4. Theon Turncloak vs. the Bastard of Bolton
In A Storm of Swords, we get only the outline of what happens to treacherous child-murderer Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen): Held captive at the Dreadfort, he's being slowly butchered alive by Lord Bolton's bastard son, Ramsay Snow. HBO hasn't officially announced the casting of Ramsay, but Welsh actor Iwan Rheon (best known as Simon on U.K. TV show Misfits) is playing someone named "Boy" -- a vague designation widely believed to actually be Ramsay. Anyway, we get more details in later books, but I think this season we'll begin to see Theon's transformation into the shattered, pitiful creature called Reek. It will be wonderfully excruciating to actually watch it, and Theon deserves some onscreen suffering for his crimes.
3. Tyrion vs. the Lannisters
It's hard out there for an Imp. Last season, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) survived the Battle of the Blackwater and an assassination attempt apparently orchestrated by scheming sister Cersei (Lena Headey), only to awake with a gnarly facial scar ... to the news that his lord father, Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), got all the credit for driving Robert Baratheon's brother Stannis (Stephen Dillane) from King's Landing. Now more pawn than player, Tyrion is forced into more than one role he doesn't want. Time for the Imp to show us his inner lion as he fends off his own family, including the increasingly demented whims of evil nephew King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson).
2. The Wench vs. the Kingslayer
The lady knight Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) gets to do some seriously badass stuff in ASoS. She demolishes a boat with an avalanche! Faces down a bear in a pit! And takes on Jaime Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) in single combat! It all happens while she's trying to haul Jaime back to King's Landing, honor-bound to trade him for Lady Stark's daughters. Jaime calls her "Wench" to annoy her. "My name's Brienne," she unfailingly retorts - while referring to him by the hated nickname of Kingslayer. But when Jaime finally manages to goad her into a fight, he ties his fate to hers in ways he never imagined. I'm so looking forward to their battle (even more than the bear), but also hope we get to hear the soon-to-be-changed man say, "Her name's Brienne."
1. The Freys vs. the King in the North
Red Wedding, Red Wedding, Red Wedding! The scene so devastational that George R.R. Martin put off writing it until he was done with the rest of the book. He didn't even pen the episode that will show petty Lord Walder Frey (David Bradley) taking his revenge after King in the North Robb Stark (Richard Madden, above) breaks his vow to marry a Frey daughter. I still remember the gut-punch feeling of reading that chapter for the first time ... the shock, the anguish, the sorrow. But, unlike in Season 1 when Ned Stark got the chop, this time I know what's coming. Still, the idea of actually seeing it is just a little bit scary. And I like it.