GAME OF THRONES: S6:E1 “THE RED WOMAN” REVIEW & RECAP: PAGE TO SCREEN

 

The show picks up where it left off, Jon laying dead in the snow, his blood surrounding him in a not-so-subtle dragon shape.  What looked like smoking blood last season, appears to be smoke from a nearby fireplace.  In a change from the novels, Ghost howls.  Ghost is mute.  As a matter of fact, there’s a theory that Ghost is the Horn of Winter, aka Horn of Joramun.  Not sure if I buy that.Anyway, from the trailer I believed that Davos, Edd and the others were protecting Jon’s body.  Not the case, (but totally the case, because this allows them to unintentionally protect Jon’s body without anything spoilery like “Protect his body!  Yay, magic!”).  They have barricaded themselves in the room with Jon’s body to protect themselves.  They are stalling until Edd returns with Wildling backup, which prompts one of the best lines, (aside from Davos requesting mutton), of the night from a random NW member-

“It’s a sad fucking statement when Dolorous Edd is our only chance.”

Davos believes that the “Red Woman” could help them, they don’t believe there’s anything she could do to help them.  He tells them they don’t know what she’s capable of…and really, neither does he.

When Mel does join them, she’s greatly affected by Jon’s death, telling Davos “I saw him in the flames fighting at Winterfell.”  First, she was wrong about Stannis, she sacrificed his daughter (still alive in the novels), and just when she realized she was reading the flames wrong, (in Dance she frets “I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only snow.”), Jon is murdered.

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Speaking of Mel…

So, Mel is really old.  This is something that has long been suspected.  What’s a shock to the readers is that she sleeps.  And not only does she sleep here, but she uses blankets.  Mel doesn’t need a blankie!  In the novels she may doze off for a bit, but she doesn’t sleep.  Here’s some text from the book that sheds some (Lord of) light on Mel:

Melisandre had spent the night in her chair by the fire, as she often did. With Stannis gone, her bed saw little use. She had no time for sleep, with the weight of the world upon her shoulders. And she feared to dream. Sleep is a little death, dreams the whisperings of the Other, who would drag us all into his eternal night. She would sooner sit bathed in the ruddy glow of her red lord’s blessed flames, her cheeks flushed by the wash of heat as if by a lover’s kisses. Some nights she drowsed, but never for more than an hour. One day, Melisandre prayed she would not sleep at all. One day she would be free of dreams. Melony, she thought. Lot Seven.

And

R’hllor provided her with all the food she needed, but that was something best concealed from mortal men.

 

Melisandre had practiced her art for years beyond count, and she had paid the price.

Maybe laying down to sleep is showing she has given up her faith and given in to the Great Other.

One confusing bit about the removal of the choker is a scene from Season 4.  In that scene, Melisandre is in the bath, young, while Selyse looks on.  Is this a plot hole?  Was the entire scene just a device to get more nudity on screen?  Did Mel appear young and beautiful to Selyse because she was such a devout follower?  If you re-watch, Selyse’s reaction can go one of two ways- she’s prude, or she is shocked by what she sees.  In response to Selyse’s questions about Stannis, Mel tells her that her body is “just flesh,” suggesting Selyse can see her true form.
As far as her actual age is concerned, Van Houton has stated that Mel might be as old as 400 years old.  There are many fan theories that she is Shiera Seastar, Bloodraven’s half-sister; another is that she is Serenei of Lys, Shiera’s mother and paramour of Aegon IV.  This probably comes from descriptions of Mel and Shiera, (mentioned in the Dunk & Egg novellas), that are very similar:

Shiera:

“She was the greatest beauty of her age, a slender and elegant woman, slim of waist and full of breast… She had a heart-shaped face, full lips, and her mismatched eyes were strangely large and full of mischief; her rivals said she used them to melt men’s hearts.”

Mel:

Slender she was, graceful, taller than most knights, with full breasts and narrow waist and a heart-shaped face. Men’s eyes that once found her did not quickly look away, not even a maester’s eyes. Many called her beautiful.

Neither of these women are close to 400 years old.  Bloodraven is under 150 years old.  He was Shiera’s half-brother and lover, making her of a similar age.  Even if she was Serenei, she would be less than 200 years old.

 

Another reason she wouldn’t be Shiera or Serenei- in Dance Mel describes visions that sound a lot like Bloodraven:

“A wooden face, corpse white. Was this the enemy? A thousand red eyes floated in the rising flames.”

Yet Bloodraven is never mentioned.  Both Shiera and Serenei would have recognized this as a description Brynden Rivers, aka Bloodraven.

