When "Game of Thrones" picks up again after what's sure to be a long, dark, and very cold winter, it'll be after its most divisive and cliffhanger-happy finale yet. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Stannis (Stephen Dillane) are just two of the lives currently hanging in the balance, and with Cersei's (Lena Headey) plot caught up to George R. R. Martin's books and others, like Jaime's, headed in to completely uncharted territory, it's touch for readers to adequately guess what's going to happen.
However, given the recent slew of casting and location notices hitting the interwebs -- and also given that some characters still haven't caught up to their page counterparts -- we do have some solid theories about what's going to go down in Westeros.
Like, for example...
First and foremost, R+L=J SHOULD be revealed.
Kudos to the Internet for this one -- after a Spanish site revealed some new filming locations for season six, WatchersOnTheWall.com noticed that one of the new castles being used this season, the coastal Castillo de Zafra, could easily pass for the Tower of Joy -- AKA, the place where Eddard Stark once found his bloodied and dying sister Lyanna, and made her a super-secret promise that he took to his grave. The promise that many believe was to look after her newborn child (hence all that blood) and raise him as his own, because if Robert Baratheon found out she'd had a child with Rhaegar Targaryen, he'd slaughter the child just like he did Elia Martell's legitimate children with the Rhaegar. (The child is Jon Snow, in case you hadn't yet caught our drift.)
... And Bran will reemerge, with warg powers.
Lending itself to theory #1 is theory #2 -- that when Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) returns, as he confirmed earlier this week, he'll come fully equipped with warg powers. These warg powers, in the books, allow Bran to look into the past via the trees, so it's totally plausible (and heck, even likely) that "Thrones" will start revealing some of its long-standing secrets through Bran. Like, you know, the secret of Jon's birth that Eddard (and Jon) took to his grave.
Theon's family will take center-stage... and maybe try to marry Dany?
Late last May, a casting call was leaked that called for “man in his 40s to late 50s” who is “an infamous pirate who has terrorized seas all around the world. Cunning, ruthless, with a touch of madness.” This definitely sounds like Theon's dear old uncle Euron, who captained a ship populated by men whose tongues he'd ripped out, which is certainly one way to go about things if you value your peace and quiet.
Now, in the books, Theon's dad Balon died way, way back around the time when Robb and Joffrey did -- he's still alive on the show, but being that they shelved all of the Pyke stuff while Theon was with Ramsay, it wouldn't be surprising if the show offed him rather quickly in order to focus on the resulting battle for the Throne in Pyke, the "Kingsmoot," that also involves Theon's sister, Yara.
Euron's quest for power involves courting Dany in order to obtain her dragons -- and possibly murder her in the process -- so his presence on the casting call very highly suggests more trouble to come for the Mother of Dragons.
... And Theon and Sansa will go to Pyke?
... Hey, it's as likely as them going anywhere else. In the books, Theon doesn't escape with Sansa, as she's all the way back in the Vale with her gross little cousin. He instead is reunited with his sister -- who came to Winterfell to rescue him -- and promptly taken prisoner by Stannis. So basically, whatever happens to Theon and Sansa is largely dependent on whether or not Stannis lives (which the showrunners are adamantly denying, but they're also saying that about Jon Snow, so.)
If Stannis lives, count on him capturing the two of them as his Hail Mary pass. If not, maybe the two will head to Pyke and deal with the Greyjoy nonsense, because where the hell else do they have to go?
There'll be Littlefinger flashbacks.
Speaking of things Bran will see in trees... the casting notice also calls for "a trio of boys" -- with Northern accents, and one of them being a "newcomer" with "dark brown hair, a narrow face and green eyes." All of these things point to our boy Littlefinger... likely meeting Ned Stark and his older brother Brandon.
Given how their story played out and how it involved Bran's mother, it's highly plausible that this will be one of the many things he sees in those dang trees.
The Hound will return.
Another item in the casting call asked for a “Priest,” a “gruff ex-soldier who found religion” and who’s “now a no-nonsense rural priest who ministers to the poor of the countryside.” This highly suggests that Brienne and Pod will run into Septon Meribald during their travels, and Septon is the one who leads them to the place where the character readers think it the Hound -- a mysterious gravedigger -- is working. This is all on a quest to find Arya Stark, BTW, and it would definitely make sense for Show Brienne to finally give up on Sansa after the events of the finale in order to focus on the youngest Lady Stark.
And speaking of...
Arya will stay put, and kill more people.
Arya's storyline got a little bit topsy turvy timeline-wise as it translated from book to page, but we do know that she probably won't stay blind forever, and has a whole lot more training (killing) to do before she can officially be a Faceless (Wo)man.
The casting call also asks for "an elegant actress with a traveling theatre company," and since Arya briefly joins such a company during one of her assassination missions, we'd bank on her staying put in Braavos for quite some time.
Sam Tarly will have family drama.
While Arya stays put, Sam Tarly will finally get to travel somewhere that isn't ice-cold... but it won't be all sunshine and roses for Sam, as a casting notice heavily suggests that his entire family will be introduced in season six. Book-Sam first goes to Braavos -- and briefly encounters Arya -- while Aemon is dying, but since that already happened on the series, Sam and Gilly will likely visit Sam's horrible father to convince them to take in Baby Sam first.
It's also important to note that one of season six's confirmed filming locations, the cathedral of Girona, is supposedly a dead-ringer for the book's description of Oldtown... meaning Sam probably will get there by the end of next year, and hopefully he'll figure out how to deal with those White Walkers before it's too late.
Dany will go full Khaleesi, one last time.
At this point we're all caught up to Dany in the books, so what happens to her after Khal Jhaqo's khalasar discovered her is anyone's guess.
Meereen is only slightly more popular than Dorne on the HBO series, so we would guess that she'll pull out her Khaleesi charm, then somehow head to Westeros with Daario and Jorah on her trail. BUT -- and this is a huge but -- Tyrion is still in Meereen, and their chemistry was so great in their episodes together that it'd be a true shame to ignore that all next season. And she still needs her army back in Meereen to conquer Westeros (no way is Jhaqo's khalasar going to fill that void, even if they do decide to join her cause), so one way or another she has to be reunited with her people (and dragons) there.
Maybe Tyrion will finally prove the A+J=T theorists correct and ride over to her on, say, Rhaegal's back?
Jon Snow will be resurrected.
C'mon, guys -- they're not just going to give us five years of Wall/White Walker/Wildling plot buildup for nothing. And Melisandre was right there. He'll be fine. I'd bet a kidney on it.