Winter is coming this spring as Game of Thrones returns for season 6. Debuting on April 24, 2016, the new season will continue where season 5 left off: with a bunch of people dead, and a bunch of other people who are in immediate danger of joining them.
There will no doubt be an abundance of shocking moments when houses Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen recommence their battle for control of Westeros, but HBO has been tight-lipped about offering any details. All fans have gotten so far are some teasers from the show's stars and an image that seems to infer the return of a certain fan-favorite bastard. Now, however, the network has released a collection of new images from the new season.
There are no real spoilers in the batch of 20 new pictures, mostly just pictures of the show's many characters looking concerned about something going on off-screen. Most of the survivors from the previous seasons are accounted for, such as Arya, Sansa, and Bran representing House Stark and Tyrion, Cersei, and Jaime for House Lannister. In addition to the images, HBO has provided the following blurb, detailing the returning players for season 6:
"GAME OF THRONES kicks off its ten-episode sixth season SUNDAY, APRIL 24 (9:00-10:00 p.m.). Based on the popular book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” by George R.R. Martin, this EmmyAward-winning series chronicles an epic struggle for power in the vast and violent continent of Westeros, where summers and winters can last years. Among the returning members of the ensemble cast are Emmy and Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Alfie Allen, Diana Rigg, Natalie Dormer, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, John Bradley, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Conleth Hill, Jonathan Pryce and Gwendoline Christie. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss created the series and serve as executive producers."
What's in store for the upcoming season? For the first time, fans can't turn to the books to get a sneak peek as the show has finally outpaced its source material. The previous season ended with a number of huge moments. From an epic battle at The Wall, which ended with what appeared to be a character death rivaling even that of the Red Wedding in its shock value to a depressing new low point for Cersei Lannister, no major character ended the season without having undergone significant trauma.
Certainly, no one can argue that Game of Thrones pulls any punches, and some have argued that at times it goes too far in its portrayal of sexual violence against women in particular. Those criticisms aren't likely to slow the show down, though, as it continues to explore the toll that perpetual war and systemic violence takes on all involved, man or woman. In a time when real-life terror groups like ISIS often make the evening news every bit as violent and shocking as the fictional world of HBO's flagship show, the show's themes are arguably as timely as ever.
For a peek at what's in store, see the image gallery below. Click on the image previews to see the full versions:
Game of Thrones season 6 will premiere on Sunday, April 24th, 2016 on HBO.