Game of Thrones (season 6)

Last updated on 8 September 2017

The sixth season of the fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones premiered on HBO on April 24, 2016, and concluded on June 26, 2016. It consists of ten episodes, each of approximately 50–60 minutes, largely of original content not found in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. Some story elements were derived from the novels and from information Martin revealed to the show-runners.[1] The series was adapted for television by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. HBO ordered the season on April 8, 2014, together with the fifth season, which began filming in July 2015[2][3] primarily in Northern Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Iceland and Canada. Each episode cost over $10 million.

The season follows the continuing struggle between the Starks and other noble families of Westeros for the Iron Throne. The Starks defeat the Bolton forces in battle, and Jon Snow is proclaimed the King in the North. Tyrion attempts to rule Meereen while Daenerys is held captive by a Dothraki tribe. At King's Landing, the Tyrell army attempts to liberate Margaery and Loras, but Margaery capitulates to the High Sparrow, who becomes more powerful by influencing King Tommen. At her trial, Cersei burns the Great Sept, killing her rivals, while Tommen kills himself. Cersei is crowned Queen of Westeros. Ellaria Sand and three of Oberyn Martell's daughters kill Doran and Trystane Martell and seize control of Dorne. In Essos, Daenerys Targaryen is captured by Khal Moro who takes her before the khals; she burns them alive and takes command of the Dothraki. Olenna and the Dornish ally with Daenerys.

Game of Thrones features a large ensemble cast, including Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington. The season introduced new cast members, including Max von Sydow, Pilou Asbæk and Essie Davis.

Critics praised its production values, writing, plot development, and cast. Game of Thrones received most nominations for the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, with 23 nominations, and won twelve, including that for Outstanding Drama Series for the second year in a row. U.S. viewership rose compared to the previous season, and by approximately 13% over its course, from 7.9 million to 8.9 million by the finale.

Game of Thrones Season 6.jpeg
Game of Thrones Season 6.jpeg

Plot

Following their escape from Winterfell, Sansa Stark journeys to the Wall, while Theon Greyjoy returns to the Iron Islands. In Winterfell, Ramsay Bolton secures his claim on the North by killing Roose and Walda Bolton and his new-born half-brother. At the Wall, Melisandre resurrects Jon Snow, who is reunited with Sansa; they gather loyalists and a battle ensues. Aided by the Knights of the Vale, the Starks defeat the Bolton forces. Sansa feeds Ramsay to his hounds and Jon is proclaimed the King in the North.

Beyond the Wall, Bran Stark trains with the Three-Eyed Raven but alerts the Night King, who launches an attack of White Walkers. Bran and Meera escape and are rescued by Benjen Stark. Bran subsequently has a vision to the Tower of Joy years prior, revealing that Jon is not Ned Stark's bastard but rather the child of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.

At King's Landing, Jaime Lannister and the Tyrell army attempt to liberate Margaery and Loras, but Margaery capitulates to the High Sparrow and Tommen forges an alliance with the Faith. During Loras and Cersei's trial, Cersei uses wildfire to burn the Great Sept, killing the High Sparrow, Margaery, Loras, Mace, Kevan, and Lancel, while Tommen kills himself after witnessing the events. Unopposed, Cersei is crowned Queen of Westeros. Ellaria Sand and three of Oberyn Martell's daughters kill Doran and Trystane Martell and seize control of Dorne, and Olenna meets with Ellaria, at a summit brokered by Varys, to discuss allying with the Targaryens.

In Braavos, Arya continues her training with the Faceless Men, and soon regains her eyesight. When she refuses to accomplish a mission, the Waif is ordered to kill Arya, who kills the Waif instead. Arya reasserts her identity as a Stark and returns to Westeros.

In the Riverlands, the Hound, revealed to have survived his injuries, pursues the Brotherhood Without Banners for massacring the people who saved him. He finds Lord Beric Dondarrion executing traitorous bannermen, and is asked to join the Brotherhood traveling north. Jaime Lannister besieges Riverrun and takes the castle, killing the Blackfish after forcing Edmure Tully to order a surrender. Walder Frey celebrates the victory before being killed by Arya.

Sam Tarly, Gilly and her son travel to the Citadel at Oldtown, stopping to visit Sam's family.

In Essos, Daenerys Targaryen is captured by Khal Moro, who takes her before the khals; she burns them alive when they refuse to serve her and takes command of the Dothraki. Tyrion Lannister brings a short-lived peace to Meereen, which is reinforced when Daenerys returns and flies her dragons into battle against the slavers. Yara and Theon arrive and pledge allegiance to Daenerys after Euron Greyjoy kills their father and usurps leadership of the Iron Islands. Jorah Mormont departs to find a cure for greyscale and Daario is left in command of Meereen, while Daenerys sails for Westeros.

