When I’m looking for some tidbits that may possibly tell me something about what to expect on Game of Thrones, I want better than a photo that came out “a little blurry.” This, for example?
That is some weak sauce right there.
The person posting the photo says we can’t see the name “Littlefinger” on the door of the trailer because the photo came out “a little blurry,” but that sheet of paper on the door is more than a little blurry. That horizontal smudge could be the name “Littlefinger” or it could be literally any combination of letters that take up the width of the page.
Now, I’m not opposed to Littlefinger returning to Winterfell in S6. I have an idea of what it means if he returns. It’s not like this is getting in the way of my predictions and I need to explain it away.
If Aiden Gillen really is shooting scenes at the Winterfell set, though, I would like something better as evidence than a mostly-clear photo whose significance depends on a piece of paper whose writing is completely illegible.
Some of the production news we’re getting is interesting, and some of it is basically asking us to get all excited over pictures of UFOs. We’ll call them Unidentified Filming Objects.
The news that Bran is coming back for S6 is major. That is something worth talking about. That we’re getting Max von Sydow to play the Three-Eyed Raven is also significant. That suggests that Bran’s scenes with the Raven will be a big deal. That they’ve cast Ian McShane to play someone is also interesting, but I’ll be a lot more interested when I hear something about McShane’s role, aside from that he’s played by Ian McShane. (Everyone’s talking about Randyll Tarly and Euron Greyjoy as candidates for McShane’s role. Both totally viable ideas! Both occupying completely different spaces in the story!) Until I hear some specifics from the people at HBO, McShane’s casting raises more questions than it answers. That someone is looking to cast babies and children in a certain age range for a day of shooting in Peñiscola is potentially interesting, but I will hold out for confirmation that they’re actually casting these children for Game of Thrones before I get all excited.
Another example is that when I see Josephine Gillan tell us Marei is coming back, that is a) something I can trust, as it’s not in Ms. Gillan’s interest to fib about this, and b) a usable bit of news. It’s a tiny thing, but it’s a tiny thing that I can work with.
The bits and pieces I see coming from Moneyglass, however, are generating more excitement than information. A few days ago, someone told Watchers on the Wall they saw Sophie Turner (Sansa) filming at the Winterfell set. The same person then told WotW they also maaaay have seen Michelle Fairley driving a van in the same area. (And that’s the part where I start saying: ah, geez, more of this? Really?) That part turned out to be a false alarm! Michelle Fairley was nowhere near the area. No one mentioned Alfie Allen at the location, which makes me wonder.
Then somebody at Belfast Live tells Winter is Coming that the set they’re seeing at Moneyglass may be a new location. Which suggests that Sansa has a scene at some other northern castle! (I see no reason why it can’t be a Riverlands castle for a scene in mid-season, but then I’m going down a rabbit hole.) Or maybe it’s just a different part of Winterfell, who knows? And then someone else says (I can’t seem to find the article now, but I saw it earlier today on one of those GoT communities) that agreement is coalescing that the Moneyglass set is totally Winterfell. This whole time I’m sitting here asking: okay, now where the fuck is Alfie Allen? He’s been seen in Belfast with other cast members, but how about filming?
Now the supposed “news” is, based on a suspiciously blurry photo of an otherwise undistinguished trailer: Holy fuck! Littlefinger’s back at Winterfell! What could this meeeeeean?
I’m just saying…substantial claims require substantial evidence. You want me to believe Sophie Turner’s filming at Winterfell, I would like to see either photographic evidence, which I can evaluate for myself, OR, if Ms. Turner is not consenting to the camera, then I’d like to see Tweets from at least two unaffiliated people. For example, no one’s posted a picture of Gwendoline Christie (that I’ve seen), but two different Twitter users, as Retweeted by one of those fan sites, have reported seeing her in Belfast, and there aren’t many people who may be mistaken for her, so they’re probably telling the truth. I don’t think I’m asking much. If I lived close enough to rubberneck a Game of Thrones production site (I live near Washington, DC, so there may be a little ocean getting in the way), I would bring a better camera to the occasion, and I would try to get a clearer picture of the trailer labeled “Littlefinger,” and if THAT were the clearest picture I could get, I would not post it on Twitter.
All this is not to say I think folks are lying, necessarily. They may simply be mistaken, or maybe they just really can’t get close enough for a usable picture. And, you know, some people might actually lie, maybe just a tiny bit, to get a bit of attention from Game of Thrones fans. There’s no lie detector built into Twitter. Ultimately, I am open to the idea that Sophie Turner and Aiden Gillen have recently filmed scenes at the Winterfell set, but I’ll also hang those ideas in the question mark area for the time being. I won’t make any predictions that depend on those conditions unless/until I get something more substantial.
Then there’s this—
—No, I’m not finished yet!—
—there’s this Season 6 summary found on the Game of Thrones wikia, which tells us:
Winter has come.
