Show-runners of Game of Thrones are certainly wasting no time this year. Three episodes into the feverishly anticipated sixth season and things are starting to reflect the approaching winters ruthlessness.
Before the deepening snow brings the dead with it, events are building to worrying proportions all across Westeros and Essos. If all we have are the rumored thirteen hours of screen time remaining after season sixth concludes, fans of George R.R. Martin’s, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ should savor this time, as this may be the shows last, full season. That’s right. After the ten episode sixth season, GoT‘s seventh season is rumoured to own seven episodes, and the eight and final season, owning a mere six episodes to complete the story. If this news proves true, fans have little time left with this fantasy series phenomenon.
Time we sense is crucial when watching the current season. Unlike with prior years, the current season proves to move at a pace previously unseen. Already, players are facing change sooner than assumed and with season six leaving both, book readers and viewers of the show in uncharted territory, all guesses are as good as the next when predicting upcoming events.
Before we recap this week’s “Oathbreaker”, all those who haven’t caught up on the latest episode should do so now, for this post is dark and full of spoilers. Keeping readers of the book guessing for years and viewers of the show thankfully less, we finally find out the fate of Jon Snow (Kit Harrington). He’s alive! Surely reigniting her faith in the lord of light, Melisandre’s (Carice Van Houten) flirtatious bond with magic gifts her a successful resurrection spell.
Immortality necklace on, Melisandre and Davos (Liam Cunningham) are in awe of Jon’s return. Melisandre asks where he went and what he saw after dying, and Jon confesses there’s “Nothing”. Implying the existence of the after life is that of myth, perhaps audiences just received a concrete answer in regards to the existence of the gods, “old” and “new”. Carice Van Houten brings new life to Melisandre now she’s been re-energized by the fire god. Liam Cunningham’s, Davos, also remains a homely presence and we’re anticipating his and Jon’s new found friendship.
Back in the black and while most believe Jon is some sort of god, Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) proves unimpressed with Jon’s new life: “I saw your pecker, what kinda god would have a pecker that small.”
While Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) are en route to Old Town, viewers are once again treated to a peek into the past when accompanying Brandon (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and the Three Eye’d Raven (Max Von Sydow) into the past, where a young Ned Stark finds himself in conflict with Targaryen forces. Joined by Meera’s father, Bran watches on as his father fights to save his aunt Lyanna.
Unable to stay in the past too long, Bran is once again annoyed when taken back by the Raven: “I told you many times, stay too long where you don’t belong and you will never return”, he tells Bran. “Why do I want to return? So I can be a cripple again? So I can talk to an old man in a tree?” he responds. Telling him “You won’t be here forever”, Bran has more to learn before leaving. Praise to Max Von Sydow, his introduction is yet to prove flawed.
Over in Essos, Khaleesi (Emilia Clarke) is escorted to the house of Dosh Khaleen – a house for the widows of dead Khals. Reciting her lengthy titles, the leader of the house is already familiar with Khaleesi, having been there during her time with Khal Drogo. Not yet promised a place with the Dosh Khaleen (because she didn’t arrive after Drogo died), Daenerys’ fate now rests in the hands of the Khalar Vezhven.
Perhaps Jorah and Daario are closing in on her, though they hardly stand a chance against the Dothraki. Drogo? Does he feel like jacking up HBO’s budget with an appearance? Anyhow, Emilia Clarke’s Dothraki tongue improves each season. Perfecting it is surely a challenge.
Varys (Conleth Hill) stays one of the shows remaining humorous personalities, his calming aura likely promising a smart-witted comeback. After bribing the Meerenese woman (who set up the Unsullied attack) with safe passage for her and her son, in return for information on the Sons of the Harpy, Varys rendezvous with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who’s awkwardly befriending Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson). With Varys informing Daenarys’ small council that the masters of Astapor and Yunkai are funding the Harpy, Tyrion asks Varys if he can get a warning out to the masters, to which he responds: “Men can be fickle, but birds I always trust”.
Semi-successfully keeping Meereen together, it won’t be long before Daenarys’ absence weakens their hold over the city and the looming Harpy’s. Back in Kings Landing, The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) stays being held together by his armour, accompanying Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) down to Qyburn’s confines, we see that Qyburn has brought the service of Varys’ “little birds”, who for the first time we discover are children bribed with trifles like candied plums.
While Jaime wants The Mountain to crush the High Sparrows (Jonathan Pryce) head, Cersei demands Varys’ little birds are scattered throughout Westeros, making her seriousness crystal clear: “If someone is planning on making our losses their gains, I want to hear it. “If someone is laughing at the queen who walked naked through the streets covered in shit, I want to hear, I want to know who they are”, she demands ominously.
Sending chills down the spines of all since 2011, Lena Headey’s unnerving calm demeanor remains as effective as ever. We all knew with the look on her face at the end of season five, she’s looking to draw blood this time round.
How we’ve missed Olenna (Diana Rigg). Uncertain she’d return, the episode showed us she is more than well and still throwing shade. With a nervous Pycelle, the resentful Kevan Lannister and a timid Mace Tyrell in attendance of a small council meeting, the peace is interrupted when Jaime and Cersei show up. “It’s well passed time we discussed the abuses I endured”, Cersei declares in true narcissistic style, thinking Olenna is talking about her own mistreatment.
