The world is now less than a month away from the season 6 premiere of HBO’s insanely popular drama Game of Thrones, and the levels of fan anticipation continue to ramp up. With author George R.R. Martin still hard at work on The Winds of Winter — the sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels that GOT is based on — viewers face a coming season with more uncertainty of how events will play out than ever before, due to the fact that HBO’s adaptation will soon advance past the storylines present in book five.
Far and away the biggest question going into season 6 concerns the fate of fan-favorite character Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), who appeared to meet his maker via the business end of several sharp blades during the climax of season 5. In the time since, countless fan theories about whether or not Snow survived the attack have sprung up online, with HBO and Game of Thrones’ producers only feeding the flames of speculation by refusing to clarify the matter one way or another. Well, the network seems to have finally weighed in on the subject, and it’s safe to say that many GoT devotees won’t be pleased with its proclamation.
In a press release put out by HBO earlier today, the premium cable giant revealed both the title of the season 6 premiere and its official plot synopsis. The debut episode has been dubbed ‘The Red Woman,’ presumably in reference to the character of Melisandre (Carice van Houten), a powerful priestess often referred to by the titular moniker. As for the synopsis, while it’s pretty short and to the point, the first line is unmistakably clear: “Jon Snow is dead. Daenerys meets a strong man. Cersei sees her daughter again.“
If HBO’s above synopsis is to be trusted, it would seem that those who doubted Kit Harrington’s explanations as to why he was on set filming scenes for season 6 should have instead taken his words at face value. That said, Snow being dead is not necessarily the end of the character for good. After all, Westeros is a realm where magical abilities aren’t just myths, and even the segment of the fan base who believed that Snow was indeed dead have long acknowledged the possibility that he will eventually rise from the grave thanks to some form of necromancy.
With that in mind, perhaps the season 6 premiere title was meant to suggest that Jon Snow’s suspected resurrection will ultimately take place at the hands of Melisandre? Or perhaps the whole thing is one big red herring meant to distract fans from the truth? If nothing else, the death of Jon Snow has managed to get an already dedicated fandom even more invested in tuning in to Game of Thrones’ return, if for nothing else than to get conclusive answers to one of 2015’s most hotly contested TV debates.
Game of Thrones airs its season 6 premiere on Sunday, April 24 at 9pm on HBO.