Episodes

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
(millions)
51 1 "The Red Woman" Jeremy Podeswa David Benioff & D. B. Weiss April 24, 2016 (2016-04-24) 7.94[4]
Jon Snow's corpse is found by Ser Davos, Edd and a few other loyalists; Davos and the others take him inside and lock themselves behind a door with him, while Edd goes to get help. Thorne assumes command of the Watch. At Winterfell, Ramsay mourns for Myranda, while Sansa and Theon escape through the woods. Ramsay's men catch up with them, and are about to take them captive, when Brienne and Pod arrive, kill the men, and the former is accepted into Sansa's service. In King's Landing, Cersei receives Jaime, who arrives with Myrcella's body. Jaime promises Cersei they will take their revenge. Obara and Nymeria murder Trystane, on his way home from King's Landing, while in Sunspear, Doran and Areo Hotah are killed by Ellaria and Tyene, after the former learns of Myrcella's death. In Meereen, Tyrion and Varys find all the ships burning in the harbor. Jorah and Daario continue to track Daenerys, who is taken by the Dothraki to Khal Moro. In Braavos, Arya lives on the streets as a beggar, where she is beaten by the Waif. In her chamber, Melisandre removes her bejeweled necklace as she reveals her true appearance as an old crone.
52 2 "Home" Jeremy Podeswa Dave Hill May 1, 2016 (2016-05-01) 7.29[5]
Brandon visits Winterfell in a vision of the past, and sees Eddard, Benjen, and their sister Lyanna, as well as a young Hodor. Edd arrives with Tormund and a group of Wildlings, imprisoning Thorne and the other mutineers. Tommen asks Cersei to teach him to be strong. Tyrion learns that Astapor and Yunkai have reverted to slavery, and releases Rhaegal and Viserion from their chains. In Braavos, Arya is attacked by the Waif before H'ghar appears and recruits her again. Walda, Roose's wife, gives birth to a boy, prompting Ramsay to murder Roose, her, and the baby. Brienne reveals to Sansa that Arya is still alive. Sansa permits Theon's return to the Iron Islands, where his uncle Euron reappears and murders King Balon. Seaworth persuades Melisandre to attempt to resurrect Jon. At first, her attempts seem to fail. However, once everyone leaves the room, he awakens.
53 3 "Oathbreaker" Daniel Sackheim David Benioff & D. B. Weiss May 8, 2016 (2016-05-08) 7.28[6]
On a boat on their way to Oldtown, Tarly reveals his intent to leave Gilly and her baby with the former's family at Horn Hill while he trains to be a Maester. In a vision of the past, Brandon sees Eddard and Howland, Meera's father, defeat a group of Kingsguard loyal to the Targaryens at the Tower of Joy in Dorne. Varys discovers that the masters of Astapor, Yunkai, and Volantis have been financing the Sons of the Harpy. In King's Landing, Tommen converses with the High Sparrow while Jaime and Cersei interrupt a small council meeting, only to be shunned by Kevan and the Tyrells. Cersei's bodyguard is revealed to be Gregor. Arya trains rigorously with the Waif and her sight is returned to her once she has accepted herself as "no-one". In Winterfell, Lord Umber asks Ramsay for help in protecting the North from the Wildlings, bringing Rickon and Osha as a gift, along with the head of Shaggydog, Rickon's direwolf. Jon executes Thorne, Olly and the other officers involved in his assassination. He renounces his oath and puts Tollett in charge of the Night's Watch.
54 4 "Book of the Stranger" Daniel Sackheim David Benioff & D. B. Weiss May 15, 2016 (2016-05-15) 7.82[7]
Sansa's party arrives at Castle Black as she is reunited with Jon. In Meereen, Tyrion meets with the slave masters of Slaver's Bay to offer peace if they will end slavery within a period of seven years, an action that angers the former slaves. Baelish returns to the Vale to mobilize their soldiers against Ramsay. Naharis learns about Mormont's greyscale as they arrive in Vaes Dothrak. In King's Landing, Margaery is permitted to visit Loras while Cersei, Jaime, Kevan and Olenna put aside their differences and plan a defeat of the Sparrows. Theon arrives at Pyke and explains to Yara that he will support her claim at the Kingsmoot. In Winterfell, Osha attempts to assassinate Ramsay but is killed by him. Ramsay sends a letter to Jon, threatening harm to Rickon if Sansa is not returned. She convinces Jon to march south in order to take back Winterfell. Daenerys meets with the Khals in the temple of the Dosh Khaleen; after they refuse to serve her, she burns them and Moro to death. When she emerges unhurt, the Dothraki kneel to her.
55 5 "The Door" Jack Bender David Benioff & D. B. Weiss May 22, 2016 (2016-05-22) 7.89[8]
Sansa meets Baelish, who offers the support of the Vale and tells her that Brynden Tully, her great uncle, is gathering an army in Riverrun; she initially refuses his help. Jon and Sansa leave Castle Black to gather support from the other Northern houses, with her sending Brienne to Brynden. In Braavos, Arya is given a second chance to prove her loyalty by killing an actress. Beyond the Wall, Brandon learns that the White Walkers were created by the Children of the Forest to protect themselves from the First Men. In the Iron Islands, Euron wins the Kingsmoot despite confessing to killing Balon, causing Yara and Theon to flee. In Essos, Daenerys learns about Mormont's greyscale, ordering him to find a cure and return. In Meereen, a red priestess named Kinvara meets Tyrion and Varys and promises to support Daenerys. Brandon's unaccompanied vision causes him to be touched by the Night King, making the cave vulnerable. The Night King, along with White Walkers and hordes of wights, attack the cave, killing the Three-Eyed Raven, several Children, Summer, and Hodor, whose younger self is shown to have been rendered mentally disabled by Brandon's interference.
56 6 "Blood of My Blood" Jack Bender Bryan Cogman May 29, 2016 (2016-05-29) 6.71[9]
Bran and Meera are saved by Benjen, who reveals that he was turned by the White Walkers, but was later unturned by the Children using Dragonglass. Samwell and Gilly reach the Tarly family estate Horn Hill. After Sam's father, Randyll, insults her for being a Wildling, Sam decides to take her with him to the Citadel, also stealing House Tarly's ancestral Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane. Arya warns the actress about her mission to assassinate her, recovering the Needle. H'ghar approves of the Waif's request to kill Arya. Jaime attempts to rescue Margaery from the Faith Militant, only to find she has repented and Tommen has forged an alliance with the Faith. He removes Jaime from the Kingsguard and orders him to help Walder Frey, who is holding Edmure Tully hostage, and to retake Riverrun from Brynden. Daenerys mounts Drogon, and declares to the Dothraki that they will sail across the Narrow Sea to conquer Westeros.
57 7 "The Broken Man" Mark Mylod Bryan Cogman June 5, 2016 (2016-06-05) 7.80[10]
Margaery convinces Olenna to return to Highgarden after the High Sparrow says that he will pursue Olenna following her attempt to engage the Faith. Jon, Sansa, and Davos recruit the Wildlings and House Mormont to their cause, but remain outnumbered by the Boltons. In desperation, Sansa writes a letter begging for aid. Jaime arrives in Riverrun with Bronn, assuming control of the siege. The former goes to parley with Brynden, ultimately being unsuccessful. Theon and Yara spend their last night in Volantis, deciding to sail to Meereen to ally with Daenerys. In Braavos, Arya prepares to return to Westeros, but is attacked by the Waif. Arya is badly wounded but escapes. Sandor is revealed to be alive, having been saved by a Septon and his followers. When men from the Brotherhood threaten and eventually slaughter the group, Sandor decides to get revenge.
58 8 "No One" Mark Mylod David Benioff & D. B. Weiss June 12, 2016 (2016-06-12) 7.60[11]
Tommen abolishes trial by combat, much to the dismay of Cersei, who planned to win using Gregor. Brienne arrives in Riverrun and attempts to persuade Brynden to surrender, without success. After Jaime threatens to kill Edmure's young son, he enters the castle and orders the Tully forces to stand down, but Brynden is killed fighting the Lannisters. Brienne and Podrick escape. Varys departs Meereen on an unknown mission. Meereen comes under naval assault by the slaving cities, but Daenerys returns. Sandor kills the outlaws who sacked his village and encounters Dondarrion and Thoros, who explain that the outlaws were renegades. They try to convince Sandor to join the Brotherhood. Arya is taken in by the actress, who heals her wounds. In the morning, the Waif arrives, kills the actress and chases Arya through the streets of Braavos. Arya leads the Waif into the catacombs and kills her. She returns the Waif's face to the House and declares that she is Arya Stark of Winterfell and she is going home.
59 9 "Battle of the Bastards" Miguel Sapochnik David Benioff & D. B. Weiss June 19, 2016 (2016-06-19) 7.66[12]
Daenerys meets with the slave masters to negotiate terms of surrender, but they refuse it. Riding Drogon, as Rhaegal and Viserion assist, Daenerys attacks and burns the slavers' fleet. Grey Worm kills two of the masters, leaving one to tell of what he had witnessed. After the battle, Theon and Yara meet with Daenerys and Tyrion and agree to an alliance. Near Winterfell, the Stark and Bolton armies meet on the field. Ramsay feigns setting Rickon free, but kills him with a long-distance arrow before Jon can save him. In the battle, the Stark forces are pinned by Bolton soldiers, but are rescued by the Knights of the Vale. Ramsay flees inside Winterfell, but the Wildling giant Wun Wun, having taken numerous arrows to his body, manages to break down the gate before succumbing to his wounds. Jon brutally beats Ramsay and takes him prisoner. Sansa later visits Ramsay's cell in the kennels and watches as his starving hounds devour him.
60 10 "The Winds of Winter" Miguel Sapochnik David Benioff & D. B. Weiss June 26, 2016 (2016-06-26) 8.89[13]
Before her trial, Cersei destroys the Sept of Baelor by wildfire, killing the High Sparrow, Margaery, Mace and Loras Tyrell, Lancel and Kevan Lannister, along with hundreds of King's Landing nobles and the Faith Militant, while Qyburn has Pycelle killed. Tommen commits suicide. In Dorne, Varys meets with Olenna and Ellaria, seeking to form an alliance between Daenerys and their houses against the Lannisters. Seaworth confronts Melisandre over the death of Shireen; Jon banishes her from Winterfell. The Wildlings, the Knights of the Vale and the surviving Houses of the North pledge loyalty to Jon as the new King in the North. Sansa stops Baelish from getting intimate with her. Arya kills Walder Frey and his sons. Tarly and Gilly reach the Citadel in Oldtown. Benjen tells Brandon and Meera to pass the Wall without him. Brandon uses his powers and learns that Jon is actually the son of Lyanna, being adopted by Eddard after she died during Robert's rebellion. Jaime returns to King's Landing to find Qyburn crowning Cersei the new monarch of the Seven Kingdoms. Daenerys leaves Naharis and the Second Sons to rule Meereen before she sets sail to Westeros with her other companions, armies and dragons.

