If “Game of Thrones” is known for one thing, it is killing off beloved characters. The HBO series’ willingness to part ways with some its biggest names has kept viewers riveted for five seasons now. However, while Ned Stark (Sean Bean) losing his head left little doubt as to the character’s fate, other more ambiguous death scenes have left fans wondering if certain departed characters might return in Season 6 or beyond.
Here is a list of “Game of Thrones” characters that viewers just might see again someday:
1. Jon Snow
In the most visceral and tangible manifestation of “I can’t believe he’s not dead” syndrome in the history of television, thousands of fans watched newly elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), get stabbed repeatedly during a deadly mutiny in the Season 5 finale and literally refused to believe what they had just seen. However, those skeptical viewers soon had some evidence to back up their claim.
Snow has been spotted in multiple filming locations for Season 6, including Ireland and Spain, and still sporting the character’s trademark long, dark hair. Fans have been speculating that Melisandre's (Carice Van Houten) arrival at Castle Black just before Snow's tragic end means that the "Red Woman" will use her special Lord of Light magic to revive Snow, whom she seemed to take a liking to over the course of Season 5. Could he return in Season 6?
2. The Hound
Back in the Season 4 finale, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) got into a brutally violent fight with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christine) over who would take care of Arya Stark (Maisie Williams). Arya refused to extend the dying man the mercy of finishing him off, leaving his fate uncertain. While fans did not think too much of it at the time, Rory McCann, who portrayed the disfigured swordsman, was recently spotted in Belfast where the show is currently filming Season 6, according to MTV News. Is McCann just catching up with old friends or is Clegane coming back?
3. Stannis Baratheon
This is the most recent controversy. George R.R. Martin made headlines Wednesday after responding to a question in the comments section of one his blog posts on Live Journal, in which he cryptically asserted that would-be king Stannis Baratheon was alive and well.
“Alright, Mr. Martin, let’s cut the crap,” the fan asked. “Is Stannis alive or dead?”
“In my books,” Martin replied, “alive, beyond a doubt.”
It had been assumed that when Brienne of Tarth found an injured Stannis Baratheon after his failed siege of Winterfell, she had finished him off for good. However, the show cut away before viewers actually saw Brienne’s sword deal the fatal blow, leaving many wondering if she had followed through with the deed.
Martin’s remarks cast further doubt on the supposed death, but the cryptic nature of the comment makes it hard to interpret. Martin could be referencing his upcoming “Winds of Winter” book, implying either a deviation from the HBO show in which in his version Stannis lives, or that he'll turn out to be alive in the TV series as well. However, it would be unlike Martin to spoil his own work. Instead, he could simply be sarcastically reminding fans of the fact that Baratheon is still alive in Martin’s published books, which the show has surpassed in continuity.