Spoilers ahead: Game of Thrones is back in full form, and we're officially hooked
The following is a recap of the Season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones, and it contains spoilers. Many spoilers.
The long winter has finally ended for Game of Thrones fans with the Season 6 premiere.
(If you haven't watched it and are trying not to find out about what happened, you stopped reading already, correct?)
The mother of all questions remains unanswered
The premiere picks up right where Season 5 left off, with a stone dead Jon Snow after Allister Thorne and other members of the Night's Watch (yep, young Oly too) formed an orderly queue to stab him.
Even the Red Woman, everyone's favourite candidate for resurrecting Snow, could only stand there dumbfounded by the turn of events. "I saw him in the flames fighting at Winterfell," she says to Davos.
"I can't speak for the flames," Davos said. "But he's gone."
But will he stay that way long?
If you've read the books, you'll know that it's only a matter of time before the bastard of Winterfell wakes - there are several ways of resurrecting the dead in George RR Martin's world (where art thou, Lady Stoneheart?).
You'll notice Kit Harrington's name in the credits; but you'll know he got paid for this episode for lying still on a table.
Laying the ground
Considering how packed the plots in A Song Of Ice and Fire are, it's not surprising that the premiere for the season jams in subplot upon subplot. The episode flies back and forth - from Castle Black to King's Landing and from Essos to Dorne.
Which is completely understandable since the show is picking up the pieces from an explosive ending in Season 5.
Cersei, who's still traumatised by the walk of shame, meets Jaime at the docks of the castle at King's Landing only to find more woe. With everything ripped away form her, she can't even find it in herself to be mad at Jaime for the mess he made of the Myrcella rescue effort.
But revenge shall be had, of course.
It's probably significant that Cersei's main champion now is not Jaime anymore, but the reanimated corpse of Gregor Clegane (the Mountain). His looming presence is a promise of great violence ahead.
Cersei's old nemesis Margaery, meanwhile, is still stuck in a filthy prison cell and being tormented by a stern septa who reads her the precepts of the faith of the Seven. "Septa Unella can be overzealous at times," the High Sparrow/Septon says.
Um, you think?
Daenyrys isn't heading to Westeros just yet
It's safe to say Daenerys Targaryen's hopes of fulfilling her destiny and invading Westeros are not going according to plan. The people of Meereen turned on her. She lost her dragons and her Unsullied army. She isn't even aware that her fleet of ships had gone up in flames.
This is because she's back where she started, on Essos, as a prisoner of Dothraki horsemen, who at first look set to rape her or - if their women had their way - 'cut off her head' because her blue eyes meant she was "a witch".
Well, the Mother of Dragons has always been most interesting when she's on the move than when she's sitting around a dusty old palace worrying about the governance so it's not the worst change.
Tyrion also helpfully points out our beloved Khaleesi's lack of momentum with a sighing response to the burning docks: "Well, we won't be heading to Westeros anytime soon."
Yeah, we kind of figured.
The Sand Snakes are not messing around
The Dorne storyline is the one that got a real kick in the knads with Ellaria Sand masterminding the execution of the Prince of Dorne, Doran Martell, and his son Trystane. (In the books, Doran's alive, and he has a daughter Arianne who is a major player in the machinations for the Iron Throne.)
This comes after successfully poisoning Myrcella - the nicest Lannister - in last season's finale.
Even Boltons can mourn, if just for a second
Ramsay Bolton, the sociopathic monster we've come to know and abhor, showed a bit of what seemed like actual emotion. He mourned Myranda, tossed to her death by Theon last season, recalling how only she wasn't afraid of him back when he was a young bastard and she a simple kennel master's daughter. "She smelled of dog," he reminisced fondly.
Light versus darkness
The very backbone of fantasy is the question of who will triumph - good or evil?
So far, Game of Thrones has given us not much reason to hope. Ned Stark had his head lopped off, the Red Wedding gave everyone nightmares and Sansa's wedding night made for some of the most squeamish television moments viwers have had to endure.
But this season, despite the shit storm you know lies ahead with the army of White Walkers and the Lannisters/Boltons still alive, it feels like the scales may be tilting.
That the arc of the show is finally bending away from cruelty and towards decency.
That was made most evident by the one scene that can infuse any hope in viewers - I'm talking about Sansa Stark, of course - and her escape from Winterfell.
We last saw Sansa and Theon dashing away from Winterfell in knee-deep snow with dogs nipping at their heels. Theon then goes on to sacrifice himself before Ramsay's hounds and men. But before heads are chopped, Brienne of Tarth arrives with Podrick to save the day - to finally make good on her promise to Catelyn Stark.
Sansa will likely continue to emerge as a stronger character this season around. You'll recall how she'd already begun to take some charge of her fate in the last season - before the whole Ramsay Bolton rape nightmare. There's no doubt that it hardened her, and when she accepted Brienne's vow of loyalty and affirmed hers, it felt like a symbolic assumption of command of the Stark family.
There's a moment when Sansa is about to accept Brienne's vow of loyalty that she nervously looks over to Theon for advice or approval, and Theon just stands there and nods.
It's a defining moment - he is no longer Theon, but isn't Reek either. When he picks up a sword and rams it through an assailant's torso, it's a not-so-subtle reclaiming of power, or identity, or even just manhood.
The Red Woman
The episode's kicker, its concluding moment, is a big naked reveal about Melisandre: her real self isn't as bodacious as all her previous naked shots might have led you to believe. She's also facing a crisis of faith, much like Davos; Stannis is dead and she played a role in Shireen being burnt.
With her disrobing, it's clear to see that Melisandre is much older and more powerful than we ever knew.
But how old? And just how powerful?
We'll have to wait for next week for that.