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‘Game of Thrones’, Season 6, Episode 10 Finale Recap: ‘The Winds of Winter’

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We are finally here! The season finale is the longest episode thus far and after last week’s intense episode, the rollercoaster is almost over. Get keen and savour the opening theme song because that’s the last time we’ll hear it for another year.

WARNING: SPOILERS! 

I’m warning you again – do not read unless you want to be spoiled.

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“The Winds of Winter” begins on a slightly ominous note. The bells of the King’s Landing chime as Cersei and Loras await their trial and everyone from King Tommen to the High Sparrow dress appropriately for the event.  The music accompanying this scene was perfect as members of the city enter the Sept of Baelor, the building Cersei looks at grimly from her room. The Sept is teeming with anticipation. Grand Maester Pycelle is making his way to the trial but is beckoned by a child who whispers something in his ear.

In chains and unrecognisable, Loras stands before the High Sparrow. He confesses his “crimes”, including sleeping with Renly and other men and offers to devote himself to the Seven, which means abandoning the Tyrell name, his title, his claims to ruling Highgarden, everything. This also means he has to have the Star of the Seven carved into his forehead. Mace Tyrell is distraught by this, but Margaery holds him back.

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Meanwhile, Cersei is nowhere to be seen – she’s in her room, drinking wine and casually ignoring her trial. King Tommen is kept in his room by the Mountain. lLancel and some other Sparrows leave to seize Cersei when he notices a child running into the chambers below the sept. Meanwhile, Pycelle has been led underground by another child and meets Qyburn. The sense of dread is growing by the second. Children wielding knives surround Pycelle while Lancel continues to follow the child in the chambers. “Before we can usher in the new, the old must be put to rest,” Qyburn tells Pycelle just before the children lunge and thrust their knives into the old man.

Under the sept, Lancel is distracted by the corridor lined with the ominous green pots of wildfire as the child he was chasing swiftly stabs him and runs away. Upstairs in to sept, Margery has grown frustrated with the High Sparrow, sensing there is something wrong due to Cersei’s absence. The High Sparrow scoffs at her but she orders the people to leave and proceeds to escort her brother out only to have the Sparrows block their exit. Lancel sees wildfire oozing from open post and candles sitting in the middle. All it takes is for the flame to kiss the wildfire – Lancel is too late to stop it. No lives are spared as the hungry green flames rip apart the building, pieces exploding everywhere. Cersei watches with a smug smile and sips her wine.

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As if that wasn’t enough,

we find Cersei torturing Septa Unella, the one who shouted “Shame!” during her walk of atonement. The septa is strapped to a table as Cersei pours wine in her face and taunts her with the most honesty she’s ever demonstrated, confessing to her crimes with pride. “Even confessing feels good under the right circumstances,” she says. The septa says she is happy to meet the gods but Cersei tells her she will not die for quite some time. “Your gods have forsaken you,” she says as she gestures to Mountain who enters without his helmet, a gruesome sight. “This is your god now,” Cersei says as she leaves. We hear the septa screaming violently as Cersei leaves the room saying, “Shame, shame, shame.”

In his room, Tommen is devastated as he watches the temple ablaze, smoke spiraling into the air. He takes off his crown and walks away, only to come back, step to his windowsill and fall to his death. Cersei was once told a prophecy all her children would die – it looks like it’s come true but as Cersei looks upon her son’s body, she leave him coldly. Her son’s death looks like the price she had to pay to reclaim the throne for herself.

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At the Twins, Walder Frey feasts with his family, along with Jaime and Bronn. While some girls ogle Bronn, Walder swings by and gloats about his triumph over the Blackfish. “Here we are now, two Kingslayers!” Walder tells Jaime. But Jaime corrects him: the people fear the Lannisters, not the Freys. They needed the Lannisters to take back the Riverlands. So basically, why do the Lannisters even need the Freys?

Far far away, Sam, Gilly and baby Sam (a trio I did not expect to see) arrive at Oldtown, the place where men become maesters. Inside the Citadel, the man at the front desk is sceptical of Sam since there is no record of Lord Commander Mormont dying, or Aemon’s illness and subsequent death.These ‘irregularities’ are to be resolved by the arch maester but in the meantime, Sam has access to the library while Gilly and baby Sam wait outside. Seeing the huge expanse of shelves and levels with books and more books, I felt just like Sam – giddy and in awe.

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At Winterfell, Ser Davos marches into the dining hall and tosses the wooden stag to Melisandre, demanding she explain herself to Jon. This is a standoff that’s been a long time coming, and Davos wants it out. She confesses it belongs to Shireen and that she burned her at the stake because that is what the Lord asked. “If your Lord commands you to burn children, your Lord is evil,” Davos seethes. “I loved that girl like she was my own.” While Melisandre admits her mistake in believing Stannis to be the promised one, Davos demands she be executed for murder. She implores

to Jon that she will be useful for the Great War ahead. Jon chooses another option: exile. She must ride South and if she were to return, he will execute her for murder.

