Rough news: Game of Thrones season 6 has been pushed back by at least a week.
Last year, the show’s fifth season debuted on April 12. According to some thoughtful math from my good friend and Storm of Spoilers podcast co-host Joanna Robinson, it’s likely that Thrones won’t debut until after HBO’s Vinyl finishes on April 17. That’s at least one week later than Thrones debuted last year, if not a little bit longer.
There are a number of reasons why HBO might want to hold back on Thrones, many of which probably include the very practical notion of keeping it clear of other prestige programming. Their Spring line-up of Sunday night shows – Thrones, Veep and Silicon Valley – have proven to be a strong combo. It makes sense that it would want to let Vinyl, a show from Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter and Mick Jagger, run its course before shifting gears.
There’s also the more interesting theory, one that I put forth on A Storm of Spoilers right after season five ended: HBO and showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss could be stalling. Why would they stall? So that George R.R. Martin can finish the next book his A Song of Ice and Fire series, the much-anticipated Winds of Winter.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the show might be stalling to allow Martin to catch up. First, there was the fact that while season 5 went beyond the books in certain places, it never really spoiled anything big. There are also the swirling rumors about The Winds of Winter hitting shelves sometime in early 2016.
Here’s where we talk about some spoilers.
This is my favorite theory and my favorite bold prediction. We all know that something interesting is going to happen with Kit Harington’s Jon Snow, who has been spotted on set doing things that send “very alive and well” signals. We can also deduce that the resurrection of Snow is going to be the centerpiece of the show. A moment that propels the story toward its eventual end. Numerous fan theories indicate that Jon Snow could be the eventual hero of the story. He’s Azor Ahai, the Prince That Was Promised, the one who will bring balance to The Force. The warrior of both Ice and Fire, as he’s the product of a romance between a Targaryen (Rhaegar) and a Stark (Lyanna).
Jon Snow’s fate may be the worst-kept secret in modern pop culture, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be treated with great importance by the people behind the show. This is something to which they may go to extreme lengths to preserve for George, out of respect. It would certainly explain why they danced around storylines from the books in season 5 – namely everything that happens in the Iron Islands and The Riverlands in books 4 and 5.
Don’t be surprised if the showrunners hand George R.R. Martin one last gift before blowing the spoiler-lid off their Game of Thrones stretch run. That gift is a little more time so that Martin can give us one last big moment. Even if it is one that everyone sees coming.
Related Topics: Game of Thrones, HBO