The white crow has arrived. Winter has finally come to Westeros and the known world; and it couldn’t have come a better time. This season has finally seen the David Beinoff and D.B. Weiss set the stage for the Game of Thrones endgame. We have seen them tie off nearly all the extraneous character plots and now are focusing on the final chapters of the story leading to the climactic conflict with the coming White Walkers.
Honestly, season 6 made me feel vindicated for sitting through the last two seasons. While I may be in the minority, season 5 was a bit of a disappointment for me. The story felt a bit off track, as we focused on several different story arcs that didn’t feel very relevant to the GoT story at large, and began to feel a bit like filler. I found myself thinking that there weren’t going to be very many troops left for the battle against the White Walkers if the various human armies kept killing each other left and right.
I had the similar issue with the recreated Battlestar Galactica. Here is this tiny fleet of ships carrying the last remnants of humanity, and what is the first thing they do? Fight amongst themselves. By the end of the first season, I was almost rooting for the Cylons. By the end of GoT season 5, I felt very nearly the same way about the political machinations of the peoples of Westeros and Essos. While the mounting danger of the undead rising in the North went largely ignored.
But then Season 6 aired, and GoT was redeemed. Many of the various story arcs and loose ends were tied up, the pieces were in place and we could finally see a destination. There will still be plenty of intrigue, drama, and political maneuvering in the coming seasons, but for now, the plot will focus more about overcoming the last obstacles to uniting Westeros against the coming evil and hopefully defeating it.
Plot points aside, Season 6 also saw a significant improvement in the performance of many of the actors, as they breathe life into their characters. Throughout the series we’ve seen actors such as Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Conleth Hill (to only name a few) bring their characters to life so well, that I find it difficult to find one that stands out over the rest. Nearly every actor has had their time to shine in various episodes. What I can say, is that all of those working on this season have upped their game from previous seasons and brought new life to a few characters that had begun to feel a bit stale.
I’m hesitant to go into much detail here, due to the ever present fear of spoilers. While season 6 has provided so much needed hope and finally a few victories for the “good guys” in GoT, there were some definite missed opportunities. I would have like to see a few of the characters grow and learn from their experiences, becoming stronger and greater leaders, but sadly, this is something that has been generally lacking in the GoT universe, with a few notable exceptions.
Let us hope that season 7 will see the North and the East provide us with characters who could engender the loyalty and fealty of the armies that follow them. Although, to be frank, with the constant infighting of previous seasons, I’m surprised that anyone in Westeros has a standing army left to field.
All in all, I’m very happy that this season has turned out the way that it has. By the end of season 5, I was seriously debating whether I would continue with GoT, and now I find myself pleasantly, if a bit impatiently, looking forward to season 7. Winter has arrived, and it’s about damn time.