My feelings have become increasingly ambivalent towards Game of Thrones and I know I’m not alone. The most recent seasons have been disjointed with the occasional controversial scene to spark interest but, aside from that, it felt like it had lost most of its focus. Fortunately, last night’s season six premiere seems to be a sign that they could be getting things back on track.
***HUGE SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT***
First of all, we had about a million and one things to address from not only last season but the season before (since season five didn’t show Bran Stark at all!) and, sure, it felt a bit formulaic but last night’s return was like resetting the chess board. All of the pieces are accounted for and a new game is about to begin.
Unlike the game-playing we’re seeing from the showrunners on The Walking Dead (please stop insulting us with the Glenn “is he or isn’t he dead crap!”), HBO’s team went straight for the goods by opening the season with the one story everyone is most curious about – Jon Snow.
Sure enough, the betrayed Lord Commander is still pretty dead (Kit Harrington’s acting was ridiculous – he may as well have been a prop!) and his dire wolf, Ghost, is howling so uncontrollably that it attracts the attention of Ser Davos who had no idea Snow had been murdered. In fact, many people didn’t know. After he and some of Snow’s loyal friends from the Night’s Watch dragged him onto a table, they locked themselves away in hopes of developing a plan to exact vengeance and free themselves from clutches of Castle Black.
While they were talking, guess who walked in? Melisandre, of course! I held my breath for a second to see what she would say but, instead, the erstwhile Red Woman seemed stunned. She claims that she saw him fighting at Winterfell in the flames. Rather than work any of her smoky crotch magic, she kind of faded into the shadows until the very end of the episode when, oh my gosh, she revealed herself to be an old, withered, saggy boobed woman. Look, I’m not commenting on whether an aging body is beautiful. It was just a shock to see her go from her usual goddess-like image to a decrepit bag of skin and bones. Well, at least, we can say that we’ve finally seen her true form!
Next, we got to check in with Sansa and Theon Greyjoy who are fleeing Ramsay Bolton’s hounds in the woods. For a moment, it seemed that the evil bastard had some feelings as he mourned the death of Myranda who was killed during Sansa and Theon’s escape but, after a seemingly tender moment, he rejected the suggested that she be buried or burned. No, he referred to her as “good meat” and instructed them to feed her to the animals. He’s disgusting.
Anyway, back to Lady Helpless in the woods. Whining and whimpering the whole way, Sansa couldn’t hide to save her own life when Theon tried to lure Ramsay’s henchmen away. Fortunately, Brienne and her squire were nearby to save the day. After the pair (with a little help from Theon) eliminated the threat, Sansa finally, mercifully, accepted Brienne’s offer of protection.
Meanwhile, things in Dorne got messy as the leader and his son, Trystane, are easily killed off by Ellaria and the Sand Snakes. It felt so rushed, as it always does, so I don’t really have much to say except that, of course, this relates to the death of Myrcella Lannister.
Back in King’s Landing, Cersei was excited to see the boats from Dorne arriving because it meant she would be reunited with her daughter but realized that things were not good when she saw Jamie’s face. The pair mourned their incestuously conceived daughter and Cersei spoke of a curse that was laid upon her years earlier that predicted the death her three children. Tommen is still alive and acting as king (while his wife, Margery, rots at the hands of religious zealots) but we all know his time must be short. Cersei seemed resigned but Jamie reassured her that they would redeem themselves. We shall see.
Over in Meereen, Tyrion and Varys walked through the streets dressed as commoners in the wake of Danaerys’ disappearance. There is chaos and unrest in the land in the absence of its queen. Aside from that, there really wasn’t much story development here but it segued well into Jonah and Daario searching for her out in the grasslands.
We see that the Dothraki have her and, rather than let on that she can understand what they are saying, Danaerys went along as a willing prisoner. When she was presented to the local Khal, she explained that she was the widow of Khal Drogo and all of the nasty, sexual things the men had been threatening to do to her came to an abrupt stop. The current Khal said that she would be respected but, rather than being returned to Meereen, she would be sent to the place where all the Khal widows go. Yeah, that doesn’t sound promising…
Lastly, we got a look at the now blind Arya over in Braavos. She was panhandling on the street and mostly devoid of the feisty spirit we’ve seen from her over the past few seasons. It was kind of pathetic until “The Waif” showed up from the House of Black and White and beat the crap out of her with a stick. To be fair, she gave Arya a stick to fight back and it’s clear that this is part of some ridiculous training. Of course, Arya is going to become some blind superhero a la Daredevil.
Well, that’s it for this first week. There was a lot of good stuff going on but most of it seemed to be a placeholder for what is to come. HBO wanted us to know where are the players are so that they can move forward in a cleaner, clearer way and I appreciate it.
Did you watch the season six premiere of Game of Thrones? If so, what did you think?