Season Six: GoT heads into uncharted territory, Part One

Well, the much anticipated Season Six premier was last night, and now that I have had some time to process everything, I thought I could write about it a bit.

I have read all five books in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series (multiple times) and enjoy them very much.  While there have been differences between the TV show and the books, I also appreciate the interpretation that has been done by the TV show. After all, they are totally different mediums, and considering the size of the books, 10 hours per season is actually NOT a lot of time.  So yeah, some streamlining has to take place.  I accept that.

Still, I have to admit I have been a little nervous now that the show is passing the books, at least in terms of some of the story lines, just as I am admittedly a little nervous about where George R.R. Martin will be taking some of the characters in the books.  And so while I have theories about what might happen next on the show, it’s rare that my ideas about future events on Game of Thrones have been proved to be so utterly, completely wrong.

So let’s talk about the North.  My favorite area, as I have mentioned before.  Some of the Northern story lines have not caught up with the books (Bran Stark and Ser Davos, notably) or may be altered or eliminated altogether.  So it’s tough to see what might happen in some cases, especially when it comes to secondary characters.

I very much like the way the show has changed Brienne’s story, and I was delighted to see her and Podrick kill some Bolton soldiers because I really, really, really hate the Boltons.  And of course Ramsay just reminded me how much I hate him with the scene where he decides to feed his ex-girlfriend’s corpse to the dogs.  What a lovely young man.  And although Sansa’s story has changed a bit (notably the merging of the Jeyne Poole storyline with hers), it will be interesting to see where it goes now that it has essentially caught up to the books.

No sign of Bran, Hodor, and Meera Reed yet.

Jon Snow’s story has caught up to the books and is now passing them.  I can’t imagine that the ultimate goal of his story is deviating too much from where GRRM will take it, at least so far.  Jon Snow is just too important a character.  But the details of how Jon goes from Point A to Point B may change significantly, and since Ser Davos is involved with this now in a way that does not exist as of Book Five, I can’t tell whether this is a streamlining of the story or a complete departure from it.  I am still clinging to the forlorn hope that the Manderlys will show up, or perhaps some amalgamated character based on them.

Then there’s Melisandre, the subject of the episode’s name.  Oh, man.  Where to begin.

At first I was shocked by the idea that she was actually very old, and had used one of her “glamours” to hide that fact.  But then I thought about it, and I remembered some of the things that had been discussed about her in the books: when Melisandre said that she had practiced her magic for “years beyond count”.  Oh, I am an idiot – she wasn’t being poetic, she was literally saying that she is very, very old.  The magic of the Lord of Light keeps her alive, literally, not just allowing her to go without food or sleep, but also keeping her from dying of old age.  I also remember some descriptions about her (I think from the point of view of Ser Davos) in which he talks about how she seems a little too beautiful and perfect.

So for the first time, we see Melisandre as she truly is.  I can’t help but wonder if it is because her faith is crumbling.  It was obvious that she was beginning to have doubts near the end of Season Five, when she abandoned Stannis not long before his death.  After all, if he was not Azor Ahai, then it called into question virtually everything she had done.  And truly, I think the issue was not so much in regards to the power of the Red God (clearly, he has power), but rather in regard to Melisandre’s own power.  Obviously her ability to interpret what she sees in the flames is called into question.  And perhaps she was already calling her own abilities into question when she saw that Thoros of Myr had been able to resurrect his friend Lord Beric Dondarrion six times.  I think on some level that had to have wounded her pride.  After all, Thoros was a drunk who had failed in his mission to recruit King Robert to the faith.  Why would R’hllor give this gift to him, and not to her?

So perhaps the future scene where she resurrects Jon Snow (frankly, I think that at least making the attempt is inevitable) is the last gasp of her faith.  Oh, wow.  Until just now, I hadn’t considered the possibility that she might try and fail.  Oh, George, I could see you pulling a fast one like that.  In the books, we know that other people besides the Others and Thoros can resurrect the dead. In the books, the never-seen-in-the-show Coldhands was clearly resurrected by either the Children of the Forest or possibly the Three-Eyed Raven/Last Greenseer/”Bloodraven“.  All this time we have been assuming that Melisandre would be the one to resurrect him.  And it certainly makes sense that she would, considering how much has been built up in the show to seemingly lead us to that conclusion.  All the more reason for them to make it someone else altogether.  But it would make more sense to have her do it, and have that rekindle her faith.

So how long must we be made to wait to know who raises Jon from the dead?  That’s the question.  How will depend on who, I guess.

Anyway, that’s enough until part two, where I talk about the HUGE departure from the books that we saw in this episode, the one I really, really, really didn’t see coming.

-Geoff

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6 thoughts on “Season Six: GoT heads into uncharted territory, Part One”

  1. Yeah, that Melisandre scene. It’s been awhile since I’d read Book 5, the only book with a chapter from Missy’s point of view. And I had some of the details that you’d mentioned in the back of my mind. When she was checking out the mirror and her image changed, so much just clicked. Just perfect.

    I’m looking forward to your next post, which I know exactly what you’re likely to be talking about.

    Great reading your Game of Thrones take-away!

    1. Hey Pat – thanks for commenting! Always good to see you around.

      I have to ask you, though… are you really going to write a post defending the Freys? Because honestly, I do believe that would make Baby Jesus cry. It will certainly make me cry. Because the only people I hate more than the Freys are the Boltons.*

      -Geoff

      *And the Lannisters, but there are so few of them left it’s almost not worth getting worked up about, since at least two of them (Tyrion and Tommen) are actually quite nice, and even the Kingslayer has come a long way. Cersei is still evil though, and will get what is coming to her eventually.

      ETA: I misread. You already wrote that post. Oh, Seven Hells, I better go read it.

      1. 🙂 Yes, I already published a controversially entitled In Defense of the Freys, but hopefully it won’t make you cry, or little baby Jesus. If I cause you any anguish, I will try to make amends…

  2. Very interesting post! I haven’t read the books for a while – all these damn blogs and FF and occasionally current events to keep up with! – so it’s cool to be able to relate the source material to the show. I, too, love them both and while they’re both ASOIAF I see them as two separate creatures now.
    I laughed to myself whenever my book reading mates said “but Jon Snow is dead!” whenever we talked about this season… I mean COME ON. He’s Azor Ahai, he’s gotta be. I was expecting him to be resurrected by Melisandre in the first episode but yeah, that twist where she just turns away to go be depressed in bed surprised me. I don’t think her powers are fading, but she’s having huge doubts about her role in things. Because she has done some seriously messed up shit after all and it certainly seems she’s been getting a lot of things wrong.
    And speaking of Freys, do you think Lady Stoneheart will make an appearance? I want those Freys dead too.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment!

      If Lady Stoneheart does make an appearance, it will be this season, since we are returning to the Riverlands. But I don’t know what the likelihood of that is. I would have imagined something would have leaked by now regarding any appearances by Michelle Fairley.

      But it would be really cool.

      -Geoff

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