All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As you can tell, I’ve failed at keeping this episode/season specific. Onwards!
6.10 The Winds of Winter
Oh man. Remember how energized everyone was after Battle of the Bastards and how we all cheered when the little direwolf appeared back on top of Winterfell where it belonged? Remember how we chanted TOWER OF JOY during these opening credits of this season finale? The end to Season 6, including the previous episode is the best one-two punch of the whole series. There are a ton of fan theories that get confirmed, the direction and focus gets back with a snap of the fingers, and most of Season 5 and Season 6 gets forgiven by these two.
The Winds of Winter is the title of Book 6 and well… We all know what happens in that one. lol, jk, hurry the fuck up, George.
The episode begins in a very solemn and quiet setting as Tommen, the High Sparrow, Cersei, the Tyrells, and others begin to ready themselves for Cersei’s and Loras’ trials in front of the Seven Gods. It is… the quietest and dialogue-less scene in the entire course of the series. The music is absolutely perfect, it’s never been done on the show before so it seems a bit out of place- and yet, it is one of the most distinct and recognizable tunes from the series.
Loras confesses, gives up his title to Highgarden, and gets a seven-pointed star carved into his head (something he can’t take off). On the other side of King’s Landing, Tommen tries to get to the sept only to find the Mountain barring his way. Margaery notes that Cersei is nowhere to be seen and the High Sparrow sends Lancel off to see to it, except he gets distracted by a small boy galivanting around the city. Eventually an orchestra builds around the piano, it speeds up into a frenzy to match the crosscutting between Pycelle and Lancel as they slowly realize Cersei’s plan- Pycelle gets killed by the little birds that have aligned themselves with Qyburn (it’s implied that he’s a child molester in the books, so this is fine). Meanwhile Lancel chases the child down under the streets- straight into a cache of wildfire. As he realizes candles in the distance are burning low, Margaery suspects something is up and begins to argue with the High Sparrow to let the people out of the sept; except the High Sparrow is confident that his hold over Tommen will have Cersei dragged to the Sept. Chaos breaks out and the High Sparrow finally realizes that Cersei does indeed have the upper hand.
It’s too late, and the sept explodes, taking with it the High Sparrow, Lancel, Loras, Mace, Kevan Lannister- and Margaery, our beloved queen who was mostly wasted this season and taken from us far too soon. I wish there had been more Cersei and pious Margaery this season. It would have made me dislike even Cersei more.
Cersei observes from her balcony as she sips more wine, and while Tommen is left in disbelief and shock in his quarters, she celebrates by subjecting Septa Unella to torture and rape via the Mountain, chanting SHAME all the while. Cersei. Is. Terrible. This whole season was supposed to be her downward spiral into Mad King territory and I think they did a good job of that.
Mourning Margaery, Tommen stares out his window, removes his crown, and walks away. (I legit thought my internet froze the first time watching this because the smoke was moving soooooo slowly.) It’s a few seconds before he returns to fall out the window, and to his death.
We make our way over to the Twins, where Lord Roose (poisoned by our enemies) once stood so proud, and Walder Frey celebrates his victory over the Blackfish with Freys and Lannisters. Bronn notes a serving girl who is eagerly checking out Jaime and… Jaime feels that something is off. He turns to her direction and they cut back to her more than once for us to become suspicious enough. Walder attempts to suck up to Jaime, but he’s not having it- he’s not happy about having to leave Cersei to dig him out from under the Blackfish.
Anyway, there’s a bit of back and forth between Walder and Jaime, reminding us that Walder stabbed everyone in the back- and in Robb’s case, the gut- to get where he is and didn’t really get his hands dirty, and to establish that Jaime is not particularly proud nor pleased in this choice of ally. As Walder relishes that “Fear is a marvelous thing,” Jaime looks away- he’s not his father. He would never align himself with someone like Walder Frey who has no interest in loyalty or bravery if it was up to him. And now, being a Lannister and being aligned with the Freys automatically puts Jaime in the camp of the power hungry and the dishonorable.
Back in King’s Landing, Cersei stands over Tommen’s body and asks Qyburn to burn his body so he can be with the bodies of Myrcella, Joff, and Tywin. Ouch. Cersei’s transitioned from cold to unreadable over the course of the series and her reaction to Tommen’s death is the complete opposite of Myrcella’s. It makes you wonder in Tommen’s death was something she accepted after Myrcella’s and the prophecy and didn’t bother protecting him from it after a certain point. Sure, she didn’t directly kill him or push him out the window- but she doesn’t seem at all phased when finding out he died and you can’t say that she didn’t know what his reaction might be after she blew up the Sept.
