To the returners, welcome back, and to the newcomers, thank you for tuning in to the Writer’s Bloc Reviews Game of Thrones! It has been a long year without everyone’s favorite faux-medieval European fantasy show, but Game of Thrones is back and bigger than ever – and yes, that opening scene is just as annoyingly long as you remember!

Before we begin, just a reminder these reviews contain spoilers for the episode being reviewed and prior episodes, so read at your own discretion. The review will be separated by locations within the world rather than chronological order for the sake of clarity.

With all the formalities out of the way, let’s dive right back into the show everyone loves to complain about!

Castle Black

The opening shot of Season 6 is literally Jon Snow face up in the snow in a pool of his own blood. Despite the show’s best attempts to make me think Jon has kicked the bucket, I still don’t think he’s actually dead. Kit Harington has been spotted on set! Wake up, America!

Davos Seaworth, former Hand to the late Stannis Baratheon, is the first to find Jon’s body, and needless to say, he is not happy about it. Davos, along with Jon’s direwolf Ghost and the few brothers of the Watch who were still loyal to Jon, lock themselves up in a room with his body while they try to figure out what to do next. With Stannis dead and the Watch in mutiny and even Melisandre, the Red Priestess, doubting her own powers, things aren’t looking good for the Jon Squad.

Meanwhile, Thorne and the other brothers who conspired to murder Jon admit it immediately at dinner the next day with mixed reviews from the other brothers. In a speech highly reminiscent of the kind of rhetoric we’re seeing on the campaign field nowadays, Thorne manages to convince the majority of the Watch that, while yes, killing Jon might not have been the nicest thing to do to their boss, it was worth it for the sake of the Night’s Watch as a whole. Also Olly, the little boy who Jon saved and then later helped kill Jon, was there and I still hate him.

One of the brothers who is still loyal to Jon gets the idea to enlist the help of the Wildings in their cause while Davos starts to stall with Thorne for more time. Davos has become so desperate he considers asking Melisandre for help. Keep in mind he has loathed/distrusted this woman for several seasons. But in perhaps the biggest twist of the episode, we find out Melisandre is actually a decrepit old woman and the only thing giving her youth and power is the jewel she always wears around her neck. Whoa!

Winterfell

Ramsay has what could almost be considered a nice moment with his “friend” who died at the end of the last season during Sansa and Theon’s escape, but then he immediately offers up her corpse to be used as meat for the dogs, killing any chance of us thinking for even a second that Ramsay is a tolerable human being in any way. Roose attempts to talk some sense into his son immediately after, reminding Ramsay  no one will support Bolton rule in the North without Sansa Stark, and  Ramsay’s abuse and torture of her is directly responsible for Sansa’s escape. Guess that’s what you get when you let your son turn into a rapist monster.

So Sansa and Theon are still on the run in the North, and major props to Theon for taking an active role for the first time since his whole “Reek” saga started. They even share the world’s most awkward, but adorable, hug while hiding under a tree from Ramsay’s men. The moment warms your heart for a second until you realize they still think Jon is alive and your heart breaks all over again. Theon even gets a heroic moment when he tries to save Sansa from Ramsay’s menit doesn’t work, of course, but that’s okay. But guess who rides into the scene murdering people like it’s nobody’s business but effing Brienne of Tarth! (And Pod, her squire.)

There’s an epic fight sequence and Theon even gets one kill in, but the absolute best part of the scene is the end when Brienne swears loyalty to Sansa and Sansa accepts her very first knight. The shot is set up so  everyone else in the scene is deferential to Sansa, and it’s great to see a character who has gone through so much shit over the years finally starting to have some power back in her hands.

King’s Landing

Jaime is back from his trip to Dorne and the joy on Cersei’s face is basically palpable. She’s had a rough time without her twin and now all she wants is to hold him and their daughter, Myrcella, close. In fact, Cersei RUNS to meet the ship. I can’t remember any other time Cersei has run in this show outside of pure terror.

Well, as I’m sure you recall, Myrcella died at the end of last season. Honestly, Lena Headey deserves an Emmy if nothing else than for the look of utter humored despair that slipped onto Cersei’s face when she realized her only daughter was dead. The scene gave me actual chills.

Jaime and Cersei get some twin bonding time while they discuss their mother’s death and all the things they’ve lost over the years. Somehow, this scene of them just talking felt more intimate than all the sex scenes they’d had combined.

Locked in a dungeon somewhere deep in King’s Landing, Margaery Tyrell is holding up surprisingly well under the Sparrows’ attempts to break her. She asks of nothing but the fate of her brother, Loras Tyrell. The High Sparrow attempts to make her confess using Tommen as leverage because he genuinely thinks they love each other, making him a contender for the Most Wrong Character of the episode. Margaery loves many things, but King Tommen is not one of them.

Dorne

Prince Doran Martell of Dorne is lamenting to Ellaria Sand about how he wished he could have been an adventurer like his now-dead brother Oberyn Martell. Prince Doran learns Myrcella died on her way back to King’s Landing, and Ellaria and her daughter immediately take out the prince and his guard with Ellaria declaring weak men will never again rule Dorne.

They also murder his son, Trystane Martell. The boy was not particularly memorable, but damn did he have nice hair.

Meereen

Tyrion and Varys are back at it again in Meereen. Watching the two of them is like watching the cattiest girls in school go at it. Meereen has gone to hell since Dany left, and the two struggle to find a way to put the city back together.

While Tyrion and Varys play king, Jorah and Daario are on a quest to find Dany. Both know the other was in love with her, and their conversation is just as awkward and hilarious as you’d expect. Jorah also hasn’t admitted yet he has Grayscale, a disease in this universe which is almost always fatal. Time is ticking, Jorah!

Perhaps in the most heartbreaking sequence in the episode, we catch up with Dany, who has been captured by Khal Moro’s khalasar. No one recognizes her and she is treated like any other slave girl – whips and ropes and all. Khal Moro almost rapes her right there on screen, but then she reveals she is Khal Drogo’s widow. It turns out sleeping with a Khal’s widow is illegal, so Dany is safe for now. However, now that she’s revealed her status, she must return to Vaes Dorthrak, the capital of the Dothraki.

Braavos

Arya is blind and my heart is broken. Sitting on the streets of Braavos like a common beggar, no one would ever guess she was once a nobleman’s daughter. Arya’s old unnamed colleague from the house of Black and White comes and fights her in a very uneven match, promising to come back tomorrow. It seems there’s still more to Arya’s training than even she realizes.

Final Thoughts: What a way to start the season! The show packed a lot of information into the season premiere, including two major deaths. (I consider the death of any named character major.) Some elements felt a little rushed or exposition-y (like how did Jorah find Dany’s ring in the middle of that huge field?), but overall, it was your standard Game of Thrones episode, which is fine seeing as if anyone’s tuning in for the sixth straight season of this show, HBO already has them hooked.
Best Quote: A tie between Jaime’s line, “Fuck prophecy, fuck fate, fuck everything who isn’t us,” and Khal Moro’s line, “Seeing a beautiful woman naked for the first time is among the five best things in life.”

Featured Photo Credit: Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy and Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark. (Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO)

WritersBloc_Headshots_19Rosie Brown is a junior journalism major and can be reached at rosie.a.brown@gmail.com.

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