Helen Sloan/HBOWarning: Spoilers ahead for "Game of Thrones."
Hours ahead of its scheduled debut, the latest "Game of Thrones" season six teaser leaked online. But the minute-long clip wasn't the full trailer some fans were expecting. Instead, it was a fictional scene from the House of Black and White — Arya Stark's newest home in season five.
The House of Black and White is a temple in Braavos, located in Essos, across the Narrow Sea to the east of Westeros. The temple is dedicated to the Many-Face God, and houses a troupe of professional assassins called Faceless Men.
Faceless Men are more than just sneaky killers — they have a magical ability to literally change faces (and bodily appearance) in order to effectively disguise themselves. The faces they use come directly from their victims.
But the Faceless Men are more than just hired-knives. They also run a sort of assisted-suicide program from the House of Black and White, so people who wish to die can come to temple and receive the "gift" of the Many-Faced God: Death.
Helen Sloan/HBOSo — this teaser. The video opens with several wide shots of the Hall of Faces, an enormous room where all the optional faces are stored. Then camera pans over the faces of characters from past and present seasons. Their appearance in the House of Black of White doesn't inherently mean anything significant. This feels more like a stylistic choice rather than a hint at an actual plot.
First up is Ned Stark, the presumed protagonist of the series until his untimely execution in season one. We know his head rotted on a spike in King's Landing, so it's definitely not in the possession of the Faceless Men. A voiceover plays as we see his face: "The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword."
HBOThis was Ned's iconic lesson he taught to Bran and his other sons. The phrase encompasses all of Ned's best traits: honor, respect, and leadership.
Next we hear Robb Stark's voice, Ned's eldest son and King in the North. "I’ve won every battle, but I’m losing this war." Robb was a leading a strong rebellion against King Joffrey, but Tywin Lannister conspired with the Boltons and Freys to have him murdered at his uncle's wedding.
HBOCatelyn Stark, Ned's wife and Robb's mother, was also killed at the Red Wedding. Just like other teasers so far, this one is focusing a lot on the Stark family. Catelyn is next in the montage, and we hear her telling Robb "Show them how it feels to lose what they love."
HBOUnfortunately Robb and his army were killed before they had a chance to show the Lannisters what vengeance felt like.
After Catelyn, the video pans to Joffrey's head as we hear him say "Everyone is mine to torment." You may not have noticed, but Davos' head is to the left of Joffrey's. No audio is heard from him, though. Perhaps because he's still alive in the show?
HBOThe rest of the shots feature multiple faces too. Jon Snow appears next, sandwiched between Stannis Baratheon and his former love, Ygritte. Jon is saying one of his season five lines: "The long night is coming, and the dead come with it."
HBOYgritte died in season four, and Stannis was apparently killed at the end of season five (according to the episode's director). Jon, however, is a huge point of contention. Many fans firmly believe we'll see his return in season six, but the showrunners have been emphasizing his death as final.
As Jon speaks about "the dead," the camera sweeps across the face of Tyrion and down to a whole column of still-alive characters' heads.
Did you catch all of those? Tyrion is in the top middle, flanked by Sansa and Daenerys. Below him are Cersei, Arya, and Jaime.
HBOWe seriously doubt all of these characters are going to be killed in season six, but this teaser seems to really be focused on the mortality of every main character. Winter is certainly coming, and the future is unknown. This is the first season where showrunners Dan Benioff and D.B. Weiss have practically no book material left for sourcing the plot.
Season six might be a deadly free-for-all.
The series returns to HBO on Sunday, April 24. Hopefully we will get a trailer with actual new footage soon. In the meantime, watch the teasers on repeat and peruse the 20 released set photos.