The Latest 'Game of Thrones' Season 6 Photos, Explained
This article contains massive spoilers for every episode that has aired so far in the sixth season of Game of Thrones, plus any officially released photos and teaser trailers for upcoming episodes. We'll update this post each week with new photos whenever HBO makes them available.
Episode 10: "The Winds of Winter"
HBO has just released this new video promo for the season six finale of Game of Thrones, "The Winds of Winter," which airs Sunday, June 26, at 9 p.m. EST.
After the carnage in Battle of the Bastards, it's time to take stock. Bran Stark has stretched the limits of his greenseeing powers for both good and bad reasons this season. Odds are he'll get another vision in the last episode, perhaps even a cliffhanger on the Internet's favorite all-but-confirmed theory.
The much-hyped trial of Loras Tyrell will happen in King's Landing -- alongside Cersei Lannister's machinations with Qyburn -- whatever those might be.
In the Riverlands we'll see Jaime Lannister and Bronn on the move again. This time to meet with Walder Frey after their triumph over the Blackfish at Riverrun.
And I fully expect Jaime to murder Lord Walder Frey. As we know, some character deaths have yet to be avenged, and why place Jaime in Walder Frey's hall if not to do just that?
Davos Seaworth, who's still mourning little Shireen, will finally air his grievance against Melisandre for burning the young girl alive. No matter what happens, this scene will not be fun.
And Dany will continue to rule as Meereen recovers from its recent siege in the last episode. She may even (finally) set sail for Westeros by the end of the episode, but we'll have to wait and see.
In this corner, we had Jon Snow -- recently resurrected and ready to fight -- leading the Stark forces and joined by 2,000 Wildlings, Mormonts, and handful of smaller houses. As the previous few episodes have made clear, it wouldn't be enough.
In this corner we had Ramsay Bolton -- bastard-born, kinslaying, torturing, child-slaughtering sadistic rapist. On a show filled with both grey and pitch-black villains alike, Ramsay's the most consistently cruel and mean-spirited, and Iwan Rheon's done a fine job playing him. And this episode did not disappoint.
The odds -- as usual -- are stacked against the Starks. To recap, they fought with:
- 2,000 Wildlings
- 200 Hornwoods
- 143 Mazins
- 62 Mormonts
- One giant
Versus 6,000 trained Bolton soldiers, including archers, cavalry, and all the military power housed within Winterfell. It will be difficult.
Nor is Tormund Giantsbane, for that matter.
RIP Wun Wun.
Davos Seaworth learned how Shireen died, but it didn't get in the way of his command in the battle.
Ramsay Bolton engaged in an act of cruelty before Jon Snow's eyes on the battlefield, setting young Rickon to run to his bastard brother...
Before Ramsay shot Rickon in the back with an arrow.
From there the battle begun with Jon Snow going into the fray like a madman -- and the worst battlefield commander ever -- but it did make for stunning imagery by director Miguel Sapochnik.
All looked hopeless for Jon Snow and his Wildling forces when the Boltons began to use a pincer move on them -- locking shields together and surrounding the Wildlings with spears in order to box them in and slaughter them all.
Sansa Stark had that trick up her sleeve though...
After Sansa sent him the letter, Littlefinger rode to the aid of the Starks with House Arryn and the Knights of the Vale at his back, in a classic Gandalf-comes-at-the-right-moment move ripped from The Two Towers. It works out great for the Stark forces in the battle, but Littlefinger is never not planning his next move.
Whatever it is it will have to wait. First things first. Sansa Stark feeds Ramsay Bolton to his own dogs almost immediately. It's tremendously satisfying to see this villain get his comeuppance.
Of course we also spent some time at the Siege of Meereen this week.
Dany's dragons torched a ship.
Daario Naharis rode to glory with the Dothraki to kill the Sons of the Harpy.
And Daenerys made an important pact with Theon and Yara Greyjoy for their ships and allegiance. Expect her to land in Westeros next season.
Here's the teaser trailer for "Battle of the Bastards."
Episode 8: "No One"
HBO has released the following images for this Sunday's Game of Thrones episode.
The Brotherhood Without Banners returned in earnest this episode, sans Lady Stoneheart, too the dismay of book readers. Nonetheless, seeing Richard Dormer and Paul Kaye return as the lightning lord Beric Dondarrion and the red priest Thoros of Myr was refreshing to say the least.
Jury's out on how many lives Beric has burned through at this point. The last time we saw him, the Hound clove his body nearly in two. Now the Hound's joined up with them, for the time being.
