Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Game of Thrones (Season 6)

Game of Thrones (Season 6); fantasy drama series, USA, 2016; D: Jeremy Podeswa, Daniel Sackheim, Mark Mylod, Miguel Sapochnik, S: Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Aidan Gillen, Liam Cunningham, Sophie Turner, Rory McCann, Maisie Williams, Conleth Hill, Iwan Rheon, Alfie Allen, Gwendoline Christie, Jonathan Pryce, Iain Glen, Jacob Anderson, Max von Sydow

At the Wall, Jon Snow is resurrected thanks to witch Melisandre. Snow thus again takes over the Night Watch and teams up with Sansa Stark and general Davos to persuade as many houses in the North to fight against Ramsay Bolton as possible, before the attack of the White Walkers. Thanks to a lot of sacrifice, Snow manages to take Winterfell and defeat Ramsay, who is executed by his own blood dogs via Sansa... Jorah and Daario find the captive Daenerys in a Dothraki settlement, and she kills the leaders in a fire, thereby taking over the tribe. Thanks to her three dragons, she also finally defeats the slave masters who were destabilizing Meereen all the time. When the exiled Theon and Yara Greyjoy arrive and offer their fleet, Daenerys accepts and sails to conquer Westeros... In Westeros, Cersei gets sick and tired of the religious fanatics led by the High Sparrow, and thus executes them and several of her foes in the church by lighting an explosion under it during Loras' religious trial. However, now widowed, King Tommen commits suicide. Cersei thus takes over the throne herself... Arya Stark leaves the assassin school and kills Walder Frey, the man responsible for the slaughter of her family during Red Wedding... Bran Stark learns that he must take over as the new Three-Eyed-Raven. He has visions...

After the worst season of the series, "Game of Thrones" made such an unexpected foray into greatness that it delivered the best edition with season 6, reaching its Zenith and thus redeeming itself. After numerous fans rightfully criticized the ill-conceived idea to kill off one of the most beloved characters of the show in season 5, Jon Snow, the good knight, which was just the same old "shock" trick already used with Ned Stark and the Red Wedding, anyway – Oliver Griffin, for instance, rightfully commented with: "Seriously, what is the point now? We're almost at the stage where the only people left to root for are the White Walkers" – screenwriters David Benioff and D. B. Weiss started to listen and overturned that mistake, bringing Snow back – and all the virtues with him. The problems with a too long set up of a story is that it may exhaust the viewers by endless staling, yet here it managed to cross into the other opposite, the "slingshot theorem": the longer it is stretched out, the stronger its velocity will be once it is released. The first few episodes are rather stagnant, yet already episode 6.5 shows that a change is coming: even though it features a similar idea as the ending in "La jetee" and "12 Monkeys", the plot twist involving Hodor in it is still outstanding in its sheer emotional and dramatic intensity – once seen, never forgotten. The last four episodes feature a marathon of "Top of the Tops", since each new episode tops the previous one, forming a 'Triumvirate of brilliance'. Episode 6.7 brings back another beloved character, the Hound, who embodies "Game of Thrones" often used tactic (at first he is shown as a villain, only to do something good that suddenly brings new perspective into his character and nature) by dwelling into a group of people who want to atone for their sins, led by dissident Ray, played by ultra-masterful Ian McShane in an episode to cherish.

Episode 6.8 is another excellent one, featuring one genius quote by Varys aimed at both religious and nationalist fanatics alike ("I suppose it's hard for a fanatic to admit a mistake. Isn't that the point of being a fanatic? You're always right.") with further allegorical exploration of the fictional religious militants led by the High Sparrow in the capital, who ostensibly wants to uphold the "immaculate" religious laws, yet in reality just wants the King to share his power over the Kingdom with him. Arya Stark's sympathy with an actress, Lady Crane, whom she was suppose to assassinate, shows her integrity and independent thinking – with a possible foreshadowing that Crane plays Cersei in a play, who dies. Episode 6.9 went out of its scope to create one of the most expressionistic, raw, energetic and grandiose war battles – between Jon Snow and Ramsay – not seen since "Saving Private Ryan" or "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King": it took 25 days to film, yet its effort is sensed in every frame. It also features one of the most satisfying disposals of a sadistic, disgusting bad guy, a delight of justice for evil. But the next episode, 6.10, surpasses even the battle of that episode, but through different means, the pure inspiration that crept deep into that storyline, thanks to maestro director Miguel Sapochnik: Cersei there executes a revenge plan so meticulously and so flawlessly planned out that it is better than all the revenge movies by Tarantino from "Kill Bill" through "Django Unchained" combined, whereas it also features a suicide scene of a crucial character that comes so unexpected, directed with such a subtlety and finesse that the viewers never anticipated it – and will probably never forget it due to it. The whole episode is crafted with a refreshing aesthetic and polished style that is thus a joy to watch, from start to finish. Season 6 rises to the occasion, finally justifying its reputation, with Benioff and Weiss constructing it up like a good set of dominoes: they just took away one wrong piece, and it all fell into place. It is a strange irony that in a decade where the films underwent a decline, TV shows simultaneously experienced a rise to greatness: "Game of Thrones" season 6 almost seems as if it "sucked out" all the quality from the movies from that time to use it for its own potentials.


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