HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 1: “The Red Woman”

Yes, but would Khal Moro’s bloodrider still sleep with her?

That very unexpected ending was subversive for more than one reason. And it confirmed something about Melisandre that was only hinted at and and gives us a new perspective on a character who’s been working her magic since well before the second season.

This recap is dark and full of spoilers.

Spoilers for the episode and currently published George R. R. Martin novels are discussed in the review and fair game in the comments. We highly suggest not discussing early preview chapters, but if you must, white it out. Have courtesy for the patient among us who are waiting and waiting (and waiting) for The Winds of Winter. Play nice. Thanks.

IsJonSnowDead.com is still listing the bastard as dead. (IsJonSnowDead.com is an actual site, you guys! Go there for a bitter little chuckle.)

When the episode was nearing the 50-minute mark and we were watching Melisandre disrobe yet again, I thought for sure this was it: Melisandre was going to save Jon Snow with the mighty power of her HBO-worthy tits. But I was so wrong!

Is The Red Priestess’ magic actually all in her choker? How long has she been around? Is she stripped of all power when she’s stripped of her bling? There was something a bit satisfying about knowing the beauty she uses to seduce men is all a grand trick. But you don’t need to be four centuries old to know that some kings are easily swayed by a pretty face. Melisandre’s secret advanced age makes her seem wiser—she’s seen things whippersnappers like Jon Snow couldn’t believe. And perhaps that’s why it was so easy for her to have Shireen burned, to put how many others to the flame. She’s got her eyes locked on the longer game.

But does she have enough magic in her to bring back Jon Snow? Does she have to go on a journey of her own to believe once more in the Red God’s power? I feel a bit frustrated that Game of Thrones is milking this Jon Snow resurrection for all its worth. But I’m not surprised. When do we think Jon will be revived? I’m going to guess the end of next episode, if only because Jon’s body can’t stay that fresh at the Wall.

GOT-jon

I’m immensely relieved that Ghost didn’t end up like Grey Wind. I’m surprised none of Jon’s murderers sunk so low. That howling was so mournful, poor pup.

While I was surprised by the eerie ending, I wasn’t in love with this episode overall. It was a perfectly fine next chapter. It was mutton worthy of Ser Davos.

If you’ve read A Dance with Dragons, a lot of this hour quickly answered what happens immediately after. And that’s fine, but I feel like the bigger surprises are yet to come.

So, yes, Sansa and Theon survived that jump from Winterfell’s walls. What was interesting was how quickly—and bloodily—Brienne and Pod (Pod!) saved the day. I had hoped that would happen and it did. I loved Pod helping Sansa with her vow to accept Brienne’s sword.

arya-aveugle-dans-la-saison-6

The House of Black and White is not yet done with Arya. Come on, little girl, remember your dancing lessons with Syrio. See, this is where Westeros’ lack of Karate Kid movies works against the assassin-in-training. This is pretty classic schooling here, albeit with a magical bent. When Arya beats the Waif “blindfolded,” she’ll be back in the Faceless God’s favor. And I can’t wait because that Waif is damn mean.

What happened after Dany’s abduction by an unknown Khal was definitely the next chapter I was most waiting for.

While Tyrion and Varys take a walking tour of Meereen and survey the giant mess of political strife and, oh hey, a harbor full of burned ships, Dany had to suffer some degrading comments about her body at the hands of two bloodriders. What, you thought Game of Thrones could go an hour without a rape threat? Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s how things were back in the days of dragons and ice zombies and rampant patriarchal societies.

I guess I could say that even Game of Thrones seems kind of bored of rape threats on Game of Thrones because they weren’t lingered on overlong. So I guess that’s progress?

khal moroAnyway, I kind of liked Khal Moro. He wasn’t a total idiot and might’ve had a tiny bit of charm. But he’s no Khal Drogo and his bloodriders are a bunch of stooges. Much scarier than Khal Moro? Khal Moro’s wives. Whether simple jealousy or foresight, they knew Moro falling for Dany would bring no good, so they’re probably right now preparing a parade float upon which to send Dany to Dosh Khaleen. The former Khal’s widows who live there are thought to be seers; they predicted that Dany and Drogo’s son would be The Stallion That Mounted The World. What new prophecies might they have for Dany? Will Dany herself be gifted with sight?

To go forward you must go back, indeed…

Final thoughts:

  • NOOOOOOOOOO. Doran, Tristayne, and Areo Hotah are all dead, but we’re still not done with the worst part of season five! Since Ellaria and her yawn-inducing girls can’t be the new rulers of Dorne, I suppose this is where we meet another boring Martell: Quentyn.
  • Sparrows gonna sparrow, but I’d rather watch Margaery in her cell than anything in Dorne.
  • Ramsay mourning Miranda in his own, messed-up Ramsay Bolton way was kind of hilarious.
  • Cersei’s pretty defeated, but her and Jaime were sounding like vintage Lannisters, what with their “fuck everyone who isn’t us” schtick. I expect great and foolish things from these two.
  • Thorne is pretty cavalier for a treasonous asshole. It didn’t quite seem that he has that many more supporters than Jon Snow. Or at least murdering a Lord Commander in cold blood isn’t a good way to win influence. Ask the traitors at Craster’s Keep.
  • The first person to agree that “it’s a sad fucking statement if Dolorous Edd is your only chance” is Dolorous Edd.
  • Next week: Bran Stark returns from Puberty-Beyond-the-Wall!

Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights at 9PM E/PT on HBO.

Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com covering TV, book reviews and sometimes games. She’s also gotten enthusiastic about television for Boing Boing. Send her a raven through Twitter.

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