It’s fair to say that the upcoming sixth season of Game of Thrones is the most hotly-anticipated in the show’s history. With the HBO adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series now having largely surpassed Martin’s source material, everyone (book readers included) is now in the dark as to how events will play out. When you factor in the shocking cliffhangers that closed out last season, it’s hard to think of another TV series that has generated so much hype … or so many questions. Given that no one really knows what to expect from the plot of season six, there are no shortage of questions we want answers to. Here are the most significant ones we hope this season will answer.
12. Where’s Gendry?
Game of Thrones has an odd habit of having characters disappear for seasons at a time, but the vanishing of Gendry may be the show’s most blatant (and mildly amusing) case of sweeping a character under the rug. Last time we saw the bastard son of Robert Baratheon, he was desperately rowing away from Dragonstone after Melisandre had her way with him (as she does) and took some of his king’s blood. It was great to see Gendry make a break for it and get away from the Red Lady and her crazy machinations, but where did he go? It’s been two seasons since we’ve seen or heard from Gendry and frankly, we’re starting to get a bit worried that he never made it to shore. Even if it’s just a revelation that he was killed by a group of bandits, we’d just like to know what happened to him.
11. What’s Going On With Rickon And Osha?
Poor Rickon. The oft-forgotten about youngest Stark child was always too young to have much of a role in the show, a problem that the writers dealt with by having him go off with Bran’s protector Osha (Natalia Tena) at the end of season three. While this was a necessary plot device with potential payoff down the road, we haven’t heard a peep about, nor seen either character for the last two seasons.
While it’s pretty much a given that the two will resurface at some point — Starks are in distressingly short supply these days — we really hope that they pop up, or are at least mentioned, in season six.We miss Natalia Tena’s performance as Osha and just want to know that Rickon is alright. That being said, it might be better if the two stay in hiding for awhile longer given the precarious state of the situation in the north. Once Ramsey’s dead and gone (Gods willing), Rickon may finally be able to resurface. Who knows; he may even be an actual character this time too!
10. Is Winter Still Coming?
“Winter is Coming” is not just a popular Game of Thrones tagline; it’s the motto of House Stark and a looming threat that has hung over the entire series from the beginning. Well, it’s now the sixth season and we’re still waiting to see this eternal winter the show keeps promising. Admittedly, the north has been getting some pretty bad weather as of late, with blizzard-life conditions being pretty much a constant in Winterfell and the surrounding area. If you look to the south of Westeros though, it seems like nothing has really changed, with the weather being positively balmy in locations such as King’s Landing and Dorne. We’re assuming that once the White Walkers start moving further south, the weather will grow colder as well, but it’s getting about time that Game of Thrones truly starts to bring the winter chill.
9. Will Arya’s Assassin Training Actually Pay Off?
Ever since the end of season one, Arya has spent most of her time separated from the majority of the other main characters. While she has remained one of the show’s most fascinating and likable protagonists since day one, it’s getting to the point where her arc really needs to start paying off. Arya’s interactions with the mysterious House of Black and White last season were an interesting development, but it’s been really difficult to gauge where Arya’s story is headed and what bearing it has on the overarching narrative of the series. Will Arya finally become the lethal assassin she seems destined to be in season six? Or does the show have other plans for her? Whatever happens with Arya, we just hope that this season sheds some light on her final destination and what her role will be in the concluding chapters of the series.
8. Where’s Benjen Stark?
If you haven’t watched the first season of Game of Thrones since it aired, you may have forgotten all about this character. Benjen Stark was Ned Stark’s younger brother and a ranger for the Night’s Watch who went missing while out on a scouting mission early on in season one and was never seen or heard from again. While it’s possible that Benjen simply died and that’s the end of it, the books offer a possible explanation for his fate that has yet to featured on the show.
In the books, Bran and his companions meet a mysterious figure called Coldhands beyond the wall, who comes to their aid. The popular theory is that this is in fact Benjen Stark (a little worse for wear, of course), as Coldhands is described as wearing the mottled blacks and greys of the Night’s Watch, indicating that he was once a sworn brother. Even if Benjen doesn’t turn out to be Coldhands — or if the show never even introduces the character — we’re still curious to find out what really happened to Benjen.
7. Who Are Jon Snow’s Parents?
One of the most popular Game of Thrones theories is that Ned Stark was not Jon Snow’s father, and that he is actually the offspring of Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned’s sister Lyanna. This theory has become widespread thanks to the many hints found in George R. R. Martin’s source material, but while it practically feels like canon by this point, neither the books or TV show have ever actually confirmed it. Fans cling to this theory as “proof” that Jon Snow can’t truly be dead, as his Targaryen and Stark heritage points to him being the legendary hero Azor Ahai that Melissandre always claimed Stannis Baratheon was. Whether Jon Snow is brought back from the dead or not, season six needs to confirm who Jon Snow’s parents really were, if only to give the character some closure.
