Featured Game of Thrones Recap

Book-Reader’s Recap—Game of Thrones, Episode 610—”The Winds of Winter”


Note: This post is intended for those who have read the books in the Song of Ice and Fire series. As such, the post itself and the comments will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the books yet, you can discuss this episode in our non-book reader (Unsullied) recap. Thanks!

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This was an excellent episode. There was a ton going on, and a ton of it was great, but am I the only one who was seriously pulled out of the action at the very end when Varys was on that ship next to Daenerys, Tyrion, and Missandei? It’s since been pointed out to me that there was likely a big time jump involved, what with the new dragon-headed ships, but when I first saw it all I could think was, “But how? And when? And how?”

And that’s a shame, because by and large, “The Winds of Winter” was smashing, even if there were bits where the producers went for flash over coherence. I sound whiny. I liked the episode, I swear!

I’ll prove it. We start the hour in King’s Landing, and settle in for a sequence guaranteed to win composer Ramin Djawadi an Emmy. The song that plays over this part of the episode, which goes on for a very long time, is called “Light of the Seven,” and I think it’s the best piece of original music to come out the show in a while.

We see a montage of people getting dressed. Tommen, conflicted and mopey, dons a tan doublet, a jeweled necklace, and a stately stag crown. This poor, poor kid. Cersei and Margaery and the High Sparrow have pulled him apart in a hundred different directions, and the strain is showing. Margaery (oh, Margaery!) gets her hair did. We even get a shot of the High Sparrow putting on his ratty shift in that chapel where he likes to hang out. So he was naked before that? Cersei looks over all, dressed in black, with a chain strung across her front. She looks like a supervillain. She is a supervillain.

Members of the court file into the Sept of Baelor. Loras is brought in, his hair shorn. Mace Tyrell is there, and Kevan Lannister. They’re all marching to their own funeral, and “Light of the Seven” is their dirge.

Pycelle gets ready, too, fresh from a roll in the hay with a whore. He has a brief moment of satisfaction when he looks into the mirror, smiling, probably thinking that, whatever else has happened, he’ll at least get the satisfaction of watching Cersei squirm during her trial. He is dumb. He shuffles into the corridor and is found by one of Varys’ Qyburn’s little birds, who whispers something in his ear. He stumbles after the child. This music will haunt my dreams.

Loras High Sparrow

Inside the Sept, the High Sparrow is getting on with Loras’ trial. Right at the beginning, Loras announces that he freely admits to all of his crimes: homosexuality, homosexuality with Renly (the crowd gasps, like they didn’t know), perjury, profligacy (a good Scabble word you can tuck away for later), and other things he shouldn’t need to apologize for. It’s pretty clear that Loras has rehearsed these lines beforehand, and I hate the High Sparrow for forcing him to do this.

Loras throws himself on the mercy of the court, which means throwing himself on the mercy of the High Sparrow. He is merciful, the thundering jackass, so long as Loras gives up his titles and claims to Highgarden. He does, and chooses to devote himself to the Seven. With Margaery (oh, Margaery!) and Mace Tyrell watching, the High Sparrow proceeds to initiate Loras into the Faith Militant by carving a seven-pointed star into his forehead. It is harrowing, and I’m with Mace when he tries to rush into the center of the room, but Margaery is still trying to play the long game, and holds him back. Of all the deaths in this episode, her’s hurt the most, especially because she was clever to the very end, but not quite clever enough.

Back in the Red Keep, Cersei is still getting dressed, her face a mask, while elsewhere, Tommen finally decides to get himself to the Sept of Baelor. However, the Mountain stands in his way. He’s not going anywhere. Cersei pours some wine and walks to the balcony.

All of this is extremely well-edited, by the way. “Light of the Seven” plays periodically to reestablish the creepy mood. We all know something terrible is coming, but the episode doesn’t oversell it.

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Back at the Sept, Margaery is less than pleased that the High Sparrow mutilated her brother, but is holding it together. I want to scream at her to get out now. Cersei isn’t showing up for her own trial, so the High Sparrow dispatches Lancel to fetch her, but Lancel, showing some good instincts, sends some of his brothers to do the job and follows the trail of a strange little boy who scurries down the steps of the Sept and into a nearby door. He follows the child down a dark corridor, beneath the Sept, beneath the city.

Meanwhile, Pycelle follows the little bird to Qyburn’s laboratory, where the disgraced maester watches from a shadowy corner. Apparently, the little bird lured Pycelle here on some pretext involving Tommen, but we don’t find out exactly what. Pycelle blusters that he doesn’t have to waste his time here, and Qyburn, creepy as always, begs the old man’s pardon for what’s about to happen. A little bird steps forward with a knife.

The voices kick in on the soundtrack about now, high children’s voices, and it’s goose-pimple time. The music is brilliant because it comes in waves. Sometimes it’s just a light piano medley. Sometimes it’s insistent strings. And the organ gives the whole thing a religious quality, appropriate considering what gets blown the hell up in a couple of minutes. And the use of children to carry out some of the dirty work adds another freaky layer onto an already freaky sequence. There’s a reason Children of the Corn was a hit: little kids are scary.


The kids set upon Pycelle, and stab him to death in a mob. Blood gurgles from his mouth as he dies. Beneath the Sept of Baelor, Lancel has reached his destination: a long low hallway, its walls piled high with casks leaking a glowing green substance. The casks are full of wildfire, and Cersei has devised a way to set them off: leave a few candles melting in the middle of three green pools.

Lancel came close to being a hero here, you know. He discovered the wildfire nearly before it went off, and would have gotten to the candles in time to put them out had a little bird not snuck up behind him and shanked him in the side, which for some reason robs him of the use of his legs. All he can do is crawl towards the candles inch by inch, hoping and praying that he reaches them before it’s too late.

Upstairs, the crowd is getting restless. Sweet, good, gone-before-her-time Margaery is getting especially nervous, since she knows that Cersei and Tommen’s  absence means that Cersei is probably up to something terrible. She has a great moment where she implores the High Sparrow to “forget about the bloody gods and listen to what I’m telling you.” She, too, comes close to being a hero when she tries to usher everybody out of the Sept, paying particular attention to Loras, but the High Sparrow can’t let go of his newfound control and uses the Faith Militant to keep the crowd inside. This is all cut together with Lancel’s crawl toward the candles. It creates terrific tension, and while I don’t think for a second that the candle won’t go off, I allow myself to entertain the possibility that Margaery and Loras, at least, will make it out alive.

Margaery and Loras Official

But it’s not to be. Despite Margaery’s protests, the Faith Militant won’t budge, while below, the candles burn down to nothing. We see wildfire rip through the corridor—it’s the same shot Bran saw in his vision back in “Blood of My Blood”—and the Sept explodes and collapses in a way that leaves no room for the possibility that anyone made it out alive. Margaery played the game and played it well, but she lost to the supervillain up in the Red Keep, who sips her wine with a simpering little smile as she watches her enemies burn, and her city with it.

And the day’s not over. It seems that Septa Unella was at the Red Keep during this time, and Cersei has her chained in a dungeon. She urges Unella to “confess” while pouring wine in her face. In his reaction post, Richard called it “wineboarding,” and I will happily steal that term.

And to what should Unella confessed? That she liked what she did to Cersei. That she liked making her suffer, and starving her, and depriving her of all human contact. Cersei, again acting like a supervillain, outlines how she and Unella aren’t that different. After all, Cersei also likes doing objectionable things: killing her husband, fucking her brother, lying about it, and of course, setting all her enemies on fire. That last one makes her feel better than anything.

Cersei Lannister Official

This is the most honest scene we’ve gotten from Cersei in a while, which is a horrifying prospect. She plans to keep Unella alive and in pain for a long time—there’s actually a funny little moment where Cersei is surprised that Unella expects a quick death. She has assigned Ser Gregor Clegane the task of keeping Unella company in the interim. Gregor removes his helmet as he walks into the dungeon, and while we glimpse his mangled face, we don’t get a good look at him. (Incidentally, I dig how he didn’t end up being used as a blunt instrument to solve Cersei’s problems—this way is less predictable.) Cersei leaves him to it, and exits the room with a grin and a few last words. “Shame. Shame. Shame.”

Cersei has everything she wants, and in revealing her true nature, loses the thing she valued most. Tommen watched the destruction of the Sept of Baelor from his room, and whether because he knows he’ll never see Margaery again, or because he can’t live with what his mother did, or because he can’t live in a world where this kind of thing happens, he decides to end it. He walks to the open window and falls out. The moment is quiet and perfect and horrible.

So this sequence, right here. It’s definitely the best thing in the episode, quite possibly the season, and maybe even the series. It pays off plotlines that have been simmering for seasons, some of the particulars were unexpected (Margaery dying) even if the generalities weren’t (Cersei getting revenge), and it mostly holds together logically. But above all, David Benioff, Dan Weiss, Ramin Djawadi, and director Miguel Sapochnik deserve credit for going all in on the sequence and creating a hypnotic rhythm that made it feel like a tragic opera. This is one for the books.

The metaphorical books, that is. I have absolutely no idea if anything like this will happen in A Song of Ice and Fire.

Sept of Baelor explodes official

Later, Cersei stands over Tommen’s body, although we’re spared the sight of having to look at whatever became of his corpse after his fall. As usual, she’s impassive. I suppose we’ll have to wait for next season to get an idea of how she really feels about this. She orders Tommen’s body burned and buried where the Sept of Baelor used to be, near his grandfather, brother, and sister. Cersei’s adrift now, and that can only end badly.

Our first non-King’s Landing scene of the night takes place at the Twins, as Jaime and the Lannister army celebrate the retaking of Riverrun from the Blackfish. Walder Frey addresses the crowd. “[W]hen we drive our swords through our enemies hearts, may we speak the words of our alliance: the Freys and the Lannisters send their regards.”

Jaime, looking none too pleased to be here, is drinking with Bronn. A serving girl who on rewatch I realize is Arya in disguise gives Jaime a look. Bronn thinks she’s sweet on Jaime, but more likely she’s just trying to place where she recognizes him from. They banter about the girls at the party, Jaime does a little wingmanning, and Bronn wanders off with a couple of brunettes. Where’s that rich wife you promised him, Jaime? Huh?

Jaime Lannister and Bronn

In Bronn’s absence, Walder Frey wanders over and chats Jaime up in an uncharacteristically chummy way. Apparently, he feels a sort of connection with Jaime, given that they’re both kingslayers and know what it’s like for people to talk behind their backs. The comparison does not please Jaime in the least, and he makes a good point about the Lannisters not always being willing to come rescue the Freys whenever they get themselves into trouble. Ah, c’mon, Jaime—the old man was trying to connect with someone for the first time in what I’m just going to guess was decades. Humor the guy.

Later, after Jaime and Bronn have left the Twins, Walder Frey is eating alone in his hall. Certainly-Not-Arya wanders up and endures a little sexual harassment before placing a pie in front of the old man. When Lord Walder wonders after the whereabouts of Black Walder Rivers and Lothar Frey (at least I assume those are the two sons he’s talking about), Certainly-Not-Arya tells him that his sons are “here.” Walder Frey lifts up the pie crust and finds a fingernail in it. Gross.