Cast

Main cast

Guest cast

The recurring actors listed here are those who appeared in season 6. They are listed by the region in which they first appear:

In the North, including the Wall

Beyond the Wall

In the Riverlands

On the Iron Islands

In Dorne

In King's Landing

In the Vale

In Braavos

In Meereen

In Vaes Dothrak

In the Reach

In flashbacks

Production

Crew

The writing staff for the sixth season includes executive producers and showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, producer Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill. Author George R. R. Martin, who had written one episode for each of the first four seasons, did not write an episode for the sixth season, as he was working to finish writing the sixth A Song of Ice and Fire novel, The Winds of Winter.[67] The directing staff for the sixth season was Jeremy Podeswa (episodes 1 and 2), Daniel Sackheim (episodes 3 and 4), Jack Bender (episodes 5 and 6), Mark Mylod (episodes 7 and 8), and Miguel Sapochnik (episodes 9 and 10). Sackheim and Bender were first-time Game of Thrones directors, with the rest each having directed two episodes in the previous season.[68]

Writing

With the end of the fifth season, the content of the show has reached the plot of the latest novel in Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance with Dragons. Season 6 director Jeremy Podeswa said in August 2015: "Right now in season six, what we're shooting currently isn't based on anything in the book. It's fully based on discussions the writers have had with George Martin, because the series has now surpassed the books in terms of what's available."[69] Actress Natalie Dormer, who plays Margaery Tyrell, later added that the show's writers "know where it's got to go and what [George Martin]'s intentions for the characters are. But they are just filling in the gaps."[70]

The season premiere starts off right where the fifth season ended.[71] A plot from The Winds of Winter regarding a traveling theater troupe located in Braavos that stages a play called "The Bloody Hand", about the events that have taken place in King's Landing since the beginning of the series, is included in the sixth season.[72]

Filming

Castillo de Zafra - Exterior.JPG
The Castle of Zafra in Guadalajara, Spain is among the filming locations.

Filming for season six began in July 2015, and ended on December 17, 2015.[73] The budget for the sixth season increased compared to the previous seasons as each episode did cost over $10 million per episode, totaling over $100 million for the full season and setting a new high for the series.[74] The season filmed in five different countries, Northern Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Iceland and Canada.[75]

Like the previous seasons, a large amount of production took place in Northern Ireland, mainly in Belfast and on the Causeway Coast, including film locations in the Binevenagh, Magilligan area which was used to film scenes for the Dothraki Grasslands, and Larrybane Quarry and Ballintoy Harbour, both used for scenes in the Iron Islands. The small village of Corbet was also used, for the siege of Riverrun. As in previous seasons, some of Castle Black was set at the abandoned Magheramorne quarry.[76]

From September 3 to October 23, 2015 the show also filmed in Spain, specifically in Girona, Navarre, Peniscola, and Almería.[77][78] Some filming locations in Spain included the Castle of Zafra in Guadalajara, the Bardenas Reales Natural Park in Navarre, the Alcazaba in Almería, and the Castle of Santa Florentina in Canet de Mar.[79][80]

In August 2015, HBO announced that for the first time since season 1, the show would not be filming any scenes in Croatia. The Croatian city of Dubrovnik has stood in for King's Landing since the beginning of season 2; nearby cities such as Klis, Split and Šibenik have been used to depict various other locations.[81] Contradicting the statement by HBO, cast of the show were seen in costume in Dubrovnik in October 2015.[82]

Only a very small portion of the season was filmed in Canada (north of Calgary, Alberta): the scenes featuring Jon Snow's wolf Ghost (played by animal actor Quigly).[83] However, some of the special effects were created at Montreal's Rodeo FX studios which has won Emmy Awards previously for its work on the series.[84]

Casting

The sixth season saw the return of Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark, Kristian Nairn as Hodor, Ellie Kendrick as Meera Reed, Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy, and Rory McCann as Sandor "The Hound" Clegane, who did not appear in the fifth season.[20][42][85] Clive Russell, Tobias Menzies, Patrick Malahide, Richard Dormer and Paul Kaye also returned to the show as Brynden Tully, Edmure Tully, Balon Greyjoy, Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr after not appearing since the third season.[35][36][38][43] Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow was added to the series main cast after appearing in a recurring role in the previous season.[86]

Across the Narrow Sea, Melanie Liburd plays a Red priestess from Asshai who is in R'hllor's service.[87] At the Reach, House Tarly is introduced, with Freddie Stroma joining the cast as Samwell Tarly's brother Dickon Tarly, a character who was mentioned in the novels but has yet to appear in them.[88] Other members of House Tarly that were introduced were Randyll Tarly, played by James Faulkner; Melessa Tarly, played by Samantha Spiro and Talla Tarly, who was portrayed by Rebecca Benson.[89]

Veteran actor Max von Sydow was cast to play the Three-Eyed-Raven, who is training Bran.[29] The character was previously played by Struan Rodger in the fourth-season finale "The Children". David Bradley confirmed in August 2015, that he would be returning to the show as Walder Frey after last appearing in the third-season finale "Mhysa", but he did not confirm when he would be returning.[90] After the second official trailer was released, it was confirmed that Bradley would appear in the sixth season.[34] Danish actor Pilou Asbæk joins the show as Theon Greyjoy's uncle, pirate captain Euron Greyjoy.[44] Members of the Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men made cameo appearances.[91] Ricky Champ played Gatins, an outlaw who is a part of a band using religion to justify extorting the people of the countryside.[40] A young Ned Stark was portrayed by Sebastian Croft in a flashback scene.[92]

The sixth season also included a traveling theater troupe located in Braavos that stages a play called "The Bloody Hand", about the events that have taken place in King's Landing since the beginning of the series. Essie Davis and Kevin Eldon joined the cast in this theater troupe, portraying actors playing Cersei Lannister and Ned Stark, respectively, while Richard E. Grant was cast as the troupe's manager.[58][72][93] Members of Icelandic indie band Of Monsters and Men appear as the musicians of the Braavos theatre group.[94]

