10 Thoughts on Game of Thrones Season 6 – The First Half
Game of Thrones is an unstoppable juggernaut of a show right now. It’s pretty much destroying any other show on TV when it comes to ratings (and shear awesomeness). Last year, Season 5 ended with the show mostly catching up to the books. Which means Season 6 is taking views and readers alike into new waters. And so far the HBO show runners for Game of Thrones have delivered us an amazing first half of the season. With 5 episodes of the season in the books, it’s time to take a look at this first half of the season and see what worked well and what didn’t. Obviously spoilers abound here if you haven’t seen any of the first five episodes.
10 Thoughts on Game of Thrones Season 6 – The First Half
1. Blame the Children of the Forest for the White Walkers.
The White Walkers have been the boogeyman of Game of Thrones ever since the very first episode. While most of the realm of men don’t even believe these monsters exist, the Night’s Watch has been dying to them since the pilot episode. With terrifying special abilities, these undead monsters have the power to overrun the realm if left unchecked. And what did we find out in Season 6, Episode 5? That they were created by none other than the Children of the Forest (the mysterious original inhabitants of Westeros). Bran actually meets them in his journeys and confronts one of them on what they did. Apparently they created them to stop the invasion of men into their lands. Touché.
2. Jon Snow is alive.
Fans were in denial about Jon Snow’s death at the hand’s of his brothers in the Night’s Watch for years. Ever since his stabbing took place in the books, there have been questions if he was actually dead, or would stay that way. We’ll it seems a popular fan theory was right, in that he did die, but the Red Lady (a priestess of the Lord of Light) would bring him back to life. The important part of his return is that his vow to the Night’s Watch is complete. He vowed to serve until death, and die he did. And then promptly quick the Night’s Watch.
So where does he go next? With Sansa arriving at Castle Black, I’m guessing that their fates will be intertwined for the foreseeable future. It was also the first time we’ve seen two of the Stark children together since Bran and Rickon split.
3. Can we be done with the Sand Snakes now?
I’m guessing that we aren’t, but most every scene with the Sand Snakes in Dorne has been cringe worthy at best. Either the actresses aren’t very good, or their material to work with isn’t (or both), but I can’t get out of Dorne fast enough. Between their lousy acting and confusing plot choices, the TV version of Dorne has been a bit of a let down. At least in the books, their choices made a bit more sense. Instead of killing Myrcella for no real reason, they abduct her with the intention of putting her on the throne (because women in Dorne have equal rights of succession). It’s a shame that the TV version of Dorne has been so lack luster because it’s one of the most interesting locations in Westeros. I would love to see the show spend more time there, if it wasn’t for the Sand Snakes.
4. Time for the Greyjoys to move center stage.
The Greyjoys were a house that we rarely visited during the first five seasons. Other than a few trips here and there, the show has mostly avoided the Iron Islands. It seems it’s time to rectify that. Euron Greyjoy returns to his homeland and promptly murders his brother, King Balon (and openly admits to it at the King’s Moot). Theon also returns home, but is a broken shell of a man and decides to support his sister Yara to be queen instead of himself (which ultimately fails).
So far I’ve been digging our time in the Iron Islands and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next. The first half of the season left us with Yara and Theon fleeing the King’s Moot, while newly crowned Euron has vowed to sail across the narrow sea and marry Daenerys Targaryen. The Ironborn have always been an interesting group, as they are sailors, pirates, reavers, and worship the “Drowned God”. They are a group of salty and tough bastards that definitely keeps your attention when they are on the screen.
5. Arya’s plot line is moving at a turtle’s pace.
I must say, I love Arya Stark (or “No One” as she’s called now), but I am ready for her story to start moving forward. I feel like she’s been in training for two seasons now, without very much happening. Hey, I love a good training montage as much as the next guy, but her last bit of excitement was when she killed a knight of the King’s Guard in a brothel. Since then, it’s been mostly her getting beat on by the Waif. I feel like we are getting close to something happening, especially as we ended Episode 5 with her getting one last chance to prove herself. I’m guessing this slow progressions of hers has mostly been about the other characters taking precedence, but I’d still like her story to move along some.
