After months of anticipating, speculating, and waiting to see if our beloved Lord Commander Jon Snow was really dead, we viewers will now have to wait even longer! As of this first episode, he remains “dead.” But, I will personally not doubt his returning until his body is buried/burned or destroyed in some fashion. As long as his cold dead intact corpse still lies on that slab, all bets are off. Welcome back to Westeros, y’all.
Of course, this is Game of Thrones, not the “Jon Snow Show,” so other things are happening. The episode picks up right where Season 5 left off. Many of our characters are in turmoil and things can only (and do only) get worse on this show. The appropriately titled “Red Woman” finally reveals her true cards and it is disturbing in a way I haven’t felt before. This also happens to be the first season to exist sans George R.R. Martin’s books, so anything is fair game!
Castle Black: The terrible Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) and his equally horrible minions try to justify killing their Lord Commander to the other brothers. Is anyone more hated on this show right now other than stupid Olly (Brenock O’Connor)? Fine, he’s not as bad as Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), but Olly is just the wooooorst! Meanwhile, Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) discovers Jon’s corpse and shelters him in a room with some loyal Night’s Watch Brothers. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) sees Jon’s body and is in shock. She said she saw him fighting in Winterfell. Welp, that’s unfortunate, Mel. Once Thorne and his men come a-knocking to collect Jon’s body, Davos and his men form a plan. They aren’t going to let these traitorous men inside. Melisandre could be their only hope. Yet, she’s too busy, removing her necklace (and her glamour) and revealing that she is in fact WAAAAAY older than we thought. Hello, very, very, very old woman. Does this mean Melisandre’s magic works? Or is she fading into the night? Will she still be able to help Jon? So many unanswered questions and all I want to do is tell her to put her necklace back on!
Winterfell: Meanwhile, Ramsay is mourning his beloved Myranda (Charlotte Hope) after Theon (Alfie Allen) tossed her over the railings to her death. He’s not that sad though, as he decides to feed her remains to the dogs. His father, Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton), reminds Ramsay that without Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), he is basically defenseless, useless, and not worth anything. Ouch! Better get Sansa back, Ramsay. Also, you are the worst!
Outside Winterfell: Theon and Sansa are struggling to get as far away from Winterfell as possible, and that means wading through a freezing river. Frostbite, anyone? Also, how exactly did they survive their jump out of Winterfell? Guess they landed on a soft bit of snow. Ramsay’s men close in on them and Theon sacrifices himself, but it is Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick (Dan Portman) who save the day. I must admit I was cheering and clapping when the badass Brienne took control. She swore her fealty to Sansa, who accepted it at once. Yas, Queen! Finally, something good for these characters!
King’s Landing: Poor Cersei (Lena Headey)! Right? Anyone else feel bad for her? *Crickets* Nope? She had just completed her walk-of-shame and was so excited to see her daughter for the first time in a while. That shot of her face as she realizes Myrcella won’t be returning was heartbreaking. Instead of lashing out like the usual lioness she is, she took this blow differently, lamenting that the prophecy of Maggy the Frog was true. Her brother/lover, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), tries to reassure and strengthen her. He is all #LannisterPride right now and he isn’t going to give up easily. If you didn’t feel bad for the Queen Mother, maybe you’ll feel bad for the actual Queen, Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). She’s locked away in a dungeon being “tortured” by the Shame Nun (Hannah Waddington) and goaded by the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). Her usual charms aren’t working on these two. It’ll be interesting to watch how Margaery tries to get out of this situation and if she succeeds or not.
Dorne: Down in Dorne, Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) and the Sand Snakes (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Jessica Henwick) are still out for revenge after Ellaria fatally poisoned Myrcella. Just as Prince Doran (Alexander Siddig) receives news of her death, Ellaria stabs him and tells us all that Dorne will never be ruled by weak men again. Areo Hotah (Deobia Opparei) is also knifed down. In the King’s Landing harbor, Doran’s son, Trystane (Toby Sebastian) is also killed in a ridiculously over-the-top manner. RIP to the Dornishmen. The Dornishwomen are here to rule. Guess they were a bit mad that Doran did nothing about their father Oberyn’s (and aunt Elia’s) deaths. Is that it for Dorne this season? Hmm.
Braavos: Across the Narrow Sea, Arya (Maisie Williams) is still blind and now begging on the streets. Her coworker with a grudge, the Waif (Faye Marsay), stops by to challenge Arya to a fight using walking sticks, giving her a beating before going on her way. Mmmk? Well, hopefully we don’t get 10 episodes of this…
Mereen: Down in Meereen, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) try to figure out what to do now that Queen Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is gone. A power vacuum has erupted and the city is simultaneously being destroyed and abandoned. All the ships in the harbor are burned and no one really wants to come outside and hang out. People are even afraid of babies being eaten! It’s a pretty dreadful place, but if anyone can fix it, it’s Tyrion Lannister and the Master of Whispers. (Side note: where the hell is Littlefinger? He is notably absent this episode. Very suspicious!).
Elsewhere in Essos: After ditching the snappy Drogon, Daenerys got herself taken by a khalasar. Luckily for her, her loyal manservants Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) and Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) are on the hunt. Jorah somehow manages to find the ring Dany dropped earlier (which is ridiculous to think he would find it!). His greyscale is worsening and it doesn’t look good for our favorite Ser Friendzone.
Dany holds her own against Khal Moro (Joseph Naufahu) after being laughed at and ridiculed by the Dothraki, who somehow don’t know who she is is. How can they not know she is the MOTHER OF DRAGONS!? She regales them with her titles, but all Khal Moro tells her is that she must go to Vaes Dothrak, where all the other widows of Khals live. That is not the answer Dany wanted to hear. Where is Drogon when you need him?
And that’s it for episode one! We may not have exactly discovered the fate of Jon Snow yet, but a lot of other stuff happened and, well, that is always good. It was a fun, fast-paced start and as the first episode post-books, no one really knows where it could go. Literally anything can happen. And that last shot of Melisandre transforming into Kreacher proved it! See y’all next week!