First of all, since the show has now passed the books, I am keeping this post spoiler-free. I have a few friends who will not watch the show until the corresponding book is published. Those wishing to avoid spoilers, merely avoid any potential comments.
Well. Wow. WOW. That was quite the season. The best since Season 1, or potentially, the best season of the show so far. Season 5 was VERY weak to watch week-by-week,but benefitted greatly from 'marathon' (screw the term 'binge') viewing. I've yet to re-watch Season 6 now that it's done though.
I follow a website from time to time known as 'The Werztone'. He has used some phrases and wording and phrasing that mirror my thoughts on the season, which I will copy + paste here, followed by more of my own thoughts. Tis whole article is spoiler free:
"The fifth season of Game of Thrones was its worst, saved from mediocrity by the penultimate episode Hardhome which completely raised the bar for the show in terms of dramatic power, visual effects and small-screen myth-making. For a show which, for four previous seasons, had always been an effective and satisfying slice of drama (if still running a distant second to the novels in terms of characterisation and satisfying political drama), the fifth was a major let-down, reportedly the result of the producers not knowing how many episodes they had left to tell the story and the confusion caused by adapting elements from George R.R. Martin's novels whilst also outpacing them.
The sixth season is, thankfully, vastly superior to the fifth. It is has a sense of purpose and relentlessness which has been missing for a while, as well as a willingness to seed major moments amongst almost all of the episodes rather than holding back the best for last.
The biggest and most continuous problem through the season, and one I suspect we will see going forwards, is the absence of George R.R. Martin's dialogue. Benioff and Weiss are - when on their game - effective plotters and sometimes quite clever in how they reframe the source material to work in 60-minute chunks with far fewer characters and locations to call upon, but their original dialogue is frequently clunky. With no novels left to adapt, the opportunity to use Martin's dialogue in-situ is largely gone and they have to fall back on their own material, which is much more variable.
The question of whether the sixth season would spoil the final two books has also been answered by the TV show going off in a completely different direction in numerous storylines. The only areas where the show does spoil the books is by confirming fairly blatantly obvious theories.
Overall, the sixth season of Game of Thrones executes some much-needed damage control after the problems of the fifth season to deliver a much more interesting set of stories. There are still weaknesses in worldbuilding, dialogue, characterisation and how it handles military matters, but the show has developed a renewed sense of purpose and focus as the final end of the show comes into view."
I could not put it better myself, nor agree more. This season has definitely been the most enjoyable. Although, those that read the books, and wish to read the forthcoming ones, the problem is this: how do we if a spoiler is a true spoiler from the books?
Lots of moments I'm looking forward to reading about in the books, should they be present there. Lots of interesting twists and turns story-wise from the minor to the major. If Season 6 is anything to go by, The Winds of of Winter is going to kick ass.
From a show-only perspective, Game of Thrones is going strong, and those who weren't too fond of the past season or two, it definitely gets back on track. Winter is here.