Major Book and Television Spoilers… obviously.

Well it’s spring again, which means a new season of HBO’s Game of Thrones has arrived on our television sets. And this time we have the unique situation of having no idea whatsoever where the story is going!

Due to some frustratingly slow writing, the television series has now surpassed its written counterpart in nearly every single plot line (save for some of Arya and Bran if I’m keeping everything straight). Granted, several of the stories (Dorne, Sansa, Davos) have been diverging from their source material for quite some time, but not at last we are staring down narrative territory that is wholly uncharted, and it’s quite exciting!

I’ve been a book reader of A Song of Ice and Fire since before HBO had even optioned a pilot. Part of the joy in past seasons of the show (before several of the larger plot diversions took place) was to see how familiar scenes played out, to see friends try and guess at what was to come, to see the collective internet horror at the tragedies I knew were happening in just a few weeks. But us book readers no longer have that roadmap, and it’s actually kind of exciting!

Season 6 starts as all season openers do- taking us on a whirlwind ride around the continents in order to check in with the myriad of characters. Some questions are answered immediately- Sansa didn’t die jumping off a wall! Arya is blind! Myrcella and Stannis and Jon are dead!

We get a peek towards the actions of nearly all of the major players, ending some threads, answering questions, but asking far more…

Like what the hell am I supposed to feel about Dorne? I actually liked Dorne in the books, but the depiction of its characters on screen has been one of the few, major missteps taken. Do people actually like the Sand Snakes? Their dialog hurts.

And what in Westeros is Sansa doing now? Her story is on such a drastically different trajectory from the book (where she is betrothed to a non-psychopath in the Eyrie) that her place in the story is utterly up for grabs. I’m also a little bummed at her arc so far. On page she seems to be learning and growing and becoming a major player in her own right. On screen her self-empowerment just isn’t there. She was horrifically abused, then needed Theon to basically save her, and then was rescued again by Brienne.

And what of Castle Black? Of Jon, and holy what Melisandre?

According to the showrunners they have about 13 episodes to go after this season ends, which means all of the pieces need to fall into place, and soon. There is a lot of story to cover and a lot of character arcs to complete. The show is now a creature all its own so where will it go?

Episode Grade : B