We have waited with bated breath since last year to know about the admittedly sick fates of our favorite Westerosi folks. Now that Game of Thrones is finally back, we thought we’d make a list of awesome things that have already happened so far in Season 6.
1. He’s ALIVE! Yes, we knew Jon Snow was too important a character to be killed by worthless little things like Olly, and with so much of his storyline still under layers of mystery. And we were right. The red priestess managed to bring the curly haired Lord Commander Snow back from the dead, after insisting for almost an hour that she couldn’t do it. Rather like that student who says they haven’t studied at all… and then ends up scoring an A! Well played, Red, well played.
2. Sansa escapes to freedom. Having leaped to freedom over the Winterfell battlements with Theon/Reek (Alfie Allen, still doing the best disembodied stare on television) she finally recognised her error in not going with Brienne earlier (and choosing to stick with the icky Lord Petyr Baelish. When the fugitive pair were rescued by Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick, Sansa immediately agreed to take Lady Tarth on as personal protector. Clever that, given Ramsay – a raving nutter in the kindest of circumstances – was epically ticked off at her escape.
3. Dany was reunited with the Dothraki (not such a thrilling situation for her, but totally awesome because now at least she’ll be interesting!). As widow of the great Khal Drogo, Daenerys (Emilia Clark) had leaped to the entirely reasonable assumption that the Dothraki would be respectful towards her. Unfortunately, tradition decreed that, upon the death of their husbands, bereaved Khaleesi were required to live out their days in pious servitude in the horse barbarian capital Vaes Dothrak. It was an interesting tit-bit Drogo had neglected to mention back when he was suffering an excruciating death in series one.
4. Ramsay congratulated his father on becoming a dad by knifing him to death. Just as we’d begun to suspect Game of Thrones had calmed down and given up trying to trump its greatest hits came this: Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) calmly knifing dad/political rival Roose (Michael McElhatton) was a genuine shock considering GoT typically waits until the latter half of a season before killing off major characters. But let’s admit it, none of us were sad to see Roose Bolton kick the bucket. What followed, however, teetered on unwatchable as Ramsay cradled the mewling half-brother whose birth had driven him to patricide and then literally unleashed the hounds upon infant and mother. “I prefer being an only child,” said Ramsay, as the dogs did their dirty work and his position at the head of House Bolton was bloodily secured.
5. Hodor is not just a sweet Westerosi Groot with no storyline! Hurrah for Bran’s trade-mark waking dreams, which helped get his story on track once more and will have reminded viewers why he is such a vital part of the grand tapestry. In this swords and sorcery tale, most of the “sorcery” has flowed from the Stark prince. A frisson of the otherworldly is restored now he’s in the frame again. The latest visitation flash-backed to Winterfell and the boyhood of Bran’s father, Ned. It was sweet and surprising to peel the decades away and witness Ned and Benjen Stark banter with their sister Lyanna, who, in adulthood, would single-handedly change the fate of the Seven Kingdoms. But most shocking was the appearance of a young Hodor : his real name, we learned, was Willis and he could speak and wield a sword. What had happened to him? Just when you imagined Game of Thrones had run out of mysteries to weave, here was a new one.
6. Tyrion made new fire-breathing friends. What fun it was seeing Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) up against foes he couldn’t seduce with gilded small talk. Instead, the two dragons rotting in the Meereen dungeons were won over by his gentleness as he unshackled their chains. In an utterly riveting scene, Tyrion comes within barbecue distance of Dany’s babies – creatures he’s long been fascinated with. We are so sure this is important to his eventual storyline.
7. Gregore Clegane is back to crushing skulls. He has been resurrected as Ser Robert Strong and is proving just the help around the house Cersei (Lena Headey) could have done with circa her Shamewalk. He is steadfastly loyal, inhumanly strong and would probably laugh at her jokes if a) he possessed a functioning voice box and b) Cersei possessed a functioning sense of humour. He demonstrated his murderous devotion by tracking down the public exhibitionist who had waggled his man-bits at Cersei during her penitential ambling through King’s Landing, mulching the oik’s head against a wall. Ser Killbot is surely just getting started.
