Warning: The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 6.
Game of Thrones season 6 faced the show’s biggest challenge yet: continue the series without a sixth book to adapt. The show has already caught up to the books and the sixth’s book released date has yet to be announced so the writers had the challenge of pleasing the readers as well as the religious viewers of the series. It was a daunting task and while season 6 of Game of Thrones is the weakest of the series in my opinion it still remains the best show on TV and it had terrific episodes and memorable moments to offer us and it still remains the best show on TV.
In King’s Landing, the Highsparrow has obtained control of the city while Jaime returns Myrcella’s corpse to Cersei. Jaime and the Tyrell’s attempt to free Margery and Sir Loras from prison only to discover that Margery has become a follower of the Highsparrow and King Tommen has pledge his services to the Faith Militant which results to the abolishment of trail by combat and replaces it by trail by the Faith. However, before her trial, Cersei manages to blow up the Sept of Baelor with Wildfire, something she had started planning ever since her walk of shame in the season 5 finale. The explosion kills the Highsparrow, Margery, Sir Loras and Kevin Lannister (which is killed differently in the books) and a large number of people. Due to this tragic event, Tommen kills himself and Cersei is named Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
At the Wall, Jon Snow’s death has left the Night’s Watch divided. The wildlings however team up with Sir Davos and they manage to effectively defeat Alliser Thorne. Melisandre then successfully resurrects Jon Snow from the dead. Jon then reveals himself to the wildlings and executes the traitors, which include Sir Alliser and Olly, who killed him in the season 5 finale and renounces his oath as man of the Nights Watch now that his watch has ended.
Beyond the Wall, Bran Stark has been training with the Three-Eyed Raven (Max Von Sidow) and learns how to use his powers. The Three Eyed Raven shows him the past history of the world and young Ned Stark with his brother Benjen. Bran however must escape when a heard of zombies attack the Three Eyed Raven’s domain and kills him and Hodor who saves them in one of the season’s best and most tragic moments where we finally learn what Hodor means. Hold the door. Hodor has a vision of the future in his final moments of him holding the door for Bran just long enough for him to escape and dies. This is one of the saddest moments in the entire show and it was executed perfectly. Bran is then saved by Benjen Stark who leads him to the tree and leaves them there (he takes his horse, something Bran desperately needs). Bran gets a vision after the birth of Ned Stark’s child who is presumably Jon Snow. There is a theory that A Song of Ice and Fire is intended for Jon Snow (who is a Snow and a Targerian).
In the North, following their escape from Winterfell, Sansa and Theon are saved by Brienne of Tarth and Podrick who swears her loyalty to her. Together they head to the wall, where Sansa is finally reunited with Jon Snow. They then decide to take back Winterfell from The Boltons but first they must make a few alliances with the Stark loyalists to fight. The season finally culminates in the battle of the bastards where Jon Snow and Ramsey finally clash against one another. Jon Snow manages to take back Winterfell despite Ricon’s useless death and becomes King in the North and rules over Winterfell. Ramsey SNow is defeated and killed by hounds, Melisandre is banished from the North for her past crimes. In the one of the best scenes of the finale episode, Sansa also informs to Jon that “winter is here,” something Ned Stark had promised ever since the first episode of the series.
In Braavos, Arya has been blinded and must focus on her hearing in order to survive as she wanders the street as a beggar. Her sight is however given back to her after she finally declares that she is “No One” and must executre an actress that performs a play. She decides to renounce being a faceless man but is however attacked by the Faith and stabbed. She gets the help of the actress and heals just in time (her wound was magically healed; that whole storyline didn’t make sense) to defeat The Faith using the darkness as her ally. She comes back to The Twins and kills Walder Frey as a faceless assasin, finally getting revenge for the death of Robb and Catelyn Stark.
On their way to Oldtown, Samwell travels with Gilly in order to become a Maester. They stop and visit his home of which he plans to leave Gilly. He is reunited for a short time with his family however his dad doesn’t approve and Sam decides to take Gilly with him to Oldtown, which is a wise decision. They arrive at the library which holds millions of books, leaving us to wonder what information he will discover that he help Jon defeat The White Walkers.
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys is being taken by the Dothroki to a place where widows come to spend the rest of their days. But Dany has no attention of going there and with the help of Sir Jorah and her lover Daario she manages to get the entire Dothroki Army on her side after she burns and kills the khals inside the temple and resurges from the flames naked and unhurt. The Dothroki decide to follow Dany to Westeros.
In Meereen, Tyrion and Varys rule over the city and attempt to make peace with the slave masters, a decision that will prove unsuccessful when the slave masters decide to attack Meereen. Tyrion decides to free the dragons for their help. Dany arrives just in time and manages to burn their ships with her dragon and they decide to kill the rest of the slave masters. She then names Tyrion Hand and they sail to Westeros in order to take the Iron Throne. Tyrion did not have much to do this season besides makes a couple of jokes and drinking with Missendei and Grey Worm and I felt like those scenes we’re overly repetitive. Hopefully next season he will prove his worth as Hand of the King.
