Rust Cohle, Matthew McConaughey's True Detective character, memorably declared that time was "a flat circle." The latest season of Game of Thrones is out to prove the theory.
The death of Lord Commander Jon Snow was followed by the reanimation of Lord Commander Jon Snow. After persecution by Cersei, a forced Road to-style movie overseas with Varys, and a chance encounter with the Mother of Dragons in Meereen, perennial Thrones MVP Tyrion Lannister is back doing what he loves: negotiating with snark. Arya also had a minor upswing this season when she regained her sight. And in "Book of the Stranger," Daenerys Targaryen hit rock bottom only to rise like a phoenix, with literal flames behind her as if she were a Heavy Metal magazine cover star.
The recurring resilience isn't a coincidence. "Rebirth is clearly a theme this season," says Thrones co-creator David Benioff in the "Book of Stranger" post-mortem. Fellow showrunner D.B. Weiss notes that Daenerys' scorching triumph was a conscious echo of the events of the first-season finale, when the queen emerged unscathed from Khal Drogo's funeral pyre, and says, "The act of stepping out of that burning temple pretty much makes her the queen of the Dothraki in one fell swoop." Adds Benioff: "It's like a god being reborn."