In the first teaser for Game of Thrones Season 6, Jon Snow said, “the long night is coming and the dead come with it.” Well, the long night of Game of Thrones Season 6 is fast approaching too, and our questions come with it. The Jon Snow issue is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but aside from that, Season 5 left several plot threads hanging. In cases like Sansa and Theon, they were literally left in midair, or with Arya, they were left in the dark. Season 5 ended on a “to be continued” note more than any season past. We’ve rounded up the most pertinent burning questions Season 6 needs to answer.
1. How will Jon Snow return?
At this point, “will Jon Snow come back?” is hardly a question. In spite of Kit Harington’s valiant efforts as he Hugh-Grants his way through interviews, eagle eyed fans have combed the novels for clues — or combed the set for Harington — enough to discern the obvious. Whether it’s as Jon Stark, Jon Targaryen, Jon the White Walker, or Jon the Wilding, Game of Thrones is not finished featuring Kit Harington as a character named Jon. One season 6 clip even spills the beans, because why else would Davos care about preserving Jon’s body?
That being said, the “how” remains up in the air. The most popular theory is resurrection via Melisandre, a notion the title of the first episode of Season 6 (“The Red Woman”) would seem to support. But the book would indicate Ghost playing a role, and the showrunners could trick us and use another route. The most anticipated part of the season isn’t going to be if Jon will return, but how.
2. Seriously, what’s the deal with Red Priests and Priestesses?
One of the most fascinating parts of Game of Thrones has always been the way it examines religion. Most fantasy shows either offer a half-assed take or shy away from the subject, but Game of Thrones offers fully-fleshed out —and conflicting — belief systems. Red Priestesses and The Lord of Light has always been the most fascinating primarily because it’s the only one the show seems to have taken a stance on. Season 3 offered concrete evidence of resurrection in the form of Beric Dondarrion, and new reports say Thoros of Myr will return in Season 6.
Further, the season 6 trailer also features Kinvara, a new Red Priestess character. Their prominence in Westeros is only getting stronger, and it’s high time we learned more about them beyond ominous mutterings and creepy leech-seduction. The night has been dark and filled with terrors for a long time — but what’s behind those terrors?
3. Who are The Children, what do they want, and what’s the deal with the Three-eyed Raven?
When we last saw Bran Stark at the end of Season 4, he was inside a tree talking to the personification of the Three-eyed Raven.
He also encountered The Children of the Forest, a mysterious humanoid species less terrifying than the White Walker but just as enticingly enigmatic. Bran and these plotlines were benched for Season 5 in favor of an entire storyline constructed around the line “you want the good girl but you need the bad pussy” (nope, never letting that go), but Bran will return to Season 6 in a major way. We know this will involve Bran seeing visions of the past and future and possibly shedding light on long standing theories like R + L = J, but how will his new tree-people friends play into it?
4. How will the Franken-Mountain’s presence affect Cersei and King’s Landing as a whole?
At the end of Season 5, after her humiliating Walk of Shame, Cersei found an unlikely source of consolation: The Mountain’s reanimated corpse. Her creepy pal Qyburn did some tinkering with his body and cheekily re-named him Ser Robert Strong, but for the purposes of clarity, we’re calling him The Franken-Mountain.
Speaking about whether her Walk of Shame changed Cersei, Lena Heady told Entertainment Weekly, “I don’t think she’s found any humility. She’s even more self-preservatory. She can’t believe that happened to her, of all people. Its fueled her desire for power and her desperation to prove that she’s somebody worth considering.”
In other words, Cersei is mad as hell, wants to smite her enemies, and now has a personal human guard dog who is over seven feet tall and stronger than an ox. This will surely work out well for anyone in Cersei’s way. In the same interview, Heady said about The Mountain, “Yeah, that’s fun. He’s insanely huge, I always forget. Theres a lot of comedy to be had out of that situation.”
Cersei and the Franken-Mountain: The next great comedy duo? We’re going to need some more information.
5. Will Darth Sansa make a comeback?
The biggest issue in Season 5 wasn’t Sansa’s rape, it was her lack of agency when the camera panned to Theon’s face during her rape. After she finally wised up in Season 4 and impressed even Littlefinger with her manipulation skills, we expected big things from her. The show did not deliver.
6. How will Tyrion and Varys fare leading Meereen?
Tyrion is actually very good at being a leader, as he demonstrated in the Battle of Blackwater a few seasons ago. Varys is a super-spy information master. Theoretically, together they’re an unstoppable ruling force.
But what happens when an unstoppable force comes head-to-head with an immovable object? Thanks to Daenerys’s shoddy foreign policy, Meereen is a giant clusterfuck teaming with open rebellion. Will Tyrion be able to fix it, or will he have to abandon ship? And if he does abandon ship, where would he go?
7. Will the sixth time be the charm for us to care about the Iron Islands?
In every show featuring labyrinthine plotlines and hundreds of characters, there is always going to a few that the showrunners care about more than the audience. In Game of Thrones, that character is Theon. We are past the point of dislike and straight into apathy territory. When Theon gets screen time, it usually signifies it’s time for a snack or bathroom break. And yet the showrunners remain bafflingly convinced that Theon and his blandly forgettable sister are interesting.
Theon and Blanda (real name: Yara) Greyjoy will be back in Season 6 and the Iron Islands will have a major plotline, so this will be the moment of truth. In theory, Theon’s crazy pirate uncles duking it out in a bloodbath sounds awesome. What’s not to like about pirates? But in reality, anything Greyjoy related has thus far been a big snooze. Can Season 6 change that?
8. Just how will The Night’s King tie into everything?
The chief White Walker who took a special interest in Jon Snow in “Hardhome” has been curiously prominent in the trailers for Season 6. We broke down his potential role in detail. But with all these sinister teasing, Season 6 better shed some light upon the most savage of White Walkers.
9. What chaos will Petyr Baelish get up to?
Littlefinger has always been the show’s biggest wildcard. Where will his nebulously accented mutterings take him in Season 6, if Sansa is on the lam and Cersei has the Franken-Mountain to do her bidding?
10. Will Margaery ever get out of jail?
Last season had far too little Margaery. She’s the one true successor to Tywin Lannister: Political to the core and ceaselessly fun to watch. Game of Thrones is a better show with her in a prominent role, especially with Tywin gone. We need to know if Margaery will be free and if Ser Pounce will make another appearance, and we need to know now.
Season 6 premieres on Sunday the 24th. If none of these questions are answered, it’s fair to say HBO will be getting a lot of angry ravens.