So, the sixth season of Game of Thrones has been over for two weeks now and we’re all going through a degree of withdraw (except our boss, Will, because he’s happy to be free from writing about Thrones every week for at least another year). To help you cope with the absence of what is basically The Sopranos on Middle Earth, we’ve come up with a few reasons why Season 6 might just be the most lit season of the show yet.
[title type=”h4″]1) They Ran Out of Book Material[/title]
Honestly, this is the most important one of all. First of all, as an avid comic book reader, I like when movie or television adaptations make strategic detours from the source material because it puts all the fans…die-hard and casual on an even playing field. That way, everyone’s shocked together when Tony Stark blows up all of his armor suits to start a new life with his one true love (and then declares that he is, in fact, STILL Iron Man ten minutes later at the end). That way, we’re all having relatively the same viewing experience without some know-it-all spoiling the movie in the dissertation/essay he left in the comments section of the Red Band trailer. The same applies with Game of Thrones. Now, to be fair, there seems to have been a consorted effort on the part of the book-readers to not outright spoil the story for people introduced to it via the show, but honestly, it still feels like going to the movies with your friend who’s seen it three times already.
You’ve got people visibly holding back the urge to nudge you at the “good part”, continuously saying, “Wait for it…look what’s going to happen.” If you read enough recaps and “think pieces” (all the high profile deaths in 2016 and the term, “think piece” is still alive…no justice), many of the writers always have this general vibe of talking about their anticipation of major points in the plot where The Impending Big Thing that’s on the way is talked about/around, making the tension so thick, any savvy reader basically has the spoiler telegraphed to them. Now, we’re at a point where virtually anything could happen, so now book readers and casual show watchers are all united as one and can be shocked, disturbed and mortified at the same time.
[title type=”h4″]2) The Pace is Much Better[/title]
Game of Thrones has always been a slow burn, but the varying plot lines moving all at once made up for their sluggish paces respectively. A couple of seasons ago, we would had to sit through eight episodes of Arya walking around Bravos blind, begging, getting frat hazed by the girl with the Bobcat who is, as far as I can tell, the Ron Swanson of the Many-Faced God Assassin School. We would have sat through a solid season of Ramsey “Beelzebub” Bolton committing horrors that border on “outright unsightly” and then standing there while his father tells him he ain’t shit before he finally commits the most satisfying act of patricide ever on prime time television. But they did what a show like this should do and treated every episode and the season as a whole as if they may never get another season again. Almost every episode resulted in no less than two WTF moments a week. Even on a “slow week,” we got the return of the Hound and the Middle Earth version of Al Swearingen.
[title type=”h4″]3) Ladies First[/title]
Whether you’re strictly a fan of the show or a book reader, it’s no secret that Westeros has the gender politics of your average GOP debate. The age old system is just designed for women to never win at anything ever. Basically, it’s the society we live in except there’s more murder and burnings at the stake. After Stannis executed his own daughter essentially for luck in a battle that he lost miserably and Cersei Lannister was forced to walk through the streets naked in the name of religion for what seemed like the length of the American Ninja obstacle course, it’s pretty safe to say Game of Thrones went Peak Patriarchy for Season 5. This season saw that tradition get somewhat upended. Sansa Stark, who has spent the lion’s share of the show being little more than chess piece moved around by allies and enemies alike, seems to have gotten some bass in her voice since escaping from Ramsey “Evil Elijah Wood” Bolton’s clutches and being placed under the protection of Brienne the “Oathkeeper.”
