Movies & TV Reviews

Game of Thrones “The Red Woman” Review

Finally, as someone who has not caught completely up on the books and kind of gave up, it’s nice to see David Benioff and D.B Weiss have to work without any books to adapt for Game of Thrones. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for because now this isn’t just spoiler country for television viewers, but also book readers too – presuming George R.R. Martin follows things similarly. My bet is he won’t, but it is nice to know it is an even-playing field. Expect spoilers to follow, naturally.

Let’s start things off with the big question that loomed after Game of Thrones‘s Season 5 finale, “Mother’s Mercy”. Jon Snow is dead. Jon Snow is very, very dead. This threat is used as a bookend for the episode, but the moral of the story is that I still firmly believe Melisandre is going to resurrect Jon Snow in a future episode. That’s not because Snow is the hero of the show (I do believe that Daenarys will end the show “victorious”), but because death isn’t really shocking anymore. Let’s face it, the show killed off several people in this one episode because it really isn’t important anymore about who dies. Now what will become important is who lives, and we already know of the power of resurrection with The Mountain.

But how ballsy of Davos to just say “Oh yeah, thanks for the heads up” about a plot to essentially have himself murdered by the Night’s Watch. Everyone in that room deserves a medal for not just bailing out at that exact moment when Alliser Thorne basically says they have a couple hours to surrender before they are slain mercilessly. A plan is hatched to recruit the other people who “owe their lives to Jon Snow” which implies heavily that the Wildlings will be recruited to help fight the Night’s Watch. This really brings a new foil to the legion as the Night’s Watch becomes more and more fractured by the actions of members of its own group.

I’m kind of excited to see where this storyline goes because I really like Davos and had no quarrels with Jon Snow. Also, how is Sam going to react? Most importantly at this point though is what Melisandre will do. She believed Jon Snow to be destined for more, but it didn’t quite happen, which means she must have questions about her own faith – something we’ll bring up at the end of this recap when we revisit her storyline.

Now for a quick look at Ramsay realizing the only woman sadistic enough for him is dead, and Roose telling him he should probably find Sansa or why does he really matter to him. It was uninteresting and pretty unnecessary, other than to reinforce that Ramsay had feelings for someone that were more than just “I really want to torture you”. That’s something, I guess.

Theon Greyjoy and Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones

(Game of Thrones, HBO)

The best scene of the whole show was the grand moment when Sansa Stark got to give the speech of a lord to a knight. That was actually an emotional moment because it demonstrated that Sansa finally had power in a situation. Mind you, it was power derived out of desperation, but it was power nonetheless. Pod helping her finish the speech was cute and reminded you that he has definitely heard the speech many, many times before. Brienne is going to be a kickass bodyguard.

I’m curious what the showrunners will do with Theon though. He exists as a reminder of horrors done to Winterfell, but now that Sansa has seen Winterfell deliver horrors to him, it wouldn’t be surprising if she finds solace in that fact alone. I just really hope Theon stops being so whiny and fragile. I want to see him become great after being broken down, but it also seems likely that he is so broken that he will only find moments of happiness from now on.

But from here, we get a moment of Cersei and Jamie rekindling their love after being separated (and losing a daughter). Cersei is still a great character, but part of me still feels like Jamie was turned into more of a slave to Cersei than was intended in the books. Yeah, I know, it’s dumb to compare this to the books now but I just feel like Jamie’s arc is insignificant now whereas I felt his arc was pretty important in the books that I had read. Now it is the Cersei show.

Jamie Jannister and Cersei LAnnister in Game of Thrones

(Game of Thrones, HBO)

Well, until you are reminded that Margaery is still getting demolished by religion. My favourite part of this show is still the importance it has started to place on religion since the fifth season. Nothing is above religion, which is a comfort for the poor but an anxiety for the rich. Imagine how differently our society would be if religion was the determining reason for punishment. Game of Thrones is pretty fascinating because as often as it is pulpy high-fantasy (which it often is), it still manages to be a well-designed society operating under so many pressures that it is difficult not to find something engaging. Its politically-minded nature was cool when Tyrion was in charge, but with Cersei in charge, religion is far more appealing of an attribute in King’s Landing to focus on.

