“What’s one redhead going to do against forty armed men?”
Season five ended with Jon Snow laying on the ground of Castle Black, stabbed by a handful of members of the Night’s Watch. Jon’s allowance of the Wildlings to pass through the gates was the last straw in a short and tumultuous reign as Lord Commander. His penance was multiple knives in his belly. The last scene was him staring up to the dark sky, a pool of blood gathering around him.
We get the answer of Jon’s fate immediately. He’s dead. But for how long? The title of this season’s premiere is one of a character that albeit important, is still largely unknown. The Red Woman dug her sorcerous claws into Stannis Baratheon, convincing the possible heir to the Iron Throne that his place was one born in fire and ending in triumph. Once Stannis went down a path he couldn’t return from, she turned her attention to Jon and tried to seduce him the same way. He refused but Melisandre is convinced his future will end in similar prophetic fortune. Probably the show’s biggest revelation is the fact that Melisandre is in fact hundreds of years old, her honest persona hidden by the sizable red gem she wears around her neck. It’s worth noting that this is the first time that the Red Woman looks defeated. She stands over Jon, her hands draw a path over his body and face, and her emotions fail to hide her disenchantment. When she removes the jewel, she stands there looking at her reflection and feebly crawls into bed. Things haven’t always gone her way throughout her journey, but what always remained was her confidence. With the death of Jon, it’s finally been shaken.
It’s long been clear she has powers (the smoke baby/demon she birthed that ultimately murdered Renly Baratheon is proof enough), so it’s only a matter of time before she uses her magic on Lord Snow. The question is how long he’s going to stay down. (Author George R. R. Martin’s original literature is called, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” so it’s pretty clear that Jon is the “Ice” and Daenerys is the “Fire.”) It’s looking like Jon will eventually be resurrected by the Lord of Light. It’s up in the air how or what needs to take place for that to happen. In the meantime, is there a chance that Jon will warg into his direwolf, Ghost?
That was a long-winded way to say that we waited eight-months to ultimately learn nothing. For the most part, “The Red Woman” did mostly shuffling around, a way to get some major pieces in their places for the present season. We touch base with the majority of characters (sadly, still no Bran or Hodor). Daenerys was picked up by another horde of Dothrakis. She’s bound and escorted to Khal Moro; the Khal and his court discuss what to do with her in a unusually comedic way (the group of them listing the top five most pleasurable things was a seriously funny moment).
Sansa and Theon (née Reek) are on the run, away from the clutches of Ramsey Bolton. Theon had previously pushed Ramsey’s lover, Myranda, off of a building. Ramsey briefly mourns her and it makes you wonder if he perhaps has a speck of humanity. But then he says to discard her body by feeding it to the hounds, and the despicable human we’ve come to know returns in force. It’s arguable who is worse between Ramsey and the deceased Joffrey (let’s call it a tie), but it’s clear that Martin and the GOT producers have a sick need to employ at least one character that ranks at the bottom of humanity.
We’ve seen scenes in the various trailers of Sansa looking rather badass with furs, and the Stark shield. When she finally gets there it’ll be a welcome sight, as her entire life up to this point as been a sniveling mess. She and Theon are soon captured, and quickly rescued by Brienne of Tarth and her ward, Pod. Brienne pledges her life to Sansa (what a lonely life for Brienne, offering her life from one master to the next), and in typical Sansa fashion, she can’t even properly recite the oath to allow the female warrior a place by her side. Still, if any character on GOT deserves a break, it’s the eldest Stark daughter.
Cersei is still reeling from her humiliating walk through King’s Landing, after getting pelted by horrible slurs, and a variety of vegetables and shit. Adding to her misery is the revelation that her daughter Myrcella is dead, poisoned by Ellaria. It’s a tribute to the writers that I can feel some level of pity for the Lannister family, but I’m sure it won’t last. No family has done more damage in the GOT universe, and it looks like there will be more blood to spill as Jaimie promises vengeance to his sister.
There’s plenty of vengeance to go around it seems. After Ellaria puts an end to Myrcella, she sets her venomous eyes on the leader of Dorne (and her lover’s brother), Doran Martell. He receives a note (word travels fast) about the Queen regent’s daughter, and before he can react, he and his loyalists are stabbed fatally. Ellaria’s an interesting read. When she was first introduced with Oberon, she seemed docile and sexual, but it’s clear there’s an bubbling mean streak inside of her, and we’re seeing the first glimpses of its eruption. Her Sand Snakes dispatch of Doran’s son (and future ruler), Trystane brutally. The first rule of GOT is if you’re in a position of power, pain and heartache will soon follow.
The purveyor of Cersei’s recent embarrassment is the High Sparrow, the leader of the local religious sect. I’m still amazed that this man has so much power, especially in the city where the King resides. They still have Queen Margaery and her brother Loras locked up, waiting for them to confess their sins of fornication (it’s a silly law). The first rule of GOT is if you’re in a position of power, heartache will soon follow.
Two of the most enjoyable characters are Tyrion and Varys. They spend the episode walking around the city of Meereen, musing on their current predicament, with Tyrion mistakenly telling a local that he wants to eat her baby. The Tyrion and Varys Show is one I can get behind.
And Arya? She’s blinded by the Many-Faced God, forced to sit on the steps of Braavos, begging for money. Her day of panhandling is only broken up by The Waif, one of the God’s followers, who proceeds to beat the crap out of her with a bo. What a terrible burden to be born a Stark.