Jon Snow is dead, at least for now. Game of Thrones opened its sixth season on Sunday by showing the events immediately following where they left off in season 5. Ser Davos and a few of Jon’s Crow bros came across his corpse and were taken aback, retreating with the corpse into a locked room in hopes of the wildlings coming to save them (I think?). With Stannis and Shireen Baratheon dead, I was curious about the role of Davos moving forward. He’s always been one of the more likable characters on the show, but if there aren’t any wars to be waged on behalf of Stannis or Hooked on Phonics lessons courtesy of Shireen, what’s his real purpose as a character? This season answered that right away. Davos and Melisandre have seen their storylines converge with the happenings at the Wall.
This episode was titled “The Red Woman” and, not surprisingly, partially focused on The Lady Melisandre. Why do they call her THE Lady Melisandre? Seems a bit pompous, no? It’s like how OSU folks always refer to their school as THE Ohio State University with emphasis on the “the”.
She’s always been a strange character; a heavily sexualized sorceress of some sort whose supernatural abilities and endgame scheme have never really been made clear. We’ve seen her give birth to a black smoke monster. We’ve seen her advocate for the practice of burning motherfuckers alive. We’ve seen her switch allegiance from Baratheon to Snow. But, really, what’s her deal?
The big reveal of the episode was that Melisandre isn’t actually an exotic seductress with curves that could make even Loras Tyrell bite his fist. She takes her necklace off and all of a sudden she’s an old, mangled woman. I’m not sure what this means, or if it really matters. It’s probably just GOT reverting to its awful trend of using nudity to show vulnerability. But FO REAL DOE, are people actually shocked or entertained by this? It’s just the writers trying to light a spark by introducing a new means of magic. That’s the problem with never showing limits to Melisandre’s supernatural abilities prior to now; this reveal isn’t some significant event. My reaction was “She’s old, and?”
Checking in with Bronn of the Blackwater, week 1
Bronn was not shown this week. Presumably, he was on the ship with Jaime returning to King’s Landing. I hope we get to see Bronn soon. Bronn is bae.
I’m about to rip into what I though was a very weak episode, but I must say that the Sansa-Brienne moment was outstanding. Sansa’s character is almost a Christ figure. Others find redemption or salvation through her. We saw it with Theon at the end of last season. Brienne’s been attempting to serve Sansa for a couple seasons now, and she’s finally succeeded. It was a perfectly acted moment by both Sophie Turner (Sansa) and Gwendoline Christie (Brienne). Turner’s work in this role has improved so much since season one. I also love the little touch of Sansa not knowing how the oath goes, and Podrick having to recite it to her.
In Winterfell, the Bolton’s don’t seem thrilled with Sansa’s escape. It makes sense, but man, do they have to keep repeating that “Sansa is the key to the North”???? We get it.
Another positive note I’d like to make regards the cinematography of Gregory Middleton. In this episode, he found a couple of creative ways to do glorious shots while saving some money. Yes, there was the Dorthraki tribe with all the extras and the surely-expensive CGI shot of the Mereen fleet burning, but other than that, I didn’t see anything that looked more extravagant than past GOT episodes. HBO reportedly spent a record $10M on each episode. There was a moment in Bravos where Middleton positioned the giant statue in the center-left background, out of focus, thus creating an image that made the city seem vast without having to actually invest in making the city look vast. Cool stuff.
The “Daenerys Sucks” Diaries, week 1
Oh, great. Daenerys has been taken in by a Dorthraki tribe and it appears we’re in for ANOTHER season of her doing nothing until the damn dragons come and save her. I also found the scene when she was being interrogated by the Khal to be baffling. When she rattles off her titles the dude doesn’t believe her, but then she says she’s the widow of Khal Drogo and he just takes her at her word?
Anyways, if you’ve read my GOT stuff before you know that I personally find Daenerys’ character to be the weakest aspect of an otherwise outstanding show. Her arc has flat-lined since season two and her scenes have been more compelling due to who she shares the screen with (whether it be Jorah, Daario, Tyrion, whoever.). She is OBVIOUSLY a very important character and a major endgame factor, but the showrunners continue to waste valuable time with her doing and saying the same damn things she’s been doing and saying for years.