But not before killing a few of their crappier members. Remember this guy? The Hound won't.
Arya was in a bit of a bind the last time we saw her. Getting stabbed in the guts will do that.
Luckily Lady Crane nurses her back to relative health, but when the Waif tracks her down, the healing's over and it's time to run.
It's probably Arya's best set piece yet, with tumbling fruit, fast-paced action across the city, and in the Waif, the worst Game of Thrones character ever, and a foe reminiscent of Robert Patrick in Terminator 2.
Arya is not "No One." Arya is the new Jason Bourne.
In the end Arya prevails off-screen, killing the Waif, winning her freedom from Jaqen H'ghar, and walking away from the Faceless Men forever. Or so we hope.
Tyrion and Varys, walking the streets of Meereen, which, this season, is really the sum of what they've accomplished. The city is back on track, but so many of the Essos plotlines have dulled these past two seasons. It's time for Dany to go to Westeros.
She's back in Meereen, so it must be coming soon.
At Riverrun, Brienne of Tarth had to wrestle between her friendship with Jaime and her allegiance to the Starks.
Despite her best efforts she couldn't convince the Blackfish to join Sansa's forces. Instead, he died off-screen.
Which was a genuine bummer for book fans because the Blackfish is one of the coolest, take-no-bullshit characters in the series. We did however get Jaime Lannister's iconic catapult threat to Edmure, which felt more than satisfying.
Meanwhile her brother Jaime had to contend with the Blackfish at Riverrun, and was joined by old friend, Brienne of Tarth.
Brienne, pictured here in front of Lannister banners, escaped the episode unscathed, but she and Jaime will meet again, and probably as enemies.
We saw bloodshed in King's Landing, but Tommen's elimination of trial by combat puts a new wrinkle in Cersei's plans. She and Qyburn are scheming with their little birds though. Judging by previous flashbacks to wildfire in Bran's vision, the crap the Faith Militant has done over the last two seasons might come to a wildfire-foreshadowed head.
Cersei Lannister's "I choose violence" scene, for all its build-up, felt a bit anti-climactic and really just amounted to another "zombie Gregor is tough" scene. Anyone still holding out for Cleganebowl hype?
Here's the teaser for the next episode, "No One," which aired on HBO at 9 p.m. EST on Sunday:
Episode 7: The Broken Man
In the episode's single biggest reveal, Rory McCann returned to Game of Thrones as the Hound. If you remember, Arya Stark left him for dead at the end of season four. This makes us more hype than ever for the Cleganebowl between Sandor and Gregor Clegane, his zombie-resurrected older brother.
Because this is Game of Thrones, Brother Ray dies at the end of "The Broken Man," killed by the Brotherhood Without Banners, who worship not the Seven, but the Lord of Light. This massacre is what drives the Hound back to violence, and what gets us so hype for Cleganebowl.
Bella Ramsey joined Game of Thrones as Lyanna Mormont, a badass lady of House Mormont who, after some convincing, pledged all of 62 fighting men to Jon Snow and Sansa Stark. Hopefully it'll be enough.
Arya's officially had it with Braavos. There's only one problem...
You remember the Waif right? She's the House of Black and White's abusive little superior to Arya, aka No One. After Arya decided to stop being No One after her botched assassination in "Blood of My Blood," the Waif comes after her.
The Waif stabs Arya Stark several times in a sequence that has to be an intentional callback to Talisa's death in the Red Wedding. Luckily, Arya survives, but barely. She may have ended the episode with her head (literally) above water, but as long as the Faceless Men want her dead she'll never be safe.
This episode showed Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, and Davos Seaworth marshaling their Northern faction to take on the Boltons. They have 2,000 Wildling warriors, a few hundred pledged fighting men from Northern houses that, like the Mormonts, are sympathetic to their cause, and they have a giant. Toward the end of the episode, Sansa Stark wrote a mysterious letter to someone, presumably asking for help. It could be Littlefinger, but is it another in a string of missteps that telegraph that Sansa could die on Game of Thrones this season? Jury's still out.
Not every house in the North has been welcoming. The Glovers, who fought and died for Jon and Sansa's brother Robb in the War of the Five Kings, refused to give them any support in the upcoming battle for Winterfell. Without them, the Starks' last hope is the Manderlys, who have been mentioned several times on Thrones and who play a large part in the books, but who have yet to appear onscreen.
