Tonight is Season 6 Teaser Night for Game of Thrones fans! The teaser was leaked earlier today because of course it was, so a lot of us got a chance to watch it well ahead of its proper release time of 8:59 PM. From most of us, the reaction was basically: meh. And I see where that’s coming from. There’s no new footage.
There’s still something to work with, and I wrote up an analysis of the teaser content for FanSided, which you can find here and includes the following:
Of the first four faces, there is a certain relationship between the lines we hear and the circumstances of the character’s death. Ned Stark abided by an honor-based system of law enforcement in which lords were expected to do the physical labor of death sentences. He was sentenced to death by Joffrey, but he was beheaded by a servant, Ser Ilyn Payne.
Of course I didn’t say anything about what this means for anyone’s chances of resurrection. Jon Snow is included in the trailer, and I didn’t say anything about what that says about whether he stays dead, and the reason I didn’t say anything is that I think it’s entirely obvious that he’s not staying dead, and everyone else is already on the topic of Jon’s status so I’m free to ask other questions.
Truly, though, I think Jon’s role in the teaser is qualitatively different from the other characters (go follow the link to my FanSided article to see what I mean) and the reason why he’s set apart from the others is that he’s the one who’s coming back. The other four characters are treated the way they are because…they’re dead and they’re staying that way.
And that includes Catelyn. Her role in the teaser highlights her desire for vengeance on the Lannisters, and I can see why one might think that implies Lady Stoneheart’s coming, but I think her presence has a much simpler explanation. Catelyn’s there for the same reason Ned and Robb are there. She’s there because she’s dead, and the limitations in her own worldview contributed to her death. And as I’ve argued before: Game of Thrones does not reward its characters for seeking revenge. If we get some version of the Brotherhood Without Banners’ mass hangings from A Feast for Crows (which I assume we will), it won’t be portrayed favorably and we will not be asked to root for the characters tying the nooses. Revenge is bullshit. That’s an underlying message in Catelyn’s part in the teaser.
However, I have detected a pattern in the presence of the four characters excluding Jon Snow, and that is that certain character traits are associated with early death. The Starks were killed because of naivete, and that includes Catelyn’s “kill them all” idea of justice. The Starks were running on this very black-and-white, present-day-oriented, Just World Fallacy sort of approach to war and politics, and it led them to early graves. A similar explanation could be made for Stannis; his cause was just and he was the Rightful King, but that wasn’t enough to hold his army together. At the opposite end is Joffrey, who was poisoned at his wedding feast specifically (on Olenna’s side at least) because he was so incredibly horrible and Olenna didn’t want her granddaughter married to that. We could make a similar argument for Tywin: his dying on Tyrion’s arrow was a predictable result of decades of abusive behavior, culminating in his willingness to have Tyrion unjustly executed. Basically, Tyrion killed his father because Tywin was so incredibly horrible for such a long time. He would’ve done the same to Cersei if she’d been in a more convenient location.
Based on those messages, I think Ramsay Bolton is on the Valar Morghulis list this season. Tyrion will be fine. Sansa will be fine. I want to say Littlefinger is also on the chopping block, but I can’t make that prediction based on the teaser. Cersei will be killed because she’s so totally horrible, but probably not this season.