The Winds of Winter
The season 6 finale of Game of Thrones started off with a bang, literally, and it didn’t stop for just over an hour of fantastic television. Typically, the finales in this series have been epilogues that set up the next season and leave us all wondering what will happen next. While this particular episode achieves that, it is also so much more. Many storylines are wrapped up and give us satisfying endings while simultaneously paving the way to epic beginnings. We have a LOT of things to discuss and since this finale pretty much covered every inch of the map that makes up the world of “A Song of Ice and Fire,” I’ll try and break up this recap by locations. We’ll begin at Queen’s Landing. It’s what it should be called now anyway…
If there was any doubt about Cersei’s ability to reap vengeance upon her enemies (ALL of her enemies) then that doubt is now buried under the rubble formally known as the Sept of Baelor. As many had predicted, and the show mercilessly hinted at, the casks of wildfire underneath the city came back into play in a big way. Even though we knew it was coming, the show somehow managed to make the entire opening sequence suspenseful and thrilling. It was a masterclass in directing, cinematography, and editing. The build up of showing us every player preparing for the trials, the intimate shots that put us in the mindset of the characters, the wide shots that made us aware of the sheer scope of the landscape, and the music that kept the scene moving and our adrenaline pumping. It was up there with the end of “The Godfather.” The realization of what is about to happen occurs to us at the same time the characters themselves begin to realize something is amiss. All of this is brilliantly crafted with hardly any need for dialogue. The characters even walk into the sept as if they were at a funeral procession. They were. Maester Pycelle doesn’t even make it to the trial as he is led astray by Qyburn’s birds, who turn out to be “The Children of the Corn.” The payoff in this sequence is tremendous and the wildfire consumes the entire audience at the trial and in an instant we lose some major characters. The High Sparrow, (and his minions) Kevon and Lancel Lannister, Margaery, Loras, and Mace Tyrell, are all turned to ash faster than Lord Voldemort. (Sorry. Spoiler alert for the Harry Potter fans.) Rising from those ashes is Cersei Lannister, looking down upon the destruction she has caused from the safety of the Red Keep. With a satisfied grin on her face she makes her way down to the dungeons where everyone’s favorite nun, Septa Unella, is bound to a table; which has been turned. After gloating over her for a moment or two, Cersei informs the septa that she will have a new god to worship, The Mountain. As the torture begins, Cersei leaves them behind closed doors reciting the words Septa Unella taught her last season. “Shame, shame, shame…” I must confess, I loved this scene. The tragedy here is that Cersei is so focussed on revenge that she takes away the one person who might have been able to save her son. Without The Mountain around to guard him, King Tommen swan dives from his chamber window to end both his reign and the opening sequence of the finale. Masterclass.
The Freys and the Lannisters send their regards, but the North remembers. After Jaime reluctantly breaks bread, and balls, with Walder Frey he leaves the Twins and head’s back to King’s Landing. (Looking forward to seeing Cersei and a city without a huge smoldering crater in the middle of it no doubt.) When we come back to this location later in the episode, things get a bit Shakespearean. Titus Andronicus anyone? It turns out that the pies Walder was enjoying had a little more baked into them than he bargained for, and Arya Stark of House Winterfell was the chef. Before Walder’s two sons can even give him indigestion, Arya removes her disguise and cuts the old man’s throat. Did she kill the servant girl and take her face or was she the girl the whole time? Doesn’t matter. It was awesome and satisfying either way. I think it was also the show being very clever again as this brutal ending for Walder was foreshadowed back in season three. If you remember, Bran Stark shares a story with his companions on his way to The North called the tale of “The Rat Cook.”
This scene happens right after the Red Wedding. It must have been one of Arya’s favorite stories as well.
Why, there they are both, baked in that pie; Whereof their mother daintily hath fed, eating the flesh that she herself hath bred. ‘Tis true, ’tis true; witness my knife’s sharp point.