So the show managed to work in the Frey pie bit before the season ended. It’s a shame Walder Frey never actually took a bit from the pie—this is another fan service moment. Anyway, Certainly-Not-Arya pulls off a mask to reveal that she’s actually…Arya Stark! Surprise!

Arya very calmly tells Lord Frey who she is, and then slits his throat in a way that’s supposed to remind us of how Black Walder cut Catelyn’s throat back in Season 3. And then she smiles creepily, because that’s what the Stark sisters do after they murder people.

Arya and Walder Frey official

Ah, here’s Sam and Gilly arriving at Oldtown. I don’t know how Sam managed to get away from Horn Hill without his father coming after that sword he stole (the carriage he and Gilly arrive in is markedly less fancy than the one from “Blood of My Blood,” but this is a rare happy moment in the episode, so I’ll deal with it. The production has rendered Oldtown splendidly. The Hightower stands by the bay, its base a mass of black stone, just like in the books. However, there are white ravens flying out of it, suggesting that, in the show, the Hightower is part of the Citedel, rather than the seat of House Hightower. Gilly and Sam stand agog. Little Sam poops himself. Probably.

Inside the Hightower, or maybe in the Citadel…whatever—elsewhere in the city, Sam and Gilly approach a guy I’m assuming is Lorcas, the dickish gatekeeper who gives Sam a hard time when he arrives in Oldtown in A Feast for Crows. Lorcas is supposed to have been an acolyte for 50 years, and this guy looks much younger, but close enough. The takeaway is that Lorcas is a jerk. He won’t take Sam’s letter from “Lord Commander Snow” until Sam leans way over and puts it directly in his hand, and seems irritated by the fact that the Citadel’s records haven’t been updated to reflect the fact that both Lord Commander Mormont and Maester Aemon are dead. “This is most irregular,” he says, and John Bradley cracks me up when he replies, “Yes, well, I suppose that life is irregular.” That little ingratiating smile is what does it. I didn’t much like Bradley in the early seasons, but I’ve come around.

Lorcas says that Sam can discuss the irregularities with the archmaester, and for a second I think we’re going to see Marwyn or something, but no such luck. Lorcas leads the way to the library, and hilariously stops Gilly and Little Sam from following with a bark of “No women or children!” He sounds so offended!

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Sam makes a conciliatory gesture and follows Lorcas through high long stacks of books that, for some reason, have chains hanging in front of them. The maesters really stick to theme. He fondles the books and emerges into an enormous library so big the camera has to pan up to show us all of it. Sam is in heaven, and looks like he’s going to convulse from happiness right then and there. It’s a sweet moment.

Also, there’s an astrolabe hanging in the middle of the room that looks a lot like the one in the opening credits. Oh, you sly writers, you.

Up North, a white raven flies to Winterfell, where Jon is hanging out with Melisandre and reminiscing about what it was like to grow up in the castle. The chit-chat doesn’t last long, as Davos storms in and wastes no time in accusing Melisandre of burning Shireen alive in Season 5. She doesn’t deny it, although she admits she was wrong about her visions. Then there’s nothing left but the punishment.

Melisandre and Jon Snow Official

Davos, who’s angrier than we’ve ever seen him, wants Jon’s leave to execute Melisandre. Jon seems like he’s considering it, but she points out, rightly, that she could be invaluable in the coming war against the White Walkers, so he banishes her instead. Davos, to his credit, lets her go, but warns her that he’ll kill her himself if she ever returns.

Yeah, sending away the lady capable of bringing people back from the dead is probably not your best move, but Jon’s on a roll lately so far as bad moves are concerned. I wonder if Sansa would have wanted her to stay.

Speaking of Sansa, she meets Jon on the ramparts of Winterfell as he watches Melisandre ride away. They have a good-natured chat about which of them is in charge now that they’ve retaken Winterfell—each of them wants the other to lead, but Jon presses his case more firmly, and Sansa doesn’t seem to mind the idea of taking the top spot. The conversation turns to why Sansa didn’t tell Jon about her alliance with Littlefinger, and while she apologizes for keeping that information to herself, she doesn’t offer an explanation as to why she did it. Jon seems satisfied, though. They reaffirm their bond, and Jon kisses her on the brow. The Jon-Sansa partnership is far from over.

Sansa and Jon

And it’ll likely be tested soon enough. Sansa tells him about the white raven, which is sent out from the Citadel to mark the changing of the seasons. “Winter is here,” she says. We might need to change the name of this website.

Later on, Sansa is sitting a spell in the Winterfell godswood, remembering when she would come there and pray she could be somewhere else. Littlefinger saunters up and gets personal. He reveals his big picture plans to Sansa: him on the Iron Throne with her as his queen. I suppose he thought that would get her the mood for love, but she stops him when he leans in for a kiss. “It’s a pretty picture,” she says. Shut down but proper.

Having failed with the direct approach, Littlefinger tries to keep pounding on that wedge he shoved between Sansa and Jon back in “The Door.” He tells her that she’s the one to lead the North now, since she, as the trueborn daughter of Ned and Catelyn Stark, has a better claim to Winterfell than Jon Snow, a bastard born in the south. Will he get inside her head again? We’ll have to wait and find out…

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…but not before we visit Dorne. Wait, don’t go! This is probably the best scene that’s ever been set in Dorne, although I was digging my nails into my palms the entire time expecting something stupid to happen.

Ellaria and the Sand Snakes are chatting with Lady Olenna, whom they’ve invited to Dorne so they can strike a deal. Olenna wastes no time in brightening things up by nailing Obara for looking “like an angry little boy,” interrupting Nymeria in mid-grovel, and cutting off Tyene before she has a chance to say a thing. Okay, that’s one way to make Dorne more palatable: have the characters we like insult the characters we don’t whenever they’re onscreen.

Ah, but Ellaria still talks. Clearly, this meeting is happening sometime after Cersei’s scheme came to fruition (since Olenna knows about all her relations dying) and probably after she’s been declared queen (since Ellaria reveals that the Crown has declared war on Dorne, a very Cersei-esque move). Olenna wants justice for Mace, Loras, and Margaery, and I want it with her. Ellaria rings a bell, and then steals Doran’s lines from A Feast for Crows. She will give Olenna her heart’s desire. “Vengeance. Justice.” Varys walks out of the shadows. “Fire and blood.”

Dude, did she just summon Varys with a bell? I know the writers wanted him to have a dramatic entrance, but that’s kind of humiliating, don’t you think?

Varys, Ellaria Sand, Lady Olenna Tyrell, and the Sand Snakes Official

Currently, Olenna’s best hope for revenge is still in Meereen, but Daenerys is finally making preparations to leave for Westeros. But first, she has to have the Talk with Daario. He assumes that he’ll be traveling west with her, but she tells him that he’s staying in Meereen to keep the peace and oversee the implementation of democracy. I figured she would leave someone behind, but I thought it would be Missandei or Grey Worm. Show-Daario isn’t quite as volatile as Book-Daario, but he’s still the last of Dany’s advisors I would leave in charge of a city.

He’s doesn’t like the idea, either. “Fuck Meereen,” he says. “Fuck the people.” These are not the words of an effective governor. But Dany pushes on, and explains that she’ll likely need to marry somebody in Westeros to cement an alliance, and that taking a lover along might upset matters. But Daario’s not going down without a fight. “I love you.” Do you, though? “And I make you happy.” Really? “You know I do.” Well, okay. But her word is final. He takes it without breaking down or getting emotional, which was always kind of the problem with these two. I never felt like Emilia Clarke and Michiel Huisman had much chemistry together, so I’m fine with this being the last we see of Daario Naharis. Hey, he got out of the show alive.

Dany seeks out Tyrion for some consolation, which she freely points out that he is terrible at providing. Their budding friendship is endearing. See, Clarke has more chemistry with Dinklage than she did with Huisman, but then again, a cactus can have chemistry with Dinklage, so maybe that’s nothing to get excited about.

Daenerys and Tyrion Official

Tyrion says what the audience needs to hear. “How about the fact that this is actually happening?” Pinch me, she’s finally leaving. Daenerys is ready for the trip, but freaked herself out a little when she walked away from her breakup with Daario without feeling anything. Maybe a ruler needs a little sociopathy from time to time?

Tyrion tries to buck her up by giving a speech about his lifelong cynicism. Dinklage, as usual, acts the pants off it, but I’m not sure it’s well-written enough to earn its ending line: “I believe in you.” Anyway, he swears to counsel her, “now and always,” and she presents him with a gift: a Hand of the King pin she had made special. “Tyrion Lannister, I name you Hand of the Queen.” It’s a nice moment, although I’m not sure I buy how emotional Tyrion gets over it. He has had this job before, and has already been doing it in practice for Dany for a while. Maybe it’s the fact that someone he respects gave him the job because they honestly believe in his abilities?

Back in the North, Bran, Meera, and Benjen are approaching the Wall. Benjen can’t take them any farther on account of the “ancient spells” carved its foundations, spells designed to protect the land to the south from the undead, of which he is a card-carrying member. Still, you’d figure he could drop them off closer than this. How the hell are they going to cover the rest of that ground, especially after Benjen takes the only horse?

Bran Stark

From their calm, I’m guessing they have a plan. Benjen stalks off to do his part in the “great war” to come in Season 8, and Bran thanks him for carrying him all across the far north and them dumping him miles from the Wall. Well, no, Bran just thanks him, but that’s all subtext.

After Benjen’s gone, Bran decides to get his vision-trip on and travel back in time to when Ned Stark defeated Arthur Dayne outside the Tower of Joy. You may remember that in “Oathbreaker,” the Three-Eyed Raven stopped Bran from following Ned into the Tower, but now that Bran is the Three-Eyed Raven, there’s nothing holding him back. He lays his hand on a nearby weirwood tree, and away we go.

We’re back in the past. Inside the Tower of Joy, we see a long-expected sight: Lyanna Stark, lying in bed and bleeding out following the birth of her child. Ned cradles her in his arms and whispers reassurances that she’s not going to die, but she can tell the end is near. She whispers to him as she did in A Game of Thrones, although we don’t hear as much of what she says as I expected. The only snatch we get is, “If Robert finds out, he’ll kill him. You know he will. You have to protect him.” And then, of course, “Promise me, Ned.” She says it over and over.

Young Ned Stark, Lyanna, and baby Jon Snow Official

Ned weeps, and a nursemaid brings over the newborn baby. We look into his dark eyes. And then smash cut to…

…Jon Snow’s eyes, staring out for a long unbroken shot as the camera pulls out. And there you have it: textual evidence that R+L=J, that Jon Snow is the actually the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Honestly, I was expecting a little more confirmation. As in, I expected someone to mention the name “Rhaegar Targaryen” at some point, but the show has made a point to mention him before, and even though we didn’t hear everything that Lyanna said, Bran might have. At minimum, it seems he knows the secret. What will he do with it?

