The Red Woman: Season 6, Episode 1 Recap [Spoilers]


Can Jon Be Saved?

Finally, Game of Thrones is back for Season 6. At the beginning of the season’s first episode, many characters – Stannis, Sansa & Theon, Myrcella, Jon Snow — had unknown fates. Daenerys was in the wind and Arya was left vulnerable in Braavos.

The Wall

Jon Snow is definitely dead. Can Melisandre bring him back?

When last season ended, Jon’s men – including Night’s Watch leaders like Alliser Thorne — had stabbed him in a Caesar-esque, “Et tu, Brute?” moment. They left Jon bleeding out on the snow with a traitor sign marking the spot where he fell.


Davos spots Jon’s body below in the courtyard and runs down to try to save him. But, he is too late.

When Season 6 begins, Davos found Jon’s corpse bloodless and pale on the snow. He gathers Jon’s loyal brethren to help retrieve his body from beneath the Traitor sign, and secrets it away in room upstairs. When they place Jon’s body on the table and one shuts his eyes, it is clear: Jon is dead.

Later, Alliser Thorne summons the Night’s Watch to discuss who will replace Jon as Lord Commander. When one man demands to know who killed Jon, Thorne readily admits he did and names his accomplices. While Thorne professes his loyalty to the Watch, he justifies stabbing his commander because admitting the Wildlings would have been the end of them.


Awesome: Ghost guards Jon’s body. © HBO.

Meanwhile Davos and Jon’s friends hole up with Jon’s corpse and Ghost. It’s clear that Ser Alliser and his allies mean to trick them into surrendering and then butcher them. The only chance they have is to ally with the Wildlings.

Melisandre is back at the Wall, clearly devastated and shaken that the flames may have lied to her. She looks to be at her lowest point ever.

Defeated, Melisandre disrobes and gazes at her body in the glass as she begins to get ready for bed. When she removes the red amulet from her neck, there’s a surprise: Melisandre is an old woman, a crone. She only appears young because of a glamor her red amulet casts over her. She is several centuries old, according to George RR Martin.


Melisandre’s necklace gives her youth.

It’s never been perfectly clear what Melisandre’s magic can do. Sure, she can birth shadow assassins. But, the snow melting after Shireen’s sacrifice could have been a coincidence. Drinking poison (in the books) is impressive, but it is not a power that can change anything but your own destiny. Melisandre claims to see visions in the flames, but are these visions real or just the delusions of mad woman?


Melisandre’s true age is revealed. Is she an archetypal crone? A wise woman?

The real question is whether Melisandre can bring Jon back. Some of R’hllor’s priests can resurrect the dead. Back in Season 3, Thoros of Myr brings back Beric after the Hound slays him during the Hound’s trial by combat.


In Season 3, the drunken wayward priest for the Lord of Light — Thoros of Myr — revives Beric’s body after the Hound kills him in his trial by combat. Melisandre is jealous of this gift and likely resents it being bestowed on one so unworthy.

Melisandre, however, has never had this gift. In fact, she is disgusted that a drunkard wayward priest like Thoros should possess it. Why him and not her?

Melisandre is at her lowest point ever. She realizes she may have misread the flames. For her to restore life into Jon would require her to dig deep within herself and muster skill – and possibly faith in R’hllor and herself – that she has never had before.

Everything hinges on Melisandre. Will she restore life into Jon’s body? Can she even do it?

Ramsay is devastated by Myranda’s Death

Last season, when Ramsay’s sneak attack defeated Stannis during his siege on Winterfell, Sansa and Theon attempted to escape — only to be stopped at arrow point by Myranda, Ramsay’s callous lover.

When Myranda threatens to cut up Sansa’s lady parts, this is too much for Theon. Before she can react, he shoves the kennel master’s daughter from the parapet, where she tumbles to her death easily fifty feet below.


Myranda’s body lies on the ground after falling from the high castle wall.

The fall definitely killed Myranda.

When Season 6 opens, we find Ramsay tearfully gazing at her battered corpse. Can sociopath’s cry? He vows to her: “Your pain will be paid for a thousand times over. I wish you could be here to watch.”


Ramsay mourns his lover Myranda’s death — and vows a violent fate for those who hurt her.

