As the whole world gathers for the premier of Season 6 of Game of Thrones, we wanted to take a moment to, firstly, look back at what we’ve seen so far in the series – reflect on those we have lost – and, secondly, predict (and brace ourselves) for what is to come.
You might recall that Season 5 of HBO’s illustrious show was perhaps the bleakest we’ve yet seen, and that’s saying something for a show like Game of Thrones. Yes, battles were fought, words were said, characters died… nothing necessarily new in that regard. There was, however, an overwhelming feeling of despair and hopelessness looming over the entire season. We’ve come to learn, if anything from this show, not to rely on justice for the characters we’ve loved and lost. No good comes of it, and for those few who remain, things could not seem bleaker… and Winter is coming.
Season 5 Recap
***Warning: Season 5 Spoilers Ahead***
Arya Stark – At the end of Season 4, Arya traveled to Braavos in search of Jaqen H’ghar, leading her to the House of Black and White. There she goes into Jaqen’s tutelage, learning to become a faceless man and a servant to the Many Faced God. Arya runs astray, however, opting for revenge and killing Ser Meryn Trant (Cersei’s bodyguard who was sent to Braavos to escort Mace Tyrell to the Iron Bank). As punishment, Arya’s eyesight is taken from her and she is now blind… and she can’t see.
Jamie Lannister and Bronn – These two went on a secret mission to Dorne to “rescue” Myrcella Lannister (Cersei’s daughter who had been promised to Trystane Martell back in Season 2) after a threat is made against her life. Jamie and Bronn clashed with The Sand Snakes (Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters) upon entering Dorne’s capital and are thrown in jail. After speaking with Prince Doran Martell and making amends, Jamie is permitted to leave with Myrcella, but not before Ellaria Sand (Oberyn’s widow) gives her a deadly kiss, poisoning Myrcella moments after Jamie reveals to her that he’s her father.
Cersei Lannister – King’s Landing is under a new threat of Cersei’s making. King Tommen is powerless as his Queen, Margaery Tyrell, remains in a cell under the jurisdiction of the Faith Militant and the High Sparrow, who arguably holds sway over the capital. Cersei, too, found herself imprisoned, until she finally confessed to her sins (at least some of them). She finds herself subject to the Mother’s Mercy and forced to walk the streets of King’s Landing for her atonement – naked, shamed and ridiculed by the city’s population. She returns to the Red Keep and is met by Maester Qyburn, who has completed his work and introduces Cersei to the newest member of the King’s Guard – The Mountain.
Tyrion Lannister – Tyrion finds himself as an advisor to Daenerys, but it couldn’t have come at a worse time. After another ambush from the Sons of the Harpee, Daenerys barely escapes with her life and departs with Drogon, leaving Tyrion behind with Jorah Mormont (who, keep in mind, has been infected with greyscale) and Daario Naharis. The knight and the sell-sword go out in search of their queen, leaving Tyrion to run Meereen with the help of Varys.
Daenerys Targaryen – Still struggling to maintain control of the people of Meereen, Daenerys narrowly escaped the attack from the Sons of the Harpee thanks to Drogon, though she lost her husband-to-be, Hizdahr zo Loraq. The Mother of Dragons now finds herself a long way from Mereen, without her counsel and suddenly surrounded by a large Dothraki horde.
Stannis Baratheon – After sacrificing his own daughter, Shireen to the Lord of Light for the sake of victory in his march against Winterfell, Stannis was, instead, met with defeat at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. Abandoned by his wife and the Red Witch (his wife hanged herself following the burning of their daughter, Melisandre fled shortly thereafter), Stannis faced the oncoming massacre head on and fought to the very bitter end, at which point he is met by Brienne of Tarth, who executed him for the murder of Renly Baratheon.
Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy – Sansa went from enduring Joffrey, to marrying Tyrion, and now marrying and enduring Ramsay, all the while having to endure the occasional smooch from Little Finger whenever he decides to show up – it’s surprisingly hard to say who was worse for the poor girl – but it seems Sansa may have finally found a way out of the hell she’s been living in for, oh, the last three or four seasons? After a tense confrontation with Ramsay’s equally psychotic mistress, Myranda, Theon finally stepped up and threw that crazy bitch from the battlements of Winterfell, saving Sansa and the two make a break for freedom as the battle with Stannis keeps Ramsay and his father busy.
