Cersei Lannister sits the throne; Jon Snow declared King of the North; Walder Frey meets Arya Stark; Varys blends Sand Snakes with thorns; the new 3-eyed Raven proves R + L = J theory; Danaerys, Dothrakis and Dragons set sail.
Do not read any further if you don’t want to read spoilers!
Oh, what a spectacle it was! I felt like I was at the theater, with award winning cinematography, music, costuming and acting all present in Game of Thrones season 6 finale. Especially, since it was the longest episode in Game of Thrones history and the opening segment was around 20 minutes long all shot at the same place, continuously, without jumping to other locales.
The cunning bad lady of GoT just got worse! To her credit, I doubt whether this plan was her first choice, but as a very deadly back-up plan when her own son, King Tommen, barred using “trial by combat” as a defense at her trial for her sins. One could arguably say that Tommen brought it on himself.
As the music score played in the background, we first see Loras Tyrell’s non-trial. The man has confessed and pledged his life, like his sister Margaery did, to the order of the 7 and the High Sparrow. It is still not clear, and may never be now, whether Margaery really meant it or not. After all, she did send her grandmother away from the proceedings which was very lucky for the Queen of Thorns.
When it appeared Cersei and King Tommen were not appearing for Cersei’s trial, the High Sparrow sent some of his men of the religious cult to find out why and bring them back. This was the moment of truth; Margaery sensed it and tried to get everyone to leave, to no avail. She found herself trapped and also doomed with everyone else in the High Sept.
Rayburn’s little “bird” children which reminds me of Fagin’s kids in Oliver Twist, had helped him discover the liquid “wildfire” hidden under the Sept left over from the Mad King’s reign. Tyrion Lannister had used some of it to defeat Stannis Baratheon’s ships back in season 2 with the Battle of the Blackwater.
Qyburn and Cersei utilized the little children to completely annihilate the High Sept and everyone in it by setting the stash of flammable liquid on fire, and they watched from their lofty perch at King’s Landing. Tommen’s life had been spared by being held captive in his quarters by Cersei’s “man,” Ser Robert Black, aka Gregor Sangane, aka the Mountain. However, once Tommen knew what his mother had done, and that his wife was dead, he laid down his crown and dramatically jumped out of the window to his death. Some may think Cersei was responsible for her last and youngest child’s death (what she had been told in prophecy when younger) but if Tommen had let her use the Mountain to fight for her, it is possible there would have only been 1 death instead of hundreds.
Among the dead: Queen Margaery, her brother Loras and father Mace, Lord of Highgarden; the High Sparrow and all his flock; Ser Kevan Lannister, and all those in the gallery. Back at King’s Landing, the children were also allowed to kill the High Septon with blades. The only one allowed to live from Cersei’s shameful incarceration and nude walk was Septa Unella, who Cersei is torturing Ramsay Bolton style, using the Mountain to do whatever he pleases with her. Cersei has written a new page in evil Queen requirements, but her lover/twin brother Jaime came back just in time to see his beloved sister take the Iron Throne. He did not look delighted. Will this be the end of their incestuous love?
Meanwhile in Winterfell, after successfully having won it back with the help of the soldiers of the Vale, Jon thanks Sansa for her hand in it, and all seems well between the Stark siblings. Littlefinger had already tried to reach Sansa romantically and failed. He watches the meeting between Sansa, Jon and the surrounding neighbors from the sidelines. One thinks there will be more scheming from him next season.
The wonderful, brave, courageous and well loved Lady Mormont once again captivated TV audiences with her speech. She “shamed” the larger houses of Manderly and Glover for not rallying together for Jon and declares him her “King in the North.” One by one, everyone agrees and pledges their allegiances to Jon.
One puzzling side story (to me at least) is that when Ser Davos finds out the truth of burning Stannis’ daughter Shireen at the stake, he asks Jon to execute Melisandre for murder. Jon exiles her instead with a threat to hang her if she returns. What? This does not make sense to me…with all the murders being done in Game of Thrones, how can one be worse than another? Shireen’s own father agreed to it, and Melisandre was sought out by Ser Davos to bring Jon back to life! I hope this decision does not prove to backfire later on.
A quote by Littlefinger to Sansa should be noted here before we go on to the next big news: Littlefinger told Sansa that the people of the North would stand by her first before a “a motherless bastard born in the South.”
What if Jon Snow’s birth mother was determined?
The other Stark Siblings
Jon Snow and Sansa, Arya and Bran Stark are all getting closer to a family reunion. Bran is somewhat hampered by both his lack of ability to walk and his new position as the 3-eyed Raven in charge of visions to move locations, but perhaps through his time travels he can reunite in future episodes. What is most important for Game of Thrones season 6 finale is the fact that he had the vision that verified the R + L = J theory that has been bandied about for years by ardent fans.
Bran was there (through a vision and time travel) with Eddard Stark as a young man when he finds his sister Lyanna (the L), who had been taken by the Mad King’s son Rhagar (the R and who presumably had married her) and was dying from childbirth. Lyanna whispers to her brother to take her son, whose name is not heard, but is undoubtedly our Jon Snow (the J).
The rest is known; Eddard took home the babe to Catelyn with a story it was his bastard; he was raised with the other Stark children at Winterfell but always looked down upon by Catelyn and never suited to be heir. Now, it may turn out he is the most eligible to be King as the oldest living male descendant of the mad king and nephew to Danaerys. Will Bran be able to convey this truth to others? It will be interesting.
The biggest surprise in Game of Thrones season 6 finale and one no one saw coming, was Arya Stark showing up at Riverrun and taking out the whole Frey family. It seems her training as an assassin and ability to change faces may have followed her even though she has left the order. Sansa and Jon are in for a big jolt when they finally meet up with baby sister.
Back in Dorne
The Dorne Sand Snakes were about the only major group left out of last week’s GoT S06E09 bonanza. Now we also learn where Olenna Tyrell, Queen of Thorns, has gone. She sits with Ellaria, Tyene, Obara and Nymeria dishing out her thorny rhetoric with ease. It appears she will join forces with them and Varys who surprises us with his appearance there also, as allies for the Mother of Dragons perhaps? An awful lot of devious minds seem to be going in the same direction: Dany, Tyrion, Ellaria, Olenna and Varys.
Danaerys, Dragons and Dothraki
The Game of Thrones season 6 finale, The Winds of Winter, gave us white ravens denoting the onset of Winter, spectacular staging and musical background. The final scene of Danaerys Targaryen’s fleet of ships carrying her, Tyrion and her Dothraki army over the narrow sea toward Westeros with 3 dragons flying overhead was the best ever in my humble opinion of the entire 6 seasons. HBO and GoT producers and showrunners have built a suspense that has already made Game of Thrones season 7 the biggest show in town.