HBO's Game of Thrones Complete S6 Recap For S5 Quitters

After the fifth season of HBO's Game of Thrones, many long-time fans quit watching due to unsettling and ongoing depictions of sexual violence. While unpleasant themes have always been a staple of the fantasy series, some fans decided they had seen enough to know that they had seen too much. I fully respect their choice.

Still, fans are fans, and being driven to stop watching is tricky: now that the HBO series has outpaced the books, George R.R. Martin revealed the ending of the book series and other key details to the show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. If you’re still planning on reading the books, you might be stuck dodging spoilers for an unknown amount of time.

I opted to watch Season 6 and to my surprise, I was not let down. There were lots of big reveals, long-speculated theories confirmed, and even a bit of fun fan service. While that does not undo the negatives of past seasons, I've compiled Season 6 character recaps for the ladies of the show, because why not, plus some extra for those who want to be in the know, without the show.


Arya: is subjected to a series of tricks and combat tests, while blind. Her sight is returned to her once she passes muster and is tasked with a new assassination: an actress who is playing Cersei in an inaccurate but moving stage reenactment of the events of Season 4. After finding the actress to be kind, Arya changes her mind about this whole death cult thing, and ditches them. She is hunted by the Waif until Arya tricks her into fighting in the dark. With Jaqen’s unspoken blessing, Arya returns to Westeros (!!) and assassinates Walder Frey! (!!!)

Melisandre: is having a crisis of faith after the death of both Stannis and Jon Snow. In a private moment, she removes her enchanted necklace and we see her true form of an old woman. Later, Davos convinces Melisandre to ask the Red God to revive Jon Snow… and it works! Jon Snow lives. Later, Davos discovers the remains of the wooden carving he made for Princess Shireen and realizes Melisandre is responsible for burning her at the stake. Davos confronts her and despite her pleas, Jon Snow banishes Melisandre from the North. Bye girl.

Fat Walda: gives birth to a son while her ruthless, calculating husband Roose Bolton gets stupid and doesn’t anticipate Ramsay’s incoming murder plan. With Roose dead, Fat Walda and the baby get eaten up when Ramsay sics his dogs on them. RIP Fat Walda. :\

Osha: and Rickon Stark are captured and brought to Ramsay Bolton, who murders Osha soon after, and uses Rickon Stark to taunt Sansa and Jon Snow from afar.

Brienne: rescues Sansa and Theon from Ramsay’s men when Sansa escapes Winterfell. Sansa finally agrees to employ Brienne’s services as a protector, and Brienne leads Sansa to Castle Black. It’s love at first sight when Tormund lays eyes on Brienne, but Brienne is horribly embarrassed by it. Hold that thought, shippers, there’s no Brienne x Tormund this season. Brienne is tasked by Sansa to rally houses to the Stark cause (to retake Winterfell) under her and Jon Snow. She encounters Jaime, perhaps for the last time as friends, and he insists she keep the Lannister valyrian steel sword he gave her.

Sansa: escapes Winterfell with Theon and is rescued by Brienne. She works to rally houses to her cause but initially rejects Littlefinger’s offer of help from the Vale. After giving her to “monsters who murdered my family” TWICE, it’s not hard to see why. When push comes to shove, she calls in Littlefinger and the Vale, saving Jon, Tormund, and the rest of Jon’s forces (bannermen and wildlings alike) in the Battle of Bastards, defeating Ramsay Bolton (but sadly, still losing Rickon when Ramsay murders him on the battlefield). She ends her marriage to Ramsay by leaving him in the kennel with his starving dogs. Ramsay is eaten alive! See ya, loser. Finally, Sansa rallies behind Jon’s case for King in the North, which succeeds, but a final glance between her and Littlefinger leaves us wondering if she’s conflicted.