Jon Snow and Castle Black – Following the massacre of Hardhome, Jon returned to Castle Black with the remaining Wildling survivors to whom he’d promised safe passage south in return for their support against the White Walkers. At the Castle he finds Ser Davos – who’d been sent by Stannis to recruit more men and gather supplies – and Melisandre – who had, in turn, abandoned Stannis when defeat was imminent. Sam has left Castle Black with Gilly so that he may train to become a Maester. One night, Jon is lured outside by Ollie, his squire, and is met by Ser Alliser and a handful of his brothers of the Night’s Watch who accuse Jon of being a traitor and brutally stab him to death.
Dead count of Season 5 – Stannis Baratheon, Shireen Baratheon, Selyse Baratheon, Myrcella Lannister (or Baratheon), Maester Aemon, Jon Snow, Barristan Selmy, Myranda, Meryn Trant, Janos Slynt, Mance Rayder.
Season 6 Preview and Predicitions
So, what do we know from here, and what can we speculate? Isn’t that the fun of Game of Thrones? At this point it’s fair game, now that HBO has surpassed the books (tsk tsk George R.R. Martin). One thing we do know for sure is that after Season 6, there will grand total of 13 episodes remaining, meaning that we can probably expect one season split into two shorter seasons, as they did with Breaking Bad. With that in mind, we can anticipate things are going to start winding down and wrapping up this series and, hopefully, with what remains of our souls, still intact.
Bran Stark – This little guy has been missing for a season. Younger brother Rickon is off safe, we assume, with Osha and, when last we left him, Bran was far north of the Wall and had made it with Hodor and his companions to the giant weirwood tree in search of the Three-Eyed Raven (to be personified in Season 6 by Max von Sydow). We assume that Bran has since gone into some sort of training with the Raven to learn how to use his warg powers, which we saw glimpses of in Season 4. Bran was assured that he would never walk again, but he would soon learn to fly… interesting thought. I think we can assume that we’ve got some cool things coming for Bran, and we may finally see the rebirth of the Stark house.
Sansa Stark, The Boltons and the North – It’s safe to say that Sansa and Theon (or Reek, whatever you see fit) made good of their escape from Winterfell and Ramsay, though the question is for how long? It’d be nice to think that Sansa will finally have some good fortune and, dare I say it, some goddamn happiness come her way after the hell she’s been living. The season trailers have suggested that she may, indeed, rise and rally the North to her as we see her surrounded by troops and her bearing the Stark sigil openly on her dress. At this juncture she could very well ally with Brienne, who’s been skulking around Winterfell with Poderick in hopes of rescuing Sansa, though she did wander off to quickly behead Stannis, so who knows? We could also finally see the return of Sansa’s great uncle, Bryndon “Blackfish” Tully, who’s been noticeably absent since the Red Wedding.
Roose Bolton remains as Warden of the North, that position now solidified with the marriage of his son Ramsay and Sansa, though, of course, the two are still unaware of her escape when we last saw them. The Bolton’s have certainly proved their cunning in their rise to power, and they certainly live up to their house sigil of the flayed man, but we could very well see the tide turn against them before long, as we know that cruelty doesn’t go unpunished for long in Westoros – one way or another, the wicked always get their comeuppance. The trailers give hints of a battle between the Bolton’s and what appears to be rallied army of Wildlings and some other troop – maybe Stark, maybe Tully – we’ll just have to wait and see.
The Night’s Watch, Castle Black and the Wall – As Season 5 promised, Winter is coming and, as the trailers remind us, the dead come with it. The massacre at Hardhome was a sobering realization to all of us who were foolish enough to believe the White Walkers would never come. And now, Jon Snow is dead. The biggest buzz surrounding this season has assuredly been around the possible return of Jon Snow, which, if it doesn’t happen at this point, is going to spread shear dismay over the fans. More speculation has revolved the question of just how he will return. Some predict Melisandre, who returned to Castle Black when she realized Stannis was fucked, and that she will raise Jon from the dead and that he was in fact the Lord’s chosen one. Possibly. Some predict that, should he be burned as they tend do with the dead, Jon will rise up from the flames as Daenerys did. Why would he do that? Well, long story short, it’s believed that Jon is in fact the bastard child of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, the latter having kidnapped and raped Lyanna, which contributed to the rebellion led by Robert Baratheon. Jon was taken and raised as Ned Stark’s bastard, but this could mean that Jon has Targaryen blood in him. I like the second one best.
