Game of Thrones Season 6 Primer: King's Landing and Dorne
Winter is coming (in Westeros). The Game of Thrones Season 6 Premiere is only three days away, and there are SO many reasons to be excited: Dany knows how to use one of her dragons! Tyrion and Varys are together, bantering wittily! Cersei is fresh from a very literal walk of shame and ready to enter Rampage Mode! Jorah Friend Zone and Daario Bone Zone are traveling in search of their mutual love interest! The Mountain is back as a very large zombie! Dorne is being forced to actively join world events! A lunatic is leading armed religious zealots in the capital city!
With all that to look forward to, let’s take a quick look back and get ready for what’s coming our way. Here are the regional breakdowns you need to be prepared come Sunday:
Cersei Lannister, Tommen Baratheon, Margaery Tyrell, Loras Tyrell, Littlefinger, the High Sparrow
Where we left off
Cersei has returned to the Red Keep after confessing to cousin-degree incest.
Margaery and Loras Tyrell are prisoners of the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant.
Littlefinger, with approval from the Iron Throne, is sending his army from the Vale to Winterfell.
The High Sparrow has royally (pun intended) pissed off every House in King’s Landing.
How will Cersei prioritize her beefs?
It can be hard to keep track, so let’s recap: Cersei is pissed at the High Sparrow for arresting and publicly shaming her; at the Martells because of Ellaria’s threat, and she doesn’t know about Myrcella’s poisoning yet; at the Boltons for marrying Sansa to strengthen their hold on the North; and at Margaery Tyrell for being younger and better-looking than her and supplanting her as Queen. Now that she’s free, who will she seek vengeance on first? I don’t think she can afford to maintain her beef with the Tyrells, because the Lannister army has been depleted and the Tyrells are the closest and most powerful allies they have. They also have a common enemy in the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant. With that in mind, I think she’ll look to strengthen her alliance with the Tyrells, strike at the Faith Militant, allow Littlefinger to handle the Boltons, and then entirely lose her mind when she gets news of Myrcella.
Where are the Tyrells, and what condition are they in?
While Cersei confessed to the lesser charges levied against her, Margaery and Loras Tyrell are still imprisoned. Mace is in Braavos negotiating with the Iron Bank. If Cersei wants to strengthen her alliance with the Tyrells, she’ll have to work with the Queen of Thorns, Olenna, last seen in King’s Landing. By nature Olenna may not be inclined to help Cersei with anything, but with Margaery and Loras imprisoned by The Faith, she doesn’t have much of a choice.
Lore: House Tyrell
What is Littlefinger’s next move?
We know Littlefinger is planning to mop up what’s left of the Bolton and Baratheon armies that met at the end of last season. We don’t know what he plans to do after displacing Roose Bolton as Warden of the North. If he succeeds, will he attempt to marry Sansa to help his cause and address his creepy crush? Does he turn on the Lannisters then, and attempt to rally the North behind him? Does he know that Rickon is alive at Last Hearth? None of these moves would be easy to pull off, but I doubt his ambitions end with Warden of the North and a seat in Winterfell.
Petyr Baelish was born to a family of small importance in the Vale, but fostered at Riverrun where he grew up with Catelyn and Lysa Tully. His connection with Lysa allowed him to demonstrate his gift for finances and governance, eventually earning him the position of Master of Coin under Robert Baratheon. After his appointment, he started gathering contacts and purchasing brothels in King’s Landing, both to generate income and collect information.
Doran Martell, Trystane Martell, Ellaria Sand, the Sand Snakes, Jaime Lannister, Myrcella Baratheon, Bronn
Where we left off:
Doran pardoned the Sand Snakes and Ellaria for their attempt on Myrcella’s life, but...
Ellaria poisoned Myrcella, who is on a ship just off the coast with Jaime, Bronn, and Trystane.
What do Ellaria’s actions mean for Dorne?
With or without proof of her involvement, Ellaria has put Doran and the rest of Dorne on the brink of war with the Iron Throne. The quasi-hostage situation Myrcella was in is common in Westeros, and operates on a simple premise: we’ll take care of your blood as long as we get along on a higher level. Without provocation, Ellaria murdered an innocent girl who happened to be a Princess. I can’t imagine Cersei coming to any sort of terms with the Martells after this, so an open declaration of war seems inevitable. It won’t be the first time Dorne has stood against the Iron Throne.
Lore: Dorne and the Iron Throne
Dorne and its rulers have resisted the Iron Throne for centuries. Aegon the Conqueror attempted to conquer Dorne, but found the castles and cities abandoned; rather than facing the Targaryens and their dragons in open combat, the Dornishmen attacked quickly and retreated underground or into the desert. After Queen Rhaenys and her dragon were killed fighting in Dorne, the conquest was temporarily abandoned. Years later, the Targaryens tried again and succeeded briefly before Dorne launched a successful rebellion. The southernmost kingdom of Westeros was only fully assimilated into the Seven Kingdoms after peaceful marriages were arranged.
Does Dorne have any allies?
Dorne is a large region in terms of area, but not densely populated. Much of the area is covered in desert, and rocky mountains line the northern border, making travel difficult. The Dornish operate differently from the rest of the Seven Kingdoms in many ways, and have no firm allies in Westeros. They DO have a history with female rulers from across the Narrow Sea, however.
Lore: Queen Nymeria
Dany does not yet have the support of any Westerosi house, but Dorne is already at odds with the Iron Throne and may be interested in forming an alliance.
What happens to Trystane, Ellaria, and the Sand Snakes now?
Trystane is suddenly in big trouble. Jaime may not be impulsive enough to execute him for Myrcella’s poisoning, but the Lannisters will certainly want him as a hostage. His only way out is if Martell soldiers are on board in enough strength to turn the ship around and return to Sunspear. Ellaria should be planning to disappear with the Sand Snakes as soon as possible; Doran just rebuked her for her actions and she immediately doubled down. Doran may consider leniency for the Sand Snakes, but executing Ellaria to appease the Iron Throne is not out of the question.