As Loras Tyrell confesses his crimes in the trial at the sept, Cersei completes her plan and detonates the remaining wildfire under the sept, annihilating everyone inside including the High Sparrow, Margaery, and Loras. Grief stricken, Tommen leaps to his death as Cersei condemns Septa Unella to a life of torment at the hands of Gregor Clegane. In the north, Jon rallies the northern families who proclaim him king of the north as Littlefinger admits to Sansa with wanting the iron throne with her by his side. Earlier, Davos confronted Melisandre about Shireen’s death which she admits to, forcing Jon to exile her from the north or risk execution. After Jaime departs Walder’s home, Walder Frey is confronted by a woman who is revealed to be Arya Stark, who slits his throat and proclaims her lineage. Across the sea, Dany commands Daario to keep the peace in Meereen and Tyrion is named her hand of the queen. She later departs Meereen with her ships and dragons to finally sail for Westeros. Sam and Gilly arrive in Oldtown as Sam begins his apprenticeship as a maester. Near the wall, Benjen leaves Meera and Bran near the woods by the old tree, unable to travel beyond the wall. Bran connects with the tree and returns to the tower of Joy where he watches Ned Stark go to Lyanna who is dying from childbirth. Her child is brought to him who Lyanna makes Ned promise to look after. The child is Jon Snow. At King’s Landing, Jaime returns home and watches as Cersei is proclaimed the queen of Westeros.
Truly the biggest surprise was the moment Arya finished off the crass and conniving Walder Frey, a piece of revenge that came in perfect justification. Tonight’s season finale delivered an explosive opening and a myriad of pieces that set up the four main rivalries that will be clashing in season 7, hopefully settling in one ruler by the time the Night King bursts through the wall for season 8. Deaths came in high droves, none more unexpected then Margaery Tyrell who had been a fan favorite of mine for quite some time. Whether her plan to undermine the High Sparrow from within will never be known now, but at least the political and religious affairs of King’s Landing are over and done with. Solid all around, the show’s tenth episode reciprocates with good fortunes for our main characters and finally puts Dany on a direct path to the world of Westeros, something we’ve been waiting for a long time. Was it the best finale, since the show’s first? I’d like to think it was, so let’s dive into it.
Jon and Sansa are seemingly on the same side, given the rough atmosphere and issues of communication, they are in good spirits and Jon encourages them trusting eachother, and aside from Littlefinger’s attempt to undermine Jon by speaking of his motherless upbringing, Sansa isn’t defying the will of the people and Jon is finally given the role he was born for. How he manages with his good nature remains to be seen but for now it’s fitting to see how far he’s come.
Arya’s moment was the highest selling point of the entire episode notwithstanding the “big reveal” that we’ll get to in a second, but to see her do away with Walder was icing on this fine cake. This settles what her motives are and where she’ll likely go next, assuming she’s not on the path of returning home. With any luck, she’ll run into the Brotherhood without banners and be a part of their force as they hopefully join the north where she’ll reunite with her family. But that would be too easy and telling. I’m sure more surprises await.
Now to the main course. For years, the internet has deciphered the unspoken clues of Jon’s true heritage and for now, Bran and the audience know that Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark. But does Bran know that Rhaegar is the father? How will this information be received if he attempts to tell anyone? And how will he use this information in the future as he’s still behind the wall? To have the biggest theory of all be validated after so long of parading it about feels good in a way that most fans should be accepting of. There didn’t need to be any crazy surprises here to fool us, but not revealing Rhaeger as the father does still mean there could be doubt, however I’m confident the writers won’t stray from it. It’s been a good theory and there’s no reason to change it’s aspects this far into the game.
Outside of the plot, I have to admit, the music and shot details for Cersei’s scenes and King’s Landing in general were very much an artistic delight to be had. Careful cues and haunting pianos told a very dark tale of foreshadowing as Tommen was left helpless to do anything but watch the sept explode in front of him. And when the realization hit those inside, it was far too late.
