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Some screenshots from the "Game Of Thrones Season 6":
Year of Release: 2016
Genre of the Series: Drama
Size of the Full Season: 11.50 GB
Series Director: Jeremy Podeswa
Amount of Episodes: 10
In its first season not tethered to George R. R. Martin's books -- save for some leftover Iron Islands shenanigans -- Game of Thrones moved faster than fans have come to anticipate with regards to story, payoffs, and even the literal movement of characters from one realm to another.
At times, there were so many "happy" moments that the series began to feel rather un-Game of Thrones like, though the show certainly had an excuse for rocketing us toward the end and giving the heroes more wins than usual - we're near the end! This is when things are supposed to start falling into place, if we're to follow traditional fantasy storytelling rules. None of this necessarily means we'll wind up with a feel-good ending by the time the curtain actually falls on this saga, but for now, with Season 6 acting as the gateway to the actual series endgame (expected to take place over two shortened final seasons), it was time for many of our heroes to triumph and ascend in ways that Martin never quite allowed in his pages. To date, of course...
Looking back at the huge number of big payoffs and give-backs this year: Jon Snow was resurrected, The Hound turned out to have survived his wounds (and abandonment), Benjen Stark also returned alive (...sort of), Jon and Sansa were emotionally reunited, two incredibly evil characters met gruesome ends at Stark hands, we discovered the time-bending origin (tragic though it was) behind Hodor's name, Jon's real parents were revealed, Winterfell was reclaimed, Daenerys left Meereen with a massive army and fleet, and someone other than a child of an incestuous union ascended to the Iron Throne.
It was a big year, to say the least, and Season 6 was notably light on audience contempt and tragedy, which had been the show's bread and butter up until this point. It was also the year that fans -- especially longtime fans who'd read the books -- found themselves getting ahead of the tale a bit, as their long-held theories about Jon Snow's parents, Jon Snow's short-lived death, Coldhands, and more were revealed to be pretty much exactly what had been guessed by many.
Speaking of female empowerment, Daenerys had herself a banner year, turning the tables on her initial seasonal plight rather quickly and (re)claiming herself a Dothraki army. Tyrion's time in Meereen, with Missandei and Grey Worm, may have dragged, but when Dany finally returned to the pyramid, the fiery clash at the end was spectacular. And speaking of storylines that lagged for a while and then ended with a flame-filled massacre, Cersei's decision to wipe out just about every namable character in King's Landing was an immensely satisfying purge, and a great ending to an arc that had meandered for far too long. And the Hitchcockian sequence that opened the season finale, leading up to the massive wildfire blast, was expertly executed.
The saddest death this year goes to Hodor, but with his sacrifice came the first-time inclusion of time-travel elements on the show and it was magnificent. Hodor's condition was a loop caused by Bran, during his Three-Eyed Raven tutelage, that directly affected the past and the moment marked one of the show's most tragic, and meaningful, exits while also opening up the supernatural rules of the series as well. And since I'm touching on standout sequences, the battle for Winterfell was a phenomenal spectacle filled with a ton of stakes, emotion, and soulful satisfaction. It should be said that I watched Ramsay get mauled by dogs multiple times, and the same goes for Arya's epic takedown of Walder Frey.
By the time The Hound returned to us, he was almost overshadowed by the likes of Jon's resurrection, Hodor's death, Coldhands, and the first Tower of Joy flashback. And then his return arc, featuring Ian McShane as a reformed killer leading a communal support group for pacifists, felt a little cliched and too traversed a territory for a show like Game of Thrones to tackle. Meanwhile, The Hound's former companion, Arya, flailed a bit during her second year in Braavos. Arya works best when she has someone to banter with and Jaqen, simply put, is not that guy. By the end, I was just glad to see her ditch that whole scene. Even better though was the fact that it seemed like she left the Faceless Men with his blessings (and faces), so her time there doesn't feel totally wasted, even if it didn't need so much screen time.
Two arcs this year felt like they took too long to play out, added to because it was the second year we were following both of them - King's Landing (specifically the rise of the High Sparrow), and Arya's aforementioned time in Braavos. Still, on the upside, they both had satisfying endings, especially Cersei's big play to wipe the entire slate clean, since that's pretty much what that storyline needed. And the end result of both tales seems to be a collision course now - Cersei on the Iron Throne and Arya with one hell of a target in her sites, as she resumes checking names off her list.
I'm not going to be too harsh on the Riverrun arc, except to say that I wasn't a fan of Blackfish dying off-screen (which just makes me suspect he's not really dead, though who knows after Stannis). I hope the dividends for this will pay off next season. As for right now, it really only served to take Jaime out of King's Landing so that Cersei was free to become the Mad Queen on her own. Though it should be said that the possibility of having a bitter, angrier Edmure in charge now at Riverrun -- and no more Walder Frey (or his sons) -- could make for an interesting future scenario.
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Game Of Thrones Season 6 YouTube trailer:
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