Game of Thrones Season 6 Preview

Game of Thrones Season 6 Preview

Season 6 of Game of Thrones is right around the corner, and I can hardly contain my excitement any longer. I’m excited for every single facet of the upcoming season, but I’ve narrowed down the five characters/storylines I’m most looking forward to in season 6.

  1. Davos Seaworth

Davos and Stannis were a lot like a couple in an abusive relationship. Now with Stannis dead, it’s thrilling to think about what direction he will take next. For Davos, the death of Stannis is devastating (the death of Shireen even more so), the path ahead surely terrifying but also a bit thrilling. So much of Davos’s identity has been wrapped up in Stannis. I’m stoked to see what kind of person Davos becomes without Stannis in his life. I’ve always really enjoyed his character. He’s one of the few practical, truly loyal and genuinely decent individuals in the story, and I was always a bit frustrated that such a stellar individual was dedicated to a self-righteous person like Stannis. With inevitable chaos about to explode at Castle Black (more on that later), Davos may be the only person there who can make things right. The trailer makes it look like Davos has aligned himself with what Jon Snow values and may even be working to help bring him back to life. Why else would he be defending Jon’s corpse? Free of Stannis, grief-stricken with what happened to Shireen, an alliance possibly forming between Davos and Melisandre as they work to bring Jon back to life and bring justice to Castle Black and perhaps the whole North . . . the character and storyline of Davos Seaworth may be what I’m looking forward to most in this upcoming season.

  1. Bran Stark and the Night’s King

What has Bran learned from the Three-Eyed Raven since we saw him last? The boy who was once one of the most prominent characters in the show faded farther and farther from the core storylines until he became totally absent in season 5. Now it’s time to reunite with Bran and see how far he’s come, how much his powers have grown, and see those powers weave into the core storylines in major ways. Add in the scene from the trailer where he comes face to face with the Night’s King (leader of the White Walkers) in a vision, and the anticipation just cannot be contained. Bran seems like he’s going to be integral to learning more about the Night’s King and the White Walkers. He may end up being the key to defeating them and saving Westeros. It’s absolutely time to reunite with a more powerful and more mature Bran, and to learn a lot more about the ultimate evil: the Night’s King and the White Walkers.

  1. Team Daenerys

There’s no better group of individuals left in this story other than what I like to call Team Daenerys. There’s Dany herself of course. There are her longtime allies Jorah and Missandei and Grey Worm and Daario. Add in newcomers to her cause but old, familiar faces to us in Tyrion and Varys, and you have assembled the Avengers of the Game of Thrones universe. Maybe that’s a stretch, but you can’t deny what an awesome and unique group this is. I can’t wait to see how Daenerys deals with the Dothraki. Though there will be many initial struggles, I feel confident she will completely win them over and they’ll end up being loyal followers who help her in her quest to finally crack the nut that is Slaver’s Bay and put Daenerys on the Iron Throne in Westeros. She has a long way to go before any of that happens, though. And I can’t wait to see Tyrion and Varys and Missandei and Grey Worm working together to rule Meereen in the name of Daenerys. What an eclectic, fascinating and very capable group. Seeing Tyrion and Varys back at the heart of the political game will be satisfying to see, especially after their lengthy stints of being imprisoned or traveling. I expect them to once and for all solve the quandary of the Sons of the Harpy and unmask their leader(s). When all the individuals of Team Daenerys come together (assuming they all live up until that point), it will be for many Thrones fans like when the Avengers first came together.

  1. Sansa Stark coming into her own

While many characters constantly get screwed over on this show, none seem to get it worse than Sansa. She had the misfortune of being engaged or wedded to the two most despicable characters in the whole Game of Thrones universe: Joffrey Baratheon and Ramsay Bolton. Whether it’s been the Lannisters, Littlefinger, or the Boltons, Sansa has been abused ever since the Lannisters seized control of the Iron Throne in season 1. Now that she and Theon/Reek are at last free of Ramsay’s clutches, I’m pumped to see Sansa finally come into her own this season and take control of her life. While she’s been abused, she’s also learned how to survive and navigate a variety of political and life-threatening situations. She’s learned how to play the game of thrones from all her abusers and in seasons 4 and 5 she began to play the game a bit. Now it’s time for her to take what she learned from Cersei and Littlefinger and Roose Bolton, and also what she learned from her Stark family, thereby using her knowledge and her skills to become a full-fledged player. I want to see Sansa become one of the most powerful players in the game of thrones, and I believe she not only has what it takes, but now that she’s free the circumstances may align just right to make that a reality. I just really hope that Ramsay doesn’t catch her and Theon/Reek.

