‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6, Episode 1 Recap: ‘The Red Woman’

‘Game of Thrones’ is back! Hyped? Shocked? Confused? Let’s recap to try and fix that!

Last season of Game of Thrones left fans ravenous for more. Despite the less than stellar season 5 (I spent all day rewatching it, so I have the authority to say this!) we were ready for Season 6, and all the guts and glory that come with a Game of Thrones premiere. And we weren’t disappointed.

I mean, okay, in all fairness we were probably hoping for a little more on the Jon Snow front. But to be fair, we were warned multiple times that he’d be dead. They’re not just going to give us the big Jon reveal in the first episode. And that’s fine. If that’s the only reason you’re watching then you’re missing all the other amazing plots and characters! It’s not like they turned the ambiguity of Jon’s death into some kind of hostage situation like The Walking Dead that other widely popular show did with their recent season finale.

The start of Season 6 definitely set a tone for the rest of the season. Benioff and Weiss recently said that the major theme is “homecoming” and for fans it certainly felt that way when we return to The Wall right where we left off. We will loop back around to that. Instead, we’ll start in the North.

This is the part where you I tell you that “Spoilers are coming”. So if that’s something you want to avoid you should probably stop reading now. But please enjoy this clip of what fans probably looked like to non-fans during tonight’s episode!

And so our watch begins!


Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones Photo: HBO

Ramsay is sitting by a dead Myranda (who looks quite well for someone who face-planted after falling 30 some odd feet). And he has just the nicest things to say, like how she smelled of dogs. He should totally quit flaying people and just become the psychopathic poet he was clearly born to be. Apparently not all women were expendable to Ramsay, and he vows to avenge Myranda’s death.

Roose Bolton does not have time for this. Instead, he antagonizes his bastard son about winning against Stannis. It wasn’t a hard fought win, and because he played games with Sansa (which is so not what I would call what Ramsay did!) and she ran away, there will be no heir. Basically Ramsay’s in a really bad position. To which I say, “HA HA! The Northern Conspiracy sends their regards.”

The North

Outside Winterfell’s walls, Theon and Sansa are running away. I am not here to comment on the whole Theon getting the opportunity to be a hero at Sansa’s expense but well, I already went to the trouble of starting that sentence so here we are. Theon continues to play the part of savior, helping Sansa across the icy river and then holding her when they successfully get across. It seems as if they might freeze to death when the hounds catch their sent.

Theon goes full redemption arc (while I throw all my efforts into a side-eye) and tries to sacrifice himself for Sansa. He tells her to run for Castle Black where Jon Snow is Lord Commander and – while we were all busy thinking about how that’s maybe not entirely a good idea –  she can’t get away from their little hiding space and the dogs reach them.

Things look really bad. Like really, really bad.

Brienne shows up with all the gallantry of a knight. She and Pod take down all the Bolton men, except for the one Theon kills to save Pod. And then Brienne swears fealty to Sansa, and there were tears all over the place. Petition for Sansa to get more hugs this season because she deserves nice things! And Brienne too, but like I’d like to appoint Jaime specifically for that duty.

King’s Landing

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones Photo: HBO Gif: jaimeilannister via Tumblr

Cersei is much more subdued now. She’s also much less drunk. And it only gets worse. Jaime – my misunderstood problematic fave – returns with Myrcella’s body. Cersei has a very moving speech about how unlike her Myrcella was. She talks about the prophecy and insists that this was unpreventable. Jaime doesn’t think she really believes that, but she’s so broken that he vows that they’ll take everything from the people who have wronged them and their children. Cersei gets a hug, and frankly it was just a relief  it wasn’t another scene of non-consensual sex by another dead child’s alter.

Margaery is in equally bad shape and she’s still locked up. The High Sparrow comes to speak with her about confession and holiness and atonement. It’s mostly inconsequential for now so we’ll just mark this moment and go back to it when it’s more relevant.


I would have much preferred we just forget about Dorne. The Sand Snakes in the show are not nearly as interesting as the Sand Snakes of the books because they’re not fleshed out enough on screen.

Ellaria continues her plot to take over Sunspear, killing Prince Doran and his son Trystane. None of this really makes any sense because Ellaria and her children have no blood right to the Dornish throne but when has anything in Dorne ever made any sense?


