Game of Thrones Season 6 limped into its final two episodes, turned its head to the side, and said “Let me show you how we do it in the pros.”
SPOILER ALERT: Contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 6, episode 10.
Last week’s episode The Battle of The Bastards gave us viewers so much delight and so much satisfaction, that it seemed almost certain it would all be turned on it’s head in the finale. Surely all that juicy revenge and comeuppance would be counterbalanced by things going horribly wrong and favorites meeting their death?
Well, there was death all right, maybe not to fan favorites, but certainly to some major players who have been with us for a long time. The episode was less action packed than last week’s brutal battle scenes, but it was no less impactful.
The action jumped straight into the preparations for Cersei and Loras’ trial, although ‘trial’ is interesting term to be using. Whenever you are in a situation when the final judgment is handed down by invisible pixies in the sky, justice is unlikely to take place. In fact, oddly enough, the trial by combat concept was about as close as you could get to ‘letting the gods decide’ on a matter. But we don’t really need to spend much time discussing the intricacies of beliefs of those who worship the Seven, because a massive chunk of them just got incinerated by wildfire.
There is a line in the Guy Ritchie film Snatch (he he…snatch), spoken by the main character and story narrator Turkish (Jason Statham), just after he has watched the masterful con played out by Mickey (Brad Pitt) and his gang of pikeys. He remarks:
“It had previously occurred to me that the pikey had taken the demise of his mother rather lightly. For every action, there is a reaction. And a pikey reaction … is quite a fucking thing.”
A Lannister reaction is also quite a fucking thing, and it had also previously occurred to me that Cersei had taken the humiliation of her walk shame, rather lightly. The whole Kings Landing story had been painfully slow and rather uninteresting for much of the season, and there were moments where Cersai just seemed to have lost all her power. It may have taken until the final episode, but this High Sparrow / weak little King / powerless Cersei story paid off in spectacular fashion, as both Cersei and Tommen watched on as the Great Sept and all within a decent proximity of it, were consumed by the terrifyingly efficient wildfire.
It’s at this point that I’m going to start a running tally of important characters who died in this episode, most of them within the same sequence. The build up to the explosion saw the mirrored demise of dirty old Grand Maester Pycelle (1) and ‘brother’ Lancel Lannsiter (2), who both died at the hands of scary homicidal knife-wielding children. That, however, was just the beginning.
The High Sparrow (3) knew something was wrong, and he knew Queen Margerey (4) was correct in wanting everybody to leave, but the stubborn crazy old fool with bad knees just had to keep everybody there, didn’t he? By doing so, he contributed to the death of hundreds of people, including Mace Tyrell (5), Loras Tyrell (6) and the mostly invisible hand of the king, Uncle Kevin Lannister (7). The majority of these characters won’t be missed, and the High Sparrow getting his comeuppance (there really has been so much awesome comeuppance these past two weeks) was great to watch. But Margerey was a sad one, and even though she never really did anything substantial, you always cheered for her. And she was very pretty.
Cersei’s revenge knew no limitations, as she also kept the ‘shame’ lady alive as her prisoner. This was not really that surprising, but it did show once again that Caersai is cold as well as ruthless , and she doesn’t forget those who have wronged her (don’t get comfortable, Dorne). I am going to have to say it though… was it implied that Cersei left the Frankenstein-Mountain in the room to do, like, rapey things to her? That’s pretty sick, Chubbs. Shame indeed.
The production elements must once again be praised this week, as the direction, the sound (an awesome score, which I don’t usually notice) and CGI during the wildfire sequence were expertly handled. The final twist being the tragic image of King Tommen (8) jumping out of the window while overlooking the devastation below. It was a dark and chilling way to wrap up this particular bit of madness at King’s Landing.
From here, the writers set about tying up as many loose story threads as possible, in as a quick a time as possible, and it’s hard to argue that it was anything short of remarkable success. Dany had the ‘hey, this was never anything serious, yeah?’ talk with Boy-Toy, and you do have to feel a little sorry for the guy. She’d be a hard act to follow. Following that, she bestowed the honorary role of Hand of the Queen upon Tyrion, who really hasn’t earned it yet, let’s be honest. In fact, he kind of stuffed things up pretty bad with the Masters, and the dragons had to bail him out big time. But from an audience perspective… hell yeah. Queen Daenerys with Tyrion as the hand, is the dream team!
