GAME OF THRONES SEASON SIX

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Game of Thrones Season Six is the first season to steer a course away from its literary source material since author George R. R. Martin has yet to write the sixth volume of his high fantasy epic. With the show still riding high upon the crest of its popularity, the stakes were high. Would this television behemoth finally ‘jump the shark’ without a book to base it on? Would it flounder only to wash up on the shores of TV wasteland? The answer would be a resounding… NO! It’s a testament to producers Benioff and Weiss that they have so ably forged their own path through George R. R. Martin’s fantasy landscape, with only plot points from the author to guide them. They have a clear understanding of how Westeros and it’s denizens function. If anything season 6 is vastly superior to the fifth season, which at times seemed to drag and often felt like it was treading water. By contrast season six is out of the gate running, and by the second episode, it’s jumping hurdles like a thoroughbred.

With only two truncated seasons left this is the season where all the pieces in the deadly game are at last positioning themselves into their final endgame positions. There are pay-offs a plenty, some welcome return of characters not seen for a good long while and the requisite surprise deaths that have become a hallmark of the show since it began. This season revealed Jon Snow’s true parentage, the origin behind Hodor’s condition and his name, and threw in some time-twisting shenanigans into the fantasy mix, courtesy of Bran Stark’s three-eyed raven tutelage. A vital part of Westeros’ history is startlingly but satisfyingly explained and the battle for Winterfell is as visceral, bloody and nail biting as you could imagine seeing.

This is also the season of female empowerment, particularly for Sansa Stark who, in the previous season was brutally victimised, but here shows how that deplorable treatment has galvanised her into potentially becoming as dangerous and devious as Cersei Lannister. And what of Cersei? Well as deadly and despicable as she is you can’t help but cheer when her moment of vengeance is at hand and marvel at how well executed it is. Arya Stark, who spent most of season five languishing in Braavos also comes into her own this season. She finally understands what it is to have no name and, in so doing, fully accepts that she is, in fact, Arya Stark of House Stark and woe betide anybody on her list.

Season Six is not without its faults, the main one chiefly being Tyrion Lannister’s story arc having seemingly stalled as he looks after the administration of Meereen, whilst Daenerys is off acquiring (through rather lethal means) a Dothraki army. However, this is a minor complaint as this is the finest season of Game of Thrones yet. Story arcs are resolved satisfyingly, and often brutally, and it is evident that plot lines from the books that were, perhaps, hampering the flow of its televisual offspring, are being jettisoned in favour of a tighter narrative that will no doubt conclude with an explosively bloody climax.

GAME OF THRONES SEASON SIX / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: PETER DINKLAGE, LENA HEADEY, KIT HARINGTON, LIAM CUNNINGHAM, MAISIE WILLIAMS / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 14TH

 


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