Halftime continues with our Game of Thrones recaps in preparation for the release of season eight on Sunday, April 14. Here is our recap of season six.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the sixth season of Game of Thrones
Say what you will about Game of Thrones, but there is no denying that it is an epically produced, acted, and written television show. Of the 67 episodes that have been released, two, in particular, stand out as some of the greatest, “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter.” Although the rest of the season is also great, these two episodes make season 6 continually ranked as one of the greatest seasons of GoT, and my personal favorite. Here is a recap!
Episode 1: “The Red Woman”
The season opens on a tense Castle Black, as Lord Commander Jon Snow (Kit Harington) has been murdered by Ser Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) and his men, and Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) and Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton) plot to avenge him. At Winterfell, Ramsey FUCKING Bolton (Iwan Rheon) has lost his tortured wife, Sansa (Sophie Turner), and servant, Theon (Alfie Allen). His search party is brutally overpowered by Lady Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), who has returned to swear her sword to Sansa as the Lady of Winterfell. In King’s Landing, Cersei (Lena Headey) mourns as the body of her daughter, Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free), killed by Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), arrives. Emotional over the loss of their daughter, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) tells Cersei they will, together, “take everything there is.” Varys (Conleth Hill) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) are riding the shiny white braids of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) on her quest to free the slaves in Meereen, though her influence is waning after her abandonment of the city following the Sons of the Harpy attack. Dany has been captured by a Dothraki horde, and its leader, Khal Moro (Joe Naufahu), swears to bring her to Vaes Dothrak, where all of the widows of Khals are supposed to spend their lives.
Episode 2 “Home”
Above the Wall, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) learns the ways of the Three Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) and goes back in time to see the late Stark siblings at Winterfell when his father, Ned, was a child. At Castle Black, Thorne’s men quickly surrender as the Wildlings, including my ginger-bearded love Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), storm the castle to avenge Jon. At King’s Landing, King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is in turmoil over the public humiliation of Cersei and the imprisonment of his wife, Margaery. Simultaneously,tensions grow with the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). At Winterfell, he-who-should-not-be-named Bolton plots to kill the remaining Stark blood at Castle Black, and then in true form with his character, he murders his father (Michael McElhatton) when his stepmother gives birth to a boy. Charming man, especially when he lets his hounds eat the infant and his mother— love it. In the Iron Islands, Lord Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide) is thrown off a cliff by his misogynistic dick of a brother, Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk). The episode ends back at Castle Black, where Melisandre (Carice van Houten) tries to magically revive Jon. After a seemingly failed attempt, he awakes.
Episode 3 “Oathbreaker”
The episode opens on a confused and broody Jon Snow, butthurt over being murdered by his own men. He hangs his mutineers and walks away from the Night’s Watch for good, but not before Melisandre deems him the new prince to fulfill the prophecy. Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) are en route Horn Hill, the home of the House of Tarly. In a vision, Bran witnesses a battle between young Ned Stark (Robert Aramayo) and a pair of Targaryen swordsmen at an unknown location. Daenerys arrives at Vaes Dothrak. In Meereen, Varys does anything to preserve what is left of Daenerys’ power, tracing the support for Sons of the Harpy to the three powerful slave cities. In King’s Landing, Cersei works her bitch boys, Jaime and Maester Qyburn (Anton Lesser), to earn power in the small council and city while her truly hopeless son, King Tommen, continues to be manipulated by the High Sparrow. In Braavos, the blinded Arya (Maisie Williams) surpasses enough training to earn her eyes back from Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha). Finally, at Winterfell, the new Lord Bolton comes across the youngest Stark, Rickon (Art Parkinson), and his protector, Osha (Natalia Tena).
Episode 4 “Book of the Stranger”
Jon and Sansa, the first of the Stark siblings to reunite since Season 1, meet again at Castle Black and plan to march on Winterfell with all the Northern support they can after Ramsay reveals he has Rickon. Tyrion tries to appease the slave owners’ demands at Meereen in Daenerys’ absence, causing tension with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson). At the Sept of Baelor, Queen Margaery is desperate to save her brother, Ser Loras (Finn Jones), who is ready to give up all he has and atone for his mistakes. At the Red Keep, the small council and the Lannister twins put aside their differences for the common goal of defeating the Faith Militants. Theon returns to the Iron Islands and agrees to support his sister Yara’s (Gemma Whelan) claim to the Salt Throne. At Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys tells the Kahls of her plan to lead the Dothraki army and kills them all by burning the Temple of Dosh Khaleen. For the second time in the series, Daenerys Stormborn walks out of flames, yet this time to a much larger audience. The Dothraki horde bow at her feet.
Episode 5 “The Door”
In her Faceless man training, Arya is assigned to collect a face by Jaqen H’ghar. In Pyke, Yara Greyjoy’s claim for the Salt Throne is interrupted by Euron Greyjoy, who I detest. While Euron is coronated, Yara and Theon escape Pyke with nearly the entire Iron fleet. The Stark siblings and Brienne part ways at Castle Black to gain military support throughout the North. Above the Wall, Bran sees the Children of the Forest make the first White Walker, and later sees the army of White Walkers and the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) in a vision. The Night King touches him, apparently learning his location. The Army of the Dead arrives for Bran while he is stuck in a vision at Winterfell. The visions show Hodor (Kristian Nairn) as a young stable boy named Wylis (Sam Coleman). Hodor and Meera (Ellie Kendrick) run with an incapacitated Bran, but Summer, Bran’s direwolf, dies in the fight. The three reach the end of a tunnel and escape but must hold the door against the White Walkers. In Bran’s vision, Wylis collapses and begins to yell, “Hold the Door!” His “Hold the Door” eventually becomes “Hodor,” earning his nickname and affirming that since that moment Hodor’s whole life was for the purpose of allowing Bran to become the Three Eyed Raven. His pinnacle, his purpose, had been reached, making his death all the more difficult to swallow.
