Everything You Need To Know About Game Of Thrones Season 6

New characters, old characters and at least one major battle

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With just over two months to go before Game of Thrones returns to our screens, it feels like the perfect time to round up what we know about season six so far, mainly thanks to the eagle-eyed work of fan sitesWatchers On The Wall and Winter Is Coming.

New characters, battles and quite possibly some resurrections – if you want to remain unspoiled, look away now...

1 | Everyone you love will die eventually

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2 | Our favourite characters' futures are more uncertain than ever

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When these eight images  from season six were recently released, they presented far more questions than answers. Will Daenerys evade the Dothraki? Will Tyrion be successful in his rule? And will Bran stop being boring? Only time will tell.

3 | Jon Snow is... well, he's around

Let's talk facts: Kit Harington has been seen on set. This means that, in some way or another, Jon Snow will be seen in season six. That he's been pictured alongside actress Carice van Houten strongly suggests that her character Melisandre has something to do with his potential resurrection. When considering HBO's recent confirmation of Stannis' death – not to mention Melisandre showing up to The Wall as Snow met his demise – surely it's all but confirmed?  
 

4 | There's a new Red Queen

While we're on the subject of Melisandre, we may as well talk about the fact there'll be a new Servant of the Red God in town named Kinvara played by British actress Melanie Liburd (CSI). Probably a good time to remind you of the leaked audition script which placed a new Priestess in Mereen with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleith Hill) – a Priestess who claims that Emilia Clarke's Daenerys is the Lord of Light's real chosen saviour. Acting on the assumption that Melisandre's priming Jon Snow for the role, this could lead to the head-butting of the show's two most beloved characters. Which leads us to the below...

5 | Long-standing theories will be addressed

For hints of what to expect, eager fans have looked to the filming locations – and seem to have unearthed something pretty huge. Spain's 12th century Castillo de Zafra in Guadalajara – in other words, a single tower – has convinced book fans this building will fill in for the Tower of Joy, the place where, in the past, a young Ned Stark finds his sister Lyanna after she's imprisoned by Rhaegar Targaryen (brother of Daenerys). It's here where Lyanna dies, her final words to Ned being "Promise me...".

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Quite how she died and what Ned promised remains a secret, but a popular theory (referred to as 'R+L=J') is that Lyanna died in childbirth after giving birth to Rhaeger's baby – none other than Jon Snow – with Ned promising to raise him as his own. If all this is confusing you, just know that this would make Jon and Dany family.

6 | Lots of characters are returning

Expect to see some old familiars returning in season six. While still-living characters we've met before (Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully and Walder Frey – both not seen since season three's Red Wedding) will be coming back, it's the characters currently down as 'deceased' that are getting us excited: The Hound actor Rory McCann has been spotted near filming locations in Belfast while Sibel Kikelli – who played Tyrion's traitorous love, Shea – has also been glimpsed on set (filming a flashback? Enjoying a holiday?) 

For better or worse, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and Osha (Natalie Tena) will also be back after a season five hiatus.

7 | We're going back to Riverrun  with a few familiar faces

There's going to be a big battle at Riverrun this season, the childhood home of the late Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), which explains away Clive Russell's reappearance as her uncle, The Blackfish. Taken from the fourth book in George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, the storyline sees the castle come under siege from Lannister forces – led by Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) – which was promised to the Freys as a consequence of the Red Wedding. No word on who'll lead the Tully forces, but fans are hoping this could mark the introduction of Lady Stoneheart – a reanimated Catelyn brought back to life by Brotherhood Without Banners leader, Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer).

Regardless, word is Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) will also show up to protect her old sworn sword's home turf. Seems like that Jaime-Brienne happy reunion will be short-lived...

8 | Expect a Cersei and Olenna showdown

Taking a backseat this season will be King's Landing. Not much has been reported about the happenings involving Lena Headey's Cersei post-'shame-walk', but Lady Olenna Tyrell herself Dianna Rigg has teased a showdown between the two queens. "I've got a head-on with Cersei coming up and it's really good," Rigg claimed. Lest we forget Olenna was one of two parties involved in Joffrey's poisoning; could that little detail be on the cusp of discovery?

9 | The Battle of the Bastards

Exactly what it says on the tin, this. Jon Snow may technically be dead but another reason to etch a strike on the 'alive' tally is that the set photo of Harington was presumably taken during filming of what many are assuming will be season six's dreaded episode nine. In this battle, Snow is expected to make a dramatic return to save Sansa (Sophie Turner) from the clutches of Ramsey Bolton (Iwan Rheon) at Winterfell. Scenes showing three characters being burned alive by Bolton have reportedly been shot, and here's the kicker – they're all characters we know.

10 | There'll be an influx of fresh blood

As is the norm with a new season of Thrones, a whole host of new characters are set to be inducted into the world of Westeros. There's Max Von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven and both Richard E Grant and Ian McShane will star in important as-of-yet undisclosed roles. The Greyjoys are to be expanded through Danish actor Pilou Asbæk who'll be playing Euron, uncle of Theon (Alfie Allen), as well as the Tarlys with Freddie Stroma playing Samwell's brother, Dickon (stop sniggering). Bringing a touch of lightheartedness (well, kinda) to the show is The Babadook's Essie Davis who'll be playing her very own version of Cersei Lannister as part of a travelling theatre troup. 

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