Tyrion had the best line to recap the season six finale of Game of Thrones: “How about the fact that this is actually happening.”
The Winds of Winter might go down as one of the greatest season finales for any television show. I don’t want to be hyperbolic, but the entire one hour and ten minute runtime was a masterclass on artful storytelling. The opening buildup for the explosion at the Sept of Balor was enough to make this a great episode. Everything about the sequence was as close to perfect as a television show or movie can get. No dialogue spoken, just a musical composition setting the perfect ominous tone for the episode. Kings Landing has been my least favorite story line all season, but this sequence alone redeemed the buildup to the conclusion.
It was perfect because they didn’t rush it, they let the tension build. The Sparrow seemingly in control, getting Loras to confess all his sins, and give up the right to his title and land. I thought during the trial the Sparrow would be able to control the Seven Kingdoms by rallying people to his cause by using Loras and Tommen. The showrunners quickly show us Cersei is in total control by having the Mountain stop Tommen at his door. Margery is the first to realize something is wrong at the Sept. If there is one misstep in the entire episode it might be here. I thought Margery had a plan to save Loras and herself. All she did was give The Sparrow power, and I expected something more from her. This is a miniscule nitpick, because of how Cersei played everyone.
Cersei cleaned house and assumed the title of Queen. She took revenge on everyone who had wronged her, but in the end Tommen still died. Her actions resulted in the death of her last child. Her hatred and plans brought all of this upon her, but it was fun to see the High Sparrow meet his end. Cersei is cold hearted, and the torture scene with the Septa showed how evil she can be. Yes the women tormented and tortured Cersei, but what she has planned for The Septa is much worse. I can only imagine how unhinged she will become because she no longer has any children to protect. Her actions hopefully will finally break Jamie and her up. The look in Jamie’s eyes as he came back to watch her crowned showed he was not on board with what she had done.
The only two scenes in the episode which might not be considered epic would be between Jamie and Walder Frey and then the scene with Sam at Oldtown. I enjoyed both, especially the scene at Oldtown. We finally get to see the famous Citadel. I just felt this scene should have happened much earlier in the season. They should have started Sam and Gilly’s story here instead of ending with it, but it was still great to finally see. In the list of fantastic events taking place in the episode this ranks towards the bottom. It should have been much bigger, and it being in an episode earlier in the year would have done it justice. The scene in the library was pure book porn for people who love to read.
This began the tie ups to many of the story lines. We flash to the North while the White Raven is flying to inform them winter has come. The scene between Melisandre and Davos was well acted and had a fantastic payoff. My only worry is that Jon is now vulnerable because we know who he is and he has become King of the North. Jon shows his mercy to Melisandre and keeps her alive, but forces her south. I think we may have seen the last of this Red Priestess, but others will take her place in the show. She may still play some part, it will be interesting to see if she does. A good exchange between Sansa and Jon show they are on good terms, and ends the first scene at the North.
A small scene in Dorn shows House Tyrell, House Dorn, and Varys aligning. Dany will have even more allies when she comes to shore. Ones who hate the Lannister’s and will be willing to help put her on the Iron Throne. The only strange thing about this scene is the timing of it. This would have to take place many weeks after the events in Kings Landing. The news would have had to travel to Dorn, along with Olenna. I think this is just proof that all of the story lines are operating during different time frames. We may flash forward and flash back depending on the place the story is showing us. This is very similar to how Martin wrote books four and five. It makes sense for the show to do the same, but they probably should try to do a better job in explaining it.
The timing aspect can also be seen with how fast a certain Stark fed Walder Frey a Frey Pie. Arya found herself back in Westeros and back at the Riverlands quickly from two episodes ago. I feel the events in Bravos were a while back in the overall timeline and she picked Frey as her first target. This scene was perfect. Drawing on ancient myths to give the evil Walder a very fitting end. It was perfect to watch his horror, and then see Arya slit his throat the same way he had someone do to her mother.
Danny had two great scenes with Darrio and Tyrion. She doesn’t want to give up Darrio, but she knows she must because of Tyrion and his council. It was perfect to see Tyrion take the knee to Danny. Their scene was very well acted and the dialogue very well written. They know what is ahead of them, and are scared to undertake it, but know it must be done. Tyrion is at a loss for her making him the Hand of the Queen. She is the only person he has believed in. I admit I might have teared up just a bit when he kneeled before her. I wonder if we will see Danny falter next season and for his faith to be shaken in her. I don’t see how Danny fails to take the seven kingdoms with all of the forces she has behind her.
The ending for show started with the reveal of who Jon Snow really is. It has been a fan theory for many years and it was great to get confirmation. Jon is a Targaryen and a Stark. Fire and Ice merged into one, and he is now King of the North. It was a perfect reveal, and then the flash to him having the meeting with all of the Lords. Bella Ramsey who plays Lady Mormont is a fantastic child actress. She has an insane commanding presence and delivers her lines flawlessly. She took over the meeting and got all of the Lords to pledger their allegiance. It was a powerful scene (HE IS THE WHITE WOLF!), only to be followed up by the next powerful scene. I do worry about the look Sansa and Littlefinger share at the end. They will have some say on the fate of the North and Jon.
The ending with Danny and her ships was how I wanted last season to end with her on her Dragon. It was such a perfect way to show how the story will be moving forward next season. We only have thirteen episodes left before the show ends. I don’t want a seven and six episode season, but if that is all they need to wrap up the entire show, then hopefully every episode brings the same story telling power of this finale.