'Game of Thrones' Season 6 preview: Catch up on season five, the real rulers of Westeros and Jon Snow's fate
Who run Westeros? Girls.
Though HBO decided not to give out screeners to press for review this year, teases and trailers showed this next season of Game of Thrones will be an intense battle for lands and thrones with key players being the women of Westeros. Oh, and that one guy's death.
At least, the most important and interesting storylines have to do with the Ladies who are fighting criminal charges, recovering a destroyed reputation, learning to see without sight, reclaiming a rightful place as heir and cementing a place in line for the Iron Throne.
Daenerys and her dragons
Being a queen is not all it's cracked up to be. Daenerys was a Dothraki Khaleesi, became the mother of three dragons and successfully conquered slave nations, but she just can't get a handle on Meereen. The hardest part wasn't conquering Meereen and changing its slave culture, but keeping peace and getting inhabitants to trust her. Season five was like a long rollercoaster for Meereen's ‘Mhysa.' Full of downs when dealing with betrayals of trust and the Sons of the Harpy, and ups when her beloved Drogon returns and Tyrion Lannister is given to her as a hostage. Unfortunately, the peak came when Drogon saved Daenerys from death by Sons of the Harpy, making her the first dragon rider in centuries. She hits a low when they touched down in a grassy field miles away only to be confronted by a Dothraki war party.
Unbowed. Unbent. Unbroken. Sansa.
Sansa Stark really deserves a break in season six. She lost her wolf, her father, her mother and oldest brother and has been separated from her sister and two younger brothers for who knows how long. On top of crippling losses, she was betrothed to a monstrous king, forced to marry a Lannister for laughs, had to kiss her creepy uncle and deal with her crazy aunt then be forced to marry AGAIN to a sadistic monster who rapes her on their wedding night. Luckily, her childhood friend Theon/Reek helps her escape the only home she's been trying to get back to. She's obviously still alive, and with her husband Ramsay Bolton leading the charge against Stannis Baratheon's army (a sure loss) season six is Sansa's chance to reclaim her rightful throne in Winterfell.
Meanwhile in Braavos
Since she has nothing else to do and nowhere else to go, Arya Stark arrives in Braavos with nothing but a coin to help in her search for Jaqen H'ghar and the House of Black and White. She finds it and Jaqen, but it's nothing like she ever imagined. Her next task is to utilize the House's magic to become a stealthy assassin, and to become "no one." She learns from Jaqen the art of mistruth, brushes off the many jabs from her "coworker" whilst they were cleaning corpses and finally learns the Game of Faces. The end of the season saw Arya moving too fast in becoming "no one" when she murders Meryn Trant (another on her list) before his time. Jaqen poisons himself in front of her to show "only death can pay for life" while Arya furiously pulls dozens of faces off his head. The last face she sees on his was her own, and is suddenly struck blind. We can safely assume Arya will continue her training as one of the Faceless Men with or without Jaqen, and without her sight.
No mother's mercy
Season five opened with a flashback of Cersei as a young girl receiving an ominous hint at her future from a cackling witch in the woods. The witch told her she would be queen for a time, only to be replaced by someone younger and prettier (that happened), her king would have dozens of children, but she would only have three (true) and all of her children would die young (only one left by the end of season five). Season five did not look good on Cersei Lannister. On top of a smackdown between herself and the new queen Margaery, mourning the death of her son and father, worrying over her daughter's safety and struggling to maintain her authority in King's Landing, Cersei has to deal with the arrival of a new militant religious group — the Sparrows.
By the end of the season, both Cersei and Margaery were locked up and accused of abominus crimes — Cersei for incestuous relationships and Margaery for covering up her brother's homosexual trysts.
In one of the most dramatic and simply stunning scenes from the show, Cersei atones for her sins by being stripped naked and paraded through the streets of King's Landing with a shaved head while people in the streets gawk and throw vegetables at her. Her walk was almost silent save for the her escort ringing a bell and crying "shame" with every ting.
Will season six see Cersei Lannister return to her former glory? Or will her humiliation and exposure soften her? The former is more likely.
So ... when is winter coming?
Everyone has been saying it since season one: Winter is coming. It's both a metaphor and a reality. The summer in Westeros has lasted years, so it's about time for a big freeze. The actual game of thrones has been in full swing since King Robert Baratheon's death, with the rise and fall of those with claims to the throne and now a dimm boy king ruling over Westeros.
But the real winter will be the weather and the White Walkers it brings with it. The men of the Night's Watch already have one epic battle notched in their belts, but the war for the living is far from over.
With possibly only a few seasons left of HBO's hit show, it's only a matter of time before an actual winner is crowned and winter descends.
Is Jon Snow really dead, or what?
Unless you're a creator of the show OR PRESIDENT OBAMA, you won't get to find out until the premiere.
Since the season five finale, there have been almost weekly if not daily theories popping up about Jon Snow's fate. "He's dead because this" or "He's not dead because this and that."
According to a recent interview Variety did with co-creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the truth of the matter lies in Jon Snow's eyes.
Apparently the show spent "good money" on making sure his eyes looked dead during the finale stabbing scene.
From the interview, Weiss says pupillary muscles relax when a body dies, and if you look carefully Jon's pupils dilate during that overhead scene of him lying bloody in the snow.
There you have it. The mystery has been solved.
Not likely, this is the Game of Thrones, and you must lie, cheat, steal and manipulate the audience to win the iron throne of television.
Game of Thrones season six premieres Sunday, April 24 at 9 p.m. on HBO.
Check back with The Feed Monday mornings for episode recaps throughout the season.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @chelseatatham.