Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Everything We Know About Game of Thrones Season Six [Contributor: Melanie]

Dun dun dunununununun dunununun DUUUUUN DUUUUUN DUNUNUNUN DUNNUNUN. 

... That was my attempt at the Game of Thrones theme song. We’re about three months out from the series' return, and what is sure to be one of the most unprecedented seasons in TV history. For the first time since premiering in 2011, both book and show fans will be on the same page (puns) as we get our first look at new story content in the world of Westeros since the release of A Dance with Dragons almost six years ago. Frustrated? You’re not alone. After it was announced earlier this year that George RR Martin would not have the next book ready in time for the series’ April 24th premiere, fans got vocal about their disapproval on the Internet, speculating about Martin’s loss of interest in the series or possible writer’s block as he continued to work on side projects.

And HBO is keeping this season under tight wraps this time around, with only a few short promotional teasers and a poster. And you can’t blame them. They’re sitting on a goldmine of plot information people have been waiting decades for, and last season ended on the show’s most brutal cliffhanger yet (something book fans have been tortured with since 2011). But that doesn’t mean information can’t find its way out somehow, so to get ready, as I’ve painstakingly compiled everything we know about Game of Thrones season six.


Shooting returned to Croatia to film in Dubrovnik. However, shooting there was brief, as many Spanish locations are set to serve as various parts of King’s Landing (including Girona Cathedral as the exterior of the Great Sept and Portal Fosc as a rundown alley, among others). In addition to location, a brief holiday ad in December showed Cersei, recovered from her imprisonment, speaking with Tommen.

As for the plot, not too much is known. Cersei begins the season still unaware her daughter has been murdered, and we know Margaery will be getting out of prison at some point. It is possible Margaery’s release is simply to serve as witness in Cersei’s forthcoming trial for regicide and incest. We also know Gregor Clegane (a.k.a. the Mountain) has become some Frankenstein monster, retaining loyalty to Cersei.


Shooting for previous locations standing in for the North include Garron Point as Runestone, Moneyglass and Carnecastle as Winterfell, Magheramorne quarry as Castle Black, Ballintoy as a rural sept (previously it was used for Pyke), Saintfield as the location of the Battle of the Bastards, and Corbet as Riverrun.

An interesting turn, this season is the introduction of the Greyjoy plotline, which debuted all the way back in Storm of Swords but was mainly ignored on the show. Euron Greyjoy, Balon’s ruthless and insane younger brother, will be introduced as the leader of the Ironborn. It is unknown if he will follow his book trajectory and make a voyage to Daenerys Targaryen. The Boltons maintain control of the North, and it’s been confirmed that Brienne of Tarth did in fact kill Stannis Baratheon in the season five finale. However, Brienne will be facing the consequences of ignoring her vow to protect Sansa after her revenge for Renly’s death.

The Battle of the Bastards has been generating a lot of buzz as the largest and most complicated shoot the show has produced thus far. Many people have speculated this will be a battle between Jon Snow and the Wildlings and Ramsay Snow and his bannermen for control of Winterfell. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, has also been spotted on this set. Ironically, both Snow and Ramsay were legitimized by their liege lords: Ramsay made heir to his father Roose Bolton, and Jon likewise by his brother Robb (which did not happen on screen in the show), so it’s more like Battle of the Legitimized Former Bastards. Many have noted Jon is the best contender for the mantle of King of the North with Robb dead, making this a crazy exciting turn of events.

And as if it didn’t need saying, yes, Kit Harrington has been spotted all over the set. While the cast and crew may be playing semantics when assuring fans he is “dead,” the character is very much walking and talking next season. Many believe Melisandre will resurrect him, as is a custom in the Red God religion.


Bran is returning this season after finishing his treacherous journey over the Wall to find the Three Eyed Raven. Several Children of the Forest have been cast, as well as Max von Sydow (fresh off his Star Wars cameo) as the Three Eyed Raven, whom many believe to actually be Bryndyn Rivers, a legitimized Targaryen bastard. What exactly is the point of it all? Literally no one knows. The Children of the Forest existed in Westeros before the First Men and everyone that came after. There’s a lot of magic associated with them in a very similar way as the Targaryens. So if nothing else, this storyline will be a lot of world building.


Things are not great, Bob. Dany ended last season in the worst state she’s been in since her khal abandoned her after her stillbirth and death of her husband (which is saying a lot). Filming locations include Mailligan, Navarre, and Tabernas Desert as the Dothraki Sea; Sant Pere de Galligants and Placa dels Jurats as a Braavosi theatre; Ferran el Catolic, Sant Marti, and l’Escola Pia as various parts of Braavos; Pechina as Vaes Dothrak; Mesa Roldan Tower for parts of Meereen; and the Roma bridge in Cordoba as Long Bridge in Volantis.

