New shooting locations in Spain are fueling a lot of fan speculation that Bran Stark isn’t the only character coming back.
What shooting locations?
Game of Thrones season 6 will be filming at several locations in Spain, but in particular is the Castillo de Zafra, a medieval castle that is said to be all but impregnable. Here’s what it looks like:
So, what is it supposed to be in the show?
Fans are speculating that the Castillo de Zafra will be standing in for the Tower of Joy in the Red Mountains of Dorne, which belonged to a certain Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.
Why is the Tower of Joy important?
During Robert Baratheon’s rebellion against the Mad King Aerys II, Rhaegar took Ned Stark’s sister, Lyanna Stark, to the Tower of Joy. After Ned Stark took King’s Landing from the Targaryens and lifted the siege at Storm’s End, he rode to Dorne. He arrived at the Tower of Joy and found members of the King’s Guard still loyal to Aerys II. Only Ned and his bannerman Howland Reed survived the fight.
When Ned found Lyanna in a room that smelled of “blood and roses,” she was dying of a fever. Though weak, Ned recalled that she made him promise him something of great importance. That promise, many fans have speculated, has to do with keeping a child safe: the baby she had with Rhaegar Targaryen. As the fan speculation goes, that baby grew up to become Jon Snow.
So, why does this mean the return of Ned Stark?
Well, it most likely doesn’t mean he’ll be resurrected. However, season 5 started with a flashback of Cersei… so why can’t season 6 start with Ned Stark and Jon Snow? It’s certainly possible we’ll see Ned storm the Tower of Joy, fight off the Kingsguard, then find Lyanna dying with her baby. After Ned promises to save the child from Robert’s wrath, we cut to Jon’s corpse on the ground of Castle Black. That would be a pretty effective opening.
Would they be able to get Sean Bean back without anyone knowing?
Possibly, but given that the events of the flashback will be decades before the show they may recast the part with a younger actor.
Could the Tower of Joy not be in a flashback?
Absolutely, which means we most likely would not be seeing Ned Stark reappear. However, the Tower of Joy could play into the Dorne plotline somehow. Another possibility would be that another character goes there trying to piece together John Snow’s identity or the fate of Lyanna Stark.
When will season 6 premiere?
We don’t know, as they haven’t announced a date yet. If they stick to their schedule, however, it will most likely debut in March or April of next year.