Everyone’s favorite brother-sister loving, skin flaying, backstabbing, dragon flying, dead walking, high adventure is back for season six! Come here every Monday morning for Pressure Life’s review and recap of HBO’s Game of Thrones season six!
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“The Book of the Stranger” continued season six’s unexpected and generous plot advancement. It examined the relationships between the siblings that may come to define the next generation of power within Westeros.
Sansa Stark has seen the most benefit from a revitalized Thrones. This season started with her escaping Ramsey Bolton, raising Theon Greyjoy from what was Reek, finally joining with Brienne, and now embracing long lost half-brother Jon Snow and declaring war for the North! With Jon and Sansa breaking bread together the Stark family has returned to the actual game of thrones going on within the narrative of the series.
The breakfast within Castle Black’s mess hall was a terrific scene and another example of this season’s determined and welcome injection of levity. If Sansa is to lead an army with Jon to reclaim Winterfell, which she so admirably declared as their family’s legacy to uphold, then we’ve just witnessed the first impromptu war council. The rag-tag table of Dolorous Ed, Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne and Tormund Giantsbane are just the plucky upstarts to overthrown a corrupt kingdom or to save their rad ski lodge from greedy oil developers or to throw a massive kegger to keep their frat open. Considering this group has at least three comedic reliefs, they remind of Police Academy and I love it.
Their levity cuts cold with a knife, a flaying knife to be specific. Ramsey has sent letter to Castle Black not only taunting of his capture of Rickon Stark but using truly unconscionable insults to both Sansa and Jon. Credit to Sansa for insisting to read the letter aloud and give voice to the extent of monster they are going to face. She has proven incredibly determined and the clear leader of the Stark family. I love how “ride or die” Tormund is. The look he gets when he hears someone talking shit on his boy’s little sister is exactly what you want it to be on a best friend. Ramsey has finally overplayed his hand. I’m sure his invitation is some sort of trap, but this late in the series, I think we’re due some retribution.
The North remembers, after all.
After leaving Sansa’s entourage earlier, Theon returned to his homeland of Pike to find his sister, Yara, brooding in his late father’s place. Another brother/sister pairing that has eyes on seizing their family’s legacy, their storyline was lean and graciously abbreviated. Ditto for the moments spent in the Vale watching spoiled little sickly Lord Robin Arryn play into the hands of Littlefinger, for whatever that’s worth. At this point, Littlefinger is just too abstract a villain to take seriously anymore. I know he feeds off of the chaos he sows throughout the kingdoms, but it’s been stretched rather thin over the seasons.
Siblings, Cersei and Jamie Lannister, continue to push for leverage against the small council of King’s Landing. Learning of the High Sparrow’s intent to march Queen Margery through the streets as they did Cersei, Kevan Lannister and Olena Tyrell have no choice but to make an uneasy alliance with the absentee King’s father/uncle and mother, which would see a Tyrell army do the dirty work against the pugnacious Sparrows. Despite the “Rains of Castamere” that played in the background, the decision to invite and then stand down to an invading Tyrell army is just the wildly shortsighted and sure-to-blow-up-in-her-face kind of plan that Cersei would hatch.
It’s never a good idea to piss off the only friends you have while alone in a foreign land, but Tyrion has done just that in offering to allow the neighboring regions a seven year adjustment period as they work toward a slave-free society. Across the Narrow Sea, Tyrion is trying desperately to bring order to a lawless desert region through the awkward introduction of diplomacy and soft compromise. He’s Westerosizing the East. While not as cathartic as Daenerys hurling barrels of loose shackles at the Masters, Tyrion’s nuanced and gentle approach may have proven more effective. These scenes are the West Wing of Westeros, down to the patented policy “walk and talks” with advisors Gray Worm and Misande. Let’s just say I hope Tyrion has a Plan B when this one invariably goes south.
Not too far off, Jorrah the Andal and Daario Naharis do their best Riggs and Murtaugh impersonation, with Jorrah definitely proving “I’m getting too old for this shit” when Daario (down to the flowing, young Mel Gibson hair) saves him during their botched infiltration of Vaes Dothrok (think Burning Man for the Dothraki). Despite their best efforts, their rescue proved totally worthless. The Mother of Dragon needs no man’s help to claim her freedom, well, maybe a little bit of help to coat the floors with accelerant beforehand.
Khaleesi conquers people with the same chronic underdog resilience that Three’s Company’s Jack Tripper outsmarts Mr. Roper. While facing trial from the heads of all the great Khalasars, Dany traps them within and sets the large grass hut ablaze. Proven at the end of season one, fire does little more than demand a costume change for the Targaryen heir, leaving her the sole survivor. Remisicent of her end to season, I think 3, maybe 4, is a bunch of threadbare natives bowing before their new white master. All this to say that, despite her majesty and all her pomp and circumstance, Daenerys continues to be the one storyline that refuses to pick up the pace. We are literally going in circles both geographically and in story. I’m hoping that by the end of the season she and Tyrion will have set sail for Westeros replete with a full Khalasar and three full grown dragons. Anything short of that will be stalling at this point.
While Jon Snow was reborn amid the ice, Daenerys was reborn in fire. Say, don’t isn’t there some sort of song about that?
Winner of the Episode: Daenerys (She really does know how to put on a good show stopper. There’s a reason she was booked at the main event for Dothraki Burning Man)
Loser of the Episode: Loras Tyrell (Living Rough! Gotta feel bad for this guy. It looks like we may have a new Reek.)
High Sparrow: “I saw it with perfect clarity. I saw what my sins were- the gold I had, the wine I drank, the women I used, my ceaseless struggle to maintain my position. It was all part of a story, a story I was telling myself about who I was; a collection of lies that would disappear in the light, people I was trying to climb away from. Beggars in the street and poor men, they were closer to the truth than I ever was.”
Margaery: “So what did you do?”
High Sparrow: “I left to go find them. I didn’t even put on my shoes. I walked out the door and never went back.