Game of Thrones, “The Red Woman”: I’d Like Some Mutton.

Much like Ser Davos wanting to guarantee some mutton to feast on while toying with Alliser Thorne’s idea of journeying southward, we too walked into Game of Thrones’ season six premiere hoping for some immediate meaty bits to chew in order to fuel us for what is sure to be a frustrating, unpredictable adventure this spring. Especially after last season’s intense, will-he-or-won’t-he! (actually be dead) cliffhanger.


Well, it turns out that although we didn’t get a whole leg of lamb to nosh on last night, there were still some well-seasoned veal cubes sprinkled throughout the episode to whet our appetites. I promise this is where the meat puns will end.

At the Wall
We opened with a nice sweeping shot into Castle Black shortly after leaders of the Night’s Watch took it upon themselves to take Jon Snow’s insides and put them on his outsides. His body lay there right where we last saw it, and behind a closed door Ghost Dog leaps and howls in anguish. After only one minute of this I had to turn it all off and start watching “Lemonade” because I’m really just not ready for anything anymore.

Jon Snow’s body is brought into a locked room, joined by Ghost (most importantly), Davos, Edd, and others. Together they decide that in order to overthrow Thorne and fulfill Jon Snow’s legacy of not being some turd sandwich of a Lord Commander who is stuck in the past, they will employ the help of the Wildlings plus Melisandre’s spell-casting, for which Davos vouches.

Meanwhile in other parts of Castle Black, Thorne is explaining to the rest of the order that he killed Jon Snow out of “loyalty” because that word clearly confuses him. And at the end of the episode we see Melisandre remove her necklace and confront who she really is: a centuries-old woman hiding behind a religion whose lord seems to have forsaken her. She then retires to bed, nude, which regardless of age is OK in my book because that’s the best way to sleep, especially after a long day/400 years.

In the North
Ramsay is saying a few nice words to Myranda’s corpse, and they prove to be her eulogy since afterward he tells Maester Wolkan to feed her to the hounds, because love. Then he tells Roose Bolton that he has his best men out to hunt down Sansa and Theon, who if you remember, jumped from the Winterfell castle wall in an escape attempt at the end of last season. Roose responds by pretty much saying, “Whatever, Sansa would be great against the Lannisters, but Walda’s cooking up another son for me anyway so at least I got my shit in order.”


Meanwhile somewhere in the Wolfswood, Sansa and Theon are shivering after wading through a river to evade some Bolton hounds. Still, more Bolton men dispatched by Ramsay appear, and despite Theon’s best C-minus efforts to protect Sansa by telling them that she’s dead, the Bolton men’s hounds sniff her out. Then straight out of my diary and onto my television storm Brienne and Podrick, and they completely lay waste to the Bolton men. Theon even kills a guy! And saves Podrick by doing so. Brienne swears allegiance to Sansa AGAIN, and without Littlefinger there to oath-block her, she accepts. Although Podrick still has to coach her through the scripted vow, and she even needs to get Theon’s nod of approval. I consider this the first step toward Sansa slowly repairing herself in order to become a brave, powerful woman. (Or girl, still? How old is she supposed to be?)

In Meereen
Tyrion and Varys continue to walk through Meereen. Varys comments that Tyrion even walks like royalty, and to combat this, Tyrion tries to show his compassion by offering a poor woman some money. Varys has to intervene and apologize, for due to Tyrion’s terrible Valyrian, she thinks that the dwarf wants to eat her child. It’s nice to laugh again.

They stroll past that wall that has even more English graffiti on it for some reason, and while discussing how a people with no leader (Daenerys abandoned her people on the wings of Drogon last season) are in search of another purpose—some will seek religion, others may bend at the impending rule of the Sons of the Harpy, whose leader Varys’ birdies hope to seek out—a fire breaks out on the harbor, consuming what looks like all of the ships in Meereen.

In the Dothraki Sea
While Daario passively whistles Ray J’s “I Hit It First” while he and Jorah are patrolling the countryside on horse, they discover evidence of Dany’s whereabouts in the forms of charred ram bones, her discarded ring in the center of a circle of flattened, hoof-matted grass, and a chilly, general disdain for Jorah lingering in the air.


Meahwhile Dany is being led to Khal Doro by the Dothraki that captured her last season. As he talks about how lit it is to see a bomb girl nekkid for the first time, Khaleesi lays down her deal by informing him that she is Khal Drogo’s widow. Surprised, Doro retracts his flippancy, and promises her refuge in whatever the Essos equivalent of a Florida bingo parlor for singles is.

In Dorne
What is even happening here anymore? Apparently Ellaria got all of the Dornish people, who were living in peace under Doran’s rule, to join her in mutineering against the kingdom. She orchestrates his assassination, as well as that of his son Tyrstane, and it all feels like a concerted effort to make us care, when we really don’t? I mean I don’t. I guess it at least tries to help us further sympahtize with Cersei, if there was really any base level there to begin with. Speaking of…

In King’s Landing
Cersei’s busy stroking her phantom hair when she hears that a ship is entering the harbor. She races down with grin only to see a ship entering the port with a crying Jordan meme in the shape of Jaime Lannister at the bow, and behind him a Myrcella-shaped pile covered in a shroud. Then she and Jaime both become crying Jordan memes and talk about prophecies and how they will take back what is rightfull theirs, and more.

Margaery is still being held prisoner by the High Sparrow for perjury, but when she admits that no one is perfect without sin in lieu of a proper confession, he offers some consolation, saying that she is on the right path but has a long way to go. That’s fine.

In Braavos
Arya is a blind beggar and gets her ass beat by the Waif in the streets in a very unoriginal “first step of new training” scene. But the 80 seconds or whatever of this episode were worth it for this stellar shot:


All in all, this was a very appetizing season premiere. (I said no more meat puns, not eating wordplay in general. Scroll up.) It didn’t over promise anything, and aside from only like one hour elapsing at the Wall vs. days/weeks/maybe months elapsing everywhere else, it seemed to set the ball moving toward everything finally coming together later this season.



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