Game of Thrones officially goes off-book! While we spend a bit of time playing catch-up, the series makes some bold steps forward (and a few steps back).

My Loyal Subjects

Game of Thrones returned and wasted no time in answering none of the questions you had going into the season. Jon Snow has shown no sign of life, nor has he been buried, burned, or otherwise destroyed with finality. Instead, we saw the new status quo be set.

Despite the lack of answers on Lord Snow, the happenings at the Wall are both the most interesting and the most clear-cut. We have the acting Lord Commander defending his choice to murder Jon Snow and the few who remained loyal hiding with Sir Davos. There’s a lot of in-fighting going on here and no one is quite sure if the other is trustworthy. If I were a betting man, I’d say that this is beginning of the end for the Night’s Watch. The two factions will be so busy debating one another that they won’t be prepared for the army of inbound White Walkers.

Arya, meanwhile, is elevating the series by introducing some Daredevil elements. Even though she is (permanently?) blind, she’s being shown no mercy. She needs to learn to fight because the God of Death has some real weird rules. To say this is the most compelling plotline of the show would be a lie, but it’s fascinating by virtue of just being the biggest wildcard. The rules of magic in fiction often contort to the will of the story, so what lies ahead has yet to be seen. We’re going into this story as blind as Arya (zing!).

Sansa and Theon had very little screen time and a very predictable storyline. That’s not to say it’s bad, mind you. Vince Gilligan once said that sometimes the best story is the most obvious story, and Occum is inclined to agree. Brienne was set up to be the Stark savior, and save Sansa she did. What made this stand out, however, was the pure…karmic payoff. Brienne and Sansa have been beaten down again and again, so it’s nice to see them both help each other. Yes, Brienne did save Sansa, but Sansa finally gave Brienne the purpose she’s been craving since, what, season three?

The Lannisters are all criminally underused this episode, as they serve more as exposition drivers than anything else. Tyrion especially seemed to just wander the streets and say “If you forgot why things are the way they are, here’s why!” It was disappointing, sure, but you can expect big changes to come as justification for the extra establishment.

As for Dany, well…this one is tough. She’s gone from being the fan favorite to a character who really isn’t doing much. She buckled a bit under the weight of a kingdom, and now she’s (in many ways) back at square one. Yes, she’s stronger internally, but being held at the whims of the Dothraki feels like a step backwards for the character. There is also not a clear way forward for the character from here, unless they are really hiding something (which could very well be the case).

There was also a usurpation in Dorne. I can’t really say that it was engaging, since that was across the board the least interesting thing from last season, but I certainly hope that something comes about on that front. Ellaria seems itching for a fight, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dornish armies march on King’s Landing around the same time the White Walkers make their presence known.

In short…Game of Thrones continued to be Game of Thrones, with or without George’s books. It just goes to show that the series knows its characters. Even if those characters are old, naked ladies in disguise.

Odds and Ends

  • Margaery is still in prison, in case you forgot.
  • It’s weird seeing Sir Davos calling the shots (for mutton!), but also rewarding. The man has been through hell.
  • It’s clear that Melissandre’s strange Red Religion has made it’s way to Essos and is informing the lower class there. I wonder how that will play out!
  • Where is my boy Little Finger?

    Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.

Alex Russo

View all posts

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *