Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Game of Thrones,” airs on premium cable TV, specifically on HBO, Spring Sundays at 9:00 PM.
What: “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy drama based on the series of novels entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, which tells the tale of the land of Westeros and the various families and factions vying for the Iron Throne, i.e. rule of all of the seven kingdoms in a world of magic, dragons, swordplay, and death (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here).
When: The season six finale aired on HBO, Sunday, June 26, 2016, at 9:00 PM.
Where: The show is set in the fictional land of Westeros, a world that could be Europe, could be Middle Earth, or could be most fantasy/epic realms. Westeros is divided into Seven Kingdoms, but rule of all kingdoms hails from the Iron Throne, in King’s Landing. The show follows key characters across most realms.
Why: A friend basically said I had to watch it and for good reason (and other panelists received similar recommendations). I gravitate toward fantasy and science fiction most frequently; fantasy is also my favorite genre to read. I haven’t read Martin’s currently-in-progress series, as some of the panelists have, which has become something of a cultural watershed not unlike the Harry Potter novels, though I plan to do so. Our resident book readers laud the show about as highly as they do the novels; thus, with this solid foundation, an obsession with Game of Thrones was born, at least for the Chief CP.
How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS
For a recap of season 4, read here.
CPU! also previously published a podcast discussing Season 5. To catch up, click the embedded link below:
Season 5 Podcast
This year, with the explosive and epic sixth season behind us, CPU!’s noble group of Game of Thrones panelists – Kristen, Amanda, Jay, Chelsea, and Rob – took less time to process our reactions than last season, more sure of and more eager about our feelings toward the future, given all of the positive developments of season six. Perhaps, it’s because the level of shell-shock was not quite as high (thought it was still high), what with (spoiler) Jon Snow actually being resurrected and surviving the season. Also, many of panelist Kristen’s so-called dominoes began to fall this season in satisfying ways, so our panel was only too excited to spend time gushing about what was ultimately a tight, thrilling season.
Thus, our panel of GoT obsessed sat “around the water cooler” once more to chat and theorize all things season six as well as what season seven might look like, especially since the show has surpassed the books in terms of plot propulsion. Our scholarly bunch did not disappoint with their effusive opinions; as usual, we cover quite a bit of territory, revisiting three-headed dragon theories, speculations about Lady Stoneheart, and hopes and wishes for the ensuing war to come. Also, R+L definitely equals J (which will no doubt also be confirmed by Martin) – so what does that mean for our always knowing-nothing Jon Snow? We can only salivate and speculate about possible developments to come.
This podcast was recorded in August 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the sixth season of GoT. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, we’ll return to our American Horror Story series, looking back on the second season, “Asylum.” Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
1) Revisited: How is it that Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) has these powers? Who is that dead looking guy on that throne? What are these beings in this macabre cave? And how will their story intersect with the rest?