Episode 6 “Blood of my Blood”
Meera and Bran are saved beyond the Wall by the missing-since-Season-1 Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle). Sam and Gilly arrive at Horn Hill to a disastrous Tarly family dinner, and the two, along with little Sam, escape in the night and head for Old Town. In Braavos, the Waif (Faye Marsay) tries to kill Arya because of her hesitancy to kill her kind target. At King’s Landing, Jaime Lannister and the knights of Highgarden prepare to march on the Faith Militants to stop Margaery’s walk of atonement. However, Tommen, under the High Sparrow’s influence, announces that the crown and the faith are now one and the same. Tommen expels Jaime from both the Kingsguard and King’s Landing. In the Riverlands, Walder Frey (David Bradley) (remember when I said Ramsay Bolton is the most hated man in GoT? This might be the only one who could beat him) learns that the Tullys have retaken their castle at Riverrun, and plans to send Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies), imprisoned since the Red Wedding, to threaten him to return it. To finish out the episode, Dany trades her Dothraki horse for her dragon, Drogon.
Episode 7 “The Broken Man”
This episode opens with the return of one of my absolute favorites — “The Hound,” Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann)! He seems to be living a life of peace at a Sept in the woods, but when he returns to find every individual of the community dead, his violent tendencies resurface. At the Sept of King’s Landing, the queen is clearly playing the long game of acting a reformed sinner to save Loras, and she passes a message to Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) to return to Highgarden to avoid atonement that the High Sparrow said was in store for the snappy old lady. As Jaime and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) arrive at Riverrun to take over the Freys’ weak attempt at a siege, Jon continues to gain supporters in the North, including Lady Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey). She is legit the most rational and impressive leader in the entirety of this series, and she is probably eleven. This girl takes no shit, could strike fear in anyone, and I love it. Yara and Theon are on the run from Euron and are on their way to Meereen to get Daenerys on their side. In Braavos, Arya plans to return to Westeros but is sabotaged and stabbed by the Waif. She escapes death narrowly and wanders the streets bleeding out.
Episode 8 “No One”
Arya is nursed back to health in Braavos by the kind target Lady Crane (Essie Davis), but her peace is short-lived as the Waif kills the actress and continues on her quest for Arya’s face. Following a dramatic street chase and a serious plummet down a flight of stairs, the most badass Stark of them all is victorious. Arya kills her Braavos nemesis and sets her sights on home. In the woods of Westeros, the Hound brutally axes down men in the forest until finding, and killing, the murderers of the Sept people. At the Red Keep, King Tommen, at the orders of the High Sparrow, eliminates trial by combat, meaning The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) will not be able to fight on Cersei’s behalf at her Sept trial. At Riverrun, Brienne fails to convince the Blackfish (Clive Russell) to ride North for the Starks, and the legendary Tully warrior eventually dies fighting when the rightful Lord of Riverrun Edmure Tully surrenders the castle to the Freys and Lannisters after being released by Jaime. Daenerys returns to Meereen, Drogon and the Dothraki army in tow, to find that the slave owners have begun to attack the city.
Episode 9 “Battle of the Bastards” – PSYCHED for this episode
Dany takes care of the slave masters’ revolt in Meereen by freeing her dragons and letting the Dothraki loose on the Sons of the Harpy. Following the success, Theon and Yara arrive in the city with their Iron fleet and pledge their support to the queen. In return, Dany promises to give the Iron Islands their freedom when she takes the Iron Throne. In the North, the Battle of the Bastards begins with one of Ramsay’s “games,” as the twisted Lord Bolton shoots down young Rickon Stark in the middle of the battlefield. Jon charges without his army behind him, which is already heavily outnumbered. The battle looks utterly lost until the knights of the Vale, provided by Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) at Sansa’s request, storm the field, surrounding and destroying Ramsay’s army. The Battle of the Bastards ends with the Stark banners returning to Winterfell walls, and Ramsay meets his end by way of Sansa and his favorite hounds. This is fitting because he is the human equivalent of dog food.
Episode 10 “The Winds of Winter” – in my humble opinion the greatest episode of television of all time.
Instead of standing trial, Cersei blows up the Sept of Baelor and part of King’s Landing, leading to her last child, King Tommen’s, suicide. Queen Margaery, Ser Loras, Lord Tyrell (Roger Ashton-Griffiths), the Hand of the King (Ian Gelder), the High Sparrow, the Faith Militants, and Grand Maester Pycelle (Julian Glover) all perish. This is in the first 10 minutes, folks. As Cersei finally takes the Iron Throne for herself, elsewhere Varys is earning support for Daenerys by appealing to Cersei’s enemies in Dorne. With the support of Yara and Theon as well as her Hand, Tyrion Lannister, Dany sets sail for Westeros at last. Our No-Named queen, Arya Stark, avenges the Starks killed at the Red Wedding by slitting the throat of Walder Frey and the remainder of his line. Above the Wall, Bran enters a vision where he realizes that Jon Snow is not Ned Stark’s son at all, but the child of Lyanna Stark (Aisling Franciosi), supposedly by Rhaegar Targaryen. Jon, at Winterfell, is heralded the King in the North by the Northern lords, and he and Sansa begin to prepare for the Great War ahead.
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