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TV Review: Game Of Thrones 6.10 “The Winds Of Winter” (Finale)
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Game Of Thrones 6.10 finale

Game of Thrones
Episode 6.10 “The Winds of Winter”
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Starring Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Carice van Houten, Alfie Allen, Natalie Dormer, Jonathan Pryce
HBO
Air date: June 26, 2016

WARNING: Spoilers for HBO’s Game Of Thrones….

The Season 6 finale for Game Of Thrones aired earlier, and oh man oh man oh man. SO MUCH GOOD STUFF. I’m trying to organize my thoughts, but my head is spinning. A lot of storylines were not only revisited, but were given a satisfying conclusion.

The High Sparrow awaits Cersei and Loras in the Sept for their trial, but Cersei has other plans; Walder Frey toasts to his successful alliance with the Lannisters, but perhaps his celebrating is a bit premature; Sam, Gilly, and baby Sam make it to the Citadel; Ser Davos confronts Melisandre about what happened to Shireen Baratheon; Dany finally sets sail to Westeros, but must leave something behind; Littlefinger reveals to Sansa his true desires; Olenna Tyrell considers teaming up with the Sand Snakes of Dorne against the Lannisters; it’s time for the North to remember, now that Jon Snow and Sansa Stark have reclaimed Winterfell; and Bran Stark, now the Three-Eyed Raven, takes a trip back in time to the Tower Of Joy to find out why truly happened with his Aunt Lyanna.

SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, here’s what happened on Episode 6.10 “The Winds of Winter”…

It’s the day that Cersei Lannister must stand trial before the Seven. People gather in the Sept, while at the Red Keep, Cersei is dressing. In his quarters, King Tommen readies to go to the trial, which will also see his brother-in-law Loras Tyrell answer to the accusations against him. Queen Margaery and her father Mace are in the Sept when Loras is brought in. He says there’s no need for a trial because he admits to all wrong doing, and agrees to renounce his title and lands and devote his life to the Faith.

Ok, great, nice and quick. Unfortunately, there’s a catch: The High Sparrow says they can’t release Loras until Cersei stands trial. Why? No clue, I call BS. Their crimes were not related to each other, but as we’ve learned, the High Sparrow is really a piece of shit gunning for power and there’s always yet another condition to be met. We see back at the Red Keep that the Mountain is preventing King Tommen from leaving the castle; meanwhile, word reaches the Sept that Cersei’s carriage never left the Red Keep. While the High Sparrow is smug and acts like this will just mean more punishment for the Queen Mother, Margaery is, as usual, the only one with any intelligence. She senses that something is gravely wrong. She tries to get the High Sparrow to evacuate the Sept, but his Faith Militant soldiers will not let her leave.

Meanwhile, we find out why Cersei never showed at her trial: she was busy enacting revenge on her enemies, with the help of Qyborn, the disgraced Maester, and The Mountain, the reanimated Ser Gregor Clegane.

Revenge Act 1: Maester Pycelle, who has long been an advisory of Cersei. The old man is summoned to Qyborn’s laboratory where a group of Little Birds, the vagrant little children that Varys had used as his spy network, attack the old man and stab him to death. But no hard feelings, Qyborn basically says to him.

Revenge Act 2: Remember Septa Unella? This woman was such a bitch she actually made us feel sympathy for Cersei. Unella, a devotee to the Seven, was Cersei’s jailor in the dungeons under the Sept. This woman starved, beat, tortured, and humiliated Cersei, and was the one who yelled “Shame” as the Queen Mother was made to do her Walk of Atonement naked through the streets of Kings Landing. Cersei had warned that her face would be the last Unella would see before she died. But before that day comes, the Septa will get a dose of Cersei’s vengeance as she’s strapped to a board as Cersei pours wine on her and tells her to “confess.” Cersei says she knows Unella did all those things to her not because she cared for her soul, but because she enjoyed it. Cersei then names some of the things she enjoys: Fucking her brother, killing her husband, burning down the Sept, and getting revenge on her enemies. Unella, under the impression that Cersei has brought her there to kill her, says she’s ready to die and meet the Seven. HA HA HA HA. Not so fast. Cue The Mountain, the giant man most known for killing and raping Elia Martell and smashing her infant to death right in front of her. Unella is about to get some special treatment courtesy of The Mountain, who removes his helm for the first time since his reanimation to reveal his scared face. He smiles as he approaches his new victim, who screams with fear as Cersei leaves the room saying “Shame, shame, shame.” That’s sweet justice, right there.

