The much awaited season premiere of Game of Thrones did not disappoint. Fans were rewarded with the repercussions of the intense ending of last season’s cliffhanger of Jon Snows epic betrayal. Lena Headey also gave an incredible performance in the continuation of Cersei Lannister’s story, as she continued to reap the evil karma that her character has sewn, over the last few seasons. Needless to say, there are spoilers from this epic premiere in this article, and you have been officially warned.
We pick up this season exactly where the cliffhanger left off, continuing the results of the mutiny and the reactions of those still loyal to the former lord commander of the night’s watch. With Jon Snow’s controversial decision of last season to invoke the aid of the wildlings, a great divide was created within the night’s watch. We see Alliser unapologetically retake power of the group and take ownership of the mutiny, claiming it as justifiable. This divide within the night’s watch was at its peak at the end of last season, and it comes to no surprise that Davos is left in the minority with those who remain faithful to Snow.
While many speculated that Jon would be revived in some form by the “red woman” Melisandre, the fate of Jon Snow seems final. While the dark magic she possesses may still bring some form of Snow back into the picture, we do not see that as part of the agenda in the episode as they plan a solution to their outnumbered plan to avenge his death. While we had hints from previous seasons of the true age of Melisandre, we see in the flesh the true vision of who she really is. We are left with an image of a frail aged woman coming to terms with her own acknowledgement that her beauty is one of many fallacies that she has perpetuated in her quest for power at Stannis’s side.
After the emotionally charged and crushing atonement of Cersie in last season’s finale, the writers add insult to injury as Jamie returns with his daughter/niece Myrcella’s body in tow. The performance is compelling as the incestuous couple discuss the plight of their family, claiming that all of the horrible events were prophesies. The karma is well deserved, but it is worth mentioning that viewers forget the cruel and unjust actions of Cersie over the last five seasons, and feel a hint of compassion for her character. This compassion is a direct result of the amazing acting and writing of the show, and it is remarkable that we can even slightly feel for these characters, who have time and time again proven themselves self-righteous with their downright evil actions.
The writers continued the theme of reaping what you sew as we see the reactions of the Bolton household, while the search for Sansa and Theon is underway. With Roose Bolton’s acknowledgement that this escape is notably due to the “games” that Ramsey has played. He makes clear the potential results of this failure if retrieval of Sansa is unsuccessful. This disappointment is devastating for Ramsey’s character who cares for very little in this world, other than bringing honor to the Bolton name. For a brief moment, we feel a sense of compassion for Ramsey as he mourns the loss of his right hand Myranda. We immediately regret that sympathy, as he commands her body be fed to the hounds in lieu of a respectful disposal of her corpse because of the “good meat” she could provide.
Theon’s redemption continues with his help in an epic battle scene to protect Sansa. After FINALLY revolting against his captors in last season’s finale, he continues his atonement for the betrayal of the Stark household. He risks his life to protect Sansa’s by lying to the search party. When that fails and the cavalry arrives in the form of Brienne of Tarth, he heroically kills one of the guards in the escape attempt. Brienne drops to her knees, and in such an intense moment, the writers added a hint of humor as Sansa has to be reminded the words used for honoring a knight that is pledging their allegiance.
We check in with Arya Stark in the form of a blind beggar, after she is punished by the many faced god for her selfish vengeance from last season. The insult to injury is continued, as her rival student counterpart engages with her in a melee fight that is blatantly painful to watch. The obvious abuse is meant to intentionally provoke the inner strength that Arya still possesses. We hope to see this strength manifest itself, as she adapts and comes to terms with the painful reality that she has lost her sight permanently.
We find the results of Daenery’s kidnapping by the Dothraki, as she is presented to the leader of the army that took hold of her after the dragon flight in the finale took her far from her new home. Her imminent raping was thwarted as she invoked the name of her former husband, as it is forbidden to lay with a former leader’s widow. While this disclosure gained the respect of her captors, the future seems less than ideal for her character, as she is then informed that it is customary that all Dothraki widows are to spend the rest of their days in Vaes Dothrak and join the dosh khaleen. With Jorah and Daario hot on her trail finding the breadcrumb of her ring that she left for them last season, it is unlikely that her fate into obscurity is certain. However, it is no small feat that they face an entire Dothraki army in their attempt at freeing their queen.
In the Kahleesi’s absence, we see Tyrion step up to plate in Meereen doing what he does best, manage government. After boldly offering to help in the mother of dragons rescue, he concludes that his talents may be a greater help in a city that is divided by their new ruler. After the massacre executed by the underground group the Sons of the Harpy, Tyrion is left with the task of maintaining power in a city that is finally fighting back against Daenery’s claim to power, after freeing the slaves that were once used as currency. We see slavers bay in flames as the ships are destroyed in retaliation, and Tyrion is left with the task of finding the individual orchestrating the movement with the help of Varys’s “little birds.”
This season started with a bang, and viewers all over the world that anxiously awaited the premier, were not disappointed. The writers of the show have an amazing ability to invoke sympathy from the plight of even the most evil characters. This skill is compelling and incredibly difficult to produce on a show that is so effective at polarizing viewer’s opinions. With the white walker army nearing the wall and the various houses of power in duress, this season is predicted to outshine previous seasons as the epic tale created by R.R. Martin continues.