With that issue sorted, Sansa meets Jon on the battlements and they reconcile. Jon credits her for bringing the Knights of the Vale to help them win the battle, but he’s curious if Sansa trusts Littlefinger. “Only a fool would trust Littlefinger,” she says, then apologises for not telling him about it in the first place, and Jon kisses her tenderly on the head. All is forgiven. Sansa tells him a white raven has arrived to Winterfell. “Winter is here,” she says and they share a smile. “Well, father always did promise, didn’t he?” Jon says.

Oh, hey the Sand Snakes are back and they’re meeting with Lady Oleena in Dorne. With her family dead, she wears the black clothes of mourning. They’re both at war with the Lannisters, and they have a powerful person on their side. With a ring of her bell, out comes Varys, revealing his mission was to set up opposition against the Lannisters. “Fire and blood,” says the eunuch. There is war coming.

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In Meereen, Dany’s fleet is ready to go (thank God) but she won’t be bringing her sexy warrior with her. Daario is to stay to command the Second Sons. She tells him she must be single in order to attract noble houses because marriage is the key to alliances. Daario insists she take him with her, declaring he loves her and she knows he makes her happy. But she remains firm, saying she can’t. He is to stay and take care of Meereen and the Bay of Dragons (no longer Slaver’s Bay).

Downstairs in the throne room, she meets with Tyrion who consoles her but admittedly, he’s bad at it. Instead, he gives her a pep talk: he reminds her this is really happening, that she has her armies, ships, and her dragons are ready. “You’re in the Great Game now, and the Great Game is terrifying.” He finally admits, although a cynic at heart, he believes in her. She smiles, and tells him she has a gift. It’s a pin of the Hand of the King (or Queen in this matter). Teary-eyed and honoured, he is named Hand of the Queen.

Back at the Twins, Walder Frey dines alone. He asks the cup bearer where his sons are, and she tells him they’re right here. Confused at her words, she directs him to the pie in front of him. How Shakespearean! The pie is made out of his sons. Disgusted and frightened, Walder watches as the servant girl pulls at her face, revealing our brilliant Arya Stark. “The last thing you’ll ever see is a Stark face smiling down at you as you die,” she says, proceeding to slit his throat, reminiscent of the way her mother died.

She has exacted revenge and the cold look she gives the lifeless Walder sent chills down my spine. The North remembers.

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Our other Stark lady is in a more political position. Littlefinger finds Sansa by the Winterfell weirwood tree. He reveals his cards – he wants the Irone Throne with Sansa by his side, a plan we all knew too well. He goes in for a kiss but she pushes him away. “It’s a pretty picture,” she says but he has been been a self serving man. As she walks away Littlefinger asks her who will the north rally behind: a trueborn Stark or a motherless bastard?

North of the Wall, Benjen, looking more blue than expected, cannot pass beyond the Wall because he’s, well, dead. “While it stands, the dead cannot pass,” he says. If the White Walkers are coming, looks like the Wall will have to go down with them. Benjen leaves Bran and Meera, who notice the weirwood tree’s eyes are bleeding. Meera asks if Bran is ready to which he replies, “I’m the three eyed raven.” He ventures back to the Tower of Joy where young Ned enters the tower and finds Lyanna in a pool of blood but alive. It’s a tearful reunion, but Lyanna is close to death and she whispers in Ned’s ear, “If Robert finds out, he’ll kill him.” A crying baby is placed in Ned’s arms. “Promise me you’ll protect him,” Lyanna pleads. “Promise me, Ned.” A close up of the baby cuts directly to a grown up Jon. Is this confirmation that  R+L = J is true?

Meanwhile, Jon is trying to settle disputes between the Knights of the Vale and the Wildlings. The White Walkers are coming, but they can’t fight them if they’re fighting each other. “The true enemy won’t wait out the storm,” says Jon solemnly. “He brings the storm.” They continue to debate but little Lyanna Mormont puts them all in the place, declaring Jon to be the King in the North.  “He’s my king from this day, until his last day.” This stirs the northmen who start to chant, “The King in the North!” Jon is declared the White Wolf, the King in the North. Sansa gives Jon a knowing smile and catches Littlefinger’s displeased gaze. The last time there was a King in the North, his reign was short and ended badly.

Down South, Jaime rides home and sees the city in smoke. In the Red Keep, Cersei waltzes towards the Iron Throne with the Mountain. She is declared Queen, with Qyburn as her Hand. The members of the city watch in fear, but Jaime isn’t impressed.

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She’s not the only queen though. Hundreds of ships with Dothraki men are sailing across the Narrow Sea, dragons flying above. Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, is finally crossing the sea.
Winter is here and war is coming.

And

that concludes this season of Game of Thrones. It’s been a great journey – see you all next year!