This is it!
Winter has come and our season is ending with a bang (literally, in King’s Landing).
If last week was the most epic battle on the show yet, this episode was definitely one of the best. I’m not lying when I’m saying that my heart was beating faster during most of the episode. For those who sometimes complain that some episodes are slow, that some story-lines are quite stagnant, this is called development and build-up, and if something big happened every week, we wouldn’t have such extremely rewarding episodes.
OK, let’s jump into it.
The episode starts with one of the best openings, probably in the history of the show or even beyond that.
The music, the solemnity, the tension; something big is going to happen. We expect it to be the trial, but it won’t be the trial. Of course, I expected something big happening at the trial, most likely including wildfire, but that was brutal.
I love how the writers messed with us leading up to the destruction of the Grand Sept of Baelor. Loras’ trial, the fact that the High Sparrow has tricked Margaery in the deal that they apparently had, Margaery’s long con with the High Sparrow… All of those things hinted for future story-lines, their stories were far from being over, but Cersei decided differently and put an end to all of that. I think that’s what makes this destruction even more brutal and in a sense realistic (as opposed to when a character dies because their story is over).
The way it happened was so well done too. At first everything is going as it should, but little by little things get odd: a little bird goes fetch Grand-maester Pycelle. Why is that? Then the Mountain prevents Tommen from leaving his room and attending the trial. I think that this is the moment when I understood. The trial wouldn’t be a safe place to be.
Cersei doesn’t want to to do something big and drastic at her trial or after it; she’ll do it instead of the trial. And just like that, those are seven named characters that are instantly gone, even though the only two that really mattered where the High Sparrow and Margaery. Honestly, I can’t believe she died so abruptly. She has been one of my favorite characters since almost the beginning and I was clearly rooting for her against Cersei. Glad they showed her in her final moments being the only one understanding what was going on.
Of course, feeling responsible and realizing that his mother had completely lost it, Tommen is the eighth important character to die in a few minutes. That whole opening was mind blowing, everything, the pace, the misdirection, the music, the cinematography and more. One of the finest moment of television I have ever seen. I mean it.
One final thought about Tommen. We gave him crap because he was a weak king, but truth is that he tried to do what’s best, he tried to be a good king, but in the end he was just a scared teenager who wasn’t cut for the Game of Thrones, you know, the one where you win or you die.
As a consequence, Cersei has most likely abandoned what little sanity she had left, but she is now sitting on the Iron Throne, something she probably wasn’t even hoping for.
However, the most important scene in King’s Landing is probably the last one, when Jaime returns to the city and realizes what his sister/lover has done and has become. The look they give each other is chilling. As previously mentioned, the last thing that made Cersei human died with Tommen, and Jaime is realizing it. He’s also realizing something worse. He’s realizing that what he killed King Aerys to prevent, his sister has ended up doing.
Cersei is now the Mad Queen.
Then there’s this prophecy, the one the witch told a teenage Cersei. She’d be Queen, but all of her kids would die, she’d be replaced by a younger Queen and finally killed by her little brother.
She has seriously misunderstood the part about the younger Queen. She thought it was about Margaery replacing her has the King’s wife – and remember, that is what led Cersei to arm the Faith Militant, which triggered everything else – when it will be Daenerys replacing her on the Iron Throne. She most likely has mistaken the brother too. She always assumed it was Tyrion, hence her hatred for him, but it could end up being Jaime. At the moment it still seems unlikely, but if she keeps on going down the path of insanity Jaime may not have any other choice. And without her children, there is nothing to prevent Cersei to descend even more into madness. She could become worse than Joffrey. Jaime may not have no other choice but kill her. Which will be his end too for sure. He will commit suicide after that.
In the North, all is well and yet, not all is well.
That scene with Davos and Melisandre was quite intense. Ian Cunningham is doing his best work on the show with that scene, we’re almost crying with him. Just when we started to appreciate Melisandre, we suddenly want to kill her with him. Melisandre’s reaction is also perfect. Plainly factual, barely apologetic, neither happy with what she has done, nor sad. She’s still full of doubts. Something has died in her with Stannis. Everything she had fought for turned out to be wrong, and yet, she managed to bring Jon Snow back to life. Maybe he is the one that the Lord of Light has chosen. What if sacrificing Shireen was what allowed Melisandre to bring Jon back? Of course, she won’t tell that there and then. Instead, she’s just ready to accept her fate, and her fate is banishment from the North.
We obviously haven’t seen the last of Melisandre. It seems logical that having nowhere to go she will probably head to the only other people she knows and who don’t hate her in Westeros, that is the Brotherhood without Banners. And who else is near them? Podrick and Brienne, not mentioning Arya. The beginning of next season promises a lot of gatherings in the Riverlands. Also, it’s time to remember what Melisandre told Arya back in Season Three when their paths crossed:
I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes… eyes you’ll shut forever. We will meet again.”
But before we talk about Arya, let’s finish with Winterfell.
Jon and Sansa. We should be happy and relieved to have two Starks together, but I don’t know. Despite their talk on the ramparts, there is something off with Sansa. Lately, it’s been very hard to know what she exactly thinks. Littlefinger revealing his true intentions to her don’t help to ease that feeling. There’s also a darkness in Sansa now, and not having the slightest idea of what she wants at the moment makes me feel uneasy about her. Especially because one thing seems certain; she wants to become a major player. After all the abuse she went through, it makes sense. How is this going to happen?
