Game of Thrones has just wrapped up its sixth season, with an explosive and heart-stopping end. It’s the first time the show’s makers have gone beyond the books of the saga’s creator George RR Martin – so how did it go?
We asked fans to review the latest Game of Thrones offering – did it live up to the hype? Are you now eagerly anticipating what’s to come? Here’s what you told us.
Zoe Tongue, 20, Sheffield
Rating: 5 out of 5 – ‘The women made this the best season yet’
This season of Game of Thrones has seen its women start to dominate, making it the best season yet. The show has previously been criticised for its portrayal of women, but now they are showing their strength. The transformation of Sansa Stark from a naïve, weak girl into a strong survivor who is unafraid to fight for her house and family has been one of the highlights of this season. Another highlight was the story of Cersei Lannister who, despite suffering loss and humiliation, crawled her way back to the top in the season finale (the first 20 minutes showing her destroying her enemies as she sips wine were incredible). The Battle of the Bastards was another of the season’s best scenes: bloody, intense, and as epic as most Lord of the Rings battles. It’s a shame that the season was let down by episode seven, The Broken Man, which seemed to be a filler episode and almost had me bored, but it was still a stunning season nevertheless.
Suzy Jackson, 35, Gateshead
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 – ‘An exhilarating season, but I needed a notebook to keep up’
Season six has both exhausted and exhilarated me as a viewer. I watched avidly as Jon Snow rose from the dead, chuckled at Tyrion avoiding being chargrilled by dragons, and shrieked with joy at the Hound’s safe return(disclaimer: this is not a show you watch casually).
So many characters and so little time, though. Episodes flitting from story to story were vibrant, but I needed a notebook to keep up. The ultimate reward for viewers like me was when the hand-wringing returned with the battle of the bastards, and Sansa overseeing Ramsay Bolton’s demise at the jaws of his own baying hounds. Yara Greyjoy and the superbly-portrayed young Lady Mormont added to a very girl power heavy season.
Ultimately, the season ended magnificently with a black queen, a white wolf king – of newly recognised lineage, and a Khaleesi and her substantial fleet heading to shore. Winter, it seems, is here.
Ed Prior, 31, Bristol
Rating: 4 out of 5 – ‘This season provided compelling TV, even without a roadmap from George RR Martin’
This season was a thrilling step into the unknown. Many popular fan theories were confirmed, as well as gasp-out-loud surprises. It was also satisfying, in a show sometimes borderline glacial in pace, to see things really get moving.
Much-hated characters got their comeuppances while long-suffering fan-favourites triumphed, giving more reason to smile than usual in a series known for frequent rug-pulling. Numerous key plot threads came together or were brutally cut off, offering the prospect of a leaner, more focused story for the show’s final two seasons.
The writing was sometimes less subtle that it’s been, the dialogue not quite as sharp. However, this was made up for with some truly spectacular action, especially in penultimate episode, and moments of heartbreaking emotional heft (I’m looking at you, Hold the Door). Overall, this season’s bold storytelling proved Game of Thrones can still provide compelling TV even without a complete roadmap from George RR Martin for guidance. All of the pieces are now in position for what promises to be a truly titanic conclusion to the series.
Jack Myers, 21, London
Rating: 4 out of 5 – ‘The season six finale has set us up for a 2017 of relentless intrigue and gore’
Season six has redeemed itself from last season’s doldrums. It’s been a long time coming, but with Olenna, Sansa, Yara and Danaerys having drubbed their wan competition, next season promises some compelling character trajectories (especially if Little Miss Mormont, the baby battleaxe of Bear Island, is anything to go by). Thank the many-faced god Daenerys’s faraway farragos have come to an end, and fingers crossed that this spells an end to the dragon ex machina also. This season’s halfway house, The Door, boasted a Danny Boyle flair for the rabid undead, although Hodor deserved much more than that twee backstory. The battling bastards on the other hand proved even more mesmerising than last season’s Hardhome.
With the whole of Westeros now hellbent on deposing Cersei at its decrepit core, the season six finale has set us up for a 2017 of relentless intrigue and gore.
Adam Dawson, 23, Newcastle
Rating: 3 out of 5 – ‘A season of incredible highs and disappointing lows’
It’s been, as usual, a season of incredibly satisfying highs and terribly disappointing lows. Most of the good stuff came from the women of Westeros. Most rewarding, of course, was Sansa finally getting revenge on one of the several men who’ve abused and tried to tear her down. Her smirk at Ramsay Bolton as he’s eaten by dogs is such a release for a character who has suffered beyond suffering.
Sansa’s ferociously loyal guard, Brienne of Tarth, isn’t as lucky. Once again, she’s let down by a dull storyline which has her traipsing the countryside looking for someone to chat with rather than whipping out her sword and slaying on the battlefield. If the show really wanted to tear down those gender roles, it’d show Brienne being the knight we know she is.
At least there’s hope for Daenerys. Finally, she’s getting herself across the ocean. Maybe now she’ll stop making grand speeches about how she’s going to do something and actually do it. Maybe it’ll take another seven seasons for her to actually set foot in Westeros. We’ll be here, waiting, watching.
Sarah Barrett, 28, Leicester
Rating: 4 out of 5 – ‘It’s not always well-written or feminist, but goddammit it’s addictive’
After the run of violence against women that was Season five – a series where the rape of Sansa Stark was followed by the burning alive of an innocent girl – my hopes weren’t high for season six. But against my better judgment I ended up watching anyway, and ended up pleasantly surprised. The sex and violence is slightly less gratuitous this time around, Westeros’s villains are beginning to get their comeuppance, and the women wronged last season are beginning to avenge themselves. Sansa smirking as she walked away from a screaming Ramsay Bolton made for an immensely satisfying scene.
Now, my beloved Tyrells are burned away in Cersei’s wildfire (boo) and their murderer is on the Iron Throne (hiss.) God knows what Season seven will bring, but by this point I’m there until the bitter end. (And this is Game of Thrones, so the ending will be bitter.) It’s not always a brilliantly written show and, despite some ground gained this year, it’s not a particularly feminist show either. But goddammit, it’s addictive.
Lewis English, 29, Stevenage
Rating: 4 out of 5 – ‘The story-lines have sped up, although it has lost some heart’
By unshackling itself from George RR Martin’s books, the sixth season of Game of Thrones sped up many of its storylines while, at the same time, losing some of its heart. A perfect example of this is the storyline of Sansa Stark and Brienne of Tarth’s trip from Winterfell to Castle Black. In season three of the show this would have been a whole season’s arc (I exaggerate, but not by much.)
However, despite this loss of heart, Hodor excluded, I currently
believe this might be the best season of the show. Gone is the wanton misogyny, replaced by breakneck storytelling, a mass cull of unneeded characters and a convergence of alliances that make me genuinely interest for season seven.