If you haven’t seen the season finale of GAME OF THRONES, what is wrong with you?? Go watch it and come back here to debate/discuss .. Meanwhile, here’s my appropriately epic recap on “The Winds of Winter.”
There’s a certain swagger that “Game of Thrones” has right now that is rather amazing. It’s like the showrunners are on an epic run at the blackjack table, constantly getting the right cards, doubling down on the right hand, splitting and hitting over and over. There has been an aura of supreme confidence throughout Season 6, and the season finale was the mic drop of 2016.
Of course, most of us thought last week’s incredible episode couldn’t be topped. But it turns out “Battle of the Bastards” wasn’t the pinnacle of this season; “The Winds of Winter” was.
I mean, what else could you want as a farewell until 2017 from this magnificent show?
Just as Ramsey Bolton’s death was enormously satisfying, we had another amazing moment that allowed fans to pump their fists and scream, “YES!! IT’S ABOUT TIME!!!”
The moment I’m referring to is the Wildfire BBQing of The High Sparrow, one of the smarmiest and most infuriating characters we’ve seen on TV in a long time.
That whole sequence in King’s Landing was sublime. The beautiful camera work, combined with the moody, mysterious score that kept building in intensity, really set the tone. We knew something was up, but what, exactly? And when??
We see King Tommen and Queen Margary dressing for the trial. We see poor, pitiful Loras getting a haircut and hopefully a bath …and Cersei. She’s also getting ready, but it becomes obvious really quickly that she’s not dressing for a court date. She’s suiting up for battle.
As a big fan of Margary, I was sad to see her go, but she kind of had to, at this point. This whole sequence, and the entire season’s time in King’s Landing, was really about Cersei getting her groove back. And she certainly did. But I did like that Margary was given the chance to tell the High Sparrow to screw the Gods and prove she was right. Too bad nobody in the Sept would listen to her about Cersei. But that’s kind of been Margary’s lot in life. So close, yet so far away. Three times she’s been made a Queen. Three times it’s ended in disaster.
I was frankly surprised that Cersei’s plan went just about as she planned. Her recent schemes have all been disasters that have left the Lannister House in ruins. But her idea to go all Mad King and blow the Sept up using Wildfire went off just as planned. Not only did she wipe out the High Sparrow and his minions – and craftily outsmarting him in the process – but as a bonus, she also got rid of Margary and the King’s entire council.
How about the way creepy Maester Pycelle made his exit?
Getting shanked by a bunch of kids while Qyburn talks about “out with the old” … meanwhile, Lancel gets a knife in the back and makes an excruciating crawl toward the candle that’s about to light the fire beneath the city.
With as many balls in the air as Thrones currently has, it’s another sign of the confidence the producers have in their storytelling ability that they would devote nearly a half hour of their season finale to one location. What a great decision. King’s Landing is the centerpiece of what’s to come in the final couple seasons of the show, and this returned the focus of the show to that wretched hive of scum and villainy.
After losing Bolton and the High Sparrow, the show needed another villain to center its story around. Cersei has always been a schemer and a threat, but now, as THE QUEEN, she’s at the pinnacle of her power. And she’s reveling in it. Look at how she enjoyed admitting her murder of King Robert, her incestuous affair with Jamie and her destruction of the Sept to Psycho Sparrow Acolyte. She’s in full ‘Bring It On’ mode.
Of course, even when Cersei wins, she loses.
I wasn’t expecting Tommen to survive the season, but him taking a header from the royal balcony was a surprise. When the Mountain showed up at his door, I was stunned. Sending Ser Gregor to kill her own son? Not only cruel, but kind of overkill, no??
Judging by her lack of tears or any major emotion when she saw his body, she didn’t seem as grief-stricken with Tommen’s death as she was over the deaths of her other two kids. Maybe she had already written him off as a victim of the High Sparrow’s manipulation. What do you think?
Speaking of long-brewing story threads, I loved seeing Ser Davos call for Melisandre’s head for convincing Stannis to burn poor Shireen alive. I liked that Jon Snow reacted the way he did. Davos has been his right-hand man during Life #2, he needed to show his support.
So what’s she going to do now? I’m guessing she joins up with Bran and what’s-her-name (sorry, can’t remember her name at the moment, it’s late) to form a power-trio of weird sorcerers.
The scene atop Winterfell between Jon and Sansa was quite nice.
The surprise save by the Knights of the Vale could have been a major break in the alliance between two of the surviving Starks – probably as Littlefinger intended – but I liked that Jon put aside Sansa not telling him about that little army she had in her back pocket and said, we have to trust each other. Agreed.
It’s taken what, 3 seasons to rebuild House Stark, the only House in the 7 Kingdoms with more than one somewhat decent person in it. The last thing we need is to see that House Divided so quickly.
