Yes, Jon’s fate loomed over the show—this season’s opening shot was more or less identical to last season’s closing shot, except Jon was even deader in it. This was especially true of the sections at the Wall, where Davos and Friends (hopefully ft. Wildings) will square off against Alistair Thorne and his Merry Band of Mutineers next week.
For now though, the show’s attention isn’t centered on Snow’s fate—most of Game of Thrones’s season premiere was like “Jon who?” For better and for worse, Season 6 looks like something of a reset button for the show, which is very good for its female characters. The show’s female leads were way out in front on Sunday night, mostly getting shit done. Sansa, free of Ramsay, is ready to become Queen of the North. Brienne murdered like eight dudes, one of whom said, “It’s a woman!” before getting impaled. The Sand Snakes will probably be proof that you can’t spear all of your problems in the head, but they did trim some of the fat in Dorne, and Ellaria Sand is made for TV in ways that patient Doran simply wasn’t. (I’ll miss Areo, though, who wasn’t given enough to do.) Daenerys and Arya both hit rock bottom, but they’ll be back soon. And the show implored its viewers to feel sympathy for its devils, Melisandre and Cersei Lannister, who were given two of the show’s most meaningful scenes, both of which had no dialogue.
Snow will be back—I’d put my money on the end of the next episode—but he’ll slot nicely into season 6’s thematic mode. Some characters are bound by duty (Brienne), others by impending death (Jorah), but everyone thinks that it’s time for vengeance. One thing we heard over and over again last night was a variant on “We’ll repay our enemies a hundred times.” Predicting Game of Thrones’s path is a fool’s errand—“Fuck prophecy,” to quote Jaime Lannister—but it’s clearly time for payback in Westeros.