Yara: swears revenge when her father, the Ironborn King, is mysteriously assassinated. She comes this close to clinching the Salt Throne (her uncle Euron assassinated the king, Balon) before Euron wins over the crowd. She takes Theon (who just returned home), steals THE ENTIRE Ironborn Fleet AND Euron’s plan to set sail for Meereen and make a deal with Daenerys Targaryen. Boss move.

Daenerys: is captured and sent to Vaes Dothrak to the Dothraki widows retirement home. With the help of Jorah and Daario, she locks herself in a room with all the Dothraki Khals and sets the place on fire. Only she emerges, unburned, causing the entire Dothraki horde at Vaes Dothrak to take the knee and swear fealty to her. Using her dragons, the Dothraki, intel from Varys, and a little Tyrion swagger, she saves Meereen from a siege, eradicates the Sons of the Harpy once and for all, and claims their siege ships. When Yara arrives, she makes a pact with the Ironborn fleet and in the closing shot of the season, Dany is off to the races, sailing across the Narrow Sea to Westeros.

Meera: is told by the Children of the Forest that Bran will need her help to fulfill his destiny as the Three-eyed Raven. While Bran is communing with the weirwood, he is able to see into the past and spectates a young Ned and... Lyanna Stark at Winterfell. He learns Hodor’s real name, Walder. When Bran goes too far and wanders into a vision of the Night King, he draws the white walkers to their location and Meera is forced to drag Bran to safety while Hodor sacrifices himself to… hold the door. :’( Meera and Bran are saved by Coldhands a.k.a… Bran’s uncle, Benjen Stark, who has been kept alive by the magic of the Children! He escorts them safely to The Wall (which he cannot pass) and Meera helps Bran commune again with the weirwood tree where Bran learns… Jon Snow is really the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen! R+L=J confirmed.

Sand Snakes: murder Trystane, Doran, and Areo Hotah! I’m bummed about Areo. They speak with Lady Olenna of House Tyrell and offer an alliance, and not just with Dorne! Varys enters stage left, offering “fire and blood” of House Targaryen! But why would House Tyrell need a new ally, you ask? Well…

Cersei: mourns Myrcella. Cersei makes many attempts to regain her power and fails: getting on the small council (rejected), stopping the High Sparrow (stuffed), making friends with Olenna (denied), none of it takes. Until finally, Queen Margaery, who seems to be playing a long con with the High Sparrow to free her brother Loras, manages to convince her last remaining child, young King Tommen, to remove Cersei’s ONE CHANCE at beating her trial, by abolishing trial by combat (where The Mountain, now undead, would have acted as her champion).

With nothing left to lose, Cersei tasks Maester Qyburn to enact a scorched earth policy. Cersei stays home drinking wine (classic Cersei!) while Qyburn uses children (the ‘little birds’) to murder Maester Pycelle and set alight the massive cache of wildfire that lies beneath the Sept of Baelor… where ALL of Cersei’s enemies now wait. The High Sparrow, all the Sparrows, Kevan Lannister, Mace Tyrell, and even Queen Margaery are annihilated as the entire Sept and the surrounding area blows sky high. Devastated and unable to process this turn of events, young King Tommen throws himself from his window and dies.

While she did not anticipate Tommen’s actions, Cersei knows now that the prophecy set in motion years ago by Maggy the Frog is complete. Now, with nothing left to lose, Cersei finds herself crowned as the Queen of Westeros. Queen takes King. Check mate.


This was an amazing season for the ladies of Game of Thrones, but I'll say again, that it doesn't negate the failures of the past. I still support those fans that have broken up with Thrones forever, and for all fans, past and present, I hope the next (and likely final) season of the show maintains an upward trajectory. I hope they've been listening in the writing room, and I hope that one day, when George R.R. Martin delivers the book series' final drafts, the story will move forward and upward, rather than regress into the mistakes of the past.

Until then, all hail Queen Cersei! Long... may she reign?

Adrian Martinez is a graphic designer, comic book letterer, hobbyist writer, and all-around geek living in New York City.