Remember when I said it’s not important anymore about who dies? It’s because this show killed off several characters in Dorne, including its ruler, simply because it could. Politics do not matter anymore, and in Game of Thrones it definitely seems to have stopped mattering. Dorne will likely be ruled by women by the end of this, which is kind of fitting. It is a place that on its surface seems beautiful and free but deep down it has a venomous nature. Sorry, that sounds like I think all women are beautiful snakes. They’re not, but Dornish women definitely seem to be. Vengeance for Oberyn seems likely, but how much more can be done about that? The blame will either fall on Tyrion for selecting Oberyn (good luck finding him right now), The Mountain for killing Oberyn (The Mountain is presumably still believed to be dead and not resurrected), or the Lannisters as a whole because they pretty much are the only reason the Martells ever stepped foot in King’s Landing. Regardless, this seems like an uncomplicated and fairly straightforward plotline.

The fun part is watching Game of Thrones tackle a way to rehash the events of the second season but again with this season. Tyrion and Varys are running the show in Meeren and that is awesome news. Though I think season two is fairly weak and boring overall, the politics of it all was fascinating. I can’t wait for Tyrion and Varys to get their own spinoff show where they flip cities on TLC instead of flipping houses in the real estate market.

Minor mention that Jorah was inflicted by the Grey Men (Stone Men? I don’t know, honestly what they are). It would be pretty tragic if Daenarys finally fell in love with him and he turned to stone before they could finally be with each other. That would actually be devastating. And a great way to kill off a relationship between characters.

Speaking of Jorah and Daenarys, thank god that Benioff and Weiss didn’t have Danearys be raped by Dothraki. She kept refusing to show that she could speak their language, and it made me worried that she was going to hold her hand too long. Then there was a brief moment when you think “Oh boy, they don’t even believe that she is important to the Dothraki.” I’m happy that the show didn’t have her be raped because that would be pointless, but then all worries were restarted when it was discovered that widows of Khals all get put in some widow prison. Where is Drogon? Will he show up in the knick of time to save her or do we have to spend another season where she doesn’t know where her dragon is and she gets put through perils because of it?

Arya in Game of Thrones

(Game of Thrones, HBO)

Arya is blind. I don’t think this story is going to be at all interesting this season. Arya becomes Daredevil and instead of getting her to be a badass like Daredevil, it looks like we have to watch Daredevil’s origin story. Does this mean that other girl is Stick? Ugh, the Marvel Universe is so complicated.

Now for the final moment when the show realizes it is losing characters left and right and needs to humanize one which it has kept mysterious the entire time. It makes complete sense that Melisandre would finally reveal her true age (or at least, a depiction of her real age), but I can’t help but feel like this is just a reaction to not having a lot of characters to explore. Melisandre strips and you go “Well, now she’s just going to fondle herself in a mirror” because Melisandre only gets naked to have sex with someone or sprout shadow babies. Instead, we get to see her as a really old lady (breast quota has been fulfilled HBO, I await to see how it pops up in the next episode).

Depicting her as this finally shows some humanity to the character. At first, I thought she was simply going to kill herself or had just given up on everything, but instead she just went to bed. This made me realize that I don’t think we’ve ever seen Melisandre live her normal life – whatever that actually is. This season seems like it will flesh out more of her than it has before. Seeing how she ends her day is pivotal to that, but it is also pivotal to showing her as a character with an inner conflict – a conflict of faith, it seems.

Regardless, this was a solid episode with some interesting storylines and powerful moments. Unfortunately, I can’t help but see the strings behind-the-scenes operating and thinking that contrivances are happening. Jamie feels wasted, despite finally opening up to Myrcella at the end of season five before her death; Arya is being taught how to be blind, which seems necessary but really dumb and an unfortunately boring plot point; and Melisandre is obviously being turned into a bigger character because of a lack of characters.

Still no Bran though. What the hell, guys?

Game of Thrones "The Red Woman"

Game of Thrones "The Red Woman"
80

Score

8/10

    Pros

    • Powerful moment between Sansa and Brienne
    • Tyrion and Varys are going to be the best tag team partners
    • The split within the Night's Watch continues to be fascinating

    Cons

    • Jamie feels like a slave to Cersei, thus kind of wasted
    • Arya being blind doesn't mean we should have to watch her learn to be blind

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