(Warning - potential SPOILERS abound below for the TV show version of Game of Thrones, along with at least one definite one for the forthcoming novel The Winds of Winter. Proceed with caution, and all that...)
Now, when Game of Thrones' fifth season ended with all of the deaths, it's probably fair to say that a giant chunk of the internet was a) pretty darned pissed off about one particular fatality, and b) slightly unclear as to just who had and hadn't died. After all, between all of the stabbings, beheadings and general rampart-jumping, it's not exactly crystal clear who we'll be seeing return in Season 6.
There Is, However, One Character Who We Were Pretty Sure Was Very, Very Dead
Specifically, Stannis Baratheon.
After all, the man who directed the final episode - David Nutter - confirmed as much in no uncertain terms.
The latest word from George R.R. Martin - who, since he wrote the books the show is based on, really ought to know - might just put even that into doubt, however. Y'see:
According to Martin, Stannis Is Officially Still Alive...in the Books
Which, seeing as Game of Thrones' fifth season very slightly overtook the books - with the sixth installment not due out until next year at the earliest - does actually make a whole lot of sense.
After all, while when we last left Stannis in the fifth novel, A Dance With Dragons, the word was that he was dead, we've already seen an extract from the forthcoming The Winds of Winter in which Stannis is very much alive. As such, Martin's recent comments on his LiveJournal, in which he revealed that Stannis is...
"Alive, beyond a doubt."
...are perhaps not all that surprising.
The big question, though?
Could We Still See Him Return in the Series, Too?
After all, Game of Thrones' producers have long been claiming that the also-seemingly-killed-off Jon Snow is very, very dead - and pretty much no-one believes them.
Is it possible that we'll see Stannis return - perhaps in a similar manner to the R'hllor-fuelled resurrection that many have speculated is awaiting Jon Snow?
Well, either that, or (major book-related SPOILER alert for non-novel reading fans of the show)...
...we could see him turn up as a minion of Lady Stoneheart, should she ever appear in the series - after all, the characters who've ended up entangled with her in the novels could well prove too plot-integral (and fan-beloved) to be used as a pawn in her revenge-schemes. Stannis, on the other hand...
What do you think?