What HBO's New 'Game of Thrones' Photos Reveal About Season 6

Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven
Courtesy of HBO

After missing out on season five completely, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) makes his triumphant return this year, alongside Max von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven. Curious to see Bran walking around, in a place that's decidedly not the underbelly of a weir wood tree, isn't it?

More than two months still stand between now and the return of Game of Thrones, and to ease the wait, HBO released a slew of photos from season six this week to whet fans' appetites.

In many cases, it's a lot of what the show's millions of fans have already come to expect: Brooding, frowning faces galore. Look no further than the quivering fury of Brienne of Tarth, or the barely restrained lunacy of Ramsay Bolton, for further confirmation of what fans know about those two particular avatars of completely opposite moral alignments, among others.

But grim goings aside, there are a few fun facts to unpack from the new crop of photos, such as…

No Jon Snow
He's the top topic of conversation in the Thrones community, and with good reason, given his bloody exit last season. Kit Harington's Lord Commander was at the forefront of early marketing for season six, but he's completely absent in this week's photos. Take that as you will; is it confirmation that Jon's dead, or simply a sign that HBO doesn't want to confirm the details of his return? In either case, definitive answers likely won't arrive until the show's premiere in the spring.

Yes Sansa Stark
And Theon Greyjoy, too! Their lives were left hanging in the balance at the end of season five, as the eldest surviving Stark sibling and the damaged individual sometimes known as Reek leapt from the walls of Winterfell and to their potentially snowy doom. Good to know both characters survived with their bodies intact — well, at least as intact as they were from the moment before they jumped, and perhaps only intact for as long as they're able to steer clear of the Boltons.

Hello Greyjoys
Expanding on the subject of Theon, the new photos emphasize two of his key family members: Balon and Yara, his father and sister respectively. Viewers haven't seen or heard from the Iron Islanders since Balon opened a box containing Theon's "favorite toy," but House Greyjoy is expected to play a much bigger role in the upcoming season. Indeed, at least one more of Theon's relatives will have a key part to play in season six, though that character — the enigmatic Euron Crow's Eye, played by Pilou Asbaek — is not seen in the latest look at Thrones.

Goodbye Myrcella
In case further confirmation was required, fans now have it: Myrcella Baratheon is dead. One of the new photos features a forlorn Jaime Lannister bringing what appears to be his daughter's body back to King's Landing, while another outright confirms her demise — her corpse on display in front of her younger brother, King Tommen. How will Westeros react to the news of her death? If it's anything like Cersei's emotional response, then it won't be pretty.

Brandon Rebuilt
Finally, perhaps the most intriguing character of all (Jon Snow notwithstanding) is Bran Stark. The young warg was completely absent from season five, but he's back in business in the new season, presumably with great advancements in his gifts as a greenseer. He's pictured alongside Max von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven, the two of them standing in what appears to be Winterfell, or some other castle courtyard. It's an interesting image, considering that both men should be sitting somewhere beneath a tree; have they left their post, or can we expect to see them appearing in surreal sequences in season six? Smart money's on the latter option. Also worth noting: Bran got big. Looks like Thrones isn't shying away from Isaac Hempstead Wright's growth spurt in season six.

Game of Thrones returns April 24 on HBO.