I always feel an intense melancholy every time the final credits roll on another season of Game of Thrones – having to wait another year to witness the most wonderfully crafted characters in television history battle for the iron throne is painful, but this time it feels even worse.
The Winds of Winter, the final episode in season six of Game of Thrones means that when season seven premieres again next year, we will be embarking on our final journey into Westeros – and doesn’t that just feel terrible?
Anyway, we’re miles away from that yet, so we can remain blissfully ignorant of the event until it creeps upon us and focus instead on the season six finale of Game of Thrones. As always: spoilers ahead.
The Winds of Winter
There’s no doubt that Game of Thrones has offered audiences some truly excellent finales over the past six seasons, but I am pretty confident that they all fade in comparison to this season’s explosive season showdown.
The cynic in me feels like the writers, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, were trying to fit so much into the season finale, to the point where the pacing was a little off, I feel like it doesn’t matter, because ultimately, the content was absolutely spectacularly executed and I honestly feel like The Winds of Winter was one of the greatest Game of Thrones season finales ever (I would say episode ever, but that still belongs to last week’s Battle of the Bastards).
Bran Stark – the three eyed eavesdropper
The R+L=J theory was finally given some proper legs in this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, after writers spent a full ten episodes teasing the mystery behind Jon Snow’s parentage, but not providing the full and concrete facts we all craved. But, at least, in this week’s finale, we witnessed it in all its glory… and it felt like a bit of a let down.
While it was rather excruciating to witness Bran, witness his dad, Ned Stark, comfort his dying sister, Lyanna, in the room where she had recently given birth, it was pretty anti-climactic; I thought it would be something that offered a bit more pizzazz, given its perpetual teasing. However, it does pretty much confirm that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen, son of the Mad King, right?
It still wasn’t fully confirmed by either Lyanna or Game of Thrones itself, even though she did whisper something to brother, Ned, all audiences really heard was that Rob would kill the baby, which I guess offers all the confirmation we need, given Robert Baratheon’s open hatred of the Targaryen’s during his short lived presence on the show.
Ser Davos vs. Melisandre
Given that Ser Davos has had it in for Melisandre and her wicked sorcery since the Stannis Baratheon hay day, audiences knew that shit was about to hit the fan for the red witch, as soon as Ser Davos discovered Shireen’s scorched toy before Battle of the Bastards in last week’s Game of Thrones – and it was about time he got to tell her what he thought of her, really. Storming into Winterfell’s dining room, Ser Davos interrupted the conversation between Jon and Melisandre, fuming, “tell him what you did to her!”
Watching Jon’s emotions unfold as he witnessed the argument and revelation of the red witch’s actions as Stannis’ mistress, seemed like some horrendously place poetic injustice; Jon was given life, as a result of the sorcery also responsible for murdering a little girl.
Admittedly, in spite of her wrong doing, I’m quite glad that the red witch hasn’t been hanged for her crimes, but it did feel a bit of a poor power play from Jon simply to exile her to the South – what’s she gonna do there? Attach herself to another powerful person and murder more babies?! I guess it leaves her open to return in the next season, should the white walkers finally appear in Westeros…
Littlefinger the creepy creepster
Following his appearance in last week’s Game of Thrones, during the final moments of the Battle of the Bastards, I have to admit, I was willing to forgive his previously slimy and perverted behaviour and move on. But, watching him plant the seed of uncertainty in Jon Snow in Sansa’s beautiful red head, makes me hate him all over again. Following Sansa and Jon’s conversation earlier in the episode, I can’t imagine her betraying her betraying Jon. However, when you consider the look shared between Sansa and Littlefinger in the end moments of this week’s Game of Thrones, I’d not be surprised if there was some trouble brewing in the Stark clan in season seven – is Sansa fool enough to trust Littlefinger for a second time?!
Daenerys is finally shipping up to Westeros
I never thought I’d live long enough to see the day when the Mother of Dragons finally gathered an army and fleet big enough to set sail for Westeros.
