Has 'Game Of Thrones' Season 6 Been Chiller Than Past Seasons?

Is it just me or is this current season of Game of Thrones relatively calmer than previous seasons? Make no mistake, there've been some truly shocking moments: Jon Snow's resurrection, Hodor's death and Arya's surprise stabbing have kept us all agog since the season premiere. In spite of these key events, though, I can't help but wonder if this season might be a little too chilled out considering the show's penchant for intense violence. These were the two main factors that grabbed our attention in Season 1. The blatant disregard for viewers' sympathy in favor of a shocking moment is what's made GoT the show we know it to be. Now, it feels like there's one or two gasp-worthy moments surrounded by rather tame action every episode. Is GoT actually more chilled than previous seasons? Is Season 6 simply saving all the gore and shock for its final two episodes?

Is this show actually moving in a softer direction or have we as viewers hardened ourselves to the world of GoT?

You're probably rolling your eyes already because you're naming a dozen moments in addition to the trio I named that were either shocking, brutal, crass or a mix of all three. Yes, we've still gotten a few glimpses of various nether regions. Yes, there's been copious amounts of blood spilled in the name of power. But the bulk of the episodes in this season are more concerned with showing the serious conversations between characters in lieu of outlandish action. It would appear that GoT's ingrained habit of showcasing the gore and sex is now being put on the back-burner in favor of actually moving the narrative forward. So do less nudity and dead bodies equal a more chill show? It would make sense to have the violence toned down with GoT itself winding down towards a series finale. It would also make a bit of sense to keep everyone more clothed and alive if only to relieve viewers from the senselessness of the killing. What's the point in being shocking when viewers will soon be clamoring to see characters sew up their story arcs? Does this mean, though, that the show has become all about peace, love and happiness á la Brother Ray? No way.

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While it's been a nice reprieve from the craziness this season, I have a bad feeling that all the real violence is being saved up for the final pair of episodes, which are titled, respectively, "Battle of the Bastards" and "The Winds of Winter." For "Battle," my immediate thought was that we'll finally get to see the showdown between Jon and Ramsay (both men are the bastard sons of their families). Also, it's well-known that any battle in the GoT-verse has been a bloody and game-changing affair. Whatever minor bloodletting has happened in the season pre-"Battle" will surely be doubled by in this episode. Similarly, "Winds" could reference be the realization that winter has finally arrived in Westeros, the White Walkers having broken out of the North. We've seen the damage the White Walkers have caused; what's possible at their hands could be devastatingly gory.

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So, when we compare the shock value of sex and violence in this season to previous seasons, does it only feel like there's less of it this year or are we simply numb to it? What I truly contend is that Season 6 could be classified as its most relaxed. That's not to say the show has itself become relaxed; simply that, when put up against another season, it feels like viewers can breathe a little easier these days. Sure, there will always be curveballs. There will always be one major "What just happened?!" scene —these days, it's usually the final sequence — and there will always be gore and blood. That's the GoT we've come to love. But you have to admit: all of these lowkey machinations and ominous signs are putting me on the edge of my seat, leaving me to wonder how the this season of GoT will really end.

Images: Helen Sloan/HBO; Giphy (2)