Video Podcast of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 1, “The Red Woman”

And we’re back! Apologies for the first 30 seconds or so where we’re discussing whether we’re recording, obviously we’re a bit rusty – and next week, this’ll come out much sooner than Friday. But here’s what we thought of the episode:



45 thoughts on “Video Podcast of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 1, “The Red Woman”

  1. David Hunt says:

    Thanks for doing this to the both of you. I was also thrilled to see the amazing guest appearance of Oldman Cat!

    I’m proud of myself that I was only slightly annoyed by Ghost making any verbalizations. Totally agree with you about the insanity of the everything Dornish. Eager to find out just what Davos has in mind.

    • You’re welcome!

      Regarding Ghost making noise, I believe they tried to make that work in Season 1 but it turned out that it was one of those things that works better on the page.

  2. beto2702 says:

    I really hope something happens in Dorne with Ellaria. They should have her attack the Lannisters or have some local lords opposing her, something! I’m holding my judgement for the moment, don’t want to say that they did all this just to get rid of Dorne.

    • Something will happen; I doubt anything that makes sense will happen.

      • SoRefined says:

        I think they could have done a coup with the same net results, eg no more Martells, and made it make a little more temporal sense? Maybe in episode 1 we see Doran and Areo meet their end and then Trystane bites it when the ship has clearly returned to Dorne an episode or two later, thus eliminating the confusion of the Coleman Francis-esque continuity regarding the location of the two Sand Snakes who executed Trystane.

  3. Winnief says:

    Good to see Old Man Virgil. He’s such a handsome boy.

    Agree this episode was anti-climactic and felt more like set-up than anything else. Hopefully things pick up in Episode 2.

    Dorne is awful. They could drop that whole storyline and we’d never hear from it again and I would be FINE with that. I mean it was bad in the books as well but somehow D&D managed to make it even worse! It’s almost more frustrating because they’re handling the rest of it so well.

    ITA about Davos and the contrast between him and Mel.

    LOVED everything about Theon, Sansa, and Brienne. LOVED IT!!! I was almost ready to ship Sansa/Theon that’s how good Alfie and Sophie are together.

    Yeah, Jorah and Daario finding the ring was BS, but I can’t complain too much because I loved their interaction together too much. Now Dany with the khalasar was annoying as hell unfortunately I’m not sure we can blame this one entirely on D&D since Martin did come up with this in yet another pointless distraction to delay Dany’s arrival in Westeros.

    I’m not sure I’ll ever agree with the writers decision to do Ramsay/Sansa…but one thing I *am* starting to appreciate is this theme that Sansa is a character of remarkable resilience who can survive almost anything with her sense of identity intact.

    Lena Headey continues to amaze me with her acting skills. Also Cersei’s reference to the prophecy to me suggests we’re going to see more of it enacted this season-either the death of Tommen or the rise of the YMBQ. Or Both. Now I gotta say…right now circumstances don’t seem to fit with Dany being the YMBQ, but I see another potential candidate who might be building her own support base pretty soon.

    LOL to Arya going from Batman to Daredevil.

    Glad to have you guys back

  4. Keith B says:

    I probably missed a few things in this episode, but:

    1. Sansa knows Podrick from King’s Landing. Did she show any sign of recognizing him?
    2. Did an actress play “ancient Melisandre” or did they do it all with special effects?

  5. I feel funny about the Dorne thing, Steve. Correct me if I’m wrong but, in the books, aren’t the Sand Snakes/ Ellaria (or whoever) working to put Myrcella on the Iron Throne because they believe the gender hierarchy ruler thing in Westeros is bullshit? Isn’t it because they agree with the Dorne rule that mandate doesn’t pass down by gender but by seniority/age? (I realize this is also a strategic move to get a sympathetic person/not cray person/or political puppet on the Iron Throne too).

    So GoT has essentially taken what was, in the books, a feminist-eque cause to upend a really sexist rule in a really patriarchal society that resulted in tons of subjugation of women and the direct disenfranchisement of Myrcella and made it into 1) a cat fight between bickering, petty, irrational women (I wanna kill Cersei’s kids no matter how bad it might be for Dorne) and 2) a scene that mirrors every single terrible representation/trope of the straw feminist? I mean, here Ellaria (or whoever she is) is just murdering all the men cause they’re “weak men” and promising that “weak men” will never rule Dorne again! The straw feminist trope is all about creating a character that will do totally irrational things (like murder all Martells) for the sake of hating on and castrating all men (who are inevitably portrayed as nice and sweet and love kids and want peace and whatnot). GoT has taken something I though was pretty kick-ass when I read it and translated it into a very recognizable but also very empty and pejorative representation of women–and what women will do in a society that recognizes their equality and sovereignty.

    Or am I not on target about the books?

    • SoRefined says:

      I don’t want to get too spoilery about the books, but to clarify: you are correct that Dorne generally practices “absolute primogeniture” eg, the oldest kid is first in line to rule regardless of sex/gender and because Dorne was not brought into the Seven Kingdoms by conquest, Dorne has a guarantee that their laws have primacy in Dorne, which is where Myrcella, now Robert’s oldest [presumed] child happens to be.

      In the books, Doran has two children who have not been included in the show. His oldest child is a daughter (age, mid-20s), the middle child a son (about 20). Trystane is the youngest, 13 or 14 years old. The daughter comes to believe, based on A Classic Martell Family Miscommunication that Doran plans to pass her over in favor of his oldest son, and hatches a plan to assert Myrcella’s claim to the Iron Throne based on Dornish succession rules, basically as a way to assert her own claim to be Doran’s heir. It… doesn’t work out.

      The Sand Snakes and Ellaria have no role in this plot, as the older Sand Snakes (not Ellaria’s children, hers are younger) are imprisoned at the time it happens and Ellaria is… not exactly imprisoned, but in kind of protective custody after her return to Dorne. And also she’s pretty anti-vengeance.

    • Hey Meredith!

      Yes, in the books, the Sand Snakes and Arianne are working to put Myrcella on the Iron Throne; Ellaria doesn’t get involved because she’s against revenge.

      And I think you’re quite right about what they’ve done. In the books, Arianne has what appears to be a legitimate beef – it looks to her as if she’s been denied quality marriages to keep her politically isolated, that her brother is being groomed to steal her spot. And her coup attempt, while it makes use of Myrcella, reinforces this theme. Also she’s not murdering children.

      • Chinoiserie says:

        Some of the Sand Snakes were proposing to kill Myrcella I thought, Tyene or Nym or maybe both? And they are not working with Arianne. I feel they end up doing something against Doran’s wishes in the books as well, despite their wows to him.

    • Andrew says:

      Yeah, Elia is mad about Oberyn’s death, and her response is to kill Oberyn’s brother and nephew, virtually wiping out his house. Even though she knew Oberyn volunteered for the trial by combat, full-well knowing the risk if he lost (death).

      At least with Arianne, she thought Doran was trying to steal her birthright. GoT has clear women problem, and that has nothing to do with the portrayal of the treatment of women in a feudal society.

  6. Will Rogers says:


  7. Jim B says:

    I had the opposite interpretation of the Melisandre scene. I saw it as showing us that Melisandre is actually rather frail and that much of her perceived power is illusory.

    I acknowledge that there’s an established trope about old witches being powerful, and that you can argue that the illusion is a demonstration of her power, but I don’t think that’s what we were being shown.

    In particular, it’s Melisandre’s demeanor in that scene that I think favors my interpretation. We know from her conversation with Davos that she is shaken by the deaths of Stannis and Jon, and losing confidence (perhaps I should say faith?) at least in her ability to read the flames. The fact that she then stares sadly at her true reflection in the mirror and then shuffles off to bed (isn’t it the middle of the day? It must be if Thorne issued a deadline of nightfall) suggests to me that she’s reflecting on her frailty.

    The point of the scene being to show Melisandre’s vulnerability and undermine the viewers’ confidence in Davos’s prediction that Melisandre will save the day.

  8. Sean C. says:

    Minor bit, regarding the Wildlings, there’s way less than 100,000 Wildlings south of the Wall. That was the total number at Hardhome, most of whom died. We haven’t been given an exact number, but they still massively outnumber the Night’s Watch, let alone just the Castle Black garrison, which is down to about 50 people.