After disappearing from our screens for 95% of the season Dorne made a last minute comeback. I know, right? What’s more amazing, is that it sorta worked. Varys popped up out of nowhere to get Dorne and (what’s remaining of) the Tyrell’s onto team Dany, and both will be very handy allies in a battle against the Lannisters.
Jamie finished up his proceedings at The Twins with a tiresome dinner celebration with Lord Frey, and started his trek back to Kings Landing completely unaware of the craziness he was about to walk in on. After he left though, we got even more delicious comeuppance in the form of a son-pie, as Ayra appeared back in Westoros with her face-changing assassin thing going on, to not only feed Lord Walder Frey’s (9) sons to him, but extract the final piece of revenge for the tragic events that took place against her family in that very room, by slicing his throat in a way that mirrored her own mother’s death. It was a genuine kick-ass Ayra moment, and with it, we saw the death of the last truly despicable powerful man in Westoros.
We also got to check in on an excited Sam on his first day of Maester school, and boy was the little tacker excited? I can only assume that Sam is going to climb all those ladders in the library, drop of heap of weight, and return to Jon with a six-pack and the secret for killing the White Walkers. Because really, why else would we still be following his story?
It’s incredible that I’ve written so much already, and arguably the biggest is yet to come.
Our brief catch up with Bran saw him hook into the tree matrix and finally watch the end of that Tower of Joy movie he started watching a few weeks ago, and sure enough, we get almost proof that the fan theory R+L=J is indeed correct, and that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. The true answers here were whispered, so that only Bran – and not us – would hear it, but c’mon… we all now it’s true, especially now.
Jon himself was having quite a moment, as little Lady Mormont rallied the Houses of the North to back him as the new “KING OF THE NORTH! KING OF THE NORTH! KING OF THE NORTH!’ (I wonder if there is always one guy at the end who yells one KING OF THE NORTH too many?) She’s an awesome character is the little lady, and I get the impression she may have noticed that Jon Snow will be a King without a Queen, and might be trying to put her house and herself in a very strategic and ruggedly handsome position. Everybody seemed happy about the new arrangement, everybody of course except Littlefinger and Sansa. The very long game being played by Littlefinger is an intriguing one, and he’s certainly not without a shot of ending up on a throne next to Queen Sansa, because let’s face it, Sansa is going to shuffle her ‘half’ brother out of the way as soon as possible by the looks of it.
I fully expected the Kings Landing story to be done, but no, we still got more. Almost the all-time defining Cersei moment came when, dressed in her best Darth Vadar cloak, she became crowned the Queen of Westeros. It was an incredible power play by her, and the irony being that Westeros now has a highly capable leader who might actually stand a small chance of withstanding the onslaught coming her way.
We closed the season out with the remarkable image of Dany on a boat. SHE’S FINALLY GOT ON A FRIGGIN BOAT AND HEADED TO WESTEROS. It’s happening. It’s actually happening.
The Stark King in the North, The Lannister Queen in the South and the Targaryen Queen on her way to mess things up. The true power Houses of Westeros are back where they belong, and Season 7 could not possibly be setup any better.
- It’s best to just ignore the six seconds it took Jaime to get back to Kings Landing, or the twenty seconds it took Varys to get from Meereen to Dorne, and back to Meereen, to catch a boat back to Dorne. Meh, timelines…
- Imagine you were the little kid who had to carefully place the candles on the wildfire puddle?
- I was quite happy to see Pycelle go. I mean c’mon dude, do you have any idea how disgusting that must be for the girls? You can at least pay them.
- Dany wants to make alliances, and the best way to do that is by marriage. Dorne is run by all women, The Tyrell boys just got wiped out, she’s going to be fighting the Lannisters, Theon doesn’t have a dick, Littlefinger is into redheads… there really is only one obvious strategic and eligible bachelor to marry, and only Bran knows that truth. But boy, a Jon Snow and Dany wedding would be one hell of a GOT nerd orgasm.
- Ayra, The Hound, Brienne and Pod, Melisandre, Friend-Zone… there are still a few characters wandering around capable of running into the story or each other.
- I tried really hard to care about Davos and his feelings about the Shireen incident, but I just don’t.
Well, that’s season 6 of Game of Thrones all done and dusted. I’ve had an awesome time writing these, and a big thank you to the small but loyal group of readers who have been with me the whole way.
Till next year.