We’ll have to wait a year to find out, confound it. For now, we’re in Winterfell’s great hall, where the lords of the Vale, the wildlings, and the lords of the North are deciding what to do with themselves next. Several Northern lords that helped neither Jon nor Ramsay during the Battle of the Bastards, including the long-absent Lord Wyman Manderly, are in attendance. (Manderly is fat, but he doesn’t look too fat to sit a horse.) Jon and Sansa must have summoned them to swear fealty. Brienne and Pod are absent. Apparently, Arya can get from Braavos to the Twins and Varys from Meereen to Dorne and back to Meereen again before Brienne and Pod can make it back to Winterfell from Riverrun. But I’m not bitter.

Sansa and Jon at Winterfell King in the North Official

There is much hemming and hawing in the hall. The Knights of the Vale don’t like the wildlings, but no one’s tearing out throats, so all in all things are going well. One lord wants the party to break up and retreat back to their castles to wait out the winter, but Jon warns everyone that the White Walkers are on their way, and that action is required. There is more murmuring, such murmuring as you have never heard. Little Lady Lyanna Mormont lives up to her reputation as the breakout character of Season 6 when she stands up, cuts through the chatter, and calls out the Northern lords who didn’t answer Jon’s call for their cowardice. She even takes it a step further and announces that she’d follow Jon as a king despite his bastard blood, which inspires…you guessed it…murmuring.

Lord Manderly stands up next, and becomes the first lord to declare Jon Snow the new King in the North (he also names him the White Wolf, which is one of those names you just know is gonna stick the second you hear it). Other lords follow, and soon the hall is ringing with cries of fealty. It’s inspirational, but then again, we’ve seen this scene before, back in Season 1 when Robb was made King in the North. We know that this can end badly, and there’s a significant look that passes between Sansa and Littlefinger that implies it could turn sour again. Stay tuned.

Back in the south, Jaime arrives in King’s Landing to find the smoking ruin of the Sept of Baelor. Worried about his sister, he spurs his horse on. But he needn’t have panicked. With all the other options eliminated (except, oddly enough, Jaime himself), Cersei has taken it upon herself to be crowned the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, the Andals and the First Men, and Protector of the Realm. She has gone full Disney villainess for the occasion, with a long black gown with a high neck and silver plates on each shoulder, connected by a chain. Like the other scenes in King’s Landing this week, this scene has a Gothic, operatic feel, aided in no small part by Ramin Djawadi’s terrific score.

Jaime Lannister

It’s everything Cersei ever wanted, but it came at a tremendous cost. What will an unhinged Cersei with nothing to lose be like as a ruler? We’ll have to wait until Season 7 to find out, but Jaime looks more than a little unsettled by the prospect.

Finally, we head to Meereen to see Daenerys off. Theon and Yara look out from the deck of one of their Ironborn ships. The newly remade Targaryen ships, black with black-and-red sails, are packed with Unsullied and Dothraki—Grey Worm looks out at the sea from one. The dragons fly overhead, and Drogon takes us by the ship at the front of the pack, where Missandei, Tyrion, Varys (why?), and Daenerys stand on the prow, their gazes fixed westward.

I think a lot of us saw that ending shot coming, but I also think a lot of us can agree that this episode was pretty terrific. It did what a good season finale should do: it set up the next chapter of the story while providing a punch of its own. The stuff with Cersei in King’s Landing was especially good, better than I thought it would be, and set her up as the next big antagonist for our heroes to vanquish. I honestly don’t know what chance she stands against the likes of Daenerys, but I do want to see those two face off.

Congratulations to Benioff, Weiss, and everyone else involved in making Game of Thrones Season 6. That was some fine watching. And thanks for you guys for sticking with us through the season. After a finale that good, it’s gonna be a long, long wait for Season 7. Let’s try to get each other through it as best we can.

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Odds and Ends

Fare thee well, Pycelle. Wait, why wasn’t Pycelle at the trial? Why did Cersei feel the need to kill him separately via little birds? Maybe he was never planning to go, so he had to be dealt with another way? This feels like the producers wanting to get some version of the scene from the epilogue from A Dance with Dragons in the episode, even though the episode didn’t really call for it.

Time makes fools of us all. Particularly the Game of Thrones people. Look, I realize that things we see on the show aren’t necessarily happening in real time relative to other things we see on the show. In some cases, weeks may have passed between scenes. In other cases, it could be days, and in others hours. But they have got to do a better job delineating this stuff. The thing with Varys was the worst example this week, but it was also hard to tell exactly how much time has passed between Cersei burning down the Sept of Baelor and Lady Olenna arriving in Dorne. You’d figure that it would take Olenna longer to get the news and travel to Dorne than it would for Jaime to return to King’s Landing from the Twins, but the Jaime scene falls later in the episode than the Dorne scene. In the past, I’ve defended the show when people bring up all the time-jumping, but it’s starting to bug me.

One silver lining: with characters coming together geographically, it should be a little easier to keep the timelines straight.

Whither Arya? So long as we’re talking about timing, I could have stood another episode of two between when Arya left Braavos and turned up at the Twins to kill Walder Frey. It must have taken her some time to get a gig serving tables there, right? But my problem with Arya, if you want to call it a problem, has to do with her disguise. Her leave-taking from the House of Black and White was already muddled, but are we to imply that Jaqen H’ghar lent her a face or two now, as well? And she didn’t go blind when she used it. I guess she has had more experience since she last put one on, but I feel like the writers are getting away with this partly because they haven’t bothered to clearly define the rules that govern the Faceless Men, and that’s a little annoying.

But it is nice to have Arya back in Westeros. In Season 7, we shouldn’t have any plots in Essos. Things are truly coming together. As for Arya herself, where will she go? Will she hear about Jon and Sansa and head north? Or perhaps she’ll try and infiltrate King’s Landing further south. It’s all wide open.

241 Comments

  • for the old and new gods sake why is everyone so caught up on the time gap for varys to get to dorne and back being a downer?

    Jamie gets from the twins to kings landing in a flash and arya gets to the twins from bravos with her stabbed gut (now healthy) in the same time.

    nothing here seems weird to me

    • Telling time is a very hard concept for people. They make this same dumb complaint after every single episode because they can’t understand the time lapse’s within an episode and wrap their heads around that not everything happening in the episode is happening at the same time. It’s mind blowing really and I’m beyond disappointed in this author for bringing it up once again like all the other dumb sheep. For people who make this complaint it’s more a indictment on them than the show.

      • Wow! I’m all about being honest, brutally to a point sometimes. But dumb sheep is a little unnecessary. I thought it off too when I saw varys on the ship. I completely understand timelines being different for this series, and I think the author of this article does too. Again, no need for name calling….

        • Everyone assumes Varys went back to Mereen but it makes much more sense that he sent a raven to Mereen, announcing that his mission was a success. Dany and Co. left Mereen with the ships of the Masters and the Ironborn and just picked up the Dornish boats on the way to King’s Landing.

      • Agree. The episode was a masterwork. This review, not so much. Whoever wrote the Unsullied review is a much better at analysis, and writing in general.

    • Because the the show continues to make crappy decisions when it comes to editing. If they had of shown Jamie showing up at KL before Varys’ return to Dany it would have made sense. But they thought it would have been more sensational to end with Cersei taking the crown. Every time the show makes you go what the fuck and expects a leap of faith from the viewer it is a fail.

      • “If they had of shown Jamie showing up at KL before Varys’ return to Dany it would have made sense.”
        Um, that is exactly what they did. Varys and Co. with Dany was the last scene of the episode.

        • Even if you were right that the Dany scene came before the Cersei scene, are you suggesting that simply flipping these scenes would make a difference in the believability of travel times in the show?

          Dan says he would have liked to see a few more episodes pass before we see Arya in Westeros, except there are no more episodes… Does he mean he would have liked to see her in episodes 2 or 3 of season 7?

          They have to show so much story in each season, and the order of scenes is not just based on time, but also pacing and style. Short of them plotting out every scene remaining in the show and making episodes longer or shorter to accommodate characters travel time, it’s inevitable that timelines are not going to line up perfectly.

      • If they had of shown Jamie showing up at KL before Varys’ return to Dany it would have made sense. But they thought it would have been more sensational to end with Cersei taking the crown.

        But you’re wrong. The sequence was exactly what you said it should be. First we saw Cersei being crowned and then we saw Varys back with Dany. The episode ends with Dany, Varys and her dragons.

        • Even if you were right that the Dany scene came before the Cersei scene, are you suggesting that simply flipping two back-to-back scenes makes a difference in believability of travel times?

          Dan says he would have liked to see a few more episodes pass before Arya came back… Except there are no more episodes. Did he mean push Arya coming backing until episode 2 or 3 of season 7? They have 10 episodes in the season to tell stories. Unless you think rearranging the order in all the scenes with a season makes a difference, it’s inevitable that the time will seem short. Scenes aren’t also ordered based on timeline, they are ordered also on style, story, and pacing.

      • We get it Art, you like to bitch about the show.
        But now you’ve gone so far off the ledge you can’t even get your complaints correct.
        Sad…

    • little fingered, i agree. Seven hells, what’s wrong with them? Haha!

      Kidding aside, some viewers should never be perplexed with the timeline. Like what i posted before, it has to be understood that it takes days, weeks and months in some scenes within an episode.

      Just because they show the next scene one after another doesn’t mean that it occurs that same day too. The director doesn’t need to put the time period per scene to appease some viewers. Haha!

    • I’ve stopped getting upset at these time-dolts. Pulp Fiction probably made them cry with confusion. And those scenes in other shows where the character gets in a car in New York, and in the next scene is stepping out at the Golden Gaye bridge…well, those places are a 3 day drive, minimum, from each other…they should’ve had 2 more episodes of rest stop and gas fillup scenes….

    • I’m pretty sure there was a big time jump in the episode before the finale three scenes:
      (by now everyone should’ve realized that GoT’s timing isn’t linear.)

      – In Dany’s fleet were also Dornish ships so not only Varys but the whole Dornish fleet met up with Dany’s fleet on her way to Westeros.

      – Yeah, Jamie surely hasn’t travelled fromthe Twins to Kingslandings in just 2-3 days.

      – Sansa and Jon assembled all northern houses in Winterfell.
      Of course that took time too.

    • Nobody ever said these things are happening at the same time! It’s a hour long show which is trying to tell a complex story in one hour increments! Stop dwelling on the time lines and use your imagination!

      • Each season spans about a year, using ten hours of screentime. Get used to timejumps

  • I don’t think that there are words to describe this amazing episode. Just perfect. The music, every sort of element we had was put down in perfect harmony. I believe that Season 4 and Season 6 are like the Two Towers of Game of Thrones. Connecting the dots i order to see the finale. Season 5 was the middle chapter thus being a bit worse. I am both sad and glad that I had the chance to watch this spectacular episode. Sad cause the season is over and we have to wait 10 months to see the next. However, those that have read the books including me await the next book of asoiaf. Congratulations to everyone that participated in this season.