Ramsay tells his servants that he met Myranda in his teens and she was only eleven. She was completely fearless. Myranda wasn’t scared of Ramsay because, as the kennel master’s daughter, she knew the dogs could do so much worse. There was nothing she wouldn’t do, Ramsay says with a smile

Yet, Ramsay has a unique way of looking at the world — not to mention a great affection for his weapons with fur. When his servant asks whether he wants to bury or burn Myranda, Ramsay replies, “Buried, burned,” he shrugs. “This is good meat. Feed it to the hounds.”


Later on, as Ramsay and Roose stroll down the corridor, Roose is thrilled about Ramsay’s victory against Stannis — and also Stannis’ death. Yet he warns Ramsay that, despite his son’s clever military strategies, they will not be enough to go against the Lannister armies. The Boltons need the North to back them, which the North won’t do without Sansa.


Roose’s new wife Walda is pregnant.

Roose chastises Ramsay for “playing his games” with Theon and Sansa, implying this is why Sansa fled.

And, he knows exactly how to maneuver his son. Roose always digs his fingers into the once-bastard’s deepest wound: his fear of being abandoned by his father.

To goad Ramsay into get Sansa back, Roose implies that if Ramsay doesn’t get Sansa, he will replace him as heir to Winterfell with Walda’s baby, assuming it is a boy.

Sansa and Theon’s Flight

Sansa and Theon flee through the woods, chased by hounds. Theon knows all too well what the hounds do. He witnessed Tansy’s fatal mauling after Myranda and Ramsay’s hunt.


Ramsay and Myranda hunted Ramsay’s one-time lover, Tansy, with his hounds. This is moments before her death.

The duo wade through an icy river to throw the hounds off their scent. Now wet and freezing in the frosty winter air, they try to shelter under a tree root when Ramsay’s men find them. Once again, Theon’s bravery and self-sacrifice are beginning to emerge. He literally throws himself to the dogs.

When Theon hears Ramsay’s men, he tells her to stay hidden. He will let himself be caught so she has time to flee.


Sansa and Theon shelter under a tree root from Ramsay’s men.

It’s a futile sacrifice though. Moments later the men find Sansa. And, we know how terrible Ramsay’s punishment will be for both of them. They killed Myranda!

When all seems lost, Brienne races out of the woods on her horse. Pod’s fighting lessons have paid off because between Brienne and Pod they eliminate Ramsay’s men. Finally, Brienne gets to protect the one she is charged with protecting!

Lady Sansa’s First Oath of Fealty: Brienne swears to serve Sansa

When Brienne saves Sansa, she finally gets the opportunity to fulfill her vow to Catelyn Stark. After Brienne and Pod dispatch Ramsay’s men, she lays her sword at Sansa’s feet and asks Sansa to take her into her service.

Sansa replies, “I vow that you shall always have a place by my hearth… and meat and mead at my table. And, I pledge to ask no service of you that might bring you dishonor. I swear it by the old gods and the new. Arise.” Sansa can’t remember all of the words, and she needs a little help from Pod. But, she gets the job done.


Brienne swears fealty to Sansa. © HBO.

When Brienne rises to her feet, her face is glowing with tears (or maybe it’s sweat). Finally, she has protected somebody and can be in her service. Brienne’s failure to protect the ones she loved haunts her: offering to protect Sansa makes her feel worthy again.

As for Sansa, swearing a fealty vow is quite a grown-up thing. Between her terrible marriage and this request, she is truly becoming an adult, if not the only known representative of her house.

In this moment, Sansa seems so much like Elizabeth of York. Once Elizabeth’s father died and her brothers vanished, she was no longer part of a ruling family. From 1483 until she married Henry VII, she didn’t have a strong male protector. She was vulnerable and even somewhat untethered and unsafe. Elizabeth was the eldest child and heir to her father, but if she could survive in a world in which her family no longer had a man on the throne.

The Homecoming


Jaime with Myrcella under her gold shroud. © HBO.

A Dornish ship sails into the harbor and Cersei is thrilled. “Myrcella!” She runs down to meet her daughter only to see Jaime arrive on a golden barge with a blanketed body on a bier.

