It’s finally back! The first episode of the eagerly awaited season 6, titled ‘The Red Woman‘, premiered today, and fans from all over the world were glued to their screens waiting to see what lay ahead for their favourite characters. Though the episode had a fairly slow pace, it was a solid opener for the season, and the first time the show went beyond the source material.
The major recurring theme of the episode seemed to show how the majority of the characters were at their lowest point, humbled and defeated. Jon is still “dead”, Sansa and Theon are still trying to escape from the Bolton’s, Arya is a blind beggar sitting in the alleyways of Bravos, Cersei finds out about Myrcella’s fate, Daenerys has ended up as a slave, a system she has been fighting against over the past few seasons and Melisandre is faced with even more uncertainty, as her faith starts to desert her after the revelation of another failed vision.
The episode begins at the Wall, where we see Jon’s body still on the ground from where it was last season, covered in blood. With Ghost howling in the background, we see the shock of Ser Davos, and some men of the Watch, who discover their fallen Lord Commander and take him back inside. For those wondering where Dolorous Edd (who was not shown in the trailer) was, you’ll be pleased to know that he was by Jon’s side. As Davos and the loyal men of the Watch consider their options, Davos decides they will need the help of the Wildlings if they are to go up against Alliser Thorne and his goons. Edd leaves to find Tormund and the others, prompting one brother to say my favourite line of the episode, “it’s a sad fucking state when Dolorous Edd is our only chance“.
Back at Winterfell we see a quick dialogue between Roose and Ramsay, who first congratulates his son on the victory over Stannis before warning him that if he doesn’t find Sansa, they will lose the support of the North.
We then see Theon and Sansa running through the forest near Winterfell, crossing through freezing water in an attempt to evade the Bolton scouts. Seeking refuge under a fallen tree, they huddle together . I absolutely loved the way Theon held Sansa, rubbing her back and trying to keep her warm. Soon Ramsay’s hounds close in, and though Theon attempts to distract them away from Sansa, the scouts corner the both of them. Just as things get desperate, Brienne and Podrick show up on horseback, and they quickly dispatch of the scouts.
Though Podrick gets into some trouble after tripping over a branch, Theon finally finds his manhood, picking up a fallen sword and stabbing the Bolton soldier in the back before he has a chance to attack Pod. Then comes a scene we’ve been waiting to see for quite some time, Brienne and Sansa reuniting. Though Brienne wasn’t there for Sansa last season, she was able to show up just in time in this episode, where she proceeded to make yet another oath, swearing to protect Sansa. It was a very touching scene, and with the help of Pod, Sansa accepeted Brienne into her service. It was nice to see that Brienne was finally starting to honour her oaths, as she had trouble doing so in the earlier seasons.
We then travel South to Kings Landing, where Jaime arrives back home from Dorne, bringing Myrcella’s body with him. You can see all the happiness leave Cersei’s face as she watches them arrive to shore, and after all that happened to her last season, it’s hard not to feel sorry for her. She reflects on how different her daughter was from her, telling Jaime, “I thought if I could make something so good… So pure, maybe I’m not a monster“.
There’s a quick scene with Margaery with the High Sparrow, still locked up in the Sept. She keeps inquiring about Loras, and the High Sparrow tells her that Tommen is missing her, but she won’t leave or get any answers until she confesses.
Next comes a fan favourite… The Martell’s and Dorne. The Sand Snakes had a disappointing season last year to say the least, with many fans considering their plot line rushed and poorly written. In the premiere we see Doran Martell get betrayed by his sister-in-law, Oberyn’s wife Ellaria Sand, who stabs him through the heart. She is still angry over the death of her husband, and blames Doran for not taking revenge against the Lannisters.
Over in Kings Landing, Trystane Martell, the prince of Dorne, seems to still be on the ship which he came in with Jaime. As he prepares for Myrcella’s funeral, his cousins Obara and Nymeria Sand confront him and tell him they are there to kill him, demanding he choose to fight one of them. Though Trystane is hesitant to fight his family, he eventually draws his sword and prepares to fight Nymeria. With his back turned to her, Obara lunges with her spear and thrusts it into the back of his head, killing him instantly.
Over across the Narrow Sea, Tyrion and Varys discuss how to fix the mess left by Daenerys in Meereen. Varys is waiting for his “little birds” to find out who is leading the Sons of the Harpy. While walking through the streets, they encounter a group of former slaves who believe Daenerys has abandoned them, and they sense a revolt. Soon they hear screams and people running, when they go to investigate they find that all of Daenerys’ ships have been set on fire, probably by the Harpies. Honestly though, did we really need another obstacle for Dany to overcome in her quest to reach Westeros? Where will she get more ships from now?
Further East, Jorah and Daario are on Dany’s trail. They are able to locate where the Dothraki army took her, and Jorah finds her ring. Jorah’s greyscale is also getting progressively worse.
Speaking of Daenerys, she has been enslaved by the Dothraki, hands bound and being whipped. It was sad seeing her get treated like a slave considering how hard she’s worked on abolishing it. She is brought before Khal Moro, who plans to bed with her. I did enjoy the banter among the Khal and his bloodriders, and I had to admit I grinned when they laughed at Daenerys after she checked off her list of various names. I just want her to start thinking on her feet and using her brain rather than expecting her name to get her out of every situation she encounters.
However it does work this time, when she tells them she was Drogo’s wife, Moro backs down and apologises, as no man is allowed to bed a Khal’s widow. Daenerys thinks she has the situation under control, and asks them to return her to Meereen, for which she will reward them with a thousand horses. However, Moro and his wife tell Daenerys that as a widow of a Khal, the only place she will go is Vaes Dothrak, where she will live out the rest of her days.
Over in Braavos, Arya is finding it difficult to adjust to her new found blindness. She is sitting in the alleyways begging for money, seemingly alone. As she sits there, the Waif appears with two staffs, throwing one at Arya and telling her to fight. Though Arya pleads with her, telling her she can’t see, the only response she gets is “that’s your problem, not mine”. After relentlessly beating Arya to the floor, the Waif tells her “see you tomorrow,” before leaving.
Back at Castle Black, we get one of the biggest surprises of the episode. Melisandre is clearly distraught after finding out about Jon’s death, claiming to have seen him fighting at Winterfell in her visions. She seems unsettled, almost fearful, that she’s losing her abilities as a Red Priest. As she disrobes herself in her room, she takes off her necklace. Without the magical necklace, she loses her illusion, or ‘glamor‘, and we see her true form.
She is an old women, possibly even hundreds of years old, with a hunched back and white, thin hair. This is an important moment for her character, we’ve always seen Melisandre as a beautiful and powerful witch, but now as she’s begun to doubt herself, we see her at her weakest, and it’s something we won’t be able to forget as the series moves on. If you are confused or have questions in mind regarding Melisandre after watching this episode, take a look at our take on Melisandre’s real age.