Game of Thrones “The Red Woman”

Jon Snow laying on table in The Red Woman

Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the season 6 premiere.

(Stop. Don’t read if you haven’t seen tonight’s episode)

Finally, the season premiere of Game of Thrones is here. Like many other fans, I looked forward all year to the premiere. It starts when the credits role on the final episode of the last season. The want, the need, for a Game of Thrones season gets worse as HBO slowly releases press photos, articles, and then trailers. Yet every season premiere for so many seasons never seems to live up to the hype.

The issue with the Game of Thrones season six premiere is it was nothing but set up for future episodes. Yes, that’s the job of a season premiere. It establishes what may happen in the coming season. Except, every episode since season two has been nothing but set up for something that may or may not happen in the future.

Nothing was revealed and nothing really came as a surprise. Was there any doubt Brienne was going to save Sansa and Theon in the nick of time? No, because they were headed that way at the end of season five. It didn’t come as a surprise either when Ellaria Sand assassinated Doran Martell? No, because she said as much in the final episode of season five. War between Dorne and the Lannisters is a given. 

What’s not for sure is how long it will take to come about. We’ve had five seasons of Daenerys Targaryen heading to take the Iron Throne.

Brienne and Sansa share oaths of loyalty
The anticlimactic scene is anticlimactic.

We knew Daenerys was going to meet the Dothraki. Now it looks like she’s going to be sent to a widow’s camp. So, now we get more episodes of her being freed from the camp. More episodes which take us further from the original idea of her taking the Iron Throne. 

This season, next season at the latest, we have to see her moving to take the Seven Kingdoms. If not, then the past seasons have been nothing more than a distraction.

The one minute of screen time Tyrion and Lord Varys were granted wasn’t enough to see into their futures. Their story arc did end with an interesting shot of ships burning in the bay. We can guess the Sons of the Harpy were behind the attack.

What is surprising is the showrunners trying to recreate Cersei as a sympathetic character. It started with her walk of shame from High Sparrow’s pseudo-church and continued with her learning her daughter was dead. In both cases, the tears seemed real and she seemed to be genuinely hurting. However, it’s Cersei. For five seasons she has been a schemer and all around evil person. There’s nothing sympathetic about the character.

Sad Cersei looks at her dead daughter's body
The tears may be real, but no one should be crying for Cersei.

In fact, it’s time for the character to go. Cersei has run her course as a valuable character on the series. The first few seasons needed a character like her to keep the drama going. 

Now that we’re six seasons in the game, there are plenty of characters who can fill the same role. It’s surprising too, that after five seasons no one has caught onto her plots and schemes. Even the simplest of court members should be able to see how she’s been manipulating everyone around her. Even worse, her schemes are getting boring. They add nothing to a story that is moving on quite well without her plots and schemes. George R.R. Martin has likened his series to the real Medieval Europe. If this is true, show runners should do the right thing and kill Cersei off as any court in Europe would have done a long time ago.

What is also surprising is that Jon Snow is dead. Or at least he is in the premiere. Both the producers and HBO have come out and said Snow is dead. There was a lot of blood on the snow and Snow. The body looked cold and white. However, I won’t believe he’s really dead until the credits on the final episode airs without Snow being in a single episode. 

I can see a scenario where Snow comes back in some other form or fashion. If he doesn’t come back as Snow, but he comes as a bird or a zombie or another creature so the producers can say they didn’t lie. It may not come to pass, but sometimes my faith in the writers is lacking.

Dead Jon Snow in the Snow, still being dead
Blood on the Snow.

We had to wait for the entire episode before something truly worthy of season premiere occurred. I won’t spoil it for those readers who have not seen the episode. This surprise ending does lend some merit to the fact that Melisandre wields some true magic. Maybe it’s enough magic to bring Snow back from the dead.

Overall, the season premiere was just another episode. There was nothing remarkable about it and nothing shocking was revealed beyond the final scene. I wish it was as exciting as the trailers made it out to seem. However, it wasn’t an exciting episode. It was the same-old-same-old we have seen for five seasons. There needs to be a major shake up this season to keep things interesting.

(Having something to say? Want to join the discussion? Then head over to our Facebook page. You’ll be glad you did.)