Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Winds of Winter & Final Thoughts on Season 6


No, really, if you haven't watched this episode yet, YOU NEED TO BEFORE READING THIS!

Where do you even begin with the towering, epic, INSANE sixth season finale?! I just watched the episode again, and I still haven't absorbed everything that happened. I feel like the term "game changer" is a bit cliché, especially when paired with a show called Game of Thrones, but it's oh so apt here. This single episode irrevocably altered EVERYTHING.

The Great Sept of Baelor Goes Bye-Bye

The show wastes zero time getting down to the drama—and starting the body count. About the only preamble we get is quick shots of Tommen, Margaery, Cersei, and the High Sparrow/Septon getting ready for the trials of Loras and Cersei. Is that a new robe the Sparrow is sporting? Isn't that a worldly good, even though it resembles a burlap sack? Shame!

Let's talk for a second about the music in this episode. It was intense from the very beginning of "The Winds of Winter" and in every scene it accompanied and was just absolutely brilliant.

So many things are going on simultaneously: Loras's trial, Pycelle getting lured down into Qyburn's dungeon, and Lancel discovering the horrible truth of the rumor. Loras first: he confesses and renounces the Tyrell name, his title, everything. He's to join the Faith, and they brutally carve the seven pointed star onto his forehead. I really felt bad for Mace, who's been an oaf in just about every episode he's been in but who looks so terribly pained for his son here. Margaery confronts the Sparrow about mutilating Loras, and she also points out that Cersei, who's to stand trial next, is ostensibly missing from the assembled crowd in the sept. Lancel pipes in that Cersei's litter never left the Red Keep, and the Sparrow dispatches him to retrieve her. Cersei, meanwhile, is enjoying a nice glass of wine. She looks too calm for someone who could be sentenced to die, and get a gander at her getup: doesn't her dress appear rather armored?

Qyburn awaits Pycelle down in his office/lab/dungeon. And so do the Little Birds, who stab the hell out of Pycelle. Looks like the Grand Maester position just became vacant!

Lancel's adventures underneath King's Landing aren't going much better. Another Little Bird stabs him, and he realizes that he's surrounded by wildfire. And some candles that are about to ignite the wildfire.

Back up in the sept, Margaery knows that Cersei has plotted something big but can't convince the Sparrow that everyone in the sept is in imminent danger. The Faith block the exits as back underground, Lancel struggles to reach the candles in time. But he doesn't. There's an epic shot of the wildfire reflected in his eyes just before the massive explosion that utterly destroys the Great Sept of Baelor, everyone in it, and who knows how many others within the vicinity. The bell, which could be heard ringing at the beginning of the episode, is seen crashing to the ground, rolling, and crushing anyone in its path.

Cersei surveys all of this from her view in the Red Keep with a very satisfied look on her face. She just killed a bunch of her enemies in a single, devastating blow. We cut to Tommen, who's just staring out the window at the burning destruction.

Ah, but Cersei isn't quite finished yet. Septa Unella is her prisoner now, and Cersei sounds certifiably crazy while talking to her. Cersei leaves Frankengregor, whom we get a glimpse of sans helmet for the first time, to deal with the septa as she says "Shame" while locking them in.

There are still plenty of shocks to come in this episode, but one of the biggest ones for me was this: after taking off his crown, Tommen jumps out the open window.

Walder Frey's "Wit" Falls Flat

Old Walder is crowing about retaking Riverrun. Poor Jaime has the misfortune of suffering Lord Walder's attempts at conversation, during which Lord Walder jokes that they're both kingslayers. Jaime is not amused and reminds him that the Lannisters had to come mop up the Freys' mess.

Prophecy Fulfilled

Cersei's worst fear has come true: all of her children are dead. Qyburn tries to dissuade her from viewing Tommen's body, but she insists. He asks her what kind of funeral should be planned since, you know, the Great Sept of Baelor just got permanently decommissioned. She tells Qyburn to have Tommen's body burned and the ashes buried where the sept once stood.

What a Library!

Sam and Gilly arrive at the Citadel, which is behind the news on who's in charge up at the Wall. While this gets sorted out, Sam is allowed access to the Citadel's library, which, not gonna lie, I would live in. :D

Winter Is . . . Here!

