Game of Thrones is back and we're very excited indeed. But did you know that the internet is awash with bonkers conspiracy theories regarding the eventual fate of the Seven Kingdoms? To whet appetites ahead of the next instalment in the ratings-gobbling saga here's a list of the strangest. Be warned - they're pretty out there.
1: There be dragons beneath Winterfell
The Stark/Bolton fortress is suspiciously cosy for a building huddled in the middle of the freezing north. It is, in fact, warmed by underwater springs. But what is their provenance? In one of Bran Stark's visions (in the George RR Martin novels) he sees a "great winged snake" rise from beneath. Could this be a clue that dragons linger in the bowels of the old keep and might one day break free? The internet says yes!
2: It was the Maesters wot done it
In George RR Martin's A Feast For Crows, the upstart mage Marwyn claims that the Maesters have devoted themselves through their history to scrubbing all magic from Westeros. This has spawned theories that it was the Maesters who dispatched assassins to Essos to rub out Mother of Dragons Daenerys and arranged for Maester Aemon Targaryen – through whose veins the blood of fire-serpents likewise flows – to be marooned at the Wall.
3: Roose Bolton is a vampire
There is unquestionably something of the night about the creepy head of House Bolton, as chillingly portrayed by Dublin actor Michael McElhatton. One notion floated by fans is that the "flayed man" adorning the Bolton coat of arms is a reference to Roose's need for a constant supply of fresh skin, which he absorbs so as to keep the ageing process at bay.
4: Talisa Maegyr was a Lannister plant
It all started going south for Robb Stark when he got hitched to the wrong woman. In breaking from his arranged marriage with House Frey, Robb presented the Boltons and the Lannisters with an opportunity to unseat the Starks in the North. Hence the theory that Talisa was merely part of Tywin Lannister's long game (not that the game was very long for her as she was killed at the Red Wedding)
5: Bran Stark is a time traveler
Okay so this one takes a bit of explaining. We are supposed to believe the White Walkers have conquered Westeros and a future version of Bran Stark is one of the few humans left alive. With the ability to project his consciousness across dimensions, he beams his mind back to his 10 year-old self and mucks about with the timeline by having Jaime push him from that bell tower, thus setting in motion a chain of world- altering events. We told you it was crazy.
6: The "Mad" King wasn't mad at all
Everyone in Westeros knows that Aerys II Targaryen was more barking than Prince Joffrey and Ramsay Bolton combined. But what if this was just propaganda put about by the usurpers? According to this theory, Aerys was toppled by a conspiracy of supposedly loyal lords, including Robert Baratheon and noble Ned Stark, who sought to retrospectively justify their coup by putting it about that unfettered power that driven Aerys cray-cray.
7: The Faceless Men are in cahoots with the White Walkers
Buckle up – we're about to go the full, tin-foil tiara wacko. The idea is that the Faceless Men are professionally obliged to end the pain of the terminally miserable by snuffing their lives out. But everyone in Westeros is a little bit miserable, merely by dint of being alive - yes? . And how better to cure an entire continent of its unhappiness than by having a plague of ice zombies sweep down from the north and render everyone extinct. If makes sense – if you've been up all night binging on Reddit.
Game of Thrones season 6 continues on Sky Atlantic on Mondays at 2am and 9pm.