The fifth book of the Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance with Dragons, was full of sound and fury signifying nothing. Lots of pages to get us not very far from where we started. So far, Season 6 has been the same way to me. I’m not alone. Saturday Night Live brilliantly proved this point a couple of weeks ago.
My plan was to review each episode the week it aired, but well I don’t get paid for this job so I can be a slacker at every now and then. However, I will be going over the last three episodes, so if you are not caught up, don’t read after the jump. My review will look at them collectively.
OMG JON SNOW IS ALIVE. Well, that seems to be everyone else’s reactions. It was a great scene in episode, but to me it felt completely anti-climatic. It reminds me of the song “Dig Lazarus Dig.” In that song, Nick Cave explores the idea that Lazarus may not have wanted to be raised from the dead. I wonder that about Jon Snow. At the end of episode three, he smartly says his watch is ended, but in episode four, he can’t leave the life of constant fighting. If you are given a second chance, wouldn’t you want to do something different? Here, Snow seems to have that chance, yet his fate his sealed. Of course he should fight for Winterfell, and as a commander he probably could do a better job than Stannis because of knowing the terrain. However, will the North rally to his cause if he fights side by side with the wildlings? Bringing him back makes for interesting stories, but I can’t see a way that this ends well for Snow. Even if he wins, can he hold? And how does being less human affect him? (Remember Beric Dondarrion states that every time he comes back, he is always a little less himself than before.)
Speaking of the North, Roose Bolton proves my point that brains will only get you so far in the world of Game of Thrones. He was a brilliant reader of people and understood how to use their motivations to achieve his own ends. And he gets run through by his own bastard. He should have seen it coming – actually he should have killed Ramsay right there to eliminate his new son’s rival – but he got cocky. Ramsay is smart but understands power is always better. Ramsay might be many things but he is a realist and doesn’t wait for things to work out.
I am the only person I know that truly enjoyed the fourth book. I love the Iron Islands. There is rich stuff to mine here, if the show has the patience to do it. My only complaint so far is that there has not been enough of those stories yet. Alfie Allen’s Theon is always captivating to watch and his involvement is new for book readers so I’m looking forward to how it develops.
Speaking of book readers, I’m sure every book reader had the same thought when they came upon a Bran chapter – time for bed! Not this season. For my money, this has been the best part of the show. It’s a great way of giving us back-story without having contrived flashbacks. Ned Stark was not the man we thought he was in that he took credit for something he didn’t do. It was a smart move on his part because it gave him an aura of invincibility. Yet, it makes you question everything you thought you know. I know most people think R+L=JS, but I’m not sure on that theory. Rhaegar has hair white as, well snow, and yet Jon Snow has hair as dark as…Robert Baratheon. I do believe Rhaegar was in love with Lyanna, and was protecting her from Robert. I believe Snow is actually Robert’s child and probably not conceived from a loving consensual act with Lyanna. Of course, I’m the only person that has this theory so I’m probably wrong. Getting back to Bran’s scenes, they also don’t hurt that they have the greatest actor alive, Max von Sydow, helping guide Isaac Hempstead Wright through these flashbacks.
Ayra’s story may get good, but now, it’s just dull. The fight scenes were good, but get to the point please.
The King’s Landing story arc is both brilliant and dull. It’s brilliant in that it makes the impossible happen – Cersei is becoming a sympathetic character. It’s dull because it pure politics and religion. Jonathan Pryce is great but his character preaches the same thing every week…kinda like most religious fanatics. However, it seems that all the power players are finally uniting, so this story should pick up.
Peter Dinkalage is great at playing the smartest person in the room. The “That’s what I do: I drink and I know things” line will forever be recited by nerds. His scenes with the power-players are kind of boring because of this fact. However, I was surprised at how much dramatic tension developed by having Missandei and Grey Worm not believe in him. They have been through this before and his inability to convince allies is something new for the character.
In what was the hottest scene in the last three weeks, Daenerys reminds us why she is one of our favorite characters. She never once looked lost or confused like she did in Meereen even when she was prisoner. At the end of episode four, which rhymes with the end of episode ten from season one, she steps out of the fire like a god. Practically the entire Dothraki nation is there and bends their knees to her. Emilia Clarke was just absolutely brilliant in these scenes. Less interesting is when Daenerys tries to rule instead of conquer. It will be interesting to see where this goes. Will we get a ruler or a conquerer? Or will she figure out how to do both?
Truly, these three episodes could have been narrowed down to two. There are too many moments that can be combined – notice I never mentioned Littlefinger because it will be next week that he is worth mentioning. While I have not had a problem with the dialogue this season, I find the pacing is off. As Cristina said, episode four should have been called “How Khaleesi got her groove back.”
Maybe the show will find its groove again.