If you haven't caught up with the latest season yet, there will be plenty of SPOILERS below, so read on at your own risk. As the long wait for Season 6 of Game of Thrones continues, many fans are still seeking clarification regarding the shocking Season 5 finale, Mother's Mercy. This episode featured the death of two important characters, whom many think are still alive, and may even be returning for Season 6, although a passage from the upcoming book Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros sets the record straight about one of these deaths. Again, if you want to avoid any Game of Thrones spoilers, stop reading now.
Mother's Mercy featured the deaths of both Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington), but there has been evidence that both may still be alive. Kit Harington has been spotted on the set as production continues on Season 6, and author George R.R. Martin gave Stannis fans hope when he revealed in August that the character is still alive in his upcoming books. However, Thrones Fury managed to get a hold of the upcoming book Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros, due out December 8, which features the following passage that gives readers some background on Stannis, and confirms that he is in fact dead.
"One of Robert Baratheon's two younger brothers, Stannis plotted the murder of his brother Renly to rid himself of a rival after Robert's death. At the insistence of the Red Priestess Melissandre, Stannis sacrificed his only child, Shireen, to save his army and cause after snow and a Bolton ambush destroyed his supplies. The decision lead to mass desertion in his army, and the suicide of his wife, Selyse. Stannis was killed outside of Winterfell by Brienne of Tarth, who wished to avenge Renly's death."
The death scene in question was rather ambiguous, with director David Nutter actually cutting away just as Brienne brought down her sword on Stannis' head. Since we never actually see his death on screen, many fans wondered if this could be a sign that he will come back at some point. The director told Variety in June that series creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff thought it would be "gratuitous" to show the actual death, so he cut away. It's also worth noting that Melissandre does have mystical powers that allows her to bring the dead back to life, but we won't know if that will happen until Season 6 debuts on HBO.
Since the show has caught up with George R.R. Martin's books, and it still hasn't been confirmed when the long-awaited sixth and seventh books will be published, the lead-up to Season 6 has been particularly trying for fans who want to know what will happen next. Unlike years past, the show didn't confirm any new characters and cast members at Comic Con, although there have been several reports revealing some of the new additions. Ian McShane is appearing in an unspecified role, Pilou Asbæk is rumored to be playing Euron Greyjoy, the uncle of Alfie Allen's Theon Greyjoy and and Max von Sydow has been cast as the Three-Eyed Raven. Richard E. Grant and Essie Davis are portraying members of a theater troupe who are putting on a play about famous figures in Westeros, with James Faulkner, Samantha Spiro and Rebecca Benson signing on to play the father, mother and sister of Samwell Tarly (John Bradley). What do you think about these new details? Do you think Stannis will be brought back to life by Melissandre?