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Tales From Westeros – Season 6- Episode 1- The Red Woman

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Hello all and welcome to another season of Game of Thrones! I’m your humble reviewer of all things Westeros, Zach P.! First off, I’d like to extend a massive thanks to C. Mart for allowing me to come back again to write for EvilGeeks.com. Now, let’s get to the season opener, shall we? And what a time it was. Also, as always, spoilers ahead.

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Alright so I think we should cover the recap of last season, as it will help fill the gaps.  Apparently I didn’t write a review for the finale of last season, so….oops. So Cersei tips off the High Sparrow that Loras Tyrell is a “sword swallower” as they say in Westeros, and that a formal trial is to be put against both him and Margery, the current queen. Both are thrown in the black cells, the same ones Cersei herself had found herself in last season right before she walked around Kings Landing in the nude.  I know, I know, it’d truly be a shame to see Margery suffer the same fate. Sansa and Theon’s escape from the clutches of Ramsay and Roose Bolton is shown, killing his bow-toting minion Miranda in the process before Assassin’s Creed Leap of Faith jumping off the parapets of Winterfell. Melisandre’s betrayal of Stannis and his subsequent assassination by Brienne of Tarth is shown. (Off-screen doesn’t count, folks. #StannisLives) The Red Woman is then shown loping into Castle Black on a horse, looking pretty bummed. Jorah the Explorer’s attack by the Stone Men in Valyria and his contraction of the deadly disease, Greyscale, which will soon spread throughout his body both driving him insane and killing him, might spell the end for everyone’s favorite Westerosi neckbeard. Quick recap of the battle at the arena in Mereen before Dany’s capture by the Dothraki details the power vacuum left behind in Meereen. Tyrion is quickly appointed as the city’s leader, and both Jorah and Daario go off to find their shared love interest. Dany has conveniently left one of her rings behind as a breadcrumb to help whoever might find her. Myrcella is poisoned by Ellaria Sand upon her return trip to Westeros, making her the second Lannister baby to die via poison.  Arya is blinded by Jaquen Hagar for “stealing from the Many Faced God”, or taking the wrong life. He tells her that “the faces are for no one, and you are still someone.” Cersei’s walk of shame is shown, before the reveal of Zombie/Frankenstein Gregor Clegane aka “Robert Strong”. Jon and the Wildlings come back to the Wall before a reluctant Allister Thorne lets them in. Jon is lead to a cross bearing the word, “TRAITOR”. I know, the Force Awakens has ruined me too, I actually said “TRAITOR!” out loud. My roommates were not pleased.  Jon turns, and is stabbed by his brothers. “For the Watch.” And then….

TV STILL -- DO NOT PURGE -- episode 510 -- GAME OF THRONES, titled "Mother’s Mercy." Pictured: Kit Harington as Jon Snow Photographer: HBO

We pick up exactly, and I mean exactly, where we left off. Turning pale, with blood frozen around him, a sweeping shot of Castle Black lands us where lies the body of Jon Snow. Last season, he was stabbed to death by his Night’s Watch brothers for allegedly betraying what the men in black of Westeros are all about by letting the Wildlings through the gates so they don’t starve/freeze to death or aren’t killed by the White Walkers and turned into ice zombies themselves. Hardhome ringing any bells anyone?

So Davos finds Jon in the snow and has some Night’s Watch brothers bring him inside. It’s also revealed that everyone’s favorite cuddly death machine, Ghost, is penned up in a small shed nearby, and was heard baying and howling throughout the sequence. Dolorous Edd, who has one of the dumbest/coolest names in the series, closes Jon’s eyes. “Thorne did this.” He grunts through bared teeth. It’s clear this is an unpopular event. Melisandre knocks, much to everyone’s delight, I’m assured. The main prevailing theory this season is that Melisandre will be using her Red Priestess powers to bring on back from the dead, much as Thoros of Myr did many times to Berric Dondarrion. She reveals that she “saw him in the flames, fighting at Winterfell.” This is proof that Mel got Jon and Stannis mixed up in the whole “Azor Ahai” prophecy. Allister Thorne is playing to a tough crowd as he defends his treason to the brothers. He admits to killing Jon, and further loses the crowd. He claims that while he didn’t like Jon, he never disobeyed him. Maybe it’s the history major in me, but the killing of Jon Snow somewhat resonates with the assassination of Julius Caesar. Betrayed by a group of men supposedly loyal and close to him due to some (in Jon’s case, one) unpopular decision. Thorne justifies his killing of Jon by pointing out that Jon gave the Wildlings the “very land that which they reaved and raped and murdered.” He claims this decision would have been the end of the Night’s Watch. “He thrust a terrible choice upon us, and we made it.” While all outrage seems to have left the crowd of brothers, there are some mumblings and talking amongst themselves that would stand to show that Thorne may have some more explaining to do in the future.

