Spoiler Warning: The following article and video contains possible spoilers for the next season of Game of Thrones. It also includes some spoilers from the book series A Song of Ice and Fire.
We may still be more than six months away from the return of Game of Thrones, but that didn't stop one fan from getting his Westeros fix! Richard Atkinson was in Castillo de Zafra in Spain where he shot a video, allegedly of an on-set swordfight.
It's not the clearest video, and there's plenty of time spent crawling up to the crest of a hill and pointing down to see some lovely moss, but there are also a few frames of a swordfight in there.
According to Mr. Atkinson, the fight is between a man in armor who he doesn't recognize...and Sean Bean!
Yes, Mr. Eddard Stark is back, which is quite impressive given that his head was lopped off last time we saw him.
If this is true (it's very hard to tell from the blurry video), presumably this is a flashback scene being filmed, and Ned hasn't actually returned from the dead. The set location is rumored to be used for scenes set at the Dornish Tower of Joy.
In the books, this is where Ned's sister was held captive during the war, and Ned fought his way in to rescue her, suggesting that this is the scene being filmed.
Why this flashback?
Assuming that this is the case, why is it an important scene? We haven't really seen any flashbacks to Ned since his death, and he's been out of the picture for some time. What would be important enough to warrant bringing him back?
The incredible finale of Season 5 ended with Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, being brutally stabbed by his men because of his attempts to save the Wildlings from certain death north of the Wall. There are a lot of rumors flying about whether or not Jon is 'actually' dead, but no matter the outcome, there is little doubt that we will spend a fair amount of time on the character when the show returns.
More fan theories suggest that Jon Snow is not Ned Stark's bastard at all, but the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen -- making him an ideal candidate to join forces with Daenerys (assuming she ever makes it to Westeros). Even more importantly, with doubts being publicly cast on the parentage of King Tommen, this could make Jon Snow a candidate for the throne, along with various other illegitimate sons of Robert and Rhaegar, and of course Daenerys.
If we are going to spend time on the lineage of those who could potentially have a stronger claim than Tommen, this could mean huge changes in the show. The Lannister rule may be ending -- Tywin is dead, Tyrion is in Meereen, Jaime is crippled and away from the capital, Myrcella wanted to remain in Dorne (and ended up poisoned anyway!), Joffrey is dead and Cersei is disgraced. Margaery will no doubt be trying to keep Tommen on the throne, but there are powerful forces stirring to remove him.
Even more exciting for those fans of the books, a focus on potential Targaryen rulers means that we may finally get to meet Young Griff, a.k.a. Aegon Targaryen.
Aegon, for those non-book-readers, is the son of prince Rhaegar and Elia Martell. All of these names getting confusing? Well, he's one of the children that Oberyn Martell was attempting to avenge when he was killed as Tyrion's champion. Aegon has been protected and tutored in secret exile, but is now actively seeking a way back to the throne -- and it seems that he may have a decent shot at it with the current ruling house in shambles.
While George R R Martin has confirmed that sister Rhaenys was actually killed during the sack of King's Landing, the series does deviate from the books, so this could mean that another character will appear as well.
This is huge news, and it's all from a short video shot on a clifftop... let's just hope that it's the real deal!