Our long wait is (almost) over. A year after the Season 5 finale that launched a thousand fan theories, Game of Thrones is preparing to enter new territory in its sixth season, which debuts Sunday, April 24 on HBO. For the first time in its history, the series will venture completely off book, as the writers have lapped the release of author George R.R. Martin’s final two novels. So now, both readers and newbies will be on the same proverbial page when we return to Westeros, Dorne, and points beyond.
As viewers count down the days to Game of Thrones’ return, we here at Yahoo TV are launching our official countdown: #GoTIsComing. Check back here every day over the next month as we explore all of our favorite (and a few of our least favorite) people, places, and things about television’s most addictive show. From Direwolves and Dragons to the shows most hideous deaths and imperiled characters, we’re going to indulge or GoT obsession with the same fervor that Cersei imbibes alcohol. So raise a glass and toast the impending arrival of a long, cruel, and bloody Westerosi winter.
One of the biggest disappointments of Game of Thrones is the lack of direwolves. What dragons are to Daenerys Targaryen, direwolves are to the Starks. Though not technically magical, they are fantastical, and many fans have bonded with the animals — much like Stark children themselves. No matter how big they grow, we’ll always think of them as the puppies rescued from their dead mother in the first episode.
“Robb was calling his Grey Wind, because he ran so fast. Sansa had named hers Lady, and Arya named hers after some old witch queen in the songs, and little Rickon called his Shaggydog.” George R.R. Martin let the names speak to the character of each of the Starks, especially Bran, who had trouble naming his wolf until it saved him from an assassin. The name Summer reflects both his sad, yet ultimately optimistic demeanor as well as the idea of a savior who stands against the coming winter.
Like the Starks, direwolves are loyal and dangerous and, hopefully, they’ll both bounce back in Season 6. Here is everything you need to know about the animals from the show, as well as a little bit from the books. For a full size rendering of the infographic, click HERE.
Game of Thrones Season 6 premieres Sunday, April 24 at 9 p.m. on HBO.