Fates of key characters

After the fifth-season finale "Mother's Mercy", the fates of several key characters, such as Sansa Stark, Theon Greyjoy, Stannis Baratheon, Myrcella Baratheon and Jon Snow were left unknown. It was later confirmed at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con that Sophie Turner and Alfie Allen would return for the sixth season, implying that their characters Sansa and Theon/Reek survived the jump from the castle walls of Winterfell.[17] The director of "Mother's Mercy", David Nutter, said later in an interview that Stannis' death was intended by the episode's script.[95] Showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss also confirmed that Myrcella died after being poisoned by Ellaria Sand.[96]

Although Weiss had stated that Jon Snow is indeed dead,[97] photos of Kit Harington, the actor playing Jon Snow, arriving in Belfast surfaced in July 2015. Since the season 6 script read-throughs were being held in Belfast, these photos fueled speculation that his character might not be dead after all.[98] However, Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair pointed out that Charles Dance was seen at Belfast the previous year, and his character Tywin Lannister only appeared in the first episode of the subsequent season and only as a corpse, although Dance himself confirmed the nature of his role shortly after the announcement.[98][99] Another photo, showing Harington on set in Belfast in a costume that varied from the Night's Watch outfit, was published on September 25, 2015.[100] There has been considerable fan speculation regarding how Jon might have survived, including spiritually possessing his direwolf's body and being brought back to life by Melisandre.[97][101][102][103] In February 2016, actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau revealed that the opening scene of the sixth season will "kind of reveal that Jon Snow is ...dead."[104] In March 2016, Harington confirmed in an interview that he did in fact film new scenes for the sixth season as a corpse, and that he knows for how long his character is to remain that way.[15]

Promotion

On November 23, 2015, a teaser poster displaying Jon Snow was released on the official Game of Thrones Twitter account.[105] A 41-second teaser trailer was released on December 3, featuring Jon Snow from the fifth season episode "Hardhome", as well as many of the previous seasons' highlights, and a voice-over from Max von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven and Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark.[106] The first footage from the season was revealed in a new promotional video released by HBO highlighting its new and returning original shows for the coming year on December 6, 2015, showcasing scenes involving Daenerys Targaryen, Ramsay Bolton, Cersei Lannister, and Tommen Baratheon.[107] On December 28, 2015, Entertainment Weekly released its "Exclusive First Look" issue, featuring an image of Bran Stark, who was noticeably older from his last appearance in season four, and with shorter hair.[108]

On January 22, 2016, three teaser trailers were released, with each teaser depicting the banners of the houses Targaryen, Lannister and Stark, and included voice-overs by Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton, Jonathan Pryce as The High Sparrow and an unknown character speaking in Dothraki.[109] On February 11, 2016, HBO released 28 exclusive photos from the sixth season, picturing several of the main characters during the season and confirming the fates of Theon, Sansa and Myrcella, while Jon Snow was notably absent.[43] HBO released a teaser trailer on February 14, 2016, that shows the faces of a number of living as well as deceased characters such as Ned Stark, Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Tywin Lannister, Stannis Baratheon, Ygritte and, controversially, Jon Snow in the House of Black and White.[110] On February 24, 2016, HBO released 16 character posters of both deceased and alive characters, and two official posters featuring various characters.[111]

A behind-the-scenes video of the sixth season was released on February 29, 2016, focusing on camera operators working on the show.[112] The first official trailer for season 6 was released on March 8, 2016.[33] Another behind-the-scenes video was released on March 22, 2016, focusing on the creative process of prosthetics, specifically the White Walkers. The video also contained new footage of White Walkers from the sixth season.[113] On March 24, Entertainment Weekly revealed a series of new issues titled "Dame of Thrones", featuring six of the female lead characters from the series and focus on the sixth season.[114] On March 26, 2016, new photos from season six, in addition to a new promo named "March Madness" with new footage, was released by HBO.[115][116] After the screening of the season premiere "The Red Woman", HBO released a second official trailer.[34] As well, in July 2016, HBO released a "blooper reel" online, a video of outtakes from season 6.[117]

Music

The soundtrack for the season was digitally released on June 24, 2016, and was released on CD on July 29, 2016.[118] The album reached #27 on the Billboard 200,[119] #1 on Soundtrack chart,[120] and #79 on the Canadian Albums chart on its digital release,[121] with the track from the season finale "Light of the Seven" reaching #1 on Billboard's Spotify Viral 50 chart.[122]

After the Thrones

After the Thrones, a live aftershow in which hosts Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan discuss episodes of the series, airs on the stand-alone streaming service HBO Now on the Monday following each episode of the show's sixth season.[123]

Reception

Critical reception

The season received highly positive reviews, with special praise directed at the episodes "The Door", "Battle of the Bastards" and "The Winds of Winter". On Metacritic, the season (based on the first episode) has a score of 73 out of 100 based on 9 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[124] On Rotten Tomatoes, the sixth season has a 96 percent approval rating from 29 critics with an average rating of 8.4 out of 10. The season also received a 95% episode average score on Rotten Tomatoes.[125]

Ratings

The season finale had 8.89 million viewers on its initial airing on HBO, up ten percent from the previous season's finale, which was the most-watched episode prior to this episode.[126] The average gross viewing figure per episode for the show, which include streaming, DVR recordings and repeat showings, reached over 25 million this season,[127] and it was described as the last consensus show on television.[128] The figure went up by 25% compared to previous year,[129] and viewing figures of the show this season on its on demand services HBO Now and HBO Go went up by over 90%, which were new records for HBO. Almost 40% of viewers of the show watched this season on HBO digital platforms.[127] The show also broke records on pay television channels in 2016 in the United Kingdom with an average audience of more than five million across all platforms,[130] and in Australia with a cumulative average audience of 1.2 million viewers.[131]