  1. Jon Snow’s fate and the fallout at Castle Black

Jon Snow is clearly dead. The question is whether he’s staying dead or if he’ll somehow come back to life. While I understand that Alliser Thorne and Olly and others in the Night’s Watch killed Jon because they saw him as a traitor, I really don’t think they thought through the consequences. There are hundreds of wildlings at Castle Black who relied on Jon’s word and only came to this side of the Wall because of his promise. Again, there are hundreds of wildlings there, and that includes the formidable Tormund Giantsbane and a freaking giant. Add in Jon’s direwolf Ghost, Davos and Melisandre who are going to stand up for what Jon believed in, and remaining loyalists to Jon in the Night’s Watch. Jon was the one person keeping balance and a tenuous peace between all these parties. With him dead, shit is going to hit the fan. With what Alliser Thorne and Olly and company are up against, I see no way in which they can triumph. They’ll try to strike hard and fast, taking their foes by surprise. I look forward to seeing them fail and pay for their treacherous betrayal. That we see Tormund and other wildlings fighting a Bolton army in the trailers adds further validity to this prediction.

 

Image taken from http://fansided.com/2016/03/28/game-of-thrones-season-6-premiere-start-time/

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Once Upon A Time 5×16 “Our Decay” Review

Once Upon A Time 5×16 “Our Decay” Review

Once Upon A Time 5×16 “Our Decay” delivered on all fronts. Rumplestiltskin and Belle have the conversation I’ve been waiting for so long to happen, two central characters who either been mostly or completely absent from the Underworld arc returned in thrilling and meaningful fashion, and “the big bad” of this arc gets some delicious character development.

Belle has been absent most of this arc, but she gets sucked into the Underworld and reunites Rumple. I’m so happy to see Belle back at center-stage on the show. She keeps getting a lot of focus and truly being a main character and then shunted off to the side. With the way things have been going in this arc, it looked like she might unfortunately be relegated to a minor supporting role. But that all changed, and was made even better by her reunion with Rumple. They finally had a conversation where they were both honest with each other about themselves and their relationship. I’ve gotten so sick of Rumple lying and being emotionally abusive to Belle. I was also tired of Belle too often forgiving Rumple and giving into his deceit. She’s a hell of a good person, but she’s also an incredibly intelligent and strong woman. I’m so glad she figured out Rumple is the Dark One again. It was a relief for Rumple to not deny the truth, but to show her the dagger and give voice to how much he loves his power, that even before becoming the Dark One he loved power. The only difference was he didn’t have it. It was also great to see Rumple admit that while he loves his power he still loves Belle, and the two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Using the same line of thinking, he argues that Belle didn’t just fall in love with the man behind the beast, but with the man and the beast as neither can exist without the other. I don’t completely agree with this, but I do agree that Belle’s feelings and attraction toward Rumple are a lot more complicated than loving the man behind the beast. Rumple is also a lot more complex than that. At the same time, I was happy to see and hear that Belle would not condone all of Rumple’s deceit and treachery. Rumple lies and tricks so much that it’s always particularly refreshing when he’s genuinely honest with himself and others. It was a powerful, refreshingly honest conversation between these two that was long overdue. Add in the news about Belle being pregnant and the contract that puts the child in danger, and this conversation was my favorite part of the episode.

Zelena has been completely absent this arc and I loved seeing her come back in such epic fashion. Rebecca Mader demonstrated many of the best parts of Zelena: her emotional manipulation, her ruthlessness, her inability to trust others, and a deep love for her child. Zelena’s return to the show and her fascinating connection and backstory with Hades didn’t seem forced at all, though it easily could’ve been if the episode went in a different direction. This is a testament to the writing but also to Rebecca Mader’s fabulous acting. That none of the “heroes” have a connection with Hades but Zelena makes her all the more special and integral to this story arc. Rebecca Mader has fantastic chemistry with Greg Germann (who has been remarkable as Hades and constantly exceeds my expectations).

