Following another brutal finale that killed off several major characters, the groundbreaking HBO series Game of Thrones is back for a sixth season and bound to be more fierce than ever. **Premiere Spoilers Ahead**
Like any great premiere, the Season Six opener left us with some promising cliffhangers Sunday night, including a shocking plot twist courtesy of the Red Woman and a new alliance between Sansa and Brienne. Most importantly, Dolorous Edd is on his way to recruit the wildlings to help avenge Jon’s death and hopefully, between their ruthlessness and Ghost’s, some justice will be served at Castle Black.
In the meantime, here’s a reflection on the premiere to help it all settle in:
Hope for Jon Snow’s return is not yet lost. Personally, I’m still a fan of the theory that Jon is the bastard son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen (making him the blood of the dragon—and Daenerys’ nephew, weird). We also know from Season Three that the Lord of Light can bring people back to life and there is obviously some immortal magic in Melisandre’s necklace. One way or another, Jon’s return is vital because his Valyrian steel sword is one of the only ones left in Westeros and Jon Snow is the only man who knows that Valyrian steel kills white walkers.
The Red Woman is either losing faith or plotting something big. Without a doubt, the Lady Melisandre takes the cake for most “WTF” character in the series. This was the first time, however, that I actually pitied the Red Woman. First she lost Stannis, who she was convinced would one day rule the realms, and now Jon Snow, who the flames showed fighting bravely in the snow at Winterfell. In other words, she has invested all of her time into this “Lord of Light,” who has now failed her twice. The transformation made it seem like she was giving up—perhaps even hoping that she will die an old woman in her sleep—but my instincts tell me otherwise. The show needs her now more than ever.
Arya’s fate was foreshadowed several seasons ago. Speaking of the Red Woman, in Season Three she speaks these exact words to Arya, which seem to be referring to the Faceless Men as well as Arya’s newfound blindness:
"I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes...eyes you'll shut forever. We will meet again."
It's true that Melisandre's prophecies haven't been the most reliable, but this one is pretty spot on so far. If the Red Woman isn't going to bring Jon back, the least she could do is help “a girl” out.
Brienne could be Sansa’s savior in more ways than one. Despite the fact that Sansa and Theon should both be sporting broken limbs from that jump, I’ve been impatiently awaiting the moment when Brienne reunites with the Starks. Sansa needs a wakeup call and Brienne could be the one to give it to her. Speaking the words of acceptance to Brienne’s pledge was a defining moment for Sansa—it means she’s willing to fight for her rightful place as heir to Winterfell.
Killing off Oberyn Martell was a bigger deal than we thought. Oberyn’s death was by far the most gruesome of the series, but we were too worried about Tyrion’s head at the time to realize the impact the Dornish Prince’s death would have. After killing their own prince with what appeared to be support from his supposed guards, it seems that Ellaria and the Sand Snakes, or Oberyn’s bastard daughters, will stop at nothing to avenge their father’s death. (Fun fact: one of the Sand Snakes has the same name as Arya’s direwolf, Nymeria, who is still missing in action.)
Daenerys is in trouble and so are her ships. Even if Jorah and Daario come through and Dany isn’t whisked off to Vaes Dothrak, she is in for a rude awakening back in Meereen. In her absence, Dany’s ships are being burned, her people are likely plotting the murders of her small council and something tells me Tyrion and Varys aren’t quite fit to hold them off. Meanwhile, Jorah needs to tell someone about his encounter with the Stone Men because if Shireen Baratheon can survive Greyscale, so can he.
One of the best aspects of Game of Thrones is that just when you think an episode touches on every character, you remember that some were barely acknowledged. For one thing, we haven’t seen Bran, Hodor and Meera since Jojen Reed died in the Season Four finale—not to mention we have no idea what happened to Rickon and Osha after they left Bran. We were also missing screen time from other key characters like Littlefinger, Samwell Tarly, Grey Worm, Yara Greyjoy and the wildling Tormund Giantsbane.
Since Thrones has gone somewhat off-book, it’s impossible to say what’s coming up this season, but rumor has it there might only be three more seasons so I have no doubt that Season Six will take us on a journey even more intense than the last.