Sep 20, 2017

[TV] Game of Thrones: Season 6 Review

As if often the case with entertainment adapted from books or other media, there's a bit of a safety blanket that readers enjoy when watching said adaptation. And such was the case with Game of Thrones for the most part as the general flow of the story was firmly established in the books with some minor deviations by the TV show's writing staff.

But we've run out of book material and thus the show is flying on its own for now. In theory they may have notes or a plot outline to follow, but the writing is definitely different now that the book material has run out. And that could go either way.

This season has some interesting bits, some surprising parts, and some parts that just didn't make a whole lot of sense. But what can you do? These are the cards that we have been dealt and so we continue to follow along with this adventure to see how things will turn out in the end.

All the while hoping that this ending is really what was intended or the show when the books were first conceived.

Synopsis: Game of Thrones is a fantasy TV series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. The story is based on the A Song of Ice and Fire book series by George R.R. Martin.

Spoiler Alert: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) died at the end of the last season at thee hands of the very Night Watch that he swore an oath to serve. But Spoiler Alert Again, the red woman Melisandre (Carice van Houten) manages to resurrect him with the powers of her god. What this might mean and what greater purpose he's supposed to serve in the greater scheme of things. And while the Boltons still control Winterfell, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) has managed to escape from Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and is now trying to make her way to the Wall.

At King's Landing Cersei Lanniseter (Lena Headey), Margary (Natalie Dormer) and Loras Finn Jones) Tyrell await by the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) and his followers. In Braavos, Arya (Maisie Williams) is blind and continues her training to become an assassin with the Faceless Men. In Essos, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is a prisoner of the Dothraki while Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) do their best to keep things under control in her absence. And beyond the Wall, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) has training of his own to complete under the guidance of the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow).

What I Liked: As a fan of the show, this season marks a significant increase in fan service level in terms of story events. So we have the big scene with the Great Sept. We have the Battle of the Bastards. We have Bran becoming the Wikipedia of Westeros. There's a lot of quirky events that seem focused on answering all our burning questions.

The Arya arc is naturally the one that is easiest to root for as Sansa ends up down a very dark path and Jon is just happy to be alive. Cersei is all over the place, but it's the sort of dramatic train wreck that you can't help but watch. And Tyrion might actually have greater value soon enough beyond being drunk and on the run.

What Could Have Been Better: You can feel the quality of the writing dipping now as the dialog doesn't feel quite as epic as some of the lines from earlier seasons that were more or less lifted directly from the books. Not having the books to lean on is starting to pull a the seams as it were and I don't know if they'll be able to keep things on track.

Character bloat is pretty significant and some folks are definitely suffering. Dorne remains an afterthought in this whole matter and efforts to inject story back into the Greyjoys has become an exercise in frustration. A lot of characters are being reduced into stereotypes like how Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) is pretty much the sleaziest character in any scene he participates him just short of twirling his mustache.

TL;DR: Game of Thrones is still a big story that a lot of people are pretty invested in after so many seasons. It may be taking a turn for the worse this season but a lot of us are going to try to see things through to the end. So this season gets 4 not as surprising twists out of a possible 5.

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