Back in the room where Jon is laid, Davos and Edd debate on what to do.  Edd wants to fight, with the only goal being to take Thorne down. Davos suggests they bolster their numbers. “You are not the only ones who owe your lives to Jon Snow.” Davos is suggesting they use the Wildlings to somehow fight the Watch. This would be one hell of a smack down and I’m super jazzed for it.

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Back in Winterfell, Ramsay relates to a maester how he met Miranda, over her dead body.  When the maester asks whether or not she should be burned or buried, the pitiless Ramsay has her body fed to the dogs. A fitting end for the “kennel master’s daughter” who “smelt of dog” according to Ramsay. This is an interesting moment in Ramsay’s development, swearing revenge but also re-introducing the audience to his ruthlessness.  Papa Bolton and Ramsay talk about the battle with Stannis’s army. Roose laments that he would have awarded the man who “struck the killing blow” on Stannis. If I may put my tin foil hat on for a moment, I think that may have something to do with Stannis’s off-screen, shrouded in mystery death.  Roose plays with Ramsay’s head, trying to belittle Ramsay’s victory and denigrating his losing of both Sansa and “the heir to the Iron Islands” Aka Theon/Reek. In an ultimatum, Roose implies that Ramsay needs to get Sansa back in order to produce and heir otherwise he “hopes the maester’s are right” and that “Lady Walda (Bolton) is carrying a boy”.  The last shot of a worried looking Ramsay tells the whole story. Ramsay was only recently legitimized by Roose and made a Bolton, an act that could likely be undone as quickly as it was done. Out in the frigid North, Theon and Sansa are on the run from Ramsay’s hounds. They cross a freezing river and take a short rest to warm up. Theon has clearly turned over a new leaf, holding Sansa close to conserve body heat before Ramsay’s men catch up to them. Selflessly, Theon goes off to sacrifice himself. A soldier says, “I can’t wait to see what parts of you Ramsay cuts off this time.” This is referring to Theon’s castration by Ramsay back in season 3. Alfie Allen’s subtle look of courage hiding horror gave me a bit of an acting boner, not gonna lie. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, surprise surprise! It’s Brienne of Tarth. Her and Podrick fight off and kill Ramsay’s men, but not before Theon saves a disarmed Podrick. This only further highlights the changes going on, whereas before it was Theon becoming Reek, its Reek returning to being Theon. Brienne offers her services again, and Sansa accepts. You can see how incredibly happy this makes Brienne, as she is finally able to make good on the promise she made to Catelyn to protect her daughters.

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Back in King’s Landing, a ship bearing Martell sigils arrives in Blackwater Bay. “Honey, I’m home! Our daughter’s dead!” Cersei heartbreakingly rushes to the port, where a crushed Jaime and a shrouded corpse await her on the boat. Cersei and Jaime talk about death, mostly the death of their mother, as its Cersei’s reliving of a great lost. Jaime consoles her, and she brings up the witch’s prophecy. If you remember, last season, the first episode started off with the flashback of a young Cersei visiting a soothsayer. “She promised me three children; she promised me they’d die.”  Jaime tells her to “fuck prophecy, fuck fate, fuck anyone who isn’t us” and that “everything they’ve taken from us, we’re going to take back and more.” This seems to be the mission statement of the Lannister family at this point; as they’ve sunk so low that now seems to be the time for their upswing. And the trial of Margery may be just the thing for that.

Speaking of which, we see Septa Unella reading scripture to Margery in the black cells. If you remember from last season, she was the one ringing the bell and chanting “Shame!” behind Cersei on her walk. The walk that sparked a thousand memes.  Margery repeatedly asks to see Loras, but is denied. The High Sparrow intervenes, telling the Septa that “our other guests need you.” One can infer that means the Septa is being sent to Loras’s cell. High Sparrow tries to get a confession out of her, but Margery tells him that she has nothing to confess. Sparrow asks her if she thinks that she’s perfect, and she replies that, “none of us are.” I’m interested to see where this arc goes, and how the Tyrell siblings will get themselves out of trouble.

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This next sequence is what screwed me up the most last night. In Dorne, Doran and Ellaria reminisce about Oberyn. Doran laments that Oberyn “truly lived” while he “sat here in Dorne.” Ellaria remarks that Doran would have made a lousy adventurer and Oberyn, a terrible ruler. Doran gets word about Princess Myrcella biting the big one, and then he and Areo Hotah are killed by Ellaria Sand and her daughter. Ellaria stands over Doran’s dying form and claims that “weak men will never rule Dorne again.” Doran dies, and in the next sequence, his son and heir, Trystane is killed by Obara Sand. These are the first two major deaths of this season, and can be seen as Ellaria’s power grab for Dorne in order to wage war against the people who killed Oberyn.  With all that’s going on with the Lannister’s, war with Dorne is likely last on their list.