Answer: Bran may genetically be predisposed toward these powers, activated by his Stark lineage, his relationship to his direwolf, and his accident which left him paralyzed, as this form of what is known as “warging” is said to be a gift bestowed to Stark ancestors. In any event, the dead-looking guy on the throne, this season played by Max von Sydow, is the Three-Eyed Raven, who has the power to connect to the world and warg through time. The beings in the cave are the Children of the Forest, who bestowed the magic upon the Three-Eyed Raven, most likely the Stark lineage, and, as it turns out, who also created the White Walkers – from humans, no less – to counteract the encroachment of humans from the south. The Children also created the protective magic surrounding the Old Tree cave and the Wall that keeps the White Walkers out, but Bran, in his quest to revisit visions on which he was accompanied by the Three-Eyed Raven, plugged into the tree network unsupervised, saw a vision of the oncoming White Walker hordes, and allowed the Night’s King to touch him within the vision, breaking the barrier against the Walkers by weakening the magic of the Children of the Forest. This mistake allowed the Walkers and wights to enter the Old Tree cave, eliminate the erstwhile Three-Eyed Raven, and caused Bran, Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick), and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) to flee. Bran was drawn into a long-term warg by the previous Three-Eyed Raven, threatened as the Old Tree was and given that Bran was suddenly faced with the necessity of having to learn all of the Three-Eyed Raven’s knowledge in a short space of time to assume status as the new Three-Eyed Raven. This state of mystical hypnosis left only Meera to drag him away to safety and Hodor (and his direwolf Summer) to protect him, which resulted in their fatalities. Because of this state and Bran’s considerable power, he was connected to all of time. Shouts of “hold the door” from Meera implored the giant Hodor to brace the door of the Tree Cave against an onslaught invasion of wights while Bran was warged into his past, when Hodor was a young stable boy at Winterfell while Ned Stark and his siblings were children, and caused the young Hodor’s mind to liquefy. The repeated cries of “hold the door,” mimicked by the young Wylis as he picked up on Bran’s warged vibe, melded into supernatural aphasia: “Hodor,” the only word he could ever say, creating his new name. Bran and Meera continued to run and were also able to escape the wights with the help of Coldhands, the partially zombified form of Bran’s lost uncle Benjen Stark, who narrowly escaped being turned into a wight in the years since we last saw him. Benjen, the Three-Eyed Raven, and Bran’s warging flashbacks, downloaded a lot of history of the world for the viewer – all in one episode.
2) Revisited: When is Dany (Emilia Clarke) going to sail for King’s Landing? How long is she going to remain in Slaver’s Bay? And will she be able to find Drogon and control him?
Answer: At the end of season 6, Dany made the decision to set sail for Westeros, her considerably larger forces in tow, which was the last glimpse the viewer had of Dany in the season finale. She was forced to stick around for a moment due to her capture by the Dothraki (see below), but, as we all know, Drogon loyally listens to his mom now.
3) Revisited: Where did Rickon go?! I know he’s but a babe, but he’s lost or something.
Answer: It turns out that he and Osha were kicking it in the wild, in an attempt to escape Rickon’s enemies. Unfortunately, Ramsey Bolton (Iwan Rheon) found him first.
4) What will we find out about Bran and his exploits since last we saw him?
Answer: We find out that he was training with the old Three Eyed Raven to become the new one by learning all the ways of the warging Force.
5) Panelist Kristen says: “What the hell is Hodor?”
Answer: Hodor was once a larger-than-average stable boy named Wylis, until Bran, while warging from the future, melted his brain, echoing Meera’s distant cries of “hold the door.”
6) Arya (Maisie Williams) was blinded when she angered the Many Faced God by using one of the faces in the House of Black and White to her advantage in slaying one of the men on her revenge list. Is this permanent blindness? What will happen to her now? Why did Ja’quen (Tom Wlaschiha) encourage this revenge list to begin with, only to take issue with her adherence to it now?
Answer: The blindness was temporary; she was forced to earn back her sight from Ja’qen after her misuse of the Many Faced God. In punishment, she was induced to train with the Waif, who beat upon her with sticks and such until Arya got used to fighting blind. It seems apparent, after what transpired in the season, that Ja’qen was training her all along to be equipped to take revenge, on both the Waif and her famous list, rather than to make her an indoor servant of the House of Black and White. Listen to the podcast or watch the season for details.
7) Stannis’ forces were decimated by the Boltons’. House Baratheon appears to be teetering on the brink of being eliminated from the Game of Thrones, but for the fact that Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is a Baratheon in name only. Will Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) go after the Boltons? Will anyone unseat the Boltons? Who?