Addressing the Zelena-Hades backstory first, I’m sure many feel it was too rushed, however, I feel it worked well. We got to see more of Oz and the time in which Zelena ruled the land through terror. Back in the season 3B arc where Zelena was the primary antagonist, I felt the Oz backstory seemed very incomplete. Compared to other lands like the Enchanted Forest, Neverland, Arendelle, Camelot, and now the Underworld, we really didn’t get to know Oz well in season 3. This is largely because our central characters didn’t spend any time there and we weren’t there for the majority of a story arc. We only saw it in two episodes for Zelena flashbacks. The storyline with Dorothy seemed pretty shoehorned in and we didn’t get a good sense for it, nor were the writers able to cleverly twist the traditional Wizard of Oz storyline enough with the limited spent there. We returned to Oz in the season 4B episode “Heart of Gold,” but we didn’t see much more of Oz in that episode, more of the focus going to the character development of Robin Hood and that he had a bit of a past with Zelena. Thus, it was delightful to return to Oz in this episode and see more of it, to see the Scarecrow and Munchkins and more of the land’s climate while under Zelena’s control. And of course, seeing Dorothy come back as such a badass and fearless adult awesome to see. I really hope we see more of adult Dorothy, and discover what transformed her from the girl we met in season 3B “Kansas” to now.

Beyond Oz itself, I buy into the Zelena-Hades relationship for several reasons beyond the acting of Mader and Germann. They both understand each other in a way that few others can. They understand what it feels like to feel unloved and hated while their older sibling gets all the glory and triumph and everything they ever wanted (or so Zelena thinks). They’re both incredibly conniving and vengeful and powerful and resourceful, but though they might not admit it, they’re also lonely.

Is it true love? Hell no. While this show is big about its true love, it’s also shown that while true love exists, it also takes a lot of time to develop and maintain. If you think about couples that have or had true love in this show (Snow and Charming, Emma and Neal, Emma and Hook, Regina and Robin, Rumple and Belle, Aurora and Philip) it’s taken and in some cases is still taking a lot to develop and maintain those deep emotions. The same goes for non-romantic relationships of true love (Emma and Henry, Regina and Henry, Emma and Regina, Regina and Snow, Rumple and Neal). While it may not be true love between Hades and Zelena, there is a mutual understanding and undeniable connection that bonds them.

(Also a tangent about Hades: With Zeus confirmed as his brother and Hercules as his nephew, if we’re keeping in line with the mythology, wouldn’t that also make Poseidon his other brother, and furthermore Ursula his niece? Hades being Ursula’s uncle will probably end up having zero relevance to the story, but an interesting connection nonetheless.)

The backstory in Oz with Zelena and Hades was wonderful, but their Underworld meeting in the present may have been even better. How fascinating that Hades made the Underworld look like Storybrooke for Zelena! I love how it’s left open-ended whether Hades is being genuine with Zelena. Usually when someone is being manipulative in this show, we find out pretty quickly. It’s a secret between characters, but not from the audience. I like that this time it’s a secret and for now it’s up to our interpretation. I don’t trust Hades. While I think he has some feelings for Zelena, I don’t see him putting those feelings ahead of his power and schemes, just like Rumple who Hades parallels in a lot of ways,

A few final things I enjoyed from the episode: I’m glad we finally found out who’s been taking care of baby Neal and baby Hood since the “heroes” departed to the Underworld (great to see the Blue Fairy again, it’s been too long). It was also nice to get a glimpse of Storybrooke with all the time we’ve been spending in the Underworld. I’m also glad Robin Hood finally got more focus and he gave a concrete reason why he left his child behind to go to the Underworld to help save Hook. It works well with how much he obsesses over his “code” but I still think staying with his child would’ve been more responsible and more of the right thing to do, albeit less glamorous. He’s reunited with his baby now . . . but who’s taking care of Roland while he’s gone? The Blue Fairy as well? This may go unanswered, but at least we have less questions about Henry being the Author in the Underworld as his skills are really rolling now. Give props to Regina as well for still trying to help her wicked sister out, despite all the hell Zelena has put her through. And finally I’ll also say that I was happy to see this episode depart from the “soul of the week” format that this arc has gotten a bit too much into. We’ve gone from Henry Sr., to Hercules, to Milah, to Liam, each week getting introduced or reacquainted with a dead soul, attach their backstory to one or more of the main characters, find out what their unfinished business is and see if they can move on from the Underworld or not. This worked really well with Henry Sr. and Milah, but with Hercules and Liam seemed a bit forced. In this context and all others, this week was a refreshing and all around fabulous episode!

 

Image taken from http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2016/04/upon-time-516-review-brief-look-decay/#.VwMPEvkrJD8