Warning: spoilers for the Game of Thrones season 6 finale “The Winds of Winter” follow…
Game of Thrones delivered a finale packed with moments that paid-off highly anticipated set-ups and gave us entirely unforeseen shocks. What was remarkable was that, often, even when we'd seen an event coming creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were able to deliver a sense of both suspense and awe. We may have known that certain progressions were imminent, but the how was a revelation.
Tommen's fate was pretty much written on the wall last week, but the dark poetic justice of his dive from a high window “for love” was not lost on us. Margaery seemed to be the quintessential survivor, but even she could not defeat the High Sparrow's arrogance. Even as he lectured on the pitfalls of hubris, he died by his own in that inferno. Okay, it was Cersei and the terrifying children of the corn who pulled it off, but he wrote his own death warrant when he manipulated her son into abandoning trial by combat.
There was a great deal of that thematic symmetry in this episode. Cersei's “confession” was in all likelihood the most honest one ever delivered and had the liberating effect that the Sparrows claim their forced confessions will. It was raw, and honest, and so very ugly, but there was also a certain beauty in her total clarity. Her devotion to vengeance.
As to that, the cycle of revenge continued to go round and round as the Queen of Thorns now looks to align with Dorne (which her presence sort of made interesting, finally) in order to seek her own. What's remarkable is that, as always, no one seems to learn from others' mistakes. The desire to grab power and reap vengeance hasn't lead anyone on this series anywhere good…And yet round and round the bloodshed goes. In that way, this is one of the most fundamentally grounded in the truth of human nature shows on television — even with the addition of Dragons and ice zombies.
Cersei sitting in her dark attire on that cold and lonely Iron Throne sort of said it all. When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die…And yet even when you win, you lose. It brings no joy, no happiness, and is accompanied by far too much pain to be worth it.
That hasn't stopped Dany from riding her dragons forward, though! She's willing to leave everything, even a man willing to be her silent partner and mistress (mister?) behind, to satisfy her ambition. And as a viewer, even though you know she's making a mistake, you can't help but say YASSSS to the coming fiery confrontation.
Cersei is now the mad Queen, we can only hope that Tyrion is the balance Dany needs to keep from going the same way.
Side note: Did you notice that Dany and Sansa are now also in dark dresses?
For book readers, this was a big one, as R+L=J was FINALLY confirmed. Yet I have to wonder if that's clear to show watchers who don't scour the internet for clues. They never really said WHO that baby's father is. Though we all know, would you if you weren't already well-versed in that theory? What is notable is that Jon Snow didn't need legitimacy to get support, so just imagine how big his power base will be when the people discover that he has Targaryen blood. Let's not forget that one of the main reasons Robert was given the throne is that he too has some dragon's blood from a Targaryen grandmother.
Meanwhile, Arya is putting the lessons she's learned into practice and will likely pave the way by eliminating several of her families' enemies. One by one. Or will she join Sansa and Jon on their quest to take back everything the Lannister's stole from them?
One thing is clear, Jon is now in Littlefinger's crosshairs. And as we've discussed previously, the Iron Throne is now an open seat as far as the realm is concerned. Cersei has no real claim. She is no longer Queen Mother, and people will be vying for anyone to take her place. The long-missing Gendry is the only real Baratheon left on the show as Robert's surviving bastard. However, Jon Snow and Dany are far more likely to have the backing of armies and the masses. They both, in fact, have a far more direct claim. Of course, Melisandre isn't dead. We have to wonder if she'll run into Gendry and what that may mean. Will she want his blood to help Jon from afar? Or has she learned her lesson about pointless sacrifices and misunderstanding the Lord of Light? As she said, he's keeping her around for a reason…
We will see if chaos is a ladder, or a pit, or both…
Here, Donna Dickens and Roth Cornet dive deep into the big reveals that the Game of Thrones season 6 finale delivered: what was surprising, what we had predicted, and where it is going from here…
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