Another season – arguably the best one of them all! – is in the books, and what better and more time-honored way to salute its passing than by looking back to its many strengths (and weaknesses) and looking forward to the season that is to come? Come pull up your chair and grab your last cup of mead for the final sixth-season-centric roundtable here at the Wall.
(Sue, our fearless leader, didn’t participate in our murder – it’s almost as if she had her own predictions article already in mind or something.)
Please to enjoy our post-mortem… and then strap in for the long, long wait with what we’re sure will be a whole long string of seventh-season examinations and considerations.
Now that we’ve had several days to process everything, lay all your thoughts about season six on me. Did you like the season? Did you think it was demonstrably different from the previous, by-the-books (heh) seasons? Was there anything that didn’t work for you?
And while you’re at it, why don’t you also throw in your season seven predictions/hopes/thoughts/prayers, as well?
Other than some slightly strange character decisions (Arya blithely allowing herself to be stabbed multiple times, lookin’ at you!), this was, for me, the best Game of Thrones season yet, continuing their tradition of one-upping themselves each season.
(Except season five. We do not talk about season five.)
(I’m kidding. Season five was fine. Except for a few, you know, things. “Hardhome” was brilliant.)
So, yeah. This was the best season so far. I think the biggest difference from the book will be Margaery’s demise, since Cersei already burned the Tower of the Hand in the books, which is all she needs to do to tip her intent to attempt to raze King’s Landing (which I believe she will do in both the books and on the show).
I’m very hopeful the momentum continues forward. As for what I expect, I expect Dany & co. to sweep across Tommen’s Landing from the south (though Khaleesi may take a more direct, dragon-backed route), and for Cersei to plot a scorched-Earth tactic that Jaime will ultimately be forced to stymie. Jaime kills Cersei, and possibly himself, and my wee Lannister-loving heart weeps. I imagine Tyrion will get at least one more conversation with Cersei. Because come on.
I think the Wall is breached this season, as well (R.I.P. Edd), in part due to the fact that Bran has given the Night’s King license to follow him wherever he goes. Bran will reunite with Jon, because he will need to pass on the vital information of Jon’s birth. Sansa will rankle beneath the White Wolf’s rule, but ultimately I believe blood is thicker than Littlefinger’s schemes, so hopefully that works out. (Littlefinger’s not done, however – not by a long shot.) I don’t think Jonsa is happening, at least not in a romantic way.
Brienne will get a heroic death, probably at or near the season seven finale, near the time Jaime dies, as well (so they can, you know, tie them together somehow from afar).
Arya will put her sword through Melisandre’s eye. Gendry won’t return ’til season eight. Calling my shot here.
Ghost will survive.
I absolutely loved season six! I’ll admit my enthusiasm partially stems from the fact that it was the first season I watched from the beginning along with everyone else. But even from a critical standpoint, I think this was an excellent season. It paid off five seasons of build-up and left the characters poised for an exciting season seven.
It feels like, now that David and Dan know the show will have to eclipse the books, they’re almost giddy, going down a checklist of theories, reveals, and fan wishes: Melisandre’s age, “Hodor’”s origin, Gravedigger confirmation, Ramsay’s death, R+L=J confirmation, Manderly/Stark pies, and Daenerys finally setting sail. I understand why some people called it fan service, but I, personally, loved it.
On the flip side, I was disappointed with Arya’s storyline and the way Jon’s resurrection had no consequences. I also think the show continues to have a confused relationship with violence. On the one hand, we see the un-romanticized horror of battle during the Battle of the Bastards and the long-term consequences of trauma in Sansa and Theon’s stories. On the other hand, Sandor chopping up those brotherhood without banners members was played for laughs, and that shot of the decapitated Son of the Harpy head flying towards us plays the brutality up for entertainment.
All in all, the flaws just weren’t enough to compromise the season’s strengths for me.
Next season, I’m looking forward to an Avengers-esque team-up of Targaryens, Martells, Tyrell, Greyjoys, and Dothraki. The prospect alone of a war council consisting of Daenerys, Tyrion, Missandei, Grey Worm, Varys, Yara, Theon, and Olenna bickering will be what keeps me going until next spring.
Agree completely. This season was spectacular and advanced the plot much quicker than I anticipated.
The crew’s endless efforts truly paid off, and they were absolutely right to brag about the best they’d done before the premiere had even aired.
The cast was equally impressive, as I was blown away by Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Maisie Williams, and Sophie Turner. Definitely going to be another season of Game of Thrones Emmy sweeps.
Lastly, shout out to directors Jack Bender and Miguel Sapochnik for their outstanding episodes.
There really is nothing else on TV like GOT, and this season put them even more above the rest.
I thought season six was fantastic. There were very few missteps and a lot of exciting moments, both expected and unexpected. The high point of the season, for me, was “Hold the Door” – thrilling, brilliant, and gut-wrenchingly emotional all at once. I also loved everything about “The Battle of the Bastards.” The only thing that didn’t work for me was the resolution of Arya’s time in Braavos; it suffered from some shoddy writing and real ham-fisted direction. But her act of revenge at the end of the season mostly made up for it.
I think the biggest difference from earlier seasons is how quickly storylines converged and plot lines resolved. Part of that is just that they are coming towards the end, of course, but part of it is being completely freed from George’s oftentimes-ponderous plotting.
As for what I hope to see in season seven, I really want to see Jon find out about his true parentage. The Tower of Joy was surprisingly anti-climactic for me; it was kinda just like, “Okay, finally.” It was great to get confirmation of R+L=J, but I’m ready to see how it will ultimately affect the story.
