Game of Thrones Review (Season 6, Episode 1)

Another spring, another season of medieval torture, bloody betrayals, doomed matrimonies and dragon holocausts. Game of Thrones can always be relied on for the feel-bad experience of the year and yet, that very ill-will is why devoted viewers continue to watch. Every season cliffhanger has posited many questions for us to feast us during the show’s hibernation but this past year was more titillating than most. Finally, Season 6 is here to answer some of those queries.

Picking up directly after the assassination of Jon Snow is ingenious since it was the topic that seized everyone’s attention last season. It also toys with the speculation and rumors that he might not be categorically deceased. Every second his corpse is on-screen, the viewers helplessly conjure imaginative theories that he might rise again. The red witch’s arrival to inspect the body is also a tantalizing prospect of his reanimation. Similarly the dire wolf sniffs at him could be another indication.

The rationalization that they are still loyal to the Night Watch despite Thorn’s murder of Lord Commander Snow is pure spin control. The show prides itself on infuriating us with ambiguous immorality which is why the show segues seamlessly to a distraught Ramsey pondering over the escape of Sansa Stark and Theon. When Ramsey is cautioned that if he doesn’t produce a male heir, his kingdom will be vulnerable, I loved the neurotic fear in his eyes.

While he was a groveling lackey in the past few seasons, it’s encouraging to see Theon regain some philanthropy and humanity when he caresses Sansa to warm her from frostbite and courageously stabs a guard. Whereas Gwendoline Christie was utterly futile in The Force Awakens, she is a ferocious warrior here as she heartily slaughters Ramsey’s posse.

Oddly enough, his shared tragedy between Cersei and Jamie might be the epoxy that brings them back together. The High Sparrow cult segments are still the nadir of the show but their scenes are wisely kept brief. In the overall race for the Iron Throne, the priests and disciples pose a sublethal threat when a sturdy zombie version of the Mountain is nearby. I enjoyed the cheeky scene of humor when the Dornish warrior chides her companion for being a “greedy bitch” when she impales their prey through the back of his skull.

It is edge-of-your-seat suspense in Meereen where Sons of the Harp lurk around every nook and shots inside closets certify that the pro tempore leader Tyrion and assistants could be mince meat at any unsuspecting moment. I hope that there are no claims of misogyny for Daenerys’ treatment by the Khalasar. Their sexist remarks are representations of their savage, fornicating culture less about the show’s attitude towards women in general.

Game of Thrones remains fantasy-adventure of the highest caliber and it doesn’t whitewash the grungy, unforgiving nature of such. It can haunt us with sorcery (the red witch’s true, wrinkled form), beguile us with exotic beauty and stir us with realms beyond our borders.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

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