Winter Is Coming – Game of Thrones Season 6 Primer

Warning spoilers and fan theories ahead!

‘Winter is coming,’ at last.

These words have been used in a multitude of internet memes from drinking games to sarcasm in relation to British weather. The Stark House motto has been repeated perhaps more than that of any house. 5 seasons later and we’re still waiting for winter to arrive, but Oh, the teases.

With the epic final episodes of season 5 of Game of Thrones (GoT), including the incredible battle between the Night’s Watch/Wildlings and the White Walkers, it seems winter is finally upon Westeros and will be spreading it’s icy fingers southward rapidly.

April 26th will see the return of Game of Thrones  to our screens and with it the hope of more violence, sex, dragons, white walkers and sass (Little Finger, Varys, Lady Olenna, Tyrion… oh I love you all). Excitement is mounting, though perhaps not as much as the relief that all the internet arguments will finally come to an end.

The final two episodes of season five saw Cersei during and after her walk of shame, Stannis meeting his end at the hands of Brienne, Arya became blind as a punishment in the House of Black and White, The Night’s Watch betrayed Jon Snow and stabbed him up real good. Daenerys fled Meeren on Drogon and was being approached by a Dothraki Khalasar leaving Tyrion et al behind and  finally Theon and Sansa made a break for it, jumping off a tower (seemingly suicidally) into snow. *phew*

We’ve had near 10 months of, “Is he or isn’t he alive?”

jon-snow-as-a-wightThe question of course is in regard to Jon Snow and one that has divided the internet. It may be that Jon Snow is indeed dead, but I don’t think it’s the last we will see of him. For one, Kit Harrington has been spotted on location, but furthermore as a result of numerous fan theories which seem to add up. The most popular theory is that as Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen could Jon possibly be a candidate for the rider of one of Daenarys’ dragons? Melisandre certainly took a liking to Jon and her attention was turned away from Stannis, could it be that Jon is Azor Ahai reborn?

So yes, it may be that Jon Snow is dead, but Jon Targaryen, Azor Ahai or even a White Walker? Maybe.

What else do we think season 6 will hold? Well, since HBO have confirmed there will be two more seasons after this we are rapidly approaching the final ‘act’ of GoT.

This may not be the season we get a full blown war, or a battle between dragons and white walkers but I feel it’s likely the season will allude to this, especially considering the character’s whose paths have crossed such as Tyrion and Daenerys. The whole saga is, don’t forget, a song of ice and fire!

Seeing as a large number of cast announcements were made it appears certain characters that appear in the books and have thus far been omitted from the show are likely to make an appearance.

Could characters like Quentyn Martell (The Dragon Rider) and Ser Gerris Drinkwater who were tasked with bringing Daenerys back from Essos to Dorne be introduced in this series? It seems appropriate timing with Tyrion, Grey worm and the others left in Meeren without Daenerys.

How will she escape from the Dothraki? I’m hoping it includes the book quote, “If I look back, I am lost,” and Drogon.

It seems reasonable that Thoros of Myr will return in this season along with Yara Greyjoy (called Asha in the books but renamed in the show to prevent confusion with Osha) and her father Balon.  Balon’s brother Euron who has yet to appear in the series will also feature, suggesting that this season may stay closer to the books.

arya-starkWhat of the Starks (aside from Jon)? Rickon and Osha parted ways with Bran and we have no clue as to where they are. Sansa and Theon are on the run, could Sansa be pregnant? I’m guessing they will meet with Littlefinger at some point but before then could they run into Brienne again or even Yara? Then there’s Arya, away in Braavos and determined to join the faceless men, and yet she still can’t let go of her sword, Needle, suggesting this is all in preparation for revenge back home.

Hodor and Bran will return this season, who met with the three eyed crow and from the trailer Bran appears to have regained his ability to walk.  It is likely to be in one of Bran’s green sight scenes that we get one of the most anticipated parts of Season 6. This is a flash back to when Ned was younger at the Tower of Joy, the death place of Lyanna Stark and where it is likely she gave birth. This is where Ned’s final words with her were exchanged and Lyanna made him make a promise, likely regarding Jon’s parentage.

We last saw Sandor Clegane dying after Arya left him following his battle with Brienne. Her and Podrick’s storyline appears to continue where it left off from in ‘A feast of crows’ this means they should stumble across the Quiet Isle where they see an abnormally large gravedigger.

The hints are in the book, Sandor’s stallion, Stranger, is with the Elder Brother, it is known (appropriate phrase) that Stranger obeys no one but Sandor. The Elder Brother states, “The hound is dead, Sandor Clegane is at peace.” Hinting that Sandor is still alive and living a peaceful life, as the gravedigger? May we also get a glance at Lady Stoneheart seeing as her path crosses with Thoros, Podrick and Brienne?

At the end of Season 5 we saw Cersei recovering after the walk of shame, Qyburn had been experimenting on Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane who died after being poisoned by Oberyn Martell. It only seems fitting that the two brothers should meet to do battle. Cersei already has enough to want revenge for, but when Jaime and Ser Bronn return with a dead Myrcella, there will be Hell to pay.

What we do know from the final trailer for Season 6 is that Davos is going to have a much bigger role to play and it’s his time to step up after Stannis sent him away.  I hated what was done to Stannis in the show. The Stannis I know from the books, while callous and cold,  would never have burnt Shireen at the stake alive.

But then this is show GoT, which has grown into a different animal to its literary progenitor and everything feels up for negotiation.

Executive Producers Weiss and Benioff confirmed that the final two seasons of GoT may be shorter than the previous and there may only be 13 episodes left, suggesting the end, the battle between Daenerys’ dragons – fire, and the White Walkers – ice, surely, is closer than we imagined.

236620.max-620x600And what of Ser Loras and Margarey Tyrell? And Varys, Littlefinger and the Sandsnakes? And Doran Martell, Ser Jorah, the Freys, the Boltons, King Tommen, Brother Lancel, Sam and Gilly, Lady Olenna, Rickon, Osha and what ever happened to Hot Pie and Gendry? And… oh never mind, this is Game of Thrones, we’d be here all night if I covered everyone.

While GoT‘s popularity continues to grow and its reputation as one of TV’s most epic shows remains, the issues that have been controversial remain.

I have no problem with the violence, the language or sex, but several elements in the show that are not in the books feel like they have been placed there just to shock.

We don’t need to go into detail about what happened to Sansa or Shireen last season (it’s almost always women too, funny that) but I do feel a little sad that this happened. The show gets ratings regardless of these types of scenes and I just hope the producers learn from the backlash last season.

Whatever directions the show takes I’ll be just about as excited as anyone.

All I feel there is left to say is:

Valar morghulis.

Game of Thrones season 6 premieres on Monday 25th April at 9pm on Sky Atlantic

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