I was ready to quit Game of Thrones by the end of season five, to be honest. It just… wears on me, you know, watching hour after hour of D&D completely missing every point that GRRM has ever tried to make with his ASOIAF, and last year was a new nadir for the show by pretty much any standard. The thing is, even that complete pile of garbage had some redeeming features, and the truth is that it’s still the longest running, highest production-value fantasy show on television. If you want grownup epic fantasy, Game of Thrones is basically the only game in town. So, here I am in 2016, back again and even somewhat excited to see what fresh hell D&D have created for us this year.
Obviously, I don’t have particularly high expectations for the show at this point—I’d always rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed—and with the show moving (in some ways at least) past the books it’s a little hard to say exactly what we’re in for this season. That said, here are my predictions, in no particular order:
- The show is not going to be nearly as “past the books” as D&D might want us to think. There is still a lot of the source material that they haven’t touched, and we already know that at least some of that is going to make it to the screen in some form. I’m fairly certain that the whole “we’re past the books now” thing is primarily an attempt to head off criticism for piss poor adaptational choices. I’m also fairly certain that criticisms of the show’s adaptational choices will figure largely in my posts on each episode. I do think we’ll start to see more truly new material in the back third or so of the season, but I fully expect that the first half of the season will still be as much in book territory as season five was. Which is to say, not very, but sort of? We’ll see.
- Jon Snow is coming back one way or another. There’s just no way that he’s not. However, this won’t be resolved in tonight’s episode. It’s much more likely that we’ll find out how this is going to happen at the end of the second episode or perhaps even in the third, which would make sense since the episode three is titled “Oathbreaker.” I would be very surprised if Jon Snow breaking his Night’s Watch vows entirely wasn’t part of that.
- Myrcella is dead. Cersei is going to do something colossally stupid in reaction to it.
- Daenerys is going to be a damsel in distress for at least a couple of episodes. She will woodenly deliver some theoretically quotable, supposedly empowering, but really just silly speeches that liberal feminists will gif and spread all around Tumblr for the next several years.
- Yara Greyjoy will have some scenes this year, but they will make no sense. I’m pretty sure that it was Yara—based on a character who was aggressively heterosexual in the books—making out with a female prostitute in one of the trailers, so that’s a thing that I guess is happening. I’m sure that that’s not going to be leeringly gross and demeaning for all women involved in any way.
- Tyrion is going to be awesome at ruling Meereen while Daenerys is away, even though it makes no sense at all that he’s in charge in the first place. He is going to say a ton of maddeningly condescending shit to Missandei and Grey Worm while cutting them entirely out of decision-making. Tyrion stans are going to gif every absolutely asinine he says and spread it around Tumblr forever.
- Sam and Gilly will make it to his parents’ place, probably in the first couple of episodes. Whatever happens there will be soul-crushingly dull. Probably some pity sex.
- Speaking of soul-crushingly dull, we’re going to see a good amount of Bran this season.
- Ser Jorah is going to die. Probably he will sacrifice himself heroically to rescue Daenerys.
- Melisandre will try to seduce Davos. I could be totally wrong, but I just really have a feeling that this has to happen at some points. I wouldn’t be surprised if she needs Davos’s sperm to resurrect Jon Snow. That seems like exactly the sort of thing D&D would think up.
- Arya is going to have sex with someone. I don’t think she’ll be raped, but Maisie Williams was 18 during filming for this season, and D&D are nothing if not disgusting in the way they treat the young girls who have grown up on this show.
- The Faith Militant will still only care about gay dudes and prostitutes and not at all about systematic injustice and the suffering of the smallfolk.
- We’re going to find out who Jon Snow’s parents are.
- Ramsay is going to continue to be, along with Tyrion, D&D’s favorite character. He will survive the season and maybe even get some kind of redemption arc.
- There will be more than one wide shot of Daenerys as a speck of white in a sea of brown people.
- Everything else will continue to be poorly lit and difficult to make out.
- I will go through a lot of $5 bottles of wine in the next couple of months.
My plan as of now is to watch the show on HBO Now tonight, possibly livetweeting some reactions, and then I will have a full recap and review out tomorrow.