Embodying everything we’ve come to love about the feisty head of house Tyrell, Olenna effortlessly shades the Lannister’s, earning her abundant points for her house: “Margaery is the Queen. You are not the Queen because you are not married to the King” she begins, making it clear her granddaughter remains the realms most powerful woman. “I do appreciate these things get a bit confusing in your family”, she finishes, killing any sort of comeback. Again, Olenna’s effortlessness comes courtesy of George R.R. Martins immaculate dialogue.
Unable to get Cersei and Jaime to leave the meeting, everyone decides to miss this weeks session. Left alone at the table, we truly see the restraints of Cersei and Jaime’s power. While they are armed with The Mountain, their political influence proves limited. Olenna, we need you around for the remainder of the season. Bravo Diana Sidigg, no improvements needed.
On the other side of the city, Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) pays a visit to the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), demanding he know why his mother is barred from seeing Myrcella’s final resting place. Informing him that his mother still needs to atone, the faith militant has some wise words for an impatient Tommen: “If we’re to be just and good, then we accept it, all of us, even Kings.” he shares, when talking about the mothers mercy. “A true leader avails himself of the wisest council he can – and no one is wiser than the gods.” he finishes. Influencing Tommen in ways Jofferey would have rejected, the High Sparrow’s calmness wins once again. Jonathan Pryce keep on doing whatever it is you’re doing.
Maisie Williams takes Arya into new territory this week, when enduring training at The House of Black and White. After last week saw her pass on her eyesight to continue down the path of “no one”. This week, training is taken up a level. Bruised and bleeding, Maisie Williams has us all believing she is genuinely enduring pain when fighting the Waif. Over and over again, Arya is asked who she is and again, she adamantly responds: “no one”.
Eventually becoming resilient to the Waif’s strikes, Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) suddenly appears, guiding her to the suicide fountain: “If a girl truly is no one, she has nothing to fear”, he says before Arya sips on the liquid. Rewarded with the return of her eyesight, next week should see Arya graduate into someone new – or should we say, “no one”. (Tom Wlaschiha) hasn’t faltered in his portrayal of Jaqen since season one, believably conveying the enigmatic book equivalent
Oh, Ramsay (Iwan Rheon). When will you die? After killing his father last week, the flaying bastard is at the helm of the Bolton family, which means he’s at the helm of the entire north. Talking with local loyalists, the Stark clan may face shrinkage once more when the north man brings Ramsay, Rickon (Art Parkinson) and Osha (Natalia Tena). Not seen since season four, it’s rumored Ramsay will kill the youngest Stark boy.
Like season three’s unfortunate penultimate episode, we’d rather not see any more Stark blood being spilled. We thought watching Walda and her baby becoming dog chow was hard enough. Iwan Rheon might have to call Jack Gleeson for tips on how to survive the hate mail. Taking it full circle, we’re back in Castle Black with a newly resurrected Jon. Shaken and feeling the betrayal of his brothers, Eddison enters Jon’s quarters to tell him, “It’s time”.
So silent we can hear the snow setting, the Wildings and the Nights Watch stand as Jon approaches those who murdered him. Alliser (Owen Teale) and Olly (Brenock O’Connor), along with others involved, stand with noose’s around their necks. “Do you have any last words”, the born-again Jon asks them. “I had a choice, Lord Commander” Ser Alliser states, “betray you or betray the watch”, he continues. “You brought an army of Wildlings into our lands, an army of murderers and raiders. If I had to do it all over, knowing where I’d end up, I’d pray I make the right choice again” he finishes unapologetically. “I’m sure you would Ser Alliser”, Jon responds.
Finally, looking at who used to be his protege, Jon finally looks at Olly – who has no last words. With barely a sound, all watch on as Jon cuts the rope holding up the four men. Bones breaking and eyes reddening, Melisandre, Davos, Tormund and us viewers watch on as justice is rightfully served. While we hated the spawn of Satan, Olly, his lifeless face wasn’t an easy watch. Passing on the black, Jon turns a new leaf when leaving Castle Black behind him: “My watch has ended.”
Jon Snow not in the Night’s Watch? The end is truly near. Where will he go now? Hopefully he’ll be joined by Davos and Melisandre, as we’ve become quite fond of the idea of a trio. Three episodes in and “Oathbreaker” only reaffirms Emila Clark’s statements that this season goes from “Epic moment to epic moment”, “shocking moment to shocking moment”.
Hardly holding back, season six is shaping up to be one of its best. While we dread the thought of there being a mere thirteen hours of GoT left (once this season is finished), we can see all the pieces falling into place, eventually building into a climatic finish, rarely anticipated on a scale like this. Just when is Danny crossing the narrow sea into Westeros? We need her and her Dragons occupying Kings Landing ASAP.
With seven more episodes until the seasons end, here’s to the ascent of an already high octane season. We’re in for a ride. Props to the potent aesthetic, dedicated cast and superior script, we need not wonder why Game of Thrones remains one of the worlds favorite TV shows.
Game of Thrones airs Sunday 9pm on HBO (US) & Mondays 9pm on Sky Atlantic (UK)