  • The whole opening scene at King’s Landing was one of the most brilliant moments of TV ever. The music and build up was just fantastic. Loved how the handled Tommen’s end too. Was just horrific and brilliant at the same time.

    • Tommen stuck it to Cersei in the only way that he could, while also extricating himself from that horror show in the only way he could. Powerful moment.

      At this point, literally every single other House on the continent is now going to be gunning for Cersei, as well as all the peasant Faithful seeking vengeance for all the people she just mass-martyred.

  • Episode was a masterpiece.

    I just can’t get through the fact Margaery got killed, she was a gem on the show, I truly hoped the best for her. Plus Cersei is a bitch and a Mad Queen and I hope Jaime kills her as the valonquar, I never thought I can hate her more. I’m also very surprised that the wildfire haven’t spread all over the city but maybe it’s because Aerys ordered to built them separately, without any indication for the fire to burn everything at once.

    Also, as almost everyone else I got bored by Daenerys’ stroyline last two seasons but in Season 6 I felt in love with her again and with such an advisors and backup she should be the greatest ruler of all our options that left now (since Jon is the King In The North now and I don’t think he would even be interested in the Iron Throne, Tyrells pretty much are non existing, Lannisters are in shreds and mad except for Tyrion but he is not going to want the throne, every other major house is not likely to be on the Iron Throne). Baelish is an important threat to the crown but I feel like he would make a pretty good king actually. I feel like Olenna and Ellaria are likely going to finish Cersei before Daenerys will be able to even look at her. I just hope Tyrion is going to make sure Dany wouldn’t be another Mad King.
    But since in the books there is also Aegon I fear that exluding him off the show means that he is not going to survive for long in the books. I still have hope for him though. And since now it is entirely different from the books I can’t even compare those two.

    Baelish has to feel the burn now, but I fear his vengeance will be cruel. Still he is adaptive so maybe he will start to advise Jon on the purpose of being his Hand, anyway we know it is not what he wants so my money is on some revenge. That look he gave Sansa during the king in the north scene gave me goosebumps.

    About R+L=J everything had already been said. It used to be basically canon for long before this confirmation and since it was only witnessed by Bran I can’t see anyone believing him, so this is still an open case. I wonder how it is going to be served to Jon, but probably Meera and Howland
    would have some reunion in season 7 so Howland could confirm Bran’s words. I also wonder what would the Northern Lords do when they hear the King In The North is even less a Stark than he already was. I can’t wait.

    • As if Jon would take Baelish as his Hand. NOT. He already has Davos and Sansa had already warned him about LF. So that’s unlikely. He’ll make his attempts at revenge in another way but I doubt it’ll be successful. Mark me, Sansa will protect Jon.

      • Oh Jon would have never take him as his Hand, I know. I mean more like LF would be trying to get into his graces in an attempt to be his Hand, then he would see it is not working and start to plan how to beat them. And sadly I don’t think it would be unsuccessful, actually last time there was a King In The North it ended badly.
        And myself I also thought Sansa would protect Jon from such situation as LF trying to get revenge, but I just watched “Inside the episode” and “King in the North” feature and DD seem pretty sure that Sansa is now jelous of Jon, and even the cast say he still haven’t learned his lesson and he is naive, he doesn’t look at Sansa to learn what she thinks and how she feels. I haven’t seen much of jelousy in Sansa (maybe except for a moment, she had this face like “ok, but I won this battle not him”) but they are reading it that way so we can expect some angry actions on her side towards the brand new King.

        • Oh I see. I haven’t seen the Inside the Episode yet. I am really disappointed that Sansa felt that way. She has to get over it. It wasn’t Jon who made himself King. It was the people. :/ Jon had no control over the situation.

          And to be fair, Jon said she’s the Lady of Winterfell and even offered her the Lord’s chamber. It’s a small gesture but it shows Jon was not imposing himself.

          • Yeah I felt the same way.
            We have to remember Sansa apologized to Jon for how she treated him back in their early days. Jon is not someone who would keep such things in mind for long, also because he got used to this. But still they were arguing a lot during the preparations and we can tell now that Sansa was right at every point that she made during those arguments and she was definitely hurt by not listening to her. Even if she said differently later.
            I think they may want to make of her someone hateful thanks to LF suggestions and thoughts.
            I don’t think Sansa would be able to betray Jon in the future but I fear this is the path they are taking with her.

    • Jon’s not really “less Stark then he already was”…
      He’s still 50% Stark, he just gets it from Lyanna rather then Ned.

      Its when they find out where he gets his other 50% from that might make them nervous.

      Also, unlikely but considering incest is rampant in this world, any chance for anything “more” when Jon and Sansa find out theyre only cousins and not siblings?

      • Or he and Sansa marry as they are first cousins which in this world ain’t no biggy. Problems solved.

          • Yeah that’s the one thing everyone seem to forget about. There are no divorces in the world of Ice & Fire as it seems, so legally they will be a marriage as long as one of them dies and they wouldn’t be able to remarry before one passes away.
            In the books her marriage to Tyrion is a problem.
            The show on the other hand didn’t care much about that and married Sansa to Ramsay while everyone knew she already had a husband. And still no one notices this.
            Maybe the thing that they never consummated their marriage has something to do here, but in the books it still is not a solution.

      • I meant mostly that it is a medieval world, so men’s blood is before women’s blood. And yeah they are going to be very surprised that the other half is Rhaegar’s, but maybe this is going to take place later than Daenerys’ arrival so Targaryens would have a clearer name.

        Personally I feel like Jon would end up with Daenerys in the show, Sansa has to give a Stark name heirs and Jon will have to continue Targaryen line since both houses are on the edge of extinction. It would be more practical to have them as it is, not as marriage or a romance.

        • Jon & Dany would be even more wrong than Jon & Sansa – if Jon is Rhaegar’s son, that makes him Dany’s nephew.

          • Yes and no. This is a world where Targaryens regularly married close relatives in order to preserve their bloodline. Rhaegar Targaryen’s parents, Aerys and Rhaella were siblings. ASOIAF implies that this is the root of the famed Targaryen madness

          • Nothing new to House Targaryen, even more – in the books Dany is genuinely surprised she wasn’t about to marry Viserys when he told her about him arranging her marriage with Drogo. So not a problem on her side, and I feel like they would fall in love before Jon learns about his true parents. It would be simply too late to deny the feeling.

            But beside the fact I feel this is a possible scenario, we have to admit – It is unlikely to happen, not a “got”‘s style. Too soap opera-ish.

    • Baelish is an important threat to the crown but I feel like he would make a pretty good king actually.

      Um, can we talk about this?

  • If Sansa isn’t immediately willing to shag Baelish, one wonders if he’ll throw himself at Daenerys, eventually assassinating her and taking the Throne after she’s annihilated everyone else in the way.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Now that Sansa refused him maybe he’ll set his eyes on someone else. Dany would be a good prospect but we know Varys knows Baelish’s motives. So it can also end badly for Baelish if ever.

  • Time to rewrite the westros history books….House Tyrell…Gone House Frey…Gone? House Baratheon…Gone, even though Tommen was really a Lannister. House Bolton…Gone

    Thought they rushed Ayra’s return. Could’ve waited til season 7.

    I think Season 7 will begin with the BIGGEST battle to date, Cersi dies from Tyrion and Dany sits on the Throne her ancestor built. I really hope Jamie makes it, but not looking good.

    • This is a book article and in the books there are lots of members still living in these families and lots of other members of the families. Loras and Margery were the youngest of the Tyrell kids.

      • There is a Tyrell brother @ Highgarden; Margaery wanted to send Sansa to Highgarden to get away from court and incidentally meet Willas. Tywin got wind of that and hence rushed the marriage to Tyrion. By the way has anyone thought about the fact that Sansa is still married legally to Tyrion?

        • In the books, there are two Tyrell brothers left; Willas, and Garlan the Gallant. Both are left out in the show. Olenna wanted Sansa to Marry Loras in the show, so Tyrells are nearly done, yes.

      • If Arya can butcher them in their own castle, bake them into pies and serve them to old Walder, their isn’t enough Freys.

      • There are numerous Freys in the books, Emmon, Hosteen, Aenys, Raegar, Jared, Big Walder, Little Walder to name a few, but the Show chose only to portray a few. Walder, Lothar and Black Walder are the ones shown, and now they’re all dead.

  • Non book readers who aren’t major fans will not understand the significance of the ToJ scene. 7 weeks in between mention and the majority of the call back was in the Previously On. Don’t like it because I knew this was going to happen.

  • I thought the episode was fabulous. Epic, fraught with tension. The music and the cinematography were simply outstanding.

    One gripe, and it’s not directed at the show. I’m tired of all the comments about timing and time travel. You are watching a fantasy that has warging, dragons, wildfire, people being resurrected and people wearing dead people’s faces, and you are worried that time between the tableaux isn’t long enough? Seriously? Look, the showrunners are in their endgame here. They need to get people moved around the chessboard quickly so they’re in the right spots to finish the story. They don’t have enough episodes to make it “realistic” for characters to travel from point A to point B. But, since when is this show “realistic”? I don’t watch it because it’s reality tv.

    • I agree with the gripe. I’m going to give HBO money to make an extra season for the people who issues with the travel times. It will be ten episodes of just he characters traveling. We’ll have boat travels, and horse back travels, and even walking travels. Very little dialogue, just traveling

    • Just because it is high fantasy does not mean it does not have to obey it’s own internal logic. To argue the show is winding up is a valid reason for not making sense due to poor editing or writing is a crappy argument. To argue restraints enforced by a limited number of episodes as justification is even crappier as D&D are the ones who imposed the limited number of episodes remaining. The books are certainly realistic in the context of the world and so should the show.

      Being sick of people pointing it out is fine (though I do hope you know they don’t care about how you feel about them voicing their dissatisfaction), but your arguments as to why complaints are invalid are themselves invalid on the grounds that they are stupid.

      • They have explained time and again from Producer to Writer to Director to Actor that the timelines move at different pace between Scenes and Episodes.
        So therefore the show does obey it’s own internal logic.

        You calling people’s arguments stupid doesn’t make it so.

        • There has to be a logical internal consistency or a narrative won’t function. I’d say for the most part the travel hasn’t been a problem. There can be as much gap between scenes as necessary without a problem, as long as one scene does not need to follow another that comes after it. The only problem I saw was Jaime taking so long to return to KL, following the Dorne scene which should happen later. I can see artistically why they did it that way, ending the show with Queen Cersei (almost) and not allowing time for a confrontation between her and Jaime (I thought the last shot would be her on the Iron Throne – a disturbing image for us to contemplate for the next year). It’s not just that all the agents have to be placed at position X at time Y for the story to continue, that can easily be written. It’s the dramatic effect of the scenes in a certain order which they’ve chosen as a priority. I think it could be better handled (just saying there is different pacing doesn’t explain the internal logical, it just dismisses and evades any attempt to follow it), but they seem to like rushing themselves.

