What a way to to mark the finishing touches on a stellar season from Game Of Thrones. The season finale clocked in right around an hour and 15 minutes of run time, but in reality it felt no more than 30 minutes of heart pounding suspense. Through and through, season 6 punctuated GoT’s legacy with exclamation points and pop-culture defining moments, even amidst rumblings that it was faltering following season 5’s ever so slight malaise. Well, that conversation can be buried, because Thrones just laid its rightful claim to the TV Iron Throne and engulfed the haters in green fire. HIT THE MUSIC!
Many pundits were skeptical heading into season 6 this past April. Show runners Benioff and Weiss had officially dried up the source material teet that they had been sucking on from big homie George RR Martin for so long. There was plenty cause for concern that they would never be able to circumnavigate the most meaningful fantasy story in American history. But, hot damn, they proved all those haters wrong. And they did so by developing less “conversations in elegant rooms” and more action driven plot progression. That’s not to say that Tyrion’s adage has lost its edge on the show, it’s simply been reinvigorated. The classic “bridge episode” as we came to know it for the series was transformed. Conversational dialogue took on new meaning this season, as power players were confronted with one another in emotional displays of self pursuits. These conversations are necessary as story building for a show based on nearly 6,000 pages of novels, but the magnitude of those conversations has never been higher than season 6.
And it’s an amazing feat that they were able to accomplish this concept although lacking in source material. There’s no denying the fact that Benioff and Weiss were simply captains steering the the GoT ship of Martin for the first 4 seasons. But, this season they built their own fleet of ships, like Dany selling for Westeros, they created their own story with their own unique perspective. A perspective, that was uncharacteristically predictable for a show that is fueled by ming blowing twists and turns.
And yet, predictability may have been what made season 6 the best season of them all. Benioff and Weiss and their team strove on predictability. They poignantly proved that when an expected outcome is told through meticulous, arduous storytelling, it’s just as powerful as Martin sitting at his type writer for a decade thinking about some of his beloved characters’ next bombastic move. And that’s because the show has the ability to appeal to an audience’s strongest sense, vision. The visual story telling was succinct and gripping throughout.
It was on full display during the first 30 minutes of the finale. The show employed a piano instrumental laden throughout the corresponding events leading up to Cersei’s freedom fighter bombing of the Sept of Baelor. The sequence of events, the soundtrack, the pace and tone of those opening minutes could very well have been the best directorial display of the entire series. Restoring a reticent outcasted mother into a maniacally evil world ruler in a moment’s notice. It’s sequences such as this that will continue to propel GoT through the mist of anticipation.
Sure, predictability could be seen by some as simply playing fan service, but when you’re making a TV show that airs annually, time isn’t a virtue, it’s a repellent. So why allocate precious time and resources developing the next greatest twist, when you can spend it perfecting the story telling in the most compelling way possible. This move paid off in huge dividends in season 6…
And, so we wait. Another year to speculate about Game Of Thrones and whether or not predictability will turn into grandiose mind fucks again.
But before we dive head first into that abyss, here’s some quick things we can look forward to heading into season 7:
- The development of “Big Bads” moving forward: Expect Cersei, Euron and the Night King to become true villains of the series, pitting the forces of good against evil and all that cinematic jazz.
- Dany (and Tyrion’s) return to Westeros: Where exactly will Dany be landing her forces? Is this Varys’s secret mission, or does he have an ulterior motive? Clearly Dany has the power to crush Cersei and her merry band of misfits as a moments notice, but how will Lady Olenna (out on her revenge tour) play into it? Or will Cersei die at the hands of her own brother(s)? There’s many parallels to be made between Jamie’s assassination of the Mad King because of his arson impulse control, and the disgusted look on his face when he realized what his sister had done? Perhaps their relationship together truly is a fatal attraction that will push him to the brink of kinslaying. Or could it be Tyrion’s move? Remember, Maggy the Frog’s prophecy to Cersei when she was a child that her three children would die and that she herself would be murdered by a valonqar (Valyrian for “little brother”).
- Now that we finally got the sneak peek into the Tower of Joy, how will this be revealed to Jon and the rest of Westeros? Will Bran attempt to piece together the remaining parts of the puzzle? I’m expecting Howland Reed to play a pivotal role in next season’s plot. Plus, how could this reveal affect Jon’s legacy an lineage? Is he the Prince that Promised and also the rightful hear to the Throne?! Could he be wedded to Dany?! Ya know, since Targaryens love the whole incest thing.
- How many books can Samwell read in a year?
- Something will need to come to a head with Little Finger. It’s clear that he will continue his lust for Sansa, pushing further to manipulate her for his own purposes and a betrayal of Jon. But I can’t see that happening, and eventually could that lead to his demise?
- What is Arya’s next move? Now that she’s cooked up some Frey Pie, Betty Crocker classic style, will she continue to cross off the names on her list? Will she head to Winterfell? Could she come across the Brotherhood Without Banners on her journeys and reunite with the Hound???
- And perhaps most importantly, how will Bran cross the wall, and what are the ramifications if he does? Based on his conversations with Uncle Benjen, he seems hell bent on returning to Westeros and awaiting his eventual showdown with the Night King. But remember, Bran was “marked” by the Night King earlier in season 6 allowing the Walkers to enter the layer of the Raven. Could this very same “mark” tear down the magic besetting the Wall and trull setoff the arrival of Winter?!?!