***WARNING: SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED ALL EPISODES THROUGH SEASON 5 OF GAME OF THRONES, BOOKMARK THIS WEEK’S GEEKY BUGLE AND GO WATCH THEM! DON’T WORRY, I’LL WAIT***
As the days grow longer and warmer, flowers bloom and baron trees come back to life we know that spring is here, but make no mistake my friends; winter is coming. Game of Thrones is the best show on TV right now, so rather than cram my preview into one article that would be longer than the books; I found it only fitting to break it down into three parts. Why three you ask? Well, there’s three weeks until the show, three main regions of George R.R. Matins world, and I have three weeks to kill.
We start the journey throughout this world on the Continent of Essos. Known as the land of free men, a Noble person can buy a slave, an underage prostitute and some questionable shellfish, all in the same transaction. Once known as the Valerian Freehold, Essos was once a prosperous kingdom, until the Valerian’s own arrogance and what is now known as the Doom of Valeria put and end to the empire. Now it exists as a land of City States, where men can go to hide from Westerosi law or to enjoy themselves in whatever depravity they can afford.
The first four seasons proved a source of a time of upheaval in this region as Daenerys ran rough shot on the Free Cities, albeit with some help from three Dragons and soldiers that practiced, let’s say, extreme circumcision. Speaking of the Free Cities, what the hell happened to Qarth? When she arrived it was “the greatest city that ever was or will be”, then the rulers were killed, and she locked the only Noble left in a vault to starve to death. That place has to look like The Purge 2 by now. Anyway, I’m getting off topic. Daenerys finally settled in the city of Mereen, intent on ruling the city as a sort of training for her eventual rule of the Seven Kingdoms. Assuming she would be welcomed with open arms, The Mother of Dragons found running the city to be much more difficult than she first intended. Turns out, people don’t like it when you come in and try to overthrow thousands of years of history and culture, who knew? Eventually, and insurgent group, The Sons of the Harpee, formed and turned the city into complete chaos. I mean, a eunuch couldn’t even pay a prostitute for some snuggle time without getting his throat slashed. After the death of one of her most trusted advisors, Sir Barriston Selmy, the Queen tried to placate the populace by reinstituting one of their time honored traditions, the Fighting Pits. But to no one who has ever watched this shows surprise, this didn’t go as planned. The Sons of the Harpee staged an all out assault on the proceedings and cornered the Breaker of Chains in the fighting pit. When death seemed imminent, Daenerys bravely accepted her fate until she was saved by the timely return of her largest dragon, Drogon. In one of the most anticipated moments of the show, Daenerys finally rode Drogon as he took her to safety, or at least we thought. The season ended with a wounded Drogon refusing to help her find food, teenage dragons are such a pain sometimes. In her foraging Daenerys was circled by a group of Dothraki riders, her fate unknown.
The former Khaleesi’s story arch in season six should be very intriguing. She is without her army, her Queens’s guard and her dragons. Will she let it be known who she is? That she was once married to Khal Drogo and as such is a Khaleesi? Did the Dothraki know that when they circled her? It will be interesting to see how she handles and ultimately overcomes this situation without the use of her name, wealth or power. I believe we will see a humbled Daenerys, and she will rise from this predicament stronger, more defiant and finally on a quest to take her rightful place on the Iron Throne.
When Daenerys fled on the back of Drogo, her council was left to figure out the next course of action. Sir Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis volunteered to find the queen, in what we can only hope is the beginning of a beautiful bromance, Missandei, Grey Worm and most importantly Tyrion were left to rule Mereen in her stead. Tyrion’s road to Mereen began when he committed Patricide, killing the great Tywin Lannister in the most undignified way a man can die. Varys smuggled the condemned dwarf out of Westeros, and after some convincing and a lot of wine talked him in to finding the Mother of Dragons and helping her reclaim the Iron Throne. Their trip was derailed however when Mormont kidnapped Tyrion in hopes of presenting the Lannister offspring to the queen and ending his banishment. Their trip was long and arduous; encountering Stone men in the Doom of Valeria, being kidnapped and sold into slavery, but they did eventually reach the queen’s throne room. At first, Daenerys only wanted Tywin dead, but turning a doomed situation into his favor is one of Tyrion’s greatest attributes. Through his intellect and wit he was able to win favor with the Queen, even quickly becoming a defacto member of her small council. Now, while she is in captured by the Dothraki, Tyrion must use his famous intellect to help restore the self destructing city she left behind.
Will the foreign dwarf be able to show the same aptitude for governing in this foreign land? Will he release Daenerys’ dragons? Will this all end with Tyrion finally meeting his end, and will we riot if it does? Are there still things about the half man that we don’t know? While I do not feel like I am alone in saying I’m a little tired of Mereen, I am excited to see Tyrion do what he does best, play the political game. Tyrion, like many of you I am sure, is my favorite character. He has shown that he is one of the few people in Game of Thrones that knows how to not only survive but thrive in this world. In season 2, while working as his father’s proxy as the King’s Hand, Tyrion was at his best, maneuvering and outthinking his peers while also helping undo some of the damage his pompous, evil King nephew had done to the Seven Kingdoms. He is at his best when his back is against the wall, and in season 6 it surely will be.
While Tyrion was stuffing his shit through the air holes of a pine box on his way to Essos, Arya Stark was traveling there as well, albeit under much more comfortable circumstances. Using a coin given to her many seasons ago, she was able to gain passage to Braavos, the richest of the Free Cities. While at first her eyes were filled with wonder at the city, she was soon met with disappointment when she went to the House of Black and White. After a few episodes spent sleeping on the steps she was allowed entry into the home of the Faceless Men and agreed to work for and hopefully train under Jaqen H’ghar. While the season was filled with a lot of Arya sweeping and not understanding what the hell was going on, the end justified the means as her climax was one of the best in a season filled with climactic moments. Finally being given an assassination assignment by the mysterious Jaqen, she instead went rogue as soon as she saw Sir Meryn Trant, one of the many names on her death prayer wish list. While following the knight she learned that he had a perverse desire for young girls, a fetish that played into her favor. She stole one of the disguises of the Faceless Men and, in one of the most satisfyingly brutal murder scenes in the show’s history, she killed Trant and checked one name off her list. This disobedience did not come without a price, as her story arch ended with her losing her eyesight as payment.
Will Arya be blind for the rest of her life? How in the hell will she sell room temperature shellfish without the ability to see? Is this just a step in the process of her becoming the ultimate assassin we want her to be? I love a badass blind warrior as much as anyone however I believe that the blindness is only temporary. She will also realize that she needs to let go of her Stark ties in order to become the person she needs to be. Season 6 will prove pivotal for Arya’s arch going forward as she trains under Jaqen and finds her role in the larger story that is at play.
Well that’s it for this week fellow Geeks. Join me next week on the Geeky Bugle as we travel throughout the Southern Six Kingdoms, same Clock Dodger Time, same Clock Dodger channel.