In Mereen, Tyrion and Varys discuss the future of Mereen while on a stroll. Tyrion offers money to a poor mother clutching a baby, but botches the Valyrian, and Varys translates. This was one of the few comical moments in the episode, and if this is how the two of them will be interacting for the rest of this season, I am here for it. Tyrion and Varys come across graffiti that says “Kill all the Masters”, however written above it is written, “Mhysa is a Master”. “Mhysa” is the Valyrian word for “mother” and is what the people of Mereen refer to Daenerys Targaryen. This, as Tyrion explains shows that our white haired heroine is not as popular in her city as she used to be. The unlikely pair then stumbles onto a red priest preaching to a group of Mereenese people, and appears to be advocating for a slave uprising. “Fear has brought Mereen to a standstill” remarks Tyrion. Varys informs us that his spies are searching for whoever organized the attack on the fighting pits. Citizens are heard screaming and seen running away as bells toll. The harbor and all of its ships are on fire. Tyrion, perhaps serving as a mouthpiece for Benioff and Weiss states, “Well, she won’t be sailing to Westeros anytime soon.” Seeing as Dany is already waylaid in that regard, this is perhaps the showrunner’s way of telling all the fans to shut up and deal with the fact that the Mother of Dragons will be in Mereen or at the very least Essos for the foreseeable future.

Somewhere in the Great Grass Sea, Jorah and Daario are hot on Dany’s trail. Jorah finds a burnt ram corpse, showing that Drogon may have been in the area. Daario and Jorah banter about Jorah and Dany’s motivations. Jorah rolls up his sleeve and shows the audience that his greyscale is getting much worse. The pair of horse mounted detectives discovers a circle of hoof prints, indicating a Dothraki horde. Jorah finds Dany’s ring, and declares, “They have her.” Daario actually looks nervous. Jorah holds the ring tight in his fist. I’m very pumped to see how these two manage to catch up to the kidnapped queen.

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The Dothraki horde rides on, Dany tied to one of the horses and whipped as she walks. The riders make disparaging comments to her, perhaps not knowing she speaks Valyrian. This is the mistake some poor bastard made back in season 3 and got burned to death. Dany is taken to Kahl Moro, the new Kahl since Drogo died in season one.  Kahl Moro and his riders have a funny banter about what is best in life. All I could think of was Conan the Barbarian, and how he replied with “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women.” Dany plays politics and it doesn’t work. It’s clear she has little to now sway left with the Dothraki. She reveals that she was Drogo’s wife, and Moro apologizes for his ignorance, as its illegal within Dothraki culture to sleep with another Kahl’s widow. It was at this moment I thought that Moro might actually be pretty cool. He’s a dick sure, but a sense of honor is important in a character.  However, it’s revealed that Dany has only one place left. Vaes Dothrak. The temple of the Dosh Khaleen, where every kahleesi of every dead Kahl lives out the rest of her days. This spells an unfortunate destination for Dany, as she won’t be able to get back to Mereen anytime soon.  

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In Braavos, Arya is seen begging, blind and destitute. The Waif comes up to her and asks, “Are you listening, blind girl? Do you hear them talking? Do any of them talk to you?” The Waif then challenges her to a fight with sticks, and positively wrecks Arya, being at a severe disadvantage due to her newfound blindness. She stops suddenly and walks away, declaring that she will see Arya the following day. This may be a daily occurrence for poor Arya, and she might learn to fight blind. Consider Arya to be Matt Murdock and Braavos to be Hell’s Kitchen and you know you’ve got my stamp of hype approval.

Back at the wall, Thorne goes to talk to Davos. With men posted with crossbows, it seems that he isn’t taking this matter lightly. When he knocks, everyone, including Ghost is on guard.  Thorne tells them that he will grant amnesty to anyone who surrenders and will let Davos leave. Davos deflects by asking for food, and Thorne allows him to take Melisandre with him. Davos says that they will “discuss and come back to” Thorne with an answer, obviously displeasing him. Davos concedes that if they open the door, they will die. Davos says that Melisandre is their only chance, to much doubt. Davos replies that the brothers “haven’t seen her do what” he has seen her do. Melisandre, in Jon’s chambers, strips nude (welcome back, folks!” and removes her choker, revealing her true form: A grizzled, grey hag. It would appear that Mel has been using the magic of the lord of light to keep herself young. Truly an interesting way to end the episode, it may foreshadow that Melisandre’s highly anticipated resurrection of Jon Snow may lead to her eventual downfall.  All in all, it leaves the audience wanting more, and will have many fans coming back next week.

Welcome back. Thanks for reading. Berate me in the comments.

-Zach P.

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Posted on April 28, 2016, in Geekology, Tales from Westeros, TV and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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