Unfortunately, Game of Thrones: Season 6 has ended and once again, we find ourselves in that long-gestating void of time as we prepare for season 7. Coming off season 5 which was not bad, but fairly disappointing, I personally feared GoT was approaching what could of been some really boring last seasons to end this fantastic series. Thankfully, I was wrong, because this might be my third favorite season of them all.
Though episode 1, The Red Woman, did have a bit of that lame Dorne-ish flavor, once episode 2 hit, we knew this season was going to be something else. after having tortured the man for the entirety of season 5, Jon Snow is back in all his glorious fashion. Then we got some other fine episodes, but after The Door, every episode that succeeded it was great. Especially the final two concluding chapters that prove why HBO and GoT are so beloved.
Like any GoT season, we had to say goodbye to some beloved characters, in this case Hodor, but unlike any other season of GoT, we actually got to see many characters come back. Obviously the big one being Snow, but we also got to see The Hound and the real Arya come back to the land of Westeros. Sure, it did feel like a bit of appreciation for the fans, but we must remember that when in Westeros something good occurs, something ten times more mortifying is coming, especially now that we’ve got Cersei sitting on the throne.
Besides re-introducing awesome characters whose whereabouts were unknown, this season of GoT also gave us some of the best characterization depicted on t.v. Whether it was turning Sansa’s persona 180°, the season also paved forward for a fantastic story involving the most inhumane version of Cersei we’ll ever see, it gave us Arya Stark back from The House of Black & White, and set up so many little side-stories up along the way involving The Hound and the Brotherhood without Banners or Samwell’s moments of levity as he goes on his quest for wisdom. Mustn’t we forget, that season 6 also gave us Lyanna Mormont, aka the biggest bad-ass on this t.v. show at the moment. Which leads me to the inclusion of great female powers in GoT, whether that be felt in the East with Dany, in the North with Sansa or across the ocean with Yara’s presence.
But, with all that greatness, some pretty useless side-plots floated along. The most notorious being Arya’s whole assassin story-line where she went from kid to Daredevil to John Connor to Stark and it all felt pointless. Instead of having her be the witty, brave woman we know her to be, instead we have her viewing a stage-play that resumes what we’ve already seen and running from an emotionless waif (T-1000). Praise the Old Gods because Arya is finally back in Westeros chopping down her enemies and out of the Bravoosi alleyways begging for money. The other not necessarily weak-link to this season, but somewhat anti-climactic piece of it was the whole explosion of the High Sparrow and his clergy. Everything that followed the event and resulted from it was incredible, but the sequence leading up to the explosion just seemed way to convenient and staged for this world. The way the candles were so perfectly timed, the moment in which Margaery realized, and the whole side-lining stabbing of Maester Pycelee was just so oddly done that it bothered me.
With that said, the season still had one of the best episodes in t.v. in a long time: The Battle of the Bastards. Juggling Dany’s conquest over the what used to be the Slaver’s Cities and The Battle of the Bastards all in the same episode, this has got to be one of the best filmed episode in t.v. history. Just the battle onto itself was something incredible to view, from the moment the calvary clashed to the moment to Bolton’s demise, The Battle of the Bastards hit on all cylinders. A magnificently shot episode as well that evoked MacBeth and that glorious tracking shot from True Detective, The Battle of the Bastards has got to be the highlight of this season and maybe even the best episode in the series.
With all those paragraphs written about how good this season was, I’ll just re-iterate by sating what made season 6 of GoT so fantastic. Coming off the unbalanced trajectory of last season, season 6 hit the accelerator from episode two and never dared to brake from there. Instead it kept on accelerating, taking one curve after the other, eventually hitting one of the most satisfying conclusion any season in t.v. could have. Re-introducing lost characters like Snow and The Hound, disposing of useless characters like Pycelle, and furthering the stories of other characters like Jamie or Cersei Lannister, this season excelled in doing that. It got somewhat bogged down by Arya’s supposed search for identity, but it still gave us The Battle of the Bastards and that’s why I’ll give this season of GoT an 87 out of 100.