Another clue from Dance is that Melisandre was born Melony, and sold as a slave.  The “Lot 7” in the passage above is most likely connected to this:

“When she was still half a child, a slave girl bound for life to the great red temple.”

Is she old?  Yes.  And probably too old to be Shiera.  Has she given up on R’hollor?  I don’t think so.  Will Jon get the “kiss” ala Lord Beric?  Possibly.

Mel without her choker is the best Faces of Meth PSA’s ever.

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Screenshot (307)Arya is currently a blind beggar in Braavos. While blind, she works on her sense of hearing.  Waif shows up, asks her what she’s hearing, tosses her a stick and begins to beat the crap out of her in a very one-sided fight.  Arya is left alone, battered.  I’m still waiting for Cat of the Canals.  I even rewound, looking for an alley cat.  Nope.

Screenshot (295)In Mereen Barristan is in charge while the city is under siege, and almost everyone is getting the shits, aka the “pale mare.” Daario and the uncast Brown Ben Plumm are hostages.  Jorah is a sellsword camp.  Tyrion is on a slavers block., purchased by Yezzen. Varys is in King’s Landing setting his “little birds” loose.  Everything here is different.  While Dany is found by a Dothraki horde, she isn’t taken captive.  She isn’t without a dragon…and she has the shits.

The only thing remotely the same is Dany and that’s only because she is found by the Dothraki.  However, she is not without a dragon when this happens.  She does, however, have the shits.

The “Kill the Masters” graffiti now joined by “Mhysa is a master.” The Sons of the Harpy are still causing chaos, Varys tells Tyrion he his little birds on the case.  The people of Mereen are furious and scared. Tyrion and Varys walk the streets and come across a red priest (Mocorro?), preaching.

The best part of this was the confusion caused by Tyrion’s rusty Valeryan, causing a woman to think Tyrion was trying to buy her baby to eat it.

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Screenshot (275)Dany’s ride back to Westeros has been torched.  With her fleet burned to the…water? How will she get back to Westeros?  Euron, I’m guessing.  That’s if she ever gets back to Mereen.

No worries, Daario and Jorah are on the case!  Apparently Jorah’s greyscale, (which I don’t believe he has in the books, JonCon does), has given him super-detective-tracking-powers.  Remember when Dany left behind her ring?  Did your eyes roll?  Jorah found the ring.  Did your eyes roll?  Mine did.

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The dialogue at the Dothraki camp is just awful.  “Ohhh!  He said ‘White pussy hair!’”  GTFOH.  Dany is off to Vaes Dothrak.  End.

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Screenshot (290)Sansa and Theon’s escape through the water froze me to even watch.  Ramsay has sent his best hounds after them, but decided to stay back at Winterfell to mourn what’s-her-butt, the kennel master’s daughter Miranda.  In a touching moment, he makes sure she’s chopped up and fed to the dogs.  No way Ramsay stays behind and doesn’t go after his Reek and his wife.

Sansa and Theon find shelter under a fallen tree, but they haven’t escaped the Bolton men and dogs.  Theon attempts to sacrifice himself by leading them away from her, while she escapes, but it’s too late.  They are found.  BUT WAIT!  It’s Brienne and Pod to the rescue!  Brienne is in beast mode, cutting down Bolton men left and right.

Once the enemies are slain, Brienne lays her sword at Sansa’s feet and once again, offers her her service.  What pissed me off here, is that Sansa looks to Theon for guidance.  In the novels, she’s still in the Vale, becoming a Littlefinger protege.  She isn’t looking to anyone, let alone the man that watched her rape (show only), the same man she believes killed Bran and Rickon, the same man that sold out the Stark’s to the Boltons.  Fuck that.

Anyway.  Sansa finally has a knight in shining armor, one t not remotely close to what she dreamt of as a young girl, but a bad-ass none-the-less.

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When news arrives that a Dornish ship has docked in King’s Landing, a joyful Cersei runs down to great her daughter. In the novels, Myrcella is alive, face disfigured in Arianne Martell’s failed plan to crown her Queen, by Darkstar (characters not on the show).  As soon as the small vessel is close enough, she can see Jamie, and the body draped in tapestry behind him. Cersei recalls her mother’s death in morbid detail as she mourns Myrcella, a daughter undeserving of her parentage.  Jamie comforts her and promises vengeance.  I doubt Tommen makes it through this season.

Screenshot (256)Margaery is still in prison.  The charming Septa Unella attempts to get a confession from Marg, who desperately wants to see Loras. Marg is channeling Cersei during her imprisonment, with “I am the Queen…yada…yada…” The High Sparrow interrupts, apologizing for the Septa.  Will she escape the Sept with hairs and clothes in tact?

