[This video and article contain SPOILERS for Game of Thrones seasons 1-5.]
There’s a fair amount of mystery surrounding Game of Thrones season 6, not least of all because this will be the first season where HBO’s fantasy TV series shall begin to fully explore uncharted territory – having covered most of George R.R. Martin’s published A Song of Ice and Fire source novels to date. Of course, there’s one big question hanging over this season’s head: just what does the future hold for Jon Snow (Kit Harington), after he was betrayed and “murdered” by his fellow Watchers on the Wall?
Well, between set photo leaks and HBO’s poster teases, it’s fair to assume at this point that we will see Jon again – exactly how he returns from the dead, though, is the mystery. A newly-released teaser for Game of Thrones season 6 doesn’t offer any hints either, other than a line of dialogue from Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) – namely, “They have no idea what’s going to happen.”
Bran Stark was absent during Game of Thrones season 5, but he will return in season 6 (along with his comrades) – and he will be quite different too, having now honed his abilities as a warg and a prophetic seer, under the guidance of the Three-Eyed Raven (now played by Max von Sydow). Sydow’s character can be heard speaking in the new Game of Thrones teaser, while a montage of gruesome death scenes and dismemberments from seasons past plays out. However, those awaiting some proper footage from the upcoming season will have to remain patient, since there’s really none to be found here.
Nonetheless, we do know a few things about what to expect from Game of Thrones season 6, in terms of story developments. Resurrection and rebirth appears to be a theme this season, be it literal – in the (still unconfirmed) case of Jon Snow and the mystery person whom Ian McShane’s character will bring back – or figurative, in the case of characters who are rumored (or unofficially confirmed) to appear by way of flashbacks or as hallucinations. There’s a growing army of White Walkers too, so not everyone’s return from the dead will be good news this season.
Game of Thrones season 5 got the overall most mixed reception of any season on the show to date, in no small part due to the controversial directions that the show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss took with certain storylines (in particular, the one involving Sophie Turner’s Sansa Stark). It didn’t help that certain meandering plot threads last season ultimately culminated in an unsatisfying payoff, either (see the Dorne subplot). In fairness though, the season definitely had its strong points too.
The hope is that Game of Thrones season 6 will chart a smoother course moving forward, even as it (potentially) deviates further from Martin’s source material. The general expectation is that Game of Thrones‘ endgame is essentially the same as what Martin has planned for his books, even if they take different routes to get there. Of course, since the TV series is chugging along at a pace that should allow it to reach the end first, that means fans of both Martin’s novels and its TV adaptation alike may have to make some hard choices (depending on how they feel about being spoiled for the books).
Game of Thrones season 6 will premiere on HBO in April 2016.