TV Check-In: Game of Thrones Season 6

by Matthew Thompson

I was disappointed with Season 5 of Game of Thrones. It wasn’t bad, but it did not live up to my lofty expectations for the series. My anticipation of this newest season was somewhat muted as a result, but I’m happy to say it has served as a nice rebound for the show. At times things felt rushed this year as various players in the game were given a quick demise or sent hurtling at high speeds to their destinations, but ultimately I just love where all the pieces fell into place. I really like where everything is at heading into the final stretch.

Game of Thrones The Winds of Winter 1

Daenerys became my favorite character early on because of her impressive story arc and growth throughout the first season. I have stuck with her through thick and thin as her plots have featured both spectacular moments and much lesser ones in the years since. But finally she is headed to Westeros and I am thrilled! I can’t say I expected her army to be so stacked. As if a group of soldiers groomed since birth, a horde of savage horse-riders, some pirates and you know… three dragons weren’t enough, she added the Martells and Tyrells to the mix in the finale. The Martells were somewhat expected given their Houses’ ties in the past (though after the early season stabfest, I wasn’t sure if the writers had intended to just forget Dorne ever existed). The Tyrells caught me by surprise. By all accounts, Dany and company should run roughshod over the Lannisters and take Westeros with ease. I’m sure there is more to it than that, but on paper it looks lopsided.

Along with Dany finally joining the party, two other key players were put into power in Westeros as the season came to a close. While I had suspicions that Cersei might use the wildfire stored under King’s Landing to take out the Faith, I wasn’t prepared for so many characters to be wiped out in the process (like Margaery and Tommen) or for her to so quickly step in as Queen. This move may also be the catalyst to get Jaime’s story headed in an interesting direction again after several seasons of meandering. The final look he shares with Cersei in the finale said a lot and I look forward to seeing where their relationship heads next.

Game of Thrones The Battle of the Bastards 1

And then, of course, there is Jon. The Northern storyline was the strongest of the season in my opinion. It was largely predictable. We knew Jon would be resurrected. We knew he would beat Ramsay. We knew he’d become King in the North. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t satisfying to see it all play out. So many of the season’s best moments took place here. Seeing two of the Stark children reunite was special. The fact that it was so touching despite being Jon and Sansa – who weren’t exactly chummy in their youth – made it all the more wonderful. Episode 9’s battle delivered the kind of spectacle that only Game of Thrones can bring to our television screens. We were introduced to everyone’s new favorite character, Lyanna Mormont. And we finally saw Jon’s true parentage revealed. I have always loved this part of the lore. Now that the audience knows, I am wondering how Jon will find out and how he will react. This is clearly going to factor into Jon and Dany’s future interactions, but I personally can’t envision how all this will play out.

While these look to be the three major cogs in the machine going into next season, there is a lot more happening in the world of Game of Thrones. After having arguably the most consistently high-quality storylines over the course of the first four seasons, Arya’s time in Braavos ended up being a bit of a slog. It hit its low-point during that chase sequence with The Waif (this is one of the goofiest looking things I have seen on the show to date). With Arya back in Westeros, I hope they can make her character shine once again. Her revenge against the Freys, while a bit ludicrous, was enjoyable to watch. I can only imagine Sam will find something in that library that helps everyone best the White Walkers in the future. I always dig seeing new locations in the visual format for the first time, so just seeing the Citadel was neat for me. On the more villainous side, you have the aforementioned White Walkers who loom over everything. That conflict seems more destined for the final season. For next year, I’m more curious how someone like Littlefinger or Euron might be a stick in the spokes of the show’s evolving power dynamics.

Game of Thrones The Winds of Winter 3

While I don’t think this sixth season matched its best ones, it definitely bounced back in a big way from a somewhat tepid and problematic season last year. Season 6 as a whole was enjoyable, but the last two episodes in particular delivered the kind of “Wow!” moments Game of Thrones is known for. The finale episode, “The Winds of Winter,” ranks among my favorites from the series. It, and this season in its entirety, also succeeded greatly in the way they have set up for the series’ final stretch. The wait for the next season should be excruciating as a result, but I could not be more excited to see what happens going forward.

