Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Season six of Game of Thrones has been possibly one of the best yet, and is largely based on original material not found in the words of George R.R. Martin but adapted mostly from his fourth and fifth novels, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons.
From the resurrection of Jon Snow that all fans were praying for by Melisandre in the second episode, to the death of Hodor and the Three Eyed Raven, to the epic Battle of the Bastards, this season has been filled with as much action and suspense as we have become accustomed to on the show – and then some!
“The storylines and superb acting from the women of Game of Thrones have made this season the best so far”
Aside from the plot, character development has been huge in this season, especially with the female characters. Cersei overcomes extreme shame, grief and abuse to take back the Iron Throne; Daenerys sets the Khals aflame and takes the Dothraki army for herself; Arya goes on a journey from being no one to again reclaiming her identity as Arya Stark and murders Walder Frey – it is perfectly fair to say that the storylines and superb acting from the women of Game of Thrones have made this season the best so far.
Saying that, the men of the show have not been disregarded. Jon Snow took back Winterfell and audiences were left reeling from revelations about his parentage and we, like Lady Lyanna Mormont, see Jon as the only King in the North. Tyrion chooses to ally himself with Daenerys and in doing so earns his just rewards for his loyalty as Hand of the Queen. Finally something goes his way. Ramsay only becomes more evil than in season five, which seemed impossible, but his performance is none the less incredibly compelling even if audiences the world over laughed when he was savagely eaten alive by his own dogs…
Whereas with previous seasons there has been a general overtone of defeat and loss, season six changed this pattern and is in large much more victorious for most characters, with Jon Snow taking his place as King in the North despite facing some horrendous odds. Another difference from previous seasons is the more limited nudity in this series, but in all honesty this is barely noticeable through your tears as you watch Hodor “Hold the Door”, and this nudity has been replaced by stronger violence.
Humour. Not something the GoT audience has really come to expect from the show, but a whole new side to the programme and actors that we were given this year. A starring mention has to be given to Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) who has really been a leader in furthering this witty new aspect to the show this season, and adding another level to GoT that makes it more accessible to a larger audience perhaps. Let’s hope they keep this up!
Episode by Episode Review
The Red Woman – This episode presented a promising start to the season and elegantly followed on from the murder of Jon Snow in season five, whilst also catching up with other much missed characters on the show and all importantly not revealing too much or answering too many questions straight away. In particular, superb performances in this episode have to go to Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Carice van Houten (Melisandre).
“Under the shadow of the brilliance of the first episode, this was for the most part worse in comparison”
Home – Under the shadow of the brilliance of the first episode, this was for the most part worse in comparison, up until the big reveal of Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) being successfully resurrected at the very end. Despite this climactic moment in the episode, and Tyrion’s encounter with the dragons, it is rather bland.
Oathbreaker – After the previous disappointment, this episode focuses more on central characters and sets the scene for the rest of the season in many ways. Arya (Maisie Williams) again is truly impressive as is the first extended appearance of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
Book of the Stranger – There are two high points to this episode – the emotional reunion of Sansa and Jon Snow and the taking of the Dothraki after burning the Khals by Daenerys. However, the emotional family reunion of Sansa and Jon caused some upset for fans as the series seemed to ignore the previous abusive and cruel nature of Sansa’s relationship to Jon from the earlier seasons before their separation, possibly making their sudden closeness unconvincing – possibly a mistake, unless their relationship is later proved fragile?
“…showcased the frankly inadequate acting of Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright)”
The Door – An episode that whilst it made us all very emotional over the death of Hodor, also showcased the frankly inadequate acting of Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) in contrast to the great actors and actresses around him. Overall, his acting and storyline, especially this season, have been the real let down.
Blood of my Blood – Sam and his family are the focus here, and Lord Randyll performs perfectly hatefully, furthering the audience’s love for Gilly and Sam.
The Broken Man – Audiences meet one of the greatest actresses on the whole show, Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey). However, other than the campaigning of the Starks this episode has little to offer the series as a whole.
No one – Sexual tension between Brienne and Jaimie is evident in this episode, with their performance as a duo being utterly believable. Two strong female roles take vengeance here, one of the overarching themes in this season: Daenerys and Arya. One of the better episodes of the season.
“A fantastic conclusion to the season that was infinitely improved by the music”
Battle of the Bastards – By far the highlight of season six. Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton give Oscar worthy (dare I say it) performances and this episode provides the blood and guts from every previous season in one fell swoop. Brutal and brilliant.
The Winds of Winter – A fantastic conclusion to the season that was infinitely improved by the music that accompanied the key moments of the episode, and left the whole season feeling victorious. Audiences felt as though justice has been served, vengeance taken for a large part, the rightful rulers put in power – but with still plenty to fight for.
The best season of Game of Thrones so far, with strong plotlines, emotive characters, blood and guts, a lot of retribution and vengeance and a final episode that leaves you longing to see the Battle for the Seven Kingdoms play out between Jon Snow, Daenerys and Cersei. Winter is here everyone, and it’s all kicked off.
Images sourced from YouTube and The Independent