With the return of Game of Thrones comes the return of one of television's largest casts. The land of Westeros is so jam-packed with personalities that, when a character isn't seen for a while, it goes by fairly unnoticed. However, with such a deep well of M.I.A. characters to pull from, Game of Thrones has the ability to shock and surprise viewers — even book readers — by bringing "forgotten" characters back into the fold. Season 6 looks to be bringing some major changes to Game of Thrones and has confirmed the return of a few characters that haven't graced television in a while, but what characters will return to Game of Thrones Season 6?
The posters for Season 6 tease the presence of some characters previously thought dead, and, now that the show has surpassed the books in timeline, there's no telling where the show could go. While some characters are almost certainly not returning — sorry, all you Ned-heads out there — the chance of seeing characters that haven't appeared since as early as Season 1 is something to be excited for. The return of Bran, Hodor, Balon and Yara Greyjoy has been confirmed through promotional materials, and the return of a living Jon Snow has been frustratingly unconfirmed, but there are a few more characters we'd like to see make their way back to Game of Thrones.
1. Sandor "The Hound" Clegane
The infamous Hound was last seen being left for dead by Arya after an epic fight with Brienne of Tarth. However, he was not shown to have died, which in television essentially means "this character will return, possibly with a vengeance." Fans have been clamoring for "Cleganebowl" — an expected showdown between brothers The Hound and The Mountain — and, while the show has reintroduced the latter of the two brothers as a king's guard by the name of Ser Robert Strong, there has been no sight of The Hound. However, stranger things have happened than an impressive fighter being able to survive a nasty fall.
2. Bryndon And Edmure Tully
Bryndon and Edmure of House Tully are fairly minor characters in the show, however, they play a big role in the show's defining moment — for it is Edmure's wedding that becomes known as "The Red Wedding." Neither of the two have been seen since, although Edmure was last known to have been held captive by Lord Frey and Bryndon has escaped. It's not clear where these two are, but hopefully they'll play a part in the show again soon.
3. Walder Frey
Walder Frey is a bad, bad man. He doesn't seem to have any interest in greater power than that he already has, but he will go to extreme lengths to assert that same power. Frey provided guest rights to Catelyn, Robb, and Talisa before having the army from the North killed. His penchant for havoc could stir the pot to entertaining results in Season 6.
4. Benjen Stark
Game of Thrones featured one of the greatest fake-outs in television history at the end of last season, preceding the finale with a segment of their "Previously On..." dedicated to reminding viewers who Benjen Stark is. Benjen Stark's whereabouts have been a mystery the fans of the show for five seasons, and for almost two decades for any book readers who followed along from the start. While the fake-out was brilliant at best and downright cruel at worst, there's no better time to re-introduce the mysterious Stark back to the series. Or any Stark, for that matter, as they seem to be in short supply.
5. Catelyn Stark
Every new season people say the same thing — "Lady Stoneheart will surely appear this time. She must!" — and the fans are always wrong. But maybe this season will be different. Surely she'll show up this season. Of course, if Lady Stoneheart comes to the show, that means that so must...
6. The Brotherhood Without Banners
Only Game of Thrones could introduce something as cool as a group of outlaws who can resurrect each other, and then almost completely ignore it for two seasons. After being stumbled upon by Arya and The Hound, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, and the rest of the Brotherhood seemed to disappear but will likely reappear if Arya gets her way. In Season 4, she was seen reciting their names as part of her death list in retaliation for selling a friend of hers.
It's been two full seasons since we've had an appearance from the bastard son of Robert Baratheon, who was sold by the Brotherhood wWthout Banners to Melisandre, and was last seen trying to take a rowboat from Dragonstone to get to King's Landing. Having Gendry thrown back into the mix could affect the Barthaneon claim to the throne championed by Stannis, who wished to have Gendry sacrificed in the name of blood magic.
8. Stannis Baratheon
Remember earlier when we talked about the whole "if you don't see a character die on screen, they're not dead" thing? While the creators of the show are going out of their way to proclaim that Stannis Baratheon is dead, and have some pretty weak reasoning. Season 5 finale director David Nutter told EW that showing Stannis' death felt "gratuitous." Gratuitous. The show that features incest, rape, beheadings, and whatever you call what happened to Oberyn felt that one of the most villainous characters of the show getting killed by sword was "gratuitous?" That's a tough sell, and it may be the showrunners trying to get audiences to think he's dead only to bring him back.
9. Ser Pounce
I mean, come on. It's Ser Pounce. Ser Pounce was only featured briefly in one episode, but, with so many bad things happening on Game of Thrones, surely the sight of Ser Pounce would life everyone's spirits.
It's a truly unique time for Game of Thrones, as there is no longer a precedence for what fans can expect from the series. Nothing seems to be permanent in Game of Thrones, not even death. While characters may go missing for seasons at a time, one should never assume that they won't return a few seasons later with something very important to say. Game of Thrones loves playing tricks on its audience, and it looks like they've got some big things up their sleeves for Season 6.
Images: Helen Sloan/HBO, Giphy (9)