Game of Thrones has a lot of great characters, but Podrick Payne has got to be one of the best. He seems to be one of the few truly genuine folks in all of Westeros, and because of that, he's endlessly endearing. Plus, he had one of the best scenes of the week in "The High Sparrow" — if last season's buddy comedy was Arya and The Hound, this season's might well be Brienne and Pod. How great was Pod's signature slightly-dim earnestness, as Brienne relived her heart-wrenching Kingsguard origin story? Add that to the fact that he stumbled and mumbled his way through informing Brienne that Renly Baratheon um... preferred men, and you've got yourself a character who's just short of downright precious. And that's exactly why I'm afraid we'll see Podrick die on Game of Thrones . And quite possibly very soon.
There's no denying the fact that Pod's always been one of the more lovable characters on the show, but his new Sansa Stark-saving mission with Brienne has taken his character to new heights — which unfortunately greatly lowers his likelihood of survival, if we're going by the Ned Stark algorithm of character deaths (I think it's pretty telling that the one of the first search suggestion that pops up when I type "Podrick Payne" into Google is "podrick payne dead." Uh-oh).
So will he make it to the end of Season 5? It's tough to say. We could look to the books for guidance, but it's worth noting that at this point, TV adaptation has diverged quite far from the original A Song of Ice and Fire — it's almost become an alternate universe. In the books Pod actually stalked Brienne for a spell, in the hopes that her search for Sansa would lead him to find Tyrion, as opposed to the Jaime Lannister-induced kinda-sorta squire situation we've got on the TV show. There's also the little fact that in the books, he and Brienne end up getting taken prisoner by Lady Stoneheart and the Brotherhood Without Banners — but since the show has put a pretty definitive kibosh on the whole Lady Stoneheart storyline, it's looking like that's not exactly going to happen.
In fact, following along that storyline, Pod and Brienne almost end up getting hanged by Lady Stoneheart and her crew — Brienne gets away, but Pod's fate is left pretty ambiguous in the books; we don't get to actually see what happens to him. Luckily, George R. R. Martin has confirmed that Pod is still alive, so we can breathe easy — for now, anyway. Unluckily, we're so far from Pod's book plot at this point that death isn't out of the question. I mean, he's not going to be rewritten to marry Ramsay Bolton anytime soon, but who knows what could happen to him?
Will he and Brienne still get taken by the Brotherhood Without Banners (just sans Lady Stoneheart)? Will another group of sketchy folks threaten to hang them? As we witnessed with the whole epic Brienne/Hound melee (that categorically did not happen in the books), there are definite liberties being taken with Pod and Brienne's intertwined storylines, so it's really difficult to predict what will happen next.
Though, when it comes right down to it: Pod's likability is a major liability. By now, we've learned that pleasantness is a surefire way to wind up dead in Westeros.
Images: Helen Sloan/HBO; Giphy (2)