Notes on the Game of Thrones Season 6 Premiere

After a whole year of waiting, winter has finally come. Predictably enough, the season premiere didn’t resolve the question everyone’s been asking — is Jon Snow dead or alive? I believe he’s coming back, never questioned it. There’s even a major hint they dropped about him coming back and I’ll get to that when I get to Melisandre.

I thought the episode had some good moments (and some really fucked up moments) and I’m going to dwell on some of those for a little longer.

  1. Jon Snow’s body: The episode opened with Ghost whining in the shed behind Jon Snow’s body. It instantly reminded me of The Red Wedding; when the Freys began playing The Rains of Castamere, Grey Wind was locked up outside in a shed whining in a similar manner as though he had sensed something amiss. I thought the visual echo there was interesting. It made me a little sad seeing Ghost nudging Jon’s lifeless hand with his nose, trying to rouse him. It really breaks your heart seeing Ghost like that. 
    One more interesting thing about finding Jon’s body is the way Ser Davos stared at the blood pattern in the snow for a long moment after they moved his body. Maybe he was simply brooding. It could be an insignificant depending how things pan out in the next couple of episodes leading up to Jon’s resurrection. 
    Ser Alliser Thorne also reminded me of Karl Tanner who killed Ser Jeor Mormont in Season 4. He sounds like he’s going to meet the same sticky end. Or be forced to fall in line along with the others once Jon comes back.
  2. Dorne and The Sand Snakes: Perhaps the most painful part of this episode was the way it turned out for Prince Doran and his son. I actually liked Ellaria Sand’s arc last season but this season turned things around quite a bit. When Ellaria killed Prince Doran, she told him he didn’t know his people, he did nothing to avenge the deaths of Elia or Oberyn. Now, Doran has always been a passive ruler compared to the rest of his aggressive counterparts on the series. But I don’t believe Oberyn would have killed his only remaining family in his quest for vengeance. I thought the Martell killings was the episode’s weakest moment from a story point of view unless they’re using it as a springboard (albeit a weak one) to set the stage for war — the Lannister versus the Martells. But this war may not be the show’s biggest but I’ll save that for a little later.
  3. The Lannisters: Isn’t it funny, the way we’ve been losing Lannisters? We lost two in Season 4 (Joffrey and Tywin), we lost Myrcella last season. Cersei now has only one child left and she’s going to keep Tommen very, very close. She’s a changed woman this season. Her pride has taken a fall, she’s been humiliated, disgraced and that makes her even more dangerous. Note how Cersei has none of her usual swagger that came to her so naturally as Queen Regent. This season’s Cersei will be very different from the drunk on power Cersei we’ve seen in previous seasons. This one is quiet, poised to strike when the time is right and we have the big burly bucket-sized helmet wearing Ser Robert Strong powering her cause. 
    That scene when she tells Jaime of Maggy The Frog’s prediction, you can’t help but feel for her and that’s the thing about this show, you can’t help but feel for these characters even if they’ve done the worst of things (look at Theon Greyjoy, for instance). Getting back to the scene, there was an interesting balance in Jaime and Cersei’s contrasting attitudes to the situation — Cersei was terribly afraid while it seemed like Jaime had taken on her role. Indeed, when he said, “Fuck everyone who isn’t us.”, it sounded exactly like the kind of advice Cersei had once given Joffrey — “Everyone who isn’t us is an enemy.”
  4. Ser Jorah and Daario: Another interesting scene that took me back to last season when they would fight to be with Daenerys. It’s a contrast to see them bond over her, and their love for her. We’ve all laughed at how Ser Jorah is King of the Friend Zone but you feel bad for the guy in that one moment when Daario asks him, “Isn’t it frustrating? Wanting someone that doesn’t want you back?” Jorah’s days are numbered thanks to his Greyscale. Something tells me he might not make it to the end of the season and it won’t be Greyscale. Jorah always has his comeback / redemption moments and I think protecting the Khaleesi might just be his last act.
  5. Daenerys: I really hated Daenerys last season mostly because her sub-plot defied logic and she did make some very bad decisions. So now that she’s stuck with this Khalasar for a while, it’ll be interesting to see how exactly she’s served humble pie. With that shot of Drogon looming overhead in the trailer though, I sense he’ll have a role in rescuing her (again!). I just hope she gets some backbone. She may not rule the Iron Throne (the obvious suspects never do), but she could get a few lessons in leadership with the expert counsel of Tyrion Lannister and Varys. Maybe that’s the best thing that might happen to her character.
  6. The Big Wow Moment: Honestly, Melisandre being over 400 years old wasn’t as big a surprise for me as it has been for a lot of other people. Those who’ve been following Game of Thrones developments extensively know that this season is a ‘crisis of faith’ for Melisandre. Despite all the casting rumours around Ian McShane, I don’t think he’ll be the one to resurrect Jon Snow, mainly because I think they’re bringing back the character that was resurrected in the books. It’s also Melisandre’s redemption game. Even the death of Shireen Baratheon will be forgiven if she resurrects him. Don’t forget, she gave us the biggest clue he’s coming back — “I saw him…in the flames… fighting at Winterfell.” This is just her going on a break, she’ll snap right out of it.

Lastly, to those who don’t yet believe it yet, there’s enough evidence out there that Jon Snow’s coming back. I don’t know if they’ll go so far as to make him sit out a whole season, the way they did with Bran Stark, but come back he will. I’m kicked for Bran Stark’s arc this season though, he’s going to be giving us insights into different events across Westeros, both in the past as well as the present. It’ll be exciting to see that.

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