"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."
Cersei had it right and not just about Westeros. The series itself lives by the same mantra and the season 6 opener fell short.
Maybe I’m being harsh. It wasn’t the worst episode I’ve seen but it didn’t feel like a season opener in the dramatic, action packed sense that I’ve become accustomed to.
We now know that it was a springboard episode to the rest of the season but based on the events of season 5, what’s it actually a springboard to? We didn’t really learn anything new in this episode and with Stannis seemingly no longer among the living, the Starks not having much of a claim to the North and Daenerys getting no closer to Westeros, the Game of Thrones feels like it’s been paused and the player has gone out to play in the park.
What does that leave us with? A potentially resurrected Jon Snow and a Lannister war against Dorne. The latter being led by a broken Cersei and a one handed Jaime. There’s more to come from Cersei on this front and whilst I expect her to be baying for revenge in a few episodes time, based on her frame of mind in episode one, I just can’t see when or where that blood lust is coming from. Cersei is at her best when her back is up against the wall and whilst I understand her feeling broken based on a prophecy coming true, I don’t think it serves the series well.
As a whole, Game of Thrones has got to a point where it doesn’t know where to go. It’s been brilliant for five series because it’s had the literature to work from and unless George R. R. Martin is feeding them the story from Winds of Winter, that’s no longer possible. Call me pretentious, but in my experience, when adaptations deviate from the literature, the show/movie is all the poorer.
The first show of season 6 was the perfect illustration of a show that seems unsure of its direction. They weren’t sure which story to focus on or which character should take the lead in the episode. As a result we had about 15 minutes of each character that left me wanting more from the episode and not more from the season. By that, I mean it’s not left me salivating for the next episode, rather, I’m expecting season 6 to feel like nine months on Hershel’s farm.
Again, I’m probably being pessimistic and the series will probably develop into the usual brilliance that it always delivers. At least, I hope it does.