Analysis of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 1

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For want of an outlet that pays me, I decided to throw up my essay about Episode 1 of Season 6 on Tower of the Hand, so those of you who are still watching the show can check it out!

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18 thoughts on “Analysis of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 1

  1. The First episode was pretty awesome specially the red woman and now i am eagerly waiting for the episode 2.

  2. Punning Pundit says:

    Not that Cercei would do this, but I wonder if there is a Westeros precedent for delaying a war several years until after Winter?

  3. Winnief says:

    Brilliant analysis as always Steve, ESPECIALLY your conclusions about the dangers of bloody overthrow. Funny how would be ursurpers never consider the fact they’re opening the door to similar tactics being used on *them*.

  4. Brett says:

    That’s bizarre that Salon didn’t want to publish it, after the good set of posts you did for them last year. They must have blown all their money on a million HA Goodman think-pieces.

    Good essay, as always, I think they’re going to somehow have the Dornish line up with Daenerys when she gets there, although they could have them simply be written off with a message to King’s Landing describing “Dorne in chaos with the Martells gone”. It seems like it would be a waste of money just to bring back the Sand Snakes this season solely for that.

    It should be interesting to see how things go down in King’s Landing. I’m wondering if Gregorstein is going to kill off Margaery, the Tyrells, and accidentally Tommen before the High Septon goes down, or after.

    • It’s not that they didn’t like the piece, it’s more of an organizational issue.

      Yeah, that’s going to be very weird. In the show, there’s no real opening for why they’d reach out to Dany.

  5. Steven Xue says:

    Hey Steven,
    You claim in both the podcast and this essay that the Red Priests see Dany as an apostle sent by R’hllor to free the slaves. Well I just wonder whether their veneration of her is genuine or are they just using her for their own political-religious agenda. Although it seems quite likely a good deal of their believers would be convinced of her divinity given just how well she fits into the prophecy. But seeing as the slaves she has freed treat her as a goddess in her own right, I do wonder if the priests of R’hllor are just cashing in on her momentum in order to convert a huge section of the population by declaring her to be their messiah?

    Also in regards to the Meerenese fleet going up in flames. I can’t help but wonder if the show runners did this in order to shoehorn the Ironborn into Dany’s story. Now that she doesn’t have a fleet to ferry her army across the Narrow Sea, I assume this is where Euron gets to shine and just like in the books him and Ironborn’s plot will be crossing over with Dany’s this season.

    • Sean C. says:

      I don’t think they really gain much by telling Dany’s followers that she is the Lord’s Chosen if they don’t themselves believe it. That ultimately just increases their fervor for Dany; the Red Priests’ influence grows only to the extent that they follow Dany’s agenda too.

    • No, I think it’s genuine, grounded in their whole prophecy about Azor Ahai, especially if Melisandre’s variant with dragons is genuine.

  6. Keith B says:

    Did the showrunners somehow think they ended the Dornish plot with the killing of Doran, Trystane and Areo? Rationally, it can’t be over at this point. Ellaria and the SS have murdered the King’s sister as well as their own Prince and his heir. They’re in a state of rebellion against the Iron Throne and are now oathbreakers, kinslayers, and usurpers. There’s no way this wouldn’t lead to a war with Dorne. It was probably a mistake to include Dorne last season, but now they’re stuck with it unless they want to be absurd.

    But if the Dornish plot isn’t over, why are they doing a Riverlands story? Jaime can’t go to the Riverlands if he’s busy dealing with the Faith and Dorne at the same time. Without Jaime and Brienne, there’s nobody there who is central enough to the story to make a Riverlands plot worth while. It’s just the Freys attempting to subdue the province and meeting resistance from Tully loyalists led by the Blackfish, plus the remains of the Brotherhood.

    In the books it makes sense for Jaime to go to the Riverlands because it’s the one remaining trouble spot. When he leaves, the Faith hasn’t begun to cause problems and Dorne is quiet. But in the show, the problems with the Faith and Dorne have already started. Jaime has to stay in KL to deal with it.

    Season 6 has at least twelve plot lines going on (depending on how you count them) and that makes for a very crowded show. As of the first episode we’ve seen seven. We haven’t yet seen the Ironborn, Bran/Bloodraven, Littlefinger/The Vale, Sam/Gilly in Oldtown, or the Riverlands. The show should be trying to cut out everything that isn’t essential to the story. Anything that doesn’t involve a main character shouldn’t make the cut.

  7. Jim B says:

    Your mention of the line of succession in Dorne reminds me of something I was thinking of the other day: who is Tommen’s heir on the show?