    In terms of the presentation of Ellaria and the Sand Snakes, I think the cartoonish villainy is deliberate (well, the latter were already cartoonish in the source material). It’s much like the way the Faith Militant has been presented as a bunch of ISIS-esque nutbars who carve bloody symbols into their foreheads and spend all their time gaybashing: these groups are in opposition to Cersei, and the showrunners want the audience to be in Cersei’s court throughout.

  9. djinn says:

    Interesting analysis about the use of the howling to create the transpotion between scenes. I’m admitingly confused about a series of things in this episode: after the wights attacks in S1, S2 and Hardhome, isn’t it a policy at the Wall to burn dead bodies? Why make up a Mereneese fleet in S4? Were exactly was Trystane and did the Ss got there? Didn’t Cersei had 4 children? Didn’t Davos tried to kill Mel in S3? What is Margaery suppose to confess?

    As for Dorne, i’m to confused by the whole of it to understand at all.

    And i would like to notice the peculiar opposition between the Bolton dogs and the Stark direwolfs.

    • Grant says:

      No one remembers that kid Cersei said she had, especially the writers.

      Alright, being fair you could say that Cersei made the entire thing up to get Catelyn more favorable to her but I can’t remember Cersei ever doing anything similar elsewhere. Plus that would be something Catelyn could easily check on, what with the alleged father and plenty of court-goers hanging around.

      My guess is that she’s supposed to confess that she knew her brother \was gay.

      • Winnief says:

        I think the writers later realized that the other kid was a total continuity error given the wording of the prophecy.

        In fact having even ONE black-haired child by Robert could easily have been enough to avert the entire prophecy and as Tyrion notes even one member of the royal nursery who looked like a Baratheon might have prevented suspicion.

      • Tywin of the Hill says:

        – In “The Wolf and the Lion”, Cersei tells Robert she once felt something for him, “even after we lost our first boy”.

    • 1. Because we need Jon’s body intact.

      2. Not sure?

      3. So apparently Trystane was sent back by Jaime to avoid Cersei executing him, but you can only find out if you look at the scroll Doran got in the Behind the Scenes photo.

      4. Yes, Cersei’s extra kid which they added for no damn reason in Season 1 screwed up the prophecy. You’ll note they haven’t mentioned it since.

      5. Yes he did. But that seems to matter less now.

      6. Don’t know. Possibly something minor.

      • djinn says:

        1. Meta reasons. Ok.
        2. Guess we’re on the same(unburn) boat.
        3. But wasn’t he painting those eye-stones for Myrcella’s funeral? It’s really weird.
        4. Cannon delete. Got it.
        5. It’s just that his opinion of her changes 180º really quick.
        6. She was arrest for perjury, right? That’s pretty self explanatory, what’s there to confess?

        I hope i’m not being too nitpicky, it’s just that sometimes the plot takes such jarring turns that it’s hard to understand why.

        I really don’t understand why have the Dornish story at all?

  10. Steven Xue says:

    I know a lot of people including myself have a pet peeve with the Dorne plot. And I agree it doesn’t really make sense but then again we have to remember that Ellaria and the Sand Snakes are a bunch of single minded sociopaths hell bent on getting revenge for Oberyn. Now when it comes to people pushed towards wanting vengeance for their loved ones, the things they do out of grief and anger often don’t make any sense and end up being detrimental to their own wellbeing.

    It has been established throughout last season that Ellaria and Oberyns principle daughters are determined to avenge their lover/father no matter the cost. In both the books and the show it has been shown how vendettas can drive people into doing the most insane things. Just look at Rickard Karstark for example. When Jaime slayed two of his sons, he was infuriated that he was willing to commit treason, offer his daughter’s hand to whoever brings Jaime to him and ended up killing two innocent cousins of Jaime in a fit of vicarious retribution.

    Now killing Doran and Trystane may do more harm than good for their cause I admit but I think Ellaria did so because she and the Sand Snakes were already in too deep. I don’t know if anybody has read the raven scroll Jaime sent but it says and I quote:

    “The Princess Myrcella died by poison on our return journey. I suspect Ellaria not you, but my sister will demand war. I doubt Ellaria’s head will appease her but it is a start, a long with your nieces. Your son cannot stay in King’s Landing. I am sending him back on the same ship.”

