Game Of Thrones: Season 6
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Game Of Thrones: Season 6

There have always been television shows to the category of water cooler hot topics. The type of show that is so controversial or just incredibly excellent that everyone is talking about it the next morning. Over a decade ago the premium cable network, HBO, started a trend that made Monday mornings focused on this Sunday evening lineup. It began with series like ‘The Sopranos’ and continued with other shows such as ‘Deadwood’ ’and Oz.' Each of these series represented extraordinary feats and acting writing and directions. Because premium cable networks are exempt from the FCC regulations on content, HBO was able to push the envelope you on anything possible on traditional broadcast television. Topics of mature nature including potentially offensive language and explicit sexual situations and nudity, based on a trend that would soon reverberate through the other upper tier cable networks. HBO has always lived up to their marketing slogan, "It's not TV, HBO," by providing some of the best entertainment ever. The latest in their continuing line of must-see television series is ‘Game of Thrones,' based on, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire,' George R. R. Martin's series of fantasy novels. Not only has the series generated incredible ratings but the sale of the novels has rocketed to the top of the best-selling lists. Each season is only ten episodes but during that approximately, 10 hours of material fans are enthralled by the intricate tapestry of plot lines and characters. Little is what it seems on the surface. The derivation of much of the show’s entertainment is trying to determine the actual motivation of the characters and how they react to the ever-changing always dire circumstances. The sixth season is now available on Blu-ray/DVD, so it’s time to revisit the Quest for the Iron Throne and prepare for the start of the endgame season seven.

At the end of the previous season, one of the most popular characters, crucial to the overall story was brutally betrayed and assassinated, Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Spoilers are commonly a divisive subject but in this instance, the divide between those who have read the books and the enthusiasts will experience the story through the series is seriously epic. Thus far the story has reflected the novels reasonably closely with the usual caveat concerning the use of dramatic license. There are sufficient alterations in the story made to accommodate the differences in the presentation to keep even the most knowledgeable fan guessing. No matter which camp you are in one thing is assured, Jon Snow would have to live again. The story set in a world where magic exists. The entire series is planned meticulously, details placed in play long before their actual importance becomes germane to the narrative. One example is Melisandre (Carice van Houten), the Red Witch. As a Priestess of the Lord of Light, she is an expert practitioner of the mystical arts. She has made prophecies concerning the upcoming long winter and night would be full of terrors. When one prospect for the ruler of the seven kingdoms falls short Melisandre immediately switches her allegiance to the next likely candidate, Jon Snow. In a dangerous ceremony, she can bring the fallen hero back to life. While this might appear to be a plot contrivance but it provided a means to reinvent the factors driving the character’s involvement in the story. Jon, the illegitimate son of the true King of the North, Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), who was murdered back in the first season by the duplicitous and Machiavellian family, the Lannisters. The death of Lord Stark resulted in his children scattered throughout the world. This season furthers the task of reunited them. Jon joins up with his half-sister, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), has had an incredibly horrible life even by the cruel standards of the Seven Kingdoms. Sansa has been a pawn, continuously sacrificed by powerful men to further their ambitions. After a forced engagement and marriage intended to humiliate her, Sansa marries Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), a psychopathic, sexual sadist. After escaping, she can join forces with her half-brother, Jon. He recently left the cloistered watchman, The Night’s Watch, to retake the traditional Stark home of Winterfell and assume the title of the King of the North, placing him in contention for the Iron Throne.

A trademark of the series is remarkable special effects. Thanks to one of the largest budget episode any television series, the producers can bring the fertile imagination of Mr. Martin to life. This season escalates the intensity of the effects to an entirely new level. There is a scene of a vicious sea battle where a large fleet of ships is reduced to rubble within minutes by trio fire-breathing dragons. The dragons are under the control of the diminutive but deadly Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). She is the daughter of a previous King of the Seven Kingdoms, King Aerys II Targaryen, the "Mad King" and has risen to power from a mere pawn as a bride to an overlord to a queen controlling one of the most powerful armed forces in the world. Daenerys has consolidated the equestrian warriors of the Dothraki with the unstoppable mercenary army, The Unsullied and a fleet of ships from the Iron Islands. She is not only a natural strategist but her position as ‘Mother of Dragons,' affords an unbeatable position in any negotiation. She is also completely impervious the fire, a trait which came in handy when she dispatched an entire conclave of chieftains by setting fire to the tent and walking out of the flames unscathed. Most believe that the titular Fire and Ice refers to her and Jon Snow.

One of the most startling transformations is undergone by Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) from a pre-teen tomboy to a teenage girl thoroughly train as a master assassin by the followers of the Many-Faced God, a cult of highly skilled killers that can put on other faces permitting them to assume any identity necessary. Arya is following a personal quest to kill a list of people who have wronged her. Practically every character depicted in this amazingly complicated and interwoven plot threads has some hidden agendas and list of secrets, but few can compare to Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). There is a saying, "men battle, and women wage war.", An exceptionally accurate description of how Cersei plays the game of thrones. She gave birth to three children sired by her twin brother, Ser Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Their two sons, cruel Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and pliable Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), ascended briefly to the Iron Throne only to meet premature deaths. The both had the surname of the cuckold King Robert Baratheon. She has a younger brother, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), who is always ridiculed and underestimated because he is a dwarf. He is exceptionally intelligent, well-read and a master of strategy and manipulation. Falsely accused of regicide, the murder of his nephew Joffrey he fled Kings Landing eventually becoming the political and military advisor to Daenerys, everything that transpired in this season is the culmination of the previous five years setting the stage for the inevitable climatic showdown. There are a few wild cards in the mix but the two principle opponents to unseat the current Queen of the Sven Kingdoms, Cersei, and the first of her name. She murdered all of the local opposition to one heinous move by burning the entire the Great Sept of Baelor, the center of power for the militant religious extremist, the High Sparrow who served as the High Septon of the Faith of the Seven. Cersei not only destroyed the bulk of the religious sect but the prominent members of several of the Great Houses that openly opposed her. This scene was one of the special effects highlights of the entire show directly contrasting the effects of Wildfire, an unquenchable green flame, with the extraordinary destruction of dragon breath. It seems the more questions are answered, the more pop up. This factor certainly builds the anticipation for the upcoming season seven.

Posted 11/20/2016

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