The return of everyone's favorite gritty, blood-soaked fantasy series is imminent, and, boy, am I eager to see where things are going on Game of Thrones. This season is particularly intriguing for pre-TV fans of the series, because it's the first season that covers chronology past what's found in the books. So fair warning: the mysteries on this list concern developments that pick up from where the last season of the show and the fifth book end, so if you haven't watched/read that far, beyond here lie spoilers — and for those of us reared on the books, this season will be the first time we have to deal with potential book spoilers from the show.
That's not to say that what happens in this season is necessarily going to be a spoiler for the events of The Winds of Winter, whenever we might get it, because the events of the books and the show have already diverged in some notable ways. Still, it's safe to assume that the show won't be so different from what George R.R. Martin has written/will write for the sixth and future books that they will cease to be relevant to the show. That means some pretty big plot points that I've been waiting to have resolved are now just days away from being revealed, even if the eventual book versions are slightly/radically different. Here are the five that have me most curious.
5. How about those remaining book events?
Without getting too book-spoilery, there are some pretty significant events in the books that didn't make the TV series — at least not yet. At the same time, the chronology of the TV series and the books are just different enough to make me think that some or all of them could still make an appearance. If they do, I assume it will be soonish, though I obviously have no way to know that for sure. Like I said, I don't want to get too spoilery for those who haven't read the books and still want to (you really should — they're at least as good as the show), but there are some pretty interesting things going on with Catelyn Stark, at the very least, that I'd love to see addressed, plus a host of other loose ends — Euron Greyjoy? Aegon Targaryen? — that could still be woven in.
4. Is Daenerys ever going to make it Westeros?
From the very beginning, Martin has done a hell of a job serving up delicious red herrings (c'mon, tell me you didn't believe 100 percent that Ned Stark was the hero of the series right up to the moment he lost his fucking head?), but Daenerys can't be yet another one, can she? All of the pieces seem to be moving to set her up as the savior of Westeros from dangers both earthly (the gross mismanagement of the Baratheon/Lannister regimes) and unearthly (that goddamn army of wights and zombies up beyond the Wall). Still, in order to save Westeros, she needs to get there at some point, right? Anyone else kind of bored, restless and even annoyed with all the futzing about in Meereen? And now she's been captured by the Dothraki? Sure, she's learning to be a just and wise ruler in the hardest way possible, but couldn't we just get that in a sweet '80s-style montage and get her to where the real action is, already?
3. How important is Dorne, anyway?
Apart from giving us Oberyn Martell, the most beloved and badass bisexual in TV history, and eventually killing off yet another of Cerce's children, what's the deal with Dorne? The same question could be asked of the books, but there's still a fair bit more going on there than made it to TV, and all of it seems to imply that Dorne is kind of a big deal...yet so far, it really isn't. Are we getting another wasteful war with Dorne, thanks to that little bit of assassination that closed season five? Are some of the Sand Snakes going to end up in Westeros or Meereen to wreak havoc? Or is Dorne destined to simply slide into obscurity once again?
2. What's up with the rest of the Stark children?
The books go into a fair bit of depth on the whereabouts and actions of both Rickon and Bran (more so Bran, but both get some). The show...not so much. Hell, you might have forgotten that they exist by this point, given their non-appearance in season five. Bran, in particular, is a lot busier than you might have guessed, given his no-show, but I have a sneaking suspicion all of the Stark kids are going to have some important roles to play in the story. Let's hope we have a better idea of what that is by the end of season six.
1. The End (and beginning) of Jon Snow?
How about that season five/book five closer, eh? The only man in the world who properly understands the threat of the White Walkers and has anything close to a reasonable plan to deal with them was just stabbed and left to bleed to death by his brothers of the Night's Watch. Is he dead? Like, for real dead? Book fans have theorized about potential returns, usually in the form of him using his warg powers to go into/merge consciousness with Ghost, his dire wolf, but the show kind of left all of that out, so who knows? Maybe Melisandre is going to call on the Lord of Light to bring him back, like Beric Dondarrion? Maybe something else, unique to the show? And while we're at it, is this season where we find out the origins of everyone's favorite bastard of the North? Who's his mom? Is he really Ned Stark's bastard, or someone else that Ned felt compelled to present as such? Just tell us, already!
Watch the season six premiere on Sunday, April 24, and all subsequent episodes, of Game of Thrones at one of Denver's several watch parties. Nerd Riot's weekly Game of Thrones party at Stoney's Bar & Grill, for example, starts at 6 p.m. Sundays.