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Binge Mode: ‘Game of Thrones’ | Season 6

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HBO/Ringer illustration
HBO/Ringer illustration

Get ready for Game of Thrones Season 7 by binge-watching all 60 existing episodes with The Ringer’s experts, Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion, as they deep-dive one episode at a time to parse the theories, history, characters, and themes that enrich one of the defining stories of our time. Season 6 is below. Click here for more seasons.

S6E1: "The Red Woman"

The sixth season of Game of Thrones is where the show really begins to advance past the books, with new scenes emerging all across the map, from the Wall to Dorne all the way to the Dothraki sea. The showrunners aren’t making things up — they have a plan — but in "The Red Woman," the characters they write seem to be concocting new plans on the fly. As Binge Mode examines the most recent season of Thrones, Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion discuss that theme of improvising before sharing the book version of the Dornish plot and crowning a free agent as the episode’s champion.

S6E2: "Home"

Jon back! The great Lord Snow takes his first breath post-stabbing in "Home," after receiving some assistance from Ghost, Melisandre, Davos, and the Lord of Light. Add in Jon, and that’s a decent starting five, but it’s not the only team that fulfills a goal in this episode. Rubin and Concepcion unpack this theme and its various manifestations, and they break down the theories behind Tyrion’s parentage before awarding a mouth-breather with the champion’s purse.

S6E3: "Oathbreaker"

And now his watch is ended: Jon’s gone from the Night’s Watch again! That’s not the only piece of forward movement in "Oathbreaker," the third episode of Thrones Season 6, but it’s a large plot propeller in a span of episodes characterized by pieces shifting around and setting the stage for late-season fireworks. On Binge Mode, Rubin and Concepcion analyze how characters take leaps of faith when preparation and planning will take too long. They also study the backstory of the Prince That Was Promised and crown a mourning son as the episode’s champion.

S6E4: "Book of the Stranger"

The last time we visited Vaes Dothrak, we learned that Viserys wasn’t the last dragon; as Dany said at the time, fire cannot kill a dragon. Well, now we’re back in the great Dothraki city, and guess what: We’ve found a Targaryen worthy of that label, who once again emerges from a conflagration powerful and unburned. The episode features a fiery finish, but there’s more to discuss from "Book of the Stranger." Rubin and Concepcion also detail the history of the dosh khaleen and review the central theme of negotiating in bad faith, before crowning a controversial episode champion.

S6E5: "The Door"

Hold up "The Door" and gaze upon it with wonder: The fifth episode of Thrones Season 6 contains an intensely emotional climax, which both emerges from an unexpected place and pieces together a puzzle it had been dangling in front of the audience for the past six years. Then listen to Rubin and Concepcion break the episode down through their tears. They explore the central theme of great power, great responsibility and consider the book versions of Bran’s visions before awarding an emerging leader with the champion’s purse.

S6E6: "Blood of My Blood"

The last time we heard about Benjen Stark, a certain Lord’s Commander was stabbed for the Watch. This time, he’s back for real — as is Walder Frey, returning to the screen for the first time since the Red Wedding’s wake. We also meet the Tarlys in "Blood of My Blood," leading Rubin and Concepcion to examine the families different characters choose rather than the ones they’re born into. They also study the book version of Coldhands and award a rebellious son with the champion’s purse, which will fit nicely next to his new Valyrian sword.

S6E7: "The Broken Man"

Welcome back to the Hound! We missed your snarling, grunting ways and fear of fire. (Watch out for the fast-approaching dragon invaders.) The Hound isn’t the only lost character in "The Broken Man," though — Arya receives a dagger to the belly, Jon and Sansa appear to be waging an unwinnable war, and Jaime is frustrated by military incompetence at Riverrun. Rubin and Concepcion analyze what happens when the lost cause is the just cause before detailing the Blackfish’s history and crowning a fierce head of house as the episode’s champion.

S6E8: "No One"

No one is gone; someone — a very proud, important, talented someone — is officially back. That’s quite a turn for Arya Stark, in an episode full of heel turns. Rubin and Concepcion review that pattern in "No One" and explain the history of the Trial of Seven, before crowning, well, someone as the episode’s champion.

S6E9: "Battle of the Bastards"

Seasons 7 and 8 are truncated, so "Battle of the Bastards" will go down as the last Episode 9 in Thrones history — and in typical Episode 9 fashion, it was the best action movie of the year. Rubin and Concepcion explore its central theme of redemption and break down the history of great bastards in Westeros. Then, they break tradition by crowning a whole house as the episode’s champion.

S6E10: "The Winds of Winter"

The Ringer just ranked "The Winds of Winter" as the best Thrones episode of all, and it’s not recency bias talking: The Season 6 finale is the most thrilling, explosive, emotional episode yet. We promise. In that vein, Rubin and Concepcion discuss Thrones’ promises, chiefly Ned’s series-defining vow to his sister, and consider the backstory behind the siblings’ scene in the Tower of Joy. Finally, they wrap up their Binge Mode work by awarding the last champion’s purse to, of course, a pair of trusting siblings.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.