WARNING! THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT CAUGHT UP ENTIRELY WITH THE MOST CURRENT SEASON OF GAME OF THRONES. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Season 6 of Game of Thrones premiered April 24, 2016. This season is a landmark in the TV series because something unprecedented has happened: the TV series has pulled ahead of the books. Lovers of the books fear not! According to various sources The Winds of Winter is set to be released in early 2017. Hopefully we’ll have enough time to read it before Season 7 starts next April. This season was one hell of a ride.
Episode 1: The Red Woman
We pick up where Season 5 left off. Ser Davos finds Jon Snow’s body and carries it into a room with help from Jon’s friends. They lock themselves in to keep Alliser Thorne from burning his body and releasing Ghost north of the Wall. Sansa and Theon are rescued by Brienne and Pod and Sansa takes Brienne into her service. Brienne finally gets to fulfill her oath to Catelyn Stark at least partially. Jaime arrives at King’s Landing with Myrcella’s body. All hell breaks loose in Dorne when Oberyn Martell’s paramour and her daughters known as the Sand Snakes kill Oberyn’s brother Prince Doran, his faithful bodyguard Areo Hotah and Doran’s heartbroken son Trystane who had just lost the love of his life. Daenerys is taken by the Dothraki and Arya is living in the street as a blind beggar getting daily beatings from the Waif. We find out that Melisandre is actually an old Crone and who’s lost faith in her god. I believe I speak for all of us when I say that her naked absurdly old body was not a visual we needed. I can’t un-see that.
Episode 2: Home
Roose Bolton celebrates the birth of a son before getting stabbed by Ramsay who then feeds the infant and Walda to his dogs. Brienne tells Sansa that Arya is still alive. Balon Greyjoy is reunited with his estranged brother, Euron who promptly murders him. Arya returns to the House of Black and White. Tyrion has a hilarious conversation with then unchains Rhaegal and Viserion. Bran travels back in time to Winterfell and sees a young Ned, Benjen, Lyanna, and Hodor. Jaime threatens the High Sparrow, Tommen asks Cersei to teach him to grow a set, and Davos persuades Melisandre to try resurrecting Jon Snow. This appears to fail until the very last second of the episode when he suddenly awakens. I’m not ashamed to admit I cheered.
Episode 3: Oathbreaker
Jon Snow’s first official act as resurrected Lord Commander is to execute Alliser Thorne and the other mutineers. He then decides to leave the Wall since after all, his Watch has ended. Sam tells Gilly that he intends to leave her and the baby with his family at Horn Hill while he travels to Oldtown to become a maester. Bran sees a vision of the Tower of Joy in Dorne and watches his father and Meera’s father, Lord Howland Reed kill Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. We hear a woman scream and the Three-Eyed Raven calls Bran back just as we see Ned ascending the stairs. What a tease! Daenerys is brought before the Dosh Khaleen and clearly not ready for retirement. Rickon, Osha, and Shaggydog’s head are brought to Ramsay Bolton. Must we kill the direwolves, people?!
Episode 4: Book of the Stranger
I’ll admit that I cried at the reunion of Sansa with Jon Snow at Castle Black. I applauded their decision to march south and take back Winterfell. Tyrion brokers peace with the slave masters. Littlefinger returns to the Vale to mobilize the army against Ramsay Bolton. Margaery visits Loras in church jail and tries to comfort him. Cersei, Jaime, Kevan, and the Queen of Thornes make a plan to stop the High Sparrow. Theon arrives at Pyke to find his father murdered and pledges to support his sister’s claim to the Seastone Chair. Daario finds out about Jorah’s greyscale and they arrive in Vaes Dothrak to rescue Daenerys. The episode ends with Daenerys torching the temple of the Dosh Khaleen killing all of the Khals and emerging unhurt prompting thousands of Dothraki to follow her.
Episode 5: The Door
This one hit me right in the feels. It began with Littlefinger offering to help Sansa. She turned him down then sent Brienne to try to convince the Blackfish Brynden Tully, her great uncle to rally to her cause. She and Jon begin looking for support among the other Northern houses. Arya is given a mission to kill an actress. We learn that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers during a war with the First Men. Euron Greyjoy admits to fratricide but still wins at the Kingsmoot. Turns out the Ironborn would rather be led by a murderer than a woman. Yara and Theon flee with the entire fleet. Daenerys learns of Jorah’s greyscale. Tyrion and Varys meet with a red priestess Kinarva who offers her support to Daenerys. Bran is touched by the Night King who assaults the cave with hordes of wights and White Walkers. The Three-Eyed Raven, several Children of the Forest, and Summer the direwolf are all casualties, but the one that weighs on this heart is Hodor. Hodor’s younger self is rendered mentally incapacitated through Bran’s travel to the past. Seeing your own gruesome death could do that to a kid and theDoctor Who writers say, “You’re welcome,” for the plot device. Jokes aside, this says a lot about Hodor. He always knew he was going to die and stayed with Bran anyway.
Episode 6: Blood of My Blood
We finally find out what happened to Uncle Benjen who disappeared during Season 1. Sam and Gilly arrive in Horn Hill and after the most awkward family dinner ever, they leave with the family’s ancestral Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane in the middle of the night. Arya warns the actress Lady Crane instead of killing her. The Waif is instructed to kill Arya for this infraction. Jaime and Mace Tyrell attempt to protect Margaery from the Faith, but Tommen beats him to the punch by forming an alliance with the High Sparrow. Jaime’s dismissed from the Kingsguard and ordered to Riverrun to retake the castle from the Blackfish. The episode ends with Daenerys on Drogon’s back rallying the Dothraki to take Westeros with her.