    After murdering Myrcella Ellaria should have known that Jaime would pin the blame on him and it was only a matter of time before gets back to Doran, who would have been compelled to give her up along with her daughter and step daughters. They were going to get screwed anyway so I guess they had no other alternative than to assassinate Doran and Trystane (who as the new Prince of Dorne would have executed them for killing his father).

  11. beto2702 says:

    What really hit me was not Areoh’s death, but the way he died. Come on! If you are going to have a huge guy with a m@#%$@ sized axe… you don’t send him off like that! He could have been holding a portrait this whole time instead of a longaxe and it wouldn’t have mattered!

    At least in the book we got to read of Arys’ flying head.

    • Yeah, that was weak. If you’re going to have the guards be traitors, why not have them dogpile Hotah, a good fight scene where he’s laying waste to them and then gets stabbed in the back by one of the Sand Snakes.

  12. Hi! Is there also an audiofile for this podcast?

  13. Gianmarco says:

    Let’s not forget, Melisandre in the books does not sleep, barely eats, and feels no cold. After she takes the ruby off, she goes to bed, near the fireplace, and huddles beneath the fur blankets.

  14. Jim says:

    Awesome podcast guys.
    Production note: the volume level was radically different between the two of you.

  15. Chinoiserie says:

    You need to remember adjust the brightness of your screens if you do not see clearly. I did not do it last season and the darkness was annoying but after I realized to adjust the darkness the episodes look much better. Apparently TV screens adjust automatically if they are not plasma (or so I heard) but I am watching from a computer.

  16. Chinoiserie says:

    Davos does not yet know of Stannis (and probably Shireen’s death). Stannous can’t have died long ago, maybe even a day (it is kind of impossible to tell time in the show since people never mention it so we really should not try usually, clearly Jaime and Cersei’s storylines have taken more than the day at the Wall, but I think it might have been about the same time near Winterfell as well). Davos can tell things are bad when Melisandre returns but I doubt they have had a conversation and news of Stannis’s death would not have reached the Wall yet. I suspect he will find out later, it will be interesting to see his reaction to Melisandre then.

  17. Chinoiserie says:

    I posted this earlier but it disappeared apparently (maybe because I tried to change e-mail address, who knows). Anyway Davos does not know yet that Stannis is dead (nor Shireen most likely, I can’t see him having a discussion with Melisadre of-screen). Stannis only died very recently. When exactly is unclear since the show does not mention time barely ever (so thinking of it too much is kind of pointless) and Jaime and Cersei’s storylines have progressed more than the day it has passed on the Wall the very least. So in the show like in the books the storylines do not necessarily move on the same speed. However based on the Winterfell scenes it seems to have been a day there as well. Which means that there was no change of Davos finding out of Stannis’s death. I am interested in seeing Davos’s reaction to this.

    I liked the Dorthraki humor, it made the characters seem like people instead of Drogo clones and it provided levity. The dothraki as a group is a problem in the books as well and I do not know exactly what either the books or the show can do to fix them at this point apart from creating three-dimensional characters.

    • beto2702 says:

      1. I thought Davos already knew. At the end of last season, when Mel arrived at Castle Black, there was this look that they throw each other, like of understanding. I thought Mel somehow knew that Stannis was doomed and she left, she needs to know, otherwise how are we going to get that “All what I saw in the flames was a lie” line from the trailer (I think that one is going to appear in episode 2). By her depressed state at the end of last week it seemed like she already knew also.

      Davos must know from her that Stannis happy family is gone. What he doesn’t know is Mel’s and Stannis’ part in it. Maybe Davos just thinks that she died in the battle or that Bolton took her, he surely doesn’t know that they burned her.

      2. Time is a weird matter, even in the books. Chaps are often thrown in a not so chronological order. It’s not something that annoys me as long as the points where story lines collide make sense. In this specific case, it seemed too me like time matched though. I mean, Jaime’s ship arriving and him having a talk with his sister seems like only a day too.

      3. Humor was cool, and unexpected. Sansa forgetting the oath lines. Tyrion having translation problems.

      4. Not sure how much of a problem I see in the Dothraki. I mean they are all pretty similar but one can put that on their culture. It is not like we have had Dothraki POVs or Dothraki main characters outside of Drogo either, not much ground for comparisson. I’ll wait to see how they handle the differences of this new khal and surrounding people with Drogo’s khalassar, both in the series and the books.

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