by Michael H. (@timhalpert)
The picture above depicts how most of us thought the finale of Game of Thrones Season Six would end, and we were right. Much of the finale consisted of scenes we were pretty sure were going to happen, and still, each of these was done so brilliantly – cinematography, music, acting, special effects – that the viewer couldn’t help but to be enthralled; to be completely caught up and blown away (sorry for the bad pun to all of you in the Sept of Baelor). Let’s light this candle (sorry! can’t help it).
1 – Cersei as the destroying angel
How badass did she look in that all-black-everything get up? The opening 20 minutes of “The Winds of Winter” were unlike anything I remember seeing in the show. The slow and steady build of the music, mirrored by the action on screen, was irresistible. As Margaery recovers from the shock of Loras pledging his loyalty to the Seven – and having the star carved into his stupid head – she seems to be the only one to recognize how badly things are about to go. The High Sparrow – in all his infinite wisdom – keeps everyone locked in the sept as Lancel stares down the candle just as its flame makes contact with the Wildfire.
And ka-boom: A whole lot of characters, some who have played important roles (Tyrells: Margaery, Loras, Mace; High Sparrow and a bunch of low sparrows; Kevan Lannister), are gone in a flash of green light. Additionally, Grand Maester Pycelle is stabbed to death by Children of the Corn extras, and King Tommen enacts a poetically heart-tearing suicide. In two minutes, the showrunners removed the excess from King’s Landing, leaving Cersei on the Iron Throne staring down Jamie (how is he going to take this?). Cersei’s single-mindedness is impressive, and her taking care of business without regard for anyone else – or the future – was astonishing to watch.
(I’m so glad we didn’t get a clear shot of Ser Gregor’s face as he entered the nun’s torture chamber. That scene was also peak Cersei.)
Arya, weirdly, is kind of heading down the same path has her mortal enemy: transforming into a single-minded murderer. Her taking out Walder Frey may have been my favorite moment of the entire series, but someone/something will have to stop her free fall into nihilism before she’s too far gone.
2 – Jon: a real Stark; a real Targaryen?
Benjen plainly states that the Wall is magical, possessing the ability to keep the undead out. This means he must leave Bran and Meera – and, also, that the Night King has to find a way to knock that sucker down – as they continue their journey South. Bran links up with the nearest weirwood tree, finally showing us Lyanna Stark (Ned’s sister) and baby Jon at the Tower of Joy. She makes Ned promise to watch after the boy, whispering the true name of the boy’s father, which we, and maybe even Bran, do not get to hear. I don’t see any way it’s not Rhaegar Targaryen, making Jon and Dany the most important “good” guys moving into the final stage of the series. How amazing was the scene change from baby Jon to adult Jon, with all his scars and recent resurrection showing on his weary face? Chills, y’all. Chills.
That cutaway leads into a very familiar scene: Houses of the North declaring a Stark King in the North (Rob’s version was very similar). But it took Little Lady Mormont brow-beating a few of the old dudes for everyone to get on board. Baelish and Sansa exchange an almost-hostile glance as the chants of “King in the North” go up; moments earlier, Sansa had rebuffed Littlefinger’s advances, he having just confided in her that everything he has done was with his ultimate goal in mind: ruling the Seven Kingdoms with Sansa by his side. (Gross.)
3 – Daenerys: Master and Commander
We did it! We finally left Essos! Good-bye Meereen, good-bye Sons of the Harpy, good-bye presiding over meaningless commoner problems (real sorry your kid got the extra crispy treatment from a dragon, move along), and good-bye Daario (aww, that one’s actually sad). Hello plot advancement! Tyrion is Hand of the Queen, Varys is brokering deals with Dorne and the Queen of Thrones (“Do shut up, dear.”) while somehow managing to get back to the armada as it sets sail, and Dany is finally headed in the right direction (with three dragons) after all these years.
Daenerys vs. Cersei may be the best thing about next season. Other things to look forward to: Who Dany marries (Jon? Someone from Dorne?); Sansa-Jon-Littlefinger; what path Jamie takes; where Melisandre ends up (joining Brotherhood, taking Lady Stoneheart’s place?), book reports from Sam and the most amazing library of all time; Ironborn confrontation when Euron shows up; Arya checking names of her list while roaming around Westeros (does she make it back to Winterfell?); Brienne and Pod On Tour; Bran’s role (huge or little?). Of course – if reports of there being two seasons left are accurate – Season Seven mostly likely ends with the Wall coming down and the White Walkers advancing on the too-busy-fighting-amongst-themselves-to-notice-imminent-death-approaching people of Westeros.
Welp, it’s been real. See you in seven months. (Oh great I’m crying.)
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