I am generally in agreement with what has been said so far. A strong, fantastic, enjoyable season – easily the best one so far. While the concluding two episodes were spectacular, the highlight of the season for me was the unexpected “hold the door” moment.
Things that didn’t work? Well, Dorne was very shoddy, but I can forgive that in light of the subplot undergoing a necessary clean-up – a big red reset button was pressed there. I also wished for a steeper price to be paid for Jon’s resurrection, and, yes, Arya got stabbed way too brutally for the rest of her Braavos plot to really work (or, rather, for me to easily suspend my disbelief).
As others mentioned, the plot progressed very quickly at certain points, and definitely quicker the closer we got to the end of the season. I don’t mind that, as long as the pace slows down a bit going forward – not so much as in fewer things happening, but as in making sure that the moments really are deserved and motivated by the characters’ inner workings, rather than plot necessities. I’m looking forward to the invasion, but also to some twists that will make it an exciting affair.
I loved this season! The emotional high points were the “hold the door” scene and the reunion of Jon and Sansa. I was really surprised at how much Hodor’s sacrifice affected me. Production values were off the charts. After “The Watchers on the Wall” and “Hardhome,” last season, I didn’t think they could go beyond that, but they did. “Battle of the Bastards” more than exceeded my expectations, not only with the battle in the north, but also with improved flying visual effects with Dany.
Things that I didn’t really like were Arya’s miraculous recovery after severe abdominal wounds and the pacing of the last episode. Arya’s recovery made no sense in light of other stabbings that resulted in death on the show, like Areo Hotah. In regards to the pacing, we have moved slowly for five seasons and then, in this finale, we went to warp speed. I am happy that the story has progressed forward, but it just seemed strange to me… as if they had been holding back prior to this, but no longer feel restrained.
I’m hoping that Jon and the rest of Westeros learns of his true parentage, and I’m looking forward to the emotional and political fallout that results. I also want to see Arya reunited with her siblings, but I realize that might not ever happen. Also, I’m looking forward to Dany finally arriving in Westeros.
I’m really interested to see if Arya takes on the Lady Stoneheart mantle next season. As of the end of season six, she’s making good on her promise to kill those who wronged her family, and she’s currently in the riverlands. Furthermore, Melisandre (who told Arya that they would meet again back in season three) is heading south, the Hound is back with the brotherhood without banners, and Brienne survived the siege of Riverrun, which Arya could easily misinterpret as treason.
Oh, and speaking of Arya’s Stark pie scene, did anyone else notice some lovely symmetry in the deaths this season? Roose Bolton got a “The Lannisters send their regards”-style stab in the heart, Walder Frey’s throat was sliced a la Catelyn Stark, and Ramsay Bolton was eaten alive by the very dogs he fed Walda, Tansy, and countless others to.
I loved this season! I thought it was a vast improvement on season five, which was really shoddy at times, in my opinion (I mean, a limp season of Game of Thrones is still excellent TV, but – seven hells – I’m glad we got Dorne sorted out this year. Far too much bad pussy).
I was initially a little apprehensive about seeing where the show would go off-book, but my worries have been mostly unfounded. This series was a heady blend of unexpected plot twists and book-theory confirmation: R+L=J, Frey Pie, Hodor’s origin. Arya’s storyline was a little confused for me this season, which is a shame, as I normally love her plots, and, frankly, I’m still not over her replacing House Manderly for the pie scene, but that’s a bit of a specific gripe! I am very intrigued to see where season seven takes us. This season felt a lot like it was cleaning up some of the dangling plot threads left over from the previous years, and I feel like it’s built a good, solid foundation from which to go forward. I was initially shocked at how many key players have been killed off this year, but I’m hoping it makes for a tight, streamlined couple of concluding seasons as we rush headlong into the finale.
My main hope for season seven is that Samwell and Gilly have a nice family day out at the library. I just want my favourite couple to be happy. Sorry – should have said my favourite couple that isn’t Daenerys and Yara.
Any time something leaves you wanting more, it should deservedly be categorized as a success. A man thinks we can check that box as the next nine-and-a-half months (or longer) may be the most painful we have ever been forced to endure.
For the most part, I concur with my fellow contributors on all points made above (other than the book-reader stuff, of which I have no knowledge). One of my personal highlights was the plethora of character returns the showrunners gave us. Granted, many of those returning stars were brought back to suffer prompt, unfortunate deaths (Blackfish, Osha, Rickon, etc.), but at least we were given some closure. However, I’m most pumped about the return of the brotherhood. Richard Dormer and Paul Kaye back in the mix gives me hope for the future, and the Hound most certainly returned if for no other reason than to make Westeros great again.
The entire season was beautifully shot and included some of the best landscapes and visuals we have seen from the show. Most notably for me were Bear Island, Oldtown, the dragons at Slaver’s Bay, and the Battle of the Bastards. Of course, there were the missteps (the Waif’s manufacturer-defective blade presumably retracting to only partially pierce Arya) and, of course, Dorne (which apparently continues to be the portion of the show designated to the HBO interns). But there were undeniably far more positives than negatives, and the show production continues to set itself apart from anything else on television.
As for season seven predictions, I’ll save those for off-season “Looking Forward.” But I’ll throw this out there: for all of the Baelish death-wishers, Littlefinger won’t be croaking anytime soon. He is the quintessential fly in the ointment, or, more appropriately, the mockingbird in the Winterfell worm shack.