Sansa’s breakout season ends on another great moment as she outfoxes Littlefinger and gets him to do something he NEVER does – show his hand.
By getting him to admit that what he wants is to claim the Iron Throne and have her as his queen, she finally understands his endgame. And then she let him know she played him by saying, ‘that’s a pretty picture’ and walking away.
(aside: that’s two episodes in a row where Sansa has gotten one over on a guy and walked away with a wry smile. Someone GIF that for me, ASAP!)
More Lady Tyrell! Even if it is in godforsaken Dorn. That little exchange where she shuts up the Sand Snakes was the most entertaining moments Dorn has ever seen. And then Verys walks in!! Love it! How many more allies does Danaerys need???
The ONLY moment in this show that I could have really done without was Dany dumping Daario. On a show like this, doing the whole, “it’s not you, it’s me and my plans to rule the 7 Kingdoms” thing is just incredibly lackluster.
It was almost like the writers knew it, which was why they had a scene with Tyrion immediately after. Dany and Tyrion’s bond has always been effortless in its charm, but this time, it appeared more than just Queen/Adviser banter. It seemed like a the affection between old friends or…. two siblings.
I mean, c’mon, Tyrion being a Targaryen has to be revealed next season, right?? That episode where he talked about his dream as a kid to have a dragon, then somehow not getting fried by the two dragons in the dungeon .. that has to be where this is leading.
Ordinarily, the Sam interlude would have been the subject of ridicule given how out of place it is in an episode like this, but the set design of that library was OUTSTANDING. Total shot in the dark, but Sam’s going to play a key role in fighting the White Walkers, I think. And he’s going to hand Jon Snow a key strategy from one of those damn books, I’m guessing.
This has gone on too long already, but I was pleasantly shocked to see Arya already back in the Westeros mix. The fact that she was able to get scratch one more name off her list and get revenge on the Freys for the Red Wedding made it even better. After a subpar season for one of my favorite characters, this was an excellent way to get her back in the middle of things.
Say it with me: Stark Reunion Tour 2017!! Arya has to get to Winterfell. That reunion will short-circuit the Internet in nerd tears.
That would have been the perfect way to end Season 6 … except,
We get confirmation,via the Tower of Joy flashback from Bran, that R+L=J . The scene shows young Ned finding his sister Lyanna after she had given birth to a boy with brown eyes (just like Jon). She whispered something we didn’t hear, but we did hear her say, ‘promise me Ned’ … we have to assume that promise is to keep her boy safe from Robert Baratheon, who was busy trying to wipe every single Targaryen off the face of the Earth. Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon = yet ANOTHER targaryen. OK, technically, they didn’t confirm Rhaegar was Jon’s father, but half that equation is now official.
Damn, for a House that was nearly extinct in S1, House Targaryen is quite populated all of a sudden.
Then we get that utterly galvanizing scene where the North finally remembers who butters their bread –thanks to another wonderful scene from Lady Mormont – and rallies behind Jon Snow! If I had a sword I’d have sworn my allegiance too!
(What is Littlefinger plotting way back there? Another double-cross? There’s no way he’s backing Jon, is he? Will he go back to Kings Landing and the Lannisters? Sansa certainly seemed worried. BTW, the last time the North rallied behind a Stark, it didn’t end well for poor Robb.)
That’s the perfect way to end Season 6 … except,
Then we see Cersei’s coup in its completed form. After not mourning the death of her son AT ALL, she takes his place on the Iron Throne. And who arrives just in time to witness it? Jamie. I have to admit, I rolled my eyes at the really convenient timing of his arrival, but I got over it quickly. WTH is going through his mind? The sister/woman he loves just took the crown from his/their son?? Oh boy. Long Live The Queen?!
Now THAT is the perfect way to end Season 6 … except….
Finally, FINALLY, Danaerys Targaryen has set sail for Westeros!!
With an armada of ships thanks to Theon & Yara, an army of Dothraki, an able entourage including Verys! (that guy really gets around!) and 3 dragons, it is. Officially. GAME ON!
That is the best way to end the BEST season in GoT history.
My Season 7 wish list :
The Clegane Bowl – the Mountain vs The Hound would shatter PPV records in the 7 Kingdoms.
Ser Jorah the Greyscale somehow joining the fray in Westeros and going out a hero.
To see a full-on Dothraki invasion/sacking/pillaging of King’s Landing. Or Dorn. Or anywhere.
Will we ever learn what happened to that OTHER Baratheon who Ser Davos set free and put on a boat? Gendry can’t still be rowing, can he??? He’s a bastard son, but he has as good a claim as ANY to the crown at the moment.
Jon vs Jamie mano y mano (sort of) – This would be a sensational undercard to the Clegane Bowl.
Where the hell is Brienne?!?!
It’s official, folks. Winter is here.