At last, the fifth season of "Game of Thrones" is upon us. The opening episode, "The Wars to Come," finds the characters picking up the pieces after Season 4’s finale. It looks like this season will be a bit slower and more contemplative than last year, but it’ll still pack in plenty of the textured storytelling that has made the show a hit.

Episode MVPs

After killing his father and lover at the end of last season, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) has gone into exile. The guy has hit rock bottom, and Dinklage has a great time scowling, drinking, and snarking his way through his scenes. Dinklage has always been one of the show’s best assets, and his take on the new, more dour Tyrion is already a highlight.

Meanwhile, at the Wall, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is dealing with the arrival of Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) and his hangers-on. For the first time in a while, the Wall isn’t in danger of attack, so there’s room to just let these personalities bounce off each other.

Further east, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), is trying to manage local unrest in Meereen, her new base of operations. While past seasons had her marching from place to place, freeing slaves and siccing her dragons on the unwary, her new story looks like a slow burner.

Questions for next week

‘The Wars to Come’ was stuffed with story, but Arya Stark (Maisie Willaims) sat it out. We’ll have to wait to find out what happened to everyone’s favorite revenge-bent moppet after she boarded that boat to Braavos. It’ll also be interesting to see whether Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) can keep the Seven Kingdoms running smoothly now that her father is dead. She’s got a short fuse and holds onto grudges like they’re old friends, so smart money’s on no.

Finally, I’m eager to see the show make good on this episode’s promise that Tyrion will meet up with Daenerys. "Game of Thrones" often keeps its various plotlines on parallel tracks, so the prospect of two big ones crossing is very exciting.

In other news

Those who still can’t get enough "Game of Thrones" may be happy to hear that there’s an Indian remake coming called "Rani Mahal." Producers have already cast the Indian equivalents of Jon Snow, Cersei, and Daenerys, and hope to air the series later this year.

As the editor in chief for Winter Is Coming, Dan Selcke spends his time writing about the latest Game of Thrones news and preparing for the long night that will have no end. Read more of him at Winteriscoming.net.