game of thrones season 6 questions

Game of Thrones season 6 premieres this Sunday and as far as I’m concerned, it’s the pop culture event of 2016. Sorry, everything else. Westeros and its collection of scoundrels and soldiers and politicians and kings trumps all. But with so much of this new season cloaked in mystery (critics aren’t even being sent screeners this year), I have more desperate, burning questions than ever before. Consider this a preview piece of sorts – here are the queries dancing on the edge of my brain as I count down the hours until the next episode.

Please note that this article expects that you’ve seen up through season five of Game of Thrones and that SPOILERS from every season of the show, and all of the books published so far, lurk below. Also, these questions are divided into three clearly labeled sections: questions for everyone, questions for people who have read the books, and questions for people who like to indulge wacky theories that may have no actual grounding in the narrative. You know you, so you’ll know when to pull back.

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The Obvious Questions (For Everyone)

When Will Jon Snow Rise From the Dead?

Season five concluded with Jon Snow being repeatedly stabbed by mutineers at the Wall and nobody involved in the series, from showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss to Kit Harington himself, has lied to us when they said the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch is dead. Yes, the bastard Stark is dead. He’s deader than dead. He has ceased to be, shuffled off his mortal coil, etc.

But he’s coming back and everyone knows he’s coming back. It’s really just a question of when. And maybe how. After all, Harington has yet to shed his contractually obligated locks and he spent far too much time on the show’s Irish sets last year to just be playing a corpse. And that’s before you get to the fact that this season looks to delve into a flashback that is pertinent to Jon (more on that in a bit), which would be a truly pointless endeavor if he was actually dead forever and had nothing to offer the show. Plus, the season five finale carefully maneuvered Melisandre, the Red Priestess whose “one true god” has resurrected characters on the show before, back to Castle Black just in time for his assassination. That’s most likely the “how” in this situation.

So that brings us back to the “when.” It’s easy to imagine the season premiere ending with the dead Jon Snow opening his eyes and the screen cutting to black. That’s a water cooler moment if there ever was one. However, this is Game of Thrones, a show that has never shied away from toying with the audience is cruel and unexpected ways. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they wait until episode four to bring Jon Snow back just to rile up all of the fans who know he’ll be returning.

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Who Will Davos Fight For?

Season five didn’t quite match season four on the patented George R.R. Martin Bloodbath Index, but it picked off its fair share of major characters. Most notably, the season finale marked the end of Stannis Baratheon’s campaign to rule Westeros. His army decimated by the forces of Ramsay Bolton, Robert Baratheon’s stern and uncharismatic young brother stumbled into the woods and happened upon a vengeful Brienne of Tarth, who slew him right then and there. And like that, Game of Thrones ended one of its major storylines…while leaving one of the series’ most beloved characters without a leader or a plot.

Yep, I’m taking about Ser Davos the “onion knight,” Stannis’ right-hand man whose entire role in the series so far has been to act as his king’s Jiminy Cricket. Davos’ backstory tied him directly to Stannis – he was a smuggler who offered assistance during a siege and was elevated for his efforts (though only after Stannis chopped off a few of his fingers to make him pay for his criminal background). Every decision Davos has made on this show has revolved around helping Stannis reach his goals. He’s been defined by his loyalty. And yet, the show made sure he got left behind at Castle Black as Stannis marched to his doom. Davos lives, even as his mission dies.

Clips released from season six show Davos defending the dead body of Jon Snow alongside other members of the Night’s Watch against the mutineers. Other shots, glimpsed in trailers, reveal him to be present at major battle scenes that will presumably occur much later in the season. So, who is Ser Davos serving now that “rightful” king has been struck down? I’d wager that he finds a new man worthy of his respect in a resurrected Jon Snow, one of the few leaders in Westeros who can match Stannis’ strict code of justice.

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How Soon Does Jorah Kick the Bucket?

Last season took the already tragic storyline of Jorah Mormont down a new miserable new road. After being exiled by the woman he respects/cherishes/loves, the Daenerys’ former chief advisor found himself in a battle against a few “Stone Men,” people who were infected with a disease called greyscale that disfigures the skin before driving the inflicted mad. While his traveling companion, Tyrion Lannister, escaped unharmed, Jorah himself walked away from the encounter infected with the disease. He’s still the only one who knows that he’s a walking contagion, but we should all consider his ticket punched. There is no way Jorah lives much longer.

It probably won’t be the greyscale that kills him, either. It takes years for this disease to claim a life. Jorah technically has some time before his skin dies and the disease turns its attention to his organs. However, it’s hard to imagine a Mormont of Bear Island isolating himself and waiting for the disease to kill him. This development feels like an excuse to give Jorah a death wish. From here on out, Jorah is a walking dead man whose every moment will be devoted to serving Daenerys…but he has to rescue her from a Dothraki horde first. Naturally, Daario probably won’t take kindly to the news that his road trip buddy is carrying an incredibly infectious disease. If Daario doesn’t kill him, Jorah will find something else that will.

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Where is Rickon? Does Anyone Care?

At the end of season three, Osha took Rickon Stark south while Bran and his companions traveled north of the Wall. That path was too dangerous for the youngest heir to Winterfell. His family still had allies around the seven kingdoms. He could maybe, possibly, find refuge with another House.

And then nobody every spoke of Rickon again. Technically, a tortured Theon confessed to Ramsay Bolton that he was alive, but nothing ever came of that…yet. With season six looking to place new emphasis on the war in the north, with Bolton forces struggling to hold on to their newfound power, could Rickon make his grand return as a rallying point for northern houses who are still loyal to the Starks? It would certainly make sense and it would help bring this seemingly abandoned storyline back into the fold.

But let’s be honest with ourselves here: does anyone care about Rickon? Anyone? Let’s see a show of hands. Thought so.

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