As the winds of winter blows onto our screens, we tackle the season premiere
Rejoice, Game of Thrones is back for season 6, books and their readers be damned! Block all your smug American friends on Facebook so they don't spoil episodes for you on Monday mornings. What follows is an actual conversation that took place over the watercooler (aka, Gmail) between The List's resident Game of Thrones nerds, Rebecca Monks and Scott Henderson. They'll be breaking down the season episode-by-episode with wry observations, crackpot plot theories and healthy doses of sarcasm.
****SPOILERS FOR SEASON 6 EPISODE 1 FOLLOW****
Let's talk Game of Thrones buddy.
First thing's first: where do I get a necklace like Melisandre's? That was one heck of a final scene IMO. It showed she's having a faith crisis, dispelled some of the rumours that she would spring into action and bring Jon Snow back to life, and really confirmed that Davos was right to mistrust her. Also, it's refreshing to see that she too goes to bed looking like an old hag when she's taken her products off.
Second thing's second: they really downplayed the Jon Snow being dead thing, didn't they? I liked that they addressed it right off the bat, but I feel like the scenes were largely about his friends' reaction to the death. They didn't burn him, which they surely should have done... I don't think it's over for Big Jon. I think they're just distracting us with scenes of Dolorous Edd being sad.
Third thing's third: no seriously, where do I get that necklace?
Okay, it might not be the most important point to lead off with on my part, but I have to say I thought 'It's a sad fucking statement if Dolorous Edd is our only chance' was a bit harsh. Funny, but harsh. It was Edd that held the Wall and did cool stuff like releasing the scythe thingy when Jon Snow went to fight inside the castle. Edd had his doubters last year, people who actually thought he might be one of those that would turn on Jon Snow. Well, not bloody likely, that's all I'm saying. 'Today is the day we die!!' Or not, whatever. As for the rest of the Night's Watch, they are a treacherous bunch. Two Lord Commanders killed by mutiny in the space of a few seasons – jeez.
Speaking of fast aging, murdering Jon Snow resulted in a profound overnight growth spurt for Olly and he didn't even have a magic necklace. He also appears to have turned into a smug little shit. There's a Subreddit for people who need to express their feelings about Olly btw. Either way, it's clear that Jon Snow’s death is not the end game for whatever is going to happen in that room. The Red Woman saw him in the flames fighting at Winterfall, and the flames don't lie... do they?
Over in Meereen, was that another Red Priest we saw while Tyrion and Varys went on their walk and talk?
Yes, I agree with you on the first point. I'm not saying that Edd is secretly Azor Ahai or anything, but he's far less irritating than Sam, and they all well rate him now. Maybe when Jon does rise up again (because of course he will), Edd will play a big role in defending the wall alongside him? Olly can GTF – that kid needs to learn some manners and respect his elders.
I don't think it's unusual that Meereen had a Red Priest: the Red Woman's originally from Essos, I think that's in the same neck of the woods. Here's a mad theory I just thought of after a second cup of coffee: see how she's just been revealed to be a super old witch? Do you think there's any chance it was her that delivered the damning prophecy to Cersei? Think about it: she has everything to gain from the Lannister's demise, she can tell the future, and there must be a reason that this aspect of Cersei's past has been introduced so prominently into the storyline now...
I am getting a little tired of Dany's storyline. I understand that her arriving in Westeros will be a resolution that is likely to be saved for the finale, but with every diversion her character goes on, I feel a little less fond of her, I root a little less for her, and honestly, I just think it means the story loses momentum. Maybe that's the point, though. One of the things that GoT does best is create anti-heroes as well as heroes – you're never really sure who to root for. Dany has always felt like the clear cut hero, perhaps these diversions are set to undermine that a little. But did you not feel that the Dothraki encounter went far smoother than it should have done? They spent a lot of time in season one building up the brutality of the dothraki. Given that context, I found it quite hard to believe that they walked her to their Khal, she had a little chat about how she was Drogo's wife and he was like, 'OH SORRY LOVE, I'll deliver you to the promised land in one piece then, no worries. Can I get you a glass of fermented goats milk, darling?'
Hmmm, I don't know about Cersei's witch and the Red Woman being the same person – but it does bring up one of the key themes of the episode, which was prophecies. Jaime's 'fuck prophecies' bravado to Cersei doesn't change the fact that nearly everything the witch from Cersei's childhood said has so far come true. It's surely a question of when, not if, Tommen, First of His Name, King of the Blah Blahs gets a spear through his face or something. And yes, you're right the Lord of Light does have a lot of sway across the Summer Sea. You certainly get a sense of a major clash of religious philosophy in GoT's future, don't you?
Speaking of boring storylines (I've always veered in and out of caring about Dany the Eternal Wonderer – I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if she never made to Westeros), the season premiere's biggest shock has to be the Dornish storyline and seeing Prince Doran murdered by Ellaria, not to mention the mightly Areo Hotah killed so easily. Oh yeah, and Prince Trystane too, I guess (who, by the way, appears completely blasé about Mycella's death en route to King's Landing). As someone who has read the books this feels like a massive storyline cull for the TV series and kind of shocking because it's so far from where that plot was heading in the books. No amount of wise cracks are going to warm me to the Sand Snakes. And where's Bronn? Perhaps swimming back to King's Landing – maybe he'll find Gendry along the way.
Well, I did say I was up to my eyeballs in coffee. If my theory is true, it proves I am prophetic. If it's not, it proves I am pathetic (when predicting storyline twists, anyway). The witch said that Cersei would lose all three children, which means that Tommen will die if she's right, but that contradicts the rather credible fan theory that T Dog will be the one to kill Cersei. It will be interesting to see how that one plays out. As for Jaime, I find it highly unbelievable that he didn't comment on his sister-wife's new hairdo. Maybe Bronn was off taking Myrcella to the crypt? Or maybe Robson & Jerome had a reunion gig the day they filmed this episode.
The thing is, I just don't care about anything that happens in Dorne. I don't care about the Sand Snakes, I don't care about Prince Doran, and I'm sorry - but Trystane literally stood with his back to a woman with a spear who had just announced she was going to kill him. What on earth did he think was going to happen? The only good thing to come out of Dorne was Oberyn, and now he's gone.
I'm guessing next episode is going to be Bran heavy, which I am dreading. Just think how much better it would be if Bronn was the one who could do what Bran does...
Caught up well with most of the key players (except Bran, which I'm fine with), but there there was a lack of dramatic action. Theon getting stabby was a highlight, everything in Dorne was a dismal lowlight.
Season 6 set up essentially, loved the Brianne scrap and Pod getting in on the action. Bonus points for Davos as episode MVP. And fair play to GoT producers for shedding light on the lengths women have to go to age down to get parts on prime time television.
Game of Thrones air Mondays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic, and on demand elsewhere.