Revenge Act 3: Once of the Little Birds lures Lancel Lannister, Cersei’s cousin and former lover who joined the Faith Militant and betrayed her, under the Sept and stabs him. As he drags himself through the tunnel, he sees the area is covered in a glowing green substance. These are the stores of Wildfire, the highly explosive liquid that the Mad King was going to use to burn Kings Landing to the ground. Turns out, Cersei and Qyborn found the stores and lit them afire, with Lancel being the first victim of the explosion.

Revenge Act 4: From the Red Keep, Cersei sees the results of her handiwork. The Sept is blown to pieces, leaving the building and the surrounding area smoldering, with Margaery and her family trapped inside along with the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant (not to mention, lots of innocent people.).

But with revenge oftentimes comes consequences. Though freedom and vengeance was now hers, Cersei’s actions prompted her son, King Tommen, to commit suicide by jumping from the high window of his room. That makes the third and final death of Cersei and Jaime’s forbidden offspring, which fulfills the prophecy the fortune teller Maggy told Cersei when she was younger about how she would outlive her children.

Tommen’s death doesn’t mean the end for Cersei, though. She’s felt this pain enough times now that she’s practically numb, which is why instead of falling apart, she takes over, which was likely her plan all along. But, we’ll get back to that later. First, let’s see what’s happening with her twin brother/lover/baby daddy Jaime Lannister, who, when last we saw, was over in the Riverlands helping the Freys take back Riverrun from its rightful ruler, the Tullys. But, he’d rather be back with Cersei, who, unbeknownst to him, just blew up a good chunk of Kings Landing.

Walder Frey toasts to his alliance with the Lannisters, but Jaime is unimpressed and lets the old man know it. The Lannisters let the Freys have the Riverlands in order to hold the area, but what good is that if Jaime has to come fight their battles for them every time? The true lord of Riverrun is Edmure Tully, who is now back in the Frey dungeons after he betrayed his own people and his uncle, the BlackFish, to protect the infant son he sired on the night of the Red Wedding. (Quick reminder: Edmure married one of Walder’s daughters, but his sister Catelyn Stark and her son Robb and his men — and his beloved direwolf Grey Wind — were all betrayed and murdered by the Freys, in alliance with the Lannisters and the Boltons of the north, at the reception.) Unfortunately, the Freys cannot be trusted. I’d say that Jaime might want to watch his back here, but turns out there’s no need…

Because Walder Frey FINALLY got his comeuppance. As the old lord sits and waits for his tardy sons to arrive to the dining hall, a serving wench brings him his food. The curmudgeonly lord notes that she’s not one of his regular servants (HELLO???!!!!) and then complains again that his sons have yet to arrive, but the girl says they are already there. Where, though? He doesn’t see them. They’re here, the girl says, pointing to what looks like a hefty beef pie. She then remarks that his sons were “hard to carve,” especially his son Black Walder. And that’s when the girl pulls off her face to reveal that she’s Arya Stark of Winterfell and she’s there for her revenge! She slits Walder’s throat and watches as he dies a bit slowly. Turns out all of her training with the Faceless Men came in handy. This scene was incredibly satisfying, since it not only sees Arya back in Westeros, but it reveals how powerful she’s become. Plus, that asshole Frey finally got his. Scratch another name off of Arya’s list.

Continuing with the theme of revenge for this episode, we see Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns, wearing mourning black meeting in Dorne with its current rulers, Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes, the bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper who was killed in a trial by combat against the Mountain. The new Dorne leaders want to unite with Olenna, who just lost her son and grandchildren in the explosion at the Sept, against Cersei. Olenna, as always, puts everyone in their place and tells it like it is, but she’s intrigued once the Sands introduce their trump card: Varys, the former Master of Whisperers who had served under the Mad King, and then later King Robert and King Joffrey. The eunuch had abandoned Kings Landing after Tyrion Lannister murdered his father Tywin and accompanied the imp across the sea to forge an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen. In a previous episode, Varys had left Meereen to sail back to Westeros in an effort to rally Houses there who would back Daenerys’ rule once she arrived. Looks like he’s going to get both Dorne and House Tyrell on board with Daenerys.

