If you’ve been a regular watcher of Game of Thrones, then you’ve probably noticed that each season has a pretty familiar sort of structure. Season 6 of Game of Thrones is no different.
The first few episodes generally remind us of where we’re up to, introduce new content and characters, and slowly set the course for where the season is headed.
Somewhere around episode 4 or 5, we have a minor climax that really gets the season going and sets up the course of the major conflict. And of course, once we hit the end of the season we have an often-spectacular battle or major twist that leaves us salivating for another season GoT Season 6 is no different.
This season of Game of Thrones really exemplifies the show’s ability to have a lot seemingly happen whilst not that much has actually happened.
We’ve seen a lot of set up so far, including what seems to be the major conflict of the season: The oncoming battle for Winterfell. Jon Snow and Sansa Stark, after a heart-warming reunion, are collecting various allies to battle Ramsay Bolton and his allies in order to save Rickon Stark and reclaim the north. The Starks haven’t had a lot of luck in the show thus far but this may finally be their turning point.
Daenerys, Bran and Arya have all continued their long story arcs that are essentially about them accruing power.
For Bran and Arya, it’s about their individual abilities, whilst for Daenerys, it’s about increasing the size of her armies. As all these storylines have had very lengthy arcs and they are often full of scenes where very little happens or changes. Every now and then though, we are treated to something spectacular. Daenerys’ emergence from the burning hut at the end of episode 4, naked and unscathed, was one of these iconic scenes that leaves you cheering at your TV screen out loud. How these three characters and their incredible strengths fit into the final conflict we are building towards remains one of the more captivating mysteries of the show.
Whilst we’ve had the usual amount of death that Game of Thrones has become renowned for, none of it (except for that one spectacular one) has seemed that significant or particularly captivating.
Perhaps because of the huge amount of material the show has to cover (and leave out altogether), many characters are underdeveloped or left off camera for too long. So it’s no surprise that their deaths can feel a bit underwhelming or even trivial. Why should I care about the death of a character I barely know, especially when deaths are so frequent in the show?
But when they do get it right, Game of Thrones deaths are some of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally draining sequences ever seen on TV.
Hodor’s death combined with the reveal that his whole life was essentially sacrificed for this one big moment was just as powerful as Ned Stark’s beheading and the infamous Red Wedding. The 10-20 seconds where the credits are rolling and you’re still sitting in shock and don’t know what to say, make all that slow build-up seemingly worth it. It’s a real credit to the show that the death of a character who, let’s be honest, is far down the list of essential characters in the story, can leave us so heartbroken and for some, in tears.
Whilst Season 6 had the biggest hype we’ve seen regarding the fate of a single character, (Will Jon Snow stay dead or come back to life?) and a tremendously impressive job was done of keeping the secret under warps in this modern age of social media, crowd-sourced reporting and anonymised posts, his resurrection was incredibly predictable and underwhelming.
It was fascinating to see the various reactions to him now being alive and satisfying to see his murderers hanged for their crimes, but I expected his death to serve more of a purpose then just providing a way for him to leave the Night’s Watch. Whilst some characters have noted that he seems to be quite brooding now, this is Jon Snow we’re talking about here: from day 1 he’s been the definition of brooding. Maybe more will be made of his death and resurrection in the episodes to come but at this point, the show seems to have moved on as if it was no big deal.
Do you remember when King’s Landing used to have the best scenes each week?
The High Sparrow is an interesting, well-acted character, but this storyline has dragged on way too long. It’s made some rather interesting characters (Cersei, Jaime, Olenna, Margaery) rather boring. Maybe it’s because Tyrion isn’t around anymore. Not that his storyline is particularly riveting at the moment either, though I did enjoy that magical scene where he unchained Daenerys’ remaining dragons.
It seems a silly idea of his to bring in the red priestess’ and I hope this isn’t just a repeat of what happened in King’s Landing. Game of Thrones doesn’t exactly paint a positive picture when it comes to religion and I wonder if this is a trend that will continue or if will we see some positive religious figures make their way into the show.
We’ve seen a bit more action in the peripheral storylines this season and it’s hard to say whether or not that’s a good thing in Game of Thrones.
The regime changes in Dorne and the Iron Islands both went down without a hitch. Killing your king has never been easier! Then again, nothing that’s happened in Dorne has been handled particularly well. I at least have some hope for Euron Greyjoy getting involved in something interesting, even if he’s just another patsy trying to take advantage of Daenerys’ rise to power. Theon and Yara seemed to escape pretty easily if you ask me but I honestly have no idea where they could be heading. Or really care. It was nice to check in on Sam and Gilly but considering how little we found out from their scene, it was kind of pointless.
Game of Thrones is at it’s best when we spend an extended amount of time with a storyline (remember the attack on Castle Black?) and at it’s worst when we have too many quick little check-ins that don’t particularly go anywhere.
It feels like we’re finally building towards the endgame and we’ve been getting all sorts of crucial bits of information, mainly in the form of Bran’s visits to the past.
We’ve learnt about where the Whitewalkers came from, we’ve seen another one perish from a random spear thrown by Meera and we may be close to finally getting the reveal about Jon Snow’s parentage. I’ll go out on a limb and say it looks like the Starks will regain the North, the Lannisters will regain King’s Landing, and once Daenerys finally arrives, we’ll see them all team up to take down the Whitewalkers. Or something completely unexpected and mind-blowing will happen.
This is Game of Thrones after all.