Warning: Some spoilers ahead — especially if you haven’t read the books. If you read through the big Game of Thrones cover story by James Hibberd in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly , then you know that the upcoming season of the HBO show won’t religiously follow what happened in A Clash of Kings, the George R.R. Martin book that it’s based on. Namely, while Jamie Lannister spends most of the second book imprisoned in Riverrun while the War of the Five Kings rages around him, it won’t necessary play out that way for his character onscreen. “Hey, you can’t just bench me, what the hell is that,” says Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the Danish actor who plays the Kingslayer. “But it makes sense for the journey that Jamie’s on. He’s not in a happy place.”
They also plan to flesh out “a forbidden romance” involving Robb Stark that we don’t learn about in the books until A Storm of Swords, the third installment of Song of Ice and Fire series — and at that point, he’s already married. Why go to the trouble to invent a backstory? According to executive producer Dan Weiss, “If we didn’t have Richard Madden on the show, teenage girls everywhere would abandon us en masse.” While he doesn’t confirm that the plotline will involve nude scenes, he does promise that “at least one returning character getting naked for the first time.”
The article goes on to point out that the absence of battles in the first season — due to budget reasons — simply couldn’t be avoided this go around, given that the second book focuses on the war that’s tearing Westeros apart. Fans will be glad to know that Martin himself scripted the scenes involving the epic Battle of the Blackwater, which then took “about a month of wet, muddy night shoots” in a quarry in Northern Ireland. That’s for footage that will only take up about half of an episode. You’ll also be happy to hear that HBO plans on breaking A Storm of Swords (which happens to be this writer’s personal favorite) into two separate seasons.
If you’re still craving more Game of Thrones action, head over to EW.com to check out an exclusive gallery of portraits of the cast that Ian Derry shot for the magazine.