6. The King’s Landing Power Play
Something big is getting ready to happen in King’s Landing. Cerci is back in the Red Keep and seems to have mostly recovered from her time of imprisonment. Her and Jamie are back to their political machinations, and they are clearly up to something. Their newest scheme seems to be trying to pit the Tyrell’s against the Faithful. The High Sparrow met with King Tommen and told him a secret, which he eventually tell’s Cerci. She uses that to convince the Lords of House Tyrell to take up arms to stop Queen Margery’s own Walk of Shame. I’m curious if this will end up blowing up in Cerci’s face like her last plot, or if it will actually work and put her back in the seat of power. Either way, I have a feeling that things are going to get bloody in King’s Landing. I’m definitely excited to see where this one heads, as it really could go either way.
7. The Women Take Power.
Which leads me into my next thought, this season has seen a lot of women in the show jumping the drivers seat. No longer content to be side players, women have become a force to be reckoned with. We have the above mentioned power play by Cerci. Then there is Yara’s attempt at taking out Ramsay Bolton (which unfortunately fails). We also have seen Sansa coming into her own and she survived Ramsay’s brutality and actually rises above it. She convinces Jon Snow to take his army of Wildlings south to recapture Winterfell.
And across the narrow sea, Daenerys get’s captured and taken to Vaes Dothrak. However instead of accepting her fate, she meets with the Khals and sets the temple of the Dosh Khaleen on fire, in the process killing them all. She emerges from the flaming temple unburnt and claims the rest of the Dothraki horde as her own. This was a truly epic moment for her character and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.
It’s nice to see many of these former characters who have had to suffer at the hands of others finally seizing control of their own destiny. I never thought I’d see Sansa transform into the powerful woman she is now. In the first season, she was a childish, love strong girl that ended up getting her father killed. She has come a long way.
8. Ned Stark’s great lie.
Bran Stark has been seeing a lot of history this season (more on that in a minute) through his vision quests with the three-eyed raven. But one of his most powerful visions was him seeing his father and Lord Howland Reed kill Ser Arthur Dayne at the Tower of Joy in Dorne. This was a story that helped Ned Stark become the legend that he was. Even Bran remarks about how his father always used to tell this tale. Yet it was all revealed to be giant lie. Reed ended up stabbing Dayne in the back just before he was about to kill Ned. It makes you think as to what else Ned has lied about. *cough* Jon Snow’s real lineage.
As the scene continues, when Ned is climbing the stairs of the tower, he stops because he apparently hears Bran talking. This was our first glimpse at Bran’s powers. We start getting hints that he may actually be able to affect the past.
I really want to know though what’s at the top of that tower though. We have our theory and rumors. Many people think that Rhaegar and Lyanna will be up there, baby in hand. Although with the three-eyed raven now dead, who knows when Bran will be able to revisit that point in history.
9. Bran Stark can actually affect the past.
While Bran has been hanging out under the tree with the three-eyed raven, they have been going on a lot of vision quests. In addition what Bran saw his father do, we also see him actually interacting with the world around. He sees the army of the White Walkers and lets his dumb self get grabbed by one. This allows the White Walkers to enter the tree cave, causing all kinds of destruction. And we’ll get to the warging of Hodor in a second. Overall, I’ve actually been enjoying Bran’s visions and all the new information that’s come with it. But I’m really curious with his new found powers of being able to affect the past will lead us. Hopefully Bran will exercise caution because we’ve seen already what his tampering with things he doesn’t understand can do.
10. Death, death everywhere.
Game of Thrones fans are used to people kicking the bucket and Season 6 has had no shortages so far. Some of the more notable deaths have been Ramsay murdering his father to be the new Lord Bolton, and then promptly killing his new brother and mother. Fans are given a treat when Jon Snow finally executes Alliser Thorne for his failed coup and also Olly, whom everyone was happy to see die.
But the biggest death has to be that of poor Hodor. We learn through Bran’s visions that Hodor wasn’t always a simpleton. However, when Bran is attacked by the White Walkers, he enters Hodor’s mind in the past, causing Hodor to have a melt down. And when the young Hodor starts screaming “Hold the Door” as Bran has him brace the door against the White Walker’s army, we learn that not only is Bran’s time traveling responsible for Hodor’s condition, but also his death. This one is going to stick with us for a while. And in that same scene, we see Bran’s dire wolf Summer die to give them time to escape. That was a rough ending…