We Know Nothing, (About) Jon Snow As 'Game Of Thrones' Returns HBO's hit kicks off its sixth season this weekend, but the show has now outpaced the original books, and the channel isn't making advance episodes available. So, is Jon Snow alive? We have no idea!
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We Know Nothing, (About) Jon Snow As 'Game Of Thrones' Returns

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We Know Nothing, (About) Jon Snow As 'Game Of Thrones' Returns

We Know Nothing, (About) Jon Snow As 'Game Of Thrones' Returns

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

If you're a fan of dragons and swords, you are swooning. In fact, you are counting down. HBO's fantasy drama "Game Of Thrones" returns for its sixth season on Sunday, ending months of anticipation. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the series faces a major turning point, along with the channel that airs it.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Let's call this the opposite of a spoiler alert - critics don't know much about "Game Of Thrones'" upcoming season.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GAME OF THRONES")

PETER DINKLAGE: (As Tyrion Lannister) Whoever you are, wherever you go, someone wants to murder you.

DEGGANS: Besides serving as the unofficial motto for "Game Of Thrones," that line could also describe how HBO executives felt last year when new episodes leaked online before the show's debut on air. So this year, HBO didn't give critics an early look at new episodes, so there's nothing I can tell you about what's going to happen. Or is there?

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GAME OF THRONES")

DINKLAGE: (As Tyrion Lannister) Are you afraid? You should be. You're in the great game now, and the great game is terrifying.

DEGGANS: That brief speech by Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister is in one of several teasers HBO released early. And because fans treat each morsel like sacred text, pouring over every frame to analyze what's in store, there's a cottage industry built around GOT speculation. In these trailers, we see big battle scenes, characters on the run, others in captivity. In one scene - OK, let's drop a spoiler alert right here - incestuous couple Cersei and Jaime Lannister are reunited, mourning the death of their daughter.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GAME OF THRONES")

LENA HEADEY: (As Cersei Lannister) Do you remember the first time you saw a dead body?

NIKOLAJ COSTER-WALDAU: (As Jaime Lannister) Mother.

HEADEY: (As Cersei Lannister) As she started to bloat, as her skin turned black? I think about locking Myrcella in a crypt. I think about her beautiful little face starting to...

COSTER-WALDAU: (As Jaime Lannister) Don't think about it.

DEGGANS: It's a pivotal time for "Game Of Thrones," as all of the plots extend beyond the storylines of George R. R. Martin's published books. This is a scenario I prefer. TV shows based on books, like "Dexter" or "The Walking Dead," often seem to work best when they make choices based on what works best for television and not on sticking to a popular text.

At a time when HBO's struggling to create successful new dramas, "Game Of Thrones" remains its most popular series ever. HBO uses it to entice people into subscribing to the channel. This weekend, HBO is giving non-subscribers with cable service free access to sample the show, and it's already renewed the series for 2017. So this season has got to work, and work well for both the series and HBO. Most of all, it's got to answer the question, is hero Jon Snow, who we saw stabbed to death last season, really dead? Can't wait to get some answers, right alongside many of you on Sunday night. I'm Eric Deggans.

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