Spoiler alert: This post touches on some plot points from Sunday's Season 6 premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones, so read at your own risk.
What? You thought you'd get all your questions answered in the first episode?
That's now how Game of Thrones is played.
The Jon Snow-isn't-really-dead camp will have to wait, because the late lord commander of the Night's Watch (Kit Harington) was still very much the late lord commander at the end of Sunday's episode, though the big reveal involving Melisandre (Carice van Houten) suggests the Red Woman's mojo is stronger than it's looked for awhile.
Or maybe she'd just had a really, really long day.
Given how much screen time Game of Thrones has devoted to naked women over the years, it seems fitting that the most shocking image the show could conjure would involve the kind of nudity no one ever asks for (but not, of course, before a flash of the kind HBO seemingly exists to provide).
It was also a big night for some of the show's other women characters:
Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) swooped in at the Exact Right Moment to save Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and was finally, and very formally, accepted as her protector.
Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) and her daughters staged a bloody Amazonian coup in Dorne.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), after enduring an awful lot of Dothraki trash talk about her body, got to deliver a very powerful speech that was basically just a list of the various titles she claims, including, of course, "mother of dragons." It would have been even more powerful if the Dothraki khal she was talking to had been as impressed by that as by her dropping the name of her late husband, Khal Drogo. Not that that seemed to do her much good, but at least it meant another episode in which Dany got to keep her clothes on. Oh, and Jorah (Iain Glen) found that ring she dropped, a discovery even less likely than Brienne's just happening along at moment when Sansa most needed her. Let's just say that a man who can find small pieces of jewelry in a sea of grass is of way more use to the average woman than a lovelorn, disgraced knight.
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), though still blind, and begging on the streets of Braavos, did get a fighting lesson, and has been promised another. Arya will probably eventually come to consider this fun, because Arya's idea of fun has been perverted, thanks to having lately had one of the worst childhoods ever.
First episodes are always difficult. So many people to check in on. Or kill. Or swear vengeance upon. (Vengeance looks to be a theme this season, but since for once this is the only episode I've seen, your guess is as good as mine.)
Still, things are off to several promising starts.
I could complain about seeing too little of Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), but as troubled as Mereen is, it's a relative backwater, given all the other things going on at the moment. (And yet, like Dany, Tyrion's interesting because he has actual thoughts about ruling, not just winning, that make the game more than a game.) Dragons? No, only a bit of charred goat. We haven't even seen Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) yet. And Rickon. Remember Rickon?
Or maybe I missed them all in the extreme darkness that shrouded so much of the episode? (This must be why they call it Castle Black.)
So what were the high points and low points for you? Comment and I'll hop in throughout the day the to discuss the big premiere.