In The Iron Islands, Theon goes back to his home only to discover that his uncle has murdered Balon Greyjoy. His sister Yara wants to become queen, but their uncle wants the throne to himself and becomes king of The Iron Islands. However, Theon and Yara steal all the ships, leaving their uncle to build new ones. They then go to Maureen and offer Dany their army which she gladly accepts.
1.The Red Woman
The season starts off with a bang. Jon Snow’s corpse is found by Sir Davos and other loyalists and they must now fight Sir Alliser and his oppressors but are saved by the Wildlings who have sworn loyalty to Jon Snow. Sansa and Theon escape Winterfell and are saved by Brienne.
This episodes ends off with one of the biggest cliffhanger of the series which has still not been resolved. Melisandre takes off her necklace, goes to bed and becomes old. Really old. Hundreds of years old. Now, she has taken off her necklace before so it might be because of her failure with Stannis and her lost of faith towards the Lord of Light, but we still have no idea how old she is or what her motivation is. Still, The Red Woman was a mind-blowing season opener that promised great things to come for this season.
Episode Rating: 9.5/10
Bran (who is one of my favorite characters) returns for the first time since season 4 and he trains with the Three Eyed Raven and has visions of the past and meets young Ned and Benjen Stark. At Winterfell, Ramsey Snow murders his father Roose, Walda and their baby in order to rule the North. In Meereen, Tyrion decides to free the dragons from the dungeons.
Theon returns to the Iron Islands just when his father his murdered by his brother Euron Greyjoy who is named King of the Iron Islands. However, Theon and Yara escape with the ships just when he orders their execution. Melisandre successfully resurrects Jon Snow. This episode is a great follow-up to the premiere and offers a much needed resurrection that we we’re all glad to finally see happen.
Episode Rating: 9.5/10
This episode was a filler episode, it was not bad but not a lot happened. Jon Snow executes Alliser, Olly and the rest who murdered him and his watch has now ended because it ends with death even though this episode is called Oathbreaker. Arya’s sight is returned after she accepts that she is “no one” and trains to be an assassin. Dany is brought to the Dothroki who wants to rape her but won’t when they learn that she is a widow. This episode is the first sign that Dany’s storyline and Arya’s storyline have been stretched to their full capacity one season too long. Dany should have left for the Iron Throne a long time ago and Arya’s storyline is just not interesting in the least. We barely see her and it’s the same thing every time. She gets her ass kicked. She fights back. She cleans bodies or cleans the place with a broom. Her storyline is by far the most boring and it should have ended in season 5.
Episode Rating: 8/10
4.Book of the Stranger
Sansa and Jon Snow are finally reunited and it’s so nice to see two Starks reunited after 6 seasons of hell. It’s a small victory for them and for us the as viewers. And now that they are together they decide to take back Winterfell from The Boltons. Dany is brought to the Khals and burns them to ashes and when she emerges from the fire unhurt and naked, the Dothroki all bow to her. This is probably one of the most powerful moments for Dany this season, although her storyline was just not as interesting because it really feels stretched. Still, it was a great moment for her character and the scene was filmed at two places: the close ups of Daenarys was filmed on a closed set in Belfast while the large scale group shots we’re taken in Spain. The scene worked perfectly and was incredibly well directed and the best part of the episode.
Episode Rating: 8.5/10
One of the best episodes of the season, Bran gets visions of how The White Walkers came to be and how they we’re created. He also gets visions of the Mad King which we see for the first time. This episode ends with Hodor’s sacrifice who helps save Bran from being attack by the undead. We finally learn what Hodor means and the final season is incredibly well done and while it still needs to be better explained, it was still effective and incredibly sad.
Episode Rating: 9.5/10
6.Blood of my Blood
Following the aftermath of The Three Eyed Raven’s Death and Hodor’s sacrifice, Jon Snow and Meera are saved by Benjen Stark who has been living beyond the wall this whole time. Sam and Gilly go to Sam’s home and they meet Sam’s family. However, Sam’s father is unhappy with their arrival and Sam decides to take Gilly with him to Oldtown. This episode was a weak follow-up to Hold the Door and nothing much happened. It was a bit boring to be honest and Arya’s storyline is even more stretched out when Arya warns the actress who she was in charge of killing that she is in danger. Jaqen then orders The Waif to Kill Arya. This entire storyline was so poorly handled and so boring that it just didn’t work. By far one of the weakest episodes of Game of Thrones and as a follow up to Hold the door it’s a joke.
Episode Rating: 7.5/10
7.The Broken Man
At King’s Landing, Margery convinces Grandma Tyrell (who continues to be one of the best well-written characters of the show) to leave and return to Highgarden. Jon and Sansa recruit the Wildlings and House Mormont but remain outnumbered to defeat Ramsey’s numbers. Jaime arrives at Riverrun in order to Parley with the Blackfish who refuses to surrender. In Braavos, Arya is attacked by The Waif and stabbed but manages to escape. Sendor Clegane is also revealed to be alive and has been living with a small community led by Ian McShane’s character who was great in this episode and one of the best guest stars of the series. But when men from the Brotherhood without Banners kill his group, the hound picks up the axe for revenge. A decent episode but again a bit of a filler.