No. Title Air date Rating/share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "The Red Woman" April 24, 2016 4.0 7.94[4] 1.0 2.11 5.0 10.06[132]
2 "Home" May 1, 2016 3.7 7.29[5] 0.9 1.92 4.6 9.20[133]1
3 "Oathbreaker" May 8, 2016 3.7 7.28[6] 1.0 1.96 4.7 9.24[134]1
4 "Book of the Stranger" May 15, 2016 3.9 7.82[7] 1.1 2.22 5.0 10.05[135]1
5 "The Door" May 22, 2016 4.0 7.89[8] 1.4 2.76 5.4 10.65[136]
6 "Blood of My Blood" May 29, 2016 3.2 6.71[9] 2.0 3.61 5.2 10.32[137]
7 "The Broken Man" June 5, 2016 3.9 7.80[10] 1.5 2.81 5.4 10.61[138]
8 "No One" June 12, 2016 3.9 7.60[11] 1.5 3.0 5.4 10.60[139]
9 "Battle of the Bastards" June 19, 2016 3.8 7.66[12] 1.7 3.42 5.5 11.08[140]
10 "The Winds of Winter" June 26, 2016 4.3 8.89[13] 1.6 3.19 5.9 12.08[141]

^1 Live +7 ratings were not available, so Live +3 ratings have been used instead.

Season Ep. 1 Ep. 2 Ep. 3 Ep. 4 Ep. 5 Ep. 6 Ep. 7 Ep. 8 Ep. 9 Ep. 10 Average
1 2.22 2.20 2.44 2.45 2.58 2.44 2.40 2.72 2.66 3.04 2.52[142]
2 3.86 3.76 3.77 3.65 3.90 3.88 3.69 3.86 3.38 4.20 3.80[142]
3 4.37 4.27 4.72 4.87 5.35 5.50 4.84 5.13 5.22 5.39 4.97[143]
4 6.64 6.31 6.59 6.95 7.16 6.40 7.20 7.17 6.95 7.09 6.84[144]
5 8.00 6.81 6.71 6.82 6.56 6.24 5.40 7.01 7.14 8.11 6.88[145]
6 7.94 7.29 7.28 7.82 7.89 6.71 7.80 7.60 7.66 8.89 7.69[146]
7 10.11 9.27 9.25 10.17 10.72 10.24 12.07 N/A 10.26[147]

