I review a whole season rather than individual episodes, so there is a chance of spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole season yet, stop reading now!
Considering this is a series which is known for killing anyone and almost everyone, it seemed to play against it’s biggest strength to bring Jon Snow back from the dead. This is the season of Game of Thrones where they can go off-book, having overtaken George RR Martin’s novels and being able to make their own mark.
This means that as well as resurrection, we can also get flashbacks, delving deeper into the past of key characters and seeing the story of the still sorely missed Ned Stark. This aspect of the sixth season is just one example of the show’s new sense of direction and although the quality of the show has always been really high, this season seems to breathe new life into the series.
For the first time of any season, there isn’t a story which you don’t care about. That is a bold statement as Game of Thrones’ sixth year juggles more story-lines and characters than any other series would dare. It doesn’t always work, particularly when the series leaves some characters for practically the whole season and the asks you to recollect their relevance, but generally any keen fan can keep-up.
It does ask a lot of the audience this season too. Not content with just resurrecting key characters, the season also resurrects long-dead story-lines, bringing back sub-plots that felt they had been discounted or referring back to moments which felt inconsequential at the time. It is bold but with six seasons worth of material, and a solid fan-base, it feels like a wise and mature strategy.
The crafting of the story isn’t the only mature aspect of the show. As always, sex and violence play their part, the latter more than ever before. This is a gory, bloodthirsty season and the deaths are as inventive and in some cases as shocking as ever. There are some “big deaths” this season, although nothing that quite matches the end of the season five.
That isn’t to say there aren’t big moments in the show’s sixth season. Some of the bigger characters get decent story-arcs and some conclusions to long-winding narratives. Sansa finally meets-up with her half-brother, Arya becomes assassin before using it against her master and the reason Hodor says “Hodor” becomes heartbreaking and clear.
As is now Game of Thrones’ tradition, his season also has a customary pitched battle. Jon Snow versus the evil and brilliantly nasty Ramsey Bolton, played by Iwan Rheon, is one of the better moments of the series and has some great cinematic scenes, particularly Snow versus a horde of oncoming cavalry.
This episode is only matched by the great finale. As is the case with Game of Thrones, the final episode teases story-lines for the next season and considering there are only two seasons left, both of which are reduced in number of episodes, big steps forward are made. The biggest of all is that Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys is finally making her way to Westeros, a Westeros controlled by Lena Headey’s Cersei as queen. Battle of the Bastards was good, Battle of the Bitches could prove to be much better.
Overall, Game of Thrones unrelenting quality continues, this time with renewed freedom due to lack of restrictions from RR Martin’s books. It means we get Ned Stark’s backstory, resurrections of both characters and story-lines and a finale which teases one of the biggest battles in the series for season seven!
Best Episode – Battle of the Bastards: The episode which pitches Bolton versus Snow is one full of incredible moments and a great resolution for one the show’s best characters.
Best performance – Iwan Rheon as Ramsey Bolton
Should there be another season? – Yes, this is still one of, if not the best show on television.
Season Rating – 5!
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)