Aidan Gillen, Alfie Allen, Alliser Thorne, Arya Stark, Balon Greyjoy, Braavos, Bran Stark, Breaking Bad, Brienne of Tarth, Carice van Houten, Cersei Lannister, Cleganebowl, Daario Naharis, Daenerys Targaryen, Dean-Charles Chapman, Dorne, Dothraki, Dragons, Drogon, Ellaria Sand, Emilia Clarke, Euron Greyjoy, Finn Jones, Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones Season Five, Game of Thrones Season Six, George RR Martin, Gregor Clegane, Gwendoline Christie, Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, Hizdahr, Ian McShane, Indira Varma, Jaime Lannister, Jaqen H'ghar, Joel Fry, John Bradley, Jon Snow, Jonathan Pryce, Jorah Mormont, Khal Drogo, King's Landing, Kingsmoot, Kit Harington, Laura Pradelska, Lena Headey, Littlefinger, Loras Tyrell, Maisie Williams, Margaery Tyrell, Mark Addy, Meereen, Melisandre, Natalie Dormer, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Patrick Malahide, Peter Dinklage, Pilou Asbaek, Qarth, Quaithe, Ramsay Bolton, Richard Madden, Robb Stark, Robert Baratheon, Robert Strong, Roose Bolton, Rory McCann, Sandor Clegane, Sansa Stark, Sophie Turner, Spain, Stannis Baratheon, Stephen Dillane, Television, Television Review, The Faith Militant, The Gravedigger Theory, The Greyjoys, The High Sparrow, The Hound, The Mountain, The Red Woman, The Sand Snakes, The Sons of the Harpy, The Unsullied, Theon Greyjoy, TV, TV Review, Tyrion Lannister
This preview will contain spoilers for everything that has happened on the series so far, as well as some book plot points that haven’t appeared on the show and two well-documented fan theories.
The Greyjoys haven’t really been done justice on the show so far, with Theon’s (Alfie Allen) resentment of his father and jealously of his sister being our main connection to their storyline. This year it seems like this might change, as Euron (played by Pilou Asbæk), the younger brother of Theon’s father Balon (Patrick Malahide), has been introduced. (SPOILER ALERT) In the books Balon dies in a fall, but there’s speculation that in fact his death was an assassination at the hands of Euron, which is all but confirmed by the season six trailer. This, as well as the kingsmoot which will follow, could make the Greyjoys a much more important family on the show than they have been in previous seasons.
The first thing that comes into everyone’s minds when they think of King’s Landing is the ongoing battle between Cersei (Lena Headey) and The Faith Militant’s conniving leader The High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). Last year’s shaming ceremony was clearly a big deal for both characters, and it will likely start a war between them in upcoming episodes – still, that war will probably be fought mainly by Robert Strong, aka Zombie Mountain (Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson), and the Sparrow’s many followers.
What many people forget when they think about what will be happening in King’s Landing this year is that at the end of last season Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) witnessed his daughter/niece die due to a kiss of death from Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), which will probably be a more immediate issue when this season opens. I don’t think that Cersei is going to be very happy when her lover/brother returns home from Dorne with her daughter’s corpse accompanying him, so revenge will definitely be on the cards.
There’s also the small issue of the Tyrells, with Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras (Finn Jones) both sitting in a cell. From the trailers it looks like Jaime is going to try to help the Tyrell army in forcing their release, but there’s still going to be a lot of resentment between Margaery and Cersei when the pair are both free. (It seems pretty obvious that Margaery is going to be freed at some point this year because Natalie Dormer has talked about filming in Spain, and filming in Spain wouldn’t be very practical if she’s just going to be sitting in a dark room for the majority of the season).
Cersei just isn’t going to have a great time of it this year unless she has a hell of a lot of luck, because whilst she has a man-mountain (pun intended) as a protector, she also has enemies everywhere and an upcoming trial. The main fan theory relating to this trial is usually called the Cleganebowl, and relates to a possible trial by combat between The Mountain, and his possibly dead brother, The Hound (Rory McCann). The idea here is that Cersei would want to avoid a real trial because she knows that she can’t sway The High Sparrow with riches or cripple him with fear, and would therefore request a trial by combat believing that The Mountain was unstoppable. The faith would then need a champion, with The Hound being a perfect choice if he is still alive because 1) he’s a great fighter, and 2) he’ll want to kill his malevolent older brother.
Of course, in the season four finale it was suggested that Sandor Clegane would succumb to his injuries at the hands of Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), but if fans of the series are to be believed then our favourite Clegane brother is very much alive. The theory that I am referring to here is known as the gravedigger theory, and has been given extra weight by the fact that actor Ian McShane (recently cast on the show) has reportedly said that he will resurrect a well-known character this year. The obvious choice would be Jon Snow (Kit Harington), but it’s pretty obvious that he isn’t the character that McShane is talking about, otherwise we’d be talking about a highly publicised law suit.
Tyrion in Meereen
In Meereen things have been getting pretty hectic, so I’m hoping that this year they settle down with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) in charge. I know that the Sons of the Harpy will still be in full swing, trying to oust control back for themselves, but that doesn’t mean that things can’t be a little more political than they were last season.