As much as I enjoyed the setup, I know the same effect could have come from it in half the time. Why go through the entire segment of Loras becoming part of the faith only to blow them all up in the end? I think much of this plot could have been spared of some of the more lengthy moments however watching Pycelle get his (like in the books) was perfectly placed. If only Varys was there to watch.
When Bran discovered the truth about Lyanna and Ned. That moment he went back there, the jaws were open and the brain was on standby, hoping against hope that there was a child named Jon about to be shown, and sure enough there was. I’m hopeful the video isn’t lying when it cut from the baby to Jon, but I’m certain that’s the story they’re keeping because that child becoming anyone else is absolutely ludicrous. And there he sits, the new King of the North.
As a villain, Cersei has completed her journey nearly full circle. Her attitude, and dark look sold every step she took to sit on the Iron Throne, something even her father would likely be proud of as a Lannister truly rules the south now. She’s lost all her children, but she has the throne. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knows she’s done what it took to get there. How Jaime interprets this moving forward will be interesting from the show’s perspective.
This will likely put to rest a few other theories floating around, namely the “twin” theory that Lyanna had a boy and girl and the girl grew up to be Meera Reed. Sadly, there was no second child shown, which is fine, that would have probably been more confusing than anything else. Meera has her role to protect Bran, and that role will serve her well.
Did everyone notice how fast Varys moves around? One second he appears in Dorne ready to help Ellaria and Olenna plot their revenge, and the next, he’s on the lead ship with Dany sailing for Westeros. Is there a faceless assassin in the works here, or is Varys just that good at moving between lands? Whatever the case may be, we can easily say his appearance in Dorne happened way before the last episode took place. What’s important is that Varys and Littlefinger are still alive and on opposite sides. These two “have” to meet again.
Hopefully Meera can return Bran to Winterfell where he can warg through time in the godswood where the other old tree lives. That would be fitting as Bran needs to tell Jon everything he knows. He’s the one wildcard, Jon doesn’t know he has yet.
With Jon in the North, Dany sailing from the east, Cersei, in the South, and Dorne now involved in taking out the Lannisters, we have our 4 core sides if we don’t include Euron Greyjoy who is still building his fleet in the Iron Islands. They could theoretically side with the Lannisters if that’s what if came down to. Cersei doesn’t exactly have an army as she blew up the Tyrells and any chance of peace with them. They’re going to be cornered on all sides and Cersei certainly won’t bend the knee to Dany. Not yet anyway.
Looking forward, how at odds will Jon and Dany be once the invasion of King’s Landing begins? Will Dany strike there first, land there first even? How fast will Dany understand the bigger picture before her quest to be queen of Westeros is thwarted by the threat of the Whitewalkers? If the whole country isn’t united by the end of the season 7, everything will look bleak for the final season, and furthermore, how many more crazy deaths can we expect to see how that all the main characters are where they need to be in their lands?
10 out of 10. Surprise reveals, and parental heritage were a cornerstone of the episode, but the real delight was how tempered this show has become. It’s not getting stale, or old-fashioned, or overtly, cliché, it’s telling the long story of how the new world is shaping and the old world is dying. With Frey, the last of the old generation finally gone, the new generation can concentrate on what’s best for their land while preparing for the winter that is “finally here”. Aesthetically pleasing, and musically prominent, The Winds of Winter astonished us with it’s set up for next season’s robust arc detailing new factions and new rulers galore. Jon’s heritage is ours to know and his to find out eventually giving us plenty to work with in the mean time. Dany is finally looking to the sea for her next adventure and Tyrion is dutifully by her side, something Cersei and Jaime won’t see coming but rest assured, they’ll be in for the fights of their lives. Until the next season comes when Jon becomes aware of his bloodline and finally understands what he was meant for. Don’t think that little tidbit Dany mentioned flew past us. She intends to marry, and who better then the King of the North. Until then, thanks for reading.
No more words