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Beware of spoilers from Game of Thrones season 5.
Arya has seen it all. She’s been trained in the art of water-dancing by a swordsman from Braavos, infiltrated enemy territory as Tywin Lannister’s cup bearer, and traveled through Westeros with her Hound before starting her training to become a Faceless (Wo)Man. Now she might not see anything again, thanks to her little revenge plot at the end of season 5. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Game of Thrones it’s that death is the easy way out,” Maisie Williams told EW. “They’re gonna keep her and make her have a s–t time.”
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The world has not been kind to many of the characters on Game of Thrones, but Sansa has gone to hell and back three times over. The once naive Stark child watched the beheading of her father and suffered an engagement to Joffrey. When things were finally looking up for her, Littlefinger wed her off to Ramsay Bolton, and she decided jumping off a castle roof was preferable. Ahead for Sansa in season 6 is “probably her best story yet,” according to Sophie Turner. “It’s her really coming into her own. She, this season, really commands the respect that she deserves and she grabs hold of it and she runs with it and it’s really good.”
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Finding no place for him at Winterfell, Jon Snow marched off to join the Night’s Watch to guard the Wall at Castle Black. It was there he met his end, proving once again that the nobler characters suffer most. Though, you know what they say in the Iron Islands, “What is dead may never die.” Kit Harington admitted to filming scenes as a corpse for season 6 and the plot synopsis for the premiere confirms his deceased status, but he certainly wouldn’t be the first character to be resurrected on the show.
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Isaac Hempstead Wright was 11 years old when he began playing Brandon, the boy who ignited the war between the Lannisters and Starks after he was flung from a tower. Though he lost his legs as a result, he gained a second sight as his supernatural abilities awakened. After traversing beyond the Wall with the help of his warging spirit guide, Jojen, and his “Hodor”-ing caregiver, he’s now the guest of the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow). We haven’t seen Brandon for an entire season, so we’ll find out what the young Padawan has learned.
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Dany has gone from Dothraki property, to Khaleesi, to Mother of Dragons, to Breaker of Chains, to conqueror, and now back to captive. As she stands in front of yet another khalasar, she’s not the same woman we once saw tremble before Khal Drogo. Emilia Clarke sees this cyclical occurrence as “the last lesson she needs to learn.” The actress added, “She knows all too well that getting on the wrong side of the Dothraki is not what you want to be doing. But on the same breath she’s kind of a Dothraki at heart because that’s where she learned her strength.”
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He may have gotten his start as a prostitute's best customer, but Tyrion has risen to become one of the few men actually fit to sit on the Iron Throne. Unfortunately, he’s a victim of birth, growing up as a little person in the most cutthroat house in all of Westeros. His scarred face reflects his years of experience, and he’s since found a new home in Essos serving Queen Daenerys. After she literally flew the coop, Tyrion is now left to babysit her kingdom with the royal entourage as danger begins to encroach.
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The Spider was a bit of an enigma at first. Whose side was he really on? Was he a bad guy or a good guy? The beheading of Ned Stark, the lead-up to the battle of Blackwater Bay, and the trial of Tyrion and its aftermath put many factors into perspective. Now he and The Imp are best buds — and perhaps most dangerous thanks to their immeasurable wit. But will they be able to talk their way out of what awaits them in a queen-less Meereen?
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The disgraced and exiled knight of Westeros found solidarity with Dany, but after she discovered he worked as a spy for Varys, Jorah was exiled from his new homeland. He stood by Khaleesi’s side, fighting secret assassins, warlocks, and Dothraki to protect her. Even now, as his Greyscale spreads throughout his body, he still fights for her. As we’ve seen in the trailers for season 6, his condition is getting worse and it’s only a matter of time before we should start seriously considering whether or not he’ll be another addition to the Hall of Faces.
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Cersei has never been known to let things go. She sought swift and merciless retribution when Arya’s wolf bit her son, when she merely suspected Tyrion of poisoning Joffrey, and when Margaery got a bit too comfortable as queen. Cersei now faces two ordeals she must address: the death of her daughter, Myrcella, by the Sand Snakes, and the “shame” she suffered in the streets of King’s Landing by the Sparrows. “It’s probably her most interesting season,” Lena Headey said. “She really has nothing to lose and she has everything to gain from a horrible position she finds herself in.”
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Jaime was one of the most hated men in Westeros, but the man who once pushed Brandon out the window of a high tower, who slaughtered Ned Stark’s men in the streets of King’s Landing and taunted Robb Stark while a prisoner of war, learned a lot about himself traveling the King’s Road with Brienne — oh, and losing his hand. This is a different world. In light of all that’s happened, his family now means more than ever.
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Brienne of Tarth
Brienne knows exactly who she is. She’s not the belle of the ball but the warrior woman slicing said ball to shreds, which is why so many Game of Thrones fans have cheered her on. As Gwendoline Christie teased to EW, she’ll “burst forth” again in season 6. “So many characters for so long had their isolated storylines and as a fan of this show as well, I’ve been wanting and dreaming — ‘I wonder what it would be like to see this person interact with this other person?’ And that’s what starts to unfold,” she said.
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The Red Priestess has been staring in the fire too long. Melisandre convinced herself that Stannis Baratheon was the professed Light Bringer destined to become king, and she convinced others to her cause through a display of supernatural abilities. As the last flames that burned Shireen to ash were snuffed out, so too was any hope that Melisandre’s champion would win the war. Now she resides in Castle Black, reflecting on all the questionable choices she made in pursuit of a false promise.
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Theon is a name we don’t hear very often anymore. It used to belong to a man who liked to swing his ego around as he denounced the Starks and attempted to execute their youngest boys in front of Winterfell. Now the name is as filleted as the man himself. Reek has been tortured (both physically and psychologically), dismembered, and made to serve his captor, Ramsay Bolton. Thanks to Sansa, he took the biggest (and literal) leap of faith of his life and is on the run through the cold wild of the North.
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Ser Davos Seaworth
Much like Melisandre, Ser Davos has been fighting for “the one true king,” even when Stannis blamed him for the loss at Blackwater Bay and later threw him in a jail cell. Davos was his moral compass, and his absence gave the Red Woman the chance she needed to sacrifice Shireen. The soldier still doesn’t know what befell his young friend or his king, but he’ll might find out as clips place him at Castle Black with Melisandre. Without a real mission, Davos will have more room to become his own person, whoever that turns out to be.
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Margaery is perhaps the most ambitious woman on Game of Thrones. Others might shrink back into the shadows when her hoped-for king and husband was assassinated, but she found her way into the Throne, first through Joffrey and then again through Tommen. She may still be a forced guest of those religious zealots, but she’s not down for the count. HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told EW that the other female characters “power this season.” He continued, “It’s organic to the storytelling, yet a radical shift. It’s the women that are the hope that we’re watching as the chess pieces move this season, and it’s very exciting.”