By Rollo Ross
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The cast of "Game of Thrones" played down rumors fan-favourite Jon Snow would live on in the hit fantasy series at the season six premiere on Sunday, insisting the heroic character was dead.
Stars Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) walked the carpet at Los Angeles' TCL Chinese Theatre but Kit Harrington, who plays Snow, was a notable no-show.
Snow appeared to be killed off at the end of season five of the popular drama based on novels by George R.R. Martin but HBO sent fans into a frenzy last year when it tweeted a season six teaser poster with a shot of his bloody face.
"Listen, my only reply is the man's had about 25 knives in his chest - how much steel does he need to have in his body to be confirmed dead? He's dead, dead as a doornail," Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth, told Reuters.
"It's so sad. He's gone, gone ... Such a shame. Such a nice young man," added Iwan Rheon, who plays Ramsay Bolton.
The fifth season finale, which saw Snow stabbed repeatedly and appearing to bleed to death, drew the show's largest U.S. audience with some 8.1 million viewers, according to reports.
It is also the point that Martin's books have reached, so not hint there.
Coster-Waldau said Snow's demise was yet to be properly seen by fans: "It's going to be interesting to see when people find out what happened, how dead he is. He's dead. Dead, dead."
"Do you know what? I don't know. I just ... well, whatever anyone else has said is exactly what we're... he's gone. We saw him die, we saw it happen," Clarke replied when asked about Snow.
While cast members kept tight-lipped about the storyline, one element of the new series however has been revealed -- the female characters will be fighting back.
"If anyone thought the dudes had it going on, this season will change their minds," Clarke said. "Yes, we're bringing the fire."
"Game of Thrones" season six premieres on April 24 on HBO.
(Reporting By Rollo Ross in Los Angeles; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)