HBO’s Emmy-winning “Game of Thrones” returns for a sixth season Sunday at 9 p.m.
For the first time, viewers and readers of George R.R. Martin’s blockbuster fantasy novels are pretty much on the same page.
Executive producers and writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have burned through most of Martin’s published writings.
So the question going forward is whether the two have absorbed enough of Martin’s mojo to finish the epic.
HBO yesterday renewed “Game” for a seventh season, though it is considering breaking up the season into half-seasons to air over two years, similar to “Mad Men’s” farewell.
For the first time in the show’s history, HBO did not release the premiere for consideration to the press.
At this stage, and especially after the conclusion of last season — in which members of his own brotherhood skewered Jon Snow (Kit Harington) bloody — the network doesn’t need to.
But it’s far more likely the network imposed this curtain of secrecy to prevent the possibility of any spoilers about Jon’s fate.
According to the episode description the premium cable network released for the premiere, titled “The Red Woman”:
“Jon Snow is dead. Daenerys meets a strong man. Cersei sees her daughter again.”
The Red Woman would seem to be Melisandre (Carice van Houten) — the woman who summoned a shadow to kill a rival to the throne just might have the magical might to resurrect Snow. Or perhaps the White Walkers might have a hand in making Snow rise. There would be some satisfaction in seeing the once-noble Snow return as a killer stalking his comrades on the Wall.
Also dead and likely forever, Cersei’s daughter Myrcella. Cersei’s brother-lover-rapist Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) finally rescued his niece/daughter only to have Ellaria (Indira Varma) give her the kiss of death, literally.
Cersei was never going to take the news well, but given that she’s just gotten back from her Walk of Shame thanks to the sadistic Faith Militant and their leader, the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), she just might go over the edge.
Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) remains a prisoner of the religious fanatics.
As for Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), she’s the prisoner of yet another group of Dothraki. We’re over it. As one Herald editor said, there’s only one Jason Momoa (season one’s Khal Drogo and Aquaman in “Batman v Superman”).
One can hope her captivity only lasts an episode or so. Where’s a fire-raging dragon when you need one?
HBO pictures reveal Sansa (Sophie Turner) and childhood friend Reek/Theon (Alfie Allen) survived their leap into the cold unknown and are running for their lives.
Arya (Maisie Williams) seems to have been reduced to a blind beggar, but for how long?
After a season’s absence, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is back, ready to wield his supernatural power.
Tyrion (Emmy winner Peter Dinklage) will continue to get the best lines and all the wine. Some things will never change, and you don’t need to be George R.R. Martin to know that.