    In the books, Myrcella, Stannis, and Shireen are all still alive, but on the show they’re all dead. If something were to happen to Tommen, who has the best claim to the Iron Throne? It’s pretty much Dany, isn’t it? (I’m ignoring Jon and any other secret Targaryens since it doesn’t seem there is one who is aware of that status.) Or, I guess, one of Robert’s bastards.

    As a practical matter, I suspect that House Tyrell would seize power (to the extent they haven’t already), and ensure that someone — preferably someone blond — knocked up Margaery right away so they could claim she’s carrying Tommen’s heir and rules as Queen Regent.

    • Grant says:

      Going by the legal argument that Robert was justified and right to force the Targaryens out of power and establish a Baratheon royal dynasty AND the Lannister/Tyrell argument that Joffrey and his siblings were the legitimate children of Robert, it would be whoever was closest related to the ‘Baratheon’ children.

      Going by that legal argument about Robert and the fact the children aren’t Baratheon, it would be whoever’s left closest related to the Baratheon brothers.

      Of course either way there’d probably be more fighting since that kind of claim would invite plenty of alternative claims. Either way however, since Robert’s claim was based on the right to push the Targaryens out that means that Dany’s out of the running. Her only way to come back would be on the back of a dragon and the situation so uncertain that enough lords would actually accept the return of the Targaryens. So from a legal point, things are bad for her. From a political one, if she can ever get the Essos situation settled she’s in a good position.

      • Jim B says:

        I basically agree with your analysis. Would you agree that, if you discount Dany, Aegon, and any secret Targs, as well as any of Robert’s bastards, neither the books nor the show have told us who is Robert’s closest living relation?

        I don’t know that either the show or the books has gone into detail on exactly how Robert’s claim is legally justified. Obviously they weren’t claiming that House Targaryen as a whole had forfeited any claim to the throne, because Robert’s own claim to the throne was based at least in part on his own Targaryen ancestry.

        The argument as to Aerys II is pretty straightforward. The interesting question to me is what about his heirs. Did Aerys II’s abuses forfeit not only his own claim, but that of his descendents, on the grounds that his madness and/or abuses indirectly tainted them? Or, once Aerys II and Rhaegar, Rhaenys, and (supposedly) Aegon were conveniently dead, did they invoke a Glorious Revolution-type theory that Viserys and Daenyrs had forfeited their claims by fleeing?

        Legalities aside, it’s looking increasingly like the most logical outcome is for nobody to hold the Iron Throne, and for Westeros to revert to being seven kingdoms. The Iron Islands are already in open revolt. Dorne either is or is about to do the same. The North and the Riverlands may well re-declare independence if there is a Stark restoration, and on the show even the Boltons are already defying the Lannisters. The Lannisters and Tyrells are already in a cold war, and Littlefinger is playing his own game in the Vale. Administratively the whole idea of Westeros being a single kingdom never made a whole lot of sense to begin with, and it’s not clear that anybody can rule it all without dragons.

        I doubt that’s the ending we’ll get — GRRM may not wrap everything up in a neat little bow, but I think he intends to give readers some kind of satisfying resolution, and D&D almost certainly do.

        • Grant says:

          The books do go a bit into who might rule if no immediate members of the ruling family are around for the Starks (Dustin for example) and also that those things make a lot of potential trouble. With the Baratheons I’m not quite sure since interpreting lineage isn’t my specialty, maybe a Florent (wouldn’t that just make the Tyrells happy). Maybe some cousin who married into another house a while back. Maybe even Edric if he could convince people that he’s his father again and a good way to settle things with a clear heir (though that’s a pretty tricky one what with the bastard status).

          With Aerys II it seems to a case of several arguments mixed together, specifically that Aerys is unfit to rule, that Rhaegar with the ‘kidnapping’ is also unfit, that the other children are obviously too young to rule, that Robert with his ancestry is the correct replacement, all cemented by the fact that Robert won the war. And with Robert on the throne, well the war and his arguments mean that the only way Dany and Visy could take it would be if they either married Baratheons or took the throne.

          I’m not sure I’d call the breakdown of the Seven Kingdom structure as the logical outcome so much as the probable one (absent factors such as dragons and Others). Depending on political alliances and battle outcomes it might make a comeback, but at the moment what’s holding it together is the strength of the Tyrell armies (which might fall apart soon) and the weakness of any pro-independence parties.

    • Probably a tossup between Dany and a random Lannister?

  8. Winnief says:

    Too bad Salon won’t pony up the dough this year, (but they publish Camille Paglia and Walker Bragman?!?)

    But please keep these essays coming anyway!

    Can’t wait for your thoughts on “Home.” Not just the finale but Tyrion with the dragons, the Iron Born storyline, and of course the Northern intrigue.

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