Warning: This post is dark and full of spoilers
“Game of Thrones” is back. The season six premiere brought the shocking moments, and the familiar characters. The premiere had the strikingly beautiful locations of Westeros, and it had grotesque scenes of violence. The first episode of season six, titled “The Red Woman,” answered some lingering questions from season five, and it left many more questions unanswered.
Episode one served to set the stage for season six. No pivotal character was missing. The episode opened at Castle Black, where Ser Davos is distraught over the still-dead Jon Snow. The Watch is still rife with rough, mutinous politics and Alliser Thorne remains the most unlikable character at Castle Black.
The new dynamic duo that is Theon (yes, his name is Theon. We are no longer calling him Reek) and Sansa Stark, and they are accompanied by an incredible score as they cross a freezing river to escape Ramsay Bolton’s hounds. Dorne is back and as lavishly beautiful as ever – but that beautiful aesthetic doesn’t last for long.
Cersei and Jaime Lannister are their usual insufferable selves, and Margaery Tyrell remains locked up. Varys and Tyrion engage in a walk-and-talk scene, Jorah and Daario are still after Daenerys, and Daenerys has found herself with the Dothraki again. Arya Stark has a short scene and, finally, the episode ends in mystery surrounding Melisandre’s character.
If this sounds like a lot, it is. Game of Thrones has become accustomed to this, but there were about five or six simultaneous storylines in the first episode. This form of storytelling can work well when done properly – think “Blackwater,” “The Rains of Castamere,” and “Hardhome” – but this episode was unable to do this effectively.
“The Red Woman” felt like five disjointed stories. Yes, Sansa and Theon’s scene was good, as was the Dorne scene and Daenerys’s scene. But the other scenes did not feel as developed, and they did not pack the punch that the other scenes did. Arya, Margaery and Tyrion’s scenes felt like throw-ins. Those scenes could have been served better if they were in another episode with an established narrative.
I can’t criticize the premier beyond that. “The Red Woman” did everything a season premier is supposed to do: it reintroduced the viewer to the world, developed stories from the previous season and left the viewer excited for what this season has in store.
Simply, “Game of Thrones” is back. Sunday night is back to being the best night of the week. The premier episode opened with a bang, and I cannot wait to see where season six brings us.