Copious spoilers for every season of Game of Thrones so far. Continue at your own risk...
The finale of season 5 of HBO's hit drama Game of Thrones left watchers wide eyed, wide mouthed, and with one or two questions. Before I go any further, I just want to say again SPOILERS. Seriously, if you don't want literally everything in this show so far spoiled for you than stop reading.
Okay. Here we go. As I said, the last episode of season 6 of GoT,"Mother's Mercy," left watchers dumbfounded and flabbergasted. So many things happened. SO MANY THINGS. I am going to do my best not to approach this article from a book-reader's point of view, but because I was reading A Song of Ice and Fire a couple years before I ever watched Game of Thrones, it might be a little hard. That being said I highly recommend the books, I think they are leaps and bounds above the shows. In the article I'll discuss rumors, new cast members and who they may be, fan theories than sound REALLY plausible, and how everyone's favorite Lord Commander of the Night's Watch is going to return from the dead.
First, let's talk about the new cast members, one in particular; Ian McShane. The most prevailing rumor, and this seems like a good one to me, is that he is going to play the Elder Brother. Now, a little background, the Elder Brother is the leader of a religious monastery-type place dedicated to the Seven called The Quiet Isle, a small isle in the Bay of Crabs that gets its name from the vows of silence that some of the brothers take there.
In book 4, A Feast for Crows, Brienne, Podrick Payne, Ser Hyle Hunt, and Septon Meribald, travel to the Quiet Isle in search of Sansa and Arya Stark. While there, they meet the Elder Brother. While walking with him, Brienne witnesses a large man with a limp and other scars that are strikingly similar to Sandor Clegane's injuries he got in the inn on the Crossroads, or as far as the show is concerned, from Brienne herself. George R.R. Martin goes on to write that this Gravedigger bends pets a dog that wanders up to him. Some - myself included - believe that this is a nod to House Clegane's sigil of three black dogs on a yellow field, and of course Sandor's nickname of The Hound. The Elder Brother goes on to say that he even nursed the Hound until his death, after finding him very injured. The Elder Brother also says that he himself died in a battle and was reborn in the light of the Seven. The Hound's horse, Stranger - renamed Driftwood by the brothers - is also present on the isle, and the Elder Brother knows much more of the Hound than he should from simply nursing him until his death. He even says that he is "at rest." I think that if Ian McShane is going to play the Elder Brother, than we can almost definitely expect a return of The Hound.
Here's the video if you want to hear more of The Gravedigger Theory...
That brings me to another theory regarding a Clegane... the Mountain. It seems very plausible, probably even likely that the big knight at the end of season 5 is a reincarnated Ser Gregor Clegane, Sandor's larger, abusive, big brother, who we saw poisoned by Oberyn Martell in season 4. But then he was given to Qyburn, who we've repeatedly been told was kicked from the Citadel because of his unnatural experiments he carried out on live subjects. This coupled with the doalogue he had with Cersei after the Mountain's poisoning about how he wouldn't be weaker, he would just be different. I think all signs point to the fact that Ser Robert Strong - as he is called in the books - is the Mountain, Ser Gregor Clegane.
That leads to another theory that would be the GREATEST FIGHT IN GAME OF THRONES HISTORY... Cleganebowl. Cersei has her champion, but who will the faith choose as theirs? Why not a great proven fighter and ex-knight of the Kingsguard turned silent brother, Sandor Clegane. This Cleganebowl theory has birthed quite a few videos, gifs, and pics online. Here are a couple, just so you can get hyped.
Okay they're both kinda stupid, but it still illustrates how excited people are for this, even if it isn't completely confirmed.
Moving on to the theory everyone has been waiting for, how is Jon Snow going to come back? Well here's my theory; it isn't coincidence that everyone's least favorite red priestess Melisandre showed up almost the exact scene that Jon Snow was stabbed to death by his sworn brothers. And what was she asking Thoros of Myr about in season 3? Resurrection. Thoros has brought back Beric Dondarrion, the Lightning Lord of Blackhaven six times from the dead. Also, Melisandre was showing some special attention (if you know what I mean) to Jon this past season, attention she only shows to men with "King's Blood." Of course that may just be referring to Jon's half brother, Robb Stark, who was The King of the North, before his untimely death by stabbing in the Red Wedding. I also don't see why the writers would give us that dramatic stare-down between Jon Snow and the White Walker just to kill Jon for the entire series two episodes later. Also, HBO released this poster for season 6 only last week that featured a bloodied up Jon on it.
And Kit Harrignton was seen on the set of season 6, dressed in Stark armor instead of his Night's Watch black.
To me, all signs point to the fact that he will be returning in season 6. Hell, we haven't even figured out who his real parents are.
All in all, Game of Thrones' sixth season should be pretty stellar.