While revenge and retribution played a huge part of the Season 6 finale, there were also other storylines dealt with, such as what happened with Sam and Gilly. Turns out, they did make it to the Citadel, and in a humorous little scene, Sam enters the grand library in a sequence straight out of a Harry Potter movie. What’s to happen with Gilly and baby Sam is unclear, but it seems as though they are out of danger and Sam is poised to do the research on how to defeat the White Walkers, since, you know, Winter is com… oh wait, it’s here!

A white raven from the Citadel arrives to Winterfell with the message “Winter is here,” Sansa Stark reports to Jon Snow, and the two look at each other with a laugh that says “no shit.” Jon has his men readying the master bedroom for Sansa because she is the Lady of Winterfell, although she thinks that he is entitled to it since she considers him to be a true Stark, too. (OH WAIT, we’ll get to that too later!!!!!!!) Sansa apologizes for not telling Jon of her communications with Littlefinger and that she had asked for his aid in the battle against Ramsay Bolton (as seen in last week’s episode). Jon stresses to her that they are family and they now have many enemies, so they must band together and trust each other.

Prior to his talk with Sansa, Jon had had to banish someone who had become an ally to him — Melisandre, the red priestess who rose him from the dead through the will of the Lord of Light. While we all knew that Melisandre advised Stannis and his wife Selyse to burn their daughter Shireen at the stake in tribute to the Lord of Light in exchange for winning the battle at Winterfell, no one else knew that. Stannis had proclaimed himself King after his brother King Robert died, and his forces marched to Winterfell to win it back from the Boltons, who had been named as the Wardens of the North by the Lannisters. Too bad Stannis killed his daughter for nothing, as he lost that battle and all of his men (who were witness to the burning) were slaughtered. Right before Jon Snow’s battle against Ramsey Bolton for Winterfell, Ser Davos, who had been Hand to Stannis and went on to advise Jon, found Shireen’s stag doll in the remains of the pyre and deduced what had happened. Now, he confronts the red priestess and she does not deny it. In front of Jon Snow, she admits to using Shireen as a sacrifice because of her royal blood, and reveals that it was with the blessing of her mother and father. Davos is quick to point out that Stannis lost that battle, not to mention that it’s sick to murder an innocent child. “Your lord is evil,” he screams to her. But she responds that they are standing there (and so is Jon) because of her lord. Davos asks Jon to allow him to execute her for her crimes, but she counters that since Winter is coming/here, they really do need her help and all. But as we know, Jon Snow is a noble man and will not keep an alliance with someone who would commit such crimes. Instead of having her killed — she did bring him back to life after all — he banishes her from the North. If she ever returns there, Davos himself will kill her, and we know he means it, because he truly loved little Shireen as if she was his own daughter.

Now if only a red priestess who sacrifices children was Jon’s only problem. Even though he defeated the Boltons and retook Winterfell, he still has to unite the houses of the North because Winter is fucking here already!!!! Jon gathers together all his allies — the Free Folk (the Wildlings), the Knights of the Vale, and the Houses of the North who joined his campaign — together with the Northern houses that did not answer the call to join his army against the Boltons. Thankfully, Jon doesn’t hold grudges, but the disloyal Northern houses do ask for forgiveness. There is still some beef about the Wildlings being there, so Jon starts on his usual speech about how they have to unite against the White Walkers, but he quickly fizzles out. This shit is getting old for him. Enter one of the best characters in Game Of Thrones history, Lady Lyanna Mormont, the 10-year-old ruler of Bear Island. While the grown men are talking out of their asses, little Lyanna stands up and says unlike those punks, House Mormont answered Jon Snow’s call and were on the battlefield with him. “House Mormont remembers, the North remembers,” Lyanna declares, stating that she recognizes no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark. And that Stark is Jon Snow, their leader. Another Lord steps up to say that Jon is “the white wolf, the King in the North.” This gets everyone on their feet to shout “The King in the North.” In the background we see Littlefinger watching the proceedings, while also keeping his eye on Sansa. He was the one who brought the Knights of the Vale to the battle that saved Jon Snow and his army, so Littlefinger obviously has a plan. But what is it? Well, he’s about to tell Sansa…

