Heroic Hollywood’s Guide To ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6

The curtain is finally pulling back on Game of Thrones sixth season, with an actual trailer hitting last week – with actual footage!

Kidding aside, its safe to say we fans liked what we saw. It eschewed plot for characters’ uttering defining, philosophical quotes, keeping it all high-brow . . . and then swords, dragons and girls making out. Quintessential Game of Thrones; it makes the fantasy weighty and the drama trashy. “I choose violence,” indeed.

This editorial is the definitive guide to where we left off with one of planet Earth’s most popular TV series and is filled with rumors and evidence of where the sixth season might be going. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan who wants a refresher complete with teases, some obvious some not, of what’s to come, this article is for you!



1. Bran’s greenseer training with the Three-eyed Raven

What appears to be a seven-foot tall Isaac Hempstead-Wright returns after a seasonal absence alongside acting legend Max von Sydow as the new Three-eyed Raven to continue this storyline, last seen in the Season 4 finale.

Through Bran and his warging into the mystical Weirwood trees scattered throughout Westeros, expect history to open up, revealing past and future events. It even gifts the return of the dearly-departed Ned Stark and the long-awaited revelation of Jon Snow’s parentage (for those curious, Google R+L=J). Although it looks like it also gifts Bran with a less friendly face: the Night’s King.

2. The Night’s King, the White Walkers and their undead army

Last seen giving the biggest “come at me, bro” in fictional history, the Night’s King (Richard Brake) appears to be the Biggest Bad of them all, the embodiment of evil in the Game of Thrones universe who turns babies into little White Walkers and who reanimates the people his fellow ice demons kill as his zombie army.

As I predicted after the Season 5 finale last year, I think the Wall will fall at the end of this season. I expect the Night’s King and the White Walkers to be involved with that, opening up Season 7 and 8 to chronicle the prophecized Long Night to follow. Perhaps this is why Jon Snow’s ominous quote “The Long Night approaches . . . and the dead come with it” was the parting words of Season 6’s first tease.

The Wall

3. Jon’s death/resurrection?

The biggest question by far leading up to Season 6: is Jon Snow dead? To actor Kit Harington, who insists to this day he is not coming back, and the show’s credit, they sold it quite well; the parting image of Season 5 was a still Snow in a pool of blood, having been Caesar-ed by his comrades in the Night’s Watch.

Still, no statement of denial will eliminate the set photos below from existence, showing Jon Snow dressed in Stark regalia as part of what is supposedly the season’s Big Battle, a clash between the Wildlings, the Northern Stark loyalists and their sadistic Bolton overlords, rumored to be nicknamed internally the “Battle of the Bastards.” How Jon is alive and his role in the battle remain questions for the show to answer. But as many predicted, Harington’s role in the show appears far from over.

4. The Wildlings and Night’s Watch

So, the one guy who was holding the tenuous peace between Wildlings and the Night’s Watch is gone and it’s highly unlikely Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), the reluctant Wildling leader and Jon’s ally, will be pleased. They don’t call him Giantsbane for no reason.

Further, the whole reason Jon was assassinated was because Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) and the other Watchmen felt Jon betrayed them by sacrificing their brothers at Hardhome in defense of Wildlings. Thorne will presumably take over but is the milk spilt with the surviving Widlings already situated behind the Wall? Or does he propose a Drumpf and attempt to deport them back? Whatever the answer, you can bet peace isn’t it.

5. Davos and Melisandre

The dead Stannis’ (Stephen Dillane) personal angel and devil on his shoulders, played by Liam Cunningham and Carice van Houten respectively, are left rudderless without their king. What are their roles in the show without him?

Most immediately, since both are at Castle Black, how will both deal with Jon’s murder? The trailer indicates Davos will use Longclaw to either protect or retrieve Jon’s body, but for what purpose? Will Melisandre play a role resurrecting Jon with her Red God’s magic, as fellow priest Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye) did with outlaw Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) in Season 3? Will Davos pick up the task of his book counterpart to find Rickon Stark (more on the youngest Stark ahead)?

The North

6. Bolton domination

With the defeat of Stannis, the Boltons finally have undisputed control of the North. At least, that’s what they think until they get back to Winterfell and the psychotic heir Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) discovers his bride and pet slave have absconded together in the midst of battle.

Without a Stark in Winterfell to legitimize their reign, scheming patriarch Roose (Michael McElhatton) knows their victory could be brought down by rebellion. In both the books and show a hunter with a pack of dogs, expect Ramsay to continue being the over-the-top manifestation of human evil he has always been in his desperate search for Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Theon (Alfie Allen). Personally, I suspect this season might be the last of the Boltons. They’re terrible landlords.