8. We’re finally at the Tower of Joy! Peeking over the shoulder of Timelord Bran, we whooshed back to young Ned Stark and the Tower of Joy. This location gets a lot of flashback attention in the books, but it hasn’t really been mentioned in the TV show until now. It’s a tower in Dorne, the sandy homeland of the Martel family and the weapon-wielding Sandsnakes. In a similar flashback in the books, the captive within was revealed to be Ned’s sister Lyanna. George RR Martin describes events that occurred long before series one of the TV series begins, in which Lyanna had been captured by Rhaegar Targaryen, elder brother of Daenerys and son of the Mad King Aerys. This was the catalyst for Robert Baratheon’s rebellion, as he was betrothed to Lyanna. Many avid GoT followers believed the Tower of Joy would solve the mystery of Jon Snow’s parentage. There is a common theory (known to show nerds as R+L=J) which holds that when Rhaegar kidnapped the beautiful Lyanna, he also raped her, and Jon Snow was the product of that union. In order to protect his nephew, Ned Stark supposedly claimed Jon as his own bastard son. This theory is yet to be proved or disproved.
9. Rickon is back. The missing-presumed-forgotten Stark princeling made a shock return. Alas, he can’t have been very pleased to be in the frame again as he was gifted to the Boltons (well, Ramsay and his dogs) as a gesture of fealty by oikish House Umber. Ignored for three seasons, now a humiliated bargaining chip. Even in obscurity, the Starks can’t catch a break. Or can they? A lot of fans reckon that Rickon, Osha (his trusty wildling companion) and House Umber are all in cahoots. While Smalljon Umber claims his father has died, it is possible that fierce warrior Greatjon Umber – a loyal vassal of Robb Stark’s – is still kicking about. If so, maybe he’s readying a Northern army to storm Winterfell, and Rickon is just a distraction to lull Ramsay into a false sense of security. Bran trusted Greatjon enough to send Rickon there for safe keeping once he went north of the Wall, and we’d like to think Bran put his trust in the right place.
10. The Lannister twins-with-benefits are finally ready to met out red hot revenge. They have teamed up with the Tyrells in order to take back King’s Landing from the grimy clutches of the High Sparrow and his annoying Faith Militant.
11. Sansa and Jon reunite! Stark siblings ever crossing paths with each other seemed the least likely thing to happen on Game of Thrones. But it did happen, and it was perfect!This story has sprawled so prodigiously, there is a visceral thrill that comes from seeing disparate pieces connect, especially pieces of the tortured family that represents whatever good is left in the world. Sansa and Jon, who grew up together even though they were never close as brother and sister but have been through A LOT since, just look at each other for a whole minute, not daring to believe it’s really the other. The hug between them brought us close to tears, in fact, making us wish for more Starks to start turning up. Jon is given an apology followed by pep talk by Sansa, about how they need to take back Winterfell from Ramsay. For the rest of the series, they need to stick together.
12. Danaerys barbecued khals. The Dothraki hut went up like a haystack soaked in kerosene, taking the potty-mouthed khals with it and allowing the unburnt dragon mother to emerge from the flames. As Dothraki-cowing parlor tricks go, it’s a good one, which we already know because we saw her do roughly the same thing with Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre in Season 1. She has conquered cities. She has made mistakes. She has been underestimated and has learned the value of allowing herself to be underestimated. She has acquired the support of the Unsullied and of the oppressed of Slavers Bay, even if Tyrion threatens to undo much of that support. And not for nothing, but the baby dragons who emerged from that pyre are now, you know, actual giant fire-breathing dragons. Then there was the symbolism of the thing. The khals collectively represent a distilled, pure-grade dose of the savage aggression that has torn this world apart — they promised an almost cartoonish level of rape and cruelty and ended up as ash, showing in the process the ultimate fecklessness of bluster, dumb strength and braggadocio in the face of true transcendent power. The kind Dany represented in the early days of this story but is only now beginning to embody. Something tells us things are going to go better for her this time.
Have we missed out on something? Let us know in the comments section below!