Game of Thrones Season 6 is officially less than a month away. The wait has been long and filled with anxiety for viewers, as well as for Kit Harington, but like the Lannisters, the show always pays its debts. Now, plenty of sites have spoilerific rundowns filled with sneaky set photos, courtesy of Varys’s little birds. But call us mad as King Aerys: we prefer to go in with a healthy mixture of knowledge and mystique. What fun is the night if it isn’t at least partly dark and full of terrors?

We’re proud to present a spoiler-free list of expectations from Tits and Dragons 6.0, as a zero fucks-giving Ian McShane delightfully calls it. Zip up your Jaime Lannister leather jackets and let’s dive in.

He's fine, guys 

Battles

Season 6 of Game of Thrones will offer a stronger storm of swords — see what we did there? — than any season prior. Around the pivotal episode 9 “shit goes down” time, expect to see a battle so epic, it will make “Hardhome” and “Blackwater” look as paltry as that Season 5 Sand Snakes skirmish we won’t speak of. Just kidding, here it is.

Showrunner David Benioff has said an impeding battle sequence will be the show’s largest ever. If you want to know who is involved, that’s spoilery territory — but it’s already being coined The Battle of the Bastards. Follow that white rabbit for more.

And if you think the battles stop there, you’re as misguided as Stannis the no-longer-Mannis thinking he should sacrifice Shireen. What the fuck, Mannis? Jaime Fookin’ Lannister will be involved in two skirmishes — one at King’s Landing, one at Riverrun, stomping grounds of House Tully.

Meanwhile, Bran Stark will see visions of battles past (more on that in a bit) and Brienne will get to do more than stand around watching a candle. Actress Gwendoline Christie told Entertainment Weekly, “After season 5, people would come up on the street moaning about why wasn’t Brienne wasnt doing more. I got the scripts for season 6 and I thought the story was so fantastic. It’s really exciting to see Brienne burst forth again.”

Elsewhere in the Iron Islands, expect savage shit to go down, when Theon’s crazy uncles get into it at the Kingsmoot. This is a development non-readers are decidedly unenthused for, because Theon and his family getting screen-time usually signifies a snack break, but book readers are as amped about it as Cersei is about her wine. If Theon’s storyline actually amounts to something this season, All Men Must Be Pleasantly Surprised.

All of this doesn’t even account for the fact that Cleganebowl — the long-running fan theory that The Franken-Mountain and The Hound will face off in a trial by combat — might happen this season. Season 6 will be more adrenaline fueled than any other. Make sure you’re seated firmly in your dragon saddles, kids.

The return of old favorites

Jon Snow’s possible-definite maybe resurrection remains a carrot HBO will dangle in front of us until the last possible second. Of course they will. In the interest of our aforementioned spoiler avoidance policy, we won’t discuss those set photos of Kit Harington in Stark armor. What photos?

But he’s not the only character set to make an exciting comeback. Gloriously zero-fucks-giving Ian McShane has been the gift that keeps on giving, first with that Tits and Dragons comment and next when he straight up admitted that his character will bring The Hound —last seen mortally wounded in Season 4 — back. Let’s hope he’s got some chicken waiting to welcome him.

Elsewhere in Grumpy Favorites We Haven’t Seen in Too Long, The Blackfish — Catelyn Stark’s uncle and Red Wedding survivor — is set to make his triumphant return after a three-season long piss break. His plotline will intersect with Jaime’s in that Riverrun siege we mentioned.

In Season 6, it’s a good time to be a long-absent character. Except if you’re Gendry on his four season long boat trip. Because “fuck that guy,” said the Game of Thrones creators, apparently.

Less sexual violence

For anyone who was traumatized by the Sansa wedding night fiasco of Season 5, your voice has been heard. Not only have the creators pledged to tone down the sexual violence — presumably alarmed by the number of people who subsequently rage-quit the show — but the Season 6 trailer reveals a whole new Sansa.

If you think that furry collar looks familiar, you’re right. It’s an awful lot like what Ned Stark and Robb Stark wore before her. Sansa Stark: Queen of The North? Now that’s a development we could get behind.

Less linear storytelling

More than any other show, Game of Thrones has done a spectacular job of conveying a deep-rooted sense of history and the past without actually dipping into flashbacks. We heard of The Mad King’s antics through Jaime in Season 3 and we got some Targaryen family history through Aemon’s talks with Jon at the Wall. The one real flashback we’ve seen is young Cersei at the beginning of Season 5.

Showrunner David Benioff originally explained “we set a rule: No prophecies, dreams or flashbacks.” And though that rule has gradually relaxed, we haven’t gotten a flashback full-fledged enough to supply substantial heavy-lifiting in plot.

But at this point in the story, when we’re in need of some long-awaited exposition about Jon Snow’s mother and what really happened at the Tower of Joy, it’s time. Luckily the show knows it too and will ingeniously tie it into Bran Stark’s storyline. Actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright has said

“Previously Bran’s seen tiny glimpses of future or past but never has he been very much in control in the situation. Now we’re given looks into very important events in the past, present and future of this world and Bran is beginning to piece them together like a detective, almost as if he’s watching the show… It’s quite Inception-y.

Not only will we get flashbacks and find out if R + L = J, but we’ll get storytelling that’s less linear than ever. For those who despair of a shake-up to the narrative, this is a good thing. Six seasons into any show, it’s a struggle to keep it fresh. Bran’s story will give Game of Thrones the invigoration it needs.

Elsewhere in Westeros, Jorah and Daario will be on the Least Excellent adventure as two road trip buddies sulking over the same girl while one slowly turns into a rock-zombie (don’t you just hate it when That Guy brings down your road trip?), Tyrion will have a hell of a time leading the clusterfuck of foreign policy that is Meereen, and Jaqen H’gar will continue to be enigmatic in the third person while poor Arya learns to fight blind.

The Game of Thrones creators have said Season 6 will be the best, and while their opinions are not the least biased, a man thinks they might be onto something.

Season 6 premieres on April 24th.

Photos via HBO/ Youtube