Brynden Tully, the Blackfish came back this episode, and basically told Jaime Lannister to go screw himself after the Kingslayer tried to broker a deal to his ancestral home from him. For now the Blackfish holds Riverrun and has enough supplies to withstand a two-year siege. We'll see how long it actually lasts.
Bronn is officially the show's wild card. He can do anything and say anything in practically any locale on the show because Jerome Flynn is too fun an actor and his character in the book doesn't do much. So far it's manifested by him following Jaime Lannister around on any adventure outside of King's Landing. No one's complaining.
In King's Landing, Queen Margaery bid farewell to her grandmother Olenna Tyrell, who departs for Highgarden generally pissed off at everything that's happened in King's Landing for the last two seasons. The only hope she has is that Margaery secretly pushed a drawing of the Tyrell rose into her hand. The Queen isn't as entranced by the comfort of the Seven as we thought, especially after that gross scene where the High Sparrow told her she really needed to start making (holy) royal babies.
In King's Landing, the two queens who are not actually the queeen -- Queen Mother Cersei Lannister and the Queen of Thorns Olenna Tyrell -- face off for what might be the last time. Olenna's dismissal is harsh and swift as she tells Cersei that it's her fault the fanatic Faith Militant have effectively neutered the two oldest mightiest houses in the realm. And she's right.
Episode 6: Blood of My Blood
In "Blood of My Blood" King Tommen Baratheon surprised everyone by joining Queen Margaery to re-declare the legitimacy of the Faith of the Seven. In doing so, he shook up the power dynamic in King's Landing further, and defied his mother and the rest of his Small Council...
...Including Jaime Lannister, who'd raised a contingent with Mace Tyrell originally intended to storm the Great Sept of Baelor. Afterward, Jaime leaves King's Landing and the Kingsguard altogether.
In the most emotionally manipulative set of scenes this episode, Arya's Braavos storyline finally kicks into gear when she refuses to kill this actress who plays Cersei Lannister in the Game of Thrones version of SNL. Ham-fisted gender commentary on Hollywood aside, go Arya!
So long, No One! Hello, Arya Stark.
After the insane events of "The Door," Bran and Meera are screwed.
Until the mysterious figure known as Coldhands shows up to destroy all the wights! And in the episode's single biggest reveal, Benjen Stark returns to the show as Coldhands, a long-theorized development that everyone saw coming. Perhaps more importantly, we learn from him that Bran is now effectively the Three-Eyed Raven.
Which is fitting, because Bran used his powers to look into the past again this episode, and one of the things he saw was the late Mad King Aerys Targaryen screaming, "Burn them all!" Bran's full vision is filled with flashing teasers and easter eggs.
Hey guys, Edmure Tully's still alive! The evil Freys are gonna use him as a bargaining chip against his uncle The Blackfish, who holds Riverrun. The whole scene is cartoonishly villainous and a lot of fun. "They're laughing at us!" Walder Frey squeals. We are, and it's great.
Daenerys gave that speech she always gives. The one about how she's going to take back Westeros. She's on a dragon this time. It's still a lame speech.
Meanwhile, Samwell Tarly and Gilly have their own problems. They've traveled south to seek shelter at Horn Hill, Sam's ancestral home, and they need to act like Gilly's not a Wildling because Sam's dad is well-known asshole bigot. Game of Thrones as Pocahontas.
It should be said that Sam's dad Randyll Tarly is also one of the biggest badasses who ever commanded an army in Westeros and sees through the ruse almost instantaneously. Of course he doesn't approve of any of this and isn't shy about making snide comments about Sam at the dinner table either. He kicks Sam out, but promises Gilly can stay as the kitchen-laboring Cinderella of Horn Hill.
This makes dinner uncomfortable.
...Until Sam grows a pair, makes out with Gilly, and steals Heartsbane, his family's Valyrian steel sword. It's probably Samwell Tarly's finest hour since he slew a White Walker.
Episode 5: The Door
Let's get this out of the way first: Hodor is dead. That sucked. He held the door. Dammit.
This is one of the photos HBO used to tease episode in which he not only died, but Bran Stark time-travel-warged through him to tell him to "hold the door" to buy him and Meera time to escape the wights and White Walkers, gave Young Hodor a terrifying seizure in the past, and then effectively lobotomized him for the rest of his life. This was dark.
Poor Old Nan. Poor Hodor.
What really sucks is that none of this would have happened if Bran hadn't let the Night King touch him on the arm while he was having one of his greenseeing visions. That sent them right to the Three-Eyed Raven's door.
