This post is the third and final post covering the latest season of Game of Thrones. If spoilers, including material from the books and fan theories, aren’t your thing, you might not want to scroll down too much further down
Part 1: Queen’s Landing
Part 2: Cutting the Meereenese Knot
Merry Christmas! What better time to talk about Game of Thrones – specifically the advance of the icy White Walkers and the winter they are bringing – than the middle of our real world winter? This is the final post on Game of Thrones season 6, and it’ll be covering the storyline closest to audiences’ hearts – the Starks of Winterfell. Before we get any further, let’s be real for a second. This storyline was not perfect but got it the job done. I didn’t watch the season as it came out in real time but I remember the social media and Reddit hype; it seemed like people were genuinely enjoying the season and seemed to be keenly anticipating the next episode each week. In fact, the internet pretty much seemed to have a collective orgasm in the weeks that episodes 9 and 10 (‘Battle of the Bastards’ & ‘The Winds of Winter’) and its not hard to see why. Those episodes, along with some of the more explosive episodes in the season, were engineered precisely for those reactions. While I’m not taking anything away from the quality of those episodes – I think they showcased some great writing and directing – I think the real test of the season is to see how well it stands up on a second, or even third, viewing, when the explosions and plot twists have less of an effect. By those metrics I’d say Game of Thrones season 6 fares less well, and the story in the North, which was arguably the centrepiece of this season, is no exception. I don’t want this post to be all doom and gloom, though; I think for all its flaws and missed opportunities, this season and the Northern storyline, especially, has had some great moments and there’s plenty in it that has me excited to see where this story in particular goes next season as we finally approach the end of this long song.
This post is the second of three covering the latest season of Game of Thrones. If spoilers, including material from the books and fan theories, aren’t your thing, you might not want to scroll down too much further down
Part 1: Queen’s Landing
Way back in 2011, when Game of Thrones‘ first season aired on HBO, the network spared no expense in trying to convince audiences that Game of Thrones wasn’t just another shallow attempt at riding the pop culture fantasy tidal wave that The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter had created throughout the 2000s. You would hear phrases like ‘it’s a fantasy show for people who hate fantasy’ or ‘it’s Lord of the Rings meets The Sopranos‘. I’ve never liked either description because I felt it set up false expectations. In trying to emphasize the politics and grit of the story, I think that HBO downplayed the fact that at the end of the day, Game of Thrones is very much a fantasy story, which means that whether or not the mass market likes it, there are going to be fantasy elements to it. Speaking in an incredibly broad sense, I think that the show’s fandom (which I think can be considered separate from the books’ fandom) was split into two parts during the first couple of season. There were those who loved the dramatic elements of the show – the politics, the character development, the excellent acting – but got a little uncomfortable when the fantasy elements were played up and then there were those who loved the fantasy bits of it but bemoaned that they were used so sparingly.
This week, we’ll take a look at where Season 6 took the characters in Essos, particularly Daenerys Targaryen, the character who has always had a stronghold on the magic in the series. Sure, Tyrion had his wildfire and the Others were stalking around beyond the Wall, but Dany’s story was the only one with the dragons and the magic house of visions. In some ways, this season was really do-or-die for Dany – I don’t think there was any segment of the audience that was ready for yet another season of the monotony in Meereen.
This post is the first of three covering the latest season of Game of Thrones. If spoilers including material from the books and fan theories aren’t your thing, you might not want to scroll down too far
Some of you might have been wondering why I had not covered Game of Thrones season 6 week by week as it happened. There are a few reasons. First, after the way season 5 ended, I felt a distinct lack of hype about the direction that the show was heading in. I did not like the way that characters like Sansa, Stannis and Shireen had been treated. I did not like the Sand Snakes and the bad poosi. I thought that Arya’s storyline was dragging on too long and I thought that the show had lost the spark that made it stand out way back in season 1. At the time, there was no doubt in my mind that I would eventually watch the new season when it aired. For a number of reasons – work, being busy with other shows – I didn’t watch the show when it aired, but I have fully caught up now. Some of the criticisms I brought up about season 5 still apply to season 6, as well as some new ones, but on the whole, I don’t think I am alone in thinking that season 6 is a strong step in the right direction.
Since I’ve already seen all 10 episodes of the season, and I assumed anyone reading this has as well or at least, doesn’t care enough about spoilers, I figured that I can cover most of what I want to say about the season in three posts. This week’s post is going to focus on the storyline in King’s Landing – a rather incendiary storyline, I’m sure most of you would agree. I’ll be talk mostly about what worked and what didn’t, things that I liked and stuff that I thought missed the mark as well as sharing some reactions I had to the first season of Game of Thrones in which I had no idea what would happen.