What did you think of this season of Game of Thrones? What are you hoping to see from the show next season? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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7 comments on “TV Check-In: Game of Thrones Season 6

  1. I enjoyed this season more than any other. I don’t like the way they build up characters and then kill them off. With killing Jon Snow being the last straw for me. This season they brought him back the good guys started winning and revenge was on the menu for everyone. My favorite character now: Cersei. Seriously. (When she’s closing the door saying shame shame shame that was awesome) The show moved fast this season but what they did in previous seasons was to neglect entire story lines, sometimes for whole seasons. So no killing off of hero characters and all story lines given equal time makes this in my opinion the best season in the shows run. I get that Dany’s got a large armada but. Her pirates are best near water. Dothraki are only good on plains. Unsullied should act as her queen’s guard because assassins are gonna come out of the wood work. Cersei still has a shitload of wild fire. And most of the castles in Westeros are built with dragons in mind. The Lannister army is gigantic. And all of her ships are still not as many as Uncle Greyjoy probably has by now. They are ship builders extraordinaire and a lot of time has passed.

    My two questions are as follows: if the ice wall has glyphs and wards (Like Benji says) how are the dead going to pass it to get south? And also Has Jon Snow never touched fire and found out he didn’t burn? And one more How many of those face trees are there? (one near Winterfell, one near the wall, one in that cave, and one at the fist I think. Are there seven?)

    • Yeah I can certainly see why someone would think this is the best season. 3 and 4 are my favorites, but this was really good.

      Those are good questions. Not sure I know the answer to the first one. That is certainly a mystery. Maybe there is a similar way to break through the Wall’s magic like they did with the cave that surrounded the Three-Eyed Raven’s lair thing? But yeah, I’m not sure. A mystery to ponder this offseason.

      Jon has been burned. He burned his hand when he first encountered a wight back in Season 1 I believe. The thing is the whole Dany can’t be burned thing seems to be a trait unique to her, not one inherit to being a Targaryen. In the history of the world, plenty of Targs have burned (including to death). So yeah, I don’t think that will be a trait Jon has.

      I’m not sure if they have said how many of the face trees there are in the show. Based on the books, they are pretty prevalent north of the wall and in the Northern Kingdom, but were mostly cut down in the South by invaders long ago. Though a few remain in certain places in the South. So my guess would be significantly more than seven, unless they have made major changes for the show in that regard.

  2. The amount of payoffs to long on-going stories made it a very satisfying season. Some of the strongest payoffs for me include Dany and her dragons going to Westeros, Jon’s return and tower of joy, revenge on Boltons and Freys, and Hodor’s origin. I also liked Sansa’s evolution which was earned, although she held some cards too close to her chest. The return of quite a few characters was mostly satisfying, some worked better than others. After subverting the “good guys” come back to defeat their enemies for a long time, I liked the shift towards the characters we are rooting for.

    Like you said, where all the pieces fell together is great and promising for next season. As fast as some things moved, this will still be the case heading into shorter seasons. I think good storytelling knows when to give what fans want and expect, and also when to throw in some curve balls or unpredictability. Dany has everything going for her right now. I’m guessing she’ll land in Dorne where her allegiances is at and make a bee line towards Kings Landing. I agree, I think there will be more to that. Littlefinger should make things more unpredictable in the North. And the biggest threat, the White Walkers, will come to a head by the end. Great post and glad to hear how much you enjoyed S6!

    • Yeah, it has definitely been satisfying to see things swing the other way for the good guys so to speak. I think it was definitely made more satisfying by the struggles and losses they suffered in the earlier seasons. It begins to wear on you though which made some of these storylines this year that much better I think.

      I imagine you are right in regard to Dany going right for King’s Landing from the south. I wonder who all will side with the Lannisters in this war. Beyond Euron, I’m not sure who. I also read a cool theory (I’m sure you’ve read this one) that perhaps Cersei will try to burn the city ala the Mad King before Dany can take it and Jaime will have to kill Cersei similar to what happened years ago. That would seem fitting if they could set up the relationship with Jaime and Cersei properly ahead of time.

      Thanks for commenting! I appreciate it!

  3. Awesome article ! In my viewing this season is one of the best if not the best of GOT so far and I absolutely loved the way each story ended in the finale promising a lot for the next season ( rumored to be the last one ) 😞

    • Yeah, it will be sad to see it end (the rumors I read were maybe like 13-15 episodes spread over two seasons or two half-seasons), but oh boy is it setting up to be an epic finish. Thanks for the kind words and comment.

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