Welcome back to ‘Game of Thrones!’ After the shocking events of the Season 5 finale, I know I was not the only viewer on the edge of his seat last night waiting to see what was going to happen, especially in regards to Jon Snow, whose dead body laying in the yard of Castle Black is how the season opens, with Ghost howling sadly from where he is being kept nearby. The noise is enough to draw Sir Davos outside, and he mournfully takes in the sad sight of his former ally. Davos is soon joined by Jon’s friends in the Night’s Watch, and they all realize that Allister Thorne was the one responsible for the death of the Lord Commander. They take Jon upstairs to his quarters and lay him out on a table, and try to figure out what to do next. Melissandre enters, and is shocked to find Snow dead, claiming that she saw him fighting in flames at Winterfell (either her predictions suck, or else this is the first foreshadowing seed that Jon will not stay dead for long).
Meanwhile, Allister Thorne has assumed Jon’s chair in the Castle Black eatery, and he has taken the opportunity to defend the decision to kill Jon Snow to the rest of the Night’s Watch, pointing out how none of them supported his views on the Wildlings, and how though he thought he was doing what was right, Jon Snow was going to inadvertently bring about the end of the Night’s Watch. Thorne’s words seem to bring a lot of the men onto his side, but who knows where they will stand if Jon Snow does indeed come back from the dead.
Over at Winterfell, Ramsey is mourning the death of his dear Myranda, dead at the hands of Theon and Sansa, and he speaks about how she alone was not afraid of him, and how much he is going to miss her. So,of course, he follows that up by telling his aide to feed her body to the hounds, which is an oddly pragmatic choice, as she was the daughter of the man who ran the kennels, and she might see it fitting to return to her dogs. Ramsey is then berated by Roose Bolton for his treatment of Theon and Sansa, who fled because they could not tolerate his games any longer. Ramsey assures his father that his best men are on the case of tracking down the fugitives, but Roose points out that if Ramsey continues to fail him, he will lose his inheritance to the potential baby boy in Lady Bolton’s womb.
Meanwhile, Sansa and Theon are still on the run, being pursued by the Bolton’s hounds (who have a warm meal of Myranda waiting for them at home). Theon convinces Sansa that they need to cross an icy river to throw the dogs off their trail, and she reluctantly does so with him. They find refuge on the other side of the river in a small tree trunk, but, alas, the hounds are still coming. Theon tries to throw them off Sansa’s trail, but she is found regardless. Fortunately for both, Brienne arrives with Pod in tow, and together with Theon, they destroy the Bolton forces (even Pod holds his own!). Following that, Brienne once again offers her services to Sansa, who finally agrees, walking through the oath of fealty vows with Pod’s help. It is a triumphant moment, seeing this ragtag group come together (the lady Knight, the orphaned Stark, the bumbling squire, and the castrated prince), and I am looking forward to their further adventures this season.
Back at King’s Landing, Cersei is elated to hear that a ship has returned from Dorne, and heads out to the beach to meet her returning family. Of course, once she sees Jaime’s look as he approaches her, Cersei suddenly knows everything. Myrcella is dead, and she has only one child left in the world. Instead of raging and screaming, or blaming Jaime for his incompetence, Cersei is instead in complete and utter shock, and as she later tells Jaime, she saw it coming after the prophecy she received as a child (which we saw last season) claiming that her children would all die. Jaime tries to rouse her out of her depression by reminding her that they do not believe in fate, that together they can avenge their children and take back everything that has been taken from them. Alas, so far, Cersei does not seem to have all the enthusiasm for their mission that Jaime does. She laments that Myrcella’s goodness made her believe that maybe she was not the monster everyone makes her out to be. Clearly it is going to take some time to get over the death of Myrcella, but I am sure once she sets her sights on ensuring Tommen does not meet the same fate as her siblings, Cersei will be back.
Meanwhile over at the keep of the High Septon, Lady Margaery is enduring the same torment as Cersei did last season, with the female Septon grilling her with one word, “confess,” even as Margaery desperately tries to assert her power as queen. The High Septon enters and sends away his servant, playing the good cop in this scenario, and offering kind words to Margaery about how her husband misses her terribly, and would like to see her home. All she needs to do is confess her sins. Margaery holds strong, and the High Septon points out that no one is perfect, and she must have some sins to confess. She stands strong, and I personally would like to see her remain strong in this situation, and not give in the same way Cersei did.
Over in Dorne, Ellaria and the Sand Snake have begun to secure their power. After a message reaches Prince Doran about the death of Myrcella, he is immediately killed by Ellaria and Tyene, who also take out his personal guard and the messenger himself, with Ellaria stating that Dorne is done being led by weak men. As for Doran’s son Tristane, he is confronted by the other two Sand Snakes, Obaria and Nymeria, who offer him a choice for who gets to kill him. He chooses Nymeria, hoping he can take her out more easily as she only has the whip, but just as he gets into position to fight her, Obaria rams her spear through his head, thus ending the Prince’s life (at least he is with Myrcella now?).