Episode Rating: 8/10
Tommen renounces trial by combat and replaces it by trial by the Faith. Jaime attempts to persuade the BlackFish to surrender but without success and decides to use Edmure Tully to bring them to surrender. The Blackfish is killed fighting the Lannisters. Arya faces of with The Waif and kills her using the darkness as her ally. She then returns to Jaqen and declares that she is Arya Stark and leaves, something she should have done a season prior. This finally ends the storyline of the many-faced gods which was just uninteresting. We needed more meat there and it was boring.
Episode Rating: 8.5/10
9.The Battle of the Bastards
Some people view this episode as perhaps the best episode this show has ever done and I find that ludicrous. It was a fine episode, but I’ve seen better episodes in this show. But my biggest gripe with the episode is that they killed Ricon which was just pointless. They didn’t do it for the story, they did it because it was Game of Thrones and they had to kill somebody. He didn’t need to die; we barely knew Ricon. I don’t even know if we’ve seen him more than ten minutes in the entire show so it’s impossible to get emotionally invested in his death. It was a complete bait and switch and they also took his death scene from the film Apocalypto where the main character Jaguar Paw must escape target practice by arrows. It’s as if they ripped that scene out of that movie and put it in Game of Thrones which really bothered me. The battle was fine but I didn’t find it very exciting. I found the battle of the Blackwater, The Red Wedding, the battle of the wall and Hardhome honestly much more thrilling and better executed. Ramsey is defeated which I knew he would be and Jon takes back Winterfell. Sansa releases the hounds on Ramsey and he is finally killed (way too fast, he deserved to be tortured like Theon). Overall, I was really let down by this episode and I feel like it’s one of the most overrated episodes of the entire show.
10.The Winds of Winter
The season finale however did not disappoint. This is maybe my favorite episode of the season. The only competition might be The Door. It was an incredible season finale. The episode starts off and although the music choice was completely off and did not feel like Game of Thrones at all, the entire twenty minutes sequence at King’s Landing is just brilliant. Just when Cersei’s trial is about to start, Maester Pycelle is stabbed to death by Varys’s little birds which happens differently in the books( Sir Kevin Lanniser is the one who gets stabbed in the fifth book’s epilogue while Varys is there with him watching him die, indicating that he will no longer watch and do nothing like he did in season 1 and that he will now act).
Cersei then destroys the Sept of Baelor with Wildfire, killing the Highsparrow, Margery, Sir Loras, Lancel and a large majority of people in King’s Landing. Due to this, Tommen kills himself (you could say that he’s executed a king’s landing). Cersei is then crowned Queen of Westeros while Jaime watches with a look of disapproval on his face. What’s interesting now is that Cersei and Jaime are the only two Lannisters left since Tommen has killed himself and Tyrion is no longer at King’s Landing. Time in the end is what killed the Lannisters although I still love Jaime. Cersei on the other hand, needs to die.
Bran has a vision of what seems to be Jon snow’s birth and of Ned’s wife’s death, stating that Jon Snow might be the song of Ice and Fire since he is a snow and a Targerian (Ice+Fire).
Meanwhile, Arya finally gets revenge from Walder Frey and slices his throat after putting on another face finally giving him what he deserves.
At Winterfell, Davos confronts Melisandre about burning Stannis’s daughter at the stake and Jon banishes her from The North. (He would have killed her if she hadn’t brought him back from the dead). Sansa informs Jon that Winter is here in one of the best scenes of the episode.
At Meereen, Dany names Tyrion Hand of the Queen (deservedly so) and together they finally embark to Westeros (which I predicted would happen at the end of this season) with Yara and Theon’s army, The Unsullied, the Dothroki and her dragons.
This episode was a fantastic season finale and it was incredibly well directed and suspenseful. The only thing I didn’t like was the music at the beginning which I felt did not belong in the episode, but that’s a minor complaint. Winds of Winter had great character moments, unexpected deaths and fantastic triumphs and it was a great set up for things to come.
Episode Rating: 9.5/10
Hopes For next season:
Since next season will be shorter, hopefully there will be less filler episodes this time around. I just hope that Dany will not take a full season to get to Westeros and that Arya Stark will be reunited with Jon Snow and Sansa at Winterfell. The White Walkers still need to climb the Wall (hopefully World War Z style) and battle the Nights Watch so that they can take over Westeros once Winter has settled on the land for good. Cersei is now queen of the Seven Kingdoms and it’s downhill from there. The Lord of Light only knows what her rule will bring and now that she was responsible for the deaths of Margery and Sir Loras, it will be interesting to see how Grandma Tyrell will retaliate. Dany hopefully will arrive to Westeros sooner rather than later and will face off against Cersei sometime in the near future for the Iron Throne. While this was by far the weakest season of the show and it had too much filler episodes and it’s stretched the storylines of Arya and Daenarys to their full capacity, it still offered some fantastic episodes and it’s still the best show on TV by far.
Overall season Rating: 9/10
Favorite Episode: The Winds of Winter