Recently I made a couple of articles with the first asking for advice as to when other readers thought Game of Thrones got good as the first 2 seaons were decent but not amazing and the latter saying that season 3 in my opinion was where it really kicked off. After watching through seasons 4-6 I thought I might as well finish of the set and I’m going to start by saying I also found them rather good.
Let’s start off with season 4. The tone of the season was very much focused on not only the fallout of The War of Five Kings from season 3 but also we see the increased fracturing of alliances, with Joffrey finally getting killed which the little shit deserved causing a breakdown in the Lannister camp and a rebellion amongst the Night’s Watch which sees the Lord Commander killed.
I rather enjoyed season 4 as it had lots of action throughout that was balanced largely by subterfuge during the season, with the many duels and fights spread throughout the episodes and usually given good reasons for happening. Also many of the longrunning subplots were making noticable progress still, with Dany taking Mereen and trying to hold it while Tyrion’s father issues come to a head.
The relationships between characters was probably strongest in season 4 in terms of complexity and variety, with the strange father-daughter/captor-prisoner thing The Hound and Arya had providing a revealing look into the two as the former becomes more human while the latter becomes more cold, in the end refusing to grant him a mercy killing, while the many friendships of Tyrion, especially with Jaime and Varys, provided glimpses of hope during the latter half of the season when he was condemned by most of his family as a kingslayer (his court speech was brilliantly done).
Like normal however there were a couple of issues. I’ve never really cared too much for Bran and this season didn’t really change it much and was the storyline that I’d say was the worst of the season, with the death of Jojen being unintentionally hilarious, and was reliant too much on Jon’s story at times. Also the introduction of the Martell’s was pretty lacklustre, with Oberyn and Ellaria mainly being used to just get more tits and arse on screen and then Oberyn getting killed in quite stupid circumstances.
Season 5 was also pretty good and in my opinion was probably my favourite Dany storyline of the lot, where, after a series of wins, now has to grow and deal with the fact that many of those she thought would be her allies have different views and that just because she beat the slavers doesn’t mean they’re going to take it sitting down, and facing a growing ‘Sons of the Harpy’ rebellion. Jon is also further forced to accept his growing role as leader after being made Lord Commander where he is forced to balance trying to keep his word to Mance and save the Wildlings while also trying to stop the disintegration of what’s left of the Night’s Watch, with the episode Hardholme probably being the strongest of the season.
I also enjoyed a number of the slower scenes with Tyrion and Jorah on the boat to Mereen and both having to come to terms with their betrayal of those they cared about and the slow but inevitable growth of the Sparrows in King’s Landing as Cersei and Margaery are too busy competing for control over Tommen than to see the threat they created, both eventually ending up in prison cells.
But then we come to the major flaw of the season. I am of course talking about Dorne, a plotline with so much talent attached (it had Alexander Siddig for crying out loud) that starts of well but then falls completely flat with a bizarre daytime raid on a palace and then this bizarre Bronn scene where he’s poisoned and immediately cured by the same person. Thankfully though the whole storyline is only about 30-40 minutes of screentime and ends with, surprise, yet another death killing the second of Cersei’s kids, Myrcella.
This season, which not only saw a shift from the books to story pointers, also saw a change in dynamic where all the action was kept to the tail end of the season rather than spread throughout, which caused some differing views amongst those I know. Despite this it was probably my favourite season overall.
Much like how many character earlier got agency Bran finally seems to get his with his growing role as the next ‘three-eyed raven’ and also as a flashback exposition machine, something that was sorely needed for the Martell’s in season 4. It also sees him fuck up and get most of his friends killed but also that he is what caused Hodor’s issues in the first place (nice one dickhead).
After Stannis’ death at the end of season 5 and a resurrection Jon is now the only force capable of taking back the North which he does so with the help of his new found Wildling friends and the few Houses still keeping their vows, including a kickass 10 year old girl, though almost fucks it by doing the one thing he said he wouldn’t, which was fighting Ramsey’s way, which led them trapped in a pile of bodies until a timely rescue by Sansa and the forces of the Vale under Littlefinger.
The weakest part of the season though was probably Dany’s storyline. While it has a great ending for the season she once again loses all agency at the start and becomes season 1-2 useless Dany until she burns a load of people alive and gets another giant Dothraki army, just managing to make it back to Mereen where Tyrion has made a mess of things, and steals an entire armada from the slavers before finally sailing for Westeros.
And finally we come to Cersei who is becoming the Mad Queen it looks like as her desire for control leads her to not only bombing the Sept with Wildfyre, killing the High Sparrow and most of the Tyrell’s (whose money they need to pay their debts), but also directly causing the death of her final child Tommen as he decides to try and join the Olympic diving team (this goes badly), ending with a look from Jaime that seems to suggest he’s going to kill her (he funnily enough stands near where Cersei did when she was given a trial by Tommen).
Overall I have enjoyed my time in Westeros, other than skipping over the more disgusting rape aspects of the show, and think that if the last two seasons are more like the pulled back season 6 that removed most of the ‘sexposition’ and sexual violence I’ll enjoy them thoroughly.
Now though I have to wait with the rest of you for several months.