The long-rumored (and the source of 90% of all hype in the A Song of Ice and Fire fandom community) battle of the Clegane bros, Sandor (aka The Hound) and Gregor (aka The Mountain, aka Robert Strong, aka Cersei's Zombie Bodyguard), looks like it could conceivably be right around the corner. Some background for those not familiar: Cersei has been accused by the Faith of sins and crimes against the Seven, and she has chosen the ol' standby of trial by combat to determine her fate. Of course, she'll have Gregor Clegane (Zombie Mountain) fighting for her, but who will represent the Faith?
Well, funny that should be mentioned, given the trial is right around the corner and the show JUST reintroduced a (surprisingly alive) Sandor Clegane, who was nursed back to health by a septon (basically, a priest for the Faith) and found a brief moment of peace with the septon's congregation. What better time for him to represent the Faith in combat? Especially when it's against his hated brother Gregor, the one who burned his face when they were children? There would be no better or more poetic opponent for the Mountain than the Hound, who tried to escape a life of violence but had to pick up the sword one last time to rid the world of his twisted brother?
2. MOUNTAIN VS. TOMMEN
...but there's a wrinkle here - CLEGANEBOWL has been hyped so hard and so long, you'd think it was a foregone conclusion. But it isn't - after all, let's look at the facts:
The Hound is a wanted man for abandoning his post as part of the Kingsguard during the Battle of the Blackwater. If he went anywhere near King's Landing, he'd be arrested immediately.
It's heavily implied that the Hound's peaceful community was slaughtered by the Brotherhood Without Banners - so why would he go fight for the Faith in a trial against the queen? His beef isn't with her right now, it's with the BWB (who operate in the Riverlands, nowhere near King's Landing)
The Hound is pissed the community was murdered, but doesn't seem particularly into the whole religious aspect. Why would the High Sparrow want him?
So who WOULD represent the Faith? Who would be a poetic choice to go up against Zombie Mountain? What's important to remember here is that the character whose fate is truly at stake isn't the Mountain (who, again, is mostly a mindless zombie now, so not even really the same character as he was before), but Cersei. And who JUST became a zealot for the Faith, and has been shown a willingness to go against his own family in the name of the gods? Cersei's last living child, King Tommen.
Cersei is overly confident about her chances in trial-by-combat right now - after all, she has the Mountain, and he's the strongest, most powerful warrior in Westeros. Who could stop him? No one - physically, that is. But if the Faith brought in Tommen, Cersei would be left with a horrifying choice - either let her last child be kill by a zombie, or give up her own life to spare her son. There's no real winning for Cersei in this situation - her karma has finally caught up with her, and that would be the most poetic ending of all.
3. RETURN OF SYRIO FOREL
Syrio Forel is one of the dangling threads that fans just can't let go of - while it's assumed he was killed during the failed coup attempted by Ned Stark, it was never confirmed. Arya saw him going up against (still living) members of the Kingsguard with no sword, so it's hard to imagine he could have escaped a grisly fate there too easily. But then again, Syrio's catchphrase was about telling death to go fuck itself (well, "Not today", but whatever), so a miraculous getaway isn't too far-fetched.
And where would Syrio go to if he fled King's Landing? Well - why not his home of Braavos? Particularly if the fan theories about Syrio being a Faceless Man (and maybe even Jaqen H'ghar himself) are true, Syrio showing up to aid Arya seems to make sense. Especially with this tweet from Syrio's actor Miltos Yerolemou:
But EVEN MORE when you look at this picture released by HBO to promote episode 8, titled "No One" that Miltos was replying to:
THAT SILHOUETTE IN THE BACKGROUND LOOKS AWFUL FAMILIAR, HUH?
4. LADY STONEHEART
The Lady Stoneheart hype grows - we've recently seen a return of the Brotherhood Without Banners (aka the group led by Lady Stoneheart, inherited from Beric Dondarrion), the return of the Freys and the surviving Tullys (and a few reminders of the Red Wedding), and Jaime / Brienne both in the Riverlands. On top of that, the septon played by Ian McShane hinted at a past filled with violence and was found gruesomely hung....a tactic used by LSH in the books against perceived enemies who had wronged her and her family in the past.
The writers of Game of Thrones seem to be rectifying a few of their mistakes this season - they swept the Dorne plot under the rug quickly and efficiently, brought Jaime to the Riverlands (like they should have last season), introduced Coldhands AND made him Benjen (take THAT, GRRM), and moved Daenerys' story forward for the first time in ages. Could they be planning to finally introduce LSH into the larger story? It seems odd to suddenly reintroduce the Freys and Tullys after them being off the table for so long, and it seems unlikely that George RR Martin would have introduced a character like LSH and not have her factor into the overall storyline in a major way.
A (since deleted) tweet from October 11th, 2015, reported seeing Michelle Fairley in Belfast, where Game of Thrones had been shooting, and having coffee with the actor playing Blackfish. Here's the reason I don't think this would be faked - Clive Russell (the actor who played Blackfish) wasn't reported to be returning to the show until October 17th.
The title of Episode 9 of season 6 has been revealed as "The Battle of the Bastards," so BASTARDBOWL IS 100% CONFIRMED. Jon Snow vs. Ramsay Snow (now Bolton), doing battle for the fate of Winterfell and the whole North. But it's also led to further speculation...
6. TOWER OF JOY R+L=J REVEAL?
We all are well-aware of R+L=J and it's been all but totally confirmed as fact. But many are expecting the BASTARDBOWL to coincide with a final, revelatory past-vision of Bran that will finally show us all what we've been waiting to see: Lyanna Stark giving birth to her (and Rhaegar Targaryen's) son, Jon Snow, in the Tower of the Joy.
The thinking is that Jon will be defeated in the BASTARDBOWL, or at least he personally will be captured by Ramsay, who will attempt to burn Jon and let him suffer the same fate that Mance Rayder was almost subjected to. But...Jon won't burn, thanks to his Targaryen blood. He'll escape his pyre, kill Ramsay, and take his seat as the Stark/Targaryen combo child who can fight off the White Walkers and save the realm.
7. WHITE WALKERS ATTACK FINALLY
Because, c'mon - they've been marching towards the Wall for six seasons and STILL haven't gotten there, but somehow have the ability to instantly teleport to Bran's hidey-hole? Plus, episode 10 is titled "The Winds of Winter," and what better way to welcome Winter to Westeros than the zombie army that's been hinted at for six years finally make their play at world domination?