Review: Game of Thrones, The Red Woman

Benedict Welch 28 April 2016

**Warning: This article contains spoilers**

Forget revision, forget exams, we all know the thing we were agonising most about when returning to Cambridge for Easter Term was the much-anticipated next instalment of Game of Thrones. Season five left us with many unanswered questions, and in typical fashion, the opening of Season Six did nothing but present us with more.

With a lingering opening shot of Jon Snow’s body we pick up exactly where we left off. But the much speculated resurrection of our favourite hero: absent. However, by the end of the episode our dreams of Snow cheating death are all but forgotten. The programme parades before us an episodic series of updates across Westeros and beyond, with a token gruesome death or two to satisfy our palates. There is a touching moment as Sansa finally accepts the service of Brienne of Tarth, demonstrating effortlessly how Game of Thrones succeeds in drama, gore, and raw emotion before jumping on to yet another action-packed storyline. Equally, the sight of Daenerys Targaryen stumbling along in chains, forced to listen to sexual slander from her captors, reminded us of how the series touches on and extremifies social issues in our own world.

This episode did feel like a tamer warm-up for things to follow, but perhaps a necessary one. We’ve been handed an extra piece of the tantalising threads of some of the stories, with many plot-lines such as the fate of Bran (who’s been up in that blasted tree for a long while now) yet to be explored in coming episodes. Also, the makers of the show are keeping us guessing yet again. Part of GoT’s allure is the endless obsessive theorising it allows us to do about what might happen next. Fans of the show spent the last year devising every possible way Jon Snow could have survived his murder only to be thoroughly disappointed – frustrating, but nonetheless enthralling.

And of course, the episode concluded with a suitably unexpected revelation. Melisandre, the Red Woman, is actually really, really old. Apparently, actress Carice van Houten intimated in an interview in 2012 that her character is over 100 years old so perhaps this is not a surprise to all. But the big reveal of her secret raises questions about the limits of her powers and how her magic works. Maybe, just maybe, they might stretch to a rebirth of a certain Jon Snow (please!!!).