Episode 7: The Broken Man
Margaery persuades Grandma Tyrell to return to Highgarden after the High Sparrow issues a veiled threat. Jon, Sansa, and Davos recruit the Wildlings and House Mormont, but they still remain outnumbered. Sansa writes a letter in secret begging for help. Lyanna Mormont became my homegirl. Jaime arrives at Riverrun and attempts to parley with the Blackfish unsuccessfully. We find out The Hound is still alive and was saved by a Septon. When renegades threaten then slaughter the group of followers of the Faith, Clegane seeks revenge. Theon and Yara spend the night in partying Volantis. The episode ends with Arya securing passage to Westeros but being attacked by the Waif and escaping badly wounded and yes, I lost my shit.
Episode 8: No One
Tommen abolishes trial by combat and Cersei realizes how very screwed she is. Brienne attempts unsuccessfully to convince the Blackfish to help Sansa. Jaime threatens Edmure Tully’s young son if he doesn’t convince his uncle to stand down. He complies and the Blackfish is killed by Lannister men. Or was he? We never saw a body. Pod and Brienne escape. Varys leaves on an unknown mission. The Hound kills the renegades who slaughtered the Septon and his followers and encounters Ser Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr. Lady Crane takes Arya in and heals her wounds but the Waif arrives, kills Lady Crane, then chases Arya through the streets. Arya leads her with a trail of her own blood into the catacombs where she’s waiting for her with Needle. After literally cutting the lights Arya returns to the House of Black and White and the Waif’s face goes to the wall. Arya Stark is my homegirl.
Episode 9: Battle of the Bastards
OMG OMG OMG Daenerys deals with the slaver’s fleet with Drogon , Rhaegal, and Viseron. Grey Worm kills two of the three masters, leaving one alive to tell the tale. Daenerys agrees to an alliance with Greyjoy siblings once Yara agrees that the constant reaving of the Ironborn will stop. Then the Battle of the Bastards. It starts with Ramsay using Rickon to draw Jon Snow and his men into the open and killing him in the process. Who the hell forgot to teach Rickon that you run in a zig-zag pattern when being shot at? Jon Snow and his men get stuck in a pincer move until the knights of the Vale arrive at the last second. Ramsay turns tail and runs and Jon, Tormund, and Wun Wun give chase. Wun Wun sacrifices himself to get through the gates of Winterfell and Jon proceeds to beat the piss out of Ramsay. I can’t begin to tell you how satisfying that was to watch. Even more satisfying was seeing Ramsay tied to a chair in the kennel with his “faithful” hounds who he hasn’t fed in seven days. Let this be a lesson to those who abuse or neglect animals. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that his last words were “No! Down! Sit! Bad dog! “
Episode 10: Season Finale: The Winds of Winter
Again OMG OMG OMG. All hell has broken loose in Westeros. I’m still trying to process the first 10 minutes. Cersei and Qyburn have Grand Maester Pycelle killed and blow up the Sept with wildfire killing Margaery, the High Sparrow, Mace Tyrell, Loras Tyrell, the entire Faith Militant and hundreds of King’s Landing nobles and citizens. When Tommen finds out, he throws himself out a window. Davos loses it on Melisandre when he confronts her about Shereen. Jon Snow banishes her from Winterfell. Littlefinger shares his dream of sitting the Iron Throne with Sansa at his side, but she’s clearly unimpressed. The remaining houses of the North pledge their support to Jon Snow and name him King in the North. The Freys hold a banquet to celebrate the retaking of Riverrun and Jaime Lannister tells Walder Frey exactly how useless he is. We finally get to see the rest of our vision from the Tower of Joy when Ned finds a dying Lyanna and takes her newborn son as his bastard. This confirms the wildly popular theory of Rheagar + Lyanna = Jon Snow…or does it? Sam and Gilly make it to Oldtown and Sam practically weeps for joy at the sight of the library. Jaime returns to Kings Landing to find the Sept of Baelor a smoldering ruin and Cersei crowning herself as Queen. We see Arya Stark feed Walder Frey his own children in a pie before slicing his throat. That was so satisfying. Grandma Tyrell didn’t go back to Highgarden. She went to Dorne and has allied what remains of House Tyrell with Dorne and Daenerys through the work of Varys. The episode ends with Daenerys mobilizing a crap ton of ships and her dragons to sail for Westeros. Fire and blood.
Here are my key takeaways:
1. This season had the highest body count of any previous season. Valar Morghulis.
2. For those keeping score at home, Daenerys has roughly 40,000 Dothraki, 8,000 Unsullied, the Ironborn longships and their crews, the Tyrell army, Dorne, and three dragons. By my count she easily has the largest and most skilled army in Westeros and SHE HAS FREAKIN’ DRAGONS!!!!! She’s also done what Aegon the Conqueror couldn’t and by bringing Dorne to her side.
3. The possibility of Sandor Clegane getting his wish and killing his brother (hopefully for good) is still alive.
4. Most of Cersei’s prophecy from Maggy the Frog has been fulfilled. The worst of it is yet to come and she has no idea. I don’t want her to die until the very end because she’s that character I love to hate, but oh is that ever going to be satisfying.
5. Arya Stark has made a list and she’s checking it twice. Anyone else who still remains from that list better watch their asses.
6. Melisandre could still have a part to play in the war to come between the living and the dead.
7. The dragon has three heads. We (tentatively) know of two: Daenerys and Jon Snow. There’s still a third dragon floating about somewhere and fan theories abound as to who it is and how he/she will arrive in the TV series. There’s a lot to look forward to next season and the books to come.