6. How Will The White Walkers Be Stopped?
At this point, the White Walkers seem like an unstoppable force. They’ve not only proven themselves to be way more organized than ice zombies have any right to be, they also made quick work of an entire Wildling village and those guys do nothing but kill and pillage. In addition to these significant problems, the White Walkers also have the added benefit of being invulnerable to anything that isn’t either dragon glass or Valyrian steel (and Westeros doesn’t exactly have a surplus of either material), and the fact that most of Westeros doesn’t even believe they exist. Even taking into account how grim Game of Thrones is, it’s hard to imagine that the show will end with the White Walkers having killed everyone. The question now is not whether the White Walkers will be stopped, but how, as Westeros is still mired in turmoil and doesn’t look prepared for an ice zombie invasion. There are countless ways this conflict could eventually be dealt with, but season six should point the way towards the eventual solution.
5. Will Sansa Become Queen in the North?
We already know that Sophie Turner’s Sansa Stark will feature heavily in the events of season six, with Turner herself claiming that her character truly “comes into her own” this year. While it’s difficult at this juncture to figure out just what Turner means by this, based on certain events in season five, we’d have to wager a guess that Sansa will be making a play at reclaiming her home of Winterfell. Littlefinger hinted at this idea last year with his various political maneuvering talks, and having Sansa take her rightful place as Queen in the North would offer a satisfying arc for a character who began the series as a naive daydreamer afraid of her own shadow. The problem, of course, is that Sansa has some pretty significant hurdles standing in the way of her and Winterfell. Speaking of which …
4. How Will Ramsey Die?
Ramsey Bolton has to die at some point (he’s much too big a pain in the ass — and far too sadistic — to stick around forever), but we’re firm believers that it needs to happen no later than season six. We’ve talked before about how Ramsey has become little more than a cartoon villain dragging the show down and given the character’s long rap sheet of despicable actions, it just makes sense from a narrative perspective to have him finally meet his end sooner rather than later.
If Ramsey is to die this season though, the question becomes: who will do it? The most likely circumstance is that Theon and Sansa do him in, as they are the characters who have been wronged the most by Ramsey, but considering that it’s often difficult to predict anything with Game of Thrones, the identity of Ramsey’s killer could very well be someone we’re not expecting. However, no matter who does the deed, you can be sure that Ramsey’s death will be something to behold.
3. What Are The True Extent of Bran’s Powers?
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead) was absent from the previous season, but he’s making a major comeback in season six. When we last left Bran, he was being taught how to use his unique powers by the mysterious Three-Eyed Raven and however we’re introduced to Bran this year, you can be sure that he’ll have a much stronger hold on his magical abilities than he did before. It’s all but certain that Bran will play a major role in the seasons to come and while it’s likely that his powers will be integral in the fight against the White Walkers, we want to know what the real extent of these powers are. Magic is a device that Game of Thrones only dips into when it needs to, which means that we’re still not quite sure what is possible in the show’s universe. Bran feels like the key to unlocking Game of Thrones‘ true magical potential and we can’t wait to see how it all plays into the show’s overarching narrative.
2. Will Daenerys Ever Get To Westeros?
From the outset, Game of Thrones has positioned Daenerys Targaryen as the character who will reclaim the Iron Throne of Westeros and for a significant portion of the show’s timeline, this is precisely what she was trying to do. Then she spent an entire season ruling another city in a far off land, an “event’ that has felt like story padding for the most part. Things got even more deflating at the end of last season when Dany was taken capture by a Dothraki horde, putting her even further from her goal (and an interesting storyline; prove us wrong, HBO).
While Dany is still a likable character and her story still has its moments, the Meereen setting and accompanying plot developments have felt like the show spinning its wheels. Having Tyrion come to Meereen and meet Daenerys was an exciting development, but it was cut short before it could even really get going. Dany finds herself in a precarious situation at the outset of season six, but we hope by the end, her story gets back on track, with a clearer idea of whether or not she will return to Westeros.
1. Is Jon Snow Really Dead?
Has there ever been another Game of Thrones question that so desperately needs to be answered? Following last season’s shocking cliffhanger, it’s been fascinating to watch how HBO and even Kit Harington himself have attempted to reinforce the finality of Jon Snow’s death, while the audience at large has continued to hold fast to the belief that the character will come back somehow.
As mentioned in the above point about Jon’s parentage, this is a character who has been positioned as a lead protagonist and the show’s central character (something that was recently proven by actual math), so even when taking into account Game of Thrones’ habit of killing off important, beloved characters, it’s difficult to believe that Jon Snow is finished playing his part. Whatever happens, season six will at least finally (hopefully) close the door on the Jon Snow debate for good and we can all move on with our lives … at least until the season six finale “kills off” Arya or something equally as audacious.