Answer: Stannis is confirmed dead. Tommen commits suicide this season in the wake of the torching of the Sept with Mad King Aerys’ stash of wyldfyre, which Cersei (Lena Headey) ignites in a bold move to eliminate her enemies as they sat in the Sept, awaiting her trial for her many confessed sins. Ramsey Bolton picked a fight with Jon Snow (Kit Harington), demanding the return of Sansa (Sophie Turner), as Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) finally found Sansa and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) as they fled from Winterfell. Brienne and Podrick escorted them to Castle Black. Ramsey baited Jon and Sansa with the capture of Rickon; they answered the call, aided by Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), and tried to rally northern allies to their cause, though most sided with the more formidable (and scarier) Ramsey. In “The Battle of the Bastards,” Ramsey killed Rickon, forcing him to run as he lobbed arrows until one of them felled the youngest Stark, as Jon first watched and then rushed forward, against the strategy of his council (including his sister). The battle that followed was nearly lost by the impetuous and impulsive Jon and his army of some northerners and Wildlings, until Littlefinger, accompanied by the army from the Vale, appeared at Sansa’s written request to save the day and Jon’s newly resurrected life. This gave Jon the advantage of being able to storm Winterfell with his remaining forces (though Wun-Wun the Giant succumbed in the end to Ramsey’s final line of defense) and take it back, effectively unseating Ramsey; however, Ramsey’s life was left in the hands of the woman he married and then raped, and she paid out her justice in a gruesome but justifiable “eye for an eye” manner.
8) Sansa and Theon/Reek “escaped” Winterfell by jumping over the guard wall to flee Ramsay’s sadism. Did they survive the jump? Will they get away? Where will they go?
Answer: They survived (as if there was ever a doubt). They ran aimlessly through winter and snow until Brienne of Tarth showed up and saved the day, killing one of Ramsey’s search parties and escorting Sansa North to Castle Black and her brother, Jon Snow. Theon elected to return to the Iron Islands, now that he has his faculties back.
9) What will happen to Dany? She dropped her wedding ring: to break with her queenliness or to leave a bread crumb for Jorah (Iain Glen) and Daario (Michael Huisman)? Will they find her? Will Drogon find her? What will this new Dothraki horde do? Do they know that she was the Khaleesi?
Answer: Jorah and Daario found Dany with the bread crumb that was her ring, but as it turns out, she didn’t need their help. The Khals, as she was taken to the Dothraki stronghold, found out that she was Khal Drogo’s widow, living free against their custom, and forced her to live with the other former/widowed khaleesis while they determined her fate. She was ordered to appear before them, in a sort of tribunal, as they made crude and sexist comments about her. Unfortunately for them, there was fire in the tribunal hut, and because Dany is impervious to flames on the show, she tipped the torches and burned them all alive, as she emerged from the flames, naked and queenly. Because of this show of power, all of the Dothraki horde became part of her army.
10) What will we see of Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) in Meereen? Will Tyrion and Dany be reunited?
Answer: Tyrion and Varys attempted to steward Meereen in Dany’s absence, though not always successfully; Tyrion struck a controversial deal with the slave masters to return slaves for seven years to them in exchange for keeping the peace in the city, which had grown tenuously unstable in Dany’s absence. Varys left eventually to seek out help that he did not specify. Because Dany successfully conquered the Dothraki, she returned to Meereen, somewhat disappointed by the status quo; however, she forged a plan, which included laying waste to a slaver ship with her three dragons (the other two had been released by Tyrion, who had a curious connection to them). She gained the rest of their ships and drove the slave masters out of Slavers Bay.
11) Is Jon Snow really dead? If so, is he coming back to life? How? Will he Warg into his direwolf, as Bran has been able to do, per the Starks’ traditional magical power established by the novels? Will Melisandre resurrect him as she did Dondarrion in Season Three?
Answer: Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and the Old Magic raised Jon Snow from his real, actual death, like Beric Dondarrion, in episode two of the season, which was nice, as we didn’t have to beat around the bush about it.
12) Who is Jon’s mother? Is Jon, in fact, the product of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen? Is the Song of Ice and Fire about him?
Answer: The show confirmed that Jon’s mother is, in fact, Lyanna Stark. The network confirmed that Jon’s father is, in fact, Rhaegar Targaryen. The Song of Ice and Fire’s real subject remains a mystery: is the song a person (Jon Snow) meant to be a savior, blended of the family of ice (Stark) and fire (Targaryen); three people, all with blends of the three major houses (Stark, Targaryen, Lannister), who can ride three dragons; or the clash of dragons (fire) and White Walkers (ice). Maybe it’s all of the above. We’ll find out within two seasons because that’s as far as the creators want to go.