Admittedly, it’s going to be pretty interesting to see Daenerys Targaryen finally arrive in Westeros. I’m wondering if she’ll become tainted by the backstabbing politics rampant within the seven kingdoms, and if she’ll become a crazed villain, akin to her Mad King father – there’s certainly been plenty of pointed references to that during this season of Game of Thrones after all; and she certainly has the ability to become a proper villain, especially with her thirst to conquer Westeros, as well as the dragons by her side.
However, I do genuinely believe that with Tyrion by her side, the goodness in her will prevail; he seems to be able to keep her grounded and well-rooted in her humanity. Plus, witnessing her exhibiting feelings of tentativeness and fear, as well as seeing her appreciative and responsive to Tyrion’s council and friendship is pretty confidence inducing – their alliance is probably the only one I truly trust in Game of Thrones.
Long live Walder Frey!
Revenge is seemingly a dish best served featuring the remains of your son, nestled disgustingly inside – or so we discovered during the Game of Thrones finale, as Arya returned to Westeros, putting all of the seemingly pointless training she received at the House of Black and White to proper use.
It was pretty satisfying to see the smug bastard – and, as established during this week’s episode of Game of Thrones – coward, get his final comeuppance for the tragedy of his Red Wedding betrayal- particularly at the hands of a revenge driven Arya. Watching her contented face as she watched blood pour from the man who murdered her family was wonderfully picturesque, if not terrifically ghastly.
It’s so exciting to see her arrive back in Westeros already, as well as returning to do some meaningful damage in next season’s plot.
The High Sparrow finally got what he deserved.
Admittedly, I felt a little let down that the High Sparrow’s exit from Game of Thrones wasn’t more drawn out and painful – and at the hands of either Cersei, Jaime or The Mountain – but I’m also happy to accept what I was given, considering that the man who has been the bane in my side for two bloody seasons finally got what he deserved (although, not as gratifying as Ramsay Bolton being punched repeatedly in the face by Jon, before being eaten by his puppies).
The People vs. Cersei Lannister was never going to go her way, and while I admitted that I was fearful of what would happen to my favourite character during the season finale of Game of Thrones, I certainly didn’t expect that everything was going to be destroyed, and revenge would be so… quick.
While I was pleased to see that Maester Pycelle, the dirty pervert, was justly murdered by Qyburn’s band of feral orphans, and that the treacherous Lannister cousin/former familial lover of Cersei was stabbed painstakingly in the small of his back, I can’t say that I was happy with the result of Cersei’s revenge…
One thing that has annoyed me about Game of Thrones this season has been the manner in which writers Beinoff and Weiss have forced pivotal characters offstage far too hastily – first, Ser Jorah, and now Margaery Tyrell and all but one of her family.
While Cersei’s plan was excellent; with the help of Qyburn, she was able to carry out her perpetual threats of burning cities to the ground in order to get revenge, I was really pissed off that Margaery’s storyline was engulfed in green flames; she’ll never be seen again and she wasn’t given the goodbye – or death – she deserved.
It feels strange to say, given that I was a huge fan of her character, but I expected that if Margaery was supposed to die in Game of Thrones, she would have been given something more gritty and gloriously dramatic. Instead, what we witnessed was her become trapped by the religion she’d vowed herself to and we won’t be given the opportunity to find out if it was all a ruse or not. It will be really disappointing to see Game of Thrones finally conclude without giving proper due to one of its most cunning players. Overall, her death was pretty disappointing, and it made it all the worse that she knew she was trapped and that death was inevitable.
While Cersei did make a grand effort to save Tommen however, it was all in vein. It was horrendously captivating to witness the poor, young king, fling himself to his death following the witnessing of the sept being engulfed in green flames. In spite of how annoying he has been all season, I feel like we (okay, fine I) was a little harsh in my judgement of him; overall, he seemed a little too good for a world as corrupt as it is in Westeros. Although, I do like to imagine that the reason he truly flung himself out of a window was because he was mostly devastated that he’d never get to lay with Margaery… I’d probably feel the same.