    • Agreed!!!! The whining about insignificant details that don’t take away from the drama and the story is so annoying. If you’re going to complain then complain about something important or substantial. Complaining about dumb details doesn’t make you clever, insightful or a better critic, it just makes you a whiner!

      I don’t care that Varys went from Dorne to Meereen in one episode. Did Lady Olena hear about the mass murder of her family and go to Dorne in one day? Oh did you notice that Dany changed he outfit from her talk with Tyrion to when she got on the ship? How did she change her clothes in one episode? That’s about as much as I care about the time questions I don’t expect the show runners to spell out the exact timeline to me as that would be tedious and insulting to my intelligence as a viewer. Or is it…..? Do some of you time travel conspiracy theorist need a narrator saying “meanwhile, in the past day Varys has traveled Dorne to Meereen” or “we last saw Arya a month ago as she left Braavos”? How dumb are we?

      And also, I totally bought that Tyrion was emotional. Him being told tone hand of the king by his father as a temporary sub for his father for a evil little bastard is completely different than him being chosen to be the hand for the mother of dragons. He had to prove himself to her and was chosen by someone he respects and believes in. How can you not understand how that would feel emotional for Tyrion?

  • Best line of the episode goes to Benjen…”I wish you both good fortune…” but did not finish the line with “in the Wars to come”

    The War is here now…

  • I wish they had’ve been more graphic with Grand Maester Pycelle’s bowels loosening as he was eviscerated!

    Also, was Golem Clegane about to carry out a sentence of lurid carnal torment upon the nasty septa?

    • Probably best that they left that to the imagination… more powerful and scary that way.

      • I’m glad they didn’t show it … but Lena said what happened to her in the script was horrible and they couldn’t do it … that she would take the wildfire. So, I suppose poor Septa Unella will be Gregor’s toy for a while …

  • To be fair dan jamie says to roose when he is leaving harrenhal “give the starks my regards” then roose says to rob just before he stabs him that “the lannisters send there regards” i hope this helps

  • Some of the ships of Dany’s fleet had the Martel Banner, so that’s pretty awesome aswell

  • The ships weren’t leaving, they were arriving. There were Martell and Tyrell ships among the fleet.

      • leaving from where? Dorne, after picking up the Southern Allies? Did they meet up and all the wind checking is to start heading north to KL I like the idea of the two fleets meeting up, while meanwhile the land forces are gathering to move northward.

    • Well, no, they were most definitely leaving. But you’re right about Martell and Tyrell ships, which were obvious enough that I’m guessing D&D thought it explained the time-gap well enough.

  • It was an amazing episode my only complaint is being teased when Ser Clegane was taking his helmet off! I really thought we where gonna see! That would have been good to see at that moment. Knowing how awful he looks after Cersei telling her to “meet you’re new god” and leaving it to torture her until season 7. Damn shame we didnt see his face.

        • As always Lindy you’re full of it.
          And the Dan commenting above is a liar. U can not see his face. Not even the wild eyes. Stop presenting crumbs as fckn meal.

          • you spoiled it Adam !!! I thought I didn’t see the face because of my lousy panel and even gonna buy smth new.

  • “As Walder Frey addresses the crowd, we come to another of several moments that struck me as more inspired by fan service than story. “When we drive our swords through our enemies hearts,” Walder Frey says, “may we speak the words of our alliance: the Freys and the Lannisters sent their regards.” When would he even have heard that Roose Bolton said that? “

    Umm, wasn’t Walder right there in the room, watching, when Roose said that and stabbed Robb?

  • Varys got ships from Dorne and Tyrells to make the fleet finally large enough, so he has travelled a lot. As you said Olenna has travelled top High Garden, heard of the deaths of her family, recieved a invitation to Dorne, and travelled. In the same time All the northern houses have been summoned and arrived – so the time expanse seems to be months – only Jaime really ruins that timeline, but you have to forgive the sequence as it would have looked clunky any other way.

  • After the BofB episode I was worried that we would get a boring plain vanilla episode that left things hanging and many plots unfinished. I apologize for my assumption! Cersi is a super villain, Jaime was looking to become one of the good guys, and Jamie looked like he had a lot of questions about the smoking ruins and the crown on her sisters head. The best scene(s) for me had to be “Frey pie” and “Lyanna Mormont moment”, I really can’t choose. Arya slicing Walder Frey’s throat was oh so satisfying because he really deserved it, but Lady Mormont called out ALL of the lazy lords propelling Jon to King. Jon really was not ready for that, but it looked like Sansa was and approved.

  • Seems to me that Jon and Sansa is Robb and Catelyn incarnate. Only better and wiser, I hope.

  • If Sansa had been chosen to be queen of the North, almost all the great houses would have been ruled by women. Danaerys house Targaryen, Cersei house Lannister, Lady Olenna House Tyrel, Ellaria house Martel, Yara half house Greyjoy :-) interesting turn of events :-)

  • Do you really think the FM carry around a trunk of faces to pull on or off? Remember when the FM died when Arya became blind? The faces where there within the FM. This is supposed to be magic. It’s not logic, it’s belief. Now that Arya is “truly No One”, now that she’s a grad of FM training it appears she can magically access the faces.

    • That is the thing, the magic behind how they take a persona from just the face has never been explained. For all we know she could have claimed that face from someone in Westeros and used it (although I much prefer the thought that she got it from the hall of faces before leaving).
      Jaqen changed his face at the end of season 2 and he never had to pull out a face or make any attempt at moving his hand over his to remove Jaqen’s. Arya most likely can access them now she has trained in using them. Best not to question these things too thoroughly in fantasy stories, otherwise our heads would explode pondering over all the loose ends and potential contradictions of these things.

      • I guess changing faces is the essential part of the FM training.
        but D&D spent almost all time to show Arya’s beating.

      • I think she killed one of the serving girls and assumed her identity. We have no way of knowing how long she had actually been in the castle, so she could have changed her ID, figured out how to kill and carve up the Frey boys, mix them in with the meat for the pies and then pull the surprise on Walder. He did eat that pie too, it was partially carved already when she came over to the table.

    • It looks like some rejected Disney evil queen outfit.

      New low in costuming.

      Surely she would be wearing Lannister colors.

      TomT

      • I love the dress but I agree they should have kept the Lannisters colors and make a red wine dress with gold instead of silver ornaments …

        • I think the showrunners told us the queen is in mourning.
          but the timing is not perfect in this season )

          • Agreed. I thought it was actually fitting. I don’t think she was viewing this as a Lannister victory so much as a Cerci-victory. I think it is the right dress for someone who no longer is fueled by family love and names and I think its a sign that her rule would be anything but colorful like some of the lannister reputation.

  • Before I finish reading this, I have to touch on the opening question. Sunspear (wear Varys and Olenna were) is NOT that far from Mereen; seriously, it’s pretty much just across the bay, and a little bit of sea. Also, Varys told Tyrion he would know his plan didn’t work if he didn’t come back, so he kind of had to come back before the rest of the crew left.

    • Also, there’s no reason Walder couldn’t have known what Roose said… And I suspected the serving girl was Arya right away, but I loved that they made us wait, giving us quality Bronn lines–“Not blonde enough?”–in the meantime.

    • Have a better look at the SOIAF map(s). Mereen is quite far from Dorne. In between, there is Lys, Volantis, Old Valyria, the Smoking Sea, Slaver’s Bay (Bay of Dragons), Astapor, Yunkai and THEN Mereen.

    • Only half a continent away, look at a map. I assume he sent word back to meet the ships of the new alliance.

  • So…yeah…Sansa and Jon might want to consider a thank you gift card to Lady Mormont. Love that she stands up and calls out all of the “seasoned warriors” in the room like a total badass.

  • I would say it’s the perfect episode but I’m worried about Ghost. Where is the White Wolf ?!

      • to just sit next to Jon and Sansa? That would not be so hard. However Ghost could be out looking for his last sibling ……

        • Because he was cut from episode 9, maybe they cut him from episode 10 too or he was supposed to die in battle. Talking about the White Wolf and having Ghost next to him would have been great.

  • Why chains hanging down in front of books? Because it is modelled on a mediaeval Chained Library, of which a few remain – see Lincoln Cathdral. The hand written illustrated books were too valuable to leave unsecured, and so were attached to the shelves with long chains, so that they could be taken down and studied, but not removed. Even early printed books (15th century) would be chained.

      • Discworld was inspired by the medieval chains. But who knows, maybe GoT got to know about the chains by reading the annotated Discworld..

    • Just what I was about to comment! I’d never heard of books being chained down before, but while I was watching that scene, I came to the conclusion that that’s what was happening there. A little bit of common sense and actually looking closely at the chains goes a long way.

  • Even though Dany’s fleet is impressive, a point that is being overlooked is that I don’t think it will be smooth sailing the whole way to Westeros. I’m guessing there will be a battle at sea with Euron that will diminish her numbers somewhat. This could be especially true if the show decides to give Euron “the horn”.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if D&D skip Euron Greyjoy for entire season 7. simple reason, he will be extremely busy getting the 1000 ships done.

  • “when I first saw it all I could think was, “But how? And when? And how?”
    I have seen comments like this all over, from so-called Journalists / Critics & Cinema & TV writers. No one understands the concept of time & how it relates to Cinema / Editing ? It is not tough.
    Even in a fantasy world how long do you figure it would take to outfit an entire Navy for travel ? Right down to the refitting and carving & installing of a new Dragon Ram on a ship ? On & On. It did not happen in 2 days – or 2 weeks. None of these ideas are tough to figure out.

    • I know. It drives me absolutely crazy, it’s the most pedantic argument you can make in this show. If you’re so freaked out that there was not six episodes between character’s getting from Point A to Point B, then I don’t even know what’s wrong with you.

      I love when people call it “sloppy editing”, like they’re an expert on the subject. it’s like everyone thinks the mark of a good ” critic” is finding flaws, but they can’t find or don’t notice any actual errors, so they just harp on this non-issue so they can feel like they’re smarter then the directors/editors and noticed something.

      • Agree. The show isn’t going to create a narrative for characters just so they can satisfy whiny fans’ desire to know exactly how much time has passed between important events. The funny thing is that the show has been consistent since the very beginning of the entire series with getting to the point.

        In the very first episode of Season 1, Ned receives a raven telling him that King Robert is coming to Winterfell and then King Robert arrives in the same episode. They’ve been consistent and I just don’t understand why some fans are so whiny about the whole issue of time in situations where it isn’t fundamentally important to the story. It’s almost as if some fans have convinced themselves that 10 minutes of time that elapses in real life as they watch the episode unfold is supposed to be synchronized with the time that is depicted in the fantasy world of a tv series. Bizarre. As many others have said, it’s really not that complicated to figure out and I really don’t understand why some fans keep stumbling over this issue.

    • there is a guy whose name is Preston Jacobs. kind of a scholar who read everything GRRM has ever written. just check his YouTube channel. you’ll be reworded generously. )

  • Seven Hells, this is a nitpicking bit of fluff.

