'Will we stay up for the 2am simulcast?' - and 10 other pressing questions Game of Thrones fans need answered
The longest wait in television is almost over. It's nearly a year since Game of Thrones ended in a swirl of mystery as noble Jon Snow was turned into a human pin-cushion by his chums in the Night's Watch.
**WARNING: SEASON 5 SPOILERS**
Will Snow live to look grumpy another day? What of Sansa Stark and her flight from Winterfell – and Daenerys and her awkward reunion with the Dothraki hordes? As the countdown to Monday's season premiere gets underway in earnest, here are 11 questions Game of Thrones fans will expect answered.
1: Is Jon Snow dead – or just "dead"?
Everyone involved in Game of Thrones has insisted the Bastard of Winterfell is definitely, unambiguously, for reals dead.
But what they have been careful to skirt around is whether the character is to be resurrected – and if he will go by a name other than that given him by his supposed father, Ned Stark.
So yes, "Jon Snow" may be gone. But will the gloomy warrior played by Kit Harington return in another guise? The truth is (hopefully) out there.
2: Why have the Dothraki taken Daenerys prisoner?
Teasers for season six appear to show the Mother of Dragons held prisoner by the horsemen she encountered on the steppes.
But one of her captors refers to her as "Khaleesi". If they are aware of her royal status, why is she being treated like a commoner?
3: What next for Melisandre?
Episode one of the returning series is called "The Red Woman". It is undoubtedly a time of drama for Melisandre. With Stannis defeated, to whom does she now pledge loyalty?
And can she continue to trust in the Lord of Light, given that he led her believe only the Baratheons could save Westeros from the White Walkers?
Fans have speculated that Melisandre will raise Jon Snow from the dead. She has retreated, in humiliation, to Castle Black, so it is certainly a possibility.
4: Is Arya's assassin career over?
Arya broke with her training at the House of Black and White to take revenge against the (admittedly despicable) Ser Meryn Trant. For her troubles she received a dressing down from Jaqen H'ghar and was struck blind. In the recent teaser he tells her she will have a second opportunity to prove herself – but that there will be no third chances. Yet her destiny surely lies far from Braavos and its mysterious cabal of shape-shifters.
What fresh twists will the season bring? George RR Martin has yet to publish the next instalment of a A Song Of Ice and Fire and the timeline of the series has now eclipsed the novels. With book readers in the dark as much as fans of the show Arya's future is one of the great imponderables this year.
5: Can Sansa and Reek escape the Boltons?
If season five of Game of Thrones taught us anything it's that you don't want to be on Ramsay Bolton's bad side. Actually you don't want to be anywhere in his vicinity.
So, having pushed Myranda to her death and then jumped from the battlements, it is in the best interests of Sansa and the eunuch-formerly-known-as-Theon that they stay out of Ramsay's clutches.
But the Boltons have considerable resources as their disposal and, with Stannis defeated, more than enough time for a recreational man-hunt.
6: Will there be flashbacks?
Season six teasers appear to show a young Ned Stark on the trail of his abducted sister Lyanna – a pursuit that reportedly leads him to the legendary Tower Of Joy (a major moment for book readers). But Game of Thrones has utilised flashbacks sparingly. Will the series really rip-up this cardinal rule? If so, we can assume the storyline – and its big reveals – are of world-quaking significance.
7: Will Cersei keep her bad ass new haircut?
Cersei is not to be meddled with at the best of times. But, with her head shorn and the humiliation of her Shame Walk fresh in the memory, she is clearly planning a cruel and unusual revenge. And that's before she has even learned beloved daughter Myrcella has been poisoned by the Sand Snakes. Cersei is a viper in the grass yet she loves her children dearly. Her thirst for payback will surely be terrible to behold.
8: What now for Olly?
Rescued from certain death by Jon Snow, Olly repaid the debt by helping Ser Alliser Thorne betray the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. With his work done, will the traitor-squire slink back to the shadows? Or does the show have further plans for the evil urchin?
9: Will Tommen confirm his standing as the most useless ruler in the history of the Seven Kingdoms?
His wife is in the dungeons, his mother has just been "shame walked" naked through the streets and the Faith Militant are openly challenging the supremacy of the Kingsguard. And all Tommen, heir to Robert Baratheon and supreme ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, can do is pout and refuse dinner. How much more useless can be? We may be about to find out.
10: Can we take Bran seriously now that the actor playing him has grown up?
It's five years since Game of Thrones made its debut and younger cast members are fully grown up now. But it is the transformation of Bran Stark actor Isaac Hempstead Wright that has been most jolting. He used to look like a junior infants student at Hogwarts – now the gangly 17-year-old could pass for the lead singer in a James Blunt tribute band. Perhaps he can win the trust of the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) with a note perfect cover of 'You're Beautiful'. It would certainly keep the White Walkers at bay.
11: Will we be staying up for the 2am simulcast from America?
Season six episode one goes out "live" worldwide Sunday night/Monday morning. Given the potential for spoilers the following day, will we be staying up through the wee hours? It's either that or spend the entirety of Monday in solitary confinement until GoT is broadcast again on Sky Atlantic at 9pm. Sleep deprivation or potentially finding out what happened to Jon Snow via a friend's random Tweet? Truly, it is the one dilemma to rule them all.
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Game of Thrones season six begins at 2am Monday on Sky Atlantic with a repeat broadcast at 9pm.