'Game of Thones,' season six and it's place in the pantheon
"Sometimes before we can usher in the new, the old has to be put to rest." — Qyburn, "Game of Thones"
Wow. Incredible. Holy Cow. Can you believe that? Best ever, right? I'm so jacked right now.
Those are just some of the responses I've seen following the season six finale of "Game of Thrones," which aired on Sunday night. And it's understandable. It feels like every year when "Game of Thrones" ends people declare it the best ever. And whenever the next big episode airs, they declare it the best ever. I usually chock it up to recency bias, but now I'm thinking differently.
For those that haven't seen "Game of Thrones" season six, SPOILERS BELOW:
Was season six the best ever? That's a subjective question, but even objectively you'd have to lean toward yes. The season delivered some epic moments. Here's a small list of what we saw this season:
* Episode 2: Jon Snow is raised from the dead. We all knew it was coming, but still.
* Episode 4: Daenerys burned the Dothraki leaders, got out of a jam, grew her army, and stuck it to the rest of Essos.
* Episode 5: The Door. I don't know if I've been that emotionally devastated since the Red Wedding. Seen Hodor's origin story, followed by his sacrificial death, was too much. And it was only the mid-point in the season!
* Episode 8: Arya kills the Waif. We don't know the Waif's real name, and at this point it hardly matters. She was an evil little child and Arya rightly killed her, then took her name back and headed home. Thus ended the driest of "Game of Thrones" plots.
* Episode 9: Daenerys brings out her dragons and her new Dothraki army and quells the rebellion. Then she makes an alliance with Yara and Theon Greyjoy to take the Iron Throne.
* Episode 9: As if the battle for Mereen weren't enough, Jon Snow and his army square off against Ramsey Bolton and his army. Good vs. Evil. Right vs. Wrong. The most noble and traditional battle in the show's six year history. It was epic. It took 25 days to film, they shot 86 hours of footage, and it delivered a big time resolution. It also ended with the Starks taking Winterfell and Ramsey getting the ending he deserved. And that was in the hour prior to the finale.
* Episode 10: The longest in the show's history, at 69 minutes. Cersei became queen by wiping out the High Sparrow, all his followers, most of the Tyrell family and her own uncle. That, in turn, caused her son, the king, to take his own life. All of it was shot in a brilliant and eerie manner, and all of it set to one of the most brilliant pieces of music in the show's history. It was like "The Godfather."
* Episode 10: Arya returned to Westeros and settled her own family debts, taking out Walder Frey and showing she's become the kind of assassin the Faceless Men hoped she would be. Only she is her own master now.
* Episode 10: Jon Snow is declared King of the North, completing an epic comeback from stabbed and left for dead in the season five finale to King in just 10 short episodes.
* Episode 10: And, finally, fans get to see The Tower of Joy, learning more about Jon's birth origin. Are there still questions? Sure. But most of us are 99 percent sure we know everything now, which means we're all probably wrong.
* Episode 10: And the season leaves us with Daenerys and her BAA (Big Ass Army) sailing to Westeros. It's the kind of epic shot as a simple moment that makes you realize how big this show is in size and scope.
That is quite a list, and it only scratches the surface of the season. Still not convinced? How about this for you objective folks: Episode 9 and 10 of Season 6, "Battle of the Bastards" and "Winds of Winter," have become the first two episodes of the show, and the first two episodes of a show in history, to receive perfect 10 ratings.
Sure, some of that could be recency bias. But it's also a sign of how epic and satisfying this was, and that is an achievement. So by subjective and objective measures, I feel like it's safe to say that season six was the best season of the show.
Best show ever?
Here's where it gets trickier. People have often argued about the Greatest Show of All Time — or GOAT. Many have argued for "Game of Thrones," and I see the appeal. Two things have held me back.
First, I don't think you can declare a show the GOAT until it's finished. Endings matter. So does the passage of time and a show's legacy. So with two seasons and 13 episodes left, it's too early to declare for "Game of Thrones."
Second, I have always considered "The Wire" the best show in the history of television, and never thought I would be moved from that. To me, "The Wire" transcends TV and makes an incredible statement about the state of our world. It's elevated above the level of art.
After this season, for the first time, I'm considering "Game of Thrones" as the GOAT. It's making a run. I never thought that would happen.
I can't wait to see where it goes next. The long 10 month wait begins. If you haven't seen it, now is the time to give it a try and see why many believe "Game of Thrones" will end up at the greatest show of all time.