Season 6 of Game of Thrones began with the beleaguered Stark family down two more members in addition to previous casualties Ned, Catelyn, and Robb. Jon Snow, of course, had been given the Julius Caesar treatment by his Night’s Watch comrades in the Season 5 finale, and Bran Stark had been missing in action the entirety of the previous year, vanishing into the underground cave occupied by Warg master, the Three-Eyed Raven. But by the end of the sixth season’s second episode, both Jon and Bran were back in the mix, the former taking his first breath since being stabbed multiple times, and the latter putting his Warg powers to the test, jumping back in time to check in with his father (and Hodor) as younger men.
Jon’s resurrection and Bran’s return replenish the increasingly depleted Stark ranks. And according to one of the surviving Stark children, Maisie Williams — who plays fan favorite, Arya — another family member will be re-surfacing soon. Appearing on the BBC radio program “The Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw,” Williams fielded a question from a Manchester-based listener who wanted to know if the littlest Stark, Rickon, will put in an appearance. (Needle drop on the 2:14:56 mark to hear the exchange for yourself.) “Yes… maybe,” the actress says haltingly, clearly uncertain about whether or not she should commit spoiler-cide. But then she goes ahead and takes the plunge: “We will indeed.” At least she has a sense of humor about the possible consequences for breaking the Game of Thrones spoiler Omertà. “I’m literally going to get off the air and someone’s going to email me [saying], ‘We’re going to have to kill of Arya,’” she jokes. (It’s easy to crack wise about that when you’re one of the show’s most popular characters.)
“Now wait a second. Rickon? Who the heck is Rickon?” you might be asking yourself. We don’t blame you for forgetting that particular leaf on the Stark family tree. After all, the youngest child of Ned and Catelyn (RIPx2) hasn’t been seen by anyone, let alone his brothers and sisters, since way back in Season 3. At that point, Rickon (Art Parkinson) and Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) had fled Winterfell in the wake of Theon Greyjoy’s ill-fated takeover, and were tromping through the Westerosi countryside in the company of Hodor and Osha (Natalia Tena), the wildling refugee from Mance Ryder’s defunct army who was conscripted into serving the Starks instead. In their absence, Theon burnt the bodies of two other boys, claiming he had killed Winterfell’s heirs in order to assert his questionable authority. (It’s a stunt that wound up backfiring pretty spectacularly for him.)
Art Parkinson at an event in 2015 (Photo: Getty)
Presumed dead, Rickon wandered the Westerosi wilderness with Bran until his older brother made the difficult, but necessary decision to send him into hiding rather than drag the young boy to the frozen wastelands north of the Wall, where his own Warg destiny awaited. So Osha was tasked with escorting Rickon to the Stark-friendly House Umber, where he’s lived in secret ever since. It seems unlikely that he’d make his identity public now, but with Bran able to psychically teleport through time and space, chances are he’ll find a way to swing by House Umber and check in on his little bro. He probably shouldn’t expect for Rickon to be so little anymore, of course. Now 14, Parkinson is no longer the cherubic child we remember from Season 1. Does this mean that Rickon will be experiencing some serious teen angst? Given what he’s lived through in his short life already, it would be a surprise if he wasn’t painting his room black and writing bad poetry.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.