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The Iron Islanders have a saying: “What is dead may never die.” Based on what actor Michael McElhatton has to say about the upcoming sixth season of Game of Thrones, those words have never been more applicable.
“Last season was a very dark season,” the actor, who plays ruthless Roose Bolton, told The Hollywood Reporter at the season six premiere. “Brutal, dreadful things happened. People were knocked from power, and now, people are going to try to get that power back — and some people are very capable of getting that power back. Nothing happens in Game of Thrones incidentally. There is always a price to pay.”
“We will see people coming back from [seasons] three and four to get revenge,” he continued. “It’s one of the great strengths about the show. ‘Oh, I forgot about that person! Of course!’ There’s a lot of that coming up.”
Indeed, rumors and trailers alike have hinted at return appearances for several story lines long thought abandoned — some of them considered dead, full-stop. McElhatton’s comments only reinforce these whispers, opening the floodgates for all kinds of possibilities.
Who from the older seasons of Thrones might return in year six? Here’s a glimpse at ten possibilities:
1. Walder Frey (David Bradley)
The putrid patriarch of House Frey has already been confirmed for a season six return, as seen in the latest trailer. Walder last reared his sniveling head in the final episode of season three, gloating about his role in the Red Wedding. Since then, viewers have awaited his return — and his eventual, inevitable comeuppance for slaughtering the Starks. If there’s any justice in the world, season six will bring exactly that.
2. Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies)
Another man last seen in season three, Edmure was captured during the Red Wedding, but not killed. He spends his subsequent days in Lannister custody in the books — and given the show’s return to Riverrun this year, there’s reason to believe Edmure’s fate on the show might match his fate on the page.
3. The Blackfish (Clive Russell)
Yet another character last seen during the Red Wedding, though the fate of Brynden Tully remains unknown; unlike his niece Catelyn and nephew Edmure, the Blackfish was neither killed nor caught during that fateful night. For years, fans have speculated over the Blackfish’s whereabouts, expecting him to pop back up at any moment. Riverrun’s renewed role on the show only heightens those expectations.
4. The Brotherhood Without Banners (Richard Dormer and Paul Kaye)
Remember Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, the traveling warriors fighting for the small folk of Westeros? These men continue to have a role in the books, albeit an unexpected one. Signs are pointing to their possible return for season six, and here’s one big reason why: Thoros’ ability to resurrect Beric with fire magic would be a useful reminder for Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and a certain dead individual bleeding out on The Wall.
5. Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley)
Speaking of dead people, are viewers finally due for some Lady Stoneheart action? For those who don’t know, the deceased Catelyn comes back from the dead in the books, fueled by rage and vengeance against the Freys and Lannisters. Many readers believe Stoneheart won’t ever appear on the show — if the series stuck to the books, she would have turned up near the end of seasons three or four — but those same fans have been proven wrong time and time again.
6. Eddard Stark (Sean Bean)
Unlike Cat, her dead husband Ned won’t reverse his fate. However, he’s almost guaranteed to turn up in season six, with evidence of an Eddard flashback mounting and mounting with each new trailer. The Tower of Joy is coming, and young Ned Stark is coming with it. It is known.
7. Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson)
Who could forget the youngest Stark sibling? (Don’t answer that.) Rickon was last seen at the end of season three, heading off with Osha far away from his brother Bran. If ghosts from the past are about to haunt Roose Bolton, there’s no one more frightening than a Stark child reborn, even if it’s the most forgettable member of the family.
8. The Hound (Rory McCann)
Like Eddard, Sandor Clegane is strongly rumored for a season six comeback. Ian McShane all but confirmed the suspicion in a series of March 2016 interviews, suggesting his role in bringing a beloved character back from the dead — a character most fans believe to be The Hound, still alive and now atoning for his violent past.
9. Gendry (Joe Dempsie)
Assuming he ever figured out how to row a boat, and didn’t just drown in the Narrow Sea, then perhaps we’ll see Dempsie on the show again. After all, he’s the closest thing House Baratheon has to an actual heir — outside of Tommen, of course, and he doesn’t count.
10. Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle)
Last time Game of Thrones flirted with bringing Benjen back into the picture, it was actually nothing more than a prank, one that ended with several daggers in Jon Snow’s chest. In other words, we’ve been burned by this one before — but if the day ever arrives that Uncle Benjen returns, expect it to be an epic one.
Game of Thrones returns on April 24. Follow THR’s coverage of the show here.
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