But first, a furious Davos calls out Melisandre in front of Jon on what she did to Shireen. Melisandre counters that it wasn't only her who burned Shireen; Stannis and Selyse were to blame, too. Davos wants Melisandre executed. She goes on to say that she can help in the war to come against the White Walkers. Jon orders her to ride south and never return to the North unless she wants to be hanged. He watches her ride away from the Winterfell parapet and is joined by Sansa. They have the tough talk about her not telling him she asked Littlefinger to send the Knights of the Vale, and Jon tells her that they have to trust each other. Sansa lets him know that a white raven arrived from the Citadel; I got the chills when she said, "Winter is here."

Fire & Blood!

Lady Olenna, dressed in black, is in Dorne, the guest of Ellaria and the Sand Snakes. Even in mourning, Olenna's words are razor-sharp as she puts down Obara, Nym, and Tyene. Obviously, all the ladies assembled hate the Lannisters, so it makes sense for them to ally against Cersei. And then, ta-da! Varys appears!

No Westeros for You

Daenerys breaks the news to Daario that he and the Second Sons are staying behind in Meereen to keep the peace. He accuses Tyrion of having convinced Daenerys to dump him, and afterwards, she does go debrief Tyrion on how the conversation went. Their talk concludes with Tyrion telling Daenerys that he believes in her, and her presenting him with the Hand of the Queen's pin. Um, I almost cried at the expression on Tyrion's face.

Revenge Is a Dish Best Served as Frey Pie

This scene—holy shit. Walder Frey is alone with just the servant girl who was eying Jaime earlier. He grumbles about his sons Black Walder and Lothar not turning up like they were supposed to, and the servant says that they are here. Lord Walder is confuzzled until she tells him that his sons are IN. THE. PIE. Like, he just ate them! The servant girl whips off her face, and it's Arya! She states her name and then proceeds to slit Walder Frey's throat, just as her mother's had been at the Red Wedding.

Just No, Littlefinger

Littlefinger intrudes on Sansa in the Winterfell godswood, admitting that he wants to sit on the Iron Throne. With her by his side. Then he leans in for a kiss, which gets denied. Sadly, Littlefinger is not one of the casualties of this episode.


Benjen has to leave Meera and Bran because he can't travel beyond the Wall due to the magic built into it to keep the dead out. He's left them by a weirwood, which Bran touches. WE RETURN TO THE TOWER OF JOY, AND THIS TIME WE FOLLOW YOUNG NED INSIDE! He finds his sister, Lyanna, dying, but first she makes him promise something. Lyanna whispers most of the specifics to her brother, but then Ned is holding a baby, and then the scene cuts to . . . Jon Snow! BEST. SEGUE. EVER!!!!!!!


Jon is trying to convince the motley assembled group of Northern lords, Knights of the Vale, and Wildlings that they need to work to together to fight the White Walkers. There's a lot of grumbling going on in the hall when Lady Lyanna Mormont rescues Jon's ass again, LOL. She gives this absolutely fearless, MAGNIFICENT speech, in which she also manages to verbally bitch-slap Lords Manderly, Glover, and Cerwyn. First Lord Manderly then Lord Glover admit that they were wrong in not answering their liege lord's call, and they bow to their King in the North—Jon Snow, the White Wolf! And then everyone in the Great Hall of Winterfell is hailing the King in the North! I. Almost. Fucking. Cried.

The Mad Queen?

Jaime and Bronn are approaching King's Landing and see the smoke. Visibly alarmed, Jaime spurs his horse, and he arrives in the throne room just in time for Cersei's coronation. Qyburn is sporting his own snazzy Hand of the Queen pin. Jaime and Cersei make eye contact, and he does not look very happy for her.

Ah, But Long Cersei May Not Reign

Because Daenerys, the Unsullied, the Dothraki, the fleet, AND the dragons are on their way to Westeros! Oh, and so are Tyrion, Missandei, Grey Worm, Varys, Yara, and Theon. Varys certainly got back fast from Dorne, lol. What a stunning closing shot that was, capping off one hell of an episode and one hell of a season, really. Bravo!

