It was the best part of 10 months between the bloody finale of Games of Thrones season five and the long-waited curtain going up on season six last night.
If you’re like me, the wait to discover the fate of Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, apparently slain by his own men in the closing moments of season five, has been an agonising one.
Snow had looked deader than dead, lying in a pool of blood, riddled with knife wounds, but since last June those who refused to believe that the show’s writers, and author George RR Martin, would kill off the programme’s biggest star, were handed glimmers of hope.
There had been sightings of Kit Harington, the actor who plays Snow, in Northern Ireland, where much of the fantasy show is filmed. And, the theories went, if Snow was gone for good why was Harington continuing to wear the distinctive curly locks synonymous with his character?
On the other hand, the list of main characters who have met a grisly end in Game of Thrones, the show where a big reputation is certainly no guarantee of survival, is a long one.
Sean Bean, who played Ned Stark, was hanged in public in a shock finale to season one; Charles Dance, who played Tywin Lannister, died while sitting on the toilet; and, most brutally in the infamous ‘Red Wedding’ scene, Rob Stark, played by Scottish heart-throb Richard Madden, was killed after watching his pregnant wife brutally murdered.
Harington has been playing a straight bat to questions about Snow’s mortality during media interviews while the rest of the cast have been rather admirably towing the party line that Snow is dead. It’s all added up to the heightened sense of tension to the point where we could wait no longer for the truth.
Well last night we had our answer about Jon Snow.. Well, actually we didn’t.
Here’s the lowdown. Season six opened with Snow flat on his back and apparently still dead. The few allies he had left at the Night’s Watch retrieved his body and have hidden it behind locked doors.
Snow’s hopes of resurrection would appear to rest with ‘The Red Woman’ Melisandre. With apparent supernatural powers, she could yet be the one to hand Snow a return to life in the weeks to come.
Bizarrely, Melisandre transformed into a very old woman in the episode’s closing moments.
Whether that was a potential connection to a Jon Snow resurrection we will have to wait and see.
Elsewhere, it was a typically thrilling opening episode. In true Game of Thrones style, a number of other characters met their end in brutal fashion. I wasn’t even sure of their names.
But while there was plenty more going on to keep us entertained, it seems we are no closer to finding out what we really tuned in for last night - Jon Snow’s true fate.
But what’s another week when you’ve already been waiting for 10 months?