After leaving us in a long, long year of waiting, Game of Thrones made its grand return to HBO last night. As those who attended the premiere made known, Season 6 hits the ground running immediately. Here's what we learned from tonight's first episode, "The Red Woman," and what these plot points might mean for the future.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.
1) Jon Snow is still dead. Much to our disappointment, Snow was in fact confirmed dead, but that doesn't mean he has to be for long. The episode opens on his bloody corpse in the snow, which Davos Seaworth—who recently befriended Snow—takes into safekeeping. Melisandre joins Davos and Snow's companions to mourn his loss, but doesn't use her magic to resurrect him—an abiding fan theory—just yet.
2) There's still a chance Snow could come back to life. When she looks down upon his corpse, Melisandre says, "I saw him in the flames fighting at Winterfell." As we know, Winterfell is the homeland of the Starks, and is currently in shambles under Bolton rule. The priestess' prophesies have been shaky lately (like when she inaccurately predicted Stannis Baratheon as the heir to the throne), but her powers haven't disappeared altogether. More on that later...
3) Snow's remaining allies could be teaming up with the Wildlings. As they brainstorm in a dark study at Castle Black, the friends Jon Snow left behind discuss what to do about antagonist Alliser Thorne and the other men who killed their Lord Commander. They decide combat is the best choice, but realize they are low in numbers against the opposition. Ser Davos hints at teaming up with the Wildlings, whom Snow rescued from the White Walkers despite criticism from the Night's Watch. "You're not the only ones who owe your lives to Jon Snow," Davos tells Snow's friends. Expect a showdown between Snow's surviving supporters and enemies in the near future.
4) Ramsay is seeking to avenge Myranda's death, and he's under a lot of pressure to find Sansa. As if we needed another reason for Ramsay to be a horrible person, he now seeks revenge against the person who killed his lover. He says to her dead body, "Your pain will be paid for a thousand times over. I wish you could be here to watch." But now he finds the tables of torture have been turned on him. His now-legitimate father Roose Bolton is angry that he let Sansa escape. Without her, he has no hope of producing an heir.
5) Sansa is in good hands (for now). Though Sansa and Theon are captured by a Bolton search party upon their escape, Brienne and Podrick come to their rescue. Last time Sansa met Brienne, at an inn while on the run with Littlefinger, she rejected her offer of protection. This time around, she accepts.
In other news, Sansa and Theon still don't know Jon is dead. During the chase, when Theon suggests they split up, he tells Sansa to "go north" and seek help with Jon since he is Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. It'll be interesting to see how they react when they find out—if they ever will.
6) Surprise, Cersei is out for revenge again. While mourning her daughter Myrcella's death, Cersei Lannister recalls that in the past, a witch prophesied she would have three children that would die and be buried in "gold shrouds." But Jaime convinces her to forget the prophesy and fight back: "Everything they've taken from us we're going to take back and more." Meanwhile on the other side of King's Landing, Margaery Tyrell remains in prison.
7) The women rule in Dorne. Ellaria Sand and her three daughters, the Sand Snakes, showed off epic girl power in tonight's episode. They took over as soon as Prince Doran received word of Myrcella Baratheon's death: Ellaria and Tyene murdered Doran and his right hand man, Areo Hotah, while Obara and Nymeria left Doran's son Trystane Martell slain. "Weak men will never rule Dorne again," said Sand as the Prince bled out at her feet.
8) Meereen is in flames. Now in the hands of Varys and Tyrion Lannister, the kingdom Daenerys Targaryen leaves behind is in terrible shape. As they stroll through the streets, homeless people huddle in corners and dilapidated buildings crumble. Just when things couldn't get any worse, they discover the port—and all its ships—are in flames.
Speaking of fire, some interesting potential foreshadowing took place when a missionary of The Lord of Light (Melisandre's cult) is seen speaking to a crowd. They respond to him, "For the night is dark and full of terrors, Melisandre's favorite catch phrase. What will happen when the people of Meereen are converted?
9) Daenerys is back with the Dothraki, but is not quite Khaleesi. Daenerys' homecoming to the nomadic horse tribe starts off on an unwelcome note. Her captors don't recognize her and take her as a prisoner. It's not until she convinces the new Khal that she is the widow of Khal Drogo that she is set free. However, to keep with tradition, she's forced to reside with the other kings' widows, thus thwarting her plans for a speedy escape. Meanwhile, her two admirers, Daario Naharis and Jorah Mormont, are on her trail after finding clues like a Dothraki track and the ring she left behind.
10) Arya is a blind beggar. We come upon the younger Stark sister completely blind and begging for coins in Braavos. The waif, the young woman from the House of Black and White who lives up to her title, visits her, throws her a fighting stick and challenges her to a brawl. Since she's blind, Arya stumbles and gets a series of beatings. When the waif leaves she tells Arya, "See you tomorrow." Is this a new daily training exercise?
Last but not least, and arguably the most mind-blowing:
11) Melisandre is an OLD LADY. In the final scene of the episode, the Red Woman is getting ready for bed. She undresses, first removing her crimson dress (as seems to be her signature move), then removes her trademark necklace, which triggers her transformation into an ancient, wrinkly sorceress. Turns out, she's been using her magic statement jewels to disguise herself as a younger woman. What other powers could she have up her sleeve?!
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Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she's listening to Lorde right now.
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