7. Sansa and Theon & Brienne and Podrick

Speaking of those two, rumor has it they split up (which sucks since their relationship building late last season finally gave poor Alfie Allen something to do other than be brutalized) with Sansa finding refuge with a Northern Lord and Theon returning to the Iron Islands. It makes sense to have Sansa be integral in (leading?) the Northern rebellion that is brewing and also to have Theon back in his homeland. Still, in a show that spent an entire season following Arya and the Hound wander the Riverlands discussing philosophy, I’d like/expect a little more from this match-up.

Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick (Daniel Portman) appear to be heading south after their Stannis-killing excursion. A reunion between her and Jaime is in the cards, though there is no word if the legendary Lady Stoneheart (SPOILERS via the link) will finally be appearing this season.

8. Rickon Stark and the Northern Lords

Last seen in the care of Wildling Osha (Natalie Tena) in the Season 3 finale, the youngest Stark (Art Parkinson) is a wild card who could invalidate Sansa’s claim to Winterfell as the only (known) survivor of House Stark. Both Rickon and Osha are confirmed to return this year. How this will complicate the politics of the region remain to be seen, but since men always inherit over women in Westeros (as was the case in our own Middle Ages), it could render Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay meaningless (cue sighs of relief from her legion of fans).

Following on the leads above, while the books have entangled the Stannis and Northern Rebellion storylines in their novel form, the showrunners chose to give them each their own season of development for the TV series, a smart and perhaps entirely necessary move to keep each season as focused as possible. As such, with Stannis gone, the year will shift focus to the Northern Lords, such as the Umbers and Karstarks and maybe more as they seek revenge for the Red Wedding. Tyrion told his father, “The Northerners will never forget.” This year will be prove him right.

The Iron Islands, the Vale and the Riverlands

9. The return of the Greyjoys and the Kingsmoot

The Greyjoys are the least-liked House in and out-of-universe. Seen as lame Viking ripoffs with little characterization other than “rape-and-pillage,” their saving grace in book and show is Yara Greyjoy (Asha in the books), played by Gemma Whelan. Sister of Theon, she was more man than he was before he had his dick cut off.

Expect Dad of the Year Balon (Patrick Malahide) to bite it pretty quick upon return (I’m shocked it’s taken this long. Could they not get the actor back for a death scene till now?) and engage the Kingsmoot plot (pictured above), long thought discarded, which deals with the return of major new player: Balon’s exiled brother Euron (Pilou Asbaek), a pirate so bad he cuts out the tongue of every crewman on his ships. Yes, yet another power-hungry psychopath added to the mix. What were the odds?

10. Littlefinger and the Vale of Arryn

Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) remains the patient Frank Underwood of Westeros. The best way to game what he wants to listen to the man himself; he’s much more loquacious as a TV character. Already in control of the Vale and its untapped army/resources, Littlefinger was last seen scheming (of course) in King’s Landing to also take control of the North by playing both Cersei (Lena Headey) and Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) like fiddles. From there, his words to Roose Bolton remain prophecy: “The last time the Vale and the North were aligned, they toppled the greatest dynasty that ever lived.”

This season, look for him to maybe play a role in the drama playing out in the North. Given that his single trailer scene shows him in a snowy landscape, he’ll be returning to the Vale or the North very shortly.

11. The return of the Freys and the Siege of Riverrun

As I’m writing this, Season 6 seems more and more like arc-welding; finally getting back to points missed or forgotten when adapted from the novels and tying them back in to the main narrative. Case in point, the Riverland Houses Tully and Frey last seen in Season 3. The victim and the perpetrator of the Red Wedding respectively, heir Edmure (Tobias Menzies) remains a captive of the Freys while uncle Brynden “Blackfish” Tully (Clive Russell) holds their ancestral castle Riverrun, the last holdout of Robb Stark’s disastrous bid for King in the North, in defiance of the disgusting patriarch Walder Frey (David Bradley).

After the detour to Dorne last year, expect Jaime (Nikolai Coster-Waldau) to leave the capital to journey here, seeking a peaceful resolution to the siege. Given that this is Game of Thrones, it’s unlikely there is one to be had.

King’s Landing

12. Lannister/Tyrell alliance vs. High Sparrow and the Faith Militant

The capital is in turmoil. The last sane Lannister Kevan (Ian Gelder) has taken over as the ruling Regent and Hand to the boy-king Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) to restore order after Cersei shortsightedly rearmed the Faith Militant to destroy their Tyrell allies.

What happens to Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras (Finn Jones), both who remain imprisoned by the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce)? Given Jones’ recent casting coup, it looks like the perilous situations that both book and TV Loras are in (boiling oil wounds and imprisoned by religious fanatics, respectively) are fatal ones. Margaery meanwhile emerges from her imprisonment pious, or at least pretending to be. Whether or not it’s an act is a secret the show will unveil.