We don’t know a whole lot about what Tyrion is going to be doing this year, other than trying to rule in Daenerys’ stead (Emilia Clarke), but we do know that he’s going to come face to face with two very angry caged dragons. The trailer also appears to show that there will be a new Red Woman introduced to the story in Meereen, which could be really cool. For me, this is probably the most interesting aspect of the story this season, because it’s something new and I have literally no idea what kind of character she’s going to be. Will she be working with or against Tyrion? Is she going to be tied to other events on the show from the past? I just don’t know, and I can’t wait to find out.
Daenerys vs. The Dothraki
Finally, we have Daenerys, stumbling her way towards the Iron Throne by flying thousands of miles away in the wrong direction. The scene in the fighting pits last year was one of the most exciting and important yet on “Game of Thrones”, as it proved that Daenerys has a hold of her most powerful dragon and that that dragon isn’t yet large enough to conquer a kingdom.
However, it also left the main contender to the Iron Throne stranded, and at the mercy of a Dothraki horde. Still, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because in the books Quaithe (played briefly on the show by Laura Pradelska when Daenerys was in Qarth) cryptically tells Daenerys that ‘to go north… [she] must go south, to reach the west… [she] must go east. To go forward… [she] must go back and to touch the light… [she] must pass beneath the shadow’. This could mean that Daenerys’ backpedalling will be her salvation, and bring her one step closer to the Iron Throne, because she really is right back where she started.
It’s unclear right now exactly how being with the Dothraki again will help Daenerys, but she could make a similar sort of deal to the one that her brother made back in season one, offering herself in marriage to the new Khal in order to gain an army with which to cross the Narrow Sea. This would still be as dangerous to the rest of the Seven Kingdoms as it was when Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) was in charge; especially given that Daenerys now also has three dragons and an army of Unsullied by her side.
It would make a lot of sense if Daenerys did propose marriage to the new Khal, because last year she proved that this is something that she is willing to do to improve her chances at taking the Iron Throne, as she married Hizdahr (Joel Fry) despite the fact that she detested him. This would also explain why Hizdahr was killed off so unceremoniously in episode nine of season five.
Nevertheless, it does appear that at the start of the season the Dothraki will mistreat Daenerys – although their actions on the trailer seem tame given their nature – which will probably enrage Drogon, who we know will be flying around the area. What this will mean is again unclear, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a Dothraki BBQ at some point in season six. If this does happen then it wouldn’t necessarily mean that the Dothraki would turn against Daenerys and refuse to back her claim for the Iron Throne, because we know from experience that the Dothraki respect power above all else, and having your dragon-baby burn your enemies alive is a pretty clear display of strength.
My Thoughts on Season Six and The Possibility of Seasons Seven and Eight Being Shortened to Eight Episodes Each
With talk of characters and their journeys this season out of the way, I’d like to address a couple of things that perhaps the mainstream “Game of Thrones” audience won’t be aware of right now. The first is that there has been a suggestion that the final two seasons of the show – seasons seven and eight – will be cut down to eight episodes each, sort of in the vein of “Breaking Bad” and its final season. This is a big decision, because it would mean that we as an audience got less “Game of Thrones” than we were expecting, and that storylines would have to be streamlined to allow the main narrative to progress naturally (which I would probably find disappointing from a personal perspective).
However, if this is a creative decision which best serves the story then I’m all for it! The only thing that really matters to me personally is that every character gets the right amount of screen time, and that the series has a significant pay-off at the end, which could still happen in 16 episodes + the 10 that we’ll get this season. Nonetheless, there are a lot of story arcs to wrap up on the show, and I have to admit that I’m a little worried that 26 episodes isn’t enough time to give everyone’s story a respectable conclusion – the last thing that I want is for the rest of the characters to face the same lacklustre end as Stannis (Stephen Dillane) did in season five.
I have to say that I still think that putting the finale on the big screen would be the best way to end the series, and would make everyone involved a tonne of money, but the rational side of me doesn’t believe that this will happen because HBO gets a lot of its money from a subscription model in the US.
As far as my thoughts on this upcoming season are concerned, I think that from a story perspective it has every chance of being the best yet. There are very few plot points that fans can really feel they have a grasp on, due to the fact that the show has caught up with the books, so things should feel even more tense than they already did on a show where (almost) anyone can die.
Nevertheless, there’s still a chance that this season could start a decline if the writers don’t strike the right balance with all the characters and their respective storylines – this was something which I felt was happening last season, so it could become a trend. Emilia Clarke has spoken recently about how she didn’t think that it was possible to fit so much into one season of television as has been slotted into this one, which worries me greatly. I really want things to start meshing together this year rather than become more convoluted, so I hope that when she says that there’s a lot going on she means that there’s lots of excitement within focused narratives, rather than just a lot of content.
In my opinion, “Game of Thrones” is still the best dramatic series on television – it has amazing writers and a committed cast, so I remain confident that my concerns will be quashed by the end of this season.
P.S. I still think that Stannis’ death was really weird last season. I believe that he died, but part of me wonders whether or not we’ll see him again. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) believed that she saw him fighting a great battle when she looked into the fire – what if she saw him fighting for the wrong side? Just a theory, but it’s one that I wanted to have down in writing just in case!