On Thursday night (January 7), the HBO Gods both Old and New gifted us with the Season 6 premiere date for "Game of Thrones" -- Sunday, April 24. Then, mere hours later, we learned that the premium network was close to ordering not one, but two more seasons of "Thrones," bringing the grand total to 8. (Still no word on whether 8 will be the last, FYI.)
So, now that "Thrones" mania is at its highest since that one time last summer when Jon Snow died, we decided to examine all of the various rumors, interviews, and on-set photos we've seen and combine them with our knowledge of George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" book series, to present to you the 11 things that will definitely go down come April 24.
Book spoilers ahead!
Daenerys will be stuck in a pit of vipers.HBO
Not The Viper, sadly. He's still dead. But when we left Dany (Emilia Clarke) at the end of Season 5, Dany had flown on Drogon' wings to the middle of the Dothraki Sea... and thanks to vigilant fans and sites like Watchers on the Wall, we know that she will soon ride with a Khalasar again, this time with Daario Naharis by her side.
Arya will get involved in community theater.
Arya (Maisie Williams), who ended Season 5 on a low note as she became completely blind, should find herself involved with a theater troupe in Season 6 -- undercover for The Faceless Men, of course. English comedian Kevin Eldon and "The Babadook" star Effie Davis have been cast as two such theater performers, so it's pretty safe to say that at least some of what happens to Arya and the troupe in "A Dance With Dragons" should go down come April 24. (If not the stuff with Raff the Sweetling, which seemed to be replaced by the Meryn Trant storyline last year.)
Theon and Sansa will reunite with some old friends.Helen Sloan/HBO
It was seemingly an interesting summer of filming for Alfie Allen and Sophie Turner, who were said to have been spotted with everyone from Kit Harington (!) to Iwan Rheon (Ramsay, great) as they filmed battle scenes in the Belfast area. So, yeah -- that Battle for Winterfell is totally going to happen, just with 100 percent less Stannis that we'd initially thought.
Bran will hang out with a bird. (And Hodor!)HBO
Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), who spent all of Season 5 on the sidelines, should return with a vengeance this year, after having learned the ways of Warging, Greenseeing and such with the Three-eyed Raven (voiced by Max von Sydow). David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said that they cut the character out last season because a lot of his "training" consists of sitting around a tree having visions while a bird talks to him, so maybe count on less training scenes and more badass warg stuff. We hope.
Jaime will head to the Riverlands.HBO
Jaime's (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) ill-fated trip to Dorne was not exactly a fan favorite last season, as it seemed like nothing but an excuse to keep him on the show while putting off his actions in "A Feast For Crows," which basically include him roaming around the Riverlands to reestablish Lannister dominance after the War of the Five Kings. (Yawn.) However, a fan sighting heavily suggests that the Riverlands stuff will go down in Season 6 -- which could lead to great news for those who love seeing Jaime and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) together.
Brienne will do more than sit around and wait for a candle.Helen Sloan/HBO
Brienne has a whole lot to do in "A Feast For Crows" that hasn't happened on "Game of Thrones" yet, and based on some casting notices that went out last year, it sounds like at least some of Martin's version of her journey will finally make its way to the small screen. Count on her very probably heading to the Riverlands, where she may or may not run into Jaime (and maybe even Sansa, according to this report).
She also has a run-in with Beric Dondarrion's Brotherhood Without Banners around this time in the books, and based on the aforementioned casting notices, they should be showing up again for the first time since Season 3 -- and will possibly still meet up with Brienne.
The Iron Islands will be a thing again.
Get ready for Theon Greyjoy's hometown to finally become relevant to the overall story! His father Balon Greyoy died around the same time Joffrey and Robb did in Martin's books, but on the show, he's still alive and kicking -- but probably not for long. His devious brother (and Theon's uncle), Euron, has joined the series, and it's all but certain that Euron will do everything in his power to win Balon's crown and keep Balon's daughter Yara from coming to power, via an Iron Island tradition called a Kingsmoot. He also might want to take Dany Targaryen for a bride, since that's a thing in the books, but fat chance.
King's Landing will be a revenge-fueled hotbed of sin, just like it always is.Macall B. Polay/HBO
Everyone in King's Landing has essentially caught up to Martin's books, so it's hard to tell what's going to happen to Cersei (Lena Headey), Tommen (Dean Charles Chapman), Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and the rest of that squad. However, Dormer has been doing press for her new movie "The Forest," and she's made it clear that Marge will still be behind bars for at least part of Season 6 -- but with a new "sparring partner" to lighten up her emotional load.
“The beauty of 'Game of Thrones' is it’s always making these unlikely pairings from one season to the next," Dormer told Time. We all, season to season, get thrown in with a new sparring partner. And I’ve actually had a new sparring partner this season because Margaery is in jail and Cersei, obviously, after the walk of shame got back into the Keep,” she says.
Our money is on the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), while it seems like Cersei will partner up with Gregor Clegane, who swore at the end of Season 5 to remain totally silent until he'd slain all of Cersei's enemies.
As for Tommen, he'll probably still be stuck between Margaery, Cersei, the Sparrows, and Ser Pounce.
Tyrion will be stuck in the hellhole that is Meereen.HBO
Surely you recall that when Dany flew out of Meereen, she left Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) behind with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) to maintain law and order. Well, this never happened in Martin's books, but based on what did go down, we'd bet on Tyrion having to deal with a whole lot more war and famine in the far east. That's about all we know for now -- but hey, it should be nice getting to see Tyrion in charge again, even if his kingdom is broken and starving.
Sam will head to Oldtown, meet his family, and (hopefully) make out with Gilly.Helen Sloan/HBO
Poor Sam (John Bradley) -- he finally gets the girl (Hannah Murray) and the choice assignment to study to be a maester at the Citadel, only to find out he has to reunite with his family first. Sam's entire family has been cast, which includes his horrible father Randyll (James Faulkner) and his impossibly perfect kid brother Dickon (Freddie Stroma, AKA the hot guy from "UnReal"), so count on some Tarly family drama putting a serious dent in Sam and Gilly's happy times.
And finally, Jon Snow will come back to life and fight the Wildlings in one piece.HBO
Guys. He's fine.