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6 Bold Predictions for Game of Thrones Season Six

It’s T-Minus 48 hours and change until the premiere of Game of Thrones season 6. Time for some predictions.
By  · Published on April 22nd, 2016

It’s T-Minus 48 hours and change until the premiere of Game of Thrones season 6. In our week-long preview, we’ve delved back through every single one of the 50 previous episodes. We went deep on the season five DVD commentary in not one, but two parts. Yesterday we outlined some unanswered questions that we hope Game of Thrones will answer in its next ten hours. Today, it’s time to step up to the chopping block and make some predictions.

Over at Vanity Fair, my dear friend and Storm of Spoilers co-host Joanna Robinson made some spoiler predictions yesterday, including a lot of smart insight connecting what we know from the production to what we can expect from the season. What I’d like to do is take a higher-level view, predicting some of the themes I hope will emerge from season six. With the realization that we’re running out of hours on Game of Thrones, it will be essential for the production to consolidate some storylines and begin to march toward its big finish.

Here are my bold predictions for Game of Thrones season 6, right after a visit from our Lord of Spoilers.

 1. Resurrection Will Be a Big Theme

This might elicit some groans from those of you who have been following the production closely. Sure, we expect Jon Snow to make his return from the dead at some point. But there’s more to it than only bringing back our hero. There are several key characters — those of the undead variety — who have up to this point been left out of the show. It’s possible that the show’s been holding back, waiting to open the floodgates of resurrection with Jon. This season would be a perfect time to bring these book stories back to the forefront.

This means Lady Stoneheart, a theory bolstered by the show’s confirmed return to the Riverlands and the confirmation that Paul Kaye (who plays Thoros of Myr) will appear in season six. That return to the Riverlands also includes meeting a war veteran turned priest who might lead us to The Quiet Isle, where a certain tall Gravedigger, who book readers believe, is The Hound. I’m not willing to say that this Gravedigger goes all the way to becoming The Faith’s champion in Cersei’s trial, thus giving us the CleganeBowl, but it feels safe to say that he’ll make an appearance.

The final bit of resurrection could be the appearance of Coldhands, an undead former Night’s Watchmen believed to be a helpful, reanimated Benjen Stark. An intrepid Storm of Spoilers listener even put together a few Coldhands-related shots from the trailers:


That’s three, potentially four great resurrections. I’d call that a theme.

2. The Women of Westeros Will Have Their Vengeance

At some point this week, I posited the following question to my fellow Thrones pundits: What if Game of Thrones ends up being all about subverting and overthrowing the patriarchy of a medieval society?

Think about it. Many of the most compelling characters remaining are women, especially those who might end up ruling. It’s not crazy to think about a future for Westeros that is ruled by Daenerys, Sansa, the Sand Snakes (or a book equivalent of Arianne Martell), Margaery Tyrell, Asha Greyjoy, and perhaps Brienne of Tarth. Jon Snow — thus far the most feminist male character — could be an instrument through which this is all achieved.

This theory is most likely a bunch of wishful thinking on my part. And any verification of it is several years away. But it would be some all-time great storytelling, considering how much this show has driven home the tortured nature of being a woman in Westeros.

It’s possible that season six might begin to move us in that direction with a little bit of vengeance. Fans are already enamored with the idea of Sansa Stark amassing an army and taking back Winterfell from the Boltons. This would be a perfect season for Daenerys to find her way back to Westeros. My favorite landing spot for her would be the very female ruler-friendly kingdom of Dorne. Let’s not rule out the possibility of a very modern thematic finish for this ancient-set story.

3. Storylines Will Be Compressed Significantly

If we are running low on Game of Thrones episodes — as little as 23 including season six — then it’s time for the show to land the plane on a lot of these sprawling storylines.

The biggest area for condensation will be bringing home all the characters who have been studying abroad. This means Daenerys finally putting an army of horse lords on boats and sailing for Westeros. Arya Stark can end her internship at the non-denominational murder Church and return to her homeland with a new set of skills. Dragons will be reunited with their mothers. White Walkers will find a way to come south of The Wall. And we’ll never have Slaver’s Bay in the opening credits again.