    1) Walder and Roose share a glass of wine.
    W: “What was that you said to him as you stabbed him? My new wife had her tongue in my ear”
    R: “First, yuck, and I flay people. Second, ‘Jaime Lannister sends his regards.’ Catchy, huh?”
    W: “I LIKE IT! I’m so stealing it!”
    R: “Wha’eves. My new wife is on her sixth slice of pie. I want a re-weigh.”

    2) Dornish ships meet Targaryen ships in the middle and Varys rows over. Bingo bango bongo. Done.

    There are two types of GOT fans. The first are people who long ago accepted that travel and distance logic have to be sacrificed a bit in a 10-episode season. The second are total losers.

    • the ships didnt meet half way, Dany needed them to help transport her army.. that was Varys’ secret mission.

      Despite Qyburn having control of his little birds in KL, i doubt Varys has lost all of his birds in Westeros, so its safe to assume that him and Tyrion know about the Tyrells and Martells hatred towards the Lannisters and of all the sh*t happening in KL

    • Exactly re: Walder and Roose; in fact Walder may even have heard it, he was stood like five yards away, and Roose didn’t exactly it did he..

  • So Dany has her army, calvary, ships and dragons to take over Westeros….but who is going to fight her. All the major houses are weakened. Dorne and Tyrells are with her. I dont even see the Lannisters supporting Cersi…so Dany will arrive and it will be heres the Iron Throne no one else wants it.

    • And Cersei will attempt to burn the rest of King’s Landing but Jaime will stop her and kill her …

  • So I had my eyes closed for a lot of it but I heard somewhere that Lancel was stabbed in the spine.

  • There were Martell and Tyrell ships in Danys fleet, thats how Varys got there, although they could have made it more obvious before showing him to make the scene a little better.

    How many bets that Frankenmountain raped the daylights out of the Septa? (no offense intended to anyone by mentioning rape)

    • Sucker bet … and no need for past tense.

      However many months later we resume the story, we can assume that FrankenMountain is still periodically raping the daylights out of her. Why skip that torture when inflicting all of the others?

  • There was neat narrative symmetry between the finales of season 5 and season 6. Season 5 ends with Jon’s followers turning their againist him while season 6 concludes with his followers swearing their blades in support of him.
    Cersei is humiliated in season 5 at her lowest moment but comes to be venerated at the height of her powers as a ruler in her own right.

  • Any thought on the parallels of this episode: Cersai as the Mad King who actually did ‘burn them all?’ Jaime as ‘King Slayer’ to another mad monarch–and lover in true Targaryen style? Littlefinger again rejected by Catelyn Stark 2.0?

    My personal favorite was the height between Daenarys and Tyrion in the scene where she formally makes him her hand. It draws upon the line in the first book where Jon watches Tyrion walk back into the feast in honor of Robert Baratheon at Winterfell–the one where Tryion advises Jon that “not all bastards need be dwarfs”– and Jon describes him as ‘tall as a king.’ It is the first time Tyrion is recognized and respected as an equal.

    Loved these callbacks!

  • Hey Dan, I beg to differ on Walder. Seems like he’s being served the second slice of that pie.

  • Lord Walder was already eating when Arya came back with the pie (3/4 pie actually), so reasonable assumption that he already ate a 1/4, including who knows how many toes/eyes/fingers.

    Well done lass.

  • Cersei’s moment is like the Germans surrounding Stalingrad. It is the moment their empire reached its greatest extent, and at the same time it was already irretrievably doomed.

    Exciting times coming. Hope it will be a little more than 6/7 episodes in season 7/8.

    • bro, I’m frightened how deep your analogy could be.
      from crazy Hitler/Cersei doomed their armies and countries to the victorious liberators like Josef Stalin / Dothrakies with Ironborns

  • The White Wolf… or the Ice Dragon?

    Bran Stark as Warden in the North? Sansa marries Baelish… and then wastes no time having sister Arya take him out?

    Who spills the beans on Jon and Tyrion? Bran? Howland Reed (Where you at, bro?), Sam in the Citadel?

    Great episode. It’s different than the books

  • They should make movies:
    1.The fellowship of the throne
    2.The two bastards
    3.The return of the queen

    Then a prequel:
    4.The dwarf

    • The Dwarf 1:An unexpected journey
      The Dwarf 2:The desolation of Drogon
      The Dwarf 3: Battle of 5 fleets

  • To be honest im glad they got the ships to them that quickly so we dnt have to stay in mereen for another 4 episodes waiting for some ships. It can sometimes seem rushed but its worth it to get the story rolling

  • This episode was everything I hoped it would be! Absolutely loved it!! I don’t understand the constant gripe about shit like travel times that don’t really matter. You can suspend belief and get behind dragons and magic but not to timelines that don’t sync? Also who in their right mind wants to see Arya on a boat getting to westeros let alone her going through the employment process at the twins. Oh yeah those that need a 3 weeks later at the bottom of the screen to start every scene.

  • Dan,
    Your snark is getting in the way of you reviewing this show. It really got annoying throughout this review. Just because you couldn’t figure something out between watching the show and writing your review doesn’t mean it was an issue, it just means you are not all that smart.
    It is better to write that you don’t understand how something happened then it is to just simply say it was bad writing.

  • I thought Cersei was trying to frame Pycelle and Lancel for the attack, but having him all shanked up kind of spoiled that.

    • I think she is at a point where she has basically taken out all of her enemies she has faced so far, so no need to try cover stuff up. If anything she will gloat and use it to make the people and any new enemies fearful of crossing her. Not a queen that ever learned how making the people love her could be beneficial.

      It will all come crumbling down on her eventually, which will be even more satisfying now she has gone full super villain.

  • Re: Varys’ travel times, he was already in Dorne at the time of this episode, as he left Meereen last episode. Looking at a map, I think he could travel from Dorne to Meereen by ship within the span of a single episode – returning in time to join Dany’s fleet as it leaves Meereen – probably even faster then many of our land-based characters could have reached their destinations over land within the span of a single episode. He had 2 episodes to travel via a quicker mode than everyone else had. That being said, I will admit to going “whoa!” when I saw him on the ship. We’re allowed to have reactions, but I think it’s a waste of time picking these travel-time nits.

    Re: Arya’s FM abilities. We just don’t know enough about the details of how things work here, so I’m not sure why ppl are bitching about any supposed rules of wearing faces. Maybe she took that face from a dead body? Maybe she took some from the HoBaW. Don’t forget that Jaqen changed his face just standing there when they parted ways seasons ago. Same goes for her travel time. Bravos to Westeros is not that far, and as a faceless assassin, she can surely get around more efficiently than anyone else.

    Re: Cersei’s actions, do we think she ultimately intended to sit the Iron Throne the whole time, meaning from the beginning of this episode? Surely she could not have predicted Tommen’s suicide, so was she really planning to just let him continue sitting the throne, and the new bride he would have to quickly take to settle the realm down after this “catastrophe” rule by his side as the true queen? Seems like Margaery 2.0 would never sit well with Cersei, and that we’d end up back at this point . . . which has me asking if she never intended for Tommen to leave that room at all? Gregor obviously wasn’t ordered to kill him, but mabye Cersei planned to keep him captive, so that she could rule? So many questions on this last point. Thoughts? Thanks!

    • Cersei saw Margaery as a rival for Tommen so Margaery had to go. My guess is that she counted on her own ability to control and manipulate Tommen after killing everyone else who was advising him. Cersei would have made sure Tommen’s next wife would be easy for her to control as well. Kevan, Pycelle, and even Mace Tyrell were on the small council and Cersei wanted rid of them. She wanted to be the only one whispering in Tommen’s ear. She didn’t think it through enough to guess that Tommen would kill himself. But when he did that it gave her the opportunity of her lifetime. With no more men standing in her way, she took the throne for herself. Jaime might have been the more obvious choice according to tradition, but Cersei wasn’t about to let even her beloved brother stand in her way. Now it’s done.

      I really hate Cersei being on the Iron Throne, but I am SO glad to be rid of the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant. They were the worst!

      • You mistyped “the best”. The Faith Militant were the absolute best, and their mass martyrdom is not done inflicting blowback on the Demon Queen.

        I mean, sure, how dare they imprison arrogant murderers who believe themselves above the law, and how dare they hold trials for perjury for guilty-as-sin liars, and how dare they publicly shame the shameless, and how dare they outlaw trial by combat, and how dare they force the entitled nobles to either serve the people or hide away.

        Clearly, Tywin and Robert and Cersei and Littlefinger were just much, much better. There’s simply no comparison.

  • Amazing episode, probably the best overall episode of the season.

    If I hear one more complaint about, “how did they get there so fast?!” or “how did sansa know his hounds weren’t fed?!”
    I’m going to pull a tommen and rid myself from this hopeless stupid world..

    Maybe if varys came up to tyrion and said “well it took me almost 2 weeks but I got our alliances with the tyrells and dorne!” all while looking directly into the camera, winking and breaking the 4th wall. Then our GoT babies will be properly spoon fed.

  • I don’t understand why everyone is confused about Jaqen H’ghar and Arya’s relationship. He was never grooming her to be part of the Faceless assassins, he was training her for the skills she needed to finish off her kill list. The Waif was her graduation and that is why Jaqen smiled as Arya left him. Jaqen H’ghar now knew she was ready and he was repaying a debt to Arya for helping him earlier.

    • No. Jaqen had already repaid the debt by taking the lives that Arya asked him to take. The idea that Jaqen was simply training her to become an assassin just so Arya could satisfy her own personal desires has nothing to do with how the Faceless Men are supposed to operate, which is why people are expressing confusion and frustration with Arya’s story.

      • Its quite possible that FM has their own agenda. Jaqen was in the black cells of King’s landing in season 1. May be he was looking to kill someone in King’s landing. And he was probably training Arya so that she is able to kill off people who are actually in her kill list as well as in FM’s list. The idea was not to make her No One but to make her an assassin.

        • But the Faceless Men don’t need to contract-out their assassinations. They are the assassins. If someone is on the FM’s kill list, they do it themselves. That’s what they do.

  • I find it odd that no one has mentioned the brilliance of Arya getting her revenge the way she did. Does no one else remember the story of the Rat King? It is in both the books and the show, though it happened on the show a couple years ago, so maybe people don’t remember. There is quite a big deal made of the fact (in the books especially) that for people in the North, violating guest right is as bad as kinslaying. So not only did Arya get her personal revenge for her family being murdered, but she carried out a real life version of a story that all northern-born people seem to be familiar with. I have been waiting for someone to do this to the Freys ever since the Rat King story was mentioned, and I found it to be deeply satisfying on so many levels that this is how Arya’s revenge played out. Well done, show writers, well done!

    • Not a fan of Deus Ex Arya. Anything could be happening to Anybody located Anywhere and someone can be like “aha I’m Arya Stark!”

      She can show up anywhere and do anything with her magic faces.