Cersei knows instantly it is Myrcella. She is beyond devastated.

Later she tells Jaime how she can’t bear imagining locking Myrcella in a crypt. Cersei feels she must suffer with her sweet daughter.

Cersei sees Myrcella as the only sign there could possibly be any goodness in her.

“From her first breath, she was so sweet. I don’t know where she came from. She was nothing like me. No meanness, no jealousy. Just good. I thought if I could make something so good, so pure, maybe I’m not so monstrous.”


Cersei (Lena Headey) is devastated to learn her sweet daughter is dead. © HBO, Image: Helen Sloan

Jaime blames himself for not protecting Myrcella. But, Cersei tells him that Myrcella’s death couldn’t be stopped; it was preordained, prophesied. The witch’s prophecies have come home to her.

Jaime vows to take everything back that has been taken from them. And, with that the twins appear reunited again in their isolated little world, loving and protecting only themselves.

Septa Unella Torments Margaery

Margaery crouches in a corner of a stone cell in the Great Sept. Her brown hair is matted. Septa Unella reads tales of the seven hells to Margaery and urges her to confess her sins. When Margaery demands to see her brother, Unella tartly replies: “Sinners don’t make demands; they make confessions.” Unella moves to strike Margaery, but then the High Sparrow walks in and dismisses her.

In a classic good cop/bad cop maneuver, the High Sparrow comes in to treat Margaery kindly and urges her to confess so she can be back with her husband.

For all the High Sparrow’s ostensible kindness, Margaery’s inquiries about her brother’s welfare go unanswered.

A Coup in Dorne


Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) and Prince Doran moments before she kills him. © HBO.

With Myrcella poisoned and dead, it is only a matter of time before Prince Doran learns of her murder. He’s already warned his late brother Oberyn’s paramour, Ellaria Sand, not to harm Myrcella: “we don’t hurt little girls in Dorne.”

But, Doran is too forgiving. He should never have Ellaria to make so many threats, and moves even, without checking them. And, in this episode, he will pay for his leniency with his life.

After taking the air around the verdant water gardens on Ellaria’s arm, Doran returns to his wheel chair. Areo Hotah stands guard beside Tyene Sand, Ellaria’s eldest daughter.

Doran receives a raven: Myrcella is dead. Before Doran can say another word, Tyene whips a dagger out of her leg holster and strikes Aero’s back. Ellaria plucks a tiny dagger out of her wrist amulet and plunges it into Doran’s heart.


Pretty, pretty, pretty… Ellaria’s wrist dagger. © HBO.

Not content to let Doran die in peace, the sand snake’s mother venomously tells Doran he is weak and despised by his own people. Ellaria sneers that he never avenged his sister’s rape and his brother’s slaughter. Doran is not worthy to be a Dornish man, let alone a prince.

As Doran lies on the ground, blood pouring from his chest, he begs Ellaria to let his son Trystane live. She shakes her head no: “Your son is weak… And, weak men will never rule Dorne again.”



Funeral eye

Although Jaime disembarked from the ship, Trystane remains in his cabin. He is dabbing black paint on the pupil of the funeral stones that will cover Myrcella’s eyes as she lies in state.


Obara and Nymeria Sand kill Trystane to eliminate Dorne’s next weak male ruler. © HBO.

Obara and Nymeria Sand enter his chamber and announce they are about to kill him. They let him choose which one of them he will fight. Trystane picks Nymeria. But, before he can even swing his sword, Obara – who stands behind him — impales him in the head with her spear.


Trystane chooses to fight the whip-wielding Nymeria. © HBO.

Disgusted that Obara ruined her fun, Nymeria says to her sister: “You’re a greedy bitch, you know that.”

Tyrion and Varys Struggle to Rule

Tyrion and Varys walk the deserted streets in merchants’ garb, trying to blend in. Tyrion persuaded Varys to set feet to the ground and learn what’s wrong with Meereen. (“We are never going to fix this city from the top of an 800 foot pyramid.”) Varys isn’t so sure. He looks uncomfortable if not scared to be out.


Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) appraise the precarious situation in Meereen. © HBO.