...And got the Three-Eyed Raven killed. But not before we learned a bit of crucial information about the Children of the Forest.
Legend tells of a pact struck between the First Men and the Children thousands of years ago, to share the land and never to fight again. Eventually the Children died out, leaving behind the godswoods and other relics of their existence, and the First Men were invaded by the Andals and their religion stamped out -- except in the North. But that's not the whole story.
As the episode revealed, with their forces near extinction after years of battle with the First Men, the Children turned to dark magic to help them -- specifically creating the White Walkers from men. This confirms a lot of Game of Thrones fan theories.
In Braavos, Arya's still dealing with being part of a assassination cult. Same old, same old.
Her latest assignment: Murder the actress playing Cersei Lannister in a parody theatrical performance of Westerosi politics. Same old, same old.
In the North, Littlefinger -- who stands to make a killing selling the lords and ladies of the realm his teleportation technology -- stands before Sansa Stark and has to face the fact that he left her to be raped and brutalized by the Boltons. Sansa stands up for herself and for the first time to Littlefinger, but could that portend her doom?
Not much time to discuss it though: The rest of the Stark Rebellion needs to figure out how to crush the Boltons, and it won't be easy.
As Jon Snow rightly points out: They don't have enough men to beat the Boltons.
Sansa willfully holds back information -- that Littlefinger offered the knights of the Vale -- from Jon Snow, a move we know is stupid as soon as the words leave her mouth.
After last episode's insane, wig-testing pyrotechnics, Dany bids farewell to Jorah Mormont for the moment.
He needs to go deal with that nasty greyscale affliction. There's nothing to be done, but we're sad to see him go.
Meanwhile, we're introduced to a new Red Woman in Meereen -- Kinvara a high priestess of R'hllor the Lord of Light, played by Ania Bukstein. She cannily intimidates Varys, which probably means bad things for that entire storyline.
In the Iron Islands, a kingsmoot -- like an election but with salt water -- is going down. Yara Greyjoy nominates herself to replace her dear old dead dad as monarch of the high seas, and her brother Theon supports her. The only problem is that their uncle Euron is back in town, and he gets elected instead, and they have to sail, fast. They take with them the finest ships in the Iron Islands.
Meet Euron Greyjoy, newly crowned Salt King of the Iron Islands.
Episode 4: Book of the Stranger
Sansa Stark reuniting with her resurrected brother Jon Snow is the single kindest moment Game of Thrones has ever given its fans. So much so that it almost makes no sense. Still, it worked splendidly.
But it doesn't mean our Stark heroes in the North don't have their work cut out for them. The letter Jon Snow received from Ramsay Bolton, demanding that he return Sansa to Winterfell, was a challenge, one that will galvanize the Stark cause for the season and the wars to come.
In case you forgot how unapologetically evil Ramsay Bolton was, he murdered Osha this episode. There's the Game of Thrones we know and love.
Across the Narrow Sea, Jorah and Daario Naharis have traced the Dothraki horde to Vaes Dothrak, where Danaerys is held prisoner and subjected to a bunch of sexist jibber-jabber from barbarian horse lords. Luckily they don't actually have to work too hard to find her!
Harder still to get her out though. But Daenerys has a half-baked plan.
Step 1: Get all your enemies in a big room.
Step 2: Burn that fucker down. (Daenerys really liked Inglorious Basterds.)
If season six is all about rebirth, this phoenix thing is a bit on the nose. Pretty nifty, though!
In Meereen, the city Daenerys is queen of but can't seem to get back to these days, Tyrion's having considerably more trouble getting everyone to agree to stop killing each other. The problem won't fix itself.
The King's Landing crew reminds us they're none too pleased that Queen Margaery and Loras Tyrell, the heir of House Tyrell, are trapped by psycho religious fanatics armed with clubs and gigantic holy texts.
We finally got face time with Margaery and Loras again, both still imprisoned by the High Sparrow. Though it looks like Margaery has a way out.
Don't forget that Littlefinger's still in the game. Petyr Baelish may be biding time in the Vale, but he'll be up to more no good soon enough. First order of business: head back to the North now that Sansa Stark has escaped the Boltons.
Theon finally came home to the Iron Islands. As usual, the welcome was less than warm.
Episode 3: Oathbreaker
Danaerys has just been brought to the Dothraki city Vaes Dothrak, where she'll be expected to live out her days with the rest of the Dothraki khaleesi. She's not happy about it.
