Surprising deaths, naked ladies, and elaborate plots can only mean one thing; Game of Thrones his back on the air. The HBO juggernaut, based on the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, kicked off Season 6 last weekend.
For the first time since it premiered in 2011, Game of Thrones has overtaken its source material. The unique situation has been a cause of concern for fans since the end of Season 5. Without George R. R. Martin's detailed road map to follow, some fans wondered if the quality of Game of Thrones would suffer.
The first episode of Season 6, "The Red Woman," seemed designed to both shock fans and assure them that it will still be business as usual in the world of Westeros gross. Unfortunately for some characters, the business of Westeros usually involves someone at the wrong end of a pointy object.
Flashbacks will play a larger role in Game of Thrones Season 6. There will be at least two flashbacks this season. Both will involve Ned Stark, the patriarch of the northern noble family who met his end at the hand of the Lannisters in Season 1.
According to fansite Watchers on the Wall, ten-year-old British actor Matteo Elezi will portray young Benjen Stark, while actor Sebastian Croft will portray young Eddard Stark. The flashback will occur courtesy of Bran Stark's growing visions, which means they may have been as soon as Episode 2, "Home."
There is no word on what Bran might discover while watching young Benjen and Eddard Stark, but the subject of the second flashback could prove a long-held theory among Game of Thrones fans.
Fans have long speculated about the identity of Jon Snow's parents. Many fans believe that he is the bastard child of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. As evidence, fans cite the battle of the Tower of Joy, an incident Ned Stark refers to in the novels but has so far been unreferenced in Game of Thrones.
It's possible, and one long-running fan theory has already been confirmed this season of Game of Thrones. At the end of "The Red Woman," Melisandre transformed from her usual young appearance to that of an old woman. Fans have long suspected that Melisandre's appearance was a glamor, a spell meant to fool others. The writers of Game of Thrones even hinted at the theory in Season 5.
Overall, Game of Thrones Season 6 will probably be more mystical than previous seasons. Fan site Winter is Coming suspects that Season 6 will rely heavily on prophecies. The A Song of Ice and Fire series relies heavily on prophecies as character motivations, but until Season 5, they were largely ignored on the show.
It's possible that the dialogue related to prophecy is a red herring. Then again, it seems unlikely that the writers would have three characters mention prophecies if the story didn't lead somewhere.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO.
[Image via HBO]