Warning: This post contains spoilers for both the Game of Thrones TV show and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Following the return of characters such as Rickon Stark, Osha, Walder Frey and, of course, Benjen Stark in the sixth season of Game of Thrones, viewers have begun wondering if any other familiar faces will be resurfacing in the final four episodes of the year. While the promo for "The Broken Man," reveals that Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully — who escaped the Red Wedding and hasn't been seen since — will be back Sunday to confront Jaime Lannister at Riverrun, several other long-lost players are still (presumably) waiting in the wings.
Starting with those who disappeared the earliest and working our way through the seasons, let's take a look at the once-important characters who still have a chance of getting some additional screen time in the HBO drama.
The Magister of Pentos hasn't been seen since season one but was heavily involved in arranging Daenerys's marriage to Khal Drogo, thus setting her on the path to become the queen she is today. He also gave her the three dragon eggs and introduced her to Jorah Mormont, so yeah, we'd say he played a pretty big role in Dany's life. Illyrio is later revealed to be in cahoots with Varys, as they are both part of a group seeking to restore the Targaryens to the Iron Throne.
Arya believes her beloved "dancing" master was killed by Ser Meryn Trant in season one while defending her from the Lannister guards, but his presumed death happened off screen — which as Thrones' viewers know, means it may not have happened at all. The First Sword of Braavos could still be alive, well and ready to help Arya finally make her escape from the House of Black and White.
Although we're pretty sure no one would be sorry if Ned Stark's executioner had met his end, Ser Ilyn is probably still skulking around King's Landing waiting to take out another of our favorite characters. Joffrey's loyal henchman hasn't actually made an appearance since season two, but was mentioned by Tywin Lannister in the season four finale during his attempt to convince Tyrion that he wouldn't let him be killed. We all know how that turned out.
Like Melisandre, the mysterious masked woman Jorah meets in Qarth is a shadowbinder from the city of Asshai, meaning she is capable of magically manipulating shadows to do her bidding. But unlike Melisandre, we never see her making use of that power. Instead, she appears only twice in the show to offer Jorah prophetic advice about Daenerys's future.
However, in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, Quaithe delivers the following prophecy directly to the Mother of Dragons: "To go north, you must journey south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow."
Some believe this means Dany will have to journey into the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai before she finally makes her long-awaited voyage to Westeros — which would be the perfect time for Quaithe to show back up.
Is Hot Pie still baking direwolf bread loaves at the Inn at the Crossroads? We can only hope so.
The leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners has the ability to be resurrected — and has already risen from the dead six times — so we can only assume he'll be back again. Not to mention that his band of outlaws was name-dropped during the Freys' discussion of the Riverlands in the sixth episode, meaning they could reappear at any time. However, thanks to his decision to sell Gendry to Melisandre in season three, Beric is on Arya's death list — a position that won't bode well for him if she ever makes it back to Westeros.
Thoros of Myr
If Beric is still around, there's a good chance the red priest tasked with bringing him back to life is as well. Thoros also earned himself a spot on Arya's list though, so if he does return, it may not be for very long.
For all we know, Gendry is still out there rowing his boat across the sea. Although he's been missing since escaping Melisandre's clutches with the help of Ser Davos in the season three finale, it's hard to imagine Robert Baratheon's lovable bastard won't have some part to play in the events to come. After all, as the Red Woman once told him, "there is power in the king's blood."
But even if Gendry never ends up making a play for the Iron Throne, it seems cruel not to at least reunite him with Arya at some point. Luckily, Thrones is known for its happy endings.
George R.R. Martin has said the zombified version of Catelynn Stark won't be appearing in the show. However, with the storyline finally returning to the Riverlands, there may still be hope for a surprise reveal. We know that both House Tully and the Brotherhood Without Banners — who Lady Stoneheart travels with in the books — have been causing problems for the Lannister—Frey alliance. If the two have teamed up, it could have something to do with the undead former Tully herself.
All signs point to Sandor Clegane — another character who "died offscreen" — making his triumphant return in the seventh episode of the season, "The Broken Man." And what better time to show up than right when the High Sparrow is searching for a champion capable of defeating the Mountain — a.k.a. the Hound's long-hated big brother — in Cersei's trial by combat? Cue all the Cleganebowl theorists losing their minds.