This was a season almost likeable. The theme of violence, of course, continues stretching and developing. The scenery, all of it, is breathtaking. The detail of the sets is amazing, stunning even. The speakers of Dothraki and Valyrian have learned to speak Dothraki and Valyrian (compared to the initial seasons). The Winter and the Long Night are believably on the viewer’s doorstep. The theme of coming into power, coming of age is developed beautifully for quite a few characters. The indestructible Arya Stark trains, trains and trains to lose herself, and then does not. This could have been developed deeper, I feel. The Waif is as flat as it gets for an opposing character. And there is no doubt whatsoever that Arya lies, to herself, to the man, to the world. Was it meant so? I sometimes wonder why I like the character of Arya most of all in this game. Is it the underestimability of a small girl with a thin sword in a world of big, ironclad people? Is it her cheerful disposition following the Valar Morgulis, but not so much Valar Doheris? Or maybe it is the fact that whatever the face, Arya remains the same, fierce, loyal to her family, cold-blooded and, well, bloody-minded. Reminds me of The Men in Black, where the police guy shoots the little girl carrying nuclear physics books. Ah, well. The maturation of Sansa Stark character is more subtle and thus much more engaging. Another proof that our experience is actually not what we gain, but what we lose. Sansa has lost much, she, not Arya, is slowly becoming no-one and thus a force to be reckoned with. The rest of the world now has to regard her with fear, but the rest of the world does not know that. Sansa’s growing up is facilitated by Theon’s sacrifice. Jon Snow is revived. By the Fire god’s priestess. Um. The theme of religion reaches a new high in this season. We get to look at the intricacies of a deity who knows all and sees all and (maybe) tries to have the victory over the night but has servants who are not more than blunt instruments. Reminds me of something. The other religious theme is the Sept, with its High Sparrow and persecution of all sin, and mutilating those who they find guilty. For whatever reason, the High Sparrow and all his dealings with those in power seem to me false in the very bedrock. The manipulative nature of the exchanges between the servants of the Seven and the king’s family et al. contributes to the feeling. It also reminds me of something familiar. Cersei has let the genie (so to speak) out of the bottle and does not know a better way to get it back that destroy all those that are in her way to the throne. Does she expect her last child to die too? There is no answer. A fresh breeze is the little wooden sept built in the forest by the people, for the people. Without judgement or prejudice. Just like similar communes in what we call real life, the hoy is brief and the ending tragic. There is no consolation in religion per sē. One has to have a personal relationship with God, and even then things do not go smoothly. And then there is Daenerys. Mother of dragons indeed. Soft as clay, hard as quartz. Inspiring. Another case of a girl to watch, or else. The themes of faithfulness are continued by Brienne, Sam, Hodor and Jora, each in a different way. Lovely to watch, tragically funny. I think the world needs more people like those. The theme of revenge picks up its ugly head with Cersei and whatever happens in Iron Islands and Dorn. Yes, revenge is ugly, even served with poison and green fire. Mysticism and nature worship come to the foreground in the explorations by Bran, as he becomes the three-eyed raven. I must admit that the idea is brilliant in itself, and evokes one of those unifying with the nature genes a forest-bred person carries around at all times. Those white copper beeches with the faces seem far too real to be false. But above all, the army of the dead is growing and coming closer. And the living are too busy fighting to actually take notice. How human, how familiar. How everyday and at the same time powerfully unique and life-like that is. From the Roman Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we’ll die to medieval dance with death, to Frida Kahlo, to nuclear armament, to whatever is topical in the field today. The army of the dead is growing, and the only way to stop it is to live. Maybe this is what the game is all about.