People in Meereen are scared after the Sons of the Harpy’s attack at the fighting pit. Public order is starting to erode as word gets out that the slave’s protector, Daenerys, fled from danger on the back of her dragon.

Meanwhile, Varys and Tyrion — the remaining leadership — are in danger. It is clear the Sons of the Harpy will try to oust them from power.

But Tyrion and Varys can’t fight an enemy they can’t see or find. Nobody is on the streets of Meereen — and nobody knows who orchestrated the Sons of the Harpy’s attack.

Varys’ little birds are looking for the culprit who organized the Sons of the Harpy’s attack. Bells start to chime: the harbor is on fire.

Until Varys and Tyrion catch the Harpy’s leader, Meereen remains dangerously unsafe.

Daenerys is a Slave Once Again

When we first met Daenerys in Season 1, she was essentially sold into slavery with her unwanted arranged marriage to Khal Drogo. (Her brother manufactured the union so he could get an army to conquer Westeros and seize the Iron Throne.)

On the “sea of grass,” Jorah and Daario Naharis are bonding and hot on Daenerys’ heels. Jorah even finds the ring she tossed on the ground. Jorah sees Daenerys’ breadcrumb for exactly what it is: a message that the Dothraki have Daenerys.


Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) with Khal Moro ( Joe Naufahu). © HBO

Meanwhile, Daenerys walks on foot beside the Dothraki. It’s very undignified for a former Khaleesi. When she stumbles to keep up, one of the Dothraki whips her from his horse.

The Dothraki take Dany to their leader, Khal Moro, to ask his permission to rape her.

The Khal intends to rape Dany as well, even though his jealous wives hiss their disgust. Daenerys refuses to lie with him and lists her regal titles. The Khal doesn’t care. His wives urge decapitation.

Then Dany drops the bombshell: she is Khal Drogo’s widow.

Khal Moro’s disrespect evaporates. It is forbidden to life with another Khal’s widow.

But, this is no reprieve. Daenerys merely goes from one form of imprisonment to another. Dothraki widows must live out their days in the Vaes Dothrak, the temple of the Dosh Khaleen, with the other widowed khaleesis.

Arya: the Blind Beggar Gets Beaten

At the end of the last season, Jaqen H’ghar/the Waif blinded Arya after she disobeyed him by killing Meryn Trant instead of the Thin Man at the docks. It’s pretty clear to the Faceless Men that Arya has not forgotten she is Arya Stark.


Blind and alone, Arya (Maisie Williams) begs for change in Braavos. © HBO.

Now, we find Arya blind, sitting on the steps and begging for coins. This blind little beggar girl is invisible to everyone though. Unlike when Arya was the clam-selling Lanna, nobody talks to blind Arya.

The Waif (Faye Marsey) arrives and attacks Arya with a fighting staff. Arya can’t see so she can’t fight back. When the Waif finally stops her assault, it’s clear that the Waif will be back the next day to beat Arya into becoming “faceless.”

Jamie Adair is the editor of History Behind Game of Thrones, a website about the history behind George RR Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels and the hit TV show, "Game of Thrones."


  • Reply April 25, 2016

    Phill Hallam-Baker

    OK, so be warned, spoilers on spoilers…

    My interpretation of the scene with Mel is a bit different. I don’t think Mel is going to sleep. She is going to die. Mel has used some blood magic spell to bring back Jon knowing that it will cost her life.

    The evidence for this is there in the camera shots. Davos lingers looking at the blood stains in the snow – Kings blood stains. The camera also lingers over a curious vial on Mel’s table.

    I don’t think that Mel was using the glamour spell that appears in the books. Rather, I see the Mance/Rattleshirt business in the books to show one appearance altering spell rather than describing the entire universe of possibilities. So I don’t think it was necessary for Mel to wear the necklace to look young. And in fact we have seen her naked without it. Mel suddenly looks old because she is dying.

    It totally makes sense for GRRM/The Producers to kill off Mel at this point. First off, life has to pay for life. Jon can’t come back without someone dying. That is even more so for HBO. If they kill off a major character and then bring him back, it looks cheap. If they kill Jon and then swap him for Mel, that is less of a problem. It is clear that the producers are paying a ‘price’ to bring him back.