So, I really thought that the book character who was shafted the most on screen was Stannis, but now I think ALL OF DORNE gets my vote.  I really don’t want to address the Dorne issue…and yet I really, really want to address the Dorne issue.   It is, by far the worst adaptation I have ever seen on screen.  This isn’t because I’m a book “purist.”  Why introduce Dorne at all?  Even Oberyn.  While there were some great scenes between Oberyn and Tyrion, and his fight with The Mountain was spectacular, and while the Dornish are known for being overtly sexual, the show made it into soft-core porn filler.  Both show and ASoI&F Oberyn would not have allowed the events that took place this episode, to go down.

Dorne and Doran on Game of Thrones were shockingly awful.   Dorne successfully eluded Targaryn rule for nearly 200 years, despite it being the least populated region in Westeros. Doran Martell is cunning, smart and strong, despite his bloated, gout-ridden body.  In the novels, he has two sons, Trystane and Quentyn, as well as a beautiful, headstrong and stubborn daughter named Arianne who is involved in one of the biggest plots as far as the throne is concerned.

On Sunday’s episode, Doran, Ellaria and Tyene are in the water gardens, surrounded by guards, including Areo Hotah.  They are reminiscing about Oberyn when messenger brings word of Myrcella’s death to them.  That’s when everything goes to shit.  Absolute shit.  The women know their time is up. Tyene stabs Areo Hotah in the back, killing him.  Then, Ellaria stabs Doran in the chest.  I think.  As soon as Areo, a favorite of mine in ASoI&F, was stabbed, I was yelling “What the fuck?!” At my guests, so I missed the exact location of the stab.  You don’t take down Areo Hotah like that.  Or Doran.  I’m seriously surprised they didn’t just push Doran down the stairs in his wheelchair, oh yeah, because he was WALKING.

Like Oberyn, book Ellaria would not have sought out this type of vengeance against his brother.  When she is given what she is lead to believe to be The Mountain’s head as a consolation for Oberyn’s death, this is what she tells his daughters:

“Oberyn wanted vengeance for Elia. Now the three of you want vengeance for him. I have four daughters, I remind you. Your sisters. My Elia is fourteen, almost a woman. Obella is twelve, on the brink of maidenhood. They worship you, as Dorea and Loreza worship them. If you should die, must El and Obella seek vengeance for you, then Dorea and Loree for them? Is that how it goes, round and round forever? I ask again, where does it end?” Ellaria Sand laid her hands on the Mountain’s head. “I saw your father die. Here is his killer. Can I take a skull to bed with me, to give me comfort in the night? Will it make me laugh, write me songs, care for me when I am old and sick?”

Really sounds like a woman out to kill the entire Martell family, right?

Also, why do Ellaria and the Sandsnakes all look like they’re totally turned on by the killings?  So weird.  Also infuriating?  Areo Hotah’s death.  He went out like a punk.  Areo Hotah doesn’t go out like that. What a waste.

On the show, as Doran lays dying, and the other guards just stand there and Ellaria tells him it’s because he “Doesn’t know his own people,” that his inaction in avenging the deaths of Elia, (Rhaegar Targaryn’s wife), and Oberyn’s, have turned them, (his people), against him.  Oh yeah, and that Trystane, the only child on the show of Doran’s, won’t rule Dorne either.

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Speaking of… Trystane, still on the Dornish ship Jamie and Bronn returned to KL on, paints eye stones. Makes sense he hasn’t set foot in KL yet.  Cersei, not knowing the fate of Trystane’s family, would have had him killed in retribution.  All of a sudden Nymeria and Obara pop up and are like “Hey cousin, it’s time die.” Where the fuck did these bitches come from?  I imagine them clutched to the back of the ship like Marty McFly on his skateboard.  The prince shows some misplaced courage and decides to take on Nym, when Obara stabs him in the back of the head.  Also, where is Bronn?!  He wasn’t on the smaller boat that Jamie was on with Myrcella’s body, nor is he here.  If he was on the ship with Trystane, and the Sandsnakes were able to get past him, I’m going to be even more disappointed.

There’s so much more that takes place in Feast and Dance surrounding the Martell’s.  They are deeply involved in who will end up on the throne, they have spies in KL, in Old Town with the Maesters at the Citadel, across the Narrow Sea with Dany, travelling with a possible hidden Targ heir.  The characters are great, their plans are exciting…it’s so sad the show went this route.

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