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[Warning: The following story contains some spoilers from the books on which HBO’s Game of Thrones is based.]
When Game of Thrones embarks on its sixth season, viewers will be more in the dark than ever before about the fates of their favorite characters.
Unlike seasons past, the 2016 edition of Thrones will largely focus on stories currently unpublished in George R.R. Martin’s source material. The Wall, King’s Landing, Meereen — all of these locations and more could crumble in an instant in season six, and book readers won’t have any advance warning at all. Still, based on where many stories and characters landed at the end of season five, it’s not much of a leap to imagine which heroes and villains are likeliest to join Ned Stark, Stannis Baratheon and Jon Snow in the great Game of Thrones graveyard.
Before the new season premieres, here are 13 individuals fans should worry about in the year ahead.
Melisandre (Carice van Houten)
The future is dark and full of terrors for the red priestess, stranded on The Wall without clear cause or purpose — unless she’s playing a pivotal role in the resurrection of Jon Snow (Kit Harington), of course. But such a development could prove fatal for Melisandre, if bringing Jon back requires personal sacrifice. Even then, her safety is far from guaranteed, thanks to her role in the death of Shireen Baratheon (Kerry Ingram), news that’s sure to reawaken Davos Seaworth’s (Liam Cunningham) desire to see Melisandre dead.
Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie)
This wandering warrior runs into some very dangerous enemies during her most recent appearances in the A Song of Ice and Fire books, and it’s not out of the question that the same could happen on Thrones — especially because Christie recently booked a starring role in season two of Top of the Lake. Is Brienne’s death likely? Not especially, but not off the table, either.
Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen)
Exiled first from Westeros and next from Daenerys Targaryen’s heart, Jorah now wanders Essos in search for his missing Khaleesi, willing to die in order to save her life. He just might get the chance this season, thanks to the ever-growing spot of bother on his forearm known as Greyscale — a nasty disease that drives good men sick and insane.
Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman)
If Jorah’s a marked man, then so is his fellow traveler, Daario, also on the hunt for the lost Queen of Meereen. Though his life isn’t in as much imminent danger as Ser Mormont’s, Daario’s cavalier attitude toward danger hovers the line between courageous and reckless; not exactly a great combination given his current situation on the back roads of Essos.
Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon)
“I choose violence.” Cersei’s ominous words, uttered in the season six trailer, were hurled in the direction of her sweet cousin. The Faith Militant loyalist’s life could end right there in that very scene, crushed under the might of Ser Robert Strong, the newest addition to the Kingsguard, and the monster formerly known as the Mountain.
High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce)
Like Lancel, the pious holier-than-thou man at the heart of King’s Landing isn’t especially likely to survive the series, and possibly not even season six. It’s not hard to imagine the aforementioned Strong pulling a Red Viper against the High Sparrow, crushing his head like Gallagher wails on watermelons.
Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones)
The Knight of Flowers has seen better days, currently incarcerated by the High Sparrow’s Faith Militant. In the books, Loras is on the verge of death for very different reasons, but close all the same. Making matters worse, Jones recently won the title role in Marvel’s Iron Fist, strongly suggesting his days in Westeros are numbered.
Nymeria Sand (Jessica Henwick)
Henwick has also booked a role on Iron Fist, as leading lady Colleen Wing — which is not a lock for her imminent Thrones demise, but surely someone from Dorne will pay the price for Myrcella Baratheon’s death. Why not the Sand Snake with a new TV gig?
Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale)
The Night’s Watch mutineers who killed Jon Snow are destined for a reckoning, and the leader of that movement is the likeliest candidate on the board. The scowling master at arms loathed Snow from their very first encounter, but it’s a good bet he’ll soon rue the decision to kill the Lord Commander even more.
Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju)
Much like Thorne, the big-bearded Tormund stands out as a prime target for The Stranger come season six, given the tenuous situation at The Wall and boiled-over tensions between members of the Night’s Watch and the wildlings currently inhabiting Westeros.
Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon)
Bad things so rarely happen to bad people on Thrones, but it’s getting high time for the Bastard of Bolton’s luck to run out. Iwan Rheon’s skin-flaying felon won’t rest until he’s reunited with his Reek and his bride, but if there’s any such thing as karma on Thrones, Ramsay’s story won’t end on his own terms.
Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman)
Never forget the prophecy of Maggy the Frog, who predicted the eventual deaths of all three of Cersei Lannister’s children. As of the season six premiere, two are dead, and the lone survive sits on the Iron Throne… but Tommen’s days of ruling Westeros are doomed to end soon, potentially as soon as the end of the coming year.
Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide)
The number one pick on the board, the Lord of the Iron Islands is destined for death when season six rolls around. His demise in the books paves the way forward for Euron Crow’s Eye, a scheming rogue with his one good eye on the Iron Throne. With Pilou Asbaek already cast as Euron, Balon’s season six death is as close to guaranteed as it gets.
Game of Thrones returns on April 24. Keep up with all the Game of Thrones coverage here.
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