Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones Season 6

Game of Thrones S6E1: “The Red Woman” Review




Jon Snow is still dead, for now.

Are you at all curious to know what else happened in the Game of Thrones Season 6 premiere episode? Honestly, I understand if you’re not. Still here? Cool. We’ll save the Wall for last.

After the battle with Stannis, Ramsay comes upon Miranda’s corpse. It would seem he had genuine feelings for her after all. She seemed to be the only person who wasn’t afraid of him. I don’t know if it means Ramsay cared enough about her, or if he didn’t care enough about her to use her corpse as dog food.

With Stannis Baratheon dead, Roose Bolton is already considering the next big problem he foresees. He knows that marrying Sansa Stark to Ramsay was against the Lannister’s wishes. If he wants to hold the North he’ll need the whole North behind him against the Lannisters. Sansa is invaluable to that goal and Sansa and Theon have escaped. Roose’s main gripe with Ramsay rears again, that his cruel games end up weakening the Bolton’s position. Roose conveniently reminds Ramsay that he’s got another potential heir on the way from Walda.

Sansa and Theon are on the run from a Bolton hunting party. They even wade through a freezing river to escape to try and outrun them but it’s not enough. The hounds sniff them out and the Bolton men prepare to take them back to Winterfell. “Lady Bolton”, pfft.

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How did Brienne find them? WHO CARES? IT’S BRIENNE! She and Pordrick and Theon take care of the hunting party and Sansa finally let’s Brienne pledge her service to her, Catelyn Stark’s eldest daughter. Those two are going places!

As if Cersei needed any more cause for grief. Jaime embarks from his Dornish ship with a veiled body on an altar and she knows instantly that Myrcella has died. She doesn’t even seem to blame Jaime for failing her. Cersei is now so distraught because everything from the Frog’s prophesy is coming true. Usually it’s Cersei who has to remind Jaime to focus his will for domination. Now Jaime is assuring Cersei that they will have their vengeance.  My sympathies for Cersei have heavily switched in favor of her. She just looked so happy for a moment at the prospect of seeing her daughter again. She even seemed to believe that Myrcella was the best part of her, a gentle part that she’s never been able to show.

In the cells of the Sept of Baelor, Margaery Tyrell keeps insisting that she’s innocent. Septa Unella isn’t having any of that. But the High Sparrow visits Margaery to send Unella to the other “guests”. The High Sparrow may have softer bark than Unella, but he still won’t let Margaery see her imprisoned brother Loras without a confession.

Dorne. Seven hells Dorne. There was something about watching this season premiere that felt odd. I’m still looking for a better word but I know that it’s due to the fact that we no longer have a frame of reference in the books to contextualize developments in the show. I had this feeling the strongest watching what happened in Dorne with Ellaria and the Sand Snakes.

On the one hand, seeing Ellaria murder Doran and the Sand Snakes murder Aero and Trystane sucks. It #@$%ing sucks, especially since we’ll never get to see any of the intrigue that Doran gets up to in the books and they made him out to be way more out of touch with his people in the show. In the books Doran works to keep his people from going to war but he’s also smarter about controlling the Sand Snakes and assuring them that he’s got his own long term plan to get revenge on the Lannisters.

On the other hand, seeing this season 6 premiere following the events of Season 5, it seems pretty clear that this coup was what the showrunners had in mind for Dorne from pretty early on. That said, if it turns out to be another 1 dimensional arc of revenge, I’m going to be extremely disappointed. Trystane died like a chump. What a waste.

How exactly did Nymeria and Obara stow away on the Dornish ship? We saw them on the harbor when that ship was already off to sea. I’m calling shenanigans. Not well presented.

In Meereen, Tyrion and Varys step down from the great pyramid to see exactly what life is like with the civil unrest and Daenerys gone. The challenges they’ll face become apparent immediately. Tyrion’s life of privilege and poor Valyrian will make it difficult for the commoners to trust him. Hardly anyone can be seen on the streets out of constant fear of attack from the Sons of the Harpy. Although, even in the city of Meereen itself Essos priests of the Lord of Light are preaching of Daenerys’s divinity and how the people should rally in support of her even while absent. Having all the ships in the harbor torched certainly won’t help things.

Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis follow the trail of scorched animal bones pretty closely. Though they have their differences they’re both devoted enough to Daenerys to follow and rescue her. Get your Greyscale looked at Mormont, seriously!

Once again Daenerys finds herself captive of a Dothraki Khalasar, except this time she’s not the beloved wife of the Khal. Khal Moro, his blood riders and his wives all suggest various mistreatments. Morbid though it is, it’s still a little funny to see the Dothraki casually banter in their language. Daenerys finally asserts herself, in their tongue, before Moro can rip her dress open. They’re not impressed with her long winded title, but they do respect that she was the Khaleesi to Khal Drogo. According to Moro’s wives, a dead Khal’s Khaleesi belongs in the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen in Vaes Dothrak. “It is known.”

Not productive. Perhaps Drogon or Jorah and Daario will catch up before then.

In Braavos, a blind beggar girl isn’t having much luck. To make things more difficult the Waif keeps showing up at her spot and beating her with a stick. I suppose there’s no more direct way to learn how to survive than when your survival depends upon it. Arya will have to figure something out. Nice camera tricks with focus and framing to give some shared feeling of her blindness with the audience.

Dawn at Castle Black. The muffled howls of Ghost can be heard from his locked pen as Davos discovers the butchered corpse of Jon Snow under the “traitor” post in the courtyard. Dolorous Edd and 4 other brothers of the Night’s Watch carry him back to the Lord Commander’s quarters. Melisandre joins them. She’s shocked that her visions of Jon Snow fighting at Winterfell have turned out false.

It’s a riot in the Night’s Watch hall. Alliser Thorne comes right out and admits who among them mutinied and killed Jon Snow. He professes his loyalty to the Order of the Night’s Watch and convinces most of the brothers in attendance that Jon’s actions with the Wildlings were unjust and dangerous.

Davos and Edd aren’t in attendance. Edd wants to kill Thorne, but being outnumbered 10 to 1 is pretty discouraging, even with a Direwolf. Fortunately, thousands of people who owe John Snow their lives were just passing through and Edd slips out of the Castle Black to rally them.

Davos knows right away from negotiating with Thorne that the Night’s Watch will kill them all if they get the chance. They’re still waiting on Edd to return, but Davos is considering asking Melisandre for help.

Melisandre is looking in dire need of help herself. Her two most prophesized heroes are dead. She looks more lost than we’ve ever seen her before. We’ve certainly never seen her remove the ruby choker (except for the season 3 scene with Selyse, but there are plausible explanations). There are hints of this in the books and fans have speculated it for a long time. Melisandre is WAY older than she appears to be. Here in this private scene we see her as a wrinkled, hunched, sagging old woman. The ruby choker preserves her alluring visage and her power granted by the Lord of Light.

The impression I really took away from this scene was that after such crushing loss and disillusionment, Melisandre, if that’s even her true name, just wanted to take a break and rest as herself. Will we see more of this unguarded woman? Might she still be able to use her magic to help Davos and Edd or even bring back John Snow?

Nerd rage, epic new character encounters, unexpected humor and more questions? Yep, it’s Game of Thrones season again!

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