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Guessing Game of Thrones Season 6

Sansa Stark Game of Thrones

Without the books as a guide, TV night is dark and full of theories

On Jan. 2, 2016, a great wail of disappointment was heard around the world. That was the day George R.R. Martin announced on his blog that he was still not finished writing The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in his Song of Ice and Fire series.

“I can’t think of any other instance where the movie or TV show came out as the source material was still being written. So when you ask me, ‘Will the show spoil the books?’ all I can do is say, ‘yes and no,’ ” he wrote. Just what does this mean for Season 6 of Game of Thrones?

At the end of Season 5, most of the series’ characters had caught up with their counterparts in the books, but a few — like Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) — have literally taken different paths on screen and on paper.

Fans are predicting every possible outcome for Sansa...

Of all the denizens of Westeros, no story arc has diverged more than that of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). In the series, she was last seen jumping off the walls of Winterfell with Theon “Reek” Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) to escape her sadistic husband, Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). But in the books, she’s still with the sneaky Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen), who’s arranging a very different marriage for her.

Fans are predicting every possible outcome for Sansa, from a reunion with an old frenemy, The Hound (Rory McCann), to becoming queen of Westeros. Turner has been dropping hints in interviews that this will be the season when Sansa finally gets to regain control of her life and maybe even play the game of thrones herself.

Assuming she and Theon emerge from a snowbank unscathed in the season opener, the sky’s the limit for Sansa; after all, the North remembers!

 ...Everyone expects he’ll be back. But how?

The Jon Snow Question

Fans believe he’s coming back. Or do they know nothing?

Readers and viewers alike last saw Jon Snow (Kit Harington) lying in a pool of blood, stabbed by his own men. In every interview, show insiders have insisted he’s really, truly, definitely dead. Nonetheless, everyone expects he’ll be back. But how?

Unlikely: Blood Magic

The powerful but dangerous Maegi witches can raise the dead. Mirri Maz Duur (Mia Soteriou), the grumpy hag who promised Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) she’d save Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), was a Maegi. And look how that turned out.

Possible: Reanimated by White Walkers

The power of the Others is growing, but Jon Snow has lots of unfinished business that’ll be hard to accomplish as a mindless, living corpse.

Somewhat Likely: Becoming Azor Ahai

An enigmatic Westerosi prophecy states that this ancient hero will somehow be reborn and use his magic sword Lightbringer to defeat the darkness. Supporters of this theory point to the advice that Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan) gave to Jon: “Kill the boy, and let the man be born.”

Very Likely: Warging

In the books, some people can “warg” their minds into the bodies of animals and other people. If they die, they can take over the other body permanently. Jon and most of the Stark kids have this ability, so Jon could have warged into his direwolf, Ghost, before he died. If so, fans attached to Harington’s brooding eyes and tousled locks might have a hard time transferring their affection to a dog.

Most Probable: The Kiss of Life

We’ve seen him only briefly in the series, but in the books there’s a Red Priest of R’hllor who can bring people back to life with a kiss. Red Priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten) has met him; is it mere coincidence she turned up at the Wall just before Jon was ambushed?

Beyond Jon

Other characters most likely to return from the dead in Season 6

Sure Bet: Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). We’re pretty certain this giant knight is now an undead Franken-creature.

2-1: Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann). It takes more than falling off a cliff to finish a character this complex.

50-1: Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley). Impossible, you say? With R’hllor around, you just never know …

100-1: Eddard Stark (Sean Bean). Was it actually a stand-in whose head was chopped off back in Season 1? Some fans say so, but we think that for Ned, winter has already come.

Zero Chance: Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou). Diehards cling to hope, but we’re pretty sure this Braavosi water dancer is gone for good.

Many people expect Season 6 will finally confirm this...

Not By George

A roundup of top Game of Thrones fan theories

Most Famous: R+L=J

Since A Game of Thrones, the first novel in the series, was published 20 years ago, fans have been trying to guess the identity of Jon Snow’s mother. This popular theory suggests he’s actually the offspring of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, which would make him a claimant to the Iron Throne and, potentially, a dragon rider. Many people expect Season 6 will finally confirm this long-held view with flashbacks to the time of his birth.

Most Intriguing: A+J=T

Some think the late “Mad King” Aerys Targaryen cheated with Joanna, the wife of Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) and fathered Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). This would explain why Tywin was always so mean to Tyrion. Also, it could give everyone’s favourite cynical dwarf dibs on the Iron Throne, too. A parallel theory says Aerys fathered Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). That would at least make their romance slightly less weird, since incest is normal for Targaryens.

Most Complicated: The Magic Horns

There’s a lot of legendary lore about horns in the books. One horn called Dragonbinder has the useful power of making dragons follow orders; a new Season 6 character is rumoured to own it. Then there’s the Horn of Winter, aka the Horn of Joramun, which awakens ice dragons, or destroys the Wall, or both. Could this be the horn that Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) found buried in snow in Season 2?

Craziest: Bolt-On

A Reddit commentator called maj312 postulates that traitorous Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) is an undead vampiric creature who stays alive by taking on the skins (and identities) of the living. Some believe his horrible, illegitimate son, Ramsay, will be his next victim. But as enjoyable as it would be to watch this fate befall the show’s most brutal bully since King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), don’t expect it to be part of Season 6.

Sarah B. Hood is a Toronto-based writer and editor.