Game of Thrones: Season 6 Episode 3 Review – Oathbreaker
Last night, Game of Thrones provided a much calmer affair than its preceding two episodes this season.
Thankfully, the show retained the theme of having Bran see into Westeros’ past. We welcome this as a regularly occurrence on the show, as it affords us viewers the ability to witness crucial characters and scenes from Westeros’ history; characters and events that are often spoken of in the books, but which we never thought we would get to see in real-time scenes.
Wonderfully, the show provided Ser Athur Dayne – the famous swordsman known as The Sword of the Morning (portrayed here by Luke Roberts, who looks an awful lot like a fantasy-clad James Purefoy). Not only did the writers provide Dayne, but we also got to witness the raid on the Tower of Joy, which was when Ned Stark and his companions approached the tower intending to recover Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark (who we saw as a young girl in the previous episode).
The show remained true to the books, in having Howland Reed be the only reason that Ned was able to beat Ser Arthur Dayne. Yet in the show, Ned chose to lie about Reed’s involvement, likely due to the lack of honour in stabbing a man in the back of the neck. Through these visions of the past, Bran is not only learning more about the great historical figures of Westeros, but also more about who his Father was as a man.
There is perhaps a missed opportunity in not having this scene follow through to the interior of the Tower of Joy. This is because Ned finds his sister Lyanna dying inside and this is where she perhaps made Ned promise to lie and claim that Jon Snow was his bastard child, when in face Jon is her and Rhaegar’s child. This a fan theory that they could have executed here, to astounding effect, but one reason that the writers perhaps choose not to do this is that it may be too early for such an enormous endgame revelation.
Jon returned among his men, who spoke of him as “some kind of God” (as well as Melisandre calling Jon “the prince who was promised”), yet Jon seems to effectively be the same person that he was before he died. We rue this choice a little, because in the books returning from death is supposed to leave you different to how you were before you died, with this being compounded the more times that you are brought back. At the end of the episode Jon does decide to leave the Night’s Watch, which certainly seems out of character, but Jon does not provide his reasons for this.
When it comes to the other returned dead man who is often on our screens, Ser Gregor Clegane, we loved having Jaime ask the question that has been on all of our minds for a while: “What did you do to him exactly? I haven’t been able to get a clear answer.” And still, we don’t get a clear answer from Qyburn, but we’re glad someone voiced our concerns and we do enjoy watching The Mountain clamber about, intimidating all.
A major returning character for the show was Rickon Stark, who we haven’t seen since he ran off with the Wildling woman Osha. It’s always been assumed by fans that Rickon would return years later as a lethal leader of the Wildings. His return in this episode certainly makes him seem a little hardened and a little older, but we have yet to hear any dialogue from him, so just how much his time with the Wildlings has changed him, we cannot yet be sure of.
A certain shock for viewers will be seeing Shaggydog’s severed head cast upon Ramsey’s table. The death of a direwolf is always important to this story. In the books, the other direwolves always feel the loss of one of their siblings and mourn them audibly. We understand that time is limited on this show, but we cannot recall any instance of Ghost or any other of the Stark direwolves showing sorrow for the loss of their brother Shaggydog.
The episode closed with a gratifying conclusion – getting to witness Alliser Thorne and his conspirators be hanged for their murder of Jon Snow, by Jon Snow himself. Alliser has benefitted the show as an antagonist for many years now and we’ve always felt that Owen Teale has done a great job with the character.
Yet it’s still satisfying to see Thorne killed and it was great to see him take death in his stride, whilst also being humbled by his lost plight. As often happens with Game of Thrones, this execution is tinged with a sense of sad duty, as we also watch a young boy executed alongside Alliser and his men. The show also repeats something it does often with Jon – which is having him pause before the act, to make it look like he might choose not to kill, then have him go through with it nonetheless.
This was a far less dramatic third episode. This season is certainly shaping up better than many book fans would have assumed. Whether what we are seeing is The Winds of Winter content or not is yet to be understood, but either way the show is ticking the narrative along nicely and, for once, is trying to please both book fans and show fans.
Image credits: HBO