GoT: The Red Woman Review

Just a quick warning, full spoilers to follow.

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It’s back! Finally after almost a year we can finally get closure on that ending. Finally we learn the fate of Jon Snow. Or maybe not, at least one more week to wait I guess. Stannis is definitely dead though, despite him dying off screen last season.

But this was still a satisfying episode. Let’s start at the beginning. Crazy, I know.

The season opens with a sweeping shot over Castle Black carpeted in snow. Winter has come. The camera zooms in on Jon Snow’s corpse (yeah, I’ll believe in when he’s in the ground, thanks) in slurry of blood soaked snow. Davos and Edd manage to claim Jon’s body and barricade themselves in the Lord Commander’s chambers (I think) along with a few other loyalists and Jon’s dire wolf, Ghost, safely away from Ser Alliser and his mob of traitors. Edd, however, manages to sneak out. Now, where is he going? To get the Wildlings? We know a certain mutual respect developed between them and Jon. Who knows? Davos also has a plan, and that’s to unleash the Red Woman on Ser Alliser’s forces. That’s interesting and shows Davos’ desperation here as he’s always been sceptical towards her brand of magic. This scene is probably the main focus of the episode and I’ll come back to Castle Black at the end. The rest of the episode however is more of a ‘what did you get up to over the summer?’ sort of episode and we spent a short amount of time with each major character barring Bran (remember that guy?!).

Daenerys has been captured by the Dothraki, who are led by Khal Moro. He banishes The Dragon Queen to a temple where other Dothraki widows live and die. Sounds fun right? No? Still, better than getting raped. It was cool to see Daenerys try and talk her way out of her situation by cleverly waiting to reveal herself and it’s a testament to the character’s growth over the last few seasons. Very clever. I mean, it didn’t really work out. But at least she showed cunning. I thought it was pretty clever. Meanwhile, Jorah and Daario went searching for their lost queen  and figured out who’s taken her because they somehow identified her ring amongst the Dothraki tracks. It’s probably really shiny, that’s probably how they saw it.

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Sansa and Theon are on the run from Ramsey’s forces and there’s a hint that Theon might be redeeming himself here. The two even share a cuddle. It’ll be interesting to see how this relationship develops. Does Sansa trust him yet? Remember, this guy used to be her brother. And then he got her Mum, Brother and pretty much everyone else killed in a silly act of selfishness. Here, he’s willing to sacrifice himself to help Sansa escape. It doesn’t really work and the both are very nearly taken back to Ramsay, but it’s the thought that counts. Just in the knick of time the two are rescued by Captain Phasma (Sorry, Brienne – they’re both very shiny) and her trusty companion Pod. Brienne pledges herself to Sansa in a emotional scene which is actually up-lifting. Most of the time they’re crying over dead relatives. Game of Thrones actually gave someone we like a break! It’s a nice, feel-good moment. Something good actually happened. Wow. Plus, it’s really nicely acted between the two and we feel the relief and emotion from both parties. This union seems to have been in the works for ages and finally we might get some justice for the Red Wedding. Maybe it’ll all be OK for Sansa after all. Probably not.

Tyrion and Varys only have a small scene where they discuss who the leader of the Sons of the Harpy and what they’re going to do about it. It’s fine. Not much happens. Equally, Arya only gets a few minutes. She’s blind and begging on the streets  and she’s about to begin her Daredevil training. That’ll be cool to see. Jaime and Cersei reunite and mourn the death of Myrcella and we’re given more of the same Lannister ‘us against the world’ nonsense. Creeps. Cersei is also worried about the prophecy predicting the death of all her three golden haired children. Well, it’s kind of coming true. And she deserve every minute of it. In seriousness though, it’s a testament to the show and to Lena Heady’s acting that we have started to feel sorry for this abominable woman and Jaime too. He’s become somewhat of an unlikely fan-favourite in recent seasons. Remember when he pushed a kid out of a tower? Dick. We also get a very quick scene of Margaery imprisoned in a brief scene with the High Sparrow. Doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere anytime soon.

And yes, we get to see Dorne again. Who cares right? It was so mishandled in season 5 that I genuinely forgot any of it happened. This is shame, because it’s a much more interesting aspect in the books. Prince Doran is a clever tactician rather than a spineless coward. He’s so much more complex in the books. That guy’s got loads of schemes going on. His character has been scandalously mistreated. And now he’s dead. Murdered by the Sand Snakes and Ellaria Sand who also got to his son, Trystane. In the books, he also has a daughter Arianne and another son, Quentin who he plans to wed to Daenerys. Now, I can’t remember if either of these two are mentioned in the TV series? I’ve blanked most of the Dorne stuff to be honest. But it’s interesting that the show runners have essentially put a stop to this story line. It felt like there was really something brewing here in the books. The scene didn’t really fit with the rest of the episode either, it seemed completely out of the blue.

Back to The Wall then. There’s a BIG reveal here. And it’s not what we were all expecting. Turns out Melisandre is old. Very old. Impossibly old, even. In a nice moment of self-reflection (literally and metaphorically) we see her for who she really is. A really old person. Probably hundreds of years old. Melisandre is suffering a serious lapse in self-confidence as she discovers Jon Snow dead when she  previously saw him in a vision fighting at Winterfell. So is this her giving up? I dunno. Is she going to bring Jon back to life? That’s what the theory has been all summer. We know reincarnation is a key part of the religion of the Lord of the Light, so it’s certainly possible. It’s difficult to now the significance of this scene at this particular time. It was pretty shocking though. And a bit gross. Why is that woman always naked?

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★★★★☆

GREAT. All in all, a decent start to the series. Like I said, feels very much like a catch-up. Just please make the Dorne stuff more interesting. And either bury Jon Snow or bring him back to life already.

 

 

 

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