Game of Thrones Season 6 Review: Payoff, payoff, payoff

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Normally I’d describe sitting down and binging a season of Game of Thrones – any season – as more an experience than a pleasure. Sure, I’d say, there were high points, but there were also low points. And those low points were so, so low, I almost drowned in them, I’d specify.

Because that’s Game of Thrones: a show that builds, and builds and builds towards an elusive something. And, in a way, we’ve gotten so used to waiting for that something that it’s hard to believe that we’re finally at that point.

Something is here. And that something is called payoff.

Maybe that’s why I’m sitting here with a smile on my face after I got to experience the magic that is Season 6 once again, all in HD glory. Can you wait till the DVD and Blue-Rays come out? Probably. Should you wait till then? No way. Game of Thrones is there for the taking. All you have to do is reach for it.

At its worst, Game of Thrones is still the best show on TV. And this …this is not its worst. No, it might possibly be its best. Its high stakes battles and resurrections. It’s reunions that, for a moment there, you were sure you were never going to get to see, and reunions you hoped would never come to pass. It’s characters kicking ass and others …well, getting their ass kicked.

It’s fierce, strong women of all types, like Brienne of Tarth, the Warrior Maiden, who’s strong physically, who looks strong, who saves Sansa, and yet, who can also find a million nuances in the way her voice shifts as she finally, finally, gets to see Jaime Lannister again – the man who saved her in turn, and maybe, the man she loves in a way she can’t really understand.

It’s Sansa Stark, the quintessential victim, being anything but. It’s being reunited with the brother she never really thought she loved this much, and sitting down with him as equals, apologizing for her past sins. It’s making the hard choices when others are not willing to. It’s winning the war with smarts, not with swords. It’s staring at her abuser in the face as she takes her revenge.

It’s Cersei Lannister, whose aim was not to sit on the Iron Throne, but who, when her scheming took a wrong turn, didn’t back down, didn’t lose it – instead, took this chance to seize the power she’d always wanted and had been denied, just because she was a woman.

It’s Arya Stark, who confused strong with ruthless and gave up her identity for her revenge, only to realize that you don’t have to be one aspect of your personality, you can be all, and still be successful.

It was Daenerys Targaryen, finally the full-on-conqueror and Queen we yearned to see from the first moment she appeared on our screens, finally ready to go back home and claim the Throne she feels belongs to her.

This the year of the female characters, Game of Thrones promised us. And they sure delivered. But they delivered in more than that. It wasn’t just characters – it was plot. It was atmosphere. It was many long-awaited moments finally occurring in front of us. It was what book fans and show fans have been waiting for, some for a little over twenty years.

Like the death of Walder Frey, not by disease or at the hands of a stranger, but by means of Arya coming back to Westeros and finally getting her revenge.

Like Sansa Stark, staring at Ramsay Bolton in the face as the same hounds he trained and starved so he could use them as weapons against others turned on him.

Like Jon Snow, alive and well, and not really Jon Snow, but Jon Targaryen, as the story behind the Tower of Joy finally revealed itself to us. Most of us already knew – or suspected it, but there’s nothing quite like seeing it develop on-screen.

Nothing quite like that of-replayed walk to each other than Jon and Sansa took, the Stark reunion that’s been five years in the making. Nothing like the hope that is now firmly rooted within us that, no, Game of Thrones isn’t really a tragedy. That we might lose some characters along the way, but that, in the end, some of our favorites will win. There is a method to the madness. And no, everything that’s coming isn’t necessarily good news (we’re looking at you, Bran Stark), but on a show that’s given us bad news after bad news after bad news, we can hope that the final two seasons deliver a satisfying ending.

Even if Littlefinger is still plotting. Even if Cersei now sits in the Iron Throne. Even if Daenerys is coming to Westeros without any idea of who she should ally herself with. Even if Jon is now King in the North and that didn’t bode well for the last King. Even if Sansa resents her brother a little bit. Even if the White Walkers are coming.

Season Six of Game of Thrones was the season of hope. And, if the first five seasons got replayed again and again, there’s no reason why six shouldn’t get even more views.

I’ve already re-watched a few scenes in particular somewhere around thirty times (*cough Jon and Sansa *cough* Brienne and Jaime*). It’s your turn now.

What did you think of this season of Game of Thrones? Love it? Hate it? Are you as desperate as we are for news – any news about Season 7? Share with us in the comments below! And remember, you can already get Game of Thrones Season 6 on HBO Digital.

So, what are you waiting for? Go watch first, discuss later.

Game of Thrones Season 6 is available on HBO Digital now. It’s set to be released on Blu-ray™ with Digital HD and DVD November 15, 2016.

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