If you’ve been following my monthly blog posts or even if you’ve just peaked at them one time, first of all thank you. Second, you may have noticed there’s a category missing from my writings about music, books, and movies: television shows. This is mainly due to the fact I don’t consistently watch too many shows. Some I’ll watch multiple episodes for in a row and then have a long gap in-between. Also, there’s just so much more to process in TV shows compared to films given that many of the best span years. So despite my love for shows like Archer or Daredevil, I feel I don’t watch them consistently enough to produce a well-written piece in the monthly posts. Game of Thrones, however, is a different story.
I was given the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire in 2009. Now I’m just one of many fans, book reader and non-book reader alike, eager to see what happens next in the story as we move into the uncharted waters of season six, the first season largely based on material not present in the books (yet). But after last Sunday’s episode, I got to thinking about doing a post about the season at its halfway point and then another once it concludes.
Before we do anything else…HERE THERE BE SPOILERS. Don’t read if you aren’t caught up!
Here we go.
Jon Snow Rises From the Dead
A Dance With Dragons left readers floundering after the apparent Ceasering of Jon Snow at the book’s end. But that was back in 2011, and since then theory and speculation have run rampant in the fanbase, reaching a fever pitch once non-readers joined the club after the show’s depiction of his death last season. Lo and behold, Lady Milesandre was there to save the day. Speaking personally, I was unsure about watching season six because of revelations like this. I always like reading the book first, mostly because I find it harder to go back and read it after watching the adaptation. This makes GoT’s case all the more odd since there isn’t a book to read (yet). But goddamn, seeing Kit Harrington take that gasping breath had me squealing. To finally have conformation that Jon lives after five years overrode any misgivings I had about watching this season.
The Tower of Joy
Speaking of Jon, there’s a key scene from the book A Game of Thrones that hints at the answer to his mysterious parentage. In the book, Ned Stark has a fever dream that recalls the day he fought at the Tower of Joy to save his sister, Lyanna Stark. It understandably wasn’t included in season one because it would probably mess with pacing, but I always wondered how if ever they would show it. The answer was found in Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven. As soon as I realized what the scene was, I could barely contain my excitement. Solid action and plenty of suspense, leaving even those unfamiliar with R+L=J intrigued. Having the commentary from Bran makes the scene even more layered, questioning how history is told compared to what really took place. Also, we get to see Ned again! Yippee!
Daenerys Emerges Unburnt (Again)
The Mother of Dragons also ended up in a pretty shitty place at the end of A Dance With Dragons, though not quite as dead as Jon. Still, stranded with no one but the Dothraki horde for company puts a real dent in her plans for conquest. How does she get out of it? She kills them with fire. In a moment mirroring the end of season one, Dany emerges from the burning Khal tent unharmed. Perhaps the most notable detail of this event is that while Dany reunites with Jorah and Dario, she basically works everything out herself. This isn’t the same timid Dany that rode alongside Khal Drogo. She’s had it up to here with their horseshit and will not be made to bow.
In the books, Balon Greyjoy is the second king to die after Renly Baratheon, yet in the show he’s outlived everyone else. For awhile, it seemed like the show was going to forget about the Ironborn altogether. But this season we finally saw Balon kick the bucket and Euron show up to wreck everything at the Kingsmoot, a pivotal part of the Greyjoy’s story in the books. It’s a very intense read as everyone stakes their claim, but the show had an additional emotional touch to it thanks to Theon’s acknowledgment that Yara (Asha in the books) should be the rightful queen. Add in the mix Euron’s knowledge of Dany and the dragons and you get what appears to be a slow stroll to the series’s endgame. Not to mention it subtly shadows our own election of a leader in the United States…
Hold The Door
Hodor is one of the most beloved characters in the book and show despite being a giant that can only say one word. But I don’t think anybody suspected what the real origin of his name was, let alone the way it would be revealed to us. I know that David Benioff & D. B. Weiss have earned their share of flak from fans over the years, but they and director Jack Bender really knocked it out of the park with this scene. The emotion of it just sinks through you and pulls you into a trance as you hear a young Hodor repeat his namesake over and over while present Hodor plays out his role in one of the saddest and most emotional deaths of the series. With all that said, I have to admit I was crying more over Summer. Nothing’s worse than when something happens to the dog.
Jon and Sansa Reunite
There are many things fans have been waiting forever to see since the first book came out twenty years ago (yes, that long ago), ranging from Jon’s parentage to who the hell is going to sit in that ungodly pointy throne. But one thing that fans always hoped to see, despite having their expectations dashed many times over, is members of the Stark family reuniting. Arya almost met her mother and brother at the Twins before the Red Wedding and Bran moved past the Wall unseen by Jon. It seemed like it would never happen until season six’s third episode when Sansa rode through the doors of Castle Black and embraced Jon. I can’t remember the last time I teared up so quick. With only body language you can see the weariness and the torture they’ve both endured fall away when Sansa runs to him, allowing for a moment of awe and also “awwww.”