Aug 1, 2016

[TV] Game of Thrones: Season 6

I will now best remember this season of Game of Thrones as the one that our entire office got into for one reason or another. And while we're not exactly the biggest team around, it was still interesting to see so many different people get into a single show. This included some folks needing to catch-up from a prior season including a few who who were just starting season 1!

This sixth season of the series represented largely uncharted territory as we're already well beyond the thus-released source material. And while the TV series has diverted from the books in a number of ways, not we're at a point when almost everything is new for both TV viewers and book readers alike and one can only wonder how much of what we see on the small screen will still end up in the promised books.

And while a lot of folks have had trouble with the sort of scenes that the show has embraced in recent years, I think this season involved too many key plot points and resolutions that it was hard for most folks to keep away despite past misgivings.

Synopsis: Game of Thrones is an HBO fantasy drama series created for television by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The series was based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels.

The season seemingly begins on some positive notes as Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is finally returned to the North while Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) reclaims his identity and returns to the Iron Islands. However at the wall the Stark bastard John Snow (Kit Harrington) remains dead and Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunninham) petitions Melisandre (Carive van Houten) to bring him back from the dead somehow. The Lannisters attempt to rescue Margaery (Natalie Dormer)and Sir Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) from the Faith, but are unable to do so and thus Margaery does her best to switch allegiance to side with the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce).

Across the Narrow Sea, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) continues to train to become one of the Faceless Men, while Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) has been captured by the Dothraki under Khal Moro (Joe Naufahu). And beyond the Wall, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) trains under the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) to master his oracular powers that include going far back into the past.

As someone who has read the books, it  has been interesting to enter this new territory with limited advanced knowledge of what is to come. Sure, the whole Iron Islands story was generally derived from the similar plotline from the books but everything else was pretty new. And it's a nice feeling, for the most part, to experience story with fresh eyes in this manner.

One of the things that I enjoyed about the prior season was seeing Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) finally interact with the likes of Daenaerys. This season started with the queen separated from her people and thus few episodes where the two are finally reunited and put back in the same room together. I don't point this out hoping for some sort of a romantic entanglement,but I just enjoy seeing them play off one another. It almost feels like deep internet fanfic scenarios at times, so I'm just moving on.

The season put a lot of the focus back on members of the Stark Family, something that we haven't really seen since the first season when more of the Starks were still alive. And we haven't seen things seemingly go well for members of this family literally for years and so it has been heartening to see them doing a little better than before. Sure there are still emotional moments in the season and a number of key deaths for named characters,but that's all par for the course.

I was amused at how both episodes 9 and 10 of this season felt very impactful whereas the prior seasons all had a very strong climax by the 9th episode and thus the 10th episode was left for general clean-up. This time a lot of things happened across the two episodes alone (and of course the rest of the season had moments of awesome as well), but all this felt quite atypical. But hay, we all like different things at different ties.

There's just so much that happens in this one season that it all kind of boggles the mind. Thus one can only appreciate how it all came together in the end, thus wrapping up a number of longer-term plots. Thus the season gets a good 4 twists of fortune in the Seven Kingdoms and Beyond out of a possible 5.

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