Sunday, April 24, 2016

Game of Thrones: Red Woman

by Melissa Parkin

Is Jon Snow really dead? It’s the question asked around the world for the past ten months. Do we have our answer yet? Simply put, yes. But given this week’s title, “The Red Woman”, it left many fans under the impression that the Red Priestess Melisandre would be playing a prominent role in the episode, say perhaps working a little of her magic to resurrect the deceased Lord Commander. No such luck. But we did get some insight as to just how old Melisandre might be. Time to break down the madness of season six’s premiere.

Jon Snow’s corpse lies in the middle of Castle Black’s courtyard as his beloved dire wolf cries and howls, trying to chew its way out of its cell. Davos overhears Ghost and investigates the ruckus, discovering Snow’s body. Loyal members of the Night’s Watch arrive soon after to find their fallen friend. Davos instructs the men to take Snow inside, where they place him on a table. Looking for Davos, Melisandre comes to the room, seeing Jon’s body. Caught in a state of disbelief, she says that she saw him in the flames, fighting in Winterfell. Civil unrest erupts inside Castle Black as all the members of the Night’s Watch discuss Jon’s death. Surprisingly, Thorne and the other officers confess to the killing, claiming that the late Lord Commander would destroy the Watch if he continued in power.  

The small entrusted band of the Night’s Watch seek vengeance for Snow’s death. Clearly outnumbered, Edd says he doesn’t care if he lives to see tomorrow, so long as Thorne dies. Davos proposes an alternative. If they can get aid from the Wildlings that Jon saved from the White Walkers, they just might win their battle.

Meanwhile, Sansa’s flown the coop of Winterfell with Theon by her side. Ramsay Bolton’s father reminds his son that they need her to unite the North, and Ramsay assures him that he’s sent out his best dogs to hunt down the pair. Not only does Ramsay need her to produce an heir, he’s intent on exacting retribution, given that Sansa and Theon also killed Bolton’s equally malicious bedfellow, Myranda.  

The two escapees trudge through the snowy forests outside Winterfell, trying to outrun the hounds right on their heels. The pair comes to a river, and Theon convinces Sansa to cross the freezing waters to throw off the dogs. They wade through the glacial river, only to find that Ramsay’s hounds and men have followed them to the other side. Theon says that he’ll draw their attention, giving Sansa an opening to flee to the Wall. He runs out and confronts Ramsay’s men, telling them that Sansa died. They don’t believe him, and the dogs soon catch her scent. Just as the men find her, Brienne and Podrick charge into the woods, striking down every last soldier with Theon’s help. Brienne lays down her sword, offering her services to Sansa once again. This time, the young woman accepts.

In King’s Landing, Cersei quietly awaits the arrival of Jamie and their daughter. She receives word and joyously runs down to greet them at the harbor. There, she sees her brother coming to shore with Myrcella’s corpse. Distraught, Cersei confides in Jamie, telling him of the prophecy that claimed she’d lose all her children. Not the one to buy into such superstition, the Kingslayer vows to take out anyone who tries to hurt his family. Meanwhile, in the Water Gardens of Dorne, Ellaria and Doran take a stroll through the palace, reminiscing over the later Oberyn Martell. 

Yep, that guy. Yeesh...

Doran then learns of Myrcella’s death, in which Ellaria and her daughter kill the Prince and his son.

While walking through the streets of Meereen, Varys and Tyrion cross paths with a beggar woman. Tyrion offers money to her so she can feed her baby. Unfortunately, his Valyrian is so poor, and she thinks he wishes to “eat” the baby. Varys happily rectifies the misunderstanding. They continue on their way and come across a man trying to rally up former slaves in the wake of Daenerys’s disappearance. Alarms suddenly sound and hoards of people run through the streets. Varys and Tyrion go against the crowd to learn what they’re running from. They arrive at the harbor to discover Daenerys’s entire fleet of ships ablaze.

Daario Naharis and Jorah ride through the planes in search of Dany. They see a scorched ram--scorched by a Dragon's fired. Relief soon dies when they learn that the Dothraki have taken her captive. Harassed by the Khalasar, a bound Dany is taken to Khal Moro. Once presented to the Khal, she reveals her true identity. He releases her from her restraints, in which she asks for his assistance to escort her back to Meereen. The Khal tells her that there’s only one place that a widowed Khaleesi goes: the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen, to live out her days with the widows of other dead khals.

We get a brief glimpse at a blind Arya as she begs for coin on a street corner. The Waif greets her, tossing a staff at the girl. She tells Arya to stand and fight, repeatedly striking her down as the girl blindly tries defending herself. With Arya on the ground and out for the count, the waif simply says that she’ll see her tomorrow, and walks off. Back at Castle Black, Thorne offers Davos and the other loyal members of the Night’s Watch amnesty if they surrender by nightfall. The men are wise to the offer, knowing that they’ll be killed regardless. Their only hope is Melisandre. The red-headed beauty rests beside the fire in her private chambers. She heads over to her mirror, taking off her dress and prized necklace. An ancient crone stands in place of the beauty’s reflection, revealing Melisandre is much, much older than she normally appears.


Season six’s opener proves to be one of the series’ strongest yet. “The Red Woman” wastes no time confirming Jon Snow’s death, inciting a bloodbath, and raising the stakes for every player involved. Though the episode runs a little shorter than usual, it manages to touch on most of the characters. We’ve still got our fingers crossed that Snow will be resurrected, but it certainly isn’t this week. If Davos and his men can escape Castle Black, there could still be a chance. Fingers crossed.
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