Littlefnger goes to speak with Sansa, who mentions how when she was younger she never appreciated what she had and how she was a “stupid girl.” But nevermind the past, what does Littlefinger want now? Turns out, it’s the Iron Throne with Sansa by his side. This is when he leans in for a kiss, but she’s not going for it. “It’s a pretty picture,” she tells him as she walks away. He persists, telling her that he’s declared his loyalty to House Stark, but she reminds him that he’s declared for plenty of houses before but he’s always served himself. He tells her that she is the future, that she’s the true heir to the North. You can see the wheels spinning in her, because this man was her mentor — he taught her how to play the game of thrones and how to survive. There’s a part of her that wants power and perhaps she does want to rule, and maybe that’s why she never confided everything to Jon. Littlefinger asks her who should the North rally to, Sansa, the true born daughter of Ned and Catelyn Stark who was born at Winterfell or a motherless bastard from the South?

Speaking of that motherless bastard, guess whose true origins were revealed in this finale? JON SNOW! Bran Stark, his Uncle Benjen (now a kind of half white walker zombie thingy created by the Children of the Forest), and Meera make their way to the Wall, but Benjen being the creature he is now, cannot get passed the frozen, magical barrier. He must leave them there to continue with their own destiny, while he will continue to fight where he can. When Benjen departs, Bran, who is now the Three-Eyed Raven, goes on another vision quest back in time to the Tower of Joy, where he witnessed his father Ned as a young man arriving to try to save his sister Lyanna. As history has it, Prince Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna Stark, and when the men of House Stark protested, King Aerys II (the Mad King) had Ned’s father and brother killed. This is when Ned and his friend Robert Baratheon, who was betrothed to Lyanna, led a rebellion against the Targaryens. During “Robert’s Rebellion,” Robert killed all the members of the royal family except for its youngest members, Daenerys, who was an infant, and her older brother Viserys, both of whom were secreted away to the Free Cities across the sea. In this flashback, we see Ned arrive to find his sister lying in a pool of blood, dying. He doesn’t realize at first that she’s just given birth!!! Lyanna knows she is about to die, and we hear her whisper something to her brother about how if Robert finds out, you know he will… and we can assume she means that he will kill this baby, since it is a Targaryen. “You have to protect him,” she says to her brother, “Promise me, Ned, promise me.” Ned looks over and sees a baby, which the midwives hand to him. Lyanna again repeats “promise me” a few times. Ned cries and looks at the baby, who’s eyes are dark… just like Jon Snow’s. The close-up of Lyanna’s baby switches to a close up of Jon Snow. FINALLY, this parentage is revealed, even though fans have assumed all along that this was the truth. But now it is official. Jon Snow is both a Stark and a Targaryen, which which makes Sansa (and all the other people he thought were his half-siblings) his cousin and Daenerys his aunt.

So, what’s Aunt Dany up to? Oh, she’s over in Meereen breaking up with her boyfriend Daario, because she can’t go sailing into Westeros with a “mistress,” since she might have to make an alliance through marriage with one of the powerful houses. While Daario truly loves her and quite rightfully deduces that he’ll never find a woman that compares to her, Daenerys has grand plans that are just more important than some guy. Later, she confesses to her trusted advisor Tyrion that she felt nothing when she had to let Daario go. Tyrion reminds her that she’s in the “great game” now. She says she’s not afraid of what’s to come, and then Tyrion tells her how he had always been a cynic who believed in nothing, but he believes in her. She then gives him something she had made for him: The badge of the Hand of the Queen, which she then pins on him. He is honored, and bows before her. Time for them to take back Westeros!

But from whom are they taking back Westeros? We know that Jon Snow is now King in the North, but who’s ruling King’s Landing since Tommen’s suicide?

WHO ELSE?! Cersei!!!!!!!