Lady Olenna’s revenge will be sweet
I never expected Lady Olenna to be the only remaining Tyrell in Game of Thrones, but here we are. Saved by her granddaughter only a few weeks before, it is really sad to see her without a family, but pretty exciting to see her in desperate need for revenge.
Travelling to Dorne seems like a logical decision for her, particularly given the Sand Snakes hatred of all things Lannister, and it was really fun to see her whittle the little whipper snappers down to size, with trademark Lady Olenna wit and ingenuity.
Admittedly, I never expected to see Varys emerge from darkness to promise Lady Olenna fire and blood, but it was excellent to see him looking all foreboding and dangerous – plus, it was nice to see that he was, actually, in cahoots with Ellaria all along, following Oberyn’s death during Tyrion’s trial by combat.
It was a little disappointing to see the scene executed to so quickly, rushing the audience from the shock of Cersei’s actions, to the future of Game of Thrones, but it is somewhat exciting to see what we should expect from next year’s season – and it looks like the Tyrells and Sand Snakes will be in excellent company, given that it looks like they’ll be forming an alliance with Daenerys and company – squee!!
Jon Snow: King in the North
This is going to be a relatively short piece, given that I have written SO much about this week’s episode, but following Bran’s insight into Jon Snow’s birth during the Game of Thrones finale this week, it feels AMAZING to realise that with the help of his mama’s name sake, Jon Snow is now considered King of the North. In scenes that were slightly familiar to the time he became commander of the Night’s Watch, it seems like Jon is the friend of every man – from Wildlings, to criminals, to giants and now to noblemen, who have seemingly renounced the fact that he is a bastard, and are embracing him as their King. So excited to see how this develops when Bran reveals the truth of his lineage…!!
Cersei: Game of Thrones’ Mad Queen?
I know I’ve already mentioned Cersei in this post, but given that the season six finale of Game of Thrones was dedicated entirely to her innate wickedness, I feel that she deserves a lot more than a few paragraphs.
Following last week’s relatively straightforward episode: a glorious battle, followed by the rightful death of a true villain, this week’s episode offered a stark difference that drew comparisons with so many previous episodes of Game of Thrones (as well as elements of the storyline we haven’t seen, but have heard plenty of).
If you cast your thoughts back to a season ago, when the finale witnessed Cersei being marched naked through the streets of King’s Landing, her transformation over the past season has been a seemingly extensive descent into true wicked madness; with her hunger for power coming at the detriment of pretty much everyone she dislikes, with the exception of her son Tommen, whom I’m assuming was an accident… although, given her response to Qyburn’s burial suggestions, she seemed uncharacteristically cold, so maybe there was intent there, afterall? I’m not really quite sure, I can’t imagine her wanting Tommen to watch everyone in the city (pretty much) die, just to insight his suffering. Then again, given his treatment of her this season, I wouldn’t necessarily blame her. What do you think?
Anway, Winds of Winter was gloriously masterful in its imagery, particularly when it came to Cersei. During the early moments of the episode, while watching her get dressed all in black – relatively heavy, with a lot of vicious looking metal draped upon her, I was reminded of Joffrey, and as the episode developed, the comparisons between Cersei, Joffrey and eventually, the Mad King Targaryen, came to the forefront more than anything else.
Further to the image of Queen Cersei, the first of her name, finally perched on her new throne as official and undisputed Queen, was spine tingling; especially when you consider the look of horror and fear on Jaime’s face as the realisation draws upon him: his sister has executed the plan that Jaime gained the moniker Kingslayer for, that he was too inherently good to allow him to execute all those years ago…
Admittedly, I truly didn’t see the Cersei power-grab coming; but if you consider her character development over the past season, it should have been obvious. Everything she has suffered over the past two seasons, could not have gone without consequence, not to Cersei, but it looks like revenge has ultimately come with a price. As I watched Qyburn place the crown on Cersei’s waiting head, her eyes were glittering with triumphance, but were ultimately soulless. Whether she had planned this all along remains to be seen, but it does look like she has lost Jaime’s loyalty in the process; maybe he can go and find Brienne and make some gloriously tall babies instead?