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‘Game of Thrones’ review: Jon Snow still dead, but Season 6 very much alive

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in a scene

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in a scene from the past season of "Game of Thrones." Photo Credit: HBO

Jon Snow is still dead. “Game of Thrones” is still good — also violent, propulsive, inconclusive and cold. (Winter is still coming). Plus ça change — some things never change.

The hotly anticipated sixth season of the show that ate the Internet also managed to keep appetites unsated Sunday, with the poor Internet still in trouble. And by that, I mean that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is still dead.

For how long? Tune in next week, or thereafter. That is HBO’s plan, after all.

“Killed” by members of the Night’s Watch at the end of last season, the fate of Snow has consumed fans of both books (George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”) and TV series for one good reason: Neither camp knows the answer of the Snow “Dead or Alive?” question. Neither still does.

But here’s the deal: “GoT,” now sailing away from Martin’s magisterial and incomplete book series, must now make its own way without his Westerosian road map, and did Sunday, picking up a handful of stories that threaded through last season, and not just that Snow one. These included the High Sparrow’s (Jonathan Pryce) relentless and righteous pursuit of virtue; Cersei’s (Lena Headey) latest brutal recognition that her power is now finite; the escape of Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Theon (Alfie Allen) from Winterfell; and the brutal dethroning of Prince Doran (Alexander Siddig), who, like Snow, never saw his fate coming.

Naturally, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) — as the most recent TV promo foretold — had to suffer her own personal slings, at the hands of the Dothraki.

Ser Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale), slayer of Snow? You will know exactly what will befall him . . . next week or thereafter.

None of this was in the books, for the simple reason that the next books have yet to published, or even written, and now it’s up to fans to determine which they prefer.

But with Sunday’s “The Red Woman” as evidence, the TV series suddenly feels — if this is the right word — easier. With the sixth-season opener as guide — admittedly a ridiculously incomplete one — “GoT” also feels less elusive, more obvious, less complicated, more manipulative. You can see developments before they come — “seeing” the most important function of this series.

Good developments? Remains to be (sorry) seen, but “GoT” has earned our trust, and deserves it. Unfortunately for the series, the books — for many fans — earned their reverence.


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