The sixth season of the fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones premiered on HBO on April 24, 2016, and concluded on June 26, 2016. It consists of ten episodes, each of approximately 50–60 minutes long, largely of original content not found in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Some story elements were derived from the novels and from information Martin revealed to the show-runners. The series was adapted for television by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. HBO ordered the season on April 8, 2014, together with the fifth season, which began filming in July 2015 primarily in Northern Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Iceland and Canada. Each episode cost over $10 million.
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The season follows the continuing struggle between the Starks and other noble families of Westeros for the Iron Throne. The Starks defeat the Bolton forces in battle, and Jon Snow is proclaimed the King in the North. Tyrion attempts to rule Meereen while Daenerys is held captive by a Dothraki tribe. At King’s Landing, the Tyrell army attempts to liberate Margaery and Loras, but Margaery capitulates to the High Sparrow, who becomes more powerful by influencing King Tommen. At her trial, Cersei burns the Great Sept, killing her rivals, while Tommen kills himself. Cersei is crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Ellaria Sand and three of Oberyn Martell’s daughters kill Doran and Trystane Martell and seize control of Dorne. In Essos, Daenerys Targaryen is captured by Khal Moro who takes her before the khals; she burns them alive and takes command of the Dothraki. Olenna and the Dornish ally with Daenerys.
Game of Thrones features a large ensemble cast, including Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington. The season introduced new cast members, including Max von Sydow, Pilou Asbæk and Essie Davis.
Critics praised its production values, writing, plot development, and cast. Game of Thrones received most nominations for the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, with 23 nominations, and won twelve, including that for Outstanding Drama Series for the second year in a row. U.S. viewership rose compared to the previous season, and by approximately 13% over its course, from 7.9 million to 8.9 million by the finale.