Game of Thrones Season Six: Episode One – ‘The Red Woman’

This blog is published after the ‘Game of Thrones’ simulcast. Do not read ahead unless you have seen season six, episode one, or want to find out what happens. It contains lots of spoilers etc.

We’re all talking about

What are we talking about? The very fact the show has returned, of course. But was it worth the wait? Did this first episode answer all of the questions we’ve been asking since Jon Snow was brutally slain by his brothers in black at the end of the last series? Did it address the issues raised by the numerous teasers, trailers and cryptic cast interviews over recent weeks?

No, not really, is the short answer. The series began seconds after the last one ended, with the Lord Commander’s lifeless body lying on the floor of Castle Black. Quickly brought inside by Davos, who, unless he’s carved up next week by Alliser Thorne and the rest of the Night’s Watch, looks as if he’s going to have a large part to play in this series. Dolorous Edd is all for bursting out and tearing through as many mutineers as he can, but Davos wisely buys some time so Melisandre can quite literally work her magic. “You haven’t seen her do the things I have,” Davos answers when asked what one redhead can do against 40 swords. He may have seen that shadow that killed Renly Baratheon emerge from her haunted vagina, but no one, not even the Onion Knight, has seen her do what she did in the episode’s final moments, taking off her clothes and jewels to reveal an old, decrepit body. We’ve all seen celebrities ‘daring’ to go make-up free in the tabloids, but this is ridiculous. She must’ve been keeping the Kings Landing branch of Boots open single-handedly. Or is there something more to it than a good base layer and some blusher?

All in all, the Castle Black scenes, while tense and dramatic, felt like an anti-climax after 10 months of anticipation. Of course, what wouldn’t have felt like an anti-climax after 10 months of anticipation? But carrying Jon’s body inside, Davos ordering some mutton and a Red Priestess getting ready for bed is hardly the bombastic opening to the series we were hoping for. 10 months, Game of Thrones, 10 months we’ve been waiting for this. And what do we get? An hour-long trailer for the rest of the series.

What else happened?

Surely I’m not the only one taking a bit of comfort in seeing Ramsay mourning Myranda, his equally sadistic girlfriend? Also, the look on his face was a picture as it dawned on him it might be his own father he has to watch out for, rather than the many enemies he’s made. Well played Iwan Rheon.

Sansa and Reek, last seen jumping from the Winterfell ramparts, were done for until Brienne and Podrick arrived to rescue them. After offering her services to the Stark girl once before, only to be blown out, and also to Arya before her bloody fight with The Hound, Sansa finally accepted her sword. Her struggle with the finer points of the Lord’s Oath was a nice touch. Like Britney, Sansa’s no girl, but not yet a woman.

Jaime returned to Kings Landing with Myrcella, ready to face Cersei. Their scene was brief but powerful, yet far more exciting was what he’d sailed away from back in Dorne. Ellaria Sand did for King Doran with a knife to the heart, and arranged for Prince Trystane to meet his end on the ship back to Kings Landing. Whether or not she specified the Sand Snake spear through the face is another matter, but good riddance to bad rubbish. He was a lame duck. It was, however, a shame to see Areo Hotah stabbed in the back, a character never given the chance to show what he was made of. Still, in a show with so many characters, no one deserves to be carried along, even if they do have a massive axe.

Dario and Jorah arrived at the point Daenerys was taken by the Dothraki at the end of the last season, and their road trip got off to a flyer, with some gentle ribbing. Now his love for Daenerys is out of the bag, wow long can keep his worsening greyscale a secret?

The Dothraki, meanwhile, may look like savages to us, worshipping their Horse God, eating raw hearts and so on, but some things, such as a good grandma joke, unite us all. It was a little light relief in what was a gruelling start for Daenerys. She could give Apollo Creed a run for his money in the nickname stakes, but it did her little good. Only the fact she’s a Khal’s widow spared her, if you can call being banished to a room full of other grieving widows being spared.

Finally poor old Arya. As if being blind and gossiped about wasn’t bad enough, she got a good sticking from the Waif, and a promise that the same thing’s going to happen the following day.

What does it all mean?

There’s still lots and lots to happen, that’s what it means. We may be an hour in, but we’re barely any further on from what the numerous trailers for the series told us, or even the final episode of series five. Jon’s still dead, Arya’s still blind, Daenerys is still lost and dragonless. Only Sansa and Reek found an improvement to their situation, but how long that lasts is another matter.

Best scene

Few moments from this episode are likely to make into any GoT best of compilation, but shock value alone says this has to go to the Red Priestess, disrobing to reveal her true, withered form.

Best line

“Fuck prophecy, fuck fate, fuck everyone that isn’t us,” Jaime Lannister, reassuring his twin sister/lover Cersei.

Predictions for next week

Tyrion and Varys, the show’s best double act, get a little closer to working out who is giving Sons of the Harpy their orders, and back in Kings Landing, Cersei gets the better of grief and starts enacting bloody, violent, terrible revenge. But really, who cares as long as there’s a little more action than we saw this week. That would be nice.

Watch the preview for episode two below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOYTFqUhD9Q