The Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 1 – ‘The Red Woman’ Review and Synopsis

HBO’s hit show based on George RR Martin’s fantasy book series by the name of A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones season 6 premiered tonight with its first episode, “The Red Woman,” focusing on the immediate aftermath of the events of season 5, namely the escape of Theon and Sansa from Winterfell and the assassination of Jon Snow by his brothers at Castle Black.

Spoilers to follow so turn back now unless you don’t care in which case read ahead.

Opening with Jon Snow’s corpse, it’s pretty evident that he’s dead, at least as far as this episode is concerned. His direwolf and his friends within the Night’s Watch bring his body into a shed instead of let it lie underneath a traitor sign outside. For backup, they bring his direwolf into the shed just in case Ser Alliser Thorne decides to murder them all. Interestingly, Ser Alliser gives the pretense of negotiating with the “rebels” and offers them peace if they leave Jon Snow’s side by nightfall. Dolorous Ed runs off to get help from the wildlings and is not seen for the rest of the episode. Davos Seaworth suggests they enlist the aid of the Red Woman who is with him at Castle Black.

In a reveal that many fans have expected, in an existential moment with a mirror Melisandre removes her brooch and reveals that she’s an old crone. Honestly, since everyone and their mother had guessed this was the case this was slightly uninteresting and kind of boring. It wasn’t terribly shocking to discover, “Oh you think she/he’s so hot but…” and then – bam – ugly person.

This is called going out to the bar on a Friday or Saturday night (or any night) and having one too many. And those people don’t even use a brooch to achieve their game so points to Melisandre for at least appearing hot for all intents and purposes. She remains an important player for sure. Since Davos has speculated on what Melisandre could do to help them, and we already know Thoros of Myr (another Red Priest) is capable of resurrecting dead people, it might be an even more unsurprising development if, as many fans speculate, Melisandre resurrects Jon Snow. We will certainly know more as the season continues.

Game of Thrones Season 6: Episode #1 – Putting Daenerys First (HBO)

Next on the narrative pinwheel we have the Dornish storyline with the return of Jaime from Dorne to King’s Landing with Myrcella very much dead on arrival. Of course, Cersei, increasingly descending into paranoid madness, expects this arrival because of the prophecy given to her when she was a child by the witch in the forest. Tommen remains her only child and she is pretty clear in that she expects he will die as well. We do see her new champion, the towering Robert Strong, a rumored zombie version of Gregor Clegane, the Mountain, accompany her in various scenes, including the one in which she meets Jaime at the dock. They vow their revenge and what not but little else is revealed during this episode. Where things really get crazy is in Dorne where Prince Doran Martell is overthrown by Oberyn’s crazy widow and her brood.

Also they murder his son Prince Trystane. I commented earlier to someone before this episode began that I thought Prince Doran had made a huge mistake by not killing her and this episode proved that true. It will be interesting to see what happens with Dorne but really at this point I want the White Walkers to overrun them all and turn them into frozen wights. The politics of Game of Thrones is really starting to unravel in this episode, and that’s a good thing, but also slightly nonsensical given the real consequences of all this bloodshed down the road. Maybe that’s how it all ends? Who knows.

All I know is that Prince Doran might have made some people upset, but Oberyn volunteered to get his head watermeloned by the Mountain. I wouldn’t volunteer for that nor would any sane person, but he did. This was not Prince Doran’s fault, nor was it Trystane’s. Whatever happens, I hope the wheel of karma rolls back on the sand snakes and some good old Game of Thrones justice wipes them all out and sees Dorne made into a vacation province of the new Targaryen dynasty. One can dream.

Game of Thrones Season 6: Episode #1 – A Widow’s Future (HBO)

Arya is still in training to become a super assassin and she is still very much blind, begging for coins on the streets and getting randomly beaten by that girl who didn’t like her even before she didn’t break any rules. Who knows where this story line is going but it is one of those I have read few speculations about so I’m pretty interested to watch Arya’s adventures. Really though, this episode was light on the Arya content.

Daenerys is being pursued by swarthy lover and Jorah Mormont. Jorah finds the pearl ring Daenerys tactically left behind when she was being circled by the Dothraki riders. Now a captive of those selfsame riders, Daenerys is taken to their Khal, Moro, and offered as a sex slave of sorts. There Daenerys explains that she is the widow of Khal Drogo and the whole scene changes. Even though they are now respectful towards her, they insist on sending her to Vaes Dothrak to work in the temple with the other widows of khals, as is the Dothraki tradition. Daenerys is a mother of dragons so it will be interesting to see how those two roles clash in this season.

Last, Theon redeems himself by helping sansa over the wall and by killing Miranda last season.

In an interesting moment, Ramsay Bolton mourns Miranda, talking about how fearless she was and how he never seemed to intimidate her. A less sociopathic/psychopathic side of the flayer prince, this scene was strange. Of course, in typical fashion, he caps it off with a command to the maester to feed her corpse to the dogs. Ramsay receives a slight scolding from his father, admonishing him for his brutality towards Sansa which was Ramsay’s key to holding Winterfell and the Bolton claim on the North.

Lord Bolton tells Ramsay that he defied a royal order in marrying him to Sansa and that Sansa is the key to rallying the North against the Lannisters when they arrive. Of course, he has back up plans should Ramsay prove a failure, and those being with Lady Walda who is pregnant. Ramsay assures his father that he has his best hounds searching for Theon and Sansa.

Game of Thrones Season 6: Inside the Episode (HBO)

This is largely true – they nearly catch Theon and Sansa, who are found tired and shivering to death in the woods. But, alas, it was not to be as Brienne of Tarth and Pod cut them to ribbons and Brienne is allowed to finally pledge herself to Sansa’s service. The action in this scene was really fun and the Sansa/Theon storyline has become the “must watch” storyline in my opinion this season.

Game of Thrones Season 6: Episode #2 Preview (HBO)