In a previous season, Cersei lamented being born a woman whose only purpose to her House was to be married off to make an alliance and provide heirs. Had she been born a man, she’d have been a Lord or even King. And she is a true Queen, as she is crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms when all is said and done. And look who’s arrived home just in time to see it happen — Jaime! Upon arrival, he sees the smoking remains of the Sept and races to the Red Keep, where Cersei is being crowned as the first-ever Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. As she takes her seat upon the Iron Throne, she sees her lover up on the balcony watching her. The two stare at each other. What are they thinking? It will be interesting to find out what Jaime thinks of losing his third child and what Cersei did to get her crown. He did previously say that he’d do anything to be with her, including burning cities to the ground, so…

Cersei maybe have done some f’d up shit, but damn can this woman rebound! Not long ago she was imprisoned in a dungeon with no allies left, and here she is the Queen… for now, because, again, here comes Daenerys!

The Season 6 finale ends with a glimpse of Theon and Yara Greyjob on their ship with their fleet alongside Daenerys’ ships she claimed from the battle with the Masters (by the way, she renamed Slaver’s Bay to the Bay of Dragons!!!), with Daenerys, Tyrion, Varys, and Missandei on the lead ship, while her three dragons fly overhead.

Game Of Thrones Season 6, I think you were likely the best one yet.

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  • TwitterDwayneD

    There are some problems here. Namely heritage and supposed names.

    We know that Jon has Stark blood through Lyanna but we do NOT know who the father is. We also don’t know if she was married, which matters in a setting with a strong legitimacy taboo.

    Let me explain in 3 arguments:

    Argument 1: Lyanna and Marriage. The rumour is that Rhaegar married Lyanna in secret. It could be that they we actually in love and Lyanna ran away with Rhaegar, not knowing that it would cause the death of her father and brother, and plunge the world into chaos. In that case, Jon is a Targaryen. A trueborn son with a claim to the Iron Throne. The claim isn’t pure, however, since Targaryens were above the incest taboo and used the practice to ensure that their bloodlines remained pure. If they were married, a pure Targaryen, like Jon’s aunt, Daenerys, would also have claim, though based on primogeniture, her marrying any other man but Jon could render her house, her line, extinct.

    Argument 2: Jon Blackfyre: Lyanna and love outside of marriage with Rhaegar. Again, there is a rumour that Rhaegar married Lyanna in secret. But this is the seven Kingdoms and that’s just a rumor. If indeed, Rhaegar, Lord of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne, stole Lyanna and had a baby outside of the bounds of marriage, then Jon would be a Blackfyre, a bastard of Dragonstone. If that’s the case, his claim to the Iron Throne is similarly problematic– he would need to be sanctified as a Targaryen by a royal decree, and unless Daenerys is sat atop the Iron Throne and looking for an incest husband, that’s not gonna happen.

    Argument 3: Jon Storm, the Bastard Baratheon. It’s easy to suppose that Rhaegar fathered the child with Lyanna Stark. But we don’t hear her say that. We do hear her utter that Robert could kill the babe, which is more evidence supporting the above.

    But it’s not definitive. As much as we want that, the text doesn’t support it just yet.

    Recall that Robert was promised to Lyanna, he loved her and we all know that Robert Baratheon wasn’t the type of man to wait around for some septon to tell him he could get his groove on. If Lyanna fancied Robert back, the idea that they could have gotten it on before she got kidnapped is FAR from far-fetched. Backing this up is the fact that while Lyanna looked remarkably like Ned in terms of palor and brown hair, and even accent, we know two key things about the Baratheon clan (1) Black of Hair, and (2) THE SEED IS STRONG.

    Jon Snow looks as much or more like Robert than Gendry.

    The problem is that, in order to secure the Iron Throne, or even just beat the Targaryens, Robert made a pact with Tywin Lannister to marry his daughter, Cersei. If a bastard was in the way, one born BEFORE Cersei and Robert’s own prince, then the Lannister claim to the Iron Throne through descent could be challenged. Put another way, Robert having a bastard that was from some whore means nothing, but having a bastard that had Stark blood– that could cause serious succession problems for House Baratheon and the Lannister alliance in the future.

    So there it is. My point isn’t that Jon is not a Targaryen. My point is only that it’s currently presumptuous to call Jon a Targaryen given what we actually know from the text, which is somewhat different from what the consensus of the viewers would like. The thoughts above represent longstanding hypothoses about these characters– some have been out there for 20 years already (A Song of Ice & Fire’s first book, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996).

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