Two trailers and several clips in, and we’re still very much in the dark about what’s next on Game of Thrones.
Adding to the mystery is that the sixth season of HBO’s fantasy hit has outpaced its source material, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, leaving book and show fans equally uninformed.
This is still Game of Thrones, though, and HBO has given us plenty of material to feed our speculative souls. With the premiere episode, entitled “The Red Woman,” on April 24, here are six characters with big potential this season.
Of all the characters to grace the show, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) might have the worst luck. She spent nearly three seasons as the favorite plaything of the despicable King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), regularly harassed for the “treason” of her northern family. Just as things started looking up for her, she fell into an unholy marriage with the sadistic Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), whose father played a key role in the bloody Red Wedding.
We last saw poor Sansa jumping from the walls of Winterfell with Theon-turned-Reek Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). As the trailers have shown, the pair survived the leap and went on the run. Turner has teased in interviews that this season is Sansa’s strongest, which may not seem like the biggest feat, given her past 5 seasons of suffering. However, the freed Sansa in the second trailer not only looks safe, those appear to be Stark bannermen behind her. Her status as one of the last Starks (insert crying emoji) could put her in a position of power with the Northern houses opposed to the Boltons. If they rally to her, she could be a major leader in another Northern rebellion. The Queen in the North, anyone?
What’s a hand of the king to do when he’s kingless? That’s the new reality Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) faces following the fall of Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) last season. The destruction of the Baratheon forces has left Davos as a free agent at Castle Black, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of trouble. There’s now mutinous Night's Watchmen to deal with, as well as the return of his old rival, the red priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten).
The trailers have been generous with their coverage of Davos. Depending on how you think, that could be good or bad for his survival.
All things considered, we know he at least makes it out of Castle Black with his head and allies himself to the Stark cause (see picture). He’s set to use the skills he nurtured as Stannis’ hand to rally Northern houses, likely with Sansa, against the Boltons.
Despite the success Cersei (Lena Headey) enjoyed while troubling the Tyrells in the first half of Season 5, her plotting came back to bite her in the most shameful of ways when she was arrested by the radicals she put in power, the Faith Militant. That mistake resulted in her “walk of atonement:” a humiliating naked march from the Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep.
For a queen who spent years building her power and grooming her image, the walk of shame was Cersei’s lowest point in the series. She’s unlikely to feel any better when Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) tells her that their second child, Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free), was killed by the Dornish. But what do determined characters do when they hit rock bottom?
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Headey said that Cersei has “nothing to lose and everything to gain” from her new position. With her Uncle Kevan (Ian Gelder) in town to restore order, the return of Jamie and the reanimated Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane by her side, her singular focus will be vengeance. And since every tragedy that befalls her family seems to push her closer to the edge, the odds of Cersei descending into madness are climbing higher. Be ready to meet The Mad Queen Cersei.
Who? This season sees the whole Greyjoy clan return to Game of Thrones for the first time since season 3, and with them comes a new power player. Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk), Theon’s uncle, has long been absent from the Iron Islands while he and his crew raided towns across the globe.
Unlike most of the families in the show, the Greyjoys still have a solid amount of material from the books left to be covered. I won’t spoil what happens there, but if the show sticks to Martin’s story, Euron returns to the Iron Islands with more knowledge of the wider world and his family’s place in it. Theon's sister, Yara (Gemma Whelan), is likely to be more of a key player this go-around, but expect Euron to shake things up dramatically for the Greyjoys; he’s a bold man with big plans.
Always a character to watch, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) typically ends her seasons on the show on high notes. Season 5’s finale, though, saw her return to her roots. After being whisked away from a tumultuous arena fight by her dragon, Drogon, Dany found herself in the middle of nowhere and at the mercy of a Dothraki horde.
In Martin’s books, the widowed khaleesis of the Dothraki are taken to Vaes Dothrak to spend the rest of their lives away from the world -- hardly what Dany has planned for herself. But like everyone on this list so far, don’t expect her to be down for long.
Dany finds herself at crossroads this season. Presuming that she breaks out of captivity, she could return to Meereen. But that job did not suit her well last year, as the city dove further into chaos under her rule. She could decide, with a new Dothraki army at her back, to give Meereen the middle finger and (finally!) set sail for Westeros.
According to the producers, 'Game of Thrones' may only have 13 episodes left after this year. If Dany is to make a move for the Iron Throne, she needs to make it soon.
After four Ned-less seasons, our favorite warden of the North is back! Unfortunately, Sean Bean won’t be reprising his famous role because Ned is still dead. Instead, it’s all-but confirmed that we’ll be seeing a young Ned Stark in a flashback, likely from the viewpoint of his son, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), who’s returning this season as well.
This scene was teased in both trailers, with several Stark men (young Ned included) fighting at least one knight in Targaryen armor. The fight is in front of the Tower of Joy, where Ned’s sister Lyanna is being held by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen’s men. Her kidnapping started Robert Baratheon’s rebellion and led to the fall of the Targaryens.
There’s a slew of theories about what Ned saw when he found Lyanna dying inside, so the inclusion of this flashback is kind of a big deal, especially when discussing the fate of one character in particular...
BONUS: The direwolf in the room
We know nothing, Jon Snow. Sure, we saw Kit Harington’s famed Night’s Watchman getting stabbed repeatedly by his traitorous brothers (looking at you, Olly) last year. And, sure, every single person related to the show swears up-and-down that he was killed. But, seriously: Jon can’t actually be dead, can he?
The trailers do show Jon very dead in several shots, but could he be revived? Melisandre is back at Castle Black after the slaughter of Stannis’ army, and we saw in Season 3 that red priests are capable of reviving the dead. Given that Melisandre now seems lost and purposeless, she may see bringing Jon back as a chance for redemption.
That’s not the only way he could be revived, but it may be the most probable. Or, heavens forbid, he’s going to stay dead like everyone says. It seems unlikely, especially if the theories attached to the Tower of Joy are correct, but those are just theories. This all could just be wishful thinking.
We’ll have to wait a few more days (at least) to find out.
POTENTIAL SPOILER If you really must have some hard evidence that might prove or disprove your own theory on the Bastard of Winterfell, click here at your own risk.