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The bodies from the season five finale are barely even cold, but buzz for
Who\'s back? Who\'s dead? And what more can we expect from the next season of HBO\'s backstabbing, dragon-riding hit? Here\'s what we know so far - from the latest plot spoilers through to the expected premiere date:
up until now have been tempered by the existence of Martin\'s novels. For every shocked response to the latest massacre, there has been someone out there shaking their head and saying, "We\'ve known it was coming for months. Years, even."
Why the excitement about Negan coming to Walking Dead?
But finally and inevitably, season five caught up with the books and began to introduce plot developments from beyond the five published novels. Until Martin puts out
(and who would really be willing to put money on that happening before the show returns?), six is the first season that we can\'t even begin to sketch out a clear outline for.
But that isn\'t to say we have no idea what\'s coming...
After a leave of absence in season five, Isaac Hempstead Wright has confirmed that he will be back as Bran Stark when
Bran\'s arc is one of the few that isn\'t quite up to date with the novels, but showrunner David Benioff suggested that he will be getting to grips with his powers off screen in a similar way to Luke Skywalker between
However Bran returns to our screens, it stands to reason that Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) won\'t be too far behind.
Speaking of characters being dead, we\'re all waiting impatiently to find out whether Jon Snow\'s apparently fatal stabbing will stick. We\'ve already made it very clear what we think the fate of Kit Harington\'s pouting hero will be.
Even the cast and crew can\'t make up their mind on this. We\'ve had repeated assurances that Snow kicked the bucket, but Carice van Houten and Emilia Clarke aren\'t so sure.
From suspiciously failing to take the opportunity to cut his long locks to sightings of him attending script readings for
They still aren\'t confessing though, with HBO president Michael Lombardo also insisting Snow is dead (as well as adding that the current plan is for
And now we have a video teaser, which features Jon front and centre.
This could be more evidence that he is alive, but it\'s worth noting that the whole thing is framed as one of Bran\'s visions and in the books they have a habit of taking him back to past events. So don\'t get too excited yet...
One castle - no matter how sizeable - can hardly be big enough for two proud and powerful queens. With queen regent Cersei Lannister\'s increasingly erratic behaviour and Olenna \'The Queen of Thorns\' Tyrell\'s scheming, the two were bound to have a showdown sooner or later.
"I\'ve got a head-on with Cersei coming up and it\'s really good," Diana Rigg said of Olenna\'s role in season six. We\'re not sure who we\'d put our money on.
"Cersei is the least of Margaery\'s problems" in season six.
We dread to think who could be worse for the young queen\'s health than her two-times mother-in-law.
TV veteran Ian McShane will be making a brief cameo in the next season, saying in a recent interview that he will be "responsible for bringing somebody back that you think you\'re never going to see again".
That might mean that he\'ll somehow be a character who is returning to the show – maybe the face-changing Jaqen H\'ghar, or the latest recasting – but a safe bet says he\'ll be a Red Priest from the same holy order as Carice van Houten\'s Melisandre, and will be \'bringing someone back\'... from the dead.
If so, the servants of the Red God will be swarming out of the woodwork, with British actress Melanie Liburd (
Her casting lends credence to previous reports on an allegedly leaked script from the show, which featured a scene where a new priestess meets with Tyrion and Varys in Mereen, saying that Daenerys Targaryen is the Lord of Light\'s chosen saviour, i.e. confirming what we knew all along.
Varys wryly points out the poor track record of Melisandre\'s candidate for \'The Prince Who Was Promised\', Stannis Baratheon. More on why Robert\'s brother isn\'t in the position to be anyone\'s saviour in a bit.
Will anyone stay dead in this show?
While not in costume, a certain, presumed-dead character has been seen on set with Conleth Hill\'s Lord Varys in the Spanish town of Peñíscola, which doubles for the one-time slaver city of Meereen.
Visiting old friends? Or something more· shae is here on set #gameofthrones #JuegoDeTronos pic.twitter.com/dMxcv7QIUK
Sibel kikelli, david benioff and conleth hill on set right now for season 6 peniscola #GameOfThrones #JuegoDeTronos pic.twitter.com/NJz4KEujGl
Last time we saw her, she was looking very deceased, but in
stranger things have happened, and Varys in particular has more than a few tricks up his sleeves.
Or maybe she was just on holiday and it\'s all an hilarious coincidence.
The latest rumour from Westeros (aka Northern Ireland) is that Hound actor Rory McCann has been spotted in Belfast, where
Sandor Clegane was left to die by Arya, but speculation has been rife ever since thanks to his supposed death off screen. And let\'s face it, even a death on screen is no guarantee of anything in this show.
It\'s worth noting that there have been some rumours about flashbacks for season six, so we might not get anything more than the memory of the Hound. Though those Clegane boys have always proven hard to kill...
Watch Missandei actress Nathalie Emmanuel talk with Digital Spy about what we can expect from
We will apparently be returning to Catelyn Stark\'s childhood home of Riverrun next year - a location we haven\'t seen since season three.
Clive Russell as Catelyn Stark\'s uncle Brynden Tully, aka The Blackfish - who hasn\'t appeared on-screen since the infamous Red Wedding - will be back as the castle comes under siege in the storyline from George RR Martin\'s fourth novel,
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) and Jerome Flynn (Bronn - who didn\'t feature in the book\'s original siege story) were also seen filming in Northern Ireland.
Just don\'t ask us whether this means Lady Stoneheart will finally put in an appearance - we\'re as in the dark as the rest of you.
Jon probably isn\'t dead, but one kind-of-off-screen death we\'re more willing to accept is Stannis\'s. The middle Baratheon brother has always been a bit of a secondary character (like poor Robb Stark before him), so it doesn\'t feel unlikely that his time to exit stage left has come at last.
Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros Seasons 1-5
, has since listed Stannis as dead at Brienne\'s hands outside the walls of Winterfell, which is exactly what it seemed was about to happen in the season five finale.
Stannis is a relic of an older time, and GRRM just loves killing them off. So it looks very much like it\'s time to wave a belated goodbye to the would-be king. Stannis, we hardly knew thee!
The series has been conspicuously missing a few threads and characters from the books, such as Lady Stoneheart, Arianne Martell and the goings on in the Iron Islands.
In many of these cases, the cuts were clearly made for the sake of economy and making the story filmable, but the showrunners have hinted that they might pick up some of those absent threads in the upcoming seasons.
"People will complain about things because they don\'t know what\'s coming up ahead," David Benioff told
. "\'Why haven\'t we seen this guy?\' And I think it will be easier once everything is out and it\'s 70 hours... Sometimes we\'re going in a different order or telling a different story. We think the story will all make sense at the end. Otherwise it will be eight wasted years."
So it might be that some of those apparently abandoned characters might be putting in an appearance in season six. We\'re not making any promises, mind.
An official release date is yet to be announced, but new posters confirm the show will arrive on HBO in April (read into that image of Jon Snow what you will).
Rumours currently have season six pegged to premiere at some time later in the month. Expect it to follow on Sky Atlantic very shortly after.
Who\'s running the show, and who\'s directing each episode?
David Benioff and Dan Weiss are back as showrunners again, and we also have a list of who will be directing on
) is back for the first two issues, with Daniel Sackheim (
) will return for seven and eight with \'Hardhome\' director Miguel Sapochnik (
Martin won\'t be scripting any of this season\'s episodes as he promises that he is far too busy writing book six. We want to believe you, GRRM.
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