Games of Thrones’ changing perspectives and infinitely layered stories have created the biggest ensemble on television. But for the first time, they don’t seem to be shy about acknowledging a lead. Jon Snow, for the third out of three Sundays so far, is the predominant focal point of the episode. At long last, the scruffy bastard can move south of The Wall and Castle Black. The stale location did pick up the pace in recent years, but it’s safe to say that everyone (including Jon) was ready for a change of scenery in that storyline. All signs continue to point to the 2016 Bastard Bowl between Jon and Ramsay, which could provide an incredibly satisfying episode 8, 9 or 10 down the road. The North has completely overtaken all other regions as the most interesting territory on this show.
Game of Thrones contracts must be so interestingly structured in order to have characters that disappear for years at a time, only to return when the plot demands it. On that subject, Rickon Stark is back as Ramsay’s newest pet. We’ll see what new and uninteresting horrors await the now post-pubescent kid as Ramsay runs out of ideas. As a plot device, Rickon is a welcome return that will almost certainly draw some action to Winterfell. Now all I need is uncle Benjen, and all my long-term curiosities will be complete.
Bran’s storyline has revealed itself as, for now, little more than exposition. His ample time spent sitting and dreaming will most likely shed some light on his family’s increasingly mysterious past. The worldwide suspicion behind Jon’s true parentage approaches at a glacial pace, but it’ll be worth the wait. If I were a betting man, I’d say Aunt Lyanna is making all that noise because she’s in the midst of giving birth to one Jon Snow. As I’ve said, I prefer well-spoken anecdotes to outright flashbacks, but I happily welcome any plot decision that makes Bran more interesting. Sam and Gilly are back, and for some reason Gilly is significantly chattier this season. She must've attended the Little Finger School of change how you talk after you've been on the show for a few seasons.
Arya has finally reached the point that she could’ve just as easily reached five minutes into the first episode, as we reach the Daredevil Season 3 finale. Hopefully, we will finally see the many-faced plan for her. Last season, her situation seemed more like house arrest than anything to do with assassins. Maybe she finally takes a significant step forward. Every step of Arya's journey has been used to improve her combat skills or toughness, but all this training doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Game of Thrones has always been about playing the long game, and I'm certain this is no exception.
Tyrion continues to battle the city where interesting storylines go to die. Thrones is always able to inject some unforced humor into a world run by death and corrupt politics, and it often happens through Tyrion. His scene gave us some of the best dialogue of a young season that’s already filled with more great Game of Thrones dialogue. I could watch ten seasons of a "Drinking Games With Tyrion Lannister" spinoff. Tyrion and Varys are clearly capable of overcoming the political obstacles and opposition thrown at Meereen; I just hope they don’t lose sight of the bigger picture like the Queen that preceded them. As for Daenerys, her current Real Housewives of Dothraki situation seems to be as fascinating as her previous chapter until further notice.
King’s Landing contains plenty to talk about, although the majority of that storyline has become very frustrating. I still for the life of me cannot understand why the crown is incapable of ousting a backyard cult. Jaime gets it; he’s ready to storm the place behind The Mountain. I understand that these Sparrows do have some people and influence over the masses. But The Mountain isn’t the only person fighting for Cersei. I imagine they still have an army, even if it isn’t the most impressive in all the land. Send everyone available into that hole in the wall and annihilate them, because the only thing keeping the Sparrows alive right now is the plot. Tommen is an embarrassment. His loss of manhood and dignity rivals Theon’s in its own way. And now they’re going to take back the city with…kids? Clearly for information, but they have all the information they need. Little birds won’t be as affective in this situation as brute force. We can only hope this storyline results in a series of events that makes more sense than the logic that built up to this point.
I remember thinking this wasn’t a very happening episode, only to remember Jon Snow hung the treacherous Night’s Watchmen. Only this show can kill multiple named characters at once and leave fans thinking not much happened. I was so happy Jon didn’t have an inexplicable change of heart, leading him to have mercy and spare the men who killed him. Instead, he does the Game of Thrones equivalent of dropping the mic and walking off stage. His final act as Lord Commander is a long-awaited execution, and then he just leaves. That’s awesome. For some reason I wanted Olly dead more than most characters I’ve seen on this show. At least Alistair was a man of principle, instead of a whiny brat who couldn’t stand up to Jon Snow until he had already been stabbed fifty times. It was a satisfying end to an episode that spawned more questions than answers, but gave us another strong tenth of Game of Thrones’ sixth season.