a lack of focus

spoilers for Game of Thrones episode 6.1 and all that has come before

Well, Game of Thrones has returned.  I’ve written about previous seasons on other sites (and now its watch is, probably, over).  I skipped last season, but I’ll do or do not a piece for each episode this season.

For some background to my perspective, I have read the five main books.  I haven’t read any of the preview chapters from book six.  And I haven’t read any of the supplemental stories.  I am far from an expert on the lore of A Song of Ice and Fire.  I liked book one until they introduce the character of Ned’s head.  And the series has slowly gone downhill in my eyes.  I simply haven’t liked most of the decisions George RR has made.  I was hoping season five of the show would avoid some of them, but it did not.  And now here we are in the aftermath of those decisions.  I will be curious to see what the show does.

One of the main issues I found with the story is that as it expanded, it completely lost focus.  Dany’s goal was to get back to Westeros and take over.  She got stuck in Meereen and now is stuck with the Dothraki.  Episode one of season six suggests she will get stuck at Vaes Dothrak.  In season five, Tyrion got stuck with slave traders and now he is stuck in Meereen.  I hope he doesn’t get stuck where he was in the book.

Jon got stuck up against the Wall and the White Walkers until he got stuck by blades.  Now he is stuck being dead.  Many people expect him to be revived through magic, but either outcome is so very weak.  If he remains dead, why the frick have we spent six seasons getting invested in him?  If he gets revived, it is a complete cop-out for all the other major characters that have died.  Also at the Wall, Davos is now stuck in a frickin’ room.  What are they going to do for the few days it takes Dolorous Edd to get back?  What will they eat?  Where will they go to the bathroom?  I know these are nits to pick, but come on.  Don’t have your characters get stuck in a room.

Arya is stuck at the House of the Black and White.  I love the idea of Arya become a super ninja, but what impact will this have on the larger story?  Is she going to go all waif fu on the legion of White Walkers?  I am, at least, interested in Arya’s journey.  She didn’t get nearly enough attention in the books.

King’s Landing is a disaster.  Margaery and Loras are still stuck in jail.  Thank the Gods that Mace is taking forever to get back from Braavos.  I assume he will be a little…put out when he learns of his children’s imprisonment.  And since Highgarden is currently providing the money and food for the realm, it is another segment of the story that just hasn’t been thought out at all.  And what the frick is Tommen doing?  Hanging out with Ser Pounce?

And Dorne, phew, Dorne received a huge shakeup.  But, what are the Sand Snakes going to do now?  Wage war against the crown?  Just chill and enjoy their power?  They have to know that they just entered the center of the Lannister cross-hairs.  I really hope we get the return of badass Jaime with his trusty sidekick Bronn.

My favorite part of the episode was the uniting of Brienne and Sansa.  I was really concerned there for a second that Sansa and Theon’s escape of one episode had all been for naught.  Then Brienne comes in and kicks ass, which unfortunately just pissed me off about The Force Awakens all over again.  But what are they going to do?  Sansa’s plan was to go to Castle Black to see Jon, OH HE’S DEAD, and some percentage of people there hated him.

This season will be a fascinating test for the showrunners.  George RR left his story in book five completely unhinged.  If the rumors are true and we only have one or two more seasons after this one, then the writers have to start circling the wagons.  They have to start bringing the end game into focus.  It is a Titan-of-Braavos-sized challenge with all of the wayward threads.

Just as I know Ned’s head is doing somewhere, I will be watching.

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