    The bigger reason for killing Mel now is structural. First off, she is too damn powerful. K9 was axed from Dr Who because it is really difficult to create dramatic tension when your lead character is followed about by a supercomputer. Dumbledore and Gandalf got the chop for similar reasons. Jon can’t become the hero who defeats the white walkers if he is taking advice from an evil, all powerful witch.

    In particular, bringing back Jon is a trick that Mel can only be allowed to do once. And the only way to convince the audience that Jon isn’t going to be constantly being resurrected is by killing off Mel.

    If I am right then Davos and co are holed up in a room surrounded by the NW waiting to murder them. Mel is dead and Jon is probably feeling quite unwell. That is a great start to any scene on TV.

    That is how I see it for the show. The books will likely be a little different because it is a different medium. Jon has to undergo two transformations. First he has to come back to life, second he has to discover who his real parents are. In the show Jon has to maintain his appearance so he can be played by the same actor. I think that in the book he will come back to life looking distinctly Targarean and we will find that another appearance changing spell is involved.

    It is also rather clear that in the book, Jon is put on a pyre – AA is born in salt (Dragonstone) and fire (the funeral pyre).

    • Reply April 25, 2016


      Phill, I’m mostly convinced by your theory for the TV show. It makes sense for Melisandre to die in order to bring Jon Snow back to life. The outcome in the books may be very different, in my opinion.

      First, assuming R+L=J is true, Jon Snow was born in Dorne (Tower of Joy), not on Dragonstone. I don’t think he’s ever been to Dragonstone.

      Second, I’m convinced Jon Snow will become one of the Others. In AGOT, when Bran was in a coma after falling from the tower, he had a series of dreams. Nearly all of those dreams have come true already through Book 5, except a corpse who was obviously Jon Snow with icy blue eyes.

      Third, and this is purely because I subscribe to the Ragnarok theory for ASOIAF, Jon Snow along with all the Stark children represent the forces associated with Old Gods and possibly dragons as well. It remains unclear whether the Old Gods and Others are the same force or opposing ones. If they belong in the same camp, then Jon Snow can “return” to his original or true tribe as an Other. Bran has already gone back to his true tribe as the greenseer, and Arya will merge with her wolf. The only unknown is Rickon, who has always been very wild even as a kid.

    • Reply April 25, 2016


      Correction to my above comment: Bran dreamed of Jon Snow being dead but not with blue eyes. The blue eyes show up in Danaerys’ vision in the House of the Undying: “A blue-eyed king who casts no shadow raises a red sword in his hand.” I’ve interpreted the blue eyes as the Other’s eyes, and “no shadow” as being dead or at least not a living human being. Is Jon a king? If he was born of Lyanna and Rhaegar, he is eligible for the throne and he was already offered Winterfell (ie, king in the north).

      • Reply April 25, 2016

        Jamie Adair

        Phill, interesting theory. Apart from her nasty habit of burning people, Melisandre is growing on me, so I’m not keen to see her killed off. One hitch is that in the Dothraki world “death must pay for life.” But this isn’t necessarily the case with the religion of R’hllor.
        Thoros of Myr didn’t have to die to bring Beric Dondarrion back from the dead. In fact, Thoros resurrected Beric at least six times.

        ==SPOILER ALERT==
        This isn’t the case with Lady Stoneheart. Beric has to sacrifice his life to bring her back. But, she had been dead for a very long time (3 days vs. 3 minutes).

        And Jon has been dead for quite a while already.

        • Reply April 26, 2016

          Phill Hallam-Baker

          Also Mel is astonished that Thoros can do it at all. As for liking Mel, well that is pretty much always fatal for a character in GoT.

          I do not assume R+L=J. I think it is far too obvious and too problematic. Jon is clearly in a different category altogether from Gendry and Roberts rebellion was clearly less noble than Robert presents it.

          AA is born in salt and flame so if Jon is AA, which he pretty much has to be, he is born in salt which could be the island in the sea. the ToJ doesn’t fit.

          Apparently there is a line in one of the previews where Mel says ‘it is all lies’ that we haven’t heard yet. So maybe Mel gets burned in the show as well. Or it could be as she meets Jon on other side.

