The end of Game of Thrones season five left more than a few watchers of HBO's hit show gasping for air. Fans will have to wait a whole year to learn what comes next, but casting calls for the show's sixth season may already give us a good indication of what to expect.
Most of the casting calls aren't all that interesting. A pair of characters named Qhogo and Akrat, who are described as non-white and speaking a fictional language: probably Dothraki. A couple of northern lords, servants and maids.
It's all typical Game of Thrones material. However, by far the most interesting is the casting call for an unnamed "legendary fighter." Read the full description for the role below:
A man in his thirties or forties who is a great swordsman and a paragon of knighthood. He carries a hugely famous sword on his back. The show is seeking a very impressive swordsman for the role — the best in Europe, for a week of filming fight scenes for a season 6 role. His ethnicity/race isn't specified, unlike many other roles.
Who could this be? For those who have read George R.R. Martin's book series on which the show is based, the answer seems obvious: Ser Arthur Dayne. By far, he is the most famous knight in all of Westerosi history, often referred to as the "Sword of the Morning." His weapon, the legendary Dawn, is probably the most well-known sword in all of the Seven Kingdoms. The description leaves little doubt that this has to be the famous knight.
However, this is where things get interesting: Arthur Dayne is long dead. He dies shortly after the end of Robert's Rebellion, which, as show watchers and book readers know, took place decades in the past from the events currently depicted on the show.
So, what does this mean? It means season six will very likely feature a flashback depicting what is widely considered one of the most important scenes in Martin's saga.
POSSIBLE GIANT SPOILERS INCOMING. TURN BACK NOW!
After the end of Robert's Rebellion (which started over Rhaegar Targaryen "abducting" Lyanna Stark, Eddark Stark's sister and Robert Baratheon's wife-to-be), Ned finally learned of Lyanna's hidden location. She was being held in a secluded tower, the Tower of Joy, defended by three of the remaining Kingsguard named Gerold Hightower, Oswell Whent and, of course, Arthur Dayne.
Ned brings five of his own companions, including Howland Reed (father of Bran's friends Jojen and Meera Reed), and the two groups face off. At the end of the fight, only Ned and Howland remain standing. Ned rushes into the Tower to find his sister dying, but what exactly happens next is still unclear.
Most fans speculate Ned finds Lyanna dying in childbirth. After all, why would the Kingsguard be defending the tower if no person of royal blood was there? Lyanna's child is believed to be none other than Jon Snow, the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen. Lyanna makes Ned "promise her" on her deathbed. What exactly Ned promised is unclear, but most assume it was to keep Jon's origins a secret and to protect the child, hence Ned raising the boy as his own and claiming him as his bastard son.
This casting call seems to indicate we may see all of this play out on screen, which means Sean Bean may be returning for season six of the show. However, why bother filming this scene at all, especially after Jon Snow's apparent death at the end of season five? What purpose could it serve?
The most obvious answer is that Jon isn't actually dead. Instead, he will likely be resurrected in some way, possibly by Melisandre, who will discover that he has the all-important "king's blood" running through his veins since he is actually a Targaryen heir. In that sense, a flashback scene explaining his origins and spelling it out for watchers of the show who may not have kept up with fan theories or read the books makes perfect sense.
We know showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have inside knowledge about how Martin's books will end, and have even possibly hinted at the popular R+L=J theory before in interviews and even on the show itself. It's also worth remembering that before Martin agreed to allow the two to adapt his book series, they had to answer one question: who is Jon Snow's mother?
They apparently answered correctly, because here we are, five years later. All signs seem to point toward the Tower of Joy making it into season six. If you are anxious to see how the scene might play out, you can check out this excellent fan's potryal of the showdown in comic form here.