Writer: Marlee Merlo
*Warning: this contains SPOILERS*
Game of Thrones season 6 opens where season 5 left off, with Jon Snow’s body motionless in the snow at Castle Black. Having been betrayed by his fellow Night’s Watch officers, GoT fans have been completely enveloped in what’s next with Jon, hoping against hope that he wasn’t really dead after all.
Thankfully, we weren’t left hanging on throughout the episode to find out. Jon is most certainly dead. More chilling to me than the confirmation of Jon’s demise was the sullen howling of his dire wolf, Ghost. The howling rouses the attention of Ser Davos and Jon’s comrades, who realize quite quickly who was responsible when they find Jon’s body under the hand-painted sign that reads “Traitor.”
Alliser Thorne delivers a speech to the Night’s Watch defending his actions, which was so powerful that for a moment I was nodding my head in agreement. Alliser may have always hated Jon, but he led the officers in murdering him because he genuinely felt he had the Wall’s best interest at heart.
After screaming out during the season 5 final scene where each of the officers take their turns driving their knives into Jon, Alliser’s powerful speech gave us all something to think about (even if I still want his severed head on a spike after betraying our most beloved bastard). What may happen next, particularly in regard to Jon’s body being in the company of The Red Woman, Melisandre, remains to be seen. Is she powerful enough to bring him back? Time will tell…
Throughout my fandom of the Game of Thrones series, I never had imagined that there would be a character I loathed more than Joffrey, but alas, Ramsay Bolton has surpassed him in my eyes as the ultimate villain. Evil to his core, Ramsay breaks away from his usual hollow shell of a conscience and shows us a sliver of softness as he reminisces over the body of Myranda, the kennel master’s daughter. After giving us a rare glimpse into his true feelings for the girl, he snaps us back into reality when he casually interrupts the offer to bury her or build a pyre, and instead orders that she be fed to the hounds. You had me going for a second there, Ramsay! Just as I was back when Joffrey was still terrorizing his people, I’m on the edge of my seat for Ramsay’s demise. I hope that in true GoT fashion, it happens in the horrific, gory way we all not-so-secretly love. Maybe another wedding is in order at the Bolton residence? We all know how those go down on the show.
On to what I feel was the most powerful scene in the episode, despite the fact that Sansa, to me, is one of the weakest characters on the show. With the help of Theon, they have managed to escape the clutches of Ramsay Bolton and are on the run, baying hounds not far off on their heels. We’ve already seen what the hounds (and the Boltons) are capable of, and my heart was pounding during their trek across a nearly frozen riverbed and a hypothermic race through the forest. Just when they think they’ve made it to safety and have enough of a lead ahead of their captors, a hound’s bay shakes them back into the situation they’ve gotten themselves into. Finally, Theon is ready to face the music for all of his wrongdoings to the Stark family and sacrifices himself in an act of desperation to save Sansa’s life. His attempt falls on deaf ears, and the hounds sniff out her hiding spot. Just when things are looking completely helpless (and you never know when a Stark is going to be killed off around these parts), in rides the bodacious Brienne of Tarth and her trusty squire, Podrick.
Throughout the series, Brienne has felt like she has been responsible for the death of those she has sworn her sword to; first with Renly Baratheon and later Catelyn Stark. She’s already been denied once by Sansa yet has remained steadfast in the oath she made to the girl’s mother. Thankfully, she and Podrick fight and defeat the pursuers. Even Theon, who yields a sword for the first time in ages, contributes to the brutal ass-kicking going on around him.
Once they are left alone in the woods amidst a slew of Bolton-devoted bodies, Brienne lays her sword down and drops to one knee, once more pledging her life to protect Sansa. It was an emotional, relieving moment to see Brienne finally be able to provide the very protection she has promised to, and Sansa (with the help of Podrick) accepts her offer and in return promises a place at her hearth, with meat and mead at her table. Had it not been for the fact that I wasn’t watching this scene alone, I would have wept. In fact, I watched the episode a second (and, who am I kidding, a third) time and the tears flowed freely during their exchange. After the fight scene with the Hound in an effort to ‘save’ Arya, and now her proven dedication to Sansa, Brienne of Tarth is a force to be reckoned with and there clearly is nothing she won’t do to protect the Stark children. If a Boss-Bitch Award was given to just one character in each season, Brienne has earned hers already.
Back in King’s Landing, the ship carrying Jamie and Myrcella is arriving into port back from its ill-fated journey to Dorne where Myrcella received a poisonous goodbye kiss from Ellaria. Normally I celebrate any horrific fate Cersei finds herself in, but I felt sympathy for a mother losing yet another child watching her face shift into awareness at what’s under the shroud behind Jamie’s back. I’m deeply concerned for anyone who finds themselves in her path now, as hell hath no fury like Cersei scorned. Even her resting bitch face gives me the heebie-jeebies.
We find ourselves in Dorne and with the help of the Sand Snakes, Ellaria is wasting no time continuing on with her plans to stop their land from being ruled by “weak men.” The moment Prince Doran realizes Myrcella has been killed, a dagger is driven into his heart. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the badassery of Ellaria and the Sand Snakes for quite some time, and now that they’ve taken the power of Dorne back into their own hands, I pity the fool who crosses these ladies.
Daenerys Targaryen is still in the clutches of a Dothraki horde who is unaware of who she is. She plays her cards right and keeps her cool, despite her hands being bound as a prisoner and listening to the men on horseback make sexually explicit comments in her direction. It isn’t until she’s grabbed by their Kahl that she defends herself between gritted teeth and particularly forceful Dothraki that she makes her identity clear. Just when we’re all thinking she’ll be released or escorted to safety by her association with Kahl Drogo, they inform her that all Kahl widows must live out their days in Vaes Dothrak. With Jorah Mormont tracking her not far behind, I doubt that she has much to worry about.
Back at Castle Black, we’re alone in a room with The Red Woman, who is looking solemn into a clouded mirror. She removes her robe and admires her body (I mean, come on) in the mirror, then slowly removes her infamous choker necklace (which if you didn’t notice, totally changed colors! It changed colors you guys!) and we finally see Melisandre for what she really is… an old woman who may potentially be centuries old. It reminds us just how powerful she really is and what sorts of bizarre spells and witchy tricks she’s capable of. Hopefully, she puts those skills to good use quickly because Jon Snow’s corpse isn’t getting any fresher. Seeing her naked, ancient, withered reflection also reminded us of something else. Gravity is unkind, y’all.