Since she apparently started her own Maleficent themed clothing line, she’s brought Littlefinger, the R. Kelly of Westeros, to heel. Theon finally made his return home only to step to the side and realize that his smarter, tougher sister Yara Greyjoy should be the one to rule because he himself is a fuck up beyond redemption (though Yara seems to still believe in him). Danerys… well, Danerys has BEEN in formation for some time now. Meanwhile, Arya became a ninja during her Braavos DLC and finally got back to her story mode missions, the Red Woman pulled Jon Snow back from that sleepytime and Cersei not only found herself a bodyguard that facilitated her staying her room, drinking wine all day uninterrupted, but proceeded to wipe out all of her enemies in King’s Landing in one move just to skip her trial. Think about that shit. Tyrion took his daddy out and skipped town to escape his execution. Meanwhile, his big sister blew up a solid five city blocks, watched the shit from her bedroom and walked over her dead son to take the Iron Throne in the same hour of television. To call that a mic drop would be a vast compliment to mic drops. And now, combine that with the confirmation that Thrones coming to an end sooner than later, it’s looking more and more like the Clash of Kings is going to be a Clash of Queens.
[title type=”h4″]4) Secrets Revealed[/title]
When you have an ongoing story that spends so much time world building, you have plenty of fan favorite questions left unanswered. This season brought us some epic revelations. As it turns out, the Red Woman, Melisandre, is actually 30 going on 300. Apparently, one of the perks of medieval Scientology is that you get some kind of magic Benjamin Button necklace that turns Bea Arthur into Megan Fox. At the end of the first episode of the season, Cult Leader Malibu Stacey took off her Sailor Moon broach and turned into the lady version of Dobby from the Harry Potter movies.
In the season finale, through some masterfully placed flashbacks (Bran surfing the magical internet is a great excuse to see Young Ned Stark in action), we got the answer to a long debated fan question: Who is Jon Snow’s mother? It turns out he’s not Ned Stark’s son at all. It turns out America’s favorite bastard is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. A dying Lyanna made Ned promise he’d raise the child as his own out of fear that Robert Baratheon, being the savage he is, would have the child killed on sight.
In Episode 5, “The Door,” we learned through Bran Stark, who clearly has no idea what he’s doing with his warg powers, that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers as a weapon against the First Men. This opens up the door for a lot more questions. Why were the Children at war with the First Men to begin with? Why did the Walkers turn on the Children (assuming they’re not just like every other zombie virus in the history of sci-fi/fantasy that turns on its creators…I guess the Children have never seen I Am Legend)? We also learned that Bran, through the magic of television time travel, is directly responsible for not only killing Hodor, but also is the reason for Hodor losing his capacity to say anything other than Hodor. In related news, we learned that Bran is sort of an idiot… and a complete dick.
Basically, he got his best friend killed, the Children of the Forest (an endangered race) and his mentor, the Three Eyed Raven, slaughtered all in one deft move because he was having too much fun playing Lawnmower Man with too many browser tabs open in the time/space continuum while the Walkers showed up to put their feet all on the Raven’s couch. If it wasn’t for Sansa calling backup for Jon Snow’s headstrong ass during the Battle of the Bastards and Arya finally giving Walder Frey that much deserved Sweeney Todd shave and a haircut, the Starks would be dead last on the Iron Throne Leaderboard. Honestly, they might still be.
[title type=”h4″]5) Lyanna Mormont[/title]
Honestly, the only thing keeping her from being this season’s MVP is the fact that Cersei pulled a last minute triple double in the King’s Landing Finals, but I couldn’t possibly justify writing this list without paying respects to one of the new most reckless mouths in Westeros. All of Lady Oleanna’s “Back to Back” bars, Batman’s disposition mixed with Arya Stark’s moxie and you get the prepubescent one-woman diss track Lady of Bear Island with one of the new most meme-able faces on the internet this year. The look she gave Ramsey Bolton at the coin toss before Bastard Bowl 2016? I’m not used to seeing a look like that without hearing Shang Tsung say “Your soul is mine” in Mortal Kombat.
In fact, I want to put Lady Mormont, Cersei and Claire Underwood in a staring contest for a day to see who turns who to dust first. And let’s face it… with Jeor Mormont catching the Julius Caesar Southside fade from the Night’s Watch’s Special Dudebro Unit at Craster’s keep and Ser Jorah out in Mereen turning to stone, not respecting people’s boundaries, Lyanna is really putting the Mormont name on her back at this point. Given the turnover rate for kids on this show, hopefully she lives long enough to read many more grownups.