In King’s Landing, Queen Cersei Lannister has been publicly shamed by the Faith of the Seven and awaits her trial for regicide and incest. Even Grand MaesterPycelle has abandoned her, and called her uncle, Ser Kevan Lannister, to rule as the new Hand of the King. Even though Cersei has been released to their custody, her inept leadership nearly destroyed House Lannister‘s hold on the throne and they have no intention of ever letting her wield power again. Kevan and Pycelle must attempt to mend the damage Cersei did to the Lannister-Tyrellalliance. The Lannisters and Tyrells on Kevan’s Small Council maintain a shaky truce as they attempt to deal with the ongoing debt crisis to the Iron Bank of Braavos, as well as the rise of the fanatical Faith Militant due to Cersei’s blunders. Cersei meanwhile, though seemingly humbled, still hasa few schemes she will attempt to play to regain control.
In the North, the Boltons have triumphed over King Stannis — but in the distraction, Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy have escaped, desperately jumping off Winterfell‘s castle walls. Brienne of Tarth, who executed Stannis, must now deal with the consequences of putting her vow to avenge King Renly before her oath to protect Sansa.
Across the Narrow Sea, in the Free City of Braavos, Arya Stark killed Meryn Trant without the Faceless Men‘s permission — but without the proper training, the use of one of their masks has poisoned her and rendered her blind. Her training continues, as now the blind little girl must learn to rely on her other senses to survive.
In Slaver’s Bay, Daenerys Targaryen‘s attempt to liberate Meereen has resulted in massive bloodshed, with the former slave masters conspiring to retake the city. In a large scale ambush on the opening day of the games inDaznak’s Pit however, Daenerys climbed onto Drogon‘s back to try to escape the danger — but she could not make him return to the city. Instead, the young dragon flew north to the southern border of the Dothraki Sea, the lands of his birth, where the stranded Daenerys has been surrounded by a hostile Dothrakikhalasar numbering in the thousands. Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis have set out to search for her. Meanwhile, back in the city Daenerys’s advisors Tyrion Lannister, Missandei, and Grey Worm are joined by Varys in attempting to hold together rule over the city wracked by the ongoing insurgency until Daenerys returns — if she returns at all.
At the Wall, Lord CommanderJon Snow attempted to prepare for the coming of the White Walkers by letting as many wildlings through to the south as he could — but tens of thousands more were killed and resurrected as undead wights at Hardhome. The leading Night’s Watch officers, increasingly upset at Jon’s proposed alliance with the wildlings, have staged a mutiny“for the Watch” and stabbed Jon multiple times until he fell.
Just before the mutiny against Jon Snow, he sent away Samwell Tarly to go to the Citadel in Oldtown in order to train to be a new maester to replace Maester Aemon after his passing. Samwell takes Gilly and her young son with him, rather than leave them in the path of the White Walkers. Oldtown, Westeros’s second largest city, is located in the southwest of the Reach, not far away from Sam’s former home, the House Tarly castle-seat at Horn Hill. Samwell and Gilly, however, face a long and difficult sea voyage before they get to the Citadel.
Distracted by the political intrigues in King’s Landing, the exhausted lords of Westeros must now brace for the rise of the kraken — the ironborn led by House Greyjoy. Early in the War of the Five Kings, Balon Greyjoy declared the Iron Islands‘ independence and raided the North while the Stark‘s army was fighting in the south. Having remained relatively uninvolved ever since, the ironborn’s massive fleet remains at full strength, a fact lost on the major powers of the mainland, who have been nearly exhausted fighting each other.
All of this changes with the sudden return of Balon’s exiled younger brother Euron Greyjoy — cunning, ruthless, manipulative, and more than a little insane, he strikes fear even into the other ironborn. He pushes for the ironborn to launch massive new offensives against the other kingdoms, not simply to raid, but to hold and conquer territory, as Euron’s ultimate ambition is nothing less than to conquer all of the Seven Kingdoms. He is opposed by Balon’s daughter Yara Greyjoy, who urges that the Iron Islands must preserve their strength and engage in diplomacy with the mainland if they are to survive.
And as the winds of winter begin to sweep through the south, far Beyond the Wall the young Bran Stark has been staying with the last of the Children of the Forest and his new mentor, the Three-eyed raven, in order to hone his abilities. Bran will not walk again, but he has learned to fly.
Notice anything about that? First off, there’s not really any new information there. Anyone who has watched S5 and read the extant five books could have written that. But that’s not really a problem! If I could trust that this material came from an official source, I could latch onto some of the phrasing and have some fun. Problem is, I don’t know who wrote that. It’s gone around some places on the web, and people are saying it was posted to the Game of Thrones page on IMDB, but it’s not on IMDB now. We’ve already seen that sometimes, stuff appears on IMDB that isn’t trustworthy. (Also, not everything included in the season summaries is relevant; the S4 summary mentions Brynden Tully being in charge of Riverrun, and that’s true in the books, but we went all of S4 without seeing or hearing anything about Brynden Tully.) If I could attach a name to the writing of this summary, then I could figure out whether it’s official, or just a fan’s recap of extant canon, and if I knew it was official, then I could make some broad predictions from it. But what if it’s not official info?