Accolades

For the 32nd TCA Awards, the series was nominated for Program of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Drama.[150] For the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, the series received 23 nominations, the most of any series. It won 12 awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for "Battle of the Bastards", and Miguel Sapochnik for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for "Battle of the Bastards".[151][152] For the 7th Critics' Choice Television Awards, the series won for Best Drama Series.[153]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2016 AFI Awards AFI TV Award Game of Thrones Won [154]
32nd TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Drama Game of Thrones Nominated [150]
Program of the Year Game of Thrones Nominated
TV Choice Awards Best International Show Game of Thrones Won [155]
Dragon Awards Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series Game of Thrones Won [156]
Gold Derby TV Awards 2016 Best Drama Series Game of Thrones Won [157]
Ensemble of the Year The cast of Game of Thrones Nominated
Best Drama Supporting Actor Kit Harington Won
Best Drama Supporting Actress Lena Headey Won
Best Drama Guest Actor Ian McShane Nominated
Max von Sydow Nominated
Best Drama Episode "Battle of the Bastards" Nominated
"The Winds of Winter" Nominated
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Series Drama Nina Gold, Robert Sterne, Carla Stronge Nominated [158]
EWwy Award Best Supporting Actress, Drama Sophie Turner Won [159]
68th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Game of Thrones Won [151]
[160]
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister Nominated
Kit Harington as Jon Snow Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen Nominated
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister Nominated
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Jack Bender for "The Door" Nominated
Miguel Sapochnik for "Battle of the Bastards" Won
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for "Battle of the Bastards" Won
68th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series Nina Gold, Robert Sterne, and Carla Stronge Won
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Max von Sydow as Three-Eyed Raven Nominated
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series Gregory Middleton for Home Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for a Fantasy Series Michele Clapton, Chloe Aubry, Sheena Wichary for The Winds of Winter Won
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series Kevin Alexander, Candice Banks, Nicola Mount, Laura Pollock, Gary Machin, Rosalia Culora for The Door Nominated
Outstanding Make-up for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic) Jane Walker, Kate Thompson, Nicola Mathews, Kay Bilk, Marianna Kyriacou, Pamela Smyth for "Battle of the Bastards" Won
Outstanding Production Design for a Fantasy Program Deborah Riley, Paul Ghirardani, Rob Cameron for Blood of My Blood, The Broken Man, and No One Won
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series Jane Walker, Sarah Gower, Emma Sheffield, Tristan Versluis, Barrie Gower for The Door Won
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama series Tim Porter for Battle of the Bastards Won
Katie Weiland for Oathbreaker Nominated
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series Tim Kimmel, Tim Hands, Paul Bercovitch, Paula Fairfield, Bradley C. Katona, Michael Wabro, David Klotz, Brett Voss, Jeffrey Wilhoit, Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit for The Door Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Series Ronan Hill, Richard Dyer, Onnalee Blank, Mathew Waters for Battle of the Bastards Won
Outstanding Special Visual Effects Steve Kullback, Joe Bauer, Adam Chazen, Derek Spears, Eric Carney, Sam Conway, Matthew Rouleau, Michelle Blok, Glenn Melenhorst for Battle of the Bastards Won
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Series Rowley Irlam Won
Outstanding Interactive Program Game of Thrones Main Titles 360 Experience Nominated
Hollywood Professional Alliance Outstanding Sound Tim Kimmel, Paula Fairfield, Mathew Waters, Onnalee Blank, Bradley Katona, Paul Bercovitch for "Battle of the Bastards" Nominated [161]
Outstanding Editing Tim Porter for "Battle of the Bastards" Won
Outstanding Visual Effects Joe Bauer, Eric Carney, Derek Spears, Glenn Melenhorst, Matthew Rouleau for "Battle of the Bastards" Won
Australian Production Design Guild Production Design for a Television Drama Game of Thrones Won [162]
3D Award for Visual Effects Design Iloura for "Battle of the Bastards" Won
British Society of Cinematographers Best Cinematography in a Television Drama Fabian Wagner for "The Winds of Winter" Nominated [163]
ACO/BSC/GBCT Operators TV Drama Award Sean Savage, David Morgan & John Ferguson for "Battle of the Bastards" Nominated [164]
American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series Fabian Wagner for "Battle of the Bastards" Won [165]
Anette Haellmigk for "Book of the Stranger" Nominated
7th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Drama Series Game of Thrones Won [166]
[167]
[153]
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Peter Dinklage Nominated
Kit Harington Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Emilia Clarke Nominated
Lena Headey Nominated
Most Bingeworthy Show Game of Thrones Nominated
IGN Awards Best TV Series Game of Thrones Nominated [168]
Best TV Episode "The Winds of Winter" Nominated
Best TV Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated
IGN People's Choice Award Best TV Series Game of Thrones Won [168]
Best TV Episode "The Winds of Winter" Won
Best TV Drama Series Game of Thrones Won
MTV Fandom Awards Fan Freak Out of the Year Game of Thrones - Resurrection of Jon Snow Nominated [169]
International Film Music Critics Association Best Original Score for a Television Series Ramin Djawadi Won [170]
Film Music Composition Of The Year Ramin Djawadi for "Light of the Seven" Nominated [171]
World Soundtrack Awards Television Composer of the Year Ramin Djawadi Nominated [172]
2017 43rd People's Choice Awards Favorite Premium Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show Game of Thrones Nominated [173]
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress Emilia Clarke Nominated
44th Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in a Live Action Production Nicholas Tripodi, Dean Elliott, James Hollingworth, Matt Weaver for "Battle of the Bastards" Nominated [174]
[175]
74th Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Drama Game of Thrones Nominated [176]
Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Lena Headey Nominated
21st Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Lena Headey Nominated [177]