And this leaves Tyrion governing another kingdom from behind the scenes.
Rickon Stark returned to the show this episode! Too bad he's now in the hands of Ramsay Bolton though. This could be a plot on the part of the Umbers though. Lord Umber made a point of not swearing allegiance to Ramsay, which gives us hope for a righteous deception in the wings. Shaggydog being dead is not a good sign, though.
Predictably, Arya's blindness was a short-lived punishment.
And the King's Landing Small Council still isn't sure what to do about Tommen Baratheon. The Lannisters have reinvited themselves to meetings though, accompanied by Ser Robert Strong (the zombie-resurrected Gregor Clegane).
Elsewhere in King's Landing, Qyburn has commandeered the little birds once controlled by Varys, and the whispers should prove useful for Cersei.
North of the Wall, the Three-Eyed Raven, ably played by the great Max von Sydow, shows Bran a vision of the past -- the incredible battle of the Tower of Joy. The biggest reveal: Ned Stark didn't take down Ser Arthur Dayne in single combat.
His friend Howland Reed did, by stabbing Dayne in the back, while Ned picked up his sword and finished him off. Afterward, Bran was able to shout at Ned in the vision and cause the younger Lord Stark to turn around. Could this mean that Bran is able to use his greenseeing visions as a form of time travel?
At the Wall, Davos just got his mind blown. This is his face when he looked at Jon Snow's living, breathing, resurrected body. Of course, Liam Cunningham is a consummate professional and, unlike Ian McShane, refused to relive that moment for the press.
Is it just me or does this not unabashedly call back to Christ? Azor Ahai is reborn!
Episode 2: Home
No matter what Ser Aliser says, Jon Snow isn't gonna stay dead for long.
Not if Melisandre's got anything to say about it, with some help from Davos Seaworth.
"Hold onto your butts." –Dolorous Edd Tollett, proud member of the Night's Watch
Through one of Bran Stark's visions, we get a glimpse of Winterfell from days past, including one of Hodor before he became Hodor -- when he was just "Wylis." It was a different time, and this is the Three-Eyed Raven's dips into the past with Bran have become frequent and -- narratively -- quite useful.
Meera's skeptical. She knows they have a war to win.
In the Iron Islands, another king, Balon Greyjoy, is laid to rest after having been murdered by a shadowy figure revealed to be his brother Euron Greyjoy. This sends the kingdom into disarray, and now a new monarch must be chosen to rule the Iron Islands.
We nominate Yara. (So does she.)
At Winterfell, Ramsay made moves. First he killed Dad the same way Papa Roose Bolton killed Robb Stark.
Then he sicced his dogs on his half-brother and adoptive Frey mother. In case you haven't heard Ramsay is evil, guys.
In King's Landing, Cersei and her son Tommen finally faced each other after her humiliation last season. She reminded him of who he is, but will it matter? Tommen is the most malleable monarch we've seen yet, but Cersei doesn't control him completely, and that will make a difference.
And speaking of control, the rulers in Meereen don't have much of it. Varys, Missandei, Tyrion, and Grey Worm are all starting to realize that
And oh yeah, Jon Snow came back to life at the end of this episode. No, we didn't forget.
Episode 1: The Red Woman
As a reintroduction to the show's characters and their status quo, this episode was light on the reveals apart from a few key deaths -- except for this crazy scene where Melisandre is confirmed to be ancient. The charm she wears is just a glamour. She'll be resurrecting Jon Snow now soon enough, thank you.
Good thing Brienne swooped in to save them because it's not like they would have died of hypothermia long beforehand or anything.
Dany is once again at the mercy of the Dothraki horse lords, but she's far from powerless. Plus, Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis are on her trail.
The rest of the characters in this episode mourn. Arya laments her loss of sight.
Cersei laments the loss of her daughter, Myrcella, who was killed by Dornish poison.
Ramsay Bolton mourns the loss of Myranda, possibly the only person who understood his evil brand of madness.
And Davos and Dolorous Edd Tollett mourn Jon Snow.
Alexander Siddig and the rest of the Dorne gang did great work with what they had. Too bad they got sidelined by poor plotting. We'll see the Dornish again when Daenerys finally reaches Westeros, but probably not before.
This was the moment where Oberyn Martell's main squeeze Ellaria Sand and her Sand Snakes killed Doran Martell along with Areo Hotah and the only surviving heir to House Martell (on the show), thereby nuking that entire crucial-to-the-books plotline.
RIP Dorne plotline. There's no fixing you.
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