With four days to go for the TV premiere of Game Of Thrones season 6, fans will be eager to find out what would happen to their favourite characters.
Will Jon Snow resurrect? How will Cersei exact her revenge against the High Sparrow who tossed her into prison? There are a number of questions, but before we get any of those answers, IBTimes UK rewinds right to the start and takes a look at some of the hit show's key characters and how they have made their way to season six. We turn the spotlight to Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), the young, wild tomboy who has got all the makings of a future threat to the Lannisters.
The youngest daughter of Lord Eddard Stark and Lady Catelyn, Arya is a firebrand, wanting to be part of the boys club rather than sit back and learn embroidery like her elder sister Sansa. She has more gumption than most of the other boys her age and reminds us a bit of the Irish pirate queen, Grace O'Malley.
Early on in the drama, she gets a taste of Lannister justice when her friend Mycah is killed along with her sister's direwolf, as punishment for Arya's wolf Nymeria attacking Prince Joffrey when he tried to raise his sword at her.
She has no love for the capital, King's Landing nor the lady-like pursuits expected of her and spends most of her time learning water-dancing (a Bravosi style of sword fighting) from her teacher Syrio Forel.
But when she witnesses the beheading of her father (ordered by Joffrey), she is forced to flee the capital and make her way towards The Wall to find her half-brother Jon Snow. Like most journeys through the forest, Arya's trip is fraught with obstacles and she is veered away from her destination.
Along the way she takes up an odd night-time prayer of sorts listing the names of all the people she hopes would die – including Joffrey (who gets a deserving death by poison), Cersei Lannister, Sandor Clegane-The Hound (who Brianne of Tarth kills), his brother Ser Gregor Clegane-The Mountain and Ser Ilyn Payne. The list increases as she adds names of people she believes deserves death, and decreases when she finds out they have been killed. Saying these names out loud becomes her only way of falling asleep and makes us wonder why she could not just try counting sheep!
One of the key characters in Arya's story, Jaqen H'ghar first meets her as a prisoner of the Men of the Night's Watch, who she saves from a fire. She encounters him again, but this time he is a soldier in the Lannister Army, who helps her escape Harrenhal where she was kept prisoner. Jaqen is the young girl's first introduction to the possibility of a whole new life if she ever lands up in Braavos.
After a cross-kingdom tour with no luck of reuniting with any of her family, Arya finally decides to make her own path and sets sail for the port city of Braavos in search of Jaqen. What she finds instead is the House of Black and White and a grouchy old priest who dismisses her when she asks for her friend by name.
But then lo and behold, the old man turns out to be Jaqen (although he does clarify that Jaqen doesn't exist and he is in fact "no one").
Season five of GoT shows Arya being introduced to this new world of magic, Faceless Men and some seriously dubious poisonous water. She is made to give up all associations with her old life, and she does, except for her sword "Needle" that was given to her by Jon. She hides that underneath some rocks, just to let us know that she will be back to scratch those names off her death list in the future.
A seriously inappropriate job from a young girl, she along with fellow trainee Waif, are made to clean the bodies of the people who come to the House of Black and White to drink the poisoned water and escape their problems through death. While most of us are trying to find ourselves, Arya is being trained to lie and be someone else, and she proves that she can do it, when she helps a sick girl accept death.
Jaqen then shows her what happens to all the dead people she has been washing up and takes her to the Hall of Faces, a vast eerie room stocked to the ceiling with faces of the dead that the Faceless Men use along with magic to take on new personas in service to the Many-Faced God. Warning: This is not the kind of room you want to get lost in.
For one of her first tasks outside the House, Arya is made to play a shellfish merchant and kill a corrupt insurance broker known only as "the Thin Man". But before she manages to poison his oysters, the novice is distracted when she spots one of the men on her death list, Meryn Trant.
Following him to a brothel she finds out he has a fondness for beating and sexually abusing young girls. The next day Arya steals a face from the Hall of Faces and poses as one of the brothel's younger offerings. In a dramatic and bloody scene she stabs Trant in the eyes and body and then reveals her true identity (Arya Stark), clearly not having become a "faceless man" yet.
But when she returns to the House to replace the face that she borrowed, she is caught by Jaqen and Waif. Since Arya took a life that did not belong to her, it seems like she has got to give the Many-Faced God a life back. Jaqen reveals a bottle of poison, but instead of feeding it to Arya, he drinks it himself and dies.
In a reality-questioning scene in the season five finale, the young Stark finds that dead Jaqen was simply wearing a lot of faces, the last being her own. And with her last vision being her own dead face, Arya turns blind, a punishment for misusing the powers of the faceless men.
What to expect from season 6
Explaining what Arya did wrong in the previous season's finale, David Benioff explained, "The Faceless Men don't kill for revenge — they're not killing out of anger, they're killing because death is a gift and the idea is a painless death is almost like your letting people go, and that's not Arya's way. Arya's not dealing out death as a gift to Meryn Trant, it's for herself."
So she kicks off season six with murky vision-less eyes, but we doubt this will be a permanent punishment for the young girl. While coping with her blindness, Arya will train in combat and going by the new trailers she seems to have already got some wicked moves. But will she hold on to that death list of hers? We can only hope she does!
Game Of Thrones season six will premiere on HBO on 24 April at 9pm ET.