      • Yeah, the way the show has handled Arya’s character could’ve been a real problem if we were still much earlier in the series. But I think because they know they are getting towards the end of the story, they’re kinda bending the rules and just making it work for their own end game. It’s sort of like how the show scuttled the logic behind Cersei being on trial at least in part for having a son (Tommen) through incest with her brother Jaime, which technically meant Tommen was putting his own legitimacy as King on trial. They knew it wouldn’t matter much because the trial was never actually going to happen anyway.

    • I think you are talking about the Rat Cook, a cook who served his king (who wronged him) a pie that was made of the king’s own son. The cook was then cursed by the gods and transformed into a giant white rat, because he had slain a guest beneath his roof. The story goes that the Rat Cook still lives in the Nightfort…

    • Arya killing Walder Frey was one of my wishes for this season … I was very positive about it. I’m less positive about my other wish of watching Nymeria and her pack of wolves … maybe we’ll see only Nymeria. It seems they tried to kill all the direwolves this season before the endgame. I’m extremely worried about Ghost and I hope we get to see the reunion between Arya and Nymeria.

  • Jon Snow can’t fight the White Walkers?

    According to Benjen and Book Coldhands, there’s a spell on it that prevents anybody who is undead from passing. So how’s Jon going to go fight the White Walkers north of the Wall? If he does how is he going to get back south of the Wall?

    • You’re assuming Jon will have to go north of the Wall (or where the Wall now stands) to fight the White Walkers. Also, I don’t think Jon and Benjen/Coldhands are the same thing. Coldhands is sort of a hybrid wight or at the very least something other than human. Jon was not killed by the White Walkers and therefore was not in the process of turning into wight before being brought back to life.

      • I am saying that jon’s dead. Well he was dead. For a good while even. Does the wall’s magic discern between Undead Way A and Undead from Way B? It’s something to think about, at any rate.

        • 1. Jon ‘used’ magic to live again- He doesn’t need magic to stay alive. Benign on the other hand…
          2. The magic used to bring Jon back from the dead and the WW- magic are two different things- 2 different beliefs..one is from the children of the forest, the other one is R’hollor (or however you spell him)

  • You definitely weren’t the only one taken out of the moment by Varys appearing on the ship. I believe I shouted out, “Well THAT was fast!”

    And as for Essos next season – the only thing I can think that might come up is Jorah’s quest to find a cure for his affliction. I’m just guessing he’ll have better mystical help in the East?

    All in all, a sensational finale for the best season since season 1. I didn’t expect it, honestly. BRAVO!

    • I was sure he would show up in Meereen because his scene with Tyrion was reminded at the beginning … and I noticed the Sunspear ships before him …

  • Lyanna wanted Ned to promise her that he wouldn’t tell Robert Baratheon that the child was actually his. Ned’s search for bastards revealed in the book that they were all ‘black if hair’ – it strikes me that Lyanba didnt know who the father was but was so afraid she wanted to keep it a secret – Jon Snow, black of hair – the oldest of Roberts sons and the actual heir apparent – might explain why we didn’t see Gendry also, arise Jon Baratheon!

    • Even if Jon’s father was Robert, he still wouldn’t be Robert’s oldest bastard (at least not in the books). Mya Stone was conceived before the rebellion, when Robert and Ned were being fostered at the Eyrie.

  • Hated the fact that Lord Manderly swore to follow the White Wolf and the REAL White Wolf was MIA.That would have made the scene complete.

    • Agreed! That was really the only point in the whole episode where I thought, “oh, man! Missed opportunity!”

    • Yesss … I though the same. I hope Ghost makes it till the very end …. I wonder what he was doing in his scenes cut in episode 9, hopefully not dying.

  • Anyone think there is going to be an unlikely team up between Euron Greyjoy and the Lannisters? I can’t think of another way that Cersei would have enough troops to even contest Dany’s invasion, the Tyrells and Martells should pose a significant threat to our newly crowned Queen even before Dany reaches Westeros. Lannister armies and Greyjoy fleets would be the perfect opposition to Dany’s landing.

    • Although amending that, the biggest upset we could see for Dany’s plotline is a surprise Dragon rider for Viserion or Rhaegal who isn’t so friendly. obviously not talking about Jon or Tyrion (who would be on her side) but someone else, in the books I think it will be Brown Ben Plumm! no earthly idea who could be a negative dragon rider in the show…

    • I was wondering about that, myself. I guess initially, I thought Dany would run into Euron on her way back to Westeros, and that there might be a sea battle there. But if not, going straight to the source/crown/throne would make sense for Euron, esp. with the desperate need Cersei has for allies right now.

  • In as much as this was an awesome episode that tie up a lot of loose ends, I won’t go over the superlatives. I just wanna know…

    Where are Brienne and Pod? If they’re lurking around for a hook up with the Hound and BWOB, that’s cool. As long as they’re heading to Winterfell and not King’s Landing for that awful Clegane Bowl scenario. They’re of better use in the North, as Dany’s gonna sort out that minute maid queen who had to burn everything down to get there…ugh (can you tell I hate Cersei? :-)

    Where is Ghost? I suppose all the CGI for the dragons last week and this was too much for even a single shot of Ghost at Jon’s feet. He would have made an ideal companion for Jon and Sansa as they walked and talked along the ramparts. Oh well…I guess they’ll bring him out for his reunion with Nymeria next season?

    Does anyone care that House Baratheon is no more? Where the hell is Gendry or any of the dozen or so other bastards Robert sired? And who is at Dragonstone since Stannis left?

    On another note, Jaime better watch his back before Cersei thinks him surplus to requirements. Or he’s going to become a QueenSlayer. Can’t stand Jaime but I prefer the second option. He’ll be head of the Queensguard and will therefore have every opportunity to slay the bitch. I doubt Cersei will want to be taken alive when Dany comes through so he may do the honourable thing and off her…and himself! He did kill Dany’s father after all. Oh, THAT Targaryen/Lannister reunion will be fab!!

    • Wow, great points!

      Also wondering about Brienne and Pod. When we last left them, they were leaving Riverrun and headed back to Castle Black to tell Sansa the bad news, right? So, unless they find out about the battle, that’s where we should expect to see them next? My guess is, though, that they will hear about it, and I don’t think they’ll make it to Winterfell before running into the BwoB.

      I feel the same way about Ghost, and I bet we’d be hardpressed to find any fan of the show who didn’t feel slightly disappointed at his absence during that scene.

      Great question about Dragonstone! I have been wondering that, and thinking all along that Dragonstone will end up playing a big role in what’s coming. I mean, Dany was BORN there, it was the seat of House Targaryen, she is coming BACK, and . . . there are a bunch of stone dragons . . . that may or may not have been real at one point and then turned into stone . . . and that could or could not be released via some magic . . .

      I am saddened by the end of House Baratheon, but I’ve been mourning that since Robert died and that shithead Joffrey started flying dual colors/banners. Amazing how they’ve convinced the whole realm that a Lannister’s been sitting the throne this whole time, while simultaneously DENYING that a “Lannister”‘s been sitting the throne the whole time.

      The possibility of Jaime and Dany meeting never even OCCURRED to me, but I love it! I really thought that neither Jaime nor Cersei would make it out of this season alive, haha. Oops.

      Also, “minute maid” queen? Help me out; I don’t get it.

  • Where the hell is GHOST
    I mean I can see him not being in the battle but we have not seen him for 3 of 4 episodes He was John’s constant companion so what the hell happen

  • As for the North, I’m just having trouble thinking about what Littlefinger can even do next season. The North and the Vale have officially recognized Jon as the King in the North in spite of his bastard status and Sansa is clearly okay with it. Furthermore any detriment to war effort against the White Walkers I cannot see being tolerated which isn’t helped by the fact that no one likes Littlefinger. It would just detract from the story and eat up valuable time that could be used dealing with the White Walkers.

    I also find it interesting how all the female leads of their houses have now descended into sociopathic behavior or outright madness. Cersei has destroyed her immediate enemies but lost everything she cared about and is completely unhinged. Dany thought of breaking up with Daario as annoying instead of heart-breaking and is starting to mirror her father more and more. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes just care about vengeance and have engaged in horrific crimes. And Olenna just wants to bring down Cersei despite the fact that Cersei only has her own life to lose. All the vengeance storylines (save for Arya’s) are being dumped into King’s Landing and I can only imagine the outcome.

    Great way to end the series with Cersei going full Michael Corleone and now has three great houses bearing down on her with zero allies to help. I wouldn’t be surprised if she accomplishes what the Mad King didn’t and burns down King’s Landing next season, probably wiping out the Martelles, Tyrells, and a good chunk of Dany’s forces and thus bringing even more existential crisis to the Seven Kingdoms.

    • Arya will probably have to go to King’s Landing if she wants to complete her kill list. Cersei is on the list and so is Illen Payne. I don’t think she plans to kill The Hound any longer and everyone else on the list is dead. Unless the mad queen and her executioner decide to travel, you can bet Arya will go after them.

      • Agreed. Cersei has made herself into a demon queen, to boot, taking her policy of “murder everyone in my way” to staggering new heights. I can’t imagine her being anywhere but at the top of the list (although whether that means “take first” or “save for last” is open to debate).

      • Actually, that’s a timely comment, because I literally just watched the episode where the Hound is giving Arya shit about her list, and The Red Woman, Beric Dondarrion AND Thoros of Myr are all on it – in addition to Cersei, Illyn and The Hound (who, as we know now has a somewhat abiguous status).

        It would be an interesting meeting: a person trying to kill a bunch of people who are all trying to kill a bunch of bad people.

        I guess if The Hound’s off, then maybe the other 3 are off, as well, since she probably blames them all for him escaping justice in her eyes?

  • Awesome tv, but was hoping to find out about the Hound and Jorah.
    Looking forward to next season already.

  • There are a lot of comments here, and I didn’t read through all of them, but it seems at least a few people have touched on this subject.

    Arya using a different face outside of The House of Black and White:

    As I see it, she didn’t need to take any faces with her. Remember that her training was not only in combat and killing methods. She went through an apprenticeship (a creepy apprenticeship, yes, but still), where she also learned other tools of the trade: how to mix potions/poisons, how to clean the dead bodies prior to removing their faces, and also how to remove those faces. With that training, she can use those skills to her own ends in Westeros. Whether or not Jaqen is cool with that, I don’t know. What I’m saying is that Arya’s capable of effectively creating her own “hall of faces”. When I saw that scene, I just figured she killed some girl near the Twins and then took her face before entering as a serving girl.

    • If you buy into the mythology of the show, it isn’t Jaqen’s approval that Arya needs to worry about. The FM believe in the Many-Faced God and their magic comes from him. Whatever magic allows the FM to look like someone else until they reveal their true identity is due to the Many-Faced God, not the people in his service. The fact that Arya can still use the magic seems to mean that the Many-Faced God is letting her use it. It’s the same concept as when Melisandre says she has no power and it was the Lord of Light who actually resurrected Jon. That’s my take on the whole thing anyway.

