3 Moments of Goodness from Game of Thrones “The Red Woman”
The season six premiere of Game of Thrones wasted no time giving status updates on virtually all of the cast of characters (except Bran. Eleven episodes with no mention of magical flame-throwing children.) But from all the flitting from North to South and East to West, there were three Moments of Goodness that stood out in particular.
Brienne Saves the Day
Game of Thrones is complex. Good people do terrible things. Terrible things happen to good people. And sometimes the most exciting and important moments in an episode are when things go horribly wrong. Lady Brienne rushing in to save Theon and Sansa from the Boltons is not one of those moments. On the contrary, itâ€™s probably the celebration-worthy scene in GoT since Joffery was poisoned.
The buildup was impeccable. Theon and Sansa are rushing through a snowy forest, crossing frigid rivers, and crouching together under branches to hide from Ramsayâ€™s men. For a moment, it looks as if they may successfully stay hidden. But instead, Theon sacrifices himself to distract the Bolton men to allow Sansa to escape North, to Jon Snow (not the brightest idea at this point, but the poor kids donâ€™t know any better). The distraction fails and all hope of their safety is crushed as Sansa is found mere seconds after Theon attempt at distraction. What seemed to suggest another season of Sansa and Theon as the whipping boys of the show took a sharp turn when the baddest not-knight in Westeros rode in to save the day.
Brienne is a tragic figure. Sheâ€™s never been accepted, constantly mocked for who she was. Considering her failed attempts at protecting Renly Baratheon and Catelyn Stark, her devotion to protecting Sansa is the only thing that has the ability to legitimize her. And seeing her stride in and kick ass was a treat. And even Podrick got some shots in, not to mention Theon shedding another piece of Reek by grabbing a sword and and killing one of Ramsayâ€™s men. If only Sansa was able to get in on the action
When Brienne kneels in front of Sansa and offers her protection, and Sansa finally accepts, itâ€™s a beautiful moment. For that second, it seems like Sansa and Theon might actually have a chance to make it out of this thing alive, and itâ€™s thrilling.
Slaughter in Dorne
The slaughter at Dorne was a total surprise even though the first rule of Game of Thrones is to expect everyone to die. The sudden transition from Ellaria sweetly walking the Prince back to his chair to the chaos that followed was almost too quick to process. It was a classic Game of Thrones bait and switch. But how is the audience supposed to feel about it?
Is it a good thing that the new rulers of Dorne will be willing to challenge the Lannisters? Or is it upsetting? On a small scale, itâ€™s easy to know that Sansa should win and Ramsay should lose. But what about basically everyone else? At this point in the show, weâ€™re running low on good and evil.
The Prince has always maintained peace as a top priority, but Ellaria is less interested in playing nice. Sheâ€™s a confusing character. Her introduction as Oberynâ€™s paramour painted her in a relatively positive light. It was only after Oberyn was killed by the Mountain that she became the vengeful figure that she is now, with little of the warmth she showed before. She says that a weak man will never rule Dorne again. But who will? The Prince of Dorne was kind, but no match for an angry Lannister. But Ellaria, in many ways a Dornish Cersei, very well might be.
The moment we see Melisandre gaze into the mirror, we know sheâ€™s attempting a reckoning. As she slowly undresses, revealing a young and beautiful body, her face remains grave. When she removes her necklace and the red amulet goes dull, the light in her goes dull too. Seeing that Melisandre is actually aged, weak, and momentarily powerless is jarring, but necessary. This is the first time weâ€™re seeing depth to her character. Since she arrived at Castle Black, defeated and distraught, weâ€™ve slowly been able to see Melisandre as more than a seductive witch with excellent temperature regulation. Sheâ€™s suffering a crisis of faith and showing her body devoid of vigor actually instills more life to her character than weâ€™ve ever seen before.
That said, itâ€™s a bit presumptuous to call this moment a â€œtwistâ€ since it doesnâ€™t seem to change the course of the story at all. And as visually startling as it was, itâ€™s well established that Melisandre is a magical being. Sheâ€™s a witch. Why wouldnâ€™t she be much older than she seems? And what would be the consequences if people knew? Whatâ€™s more interesting is if this scene does exist to push the plot forward, not just to highlight a moment of instead character development. Does she sleep as her true self each night? Does she continue aging when she removes the necklace?Â If so, is this a suicide attempt?
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
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