13) Does Melisandre, who seems to have forsaken Stannis Baratheon, now believe that Jon is the Azor A’hai? The savior of all?
Answer: She wasn’t convinced of anything until she was able to raise Jon from the dead. She now truly believes that he is the Azor A’hai, the savior of all, the Prince Who was Promised.
14) Is the Azor A’hai the same as the Prince of Promise? Is the Azor A’hai one person? If so, is it Jon or Dany or someone else? Or, is it the combination of three people who can ride Dany’s dragons? And who are those three people…? Jon? Dany? Tyrion? Anyone else?
Answer: The Azor A’hai and the Prince Who Was Promised are two names for the same basic concept. As above, however, the question of who or what that is remains unanswered.
15) With Jon Snow apparently dead, and Sam Tarly (John Bradley) heading toward the Citadel with Gilly (Hannah Murray), will we have to spend anymore time at the Night’s Watch? Alternatively, will the Watchmen need to battle the White Walkers anew? Will the wall hold? Will peace be kept between the Watchmen and the Wildlings who have taken refuge there?
Answer: Thankfully, after Jon made his decision to battle Ramsey for the safety of Rickon, he concluded that his Watch had ended with his, albeit temporary, death and chose to leave Castle Black, though not without hanging the traitors who stabbed him (Olly included) and placing Eddard, his trusty lieutenant, as Lord Commander. The Watchmen are still the first line of defense against the Walkers beyond the wall. The Wildlings left with Jon Snow, but whether the Wall will hold remains a question, particularly in light of Bran’s warged encounter with the Night’s King.
16) How will Cersei recover from her penance?
Answer: She came back bigger and badder than ever and hellbent on revenge, which she successfully executed by lighting Mad King Aerys’ stash of wyldfyre under King’s Landing and taking out half of the city in the process.
17) What is the resurrected Mountain going to do, or how does he figure into anyone’s plans, the Lannisters included?
Answer: The Mountain basically served as Cersei’s bodyguard throughout the season, as she awaited trial by the High Sparrow, vulnerable to attacks by the Sparrow’s followers.
18) With Myrcella dying by poison on the ship back from Dorn, will Cersei and/or Jaime retaliate again Ilaria Sand (Indira Varma) or Dorn?
Answer: Cersei and Jaime both had other fish to fry and seemed to forget about Dorn for the time being. Cersei was trapped within the Red Keep awaiting her trial by the High Sparrow, and Jaime was sent by Cersei to recapture River Run from the Blackfish, Catelyn Stark’s uncle, who temporarily retook his ancestral home from House Frey, the Lannisters’ long-time allies.
19) Will Tommen be able to hold his rule?
Answer: Tommen succumbed to the will of the High Sparrow in order to protect Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), his Queen. Margaery feigned an act of piety to save her brother Loras. They were both puppets to the High Sparrow, until Cersei enacted her revenge, which Tommen watched from the Red Keep. Knowing his bride was among the casualties, and ill-equipped to guide recovery from such devastation as king, Tommen chose to plummet from his tower window and end his own life.
20) What happened to the Tyrells? Are Margaery and Loras rotting in prison?
Answer: For a time, the Tyrells remained in prison, until Margaery pretended to be converted to the new religion by the High Sparrow, and Loras agreed to repent for his sin of homosexuality. Unfortunately, his confession and penance (and branding) by the Sept directly preceded what would have been Cersei’s trial; neither sibling (or their father) survived long enough to see if their efforts were worth it, owing to Cersei’s devastating master stroke of igniting the hidden caches of wyldfyre under the city.
21) How long will the new religion have its hold on King’s Landing? Will their evangelism spread?
Answer: The High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) was effective in spreading his message, but he underestimated Cersei. He died in the season finale, so it’s expected that the new religion will have suffered something of a blow as well.
22) Are Rickon and Osha returning anytime soon?
Answer: Ramsey found them. Ramsey killed them.
23) Is Stannis Baratheon really dead? If so, what will Brienne of Tarth do now?