Meanwhile, Castle Black is now, no doubt, under Ser Alliser Thorne’s command and what he intends to do is another question entirely. Melisandre and Ser Davos remain at the castle with perhaps a few of the Night’s Watch who remain loyal to Jon… not to mention Ghost. The trailers indicate a stand off, fingers crossed that we’re right about the outcome.
The Lannister’s at King’s Landing, The High Sparrow and the Tyrells – It was only a matter of time before the Lannisters began to unravel. Following the death of Tywin, Cersei predictably ran amuck with the power she snatched up, and situation went from bad to worse as she made one reckless mistake after another, landing her in a cell at the mercy of the High Sparrow. Cersei may have finally gotten what was coming to her, but then again, the Seven Hells hath no fury like Cersei Lannister scorned. Now, with the frankensteined Mountain at her command, we’re about to witness an unholy reckoning.
With that said, the High Sparrow is no fool and he has not only the power of the faith militant, but the faith of the people also, and the man who still walks around barefooted has quickly become one of the most powerful forces in King’s Landing. Margaery Tyrell and her brother are still imprisoned, and Jamie is about to return with a dead Myrcella. In the clips we’ve seen some more tense standoffs between Jamie, the Kings guard, and the faith militant. Whatever’s about to erupt is going to reshape the Capital as we know it – shit’s going down.
Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister – Daenerys has fled the city of Meereen following the attack from the Sons of the Harpee, who remain at large in the city. Where Drogon has taken the Queen is still not entirely certain though it could be easily assumed that he has taken her to the Dothraki Sea, just north of Meereen. We left Daenerys being surrounded by thousands of Dothraki horseman, and as they do so, she removes her ring, which either signifies her power of monarch or her family sigil – not sure – and she drops it to the ground, perhaps in the hope of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for Jorah and Daario, who also leave Meereen to retrieve her. The two are against the clock, not only because Daenerys may be in danger (again) and about to be put before a new Khal who may not recognize her position or power, but also because Jorah was struck by greyscale, which, if you’ve forgotten, will eventually consume him and turn him into to a crazy rock man/monster thing… as we just saw in Season 5.
Meanwhile, Tyrion remains in Meereen and is charged with restoring peace to the city… or at least maintaining it. As we’ve seen time and again, Tyrion knows his politics and how to “play the game”, though admittedly, he’s gotten himself into just as much trouble in the past as he has managing to avoid it, and usually it’s a matter of life and death. Keeps things interesting anyway. So, with the help of Lord Varys, Grey Worm (who we can assume is still wounded from his last fight with the Harpees) and Missandei, Tyrion must find a way to smoke out the ongoing threat of the Harpees and restore Meereen back to whatever former glory it had… and perhaps, unleashing those other two dragons?
Arya Stark – Arya is still in Braavos and, as I mentioned earlier, she is in fact blind now. For taking a life that was not hers to take, Arya’s sight was taken from her… which might actually make things a little more badass for the young Stark – the blind assassin. She’s been given a second chance by the Many Faced God and the trailers show her making the most of it, and maybe she’ll knock another name off of her list. At this point, the prospects for the Stark children are looking better than they have done in quite some time.
Gendry – Remember this bastard? By which I mean the bastard of Robert Baratheon, obviously. When we last saw him he was rowing out to sea after being freed by Ser Davos from Stannis’ jail, and as far as we know that’s where he’s been for the last two seasons. Will we see him this season? I don’t actually know, but I thought it’d be worth pointing it out should he decide to reappear.
So there it is folks. There’s some speculation for you to feed on until Sunday comes. Don’t forget to join us for our weekly mini casts that we host throughout the GOT season, recapping and discussing each episode. Join us then and, for now, stay entertained.