Sam and Gilly finally arrive in Old Town and Sam is absolutely delighted when he greets the secretary of the Citadel. Just to give you an idea of why there is no waiting time when people send ravens, we discover that the Citadel doesn’t even know that Jeor Mormont was killed or that Aemon died- and Jeor died back in Season 3! Super slow. Thanks for fast forwarding correspondence, D&D. It also tells us that there is a lot of history that the Maesters aren’t privy to. Anyway, Maester Secretary Warren says the word library and Sam pretty much ejaculates everywhere, and then again when he actually sees the library. Smack dab in the middle of it, is that golden, globular chandelier we see in the opening credits. META.
In Winterfell, Jon surveys the table in the great hall where his family would sit as he was forced to sit among the other people and watch them be Starks. Davos interrupts his conversation with Mel to toss her Shireen’s stag carving and Mel instantly recognizes it. He demands Mel tell Jon what she did to Shireen Baratheon in the name of the Red God. Jon’s silent as he takes into account the person and religion that has brought him back as well as her claim that she is going to help him win the Great War. Instead of executing Mel, he sends her away. I uh… I guess we’re just not going to revisit the whole “Mel is an old lady” thing, huh?
Jon watches her leave from the battlement and Sansa joins him- they’re closer than they’ve ever been. Jon acknowledges that Sansa is responsible for winning the Battle of Winterfell with the Knights of the Vale and that he probably wouldn’t have listened to her because of who their leader is- but Sansa knew that she had the wits to scheme around Littlefinger to get what she needed. Jon asks that they trust each other from now on and Sansa reports that the Citadel has officially announced that Winter has come as the music of Winterfell swells in the background and everyone cries because Ned was right.
In Dorne Sunspear, Olenna meets with Elia because there are no other Martells, I guess, and Olenna does what we all want and shits on the Sand Snakes for not contributing anything interesting or useful. WTF, script, you did it to yourself. Since Cersei and the Lannisters declared war on the Martells, it’s only natural that Olenna would want to team up with the Martells against Cersei. Elia tells Olenna she can offer Olenna what her heart desires- which is actually Varys offering Dany, and I get the whole “dragons beat lions” thing, but there’s no other real explanation for this alliance. It’s just that Cersei doesn’t care who she’s made an enemy of, so they’ve all banded together.
On cue, Dany informs Daario that he’s not invited to the party and she’s going to leave him… in charge… of Meereen… because Daario is suuuuuch a diplomat, telling Dany to marry him, do whatever she wants as queen even if it means slaughtering her own civilians, and all that. Maybe she finally realizes what a bad influence he is on her, but she’s not exactly leaving Meereen in a stable environment with a pirate at the top. If that wasn’t a bad enough resume, Daario doesn’t give a shit about Meereen and I quote, “Fuck Meereen.” GOOD JORB, DANY. Let’s go get you another city in Essos.
Dany drops a direct line from Tywin, explaining that the best way to make alliances in Westeros is with marriages, which makes Daario angry and proclaim that he doesn’t want riches or titles or whatever, he wants Dany. I would have totally believed Old Daario with this but this Daario is just bland. Like quarterback, captain of the other football team in Remember the Titans bland. He just doesn’t smolder for me. Dany does look great in this episode though. Like she’s shot absolutely beautifully and this black jersey material is cut really well and looks really good against her skin tone.
She makes her way to Tyrion and he tells her that Daario wouldn’t be the last man to love her and the camera lingers a little too long and there is a flash of longing on his face to imply that Tyrion is another casualty of the mother of dragons. Can we not? Both of them admit that he is “terrible counsel” but she goes ahead to make him her Hand of the Queen anyway, by pulling the pin from her cleavage and… ok Dany. She’s supposed to be oblivious to this?
Back at the Twins, Walder Frey tucks in some dinner, served by the same serving girl that was checking out Jaime. He keeps asking for his sons and the serving girl, supposedly lowborn, tells him that they’re here, “my lord.” Man, they just raided the Tywin scenes for this one, huh? The serving girl points at the pie she’s been slicing up to reveal a finger- he’s been eating his own kids. It’s the story of the Rat Cook that Bran was telling in Season 3 episode 10- and how the gods turned a cook into a rat and ate his own children as punishment for breaking guest right (ensured protection under the host’s house after eating their food).
In the books, the Frey Pie is theorized to be a part of the Grand Northern Conspiracy, served at a feast thrown by the Manderlys in White Harbor as Lord Manderly’s son was killed at the Red Wedding. But you know… we got what we GOT. Got it?.
Anyway, the serving girl rips off her face and as she slices Walder’s throat open, she smiles and we all cheer in the name of Cat and also for the fourteen-year-old ninja assassin. Back to that earlier scene as well- on my first viewing I suspected that this was Arya from her first interactions with Jaime, due to the editing of the scene and I thought that Arya would find it really exciting to have a Lannister in town as it brings her one step closer to Cersei and also Arya just hates Lannisters. I suspect that it’s the conversation that he later has with Walder- where he calls him cowardly and dishonorable and all of that- that marks Jaime safe. I’m aware that Jaime was never on her list, but I have to believe that Arya wouldn’t have minded killing him due to, what, him stabbing Ned in the leg and all.
