Yesterday, HBO released a final trailer for Season 6 of Game of Thrones, which proclaimed that "the wait is over." Technically speaking, we still have four days left until the April 24 season premiere, but still, it seems like an eternity has passed since the Season 5 finale last June, which many consider to be both the darkest and most controversial season yet. As the countdown continues towards the season premiere, The Red Woman, writer-producer Bryan Cogman shed some light about what fans can expect from this long-awaited season.
The Season 5 finale brought the death of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and the not-so-beloved Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), along with Cersei's (Lena Headey) embarrassing walk of shame through King's Landing, Sansa's escape from Winterfell and much more. We have seen a few trailers for Season 6 thus far, but the larger story points for this season have been kept under lock and key. Entertainment Weekly recently spoke with writer-producer Bryan Cogman, who teased that Season 6 won't be nearly as dark as this past season.
"Season 5 was about taking characters to the brink - and for certain characters like Stannis and Jon, destroying them altogether. We left our central characters in huge moments of crisis and at their lowest points last year. All of them are now trying to rebuild their lives. Season 5 was in many ways our darkest. This season is still very dark, very intense, but it's very much a next act."
This season will be unique in many respects, largely because it will be the first that won't be based off George R.R. Martin's books, since the show has caught up with the five he has already written. Bryan Cogman also teased that there will be a number of "callbacks" to story points from way back in Season 1, while teasing that numerous characters who have never interacted in the past, will be working together this season. Here's what he had to say, adding that Season 6 is by far the show's biggest yet.
"This many seasons in, you have the chance as a storyteller to draw on the past in a way we haven't been able to do before. There are a lot of thematic and explicit callbacks to season 1, and the seasons that preceded this one, and even to events that preceded them - in terms of the mythology. There's also a trend that began in season 5 and continues even more so in this season of worlds colliding, with characters meeting in hopefully very unexpected ways. Seasons 2-4 were about the expansion of this world; seasons 5 and 6 are about contracting. Characters who were rivals, and in some cases enemies, are being forced to work together, which makes for a lot of juicy dramatic tension. And then there's the obvious answer in terms of the size of the show. We say this every year, but it's true - this is the biggest season of Game of Thrones. It took me by surprise, just how big it is - and I helped write it! This is also the first season in awhile where we did read-throughs with the cast. The scope of this season was so vast that we felt hearing the storylines all together out loud and seeing how it played would be beneficial - especially since we are creating a lot of this stuff ourselves based on themes and ideas from George's books. There was a proof of concept we wanted from the read-throughs. We separated the read-throughs by storyline. We did a day of the Northern storyline, a day of King's Landing, a day of the East. Hearing the arcs play out isolated was hugely helpful. I remember thinking: 'Holy s-t, this is huge, how are we going to do this?'"
Last month, Bryan Cogman teased in a separate interview that this season will feature the biggest battle the series has ever seen, which may even be the biggest in TV history. Sadly, no details have been given about who is on either side of this battle, or when it will actually take place within Season 6. Since none of the fans know what to expect, the writer-producer teased that aspect of this season made it the hardest yet to write. Here's what he had to say below, saying that there are still some situations in the previous books that will be included this season.
"It was the hardest season to write for that very reason. While we're still drawing from a lot of situations and arcs in the books, it's obviously not a direct adaptation of any of the books this year. I will say you'll see character versions and interpretations that are in some of the previous books that we hadn't gotten to yet. I think of it as Westeros 2 - the alternate universe version of Westeros. There's the book universe and a show universe and this is what happens in the show universe.
While HBO hasn't confirmed any of the new characters yet, even with a few days left until the Season 6 premiere, we know that several long-missing characters will return to Westeros. Isaac Hempstead-Wright will be back as Bran Stark, after sitting out Season 5 since his story has caught up to the books. Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) is also coming back, who hasn't been seen since Season 4, along with Paul Kaye, whose character Thoros of Myr has been absent since Season 3. Stay tuned for more on Game of Thrones as we continue the countdown towards Season 6.