Game of Thrones is well-known for killing off characters, but it seems that the upcoming sixth season may be the one to start bringing them all back to life!
The biggest question mark hangs over the tousled head of Lord Commander Jon Snow, who ended Season Five (and the most recent novel) stabbed and bleeding in the yard of Castle Black. Although it may seem like a fairly straightforward death scene, many people believe that we haven't seen the last of Ned Stark's bastard. For one thing, actor Kit Harrington never cut Jon's trademark locks, and was later spotted on set for the show. Cast and creators have also been maddeningly contradictory about his fate, with some stating outright that he is dead, while others wink and nod and say that he's not really that dead. Fan theories range from him surviving his wounds to his human body dying while he wargs into his direwolf, Ghost.
However, Jon Snow isn't the only character who may or may not be dead this season. Season Six includes multiple potential resurrections, one of which we've been waiting for since Season Three.
Who else is returning?
- Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon are returning to the show, despite both being killed off in Season One. However, they aren't actually returning from the grave; instead, we are to see the two as young men at the Tower of Joy. Two new actors were filmed on set in Spain during this scene.
- Shae, the traitorous lover of Tyrion Lannister, was also spotted on set in Spain. She was seen filming in and around the fictional city of Meereen, despite having been strangled by Tyrion during his escape. Shae could theoretically still be alive, having only passed out when Tyrion choked her, but the more likely explanation for her presence in Meereen is as a vision of Tyrion's.
- Theon Greyjoy, while never technically dead in body, was very much dead in soul over the past few seasons. Tortured into insanity by Ramsey Bolton, he became the cowering Reek. However, we saw him break out of this at the end of Season Five when he murdered Bolton's mistress to save Sansa.
- The Hound is also rumored to return, as Rory McCann was spotted in Belfast, near one of the Westeros sets. The Hound was presumed dead after Arya left him broken and bleeding on a hillside. A major moment for Arya, she may have thought she was being cruel by refusing to put him out of his misery, but if he survived, she won't be happy when she finds out.
- Brynden 'Blackfish' Tully has been confirmed as re-emerging this season as well. The Blackfish was last seen at the Red Wedding, but he left the hall before the massacre. It seems that he slunk back to Riverrun rather than give up his life.
As far as resurrection and reappearance goes, this season is going to be a doozy! However, there is one final character who could well be on the way...
Readers of the books know that there are a couple of fairly important characters who have yet to make an appearance in the TV series, and one of the biggest is Lady Stoneheart... whose original name was Catelyn Stark!
In the books, after Catelyn's body was tossed into the river, it was found and dragged ashore by Arya's direwolf, Nymeria. Here, she is found by Beric Dondarrion, who has converted to the faith of the Lord of Light. He is able to resurrect her with magic, although he dies his seventh death in the process, and his flaming sword goes out forever. The spell returns her to life, but is unable to heal her wounds, leaving her with a slit throat and bloated skin from being left in the river.
The resurrected Catelyn (now Lady Stoneheart) is a shadow of her former self, obsessed with revenge for the death of her son. She gathers supporters around her, and murders anyone who she believes to be connected to the massacre at the Red Wedding.
This Could Be Lady Stoneheart's Season
Fans of the books have been wondering if and when we would see Lady Stoneheart, as her appearance in the books has long passed by. Many believe that she will simply not be included in the series, as she hasn't yet been vital to the main plot - although presumably, George R R Martin didn't just bring her back for funsies. Now, signs are pointing toward her return this year.
The return of the Blackfish is a big hint. We know that he will be returning to Riverrun to attempt to hold the castle against the Lannisters and their allies, as he did in the books. This event happens around the same time as the resurrection of Catelyn Stark, suggesting that these events have simply been rearranged, rather than excluded entirely. These events are also largely unimportant (or seem to be) in terms of the major plot lines currently happening in the show. Why would viewers' attention be re-directed to House Tully if something big wasn't planned for that house?
The religion of the Lord of Light will also be getting more attention in this series. As well as Melisandre on the wall, we are going to be meeting another Red Priestess (to be played by Melanie Liburd). The Priestess Kinvara will appear in Meereen, presumably to attempt to influence Daenerys (once she returns to the city). This is a sign that the influence of the faith of R'hllor is spreading, and will have a bigger impact in Season Six.
We'll be seeing more of the Direwolves and the warg abilities of the Starks this season as well. We know that Bran and Summer are back in play for Season 6, and that Bran has spent the months of Season 5 training in the Northern caves. At this point, he will presumably be an accomplished skinchanger. Ghost will also be reappearing, and if fan theory is correct, we may see Jon Snow living on within his white wolf's body. Rickon and Shaggydog may also be back in play this year, as many theorists speculate that Sansa will be brought to her brother by the friends the Stark family still has in the North. It makes sense to think that we will also be finding out what happened to Nymeria after Arya drove her away... to find Catelyn's body!
The Biggest Clue Of All
While there are many little things that point toward the appearance of Lady Stoneheart, one in particular stands out. It's been confirmed that Ian McShane will be joining the cast, but his character name has been kept carefully secret. However, McShane revealed that his appearance would be a one off, and gave us an incredible hint when he told PopGoesTheNews that he would be bringing someone back from the dead.
I’ll give you one hint, I am responsible for bringing somebody back that you think you’re never going to see again. I’ll leave it at that.
His role has also been linked to a casting call that describes the character as "a man in his 40s or 50s. A gruff ex-soldier who found religion. Now a no-nonsense rural priest who ministers to the poor of the countryside. He’s salt-of-the-earth man who has weathered many battles.". Some have speculated that this could point to him being Septon Meribald, the man who finds the Hound in the books (and could potentially have brought him back to life).
However, this description could also be for a new Red Priest who finds the body of Catelyn Stark, and brings her back to life instead of Beric Dondarrion. Or brings her to Beric Dondarrion.
None of this is entirely conclusive, of course. Michelle Fairly hasn't been spotted on set, or given any hint that she would be returning. It's perfectly possible that we will see multiple new Red Priests and Priestesses, more of the Direwolves, Riverrun, the Blackfish, and a different person returning who you never thought you would see again. However, the evidence is definitely stacking up to support the theory that Lady Stoneheart will finally be making an appearance.
Game of Thrones season 6 begins April 24th on HBO.