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‘Game of Thrones’ premiere: A fast start, a big surprise

Macall B. Polay/HBO/courtesy of HBO

Well that was a busy hour Sunday night, leaping from place to place to catch us up with the “Game of Thrones” gang and set the stage for the sixth season. Did we spend three minutes in Dorne, where Ellaria stages a coup on weak Prince Doran, his son, and his men? Or four? But fun was afoot, if not any resurrection.

Jon Snow un-shocker

So far, Jon Snow is still dead. There’s plenty of time for him to be brought back in some way in the course of season six, but for the entire premiere, he is just a cold, lifeless body surrounded by loyal friends including Davos.


“Weekend at Bernie’s” anyone?

Poor Ghost, Jon’s direwolf, howls in grief at the loss of his pal. Alliser Thorne tells Davos and friends that they’ll get amnesty if they surrender, but Davos is hoping that Melisandre will be able to help.

Red shocker

Psych! Looks like Melisandre isn’t really a voluptuous hottie at all. In the last moments of the premiere, we saw the Red Woman remove her jeweled necklace and with it her magical disguise. Turns out she’s old, really old, as in ancient old, and she is wrinkled, too. Osteoporosis? I’d bet money on it. So on the outside, she’s all magic and beauty and force; on the inside, she’s a lot weaker. Earlier in the episode, she had to admit she was way off in her prescient visions about Jon Snow. “I saw him in the flames, fighting at Winterfell,” she says while looking at his body. Given her bad advice to Stannis last season, Mel is not feeling very confident right now. Sorcerers have feelings, too.

Ramsay whiplash

Ramsay Bolton is grief stricken over the death of Myranda, killed by Theon last season. “She was fearless,” he says, “There was nothing she wouldn’t do.” For a second, vowing revenge, he seems to have a heart. But when he’s asked whether to burn or bury her, he says to feed her to the dogs. No use wasting good meat.


His father, Roose, reminds him that with Sansa on the run, they’ve lost their biggest bargaining chip. Ramsay is confident his men and their hounds will find her. And they do, but . . .

Day saved

Brienne of Tarth to the rescue! Even though the newly heroic Theon does his best to help save Sansa from Ramsay’s goons, they find her. And at that moment, Brienne and Podrick show up and kill off the bad guys. Sweetly, in the episode’s most hopeful moment, Brienne and Sansa vow loyalty to each other forever more.

By the way, do I need to adjust my eye knobs, or does the snow on “Game of Thrones” look blue?


Cersei remains scarred and badly coiffed after her walk of shame, and the death of her daughter with Jaime doesn’t help her mood. Jaime tries to boost her spirits, saying that everyone but them can go to hell (he used better, HBO-style wording). Nope, she’s still sad.

Cersei’s going to plan something against the High Sparrow, I’m sure of it. The High Sparrow, meanwhile, is busy tormenting the jailed Margaery, Cersei’s nemesis, urging her to confess her misdeeds. “Only confession can purge sin,” he tells her.

Dosh Khaleen

Daenerys, abandoned by her dragon and a prisoner of the Dothraki, is windblown and sandbeaten. Just as Khal Moro is about to tear off her clothes, after she has already been whipped and bullied, she tells him she is the former wife of Khal Drogo.


His response: Assisted Living. Or something like it called the widow temple.

Meanwhile, back in Meereen, Tyrion and Varys worry about her.

Blind faith

Arya is still blind, with those creepy hard-boiled-egg-like eyes, and she is begging on the streets of Braavos. The Waif visits her and starts beating her with a stick. Looks like Arya is going to have to learn to fight without sight. “See you tomorrow,” the Waif says, departing.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.