Tyrion and Varys make their way through the streets of Meereen where things are at a complete stand still since Dany was carried off by Drogon. He offers a coin to a woman with her baby, but his High Valyrian isn’t very good and there’s a small moment of levity where Varys explains that the woman thinks he wants to eat her baby. They continue talking about what Dany left behind, why the people are rising up against her. They pass a Red Priest speaking to a crowd. Tyrion is in a position of power right now but it seems like there’s not much to do at the moment. He talks about how they expect going up against adversaries like the Sons of the Harpy. As if summoned they happen a huge fire that has destroyed the fleet of ships Dany was going to use to get to Westeros. Which is not the homecoming we were expecting for Dany anyway.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones Photo: HBO Gif: aniskyvalker via Tumblr

Jorah and Daario are playing a new version of Sherlock and Watson. They miraculously find the ring Dany left as breadcrumb when she was surrounded by the Khalasar. And the game is afoot! They also talk about Dany, naturally, and her cause. Jorah and Daario agree that they want to live to see what she makes of the world. Unfortunately for the former, his grayscale is getting worse.

And finally Dany is mistreated by two members of the Khalasar. They make lewd jokes about her, and when she meets the Khal he essentially condemns her to slavery. Dany fights back finally saving her life by telling him who she is. She proudly declares that she was married to Khal Drogo. The name saves her life, but it also costs her everything. She won’t be a slave, but she won’t be brought home either. They’re going to take her to live out her days with the Dosh Khaleen as widowed Khaleesis are supposed to do. For once, Dany actually looks like she’s at a loss for hope.


Arya is blind, and getting some Daredevil level training. The Waif from The House of Black and White that was working with Arya and Jaqen hands her a stick and they fight. Arya is beaten, and The Waif leaves, promising to return tomorrow. The sensory overload seems to have affected Arya’s ability to fight. She seems to have forgotten everything Syrio Forel taught her about “water dancing.” Then again, she’s trying to be a Faceless Man, so there’s a different lesson she’s supposed to be learning. I really enjoy Arya’s story line so I’ll take what little insight (no pun intended) we get for now.

Castle Black

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in game of Thrones Photo: HBO Gif: sciencevsromance via Tumblr

Finally, we’re back where the episode started. Jon is dead and bleeding in the snow. Davos finds him the same time as Jon’s Night Watch buddies. Where were they like five minutes ago?! They get Jon inside, and Melisandre shows up to find that another vision has gone wrong. She saw him fighting in the battle for Winterfell. Her confidence is really shaken. They know to keep Alliser Thorne and his men away but realize they can fight him off with all the Wildling lives that Jon helped save. They barricade the door and Thorne demands to come in. Davos then suggests they get Melisandre because she can stop them, he even vouches her abilities. But Mel is busy taking off her clothes and her necklace as well as removing her young visage. Book readers knew her glamoring abilities were substantial but I have to admit I didn’t see this particular twist coming. There’s a lot about Mel and the necklace (and that scene in the bath where the necklace is off) that’s up for debate, but I’m not sure it changes anything.

Melisandre might think she’s losing her edge, and that look at the end was definitely one of resignation. It was a look we saw on a lot of faces throughout the episode. But she saw Jon fighting at Winterfell, and I don’t think that vision was false. I think she’s maybe misreading the flames a little bit. Overall, I’m not worried. And I’m even more curious about Melisandre than ever!

Carice van Houten as Melisandre in Game of Thrones Photo: HBO Gif: lordbryndenrivers via Tumblr

Three-Eyed Raven Observations

  • Jon Watch: I won’t write him off yet and it would seem neither will Ghost or Davos.
  • Lady Stoneheart Watch: I refuse to let this go. Refuse. You can’t make me. She is coming. I am going to hold onto this one until there is absolutely no hope. And we know that Jaime and Brienne are heading to the Riverlands this season. The possibility is too strong.
  • Death Scorecard: For those keeping track at home, two major Martell players were dispatched.

I think that covers it! Next week there was some Bran in the promos so hopefully that means Hodor and all sorts of fun, it’s been like a year!

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO. Be sure to tune in!

And be sure to check out all the great GoT content we’ll be rolling out weekly! What did you think of the premiere of season 6? Did it live up to your expectations? Are you still shocked? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments!