With such a stellar Season 6 under “Game of Thrones’s” belt, it’s almost impossible to give the show anything but straight A’s this year.
The impressive action sequences, female empowerment and concise storytelling managed to not only fix all the show’s major problems from previous years, but propel an otherwise aging show back into the spotlight as one of the most entertaining and exciting series on television.
Ultimately though, a few stand out moments managed to kill the curve and create a more balanced report card of “Game of Thrones” Season 6.
Sansa Stark’s revenge — A++
The rape and abuse of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) last year was horrific and upsetting, but “Game of Thrones” managed to make Sansa shine this year as she took her vengeance and won back her home. Her alliance with Jon (Kit Harington) and her vicious execution of Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) have made her a serious power-player in Westeros — finally — which earns her the highest grade in the class.
Battle of the Bastards — A+
Another exceptional, stand-out moment of Season 6 was the epic fight sequence between Ramsay and Jon Snow’s army for ownership of Winterfell. The battle was brutal but beautifully constructed, and even the death of poor Rickon felt perfectly paced and executed.
Yara & Daenerys’ alliance — A
We don’t know how we never thought of this partnership before, but watching these two girls in action was better than we ever could have imagined. Even if this alliance eventually crashes and burns, we’ll still go back and watch that Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Yara (Gemma Wheaton) scene over and over again.
CGI dragons — A
After six years, it seems “Game of Thrones” has finally learned its lesson when it comes to the CGI dragons: less is more. Dragon sightings were rare, which allowed the show to blow the CGI budget on just a few amazing appearances, giving us a much less ridiculous looking dragon for Daenerys to ride.
Tormienne — A-
This bizarre little coupling somehow fit perfectly into the narrative, and we’ll never get enough of those stupid looks Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) shoots Brienne’s (Gwendoline Christie) way. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne shippers might hate us, but we’re totally #TeamTormienne.
Arya’s return — B+
After spending two very dull seasons in Bravos, Arya (Maisie Williams) is finally back in Westeros, and we could not be happier. Even better, she returned in style, murdering the Freys with the use of her new faceless tricks. She may be going a little dark from here, but at least she’s back on the right continent.
Queen Cersei — B
After blowing up a few of our favorite characters, Cersei crowned herself queen and basically just screwed House Lannister for the final time. This move was definitely unpredictable, but we have a feeling that she just signed her own death warrant now that Jon and Daenerys are both ready for war. At least it ended that religious takeover arc, right?
Jon’s resurrection — B-
It’s not that the resurrection wasn’t good, it’s just that it was so predictable. From the second he was pronounced “dead,” it was startlingly obvious that Melisandre (Carice van Houten) would bring him back to life. We’re glad Jon is once again back in the thick of things and even more importantly the King of the North, but his fake death felt like an unfulfilling year-long scam.
Daenerys’ Dothraki capture — C
It was boring from start to finish — okay, except that final, fiery scene. Daenerys’ Dothraki captivity felt like a way to keep Dany’s wheels spinning until the end of the season, when she headed for Westeros. If it weren’t for that last epic “Unburnt” moment, this entire arc would have been a waste.
Dorne — D
The Dorne coup ultimately needed to happen since the peace-loving Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig) would never have allied with Daenerys. We get that. But in all other respects, the Dorne storyline was an even bigger waste of time this year than it was last. We’re willing to give the Sand Snakes one more shot in Season 8, but we’ll be operating under a “three strikes and you’re out” policy.
“Game of Thrones” is set to return in 2017 to HBO.