What can we expect?
Earlier this week, HBO delivered another tension-filled tease of what we can expect on Monday from TV’s bloodiest drama.
The network has released a trailer for episode two of Thrones’s sixth season, which promises to move events on swiftly from the fast-paced season opener that aired in the UK earlier this week.
Ramsay Snow, who looked grim as he realised he had savaged ties with potential allies in the north in season six episode one, can be seen making a plan to storm Castle Black in an attempt to restore Sansa Stark, his reluctant wife, to Winterfell.
Meanwhile, Arya, still blind, is gaining strength against the Waif, and we see the long-awaited return of Bran, who was last seen on screen at the end of season four.
Despite protection from a mute and terrifying Frankenmountain (what we’ve taken to calling the resurrected, armour-clad Lannister guard), Cersei comes up against resistance on the orders of the King, who awkwardly happens to be her son, while Tyrion encounters the dragons.
HBO have also released synopses for the next two episodes of the season, which shed a little light for those really engrossed in Game of Thrones.
Will we see Ian McShane’s character? And what about the Hound?
Thanks to McShane’s habit of saying a little bit more than he should in interviews (someone really should just ask him about Jon Snow), fans of George RR Martin’s books have already guessed that the actor will be playing a character named the Elder Brother on Game of Thrones season six.
“My character is an ex-warrior who has become a peacenik,” the admirably indiscreet McShane told BBC Breakfast earlier this year. “So I have this group of peaceful…sort of a cult, a peaceful tribe. I bring back a much loved character who everyone thinks is dead.”
In Martin’s books, the Elder Brother leads an island community of men who have taken a vow of silence. Known as the Quiet Isle, it’s a peaceful place where washed-up penitents can find some respite from past trauma.
In Martin’s book A Feast For Crows, Brienne (played on the show by Gwendoline Christie) visits the island, meets the Elder Brother, and notices a gravedigger who bears a strong physical resemblance to The Hound/Sandor Clegane.
But the island is located in the Riverlands – and right now, as we saw in last week’s episode, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is much further North, where she’s been busy rescuing Sansa and Theon from Ramsay’s men and generally being badass.
That said, given that the show has diverged from the books and is busy forging its own path, it’s perfectly possible that it’ll be another character altogether who meets McShane.
Our bet, however, is that we may have to wait a few more weeks.
Will we see Max von Sydow’s character?
The answer to this is almost certainly yes, if the trailer, preview images and episode summary are anything to go by. Von Sydow plays the Three Eyed Raven, an ancient seer who is training Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright), helping him hone his supernatural gifts, and showing him how to “see” the past.
Why have I seen pictures of Bran standing up? Isn’t he a ‘cripple’?
Sadly, the preview images probably don’t indicate that Bran is getting a miracle cure. Instead, they suggest that the episode will almost certainly show some of the character’s visions of the past.
Will we find out who Jon Snow’s parents are?
We already know that actors have been cast to play younger incarnations of Bran’s father, Eddard Stark – and, judging by the preview image of Bran standing up in what looked like the Winterfell courtyard, it looks as if this week’s visions may be concerned with past events that took place at the Stark homestead.
But, earlier this year, eagle-eyed fans spotted some flashback scenes featuring a young Eddard Stark in one of the seasons six trailers. In them, he was battling men clad in Targaryen armour.
Fans of Martin’s books took this as a sign that, through Bran’s visions, we’d be looking at a key chapter of Westerosi history, and at events that took place at a location known as the Tower of Joy.
This Tower, in case you need a memory boost, was where Stark encountered his dying sister Lyanna after her alleged abduction by Rhaegar Targaryen (the now-deceased elder brother of Daenerys). Her last words were “Promise me, Ned.”
We’re not going to spell out the theory here (google “R+L=J” if you’re curious). But suffice to say, many fans believe the scene could hold the key to Jon’s true heritage.
Could Bran’s episode two visions finally give us some answers? While it seems more likely that the showrunners will save such a big reveal for later in the series, there’s still a chance it could happen this week. Fingers crossed.
Will Jon Snow return?
It’s the question that continues to dominate the majority of Game of Thrones discussions. But after all the hype, the opening episode of season six failed to provide a satisfactory answer.
Truth is, people are starting to come round to the idea that Jon Snow mightactually be dead. He was certainly showing no signs of stirring from that pool of blood.
But have Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D. B. Weissreally got the same killer instinct as author George R R Martin?
Season 6, Episode 2: Home – synopsis
Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) trains with the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow). In King’s Landing, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) advises Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman). Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) demands good news, but has to make his own. At Castle Black, the Night’s Watch stands behind Thorne (Owen Teale). Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) proposes a plan, and Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide) entertains other proposals.