Only three episodes into Season Six and already this season of “Game of Thrones” seems the most promising since the Season Three.
Traditionally ten episodes long, this season is still introducing massive plot points that could potentially extend through the entire season, like Lyanna Stark’s backstory and Jon Snow’s true identity. We got a small dose of both in Episode Three, as well as a glimpse at the progress of both Bran and Arya’s training and the long-awaited, albeit disheartening, return of Rickon Stark.
Some secondary characters, like Varys and Tommen, were also pulled to the forefront on Sunday. Here are some of the moments worth noting from Episode Three, rightfully titled “Oathbreaker.”
Bran’s training is simultaneously filling in major holes. I have to give the creators credit where it’s due: Rather than bothering with flashbacks, "Thrones" is creatively shining light on some unanswered questions through Bran’s visions. Bran didn’t get to confirm whether Lyanna Stark is in that tower (and whether there’s a baby Jon Snow up there with her, as per the fan theory), but we’re slowly getting closer to discovering the truth. Meanwhile, the Three-eyed raven specifically said that he’s been waiting for Bran for a thousand years and I’m anxious to know why. Bran’s visions of his father are crucial to filling in the blanks for viewers, but we can’t forget Bran’s current storyline either.
The Lord of Light might have revealed the prince he promised. Probably not the best time to tell Jon Snow that some god may have chosen him to be the savior of an entire continent, but I digress. Ser Davos is becoming a quick favorite of mine this season now that his confidence is properly placed in Jon Snow, who needs a friend now more than ever. In the midst of the chaos at Castle Black and despite Jon’s walking out on his post, I couldn’t help but notice that the wildlings and the Night’s Watch seemed to be getting along in the wake of Jon’s resurrection. It’s also worth noting that Davos and Melisandre are finally seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to Jon, which is not to be overlooked.
Jon also infuriated a family that’s supposed to be “famously loyal” to the Starks. To clarify, the man who surprised Ramsay by handing over Rickon Stark was Smalljon Umber, the son of the man who first named Robb Stark “the King in the North” and one of House Stark’s most faithful bannermen. In Season Three, Bran suggested that Osha take Rickon to the Umbers, who he assumed would aid their king’s youngest brother. So when Rickon was first revealed, I was momentarily anticipating some sort of trick at Ramsay’s expense—then he offered Ramsay the decapitated head of Shaggydog, Rickon’s direwolf, and a new alliance was formed.
Arya admits she was confused about her feelings toward the Hound. This revelation sparked my interest even more than Arya getting her eyesight back, which desperately needed to happen. The Hound’s supposed death still hasn’t been confirmed, but Arya left him wounded and alone assuming he would die—and apparently not because she wanted him to suffer. True to the books, Arya took the Hound off of her “Kill List” and doesn’t entirely understand why. She certainly had no great love for the man, but her refusal to kill him even as he begged for death proves that there was some level of admiration there.
Believing in Daenerys’ cause could mean great things for Varys. We always knew Lord Varys was powerful, but he’s always been a servant to whoever occupies the throne and therefore was never entirely invested in his work. Now that he willingly serves Daenerys, a woman he considers deserving of the throne, Varys can finally put his strength and resources to good use. Since he already managed to discover that the masters of Volantis, Yunkai and Astapor have been funding the Sons of the Harpy’s mission to take down Daenerys, I’d say he’s on a good path. Speaking of Dany, I’m still waiting for one of those dragons to go rescue his mother (and maybe the other widows, too, because that life doesn’t look too fun).
Tommen and Kevan Lannister prove there’s some hope for the family. Tommen is still struggling to find his way, but confronting the High Sparrow on his own was a step in the right direction. In the meantime, the small council is finally putting Cersei in her place by refusing to take orders from her and essentially banning her from their meetings. Cersei was the one to appoint her Uncle Kevan as the new Hand of the King when her father died and now it’s backfiring. His new friendship with Olenna Tyrell and his “no nonsense” attitude toward his niece is probably bad news for Cersei but good for the Tyrell siblings and potentially the kingdom.
Jon’s murderers were put to justice and were not very apologetic for their crime. The Umbers have joined Ramsay and the Karstarks in their quest to storm Castle Black. Sam Tarly is heading home and claiming Gilly’s child as his own. Cersei’s puppet Qyburn recruited the Spider’s little birds to seek out her enemies. And whether Lyanna Stark is Jon’s real mother is yet to be seen.
Bran and Sansa have both told us about their father’s failure to discuss his sister at any length and Ned’s vow to finally tell Jon about his mother was broken when Joffrey took his head. Although Lyanna Stark has never been seen apart from Bran’s brief vision of her in Episode Two, Lyanna is a major character in the series. In fact, many have said that Lyanna’s supposed kidnapping triggered the war and that tens of thousands were killed because of Rhaegar Targaryen’s love for her. I’m guessing there’s more to that story that will play out throughout the season.