I will say that Dany’s disappearance from Mereen has created two fascinating subplots; Tyrion and Varys governing a city on the verge of self-destruction, as well as Daario and Jorah’s impending bromance as they search for Dany. Both should result in some sharp repartee. They already have, actually. Daario and Jorah have this weird “I’m porkin’ the love of your life but there’s still a mutual respect between us because we’re both sound warriors” dynamic. I AM HERE FOR IT. Although, what’s going on with Jorah’s greyscale/rock zombie transformation? His infection has spread a tiny bit since we last saw him but how long is it going to take? Wouldn’t the writers want to clarify that and use it as a ticking clock, thus adding more tension? Seems lazy, honestly, almost like they don’t give two shits about making Jorah’s future interesting.
Was there any peen this week?
No peen in this episode. There weren’t any opportunities for it, really.
In King’s Landing, Cersei is broken by Jamie’s news of Myrcella’s death. She speaks of some prophecy that stated she’d outlive all her children, so a betting man would probably throw a few down on King Tommen dying this season. Sidenote: Fuck a prophecy as a storytelling device. Why does every fantasy entity feel the need to use a prophecy of some sort to foreshadow and/or manufacture bullshit narrative heft? Despite the Cersei/Jamie relationship being incestuous and hard to root for it resonates because of just how good the two actors are. Lena Headey continues to rival Peter Dinklage as the best performer on the show. I have an inkling that Cersei is going to go on a revenge tour (against Dorne, against the Church, against everyone) while Jamie, no longer a total dick, is going to beg her to spare some people potentially caught in the crossfire.
Arya is blind, for realskis. She’s in the slums of Braavos begging. I assume this is just a stage in the not-very-chill process of becoming a Faceless Man. Masie Williams is too important to the show for her eyes to look like that from here on out. I was a bit frustrated with Arya last season because she was so damn stagnant but she’s always been one of the show’s stronger characters and she’ll continue such, I’d assume.
As for the drama in Dorne, I have no thoughts at this time. Doran and Trystane Martell didn’t matter. We’ll see if the Sand Snakes running things speeds up the plot a bit.
Tweet of the week
Bravo. Unfortunately, Pulitzers were given away last week.
Overall I thought this was a pretty lackluster premiere, which has become the norm for this show. I understand the difficulty in a “catching up” episode for a show with so many character, but why does GOT need its premieres to play catch-up like every other show? It’s not like people haven’t been talking about last season’s finale for a year. It’s not like we don’t all know where everyone is at. It’s not like we didn’t all just re-watch last season on HBO GO.
We’ll see where the season goes. I am not too fond of what they’re doing with certain characters right now but one of the dope things about GOT is that it’s so unpredictable that everything can change on a dime.
I hope it does. Because season five was mediocre and so was this episode.
Arbitrary Ranking of the Week
Anticipated GOT Reunions/Showdowns, ranked:
- Tyrion & Podrick
- Tyrion & Cersei
- Tyrion & Jaime
- Tyrion & Bronn
- Big Boi & Andre 3000
- Arya & Sansa
- Bran and his legs?
- The Mountain and The Hound?
- Theon & Jon
- Podrick & them hoes
Five Random Notes
- We didn’t get any Bran Stark. This strikes me as odd since he sat out all of season five and was a key piece of the marketing for this season. I’d expect next week to be VERY Bran-focused.
- We also didn’t get any Sam. I want to see him training to become a Maester. Could lead to some cool set pieces.
- If you didn’t watch After the Thrones, you should next week. It features Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan, formerly of Grantland (RIP), commenting on the happenings. Cool graphics, funny, jokes, etc. I generally dislike watching recaps (I’d rather read something in three minutes) but Greenwald and Ryan are gold.
- Tyrion and Varys are attempting to unmask the leader of The Sons of the Harpy. Could that be who Ian McShane is playing?
- Silicon Valley, yo. Watch it.
I’ll be back next week. Was a day late this go-round because on Sunday I drank way too much beer during the Celtics game and couldn’t muster up the energy to attentively watch the episode. I am deeply sorry.