Final Thoughts on Season 6

As a reader of the books, I was very, very, very wary at the start of this season, knowing that the show was well and truly off on its own path now. Maybe because of that, this season just went all out with the plot advancement and the plot twists. While there were still plenty of quotable lines, season 6 felt less "talky" than its predecessors and much more action oriented, not that I'm complaining. Characters also seemed to travel at record speeds across Westeros and beyond, lol.

We got quite a few HUGE moments this season, starting with Jon Snow being brought back to life! Then we had the Sansa/Jon reunion, Daenerys lighting up the temple in Vaes Dothrak and leading ALL of the Dothraki, the White Walkers' origins, the Stark banners flying over Winterfell once more, the complete Tower of Joy sequence, every scene Lyanna Mormont was in, and the episode that pulverized my heart, "The Door." I know I'm forgetting others, but that's my point—there are so many to choose from! This moment may not have been on the scale of the others I mentioned, but one of my favorite scenes from the season was Brienne attempting to give Oathkeeper back to Jaime and him telling her that it was hers and will always be hers. ♥

So this was supposedly the last 10 episode season, which already feels short enough. With so much power shifting (and so many major characters dying, lol) over the course of this season, what are seasons 7 and 8 going to look like? Cersei vs. Daenerys? Everyone vs. the Night's King and the White Walkers?

And of course I must ask this requisite question: will readers get The Winds of Winter in their desperate hands before the start of Season 7? I'm more curious than ever to see how TWoW will differ from the show and vice versa.

For the last recap of the season, I usually list all the characters we said goodbye to in that season. This time, however, I also feel like I need to make a list of characters we said hello to again after not seeing them for quite a while, lol, so here goes:

Peeps We Said Hello Again to This Season

Bran Stark, Hodor, Meera Reed, Rickon Stark, Osha, Yara Greyjoy, Balon Greyjoy, Robin Arryn, the Blackfish, Edmure Tully, Walder Frey, the Hound, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr.

Peeps We Said Goodbye to This Season

Doran Martell, Trystane Martell, Roose Bolton, Ramsay Bolton, Balon Greyjoy, Alliser Thorne, Olly, Osha, Shaggydog, Rickon Stark, Hodor, the Three-Eyed Raven, the Blackfish, the Waif, Wun Wun, Tommen Baratheon, Loras Tyrell, Margaery Tyrell, Mace Tyrell, Lancel Lannister, Kevan Lannister, the High Sparrow, Grand Maester Pycelle, Walder Frey.


  1. I thought the beginning was amazing- seeing everyone preparing for the trial, but you could tell from cersei's expression that she had a plan. And poor Tommen- kid had no idea. That whole sequence was great, and the music complemented it so well! I wonder if the sept is going bye bye in the books?? I can't believe Loras CONFESSED- just from a little imprisonment? Good grief, but whatever cause he's gone anyway! And MArgaery- her I'll miss. And Lancel was pretty dumb to follw that kid... that was just all a trip though, and so effective.

    I'm not sure it was smart of Jon to send Melisandre away- I wonder where she's headed?? And that Winter is Here moment was nice. :) Arya was AWESOME, although I joke about her teleporting ability. King in the North was nice, about time Manderly and Glover got their shit together. What will Sansa do ?

    I agree w/ your thoughts on the season, I was very wary as well. I like your listing of things that happened- it was a HUGE season that way and while I was nervous about the books being spoiled, the books are coming so slow I almost don't care any more. lol it's taking too long! And man did we get the reveals this time. I also hope TWoW comes soon, can't wait to compare the book with the show!

    Great recap!!!

    1. The opening sequence was just BRILLIANT. I'm still in awe over it and the fact that the episode carried that momentum straight through until the end. What an amazingly crafted hour plus of TV.

      I was surprised that Loras caved, too. And exactly- it didn't matter in the end because Cersei outsmarted them all. I thought Margaery was at least going to get herself and her family out of there in time. At least she tried.

      I wonder where Mel is headed, too, and where she'll turn up next. I also had to laugh at how fast Arya got to Westeros; I half expected her to appear at Winterfell before the episode ended, lolol. Damn, she was stone cold! But I loved it- I DESPISED Walder Frey.