[178]
Best Television Series – Genre Game of Thrones Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards 2016 Episodic Drama David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for "The Winds of Winter" Nominated [179]
Television Drama Series David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, Dave Hill, D. B. Weiss Nominated
23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Drama Series Boian Anev, Kristina Baskett, Rachelle Beinart, Richard Bradshaw, Michael Byrch, Nick Chopping, Christopher Cox, Jake Cox, David Cronnelly, Matt Crook, Levan Doran, Bradley Farmer, Vladimir Furdik, Richard Hansen, Rob Hayns, Paul Howell, Rowley Irlam, Erol Ismail, Milen Kaleychev, Leigh Maddern, Jonathan McBride, Leona McCarron, Kim McGarrity, Richard Mead, Casey Michaels, Sian Milne, David Newton, Jason Otelle, Radoslav Parvanov, Ian Pead, Rashid Phoenix, Andy Pilgrim, Marc Redmond, Paul Shapcott, Jonny Stockwell, Ryan Stuart, Edward Upcott, Leo Woodruff Won [180]
Outstanding Performance by An Ensemble in a Drama Series Alfie Allen, Jacob Anderson, Dean Charles Chapman, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Liam Cunnungham, Peter Dinklage, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Conleth Hill, Kristofer Hivju, Michiel Huisman, Faye Marsay, Jonathan Pryce, Sophie Turner, Carcie Van Houten, Gemma Whelan, Maisie Williams, Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Peter Dinklage Nominated
American Cinema Editors Awards 2017 Best Edited One-Hour Series For Non-Commercial Television Tim Porter for "Battle of the Bastards" Won [181]
Art Directors Guild Awards 2016 One-Hour Single Camera Period Or Fantasy Television Series Deborah Riley for "Blood of My Blood", "The Broken Man" and "No One" Nominated [182]
Producers Guild of America Awards 2016 The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bernadette Caulfield, Frank Doelger, Carolyn Strauss, Bryan Cogman, Lisa McAtackney, Chris Newman, Greg Spence Nominated [183]
Visual Effects Society Awards 2016 Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode Joe Bauer, Steve Kullback, Glenn Melenhorst, Matthew Rouleau, Sam Conway for "Battle of the Bastards" Won [184]
[185]
Outstanding Animated Performance in an Episode or Real-Time Project James Kinnings, Michael Holzl, Matt Derksen, Joeseph Hoback for "Battle of the Bastards" – Drogon Won
Sebastian Lauer, Jonathan Symmonds, Thomas Kutschera, Anthony Sieben for "Home" – Emaciated Dragon Nominated
Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial or Real-Time Project Deak Ferrand, Dominic Daigle, François Croteau, Alexandru Banuta for "Battle of the Bastards" – Meereen City Won
Edmond Engelbrecht, Tomoka Matsumura, Edwin Holdsworth, Cheri Fojtik for "The Winds of Winter" – Citadel Nominated
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project Patrick Tiberius Gehlen, Michelle Blok, Christopher Baird, Drew Wood-Davies for "Battle of the Bastards" Nominated
Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project Kevin Blom, Sasmit Ranadive, Wanghua Huang, Ben Andersen for "Battle of the Bastards" Nominated
Thomas Hullin, Dominik Kirouac, James Dong, Xavier Fourmond for "Battle of the Bastards" – Meereen City Won
Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Episode Thomas Montminy-Brodeur, Patrick David, Michael Crane, Joe Salazar for "Battle of the Bastards" - Meereen City Nominated
Dominic Hellier, Morgan Jones, Thijs Noij, Caleb Thompson for "Battle of the Bastards" – Retaking Winterfell Won
Eduardo Díaz, Aníbal Del Busto, Angel Rico, Sonsoles López-Aranguren for "The Door" – Land of Always Winter Nominated
Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing – Television Series – One Hour Ronan Hill, Onnalee Blank, Mathew Waters, Richard Dyer, Brett Voss for "Battle of the Bastards" Won [186]
69th Directors Guild of America Awards Dramatic Series Miguel Sapochnik for "Battle of the Bastards" Won [187]
USC Scripter Award Best Adapted Screenplay David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for "The Winds of Winter" Nominated [188]
Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards Best Period and/or Character Makeup – Television Jane Walker, Kay Bilk Won [189]
Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling – Television Kevin Alexander, Candice Banks Won
Best Special Makeup Effects – Television Barrie Gower, Sarah Gower Nominated
Costume Designers Guild Awards Outstanding Fantasy Television Series Michele Clapton, April Ferry Won [190]
Dorian Awards TV Drama of the Year Game of Thrones Nominated [191]
22nd National Television Awards Best Drama Game of Thrones Nominated [192]
[193]
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing in Television, Short Form: FX/Foley Tim Kimmel, Brett Voss, John Matter, Jeffrey Wilhoit, Dylan Wilhoit, Paula Fairfield and Bradley Katona for "Battle of the Bastards" Nominated [194]
Best Sound Editing in Television, Short Form: Dialogue / ADR Tim Kimmel and Tim Hands for "Battle of the Bastards" Nominated
Best Sound Editing in Television, Short Form: Music David Klotz for "Battle of the Bastards" Nominated
Society of Camera Operators Awards Camera Operator of the Year – Television Sean Savage Nominated [195]
Zulu Awards Best Actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Nominated [196]
Canadian Society of Cinematographers TV Series Cinematography Gregory Middleton for "Home" Won [197]
Location Managers Guild Awards LMGI Award for Outstanding Locations in Period Television Matt Jones and Naomi Liston Nominated [198]
43rd Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Television Series Game of Thrones Nominated [199]
Best Supporting Actor on Television Kit Harington Nominated
Best Actress on Television Lena Headey Nominated
22nd Empire Awards Best TV Series Game of Thrones Nominated [200]
Irish Film & Television Academy Best Television Drama Game of Thrones Nominated [201]
Actor in a Supporting Role – Television Liam Cunningham Nominated
Best Sound Game of Thrones Nominated
Best VFX Game of Thrones Nominated
Webby Award Best Overall Social Presence Game of Thrones Won [202]
Unscripted (Branded) "Battle of the Bastards" Featurette Won [203]
Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form David Benioff (writer), D. B. Weiss (writer), and Miguel Sapochnik (director) for "Battle of the Bastards" Pending [204]
David Benioff (writer), D. B. Weiss (writer), and Jack Bender (director) for "The Door" Pending
2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards Show Of The Year Game of Thrones Nominated [205]
Best Actor In A Show Emilia Clarke Nominated
Tearjerker Hodor's (Kristian Nairn) Death Nominated
2017 British Academy Television Awards Must-See Moment "Battle of the Bastards" Nominated [206]
Glamour Awards Best UK TV Actress Sophie Turner Won [207]

