[SPOILER ALERT! There may be a few spoilers below so reader beware]
Now don’t get me wrong, I found Game of Thrones to be extremely entertaining this season. There were some epic scenes which I will not soon forget – in particular at the end of episode 8. And the long-awaited (albeit short-lived) union of Danny and Tyrion, arguably the best leader-administrator duo in Westeros or Essos. And the story of Arya – while seemingly unrelated to all the action in the rest of the GoT world – was beautifully shot. There were also some satisfying moments (Brienne’s realization of her self-oath, Arya’s crossing name #1 on her list, etc). But, I was like many others, put off by the excessive violence against women this season. I think they could tell the story just as effectively without us hearing Shireen’s screams or watching Cerei’s walk of shame for 8 or 9 full minutes. Not to mention us standing in Reek/Theon’s place watching the rape of Sansa. It was done to advance the story: Stannis had to be drawn out for the blindly ambitious egotist that he was, we needed to feel some sympathy for Cersei for S06 I presume and Reek had to have motivation to become Theon again. But I have to believe that there were probably other narrative devices that could have saved us these various spectacles of men hurting women. Two out of three of these scenes was purely in the minds of Benioff and Weiss because they were not in the books and I don’t recall Martin dragging the walk of shame over too many pages. OK, off my soapbox now…
A quick list of my “bests”:
Best moment: the zombie army destroys Hardhome
2nd best moment: Drogon saves the day (and then ruins it)
Hardest moment to suspend disbelief: How does Yon-Yon walk in the ocean all the way from Hardhome to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea?
Poorest plot device: Why didn’t Jon land everyone south of Eastwatch? Why have a forced march on the zombie side of the wall for 100 kilometers or more to Castle Black rather than just take them right to the Gift?
Most satisfying death: Meryn Trent
Most disturbing death: Shireen
Best special effects: the swirling army around Stannis and the similarly swirling Khal army around the Khalessi – both splendid shots
2nd best special effects: arrival of Arya into Braavos and the House of the Nameless God
Most terrifying bad guy: The Night’s King
Most regrettable death: You don’t know anything, Jon Snow