  • Wow. That’s all I can say. I was so invested in this episode, hanging off of every detail! By the time the episode was over, I felt like I’d just watched a 2 hour episode. So much happened and yet they still managed to slow-pace the Kings Landing scenes.

    What WASN’T good about this episode? I couldn’t tell you! And what a musical performance in this episode! Ramin Djawadi outdid himself! “Light of the Seven” is a fantastic track. It’s 9:49 long on the OST, and I don’t mind listening to it start to finish! It’s a treat!

  • Honestly I would love it if they had Olenna and Lyanna Mormont do a hour of them shaming/insulting the whole cast or even better an Olenna/Lyanna commentary on the DVDs!

  • Episode Synopsis: Casterly rocked, the Reach overreached, Winter fell and the King landed.

  • Great episode overall, but there are a few things that bothered me.

    First of all, I think it’s weird if the explosion of the Sept of Baelor simply brings an end to the popular uprising of the Sparrows. Judging by what Olenna said later in the episode, people in Westeros must be aware of Cersei’s involvement, or at least have suspicions. Since she was already widely impopular with the people, the fact that she’s crowned immediately after this event should mean that chaos and unrest are imminent. And although hundreds were killed in the attack, there must still be tens of thousands angry commoners out there. Hopefully this storyline will be continued in a satisfying way next season, but I already find it a bit strange that Cersei managed to get crowned with basically only the help of one crazed maester.

    Second and more disturbingly: it remains very weird that Dorne is now ruled by Oberyn’s former paramour and his bastard daughters, after they openly massacred the ruling House. Did all the proud houses of Dorne swear fealty to these blood-thirsty bastards? Why would they? Ellaria and the Sand Snakes don’t even have any claim for the Dornish throne.

    • Dorne lets bastards inherit, and Dorne lets women inherit. The sand snakes, having murdered their Uncle and their Cousin, would have claim to rule through their Father, with their mother serving as Queen Regent.

      As far as the peasant Faithful are concerned: yes, Cersei just sent up a few hundred martyrs to the Seven in a blatant act of murdering Westeros’s closest equivalent to Pope Francis, as far as the commoners are concerned. Just like Cersei has single-handedly alienated every single noble House on the entire continent, she has also single-handedly alienated all of the small folk. Blithering incompetent that she is, her reign will be as brief as it is despised.

  • Just a thought here, but when Arya and other Faceless Men adorn their disguises does it give them the ability to shape-shift? Watching the scene back the waitress who Arya has disguised herself as was obviously taller and differently shaped (trying to be polite here!) to her.
    The only reason I ask is that when I saw Jaime arrive in the Throne room and stare at Cersei, I couldn’t shake the feeling that was Arya and Jaime was already dead.
    But then I thought how would she fit in the armour etc…..

    Just a weird thought

  • Cersei is not a ruler. She’s a ticking time bomb who isn’t afraid of taking everyone with her.

  • ‘He [Tommen] walks to the open window and falls out. The moment is quiet and perfect and horrible.’

    Totally agree, I think this was a beautiful shot. There was no hysteria, no dialogue, just perfect.

    It actually took me a second to realise what he was about to do. At the time I was focusing more about his positioning in the shot – when looking out of the window, he’s stood just off centre. I think this was deliberate as it contrasted well with Cersei in the 4th picture in the article – who is dead centre. To me it symbolises that Tommen didn’t quite have what it took to play the Game of Thrones, he was always just abit on the sidelines whilst others took centre stage. I may have interpreted it wrong but that’s how it seemed to me.

    In general I thought it was a peach of an episode, as mentioned, the score was perfect. Following on from last week it continued to be a bit indulgent (giving the fans what they wanted) but I didn’t expect Margaery to burn in the Sept, I thought her long game would have played out so that was a bit of a shock. I think the High Sparrow realised she was right just at the last moment. Great TV.

    And yeh, the Mountain raped the Septa didn’t he? To me that actually makes FrankenMountain more real, and more scary than just some robotic killing machine.

    Back in the North and trouble is brewing with Sansa. I may be getting ahead of myself but I think there’s a callback to her warning in the last episode. She warned Jon about what Ramsey is and the traps he wants to lure Jon into, yet Jon does it anyway. This parallels to the situation with Littlefinger, she tells us that she doesn’t trust him, but there were signs she is going to mirror Jon and allow Baelish to manipulate her, further planting the seeds about her rightful claim to Winterfell. I’m wondering if this will play out and it’s only after she voices her claim that they will learn of Jon’s true parentage (assume from Bran making it home, though feel for Meera having to haul him all that way!). I’m a little unsure about the inheritance rules, would Jon have a higher claim for Winterfell being son (albeit bastard) to the older child? (Lyanna older than Ned = her children have higher claim?)

    I was hoping to see the Night’s King as the final scene of the series and was a little disappointed to see Dany get that honour again, but things have definitely upped in pace for her storyline which can only be a good thing.

    Quick note on timelines – what would people prefer? Each scene is opened with the character saying ‘ooof, that was a long and arduous journey, but I’m now glad I’ve finally reached my destination’? Come on.

    Bring on Season 7

    • Ah Sweet Tommen.
      [IMG]http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3859/6030/original.gif[/IMG]

      He died as he lived, pointlessly.

  • Random other thoughts – why did Jaime make a stop at the Twins? It’s not on the way home and there’s no reason to stop by. He may have just popped in to say hello to old Walder but it seems like the last place he wants to be. Aside from maybe keeping him out of the way whilst Sept-fest goes on in Kings Landing I see no worth in him being there. B&B could easily have explained it away that he missed the fireworks whilst on the road home. Bronn for me has run his course too, ever since his ill fated trip to Dorne he’s just not fun anymore. He’s been reduced to whinging about Jaime’s affect on women for a few episodes now, not sure what he brings aside from (slight) comic relief.

    Someone mentioned the Rat King in the comments – great shout, totally forgot about that. A fitting end for the vermin house Frey.

    Loved Sam’s little jaunt to Old Town, bless him he was trying to impress and be all ‘maesterish’ by saying that life itself was irregular, loved how pleased with himself he looked. Gilly was looking good too!

    Great performance from Sir Davos Cunningham, everyone could really feel his pain. I was kinda hoping that Mel would stop her down-in-the-dumps act and remind Davos what happened to the last person who tried to kill her (Maester Cressen) not that I wish the Onion Knight ill will at all though. I much prefer the strong willed Mel compared with her new vulnerable side, I know that she’s having a crisis of faith and confidence, but I don’t think it makes for a great character.

    • Jaime stopped there to basically scold Walder. He had to go out to Riverrun to help the Frey’s against the Blackfish, who was retaking it. He told Walder he’s supposed to be holding Riverrun and if the Lannisters have to keep riding out to help them then what is even the point of the Freys having it.
      I agree with you about Bronn. I’m basically over him at this point and seems like they just keep him around to be a joke machine.

      • I know why he took the Lannister army to Riverrun, but still can’t find a decent explanation for him going to The Twins (not that it really matters I guess). During all of the scenes in The Twins Jaime looked like he’s rather be anywhere but there, and only put down Late Walder Frey after he said they had much in common being Kingslayers.

        Again, I guess it was just to cement the fact that he couldn’t have returned to King’s Landing in time to stop Cersei but I don’t think that was especially needed. Either that or it was purely to setup the Arya hit on Walder

        • he took Edmure back to put him in the dungeon @ the Twins, I think. I remember Walder saying “Edmure Tulley is back in the cells”

          So they eat, then Jamie and his crew leave and arrive in KL while the green smoke is still pouring out of the sept. The next we see of him he is watching Circe be crowned queen but we don’t know if he just walked in on that or if he was there for a while before it happened. We can pretty much tell that he is not pleased with her at all.

          We also don’t know how long Jamie had been gone before the little scene with Arya and Walder. It makes sense to me that having bumped off Walder and boys, she would then get Uncle Ed out of jail and back down to Riverrun. As Lord of the Castle, he would be admitted and then his loyal troops would kick out the Freys down there.

          How much do you want to bet that she bumps into Hound & Co at the Inn at the Crossroads on her way North? In the books I do expect her to pick up her wolfpack. Show, not so much.

    • I think Jamie was mainly at the twins to keep his promise to Edmure, i.e. order Walder to send his wife and son to Riverrun?!

  • Regarding Cerise,

    Does anyone else see a bit of a similarity to the borg from star trek?

    Resistance is futile!!

  • I’m not sure if this has been mentioned before but is Cersei now the first female ruler of Westeros? I remember Dany and Yara speaking last week about the iron islands and the 7 kingdoms not ever having a woman for a leader.

    • Yes you could argue she is. Rhaenyra Targaryen claimed the Iron Throne during the Dance of Dragons (Targaryen civil war) and her supporters would have said she was the first, but she lost that fight. There may have been others who were queens of smaller kingdoms before Aegon’s Conquest, but not a united Westeros. Of course, you can definitely question how united Westeros is under Cersei.

  • I wonder if any character will visit Valyria and/or the Summer islands.
    The former I would like to see a bit more explored before the end.

    • Valyria is just ruins and half submerged under the ocean, what exactly do you want to see? It might be interesting for an archeologist with scuba gear. Technically the Ironborn do visit it on their way to Meereen when they sail through it.

      Summer Islands would be cool and Sothoryos too.

  • I don’t usually get involved in comment sections, but I would like to point something out here. I really don’t have a problem with the timing or editing, and furthermore, I think that it makes sense for varys and the dornish fleet to meet up with dany rather than wait in westeros. What if cersei gets wind of the fact that dany is on her way? Or any other opposing house for that matter? I think something can really be said for making a grand, intimidating, and above all else, safe entrance.

  • Has anyone considered Jon having the blood of the dragon like Dany? If not then maybe it would allow him to warg into one of the Dragons, not that the show would allow him too. But maybe when Dany and the Dragons finally meet Jon (hostile or peaceful) the Dragons will take a shining to him which will tip Dany off to his true parentage.

  • Apologies if this has been posted previously – I thought I saw an Easter Egg forum previously – but anyway – here goes – “Casting A Long Shadow.” When I first read the first of the books oh so many years ago I was struck by the sentence referring to Jon Snow’s observation of Tryion as follows (thank you Reddit for making the search easy):

    “When he opened the door, the light from within threw his shadow clear across the yard, and for just a moment Tyrion Lannister stood tall as a king.”

    When Tyrion was sitting on the steps,in the final HBO Game of Thrones episode, prior to Dany joining him and the serious discussion of her playing in the big game – did not Tryion throw a shadow clear across the floor that made him stand tall as a king?

  • Considering that this was entitled “for book readers” I might have thought you’d mention that the reason for Varys’ teleporting is that he never actually went to Mereen in the books, but stayed in King’s Landing all along. Changing the story and characters for more or less comprehensible reasons causes teleportation is basically the lesson here.

  • In the breakdown, you skipped the scene when Arya serves the Frey-pie and cut Lord Walder’s throat. You didn’t even put a screencap of that.