Well, here we go again.
Game of Thrones. When you started, I thought you were a little bit on the dull side, but definitely a show with potential. After all, you had an amazing cast and a shit ton of money – all the ingredients were there for you to be something truly special. And you know what, unlike most things these days, you lived up to it! In your heyday, you were pretty untouchable. Shocking to the max, with an incredible story that swept you up in its continuous rapes, betrayals and dragons, never once letting you go. I loved the show, I loved the books. I couldn’t get enough of you.
But, in recent times, you really do seem to have lost your sparkle. I spent most of season five thinking ‘Huh? What? Why?’ That’s not how I wanted to feel about you! As that lovely nun who delights in torturing condemned women in the sept of Baelor would say, last year just seemed to list shame, after shame, after shame.
Is it going to be any better this year? Well, if Sunday night’s premiere is anything to go off, it’s looking pretty good. In a completely non-geekgasm way, I loved the absolute hell out of it. Even if it seemed to end just as it was getting going. But even at its best, Game of Thrones is never without shame. And these must be laid bare. It is known.
So sit back as we delve into a brand new series of Shame of Thrones. And let the good times roll.
Shame on you (i)
Okay, so there’s a continuous elephant in the room here, left over from season five, that we’ll open this shaming with.
The brutal butchering of the tiny bit of character development that Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) received last season by having her raped by Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) was, urm, not the most popular plot twist the show has ever done, and this season will have to deal with the aftermath of that. Will Sansa ever recover and become the Dark Sansa season four promised? Will she ever catch a sodding break?
Well, if any of you were hoping for a stronger, revengeful Sansa this year, you’re going to be sadly disappointed by what we saw here. It was Theon (Alfie Allen) who was doing all the work, practically carrying Sansa to safety and willing to give himself back to Ramsay to save her – and I guess we’re just forgetting that last time we saw them both, they had kind of jumped off a 200-foot high wall. Well, at least this was a good episode for Theon. He may have lost his balls, but he was pretty damn brave here.
Of course, it wasn’t only Theon saving the day. Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), fresh from being utterly wasted in the latest Star Wars movie and awesome as ever, rides in to take on six men at once, a feat only Brienne and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) can make look remotely feasible. Hell, it seems she’s even been training good old Pod (Daniel Portman) to lend a hand. But let’s add an extra shame here: she just happened to be riding by exactly when Sansa needed her most? I expect that type of easy writing from the gazillion silly but entertaining superhero shows currently on the box, but not Game of Thrones.
Ah, well. The thought of Sansa, Theon, Brienne and Pod teaming up with the Wildlings and a resurrected Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is a very exciting one, and could set the score for a brilliant season. ‘Cos he’s coming back guys. I’m willing to bet ten crates of Dornish wine on it. But more on that in a moment.
Shame on you (ii)
About those pesky Boltons. It seems that Ramsay is as lovely as ever here. Just when you thought he actually, genuinely cared about Myranda (Charlotte Hope), he had to be true to form, bitterly instructing she be fed to the dogs as ‘good meat’. Cold, mate. Very, very cold. But Ramsay’s days may be numbered. His “games” have cost his father Roose (Michael McElhatton) the heirs to both the Iron Islands and Winterfell, and he’s pissed. It’s obvious that Roose is seriously questioning if Ramsay is worth the hassle. I suppose the big question is: Who the hell is gonna kill the other first?
Shame on you (iii)
Okay, so let me paint a picture for you.
You live in a city. You and your buddies are proud families of said city, going back hundreds upon hundreds of years, and most of your income is dependent on slaves. Then some foreigner comes along, takes over everything, and demands you end slavery. You secretly do everything you possibly can to get rid of her, hoping she’ll either give up and take her massive army home or just sodding die already. You get more and more annoyed. You just want rid of this annoying blonde. So what do you do?
Well, I’ll tell you what you don’t do: burn the massive fleet that could have carried her and her army safely away from the city, quickly and efficiently.
I mean, seriously. Who in the name of the Old Gods and New thought that was a good idea? I mean, wow… I thought the good people of Meereen were supposed to be intelligent!
But speaking of supposedly clever people, special mention to Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who thinks it’s quite safe to walk through a city full of people who want him dead, unprotected. I thought we’d have moved past his death wish by now.
The one thing the writers didn’t do was have the Dothraki rape or assault Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), even though you’d think that would be the first thing these dudes would do. See guys, they’ve listened! But that doesn’t mean there’s an end to gratuitous breast shots – more on that later.
Shame on you (iv)
Let’s get serious for a minute, and have a moment’s silence for the utter desecration of the character of Prince Doran (Alexander Siddig). Now, I love this show, and I love the people behind it, but I have never seen an adaptation of anything screw up and completely throw away such an interesting character like Game of Thrones has done with Doran. Even Fant4stic seemed to know what it was doing with its characters more than this. Yes, I did just say that.
In the books, Prince Doran was a schemer. He appeared weak and ineffective, but secretly had a plot all along to overthrow the Lannisters and get the revenge his family craved, just not at the expense of his country. He knew all-out war with the capital would bring devastation and no sure victory. When Doran attacked King’s Landing, he would be ready for it, and not a second before. I was delighted when he was introduced last year, and bitterly disappointed when they did virtually nothing with him. He sat around being utterly useless, speaking about five lines in the entire season. But, at the same time, I was patient. I thought the writers had been clever here. They were making us think he was pathetic, so when he did show his teeth, it would be all the more shocking. I couldn’t wait to see where they would take him this year, and the whole Dorne plot for that matter.
So, bet you can pretty much guess how thrilled I am at that latest twist.
It turns out that Doran wasn’t a secret schemer, biding his time in the shadows. He really was a useless, weak pushover who was too damn stupid to see Ellaria’s (Indira Varma) betrayal coming a mile off. Such an intriguing character from the books, such a brilliant plot, completely abandoned and thrown away. What a shame.
I suppose the one consolation here is that the Dorne stuff might actually get, urm, interesting now.
Shame on you (v)
I have to give the show credit, they’re really keeping us in suspense over the whole Jon Snow thing. We know he’s coming back, damn it! I refuse to believe otherwise! He’s the secret son of Rhaegar Targaryen and he and Dany are going to team up to take down the Night King and rule together in King’s Landing forever! This is going to happen!
Ah, well. You probably saw this shame coming, so let’s get it over with. Yes, Game of Thrones, I really needed to see what Melisandre (Carice van Houten) truly looks like in full nudity glory. That was absolutely the image I wanted to take from this episode. Eeeesh. It makes you long for the days of having to gaze at Daario’s (Michiel Huisman) behind. Well… almost.
So, there we go. Plenty to talk about, and plenty to come. It’s back guys, and I think it’s ready to make amends for last year. Let’s see how they do.