13. Cersei’s vengeance, FrankenMountain and Jaime’s return from Dorne

Cersei, for her part, doesn’t look to have learned much from her Walk of Shame. She is as always laser-focused on her enemies, specifically destroying them. To that end, her last loyal puppet, the mad scientist Qyburn (Anton Lesser), delivered her a new Kingsguard member Robert Strong . . . who happens to be the undead Mountain (Hafpor Julius Bjornsson). Almost unstoppable in life, who knows what havoc the Mountain can reap in death, not to mention what uses Cersei has in mind for him.

As stated above, Jaime will have to deal with screwing up yet again, this time by letting their incest-daughter (technical term) Myrcella die. Whatever the political blowback, Jaime will likely skip town to deal with Riverrun, no doubt run-off by a very pissed sister/lover. Last year’s Jaime storyline amounted to a Shoot-the-Shaggy-Dog story. Let’s hope this one offers something different. Like being good.

The Reach and Dorne

14. Sam and Gilly’s journey to Oldtown and Sam’s family

Sam (John Bradley-West) left the Wall with his cute Wildling girlfriend Gilly (Hannah Murray) and her cute inbred baby to sail south , become a maester at Oldtown and find out how to defeat the White Walkers from its famous library.

Yawn, right? Au contraire. In the books, this storyline is only beginning but already there are hints of a conspiracy within the Order of Maesters as well as Faceless Men involvement. For its inauspicious start, this is a storyline that could develop into something very surprising and interesting. Before or during Sam’s training, we’ll also be treated to a family reunion and meet House Tarly, including Sam’s parents, brother and sister. House Tarly is loyal to House Tyrell of Highgarden.

15. The aftermath of Myrcella’s assassination in Dorne

Jaime won’t be the only one distraught the princess’s death. Prince Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig) explicitly told Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), vengeful lover of Doran’s late brother Oberyn (Pedro Pascal), to drop her vendetta against the Lannisters. Despite appearing to acquiesce, Ellaria poisoned Myrcella with a kiss.

What will Doran do when he finds out? If it became public knowledge her death was murder, it would mean war between the Martells and the Iron Throne. Lest we forget as well, the show has yet to delve into the deeper motives of Doran such as (BOOK SPOILER BEGINS) being secretly allied with House Targaryen (BOOK SPOILER ENDS). As it stands now, the story feels unsatisfying and I’m not sure even pulling this dragon out the bag will change the fact that Dorne sucks.


16. In Braavos, Arya continues her Faceless Man training blind

Arya (Maisie Williams) went against her sensei Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlasichiha) by stealing a Faceless Man’s face to kill target Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie). As punishment, she was blinded. Like Bran, she could’ve benefited from a time skip but here’s to hoping her Braavosi adventures prove more connected to the larger fabric of the story than the tangents last year.

17. Dany is a captive of the Dothraki

In a case of deja vu, both Dany (Emilia Clarke) and the audience are headed back to the Dothraki, the show’s Mongol analogue who last mattered when she was married to Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) in Season 1. Khaleesi, as Dany is, are by Dothraki tradition supposed to return to the capital Vaes Dothrak and serve as a Khaleen, more-or-less a den mother.

My guess is Dany will not abide by convention and by defying it, somehow bring thousands of the horselords to her cause of retaking Westeros because, well, fuck you, she’s the Queen of Dragons, that’s why. Combine that strength with her power in Slaver’s Bay (provided Tyrion can hold that power) and she would finally be ready to return home to Westeros.

18. Jorah and Daario & Tyrion and Varys 

While Dany’s entranced suitors – loyal ex-knight Jorah (Iain Glen) and bad boy mercenary Daario (Michiel Huisman) – team up to track her down, control of Meereen falls to the only one experienced in ruling chaotic cities – Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), with the aid of advisers Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson).

Playing the game of thrones is the exact thing he (and us, the audience) relishes. It’s my most anticipated part of the season, especially if the show follows through keeping Varys (Conleth Hill) around after he popped up again in the season finale. Then again, Varys is known for coming and going at the speed of plot, so I’m not holding my breath. The question is: can Tyrion get the chaotic city back under control before Dany returns or is Meereen a lost cause? From a storytelling standpoint, it certainly feels like one right now.

2,700 words later and it’s a wrap! I can’t think of a more complex show on television than Game of Thrones. Yet I could write more.

Sam Flynn

Sam Flynn

Sam is a writer and journalist whose passion for pop culture burns with the fire of a thousand suns and at least three LED lamps.