We know Daenerys Targaryen has been taken prisoner by Khal Jhaqo and carted back to Vaes Dorthak (likely to be put in her place among the Dosh Khaleen). However, there was a large bonfire spotted on the Vaes Dothrak set, suggesting a possible execution or repeat of the event that gave Dany her moniker “the Unburnt.” Fans speculate she will combine her Unsullied forces with the Dothraki. Filming between Dany actress Emilia Clarke and Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) took place on the Meereen set and it is believed Varys will move to Volantis.


This is where things get choppy. Considering the inclusion of Maggy the Frog’s prophecy that Cersei would outlive all her children before being dethroned by a younger queen, it is likely Tommen will also meet his end this season. That younger queen could be Margaery if the Tyrells assume power, it could be Sansa if she exercises her right to inherit her brother’s throne in the North, it could be Dany if she lands in Westeros this season with an army and dragons at her back. Either way, Cersei’s time is almost up in many ways.

The biggest thing, however, is the possibility we may finally get confirmation of R+L=J, a.k.a. the most prevalent and likely theory behind Jon Snow’s mysterious parentage. Essentially, Jon Snow was Ned Stark’s nephew and adopted son, and Lyanna Stark is his mother. And the father? Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. So, unfortunately, Jon would still be a bastard, but a really cool bastard. It is likely, despite this parentage, Snow will choose his Stark side in the end. But it’s been confirmed that actors have been cast as young Ned, Lyanna, and their brother, as well as a young Robert Baratheon. And we can all finally say I KNEW IT.

The worshipers of R’hollor, also known as the Lord of Light and the Red God, seem to be on the rise. Several Red Priests and Priestesses have been cast and Melisandre is continuing on despite the loss of her champion. This begs the question: is Quaithe among them? The mysterious Red Priestess was seen briefly in season two and plays a much bigger role later on as Dany’s personal Rafiki, informing her that “to go forward you must go back” and a Mufasa style “remember who you are” speech. And with Dany being taken back to Vaes Dothrak, Quaithe is getting her wish. Likewise, Arya has given into the faith of the Red God, accepting blindness as she trains as a Faceless Man to bring “names” to R’hollor.

Speaking of the Red God, one briefly touched upon plot point that becomes incredibly important later on is the prophecies of Azor Ahai. The stories and legends surround it is likely a crapshoot but many fans have speculated Dany and Jon to be at the center of this “chosen one” fiasco, considering their respective fulfillment of many aspects of this prophecy. Considering this Prince that Was Promised (believed to be a “Princess that Was Promised” by Maester Aemon) is destined to destroy the White Walkers, it might be nice if some of it were true. And who doesn’t want to see a team up between Dany, her dragons, and Jon Snow?


Here is a big old list of just general casting additions for this season. Some are more exciting than others.
  • Dean S. Jagger as Smalljon Umber, a member of House Umber and bannerman to the Boltons (previously the Starks)
  • Sam Coleman as young Hodor, the large Stark retainer known for simply repeating his name over and over
  • Elie Haddad as an unnamed Dothraki khal 
  • Ian McShane as an unknown character
  • Ricky Champ as Flynn, an outlaw 
  • Andrei Claude as Khal Rhalko, a khal written for the show
  • Max von Sydow as the Three-eyed Raven, a mysterious man living beyond the Wall who calls to Bran telepathically. He is believed by many fans to be Bryndyn Rivers, a legitimized bastard of House Targaryen 
  • Souad Faress as the High Priestess of the Dosh Khaleen, a group of widowed khaleesi who serve as spiritual guides in Vaes Dothrak 
  • Sebastian Croft as young Ned Stark
  • Joe Naufahu as Khal Jhaqo, a former bloodrider to Khal Drogo who assumed leadership of the khalasar and abandoned Daenerys
  • Eddie Eyre as an unknown character
  • Melanie Liburd as High Priestess Kinvara, a worshipper of the Red God in Volantis
  • Pilou Asbaek as Euron Greyjoy, the younger brother of Balon Greyjoy, now claiming to be King of the Iron Islands 
  • Luke Roberts as an unknown character
  • Freddie Stroma as Dickon Tarly, the younger brother of Samwell Tarly and heir to Horn Hill
  • Rebecca Benson as Talla Tarly, the younger sister of Samwell Tarly
  • Samantha Spiro as Lady Melissa Tarly, mother of Samwell Tarly 
  • James Faulkner as Randyll Tarly, father of Samwell Tarly and Lord of Horn Hill
  • Robert Aramayo as an unknown character
  • Richard E Grant as Izembaro, the head of a Braavosi acting troupe
  • Essie Davis as Lady Stork, an actress in a Braavosi acting troupe 
Here is an official trailer that dropped late Sunday night featuring characters past and present, living and dead, all within the Hall of Faces.

Winter is nearly here once again (well, metaphorically speaking. Literally, it’s already here, so please don’t get confused) and with it is going to come some huge moments for TV and general pop culture. So don’t miss it!


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