Release

Broadcast

The season was simulcast around the world by HBO and its broadcast partners. While in some countries, it aired the day after its first release.[208]

Home media

The season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 15, 2016.[209] The set includes extra background, behind-the-scenes material and deleted scenes.[209]

Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season
Set details Special features
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, Castilian, German
  • Subtitles: English, French, Castilian, German, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Swedish, Turkish
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 5-disc set, 10 episodes
  • "18 Hours At The Paint Hall": Follow all three shooting units as they converge in this behind-the-scenes snapshot of a day in the life of the largest show on television.
  • "The Battle Of The Bastards": An In-Depth Look – Behind-the-scenes piece examining the production challenges of creating this epic event, including explorations of VFX, stunts, and interviews with key cast and crew.
  • "Recreating The Dothraki World": Behind-the-scenes piece looking at the creation of Vaes Dothrak and its importance to Dany's evolution.
  • 13 audio commentaries by, among others, Benioff, Weiss, Dinklage, Headey, Harington, Coster-Waldau, Turner and more.

Blu-ray exclusive:

  • "In-Episode Guide": In-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations and relevant histories.
  • "Histories & Lore": Learn about the mythology of Westeros as told from the varying perspectives of the characters themselves, includes 18 history pieces.[209]
DVD release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
November 15, 2016[209][210] November 14, 2016[211] November 16, 2016[212]

Copyright infringement

The sixth season of Game of Thrones was the most-pirated TV series in 2016.[213]

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