Answer: Brienne definitely offed Stannis; House Baratheon is out of the Game of Thrones. After Brienne found Sansa and brought her north to Castle Black, Sansa sent Brienne to River Run to ask her great-uncle, the Blackfish, for help in the fight against Ramsey. Brienne was reunited briefly with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). The Blackfish could not help Brienne or his Stark relations, as he was under siege by a combination of Walder Frey’s (David Bradley) and Lannister forces. Though Jaime successfully recaptured River Run, he allowed Brienne and Podrick to escape unnoticed with a touching goodbye to Brienne, full of distant longing. The Blackfish is not expected to have survived the siege.
24) Can we never see Dorn again, even if Prince Martell is played by Dr. Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine? Panelist Jay votes yes on never seeing Dorn again.
Answer: Things looked hopeful when the Sand Snakes killed Prince Martell and his son early in the season, effectively usurping rule of Dorn. Unfortunately, Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), who had fled King’s Landing in the face of the growing influence of the High Sparrow, sought out the Sand Snakes at the end of the season in a bid to exact revenge against Cersei for killing her family. Future seasons will show us if that is the right move, either for her or for the viewer.
1) Will we see “Clegane-bowl,” i.e. the Hound v. the Mountain in hand-to-hand combat in the war to come?
2) Will Dany reach Westeros and aim specifically for King’s Landing and Cersei?
3) Will Arya or Bran find their siblings/return to Winterfell? Or, will Bran go North, and Arya go South?
4) Who will Arya aim for next, now that she has the backing of the Many Faced God and the skills taught to her by the House of Black and White?
5) Will Sansa make a play to be Queen of the North? Will she finally be seduced by Littlefinger’s romantic advances and plan for their future?
6) Will Jon Snow stay parked at Winterfell? Will he find out about his true parentage? Will he be forced to engage the White Walkers in the next season, or will he be forced to enter a battle in the South between Lannisters and Targaryens?
7) Will we see more Lyanna Mormont? The panel votes yes.
8) Will we see the emergence of Lady Stoneheart? Will she be in the form described by the books, or will one of the Stark daughters take on her story lines?
9) How will Jaime react to Cersei’s new power? Will he be the younger brother that fulfills Maggy the Frog’s prophecy, or will it be Tyrion, now that he’s on his way back home at the side of Dany?
10) How will King’s Landing react to Cersei’s rule, in the absence of the strength of the High Sparrow and the new religion?
11) Will we see the emergence of more dragon riders? Will the three-headed dragon prophecy/theory come true this season?
12) House Bolton is out of the Game of Thrones with the death of Ramsey. Will Euron Greyjoy and his bid for the Iron Islands and the Iron Throne render him the new sadistic villain of the series, as panelist Rob predicts?
13) Where is Jon’s direwolf Ghost and Arya’s direwolf Nymeria? Will they survive the series?
14) Will the White Walkers breech the Wall next season?
15) Is there something in the Wall other than protective magic, as panelist Kristen has theorized?
Game of Thrones continues to be, possibly more than ever, simply one of the most exciting programs on television right now, bolstered by the fact that, when in season, it is one of the primary water cooler shows on television today. The fact that the show has caught up with and now surpassed the timeline of the books is admirable in and of itself. Though each episode metes out a fraction of story for most of the major point-of-view characters, a majority of the episodes are fraught with tension and grand spectacle, with excellent visual effects, stellar writing and pacing, and some of the most superb acting currently on the small screen. The panelists, with mostly positive regard of season six, are generally quite obsessed with the show and its current trajectory and are positive about most plot developments in this most recent season. They discuss many theories and observations in this podcast episode, but all are excited for the next season and to keep watching! Listen to their reactions and see if you agree.
Game of Thrones was renewed for a seventh season, as well as an eighth and final season, the former of which is slated to premiere on HBO later, in June 2017, as it was somewhat delayed compared to past seasons due to the need to incorporate actual winter (it’s here!). Until then, Game of Thrones fans, remember: you play, or you die.