As for Tyrion in Mereen, he and Varys go out for a stroll through the town, disguised as mere merchants, so they can get a feel for what is going on in the city, Tyrion pointing out that there is still much they need to learn. After an amusing incident where Tyrion tries to give money to a poor woman with a child, but inadvertently (due to his poor grasp of Valyrian) offers to eat her baby, they begin to discuss who might be leading the Sons of the Harpies, and Varys assures him he has his little birds on the case. They see smoke and people running and discover that the entire fleet of ships in the harbor of Mereen has been set on fire, with Tyrion commenting that they will not be returning to Westeros any time soon.
In Braavos, we discover that Arya has been reduced to a blind beggar on the street, who is not even pitiful enough to make a decent living trying to collect money from passerby. She is met by the female Waif from the House of Black and White, who throws her a staff and demands that she fights. They duel, but Arya is not Matt Murdock, and does not stand a chance against the Waif. After getting beat down, Arya is left alone, with the savage girl telling her that she will be back the next day. Is the Waif playing with Arya? Or is this the next step in her training? Who knows.
In the grasslands where we last saw Daenerys, Jorah and Daario continue their search for their queen, all while discussing Sir Jorah’s love for Dany and how he is stuck in the friend zone. They come across an area completely trampled by horse hooves and guess that Dothraki has been through the area. They spot some un-trampled ground in the middle of a circle, and inside Jorah finds the piece of jewelry Dany left behind, and the men realize that she has been taken by the horse folk. Dany, meanwhile, is being led along like a common slave, pretending to be dumb and not understand the language, even as her captors joke about how they want to rape her. She is brought to Khal Moro, and finally she speaks, laying out all of her titles, and demanding to be taken home. Khal Moro laughs at her until he learns she is the widow of Khal Drogo, and then informs her that by law no one can sleep with a Khal’s widow (saving her from those sexual advances at least), but she must do as all Khal widows do and spend the rest of her days in the Temple of Dosh Khaleen. Now she really is stuck, as it is clear the Dothraki will not let her return to Mereen anytime soon.
Finally, back at Castle Black, Davos and the Snow Loyalists are offered an ultimatum by Thorne and company: come out by nightfall peaceful and Davos can head south with food, and the others can rejoin the Watch under Allister’s command without incident. Davos thanks them for the offer and promises to get back to them soon with an answer. The men then discuss the fact that they are pretty sure if they leave the room they are barricaded within, they will all be killed, so they need more options. Davos suggested Melissandre might be able to help them.
In Melissandre’s quarters, the woman is clearly shaken by all that has gone wrong recently, and how flawed her predictions have been. While staring into an aging mirror, she strips off her clothing, the last piece being her necklace. Suddenly, she is revealed in her true form, as an ancient woman, withered and wrinkled. In her actual form, she crawls into bed, ready to sleep off the terrors of what has happened and prepare for a new day.
GAME OF THEORIES:
– So Jon Snow is still dead in episode 1, but I am still holding out hope that he might be resurrected. It is too weird that he is still listed as a series regular in the opening credits and that they are still paying that much attention to his dead body. I am fully prepared to be wrong on this, but I still think he’s coming back in some form or another.
– IF Jon Snow does come back from the dead, though, I think he just might be done with the Night’s Watch. His oath was to serve until death, and if he comes back from death, he can rightfully say that he did serve until death, and go about the rest of his life without that Oath hanging over him.
– Where is Drogon the dragon? Will he be the one to save Dany from the Dothraki? Or will it be Jorah and Daario? Speaking of Jorah, how long until the greyscale completely takes him over?
– So if Melissandre is truly that old, how powerful is she? Is there a chance the reveal was to set-up that she has been brought back from “death” many times (hence her age) and will be able to do the same for Jon Snow? (is my hope for Jon tainting my theories?)
– I really hope that Sansa heads North (as Theon suggested) with her new band and they take revenge on Thorne for what he did to her brother. And if Jon is still alive, I hope that he joins Sansa’s new band of followers and they head North to find Bran.
As always, the first episode of the season is a tough pill to swallow, as we do not see much happen, and because of the need to visit and catch up with every character, we do not see much of the plot moving forward. However, I did enjoy the episode, especially the heroic bits with Brienne and Pod, and the strange twist ending with the Melissandre reveal. I cannot wait to see where they go this season, and as a book reader, I am really enjoying being able to watch the show without any idea of what is going to happen next. See you back here next week!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.