Game of Thrones isn't a show that likes to burn through plot. If that were the case, the ill-fated, ill-received Dorne storyline from Season 5 would have lasted one episode. But we don't live in that blissful alternate reality; instead, Game of Thrones likes to take its time -- and generally, we enjoy watching the plot slowly and painfully unfold like dying embers. We take sick pleasure in the uncertainty of it all.
Thanks to these newly released photos from Game of Thrones's Season 6 premiere ("The Red Woman"), however, we can start to put the pieces together.
Images from the premiere episode include Sansa and Theon's perilous trek to get as far away from Winterfell as possible, Cersei in mourning, Khal Moro confronting Daenerys, and a glimpse of Ellaria Sand meeting with Prince Doran in Dorne (sigh). But let's take a deeper look into what it all means:
Sansa and Theon's Great EscapeHBO
Sansa and the man formerly known as Reek are on the run from that psychopath currently occupying Winterfell, Ramsay Bolton. We know the Bolton hounds are in hot pursuit, so fleeing across the river is a pretty good idea ... if only it wasn't freezing cold. Last season, we saw Sansa at her lowest -- coerced by Littlefinger into marrying a monster, raped by her husband on their wedding night, betrayed by Theon, etc. In essence, last season nearly broke her. But Sansa didn't break. Instead, she morphed into the ultimate survivor. So Sansa is going to make it across this river, even if she has to use Theon's body as a floating device to get there. Plus, this is the season that Sansa kicks off her revenge plot to "eliminate the enemy."
Don't mess with AryaHBO
As for Arya, who became completely blind at the end of Season 5, the youngest Stark should find herself going undercover for The Faceless Men this season. If showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss decide to go with Arya's intriguing storyline from the Winds of Winter chapter preview, expect the young assassin to become involved with a theater troupe. Could that be what's grasped her attention in this still?
Dany meets another KhalHBO
When we last left Dany, she was alone in the company of men -- Dothraki men -- sans her dragons and Kingsguard for the first time in years. We know that Dany is being forced to go to Vaes Dothrak, the traditional "home" for all Khaleesi that outlive their Khals. Here, Dany is seen being menaced by Khal Moro. Since we don't know much about this Khal, it's hard to tell if he's friend or foe, but given Khaleesi's track record with Dothraki men, we wouldn't be surprised if he were the latter.
Cersei in mourningHBO
What a shithole King's Landing must be these days. No wonder the High Sparrow has risen to power so quickly. While we're not entirely sure where Cersei and Jaime's storylines will lead this season, we have to assume that the loss of Myrcella will be devastating to Cersei. (She looks pretty devastated in this photo.) There's no one Cersei loves more than her children, so we can only imagine what kind of war she'll wage to get her revenge on the Sand Snakes and House Martell -- not to mention the High Sparrow and Faith Militant who forced the walk of atonement upon her. Last we saw of her, she had partnered up with Gregor Clegane, who swore at the end of the fifth season to remain totally silent until he'd slain all of Cersei's enemies. With so many enemies -- let's not forget, she also knows the Boltons were lying to her about Sansa this entire time -- we don't even know where he'll start first.
Ramsay has feelings?HBO
Why does Ramsay look so sad sitting over Myranda's dead body? We weren't aware that he could feel such things. Needless to say, he's probably bummed that not only did his love die, but he also lost his wife and favorite torture doll Reek when they fled Winterfell. Here is Ramsay in a rare, quiet moment of self-reflection -- and it's weird as hell.
Dorne Pt. 2: Why Why Why Why Why???HBO
Last season's Dorne storyline was decidedly a miss. There was no momentum, and characters that should have been interesting, like the Sand Snakes, came off as nothing more than bare-breasted caricatures. However, if there was one shining light in the Dorne plot, it was Doran Martell. He's smart, capable, and tough -- and you don't want to cross him. So we're a little intrigued to see Doran standing with Ellaria here. The road to Myrcella's death was convoluted AF, but the fallout will undoubtedly be compelling. Will Jaime unleash an unholy vengeance on Dorne? Will Cersei send The Mountain? As much as we love Doran, we also wouldn't mind watching the Lannisters pay their debts and burn Dorne to the ground.