Could she be heading to the dark side? I hope not. That look to Baelish during Jon’s “coronation” was odd though. Has Baelish planted some nasty seeds when he told her that she should be Lady of Winderfell? Or with Jon being King of the North, she could decide to follow and help Littlefinger seize the Iron Throne, only to take it from him at the last moment?
Am I being too pessimistic with Sansa?
Finally, Jon’s bastard status is slowly coming to an end, with all the remaining houses of the North proclaiming him King of the North like Robb before him. What is next for him, though? Preparing the fight against the White Walkers, but how?
Meanwhile, in the Riverlands, Walder Frey is still as gross as usual. I love how Jaime really can’t stand him and doesn’t even bother to hide it. What matters though is what happens after the banquet, when Arya is back and finally gets vengeance for her mom’s and brother’s death. Sure it felt good to see that despicable human being (albeit entertaining to watch) finally die, but it also left a sour taste in my mouth. Arya started as this spunky little girl that you wish your daughter to become. Now she’s a cold blooded assassin. She must have lost a good chunk of humanity in the process and she’s likely to lose more every time she kills again. One can serve the God of Death without becoming a faceless man. Maybe that was Jaqen’s plan all along.
A few words about Sam at the Citadel. So, he made it there indeed. What will happen to Gilly there? Also, I find it odd that the Maesters are not aware of Jeor Mormont’s and Maester Aemon’s deaths. Is it just a little detail or does it mean that there is a problem in waiting in Oldtown? I guess something must happen there or else Sam’s story line will be one of studying for a few years. Not a very exciting one. Talking about exciting though, have you looked at the Citadel’s Library. Heaven on earth to any book lover. Also, did you notice the apparatus in the library? Yes, the one we see in the opening credits.
Not much to say (as usual) except that I’m more than glad that Varys didn’t disappear for half a season (and I’m also glad that I predicted correctly he was heading there), and I have the same feeling towards Olenna Tyrell. I was afraid we wouldn’t see her much in the future, but we may, we just may. Also, high five to Olenna for making the Sand Snakes shut up and ridiculing them. I feel that it was the writers saying sorry there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Varys being so straightforward with someone who is not Tyrion when he offered “justice, vengeance, fire and blood.”
Oh, a side note, about people talking about Varys teleporting to Dorne and then back to Meereen (and same thing goes to people mocking Littlefinger’s apparently quick coming and goings all over Westeros). You know that it’s not because the show is told in a way that jumps from place to place over two continents that stories from one place to another happen at the same time, right?
There could have been weeks between Tommen converting to the Faith and Cersei blowing up the Grand Sept of Baelor. Weeks during which Varys could have gone to Dorne. And nothing is telling us that Jon and Sansa retaking Winterfell happened at the same time. It could be before, it could be after. Also, in the final scene, when Varys is on the boats with Tyrion and Daenerys, if you pay attention to the boats, there are Targaryen and Greyjoy sails, but there are also quite a few House Martell and House Tyrell sigils. Daenerys float could have made a stop in Dorne, or they could have had a meeting point somewhere between Meereen and Dorne. Remember, for us, one season lasts about two months (too short, I know). In the story, it sometimes lasts about a year.
Beyond the Wall
I was afraid that Benjen wasn’t going to stay with Bran and Meera and indeed he’s not. I guess that makes sense. If he was going south of the Wall, that would complicate things a bit too much and divert from the rest. Does he know that Bran was marked by the Night’s King? He has to, right? So does it mean that Bran crossing the Wall won’t destroy its magic?
We’ll see later, as it’s time for one of the biggest reveals of the history of the show. One that we already kind of knew, but now it has been confirmed. Jon is not Ned’s son! He is Lyanna’s and most likely Raeghar’s too! Jon is a Targaryen and the true heir to the Iron Throne (well, not too sure about that last part, he’s still a bastard, Raeghar and Lyanna weren’t married). I can’t wait to see how this is going to unfold. Bran has to go back find Jon and tell him, right? But if Bran returns to the world, he is the true King of the North, although it’s obvious he won’t want to be.
And finally in Essos, Daenerys does what most of us were afraid she would never do: sail to Westeros! At last!
But right before, she has to “break up” with Daario, which shows us that she’s indeed willing to make the necessary sacrifices. More important, she’s naming Tyrion her Hand of the Queen. It was a beautiful and emotional moment. For the first time Tyrion is recognized and treated for his real value, for what he really can do and what he’s worth. Not because he’s a dwarf, not because he’s a Lannister, not because he’s rich, but because someone really trusts him and believes in him.
And, with the ships from Yara and Theon, the ones that were taken from the slavers, the one provided by Dorne and the Reach, one of the most formidable (and unusual) army we have ever seen is sailing to Westeros.
Oh, and did I mention three dragons?
I can’t believe we now have to wait 10 months to see Ice and Fire finally coming face to face.
There is no doubt that Daenerys will sit on the Iron Throne quite quickly. Who is there to face her? A depleted Lannister army and that’s all. There’s still Euron Greyjoy to deal with, though. Littlefinger will try to use this new chaos to his advantage, but this time, I think he will face smarter than him. What will happen when Jon and Daenerys are face to face?
Will any of this matter when the Wall falls and the White Walkers’ army of the dead pours into Westeros?
And that is all for today, or even for this year. I’ll definitely be back blogging about Game of Thrones next April.
I may return blogging about other TV shows this Fall too (The Walking Dead and / or Survivor), tell me what you think? Do you want more posts about TV shows on this blog, or not?
Also, as usual, do not hesitate to leave a comment and if you liked what you’ve read, please share this post to your social network(s) of choice.
In the meantime…