Daario gets dumped; Tyrion gets a hand. It looks like we are finally leaving Meereen forever, but before we did we were treated to a bittersweet scene in which Dany has to leave behind Daario. However, we are given a heartwarming scene right after when Dany names Tyrion the Hand of the Queen. After a season that didn’t give Tyrion much to do, (still waiting for that dragon scene to pay off) this was worth the wait. He’s perfectly positioned to do what he does best for the show’s endgame. As is Dany thanks to a little help from Varys, Ellaria, and the Queen of Thorns. Seeing that huge fleet sailing to Westeros with her multiple armies, allies, and dragons made me forget to be skeptical and question how fast Varys is able to travel across the world. They might look unstoppable, but they don’t look dressed for Winter. Cue the contrived segue…
Winter is co…here. Just like Sansa and Jon’s father, Ned, always promised. Well, Sansa’s father anyway. A final flashback from Bran shows us the biggest reveal of the series. (Finally inside that damn tower!) A young Ned comforts his dying sister, Lyanna, in her last moments. She makes him promise to protect her newborn baby. That baby, as the art of film editing reveals to us, is Jon Snow! Although we don’t hear who the father is (and I re-watched it multiple times to make sure the sound didn’t cut out) we did hear Lyanna say that, “If Robert finds out he’ll kill him. You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned.” We know that Robert (Baratheon) was killing off all remaining Targaryens after his rebellion, including children. It’s the reason why Dany and her brother were hidden away in the first place. At this point we can only assume that Rhaegar, Dany’s deceased older brother, is the father. (Insert Maury joke here.) This would make Jon both a Stark and a Targaryen, “Ice and Fire” if you will. For many fans of both the books and the show this has been a theory that has been bounced around for some time now. Even though it’s only about 99% confirmed at this point, it’s a game changing reveal and it was beautifully presented in this finale. If that weren’t enough, Jon Snow is named the King in the North back at Winterfell. Considering he was dead in the beginning of the season, it’s a pretty big deal. All of the major houses in the North swear their allegiance to Jon and all who are present cheer him on… All but two.
Thoughts and Theories
- Sansa appears to be picturing something in her head. Let’s hope it’s not the same picture that Littlefinger mentioned to her.
- Sam is really bad at hiding priceless swords, but really good at finding huge libraries. He’s got the better part of a year to read all of the books in Oldtown.
- I would love to see Euron Greyjoy intercept Dany’s fleet and just get blown out of the water in five seconds. Season seven can open with that.
- Jorah: “Hey Khaleesi, I found a cure for my Grayscale!… Khaleesi?”
- If Dorne took next season off too would anyone notice?
- Benjen: “This is where I leave you. No, Bran, you can’t have my horse. I need him. Crawl your three-eyed ass to The Wall!”
- Lyanna Mormont should sit on the Iron Throne! Who’s with me? Oh, that’s right, the entire internet.
- Those other two dragons need riders. Tyrion is one I hope. Who would the other be?
- Jaime: “You know sis, I killed the last king that did something like this. Just saying. Hey, where’s Tommen by the way?”
- The Red Woman got off easy, but she’s heading straight for Arya. I seem to remember Arya having her name on a certain list.
Well, that’s it for season 6! It was a great (maybe even the best) season of Game of Thrones and I have fully enjoyed watching it and sharing my recaps, thoughts, and crackpot theories with you all. It’s been a lot of fun and I truly appreciate all of the feedback you’ve given me these past few months. Let’s keep it going! I’m always on board to talk shop about this show. Well, anything TV or film related really. So keep the comments coming and if you want me to recap something else (another show, movie, video game, etc.) I’m up for that as well! If you want me to stop…well…keep it to yourself! As always, thank you for reading and feel free to check out our other blogs and videos right here at kickarock.com. This particular blog will be back in about 40 weeks or so for season 7. It is known.
“That’s what I do. I drink and I know things.”