Beyond the map-scrunching, there is also a ton of opportunity for the show to condense things in The North. I explored in my season six trailer breakdown the fact that Sansa and Davos appear to be in the same room. What’s left of Stannis’ people can join with Sansa, the Wildlings, and a resurrected Jon Snow to rid The North of the Bolton menace. We’ll also get Jaime Lannister coming home from Dorne, a place I don’t expect we’ll be visiting much until Daenerys lands there at the end of the season (otherwise, why introduce it at all?)

Everyone is coming together; loose threads will be tied up, and Westeros can begin to focus on the real war between the living and the dead.

4. The Show Will Do a Few Shocking Things That Won’t Be In The Books

This is both the easiest and most difficult predictions. Easy to make a broad prediction, because we all know that the show can’t help itself when the opportunity to do something shocking arises. And challenging in the sense that I have no idea what these moments will be. That’s why they’ll be shocking. And I can’t wait.

There are plenty of options. Killing one (or more) of the Stark children is one. The death of a dragon (or two) would be another big shock. They aren’t invincible. The biggest way the show could deliver a massive surprise would be to kill one of George’s Children, the characters long-believed to be safe based on what we know of Martin’s original outline. This includes Arya, Bran, Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon Snow. If one of those characters were to die (permanently), legions of book readers would have a collective meltdown.

Again, I’m not saying that any of this will happen. I don’t know what season six holds, but I do know that these options would all cause quite the stir.

5. Not All of the Season Will Be New Territory

A lot has been said about the show moving beyond the books. What started in earnest in season five will continue in season six. There’s no way around it. George R.R. Martin believed that his sixth book, The Winds of Winter, would be out before season six. He’s inferred this a few times publicly. Which means that the show’s writers would have been given the green light to move on with the story. Now that we know he’s not going to deliver the book before Sunday, there’s certainly no going back.

That said, we still have plenty of book territory to cover. It’s clear that the show will revisit the Iron Islands, where a Kingsmoot will take place, and we’ll meet Euron Greyjoy. And based on the trailer, we know that Brienne and Pod will end up at Riverrun, which means a return to the Riverlands. This is all stuff from the fourth and fifth books. And according to a recent interview with producer Bryan Cogman, the show will be diving back into the mythology of the story, including some implicit and explicit references to season one. One of these references will include flashing back to The Tower of Joy, a book one storyline about Ned Stark’s promise to his sister Lyanna.

For those of you worried that your reign of book reader knowledge has come to an end, fear not. There’s still plenty of ground to cover in Westeros. And according to the production, the books, and the show can now be considered to be two different things. Or as George R.R. Martin likes to say, “those butterflies have become dragons.”

6. Some Starks Will Reunite, Some Will Die

Part of this will make us all feel good; the rest is going to be horrible. In an interview released this week, Thrones producer Bryan Cogman said that this season won’t be quite as dark as season five. It sounds like we might even get some good old-fashioned heroism.

In the case of the Stark children, who have never been back together since season one, some of the less-dark stories might include meeting again. Bran, Sansa, and Rickon aren’t far apart at this point. Jon might be cold and dead, but he’s also close. This could be the season when we finally get a reunion or two for the children of Ned and Catelyn.

But I have, to be honest: I don’t think they’re all going to make it out of this season. The most glaring candidate would be poor little Rickon. There are some issues with keeping Rickon on the show that is easily solved by killing him off. One is that actor Art Parkinson has far out-aged his character. Rickon isn’t one of “George’s Children,” so we can’t count him as safe. We also know that Ramsay Bolton is aware that both Bran and Rickon are alive and somewhere in The North. Bran being North of The Wall keeps him relatively safe from Ramsay, but Rickon and Osha were headed for the closest northern stronghold to hide out. If the lord of that stronghold isn’t completely loyal to the Starks, the little nut-smasher is in trouble. For the Boltons, this is a great play now that they appear to have lost Sansa.

The other option is to kill Jon Snow again. For real, this time.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)