Her sister, Sansa, is sitting in Ned’s weirwood and she’s approached by Littefinger- he wants the throne with Sansa at his side, but she blocks his advances and walks away. He promises he’s declared for House Stark and attempts to drive a wedge between her and Jon by saying she would make the better ruler being nobleborn in the North and all. Considering her earlier conversation with Jon, we know she’s not swayed but she pauses long enough to consider his words and understand that she’s a pawn to him.
North of the Wall, Benjen leaves Bran and Meera behind to… go scout some more, I guess. Bran downloads some files from a nearby weirwood tree and-
TOWER OF JOY, TOWER OF JOY, TOWER OF JOY!
Like the last time he was there, Ned pauses proving that Bran’s cry out to him before did stick in the threads of its history. Cue all the fan theories as we realize we’re getting closer to meeting Lyanna. When Ned gets to the room, he places Ser Arthur Dayne’s sword, the Star of the Morning, at the foot of the bed- Azor Ahai, the Prince who was Promised, was born under a bleeding star. Lyanna is bleeding from the waist down having just given birth, and she tells Ned that “His name is Aegon” and that he has to keep him from Robert and that Robert would kill him if he knew- and makes Ned promise to protect him.
We get a close up of the baby that cuts into Jon- and this is the reveal: Jon was never Ned’s bastard child. He was Lyanna’s son, and evidently not by Robert. At this point, it’s unclear if he was the product or rape or consensual sex- it’s irrelevant and we can assume that Lyanna was a mother who only wanted to protect her child. Robert would have raged against a bastard or legitimate child, simply because it wasn’t his.
And so now it’s confirmed that Ned has been lying to everyone to uphold the promise to Lyanna- Cat, Robert, Jon, Benjen- about his own past. I still think it’s fitting that Cat never knew, as Ned not only stuck to his vow, but Cat’s hate for Jon also sold the whole “Jon is Ned’s” bit. Ned’s duty has run much, much deeper than what we saw from him on-screen.
Anyway, the North is arguing in Winterfell and Jon tries to keep the peace between the Freefolk and the Northmen by quoting his father and that problem is solved. Then, Jon says that the Night King won’t wait out the storm because “he brings the storm.” One, fuck Breaking Bad for coming up with an amazing line that is referenced over and over and two, fuck lazy writing because this is probably the fourth time this season alone we’ve heard an iteration of this line.
The North still doesn’t believe Jon until Lyanna Mormont stands up, calls out all the Northmen that ignored Sansa and Jon (including the Manderlys, Cerwyns, Glovers), shames them all for acting like scared children while House Mormont remembered. The final nail in the coffin comes when she declares that Jon has Stark blood in his veins and a bunch of phrases roll through- House Mormont knows no King but the King in the North whose name is Stark, from this day until his last day, etc.- and the tears start flowing. House Manderly is the next to declare for Jon, then Glover, and the others follow suit- basically declaring that they were all wrong but that the Red Wedding was avenged- but like was it really and where was the rest of the North taking this into their hands, and where’s my conspiracy- but when people start chanting THE KING IN THE NORTH, I don’t care anymore. It’s where Jon has always wanted to sit, he’s finally recognized for being a good leader, he’s finally one with the Northmen. And of course, it’s extremely similar to Robb’s King in the North scene, but we’ve grown closer with Jon, he’s more prepared for this instead of just being thrust into leadership, and he’s worth of the title.
Sansa looks up at him proudly, taking in the whole scene, and spies Littlefinger. It’s hard to tell if she’s a little put off that they didn’t declare her as Lady of Winterfell or if she’s just annoyed by his presence, but I think either way, he’s gotten under her skin. I think they want you to read this as she’s aware that Littlefinger is a problem, but she is fairly stoic when Jon stands up. It can be read that she’s thinking, “LF, you’re right. Winterfell should be mine.”
Jaime rides back to King’s Landing to see the sept still smoking and Cersei being crowned the Queen of Westeros, First of her Name, and all of that. She’s made Qyburn her hand.
As Jaime struggles to piece together what’s happened to Tommen and why there are no Tyrells around, Theon and Yara, some Tyrell and Martell ships (but there are no Martells left and that’s not just a sigil of Dorne, come on people) are sailing a bunch of Dothraki and Unsullied across the Narrow Sea under the three headed dragon banner. Dany is finally heading to Westeros. It’s about time. I was so, so, so sick of Meereen. We all were.
We kick off Season 7 with 7.1 Dragonstone!