Spoilers Ahead on Game Of Thrones S06E03
It’s usually a good sign that as soon as an episode is over I’m already craving for more. “Oathbreaker” left us with a great closing line by Jon Snow, “my watch has ended”. But looking back on the episode, there’s a number of scenes that needlessly spun its wheels and a few that are really strong.
Let’s Discuss the Top 3 Scenes
#1. Tower of Joy
The writers are getting good mileage out of flashbacks from Bran’s perspective. It’s always a treat to go back and learn about Ned Stark’s history and the friendship between Meera Reed’s father and Ned. Howland Reed is a sneaky fellow. There was no way that Arthur Dayne would go down in a fair face-to-face fight against Ned. Ser Dayne lived up to his legendary status in that sword fight where the odds were stacked against him.
Bran’s reaction in learning that Ned wasn’t a better swordsman than Arthur Dayne is good because it shows how history isn’t always like in the stories. A friend who is a non-book reader remembers a scene where characters talk about how Prince Rhaegar took Lyanna Stark away against her will. My response to that is that’s one version of the story.
When it comes to the extent of Bran’s powers and how time works it can get a bit confusing. I do think it’s a fascinating possibility how Bran can influence or makes his presence known in the past, although the Three-Eyed Raven tries to convince him otherwise “The past is written, the ink is dry”. As for the future, Bran’s destiny is even more intriguing knowing that he won’t become like the Three-Eyed Raven, stuck in a tree for a thousand years.
I can understand that in a ten episode season, the need to string out these flashbacks. At the same time, it would have been fantastic to get more answers on what’s happening up in the Tower of Joy. The answers could have added to the final scene where Jon walks out of Castle Black’s courtyard. If it wasn’t already clear, we as viewers would be like “this is Jon’s story”, or at least the Ice part of the A Song of Ice and Fire. Like I mentioned in my last review, a reason why a lot of fans are excited for Jon’s return is that he represents goodness and hope on a show that often rewards the cruel. The ending could have been even stronger if it left us on that feeling that we are experiencing a game changing moment.
#2. Jon Snow & the Night’s Watch
Like the first two episodes of the season, we get a double dose of Castle Black scenes. The first full scene with Jon Snow back alive is a little underwhelming. Game of Thrones is known for excellent talk heavy scenes that can explore complex scenarios and nuances in character perspectives simply through dialogue. Sometimes dialogue is taken from the books, sometimes almost word for word. Unfortunately, the show writers don’t have the source material to draw upon and the conversation between Ser Davos and Jon Snow fell flat for me. “I did the right thing but they still murdered me“. I wanted more from this scene. There are also a couple of other factors that didn’t quite work. I like Ser Davos a lot, but to the extent he’s involved with Jon’s resurrection sticks out as not completely in his character. The other peculiar thing is that the same Jon Snow is back. There doesn’t appear to be a consequence or differences to coming back from the dead as far as we know at this point.
The second Castle Black scene is far better. Jon Snow didn’t kill Ser Alliser and company out of anger or vengeance. Kit Harrington played the scene well by expressing he had to hang his murderers, but he’s not getting any pleasure out of doing it. Ser Alliser’s final words is fitting for his character. Perhaps, if the actor playing Olly didn’t look so grown up it would have made hanging a child a little harder to watch. Then again, killing babies and children on this show doesn’t seem to faze viewers anymore. Dolorous Edd got a good moment with Jon Snow, although I believe the Night’s Watch still need to vote for their Lord Commander. What’s most exciting about that final scene is Jon Snow basically conveying he’s fulfilled his oath and leaving. This opens up new story line possibilities and it’s looking like Jon will have to deal with Ramsey Bolton now that Rickon is a prisoner. On a side note, I’m really upset about poor Shaggydog. Dammit!
#3. Arya Stark … as No one
What we’ve seen of Arya so far is one good scene stretched out a little thin over the first two episodes. In “Oathbreakers”, Arya’s story is stronger and is moving forward in a satisfying way. The test to get her eye sight back was in proving she didn’t need it. She was able to learn how to fight off the waif and using her other senses to put the powder into the correct glass jar. What also worked is giving Arya a choice in drinking the poisoned water. When a character’s internal journey is visually depicted it makes for stronger television. It showed that she truly believed that she’s become a no one, not just saying it out loud over and over again. Perhaps the significance that she could remove the Hound from her death list is that she could also let the others off as well which seems essential for her to become “no one’ and survive drinking the water.
“Oathbreaker” had both good and not-so-good scenes. Booking ending scenes with Castle Black seems to give some appearances of cohesion in an otherwise mixed bag episode. Perhaps Tyrion’s scene with Greyworm and Missandei were meant to be awkward and shows he needs to play off of someone like Varys or Bronn. But certainly building up the three slave cities as Tyrion’s mission to overcome this season could have been set up better. The hardest scene to sit through is probably Tommen and High Sparrow. Maybe the intent of that scene is to explain why Tommen, a wuss that he is, just doesn’t immediately order his army to destroy the faith militant and be done with that threat. Dany’s scene wasn’t anything to talk about either but I’m curious how’s she’s going to get of her predicament. On second thought, the hardest scene to watch is probably Sam throwing up again and again. Nope, definitely Shaggydog’s head. Stop killing the direwolves!
What are your reactions and thoughts on the Tower of Joy flashback? Which is your favorite story line at the moment and which was the worst scene?