WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the 'Game of Thrones' TV series and 'A Song of Ice and Fire' books. Do not read on unless you have seen Season 6, Episode 1, 'The Red Woman.'
After months of waiting, last night finally saw the premiere of Season 6 of HBO's smash-hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones — and damn, was it dramatic. The episode picked up pretty much exactly where last season left off, with Davos finding Jon Snow on the cold ground at Castle Black (a bit too late).
Considering all of the anticipation that's been building over the last few months, there was a lot riding on this episode. It's worth noting this is the first season that Game of Thrones has overtaken the books, so even the loyalest of ASOFAI readers are in for a few surprises.
I think it's safe to say the show absolutely delivered on the shock factor.
"The Red Woman" was packed with plenty of twists, turns, blood, sweat and tears, culminating in a final scene I don't think any of us saw coming — well, except maybe this guy. While I've no doubt you were fully engrossed in the world of Westeros last night, there was a lot going on and it's easy to get lost among the various subplots and references to previous seasons. Did you catch everything?
Here are five major things you might not have noticed in Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 1, "The Red Woman."
1. Melisandre Is Centuries Old — And Ready To Die?
In that fateful final scene, Melisandre reveals she is actually — old. Like, really old. In After The Thrones immediately following the episode, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss revealed that the Red Woman has actually been around for centuries, which leaves all sorts of questions running through my mind.
The biggest one: Is Melisandre going to offer herself up as a sacrifice? Let's face it — things aren't looking good for her right now. Jon's gone, she was wrong about Stannis, and she's likely in hot water with her beloved Lord of Light. The look on her face as she feebly climbed into bed said it all: She's given up. But winter is coming and she probably knows that bringing Snow back is the Wall's only hope.
This is where it gets interesting. Some of you might remember a certain Lightning Lord, a.k.a Beric Dondarrion, from earlier seasons — another faithful servant revived and healed by the Lord of Light. In the books, Beric sacrifices his life in order to resurrect Catelyn Stark (who returns as Lady Stoneheart), leading me to believe that Melisandre herself is more than able to perform similar magic feats. Could this be the end for the woman in red?
2. There's Something About That Necklace
I haven't given Melisandre's ruby necklace much thought in the past, other than wondering why she doesn't own any other jewelry, but the fact that she wears it all the damn time finally started to make sense last night, when taking it off seemed to trigger her bodily transformation.
If we are to follow canon from the books, Melisandre's power of illusion is a gift from the Lord of Light, called "glamor." It's entirely possible the necklace in particular holds some sort of special power that is crucial to keeping her magical disguise. There is only one instance I can think of (although there could be more) when Mel is seen without her necklace: The bathtub scene in Season 4.
But it's not just any bath — as she reclines in the tub, Mel pours what appears to be some sort of potion all over herself and gets pretty excited about it in the process. In the aging scene, the camera focuses in on a similar potion-containing vial for just a moment, which looks to me like a clue more than coincidence.
Could the necklace contain some of the life-giving liquid? Or do the two work in harmony? Either way, it looks like she's certainly had a bit of a helping hand in maintaining her hotness from her mighty God.
3. Ghost Is Staying Awfully Close To Jon
It's been revealed in the books that, just like his brother Bran, Jon Snow is actually a warg with the ability to enter the minds of animals and perceive the world through their senses. Jon's direwolf Ghost has a fairly prominent presence right from the offset of the episode, when he is seen desperately trying to break out of his kennel.
Throughout the episode, Ghost makes no secret of his disdain for Alliser Thorne and he refuses to leave Jon's side. Could Jon have already entered his consciousness? It wouldn't be the first instance of this happening in the show: Orell, the warg wildling from Mance Rayder's army, is believed to have inhabited his eagle after his body was killed by Jon Snow in Season 3. It's always been clear that Jon and Ghost have a special connection, but this could really bring it to life.
4. We've Seen Some Scenes Before
It might feel like years ago (to be fair, it actually was) but a lot of the themes in the episode have played out on our screens before. The scene where Brienne pledges her loyalty to Sansa hauntingly echoes her pledge to Catelyn three seasons before. Arya's pretty brutal first training session with Waif also harkens back to her very first lesson with Syrio (only darker and more vicious), reflecting what is undoubtedly a more dangerous and rather poignant time in her life.
Perhaps the most familiar scene of all is when Podrick is saved by Theon, who impales the attacker from behind. This is almost definitely a reference to when Podrick impaled Tyrion's attacker from behind at Blackwater. A life for a life.
5. Cersei's Prophecy Is Being Fulfilled
What probably intrigued me the most about the whole episode was the somewhat emotional moment between Jaime and Cersei after establishing the death of Myrcella. It's not often that we see such vulnerability from Cersei and she seemed particularly panicky about a certain prophecy.
You might remember that exactly one season ago we were shown a flashback of a young Cersei paying a visit to a witch and, in true Cersei fashion, demanding to know her future. The book explains this prophecy in quite a bit of detail, revealing that Cersei will outlive all of her children and she will eventually be killed by her little brother. But which one? It can't be far away either. Two kids down, one to go. No wonder she's freaking out.
Game of Thrones will return next Sunday, May 1 on HBO with Season 6, Episode 2, "Homeward Bound."
What did you think of the 'Game of Thrones' season premiere?