HBO has finally released the title of the Game of Thrones Season 6 premiere, along with an official description … and it's not good news for Jon Snow fans. The April 24 premiere episode is called "The Red Woman," and though the synopsis is brief, it's also ominous. Perhaps most importantly, it includes HBO's first confirmation that Jon Snow is dead:
Jon Snow is dead. Daenerys meets a strong man. Cersei sees her daughter again.
So that's it, then? After months of speculation and rumors and theorizing ever since Jon Snow was knifed by his Night's Watch brothers in the Season 5 finale, "Mother's Mercy," do we finally have our answer? Not so fast.
HBO has typically released the titles and descriptions of the first four episodes of each season over a month before they premiered. Now here we are, a little more than two weeks away from the highly anticipated Season 6 premiere, and all we've gotten is one episode title and a 14-word synopsis. This falls in line with the network's increased security around the show, which has made this the most mysterious season of GoT yet. That includes the unprecedented decision to not provide any advance screeners to critics, after the first four episodes of Season 5 were leaked online ahead of the premiere last year, spoiling the deaths of a couple major characters.
At least this scant information came with a longer summary of the whole season … although it's still infuriatingly vague when it comes to actual details:
Following the shocking developments at the conclusion of season five, including Jon Snow’s bloody fate at the hands of Castle Black mutineers, Daenerys’ near-demise at the fighting pits of Meereen, and Cersei’s public humiliation in the streets of King’s Landing, survivors from all parts of Westeros and Essos regroup to press forward, inexorably, towards their uncertain individual fates. Familiar faces will forge new alliances to bolster their strategic chances at survival, while new characters will emerge to challenge the balance of power in the east, west, north and south.
This mention of "familiar faces forg[ing] new alliances" falls directly in line with what GoT actor Liam Cunningham (aka Ser Davos) told Entertainment Weekly in an interview Thursday. He teased that, "This year, it’s almost like you’re in a different drama series. There are new plans — and they’re enormous plans. There are new loyalties. There are new tensions. There are tensions between people where there were not tensions before." He then made a pretty big promise: "And it’s culminating in some of the most remarkable television that’s ever been made. It’s astonishing."
But what about Jon Snow?! Well, it's interesting to note that the Season 6 synopsis is a bit more inscrutable about the status of the character than the description of "The Red Woman," merely referencing his "bloody fate" without an official declaration of life or death. I don't think HBO — or any of the cast — was lying when they told us that Jon Snow was dead. I just think people were asking the wrong question. There's no denying that Jon is dead; he got stabbed and then he bled out. Rather than "Is Jon Snow dead?" we all should have been asking "Will Jon Snow stay dead?"
The Season 6 premiere title is the biggest clue yet that Jon will soon be rejoining the land of the living. The only two characters we've seen so far that have the ability to bring someone back to life are red priest Thoros of Myr (who resurrected Beric Dondarrion several times) and the white walker leader the Night's King (who turned a town of corpses into an army of wights). We've never seen Melisandre of Asshai (often referred to as the "red woman") resurrect anyone, but if Thoros could do it, then surely she could, too. And Melisandre has been on the show since Season 2 — why would they name an episode after her now if she weren't about to do something incredible … like rescue a fan-favorite character from certain death?
Of course, GoT episode titles often have multiple layers of meaning. Could "The Red Woman" be referring to anyone other than Melisandre? What about the two women in the episode description? Interestingly, red is a color of both the Targaryens (red and black) and the Lannisters (red and gold), so in a way, it could apply to both Daenerys and Cersei as well. Sansa has red hair, so throw her in the mix. And don't forget about the new red priestess in Meereen that Season 6 will be introducing. And whenever you're theorizing about GoT, someone's always bound to bring up Lady Stoneheart. She's a woman and she enjoys killing people (specifically Freys), so I suppose you could refer to her as a "red woman" — although that one's probably a bit of a stretch.
So yes, Jon Snow is dead. Officially, completely, 100-percent dead as a door nail. But if Melisandre truly is the focal point of the GoT Season 6 premiere, then that's a pretty good indicator that he won't stay that way for long.
Images: HBO (2); Helen Sloan/HBO (2)