epic. However, with the upcoming season roughly corresponding to the fifth and current novel, it was expected that any truly substantial departures from the source material would come with the sixth season rather than the fifth.

Despite that presumption, a recent ‘Entertainment Weekly’ cover story makes it clear that the times, they are a-changing, with at least one “huge death” coming this season. That is, the death of a character who is still alive in the novels. And this isn’t just any character. While their identity is unknown, the actor in question is known to be a big part of the show. The anonymous thespian said told ‘Entertainment Weekly’ the following:

“It proves you should probably not read the books. I thought this season I was going to have more to do, and I was really looking forward to that. And then I got my dates from my agent and I thought, ‘That doesn’t tally.’ Because there was no way if they were sticking to the books I should be in it for that number of weeks. It seemed to me that they must be writing me out. The showrunners rang me up and told me, ‘Your time is up in the series.’ I’m disappointed but you have to accept that the demands of TV are different. I find myself being quite emotional about it. I’m going to miss it. Never mind being a professional, they’re very nice people.”

From that and other comments in the magazine, we can gather that whoever is on the chopping block is not only a big enough part of the show to have their own trailer, but that their character is a relatively sizeable part of ‘A Dance With Dragons.’

Who might it be? Share your guesses in the comments and be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more ‘Game of Thrones’ coverage as the new season approaches.

‘Game of Thrones’ returns to HBO on April 12th.