Warning: Things are about to get insanely nerdy here.
Game of Thrones — as well as George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels on which the series is based — has a long history of really twisting the knife into loyal fans, killing off beloved characters are casually and cruelly, usually right around the time you think they’re about to check off a significant personal win. It’s infuriating, but you eventually get used to it. That is, until the fifth season which, like the fifth book, ended on a maddening cliffhanger with the apparent death of newly-minted Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch Jon Snow (Kit Harington) at the hands of treacherous underlings.
Book readers long assumed that Jon Snow was definitely not killed off for real. Partly for complicated reasons too geeky to get into here, and partly because, after the deaths of Ned Stark, Robb Stark, Caitlyn Stark, Oberyn Martell, and so on and so on and so on, Jon Snow was one of the only mildly sympathetic characters left alive. HBO, however, really milked that final shot of season 5, zooming in on Jon Snow bleeding out in, well, the snow, then insisting all summer long that yes, Jon Snow is really, truly dead. Cue the pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth from fans (myself included).
Well, after watching this teaser it certainly does seem like HBO was trolling everyone all along. Focused almost exclusively on Jon Snow, it features what is heavily suggested to be a vision of the series’ recent history Jon Snow has as he lays dying, before switching to the voice of Snow’s younger brother Bran Stark, absent since season 4, saying “they don’t know what’s coming.” Maybe not HBO, but we know what you want us to think, namely that Jon Snow is definitely not being written out of the show.
We’ll all find out when Game of Thrones returns in April. Precisely what date in April, HBO has not said, however. The show usually premieres either the first or second Sunday in April, but the new Martin Scorsese-produced series Vinyl debuts February 14 and will run for ten weeks, meaning its season finale happens April 17. As such, HBO has moved the Game of Thrones season 6 bow ahead to a TBD date later in the month.
Of course, there may be another reason for the schedule shift. A popular fan conspiracy theory holds that George R.R. Martin is finally finishing the sixth book in the series, and the delay may be intended to allow his book to drop before the new season of the show.