      I wasn't sure how the lords were going to react after Lyanna Mormont ripped them all a new one, lol. It was a highly gratifying scene, though, even if Littlefinger's face at the end of it served as a reminder that Jon and Sansa's troubles are far from over.

      I feel the same way about potential book spoilers from the show; I don't care as much as I once did because who knows when the books will end? And there's no way that I'd quit watching the show to hold out for reading the remaining books first, lol.

  2. Ok, where do I start? I see I'm not the only one that noticed the eerie piano music in the beginning and the violins in the end!

    When I tell you that Cersei just made the bossest ass boss move in this here Game of Thrones yet!! I had COMPLETELY forgotten about the caches of wildfire hidden beneath the Sept and Red Keep, etc. until I saw that faint green glow and realized what was about to happen. I literally gasped and shouted Ohhhhh shiiitttt!! Oh the satisfaction on Cersei's face and the devastation on Tommen's! I don't like Cersei, never liked Cersei, but damn if I don't respect the hell out her right now!! And can I get a hand clap for whoever was her costume designer for this week's episode! I loved it!

    And poor Tommen. He was weak and it was time for him to go. I can appreciate that the decision to commit suicide was possibly the only decision he ever made for himself, by himself. He was too sensitive and malleable a kid to survive for any great length of time in the Game of Thrones.

    Another bit I wasn't expecting was Arya showing up in the Riverlands to take vengeance on that old crotchety curmudgeon Frey. Oh how I have longed for his death for taking away my Robb and Grey Wind. And I love the way Arya exacted her revenge. The fact that he died the same way they killed her mother was not lost on me. This scene was just everything!

    Finally the moment of truth, literally. Ned finding his sister on her death bed in childbirth and pleading with him to protect her son from Robert. And that dude playing young Ned looked and SOUNDED just like him! Gosh it was eerie! This scene was heartbreaking and I had the chills the entire scene and every time I've watched it. And that transition! THAT TRANSITION!!!!!! From sweet, adorable, Baby Jon to sweet, honorable, and adorable Adult Jon melted my heart!

    The chills continued the entire next scene. Can we please give three cheers for little Lady Mormont!? When someone say squad goals, I want her on my team! This little girl done stood up and shamed all them grown ass men for their cowardice and I was HERE FOR IT!!! Oh and when they declared Jon King in the North I got flashbacks to Robb's scene (which also gave me chills!), and man I was so damn PROUD! I was like yeah Jon!!! We started from the bottom, now we made it to the top! This scene was beautiful and TRIUMPHANT! And now we know for sure that Jon is indeed ICE and FIRE!

    Dany, Dany, Dany. Dany and Tyrion give me life. Their scene was so sweet and I think will add to the significance of the relationship later on.

    This was hands down the best season of GOT yet. So many epic moments and I'm still pouring some out for the homies Hodor and Wun Wun. I cannot wait to see what season 7 brings. And I hope to GAWD George gets off his ass and finishes TWoW before the year is out.

    1. I LOVED the music! It perfectly suited the mood in every scene; the piano at the beginning was especially haunting.

      When I saw Cersei's dress, I was like, oh, she's up to something! It reminded me of dragon scales, which wasn't too far off from what ended up happening with the wildfire. I knew that stuff was destructive, but watching the explosion was still a sight unlike any other I've seen on GoT.

      Tommen was definitely not cut out for the brutal world of GoT. And Cersei totally underestimated how much he loved Margaery.

      Arya's revenge was just perfect. When I watched the episode again, I realized that she called Walder Frey "my lord" not "milord," which was something Tywin Lannister called her out on when they were at Harrenhal. That was a big tell that it was her, lol.

      I got a little teary during the Tower of Joy scene, then again during the King in the North scene. I got flashbacks to Robb's scene, too, which was one of my favorite moments in season 1 (can't believe it was that long ago). If Jon, with his ice and fire heritage, isn't Azor Ahai, I don't know who is!

      I'm starting to feel like we book readers have been forsaken, lol. Seriously, though, with everything that happened on the show this season, we need TWoW more than ever!


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