          • April 26, 2016

            Jamie Adair

            >>As for liking Mel, well that is pretty much always fatal for a character in GoT.
            Lol. Yeah, true enough. Maybe I should have started liking Joffrey earlier (or at all)… 🙂

            I do think that if Melisandre got burned it would be just desserts… a fighting and purifying end.

          • April 26, 2016


            Interesting. So who do you think is Jon Snow’s mother? Do you go with the line that Ned Stark had a baby with a girl from the Three Sisters islands?

          • April 29, 2016


            The “salt” could be Lyanna’s tears as she suffered and died giving light to her child.

  • Reply April 26, 2016

    Jamie Adair

    Jun, are you asking me or Phill? You’re asking Phill, right? (I believe in R+L=J)

    • Reply April 27, 2016


      Yeah, I wonder what Phill’s theory is. If Jon Snow was born on Dragonstone, it means he is prince Aegon, Rhaegar’s son, who was smuggled out … by Ashara Dayne I guess? Did Ashara give birth while she was with Queen Rhaenys? I don’t think it was ever mentioned. Then Ashara gave Ned when he came to Dorne after the Tower of Joy?

  • Reply April 28, 2016


    I definitely don’t like show Ellaria’s and the show sand snakes’ propensity to murder innocent people – Myrcella was an innocent girl and while Trystane wasn’t exactly a swashbuckler he hadn’t done anything bad. I’m okay with other aspects of the episode.


    I know it is quite different from the books but I wondered if Brienne swearing fealty to Sansa is the beginning of Sansa turning into the younger more beautiful queen who will replace Cersei.

  • Reply April 29, 2016

    Apocalyptic Queen

    Just touching on the reference to “salt” as in the prophecy which states that the Prince that was promised will be re-born amidst salt and smoke to awake dragons out of stone.

    I think this could refer to a great many things. For instance, was Dany not born on Dragonstone? And she awoke dragons from stone (literally) with the birth of her dragons over the funeral pyre.

    Also, equally, it could refer to Jon Snow. For instance, hasn’t there been some reference to salt within the walls or kitchens of Castle Black on the wall?

    We have heard more than once that “only death can pay for life” – first from Mirri Maz Dur to Dany and then Jaqhar repeated this to Arya in Season 5.

    Furthermore, another interesting repetition of play on words is, “you know nothing Jon Snow”. Whereas this was probably initially just banter on Ygritte’s part, then repeated by Melissandre – I think this is foretelling of something more significant and sinister in the grand scheme of things. I believe this is hinting that Jon is not aware of his own parentage, the significance of it and his ultimate destiny.

    There are also theories that there may be ultimate proof of Jon’s parentage beneath the crypts of Winterfell, perhaps a dragon, which could also lead to parallels with the prophecy of “awaking dragons from stone” (provided Dany hasn’t already fulfilled the prophecy).

    Personally, I am of the view that Mel will die (a fitting end to one who has spent her life sacrificing others to the Lord of Light), giving life or awakening the dragon within Jon Snow and hence, in keeping with the books, she may become his “Nissa Nissa”.

    As for other aspects of the prophecy – what is Light bringer? (the weapon that must be forged in order to defeat the darkness/ the others). Is it Longclaw? Dany’s dragons? the Night’s Watch?
    Or could it even be a person? – Jon? Dany?

    Reading the theories about names earlier on, one description of the name Bran really stood out. While meaning raven or crow in Gaelic/ Welsh? Was there not another interpretation that also referred to “bringer of light”?

    If so, could Bran be light bringer? And if so, in what capacity? We know he will never walk again, but he will fly…

    Very interesting to speculate on these theories!

  • Reply April 29, 2016


    Something that just occurred to me: If Doran *just* got word of Myrcella’s death via raven, how is it that Trystane is already preparing for her funeral?

    • Reply April 29, 2016

      Jamie Adair

      Well, that’s interesting isn’t it? I didn’t catch that one. Another way to look at it might be how could Doran have received the raven so quickly when Trystane hadn’t even disembarked yet? Hmmm… oh well…

  • Reply April 30, 2016

    Lucas de Melo Facó

    The Mountain That Rides (Gregor Clegane) was responsible for the downfall of House Nymeros Martell.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